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Thursday, 30 December 2010

Cold bird

The sky is the colour of mushrooms. I bought a packet of blue corn kernals last year and because I didn't know what to do with them I left a few sitting on a damp paper towel a week ago. I bought them from a shop that imports from South America. If I am not sure how to cook something, I plant it...which explains the foot high radish outside.
Anyway, the corn kernals have exploded into strange, bamboo like plants. I am delighted, you never know what to expect from such things. I will let you know when they get tall enough to climb up.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Tall ship

Background Ultrafractal 4.0 which I distorted in Photoshop and applied woodcut tool. The boat courtesy of google images...I think. And, a touch of magic from distant places.
The wind has stopped today. The whole town has stopped. A black invisible cloud hangs over the invisible wife's house next door.
It's not getting in here.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Mermaids nearing the shore

I am trying to put together drawings and audio to make a video but got distracted by what exactly do I want the mermaids to look like? They are pretty angry, well, the ones I'm talking about are. I won't be using this particular sketch but I did sort of scare myself doing it. I keep thinking about crabs and dead man's fingers. I used to dream of a green, treacle sea when I was small...with things gliding under the surface.
Now I dream about medieval towns and a garden in the snow on top of a mountain. Go figure, as they say.

A Brief History of Pretty Much Everything

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Head wings

On my right there is a glass door with a thick cream coloured cotton curtain hanging on it. In the afternoon, as the sun shines through, it acts like a shadow theatre. The wind is blowing so hard I see the sillouhettes of dozens of birds and leaves hurling across the "screen".
This is what I am listening to so I am hovering inbetween realities here.

It's worth buying the album.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Threatening behaviour.

I know, twice in one day but it's raining and this tiny fellow has been following me for days.

One, two, three...

The town is empty. They are all in the brand new El Corte Ingles in Tarragona, which is sort of a Spanish version of Selfridges. The local shops are empty, the local bars are empty. It is the proverbial lull before the storm...except there is no storm because most people have headed off to their pueblos...and the rest are in Cuba or the Dominican Republic. So do not blow a fuse or burst a water pipe until mid-January.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Old Haunts

Sometimes I drop into Google streetview to have a look around Rome or New York. This morning I traversed some streets of England, highly entertaining, and then found myself in Dollar, Scotland, and went on the walk to school as I did in the fifties and sixties. Once I found my childhood house my brain kicked into action. Just the outline of the Ochils, the bridge on the burnside, the hasn't changed?????? The trees are seriously bigger but it is still exactly the same. It was the oddest feeling to step back in time and follow my long invisible footsteps. The only difference being that Miss Tibbs, the cat, was not waiting on the graveyard wall for me.

Passagaglia - G.F.Haendel - father and daughter

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Howz yer orra Dorra?

Listening to Radio Three, choral music. Here's an X-ray of my skull (sideways) to give you an idea of what is happening inside.

Seriously, I wish I could draw what I feel when listening to this type of music.

Panique Au Village - Laurent de Neveu Chevel

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Tree Man

One of my favourite decorations. Paco is coming for roast lamb tonight. The aroma is driving me mad already. It's wonderful.

The town is full of small ladies clutching shopping bags. They are shouting recipes across the carpark at the supermarket. I spent a happy ten minutes at the chinese treasure store and emerged with red thread, silver thread, a cooking pan for the turkey.

Weather alert warnings everywhere.

god rest ye merry gentlemen

Friday, 17 December 2010

Warming up.

I guess this is the equivalent of warming up on the piano. When my mind is blank I doodle, and then suddenly, a very eccentric lady I knew years ago appears bottom right, the pointing finger still there! She was always waiting for the spaceship to come and take her away from this horrible planet...which it did eventually...except nobody saw it except herself.

The tree is here. Hooray!

Oh, and it's cold outside.

Musical rest.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Partee on

Under serious gremlin attack. Having replaced all the colour cartridges in order to print a copy of my residencia the printer explodes into streams of black ink. When the green page finally printed it turned purple a few hours later.

There are actually four ladies in this little group of party makers but two have vanished when I transfered them from Adobe illustrator to Photoshop.

I ordered a nail varnish that changes colour in sunlight for Alice who used to be Frank but as you reach checkout they announce it cannot be sent overseas.

The invisible wife left her dog locked up in her house for ten hours yesterday which means I bawl with helpless rage. And, as she is invisible there is never a moment to tell her to stop treating the dog is such a horrible manner.
Apart from that everything is great. Why does christmas make me feel wimpy?

Monday, 13 December 2010

Ratbag Granny

Still haven't made the cards but I am making roast pork later...and dark, green cabbage ...and roast potatoes...and gravy.

I cannot believe the Wii. It says my age is 68 today...pleeeeeezzzzzzz and I have gained a kilo in the last week. Excuse me? After virtually running three thousand meters, ski jumping, slalom racing and cycling...a kilo? And I still am within my ideal body weight? How does this work then?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Tap dance after party in Reus with Roxane Butterfly

Cutey Pie

Had a snowball fight on the Wii with Alice who used to be Frank. I excell in uncoordination and it seems we may go to town on Tuesday as she wants a new party frock. I have not heard the word  "frock" for years.

Paco and Patrick went christmas tree hunting in three different villages, no luck. Christmas without a tree? Aah naaaawww.Still haven't made any cards. I should never have started making them.
Blowing a gale outside.

Panique Au Village - Lisa et Jan

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Ratbag granny

Oh, oh, and there's Mr. Parkinsons wobbling by the side of the bridge, talking to the deaf man with the daschund. Please don't let him say it, I'm thinking.
"Hey! Long time no see."
I have to get off the bike as he is blocking the entrance to the wooden bridge. He is looking at the deaf man who always gives me a cheery silent hello.
"We thought she had died," says Mr. Parkinsons. "All laid out on the wall like that."
"Really?" the deaf man nods.
"White as a sheet. We had to hold her legs in the air and somebody gave her some water."
"Really?" The deaf man looks concerned.
"I'm fine, " I say.
"Was it your heart?" Mr. Parkinsons questions.
"No...actually (my heart is starting to speed up here) actually it was nothing...a mild panic attack." I say.
"Oh right...because we all thought you had died because nobody saw you again."
"I hate panic attacks," the deaf man says softly. "You never know when it's going to happen."
"Or was it not water? Was it a fizzy drink?" asks Mr. Parkinsons.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Invisible wife.

In fact, she sort of looks like this...except that's Arthur I have drawn. Her dog, Fido, is a huge Alsatian.

Clickettttty clackeeeettttty

I fear the invisible wife next door has been abandoned by Henry. She's turning into a Groke. She wears a floor-length leather coat and knee-high , lace up boots. She appears to have taken up gliding a few inches above the pavement rather than the usual one foot in front of another stance. I should have looked for the tell -tale puddle of ice.

Monday, 6 December 2010


I have a trial version of Corel Painter 11 which is terrific but why do these programmes have to be so expensive? New year resolution....write and illustrate a children's book.

Playing on the Wii I discover my Wii age is 48...hooray. My BMI is ideal...hooray. I am five kilos overweight...BOO. For some really weird reason I cannot stand on one foot without falling over. I am quite puzzled by this. I also find it impossible to mirror image the virtual trainer who tells me to raise my right foot and left arm. This leaves me in a state of utter confusion and then I fall over. But for some reason I find this very funny. I'm lousy at ski jumping too but I am easily entertained.

Monday, 29 November 2010

A few people dropped by.

I bought a mammoth book which is a reproduction of a book done by a Venetian who recorded all the fashions he could...or something like that. Anyway, the book is in the other room and I've only just sat down. It is a totally addicting book full of engravings and I love the details. Hordes of folk arriving in the sketchbook, egged on by chilled wine...but not too much...because then drawings look like those spider webs made by spiders that were given LSD.

And now...I get to colour it in. Same pleasure as when I was four.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Not sure who you are?

So, Edith de France drags me to the rehearsals again. This time cajon man doesn't show up. There is a loud shared silence amongst the singers. And they are off..........suddenly, I am in the middle of a semi circle of singers and guitarists in full song. My eardrums are buzzing and my ribcage vibrating like the skin of a drum. This is a totally new be on a stage in the middle of a performance. The connection and energy flowing between everybody is astonishing. It feels like a deep, reborn, tribal thing.
One of the male guitarists breaks into a gutteral song. His eyes shut and his fingers grasp invisible birds flying by. The ladies giggle softly but they cannot move their eyes.

The woman in charge of the choir announces...
"It's the real deal tomorrow, everybody. Ladies...the matching flowers to be placed exactly in the centre of your hair . Check your earrings"
She is wearing Dick Whittington leather thigh boots, as are all the ladies in the village now.

Edith de France is trying to cure me of agoraphobia or give me a heart attack. I'm not sure which. Magic night.

Panique Au Village - Le tresor d'indien

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Due to technical difficulties

I have dropped myself into unexplored territory of Painter 11. There are so many bells and whistles I am giddy with possibilities.

I bumped into Mia the postlady who actually had the courage to play with the group last week.
"How did it go?" I say.

"Well, I got stuck on the one chord because I was nervous. Edith de France got lost. Maria de Andalucia was on the wrong page. Raul hit a string too hard...and when we stood up and bowed the audience didn't realise we had finished. Do you want to be in the Christmas show?"

I'll think about it.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


Procrastination from Johnny Kelly on Vimeo.

Tartan Hat

I don't know why the link to Captain MacKenzie didn't work the other day. Here goes...

The wind is howling, my hands are frozen but I have a big batch of Scoth Broth bubbling. I'm sick of soup, actually.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Tartan Bird

Corel Painter11 trial version.
Did you know that bank accounts go dormant and cannot be reactivated. I am spitting fireballs at the amount of phone calls and paperwork in order to do a simple money transfer which they refuse to do because Britain has made the account dormant even though the bank is not British. AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGGG. What is the point of stuff put aside for that big rainy day if you cannot access it. Spit, spit, spit.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A few friends

The choral rehearsals were great. Edith de France got me onto the stage where we all sat in a seance-like circle of white plastic chairs. The two lead singers are nurses during the day and have voices like temperamental bunch. The guy in charge of hooking up the sound systems and player of the cajon (wooden box) had a screaming hissy fit when the guitarists pointed out he had everything hooked up so the audience would only be able to hear him playing. He unplugged everything and stomped off while the guitarists continued to chew gum and rattle off riffs.
"He's not the shiniest spoon in the drawer," Edith whispers at my side. "He does this at all the rehearsals, especially when he's had a few."

Voz the caretaker of the community centre starts a vitriolic attack with a hammer against the water pipes just offstage. The singers are sighing and rustling their song sheets. They are so agitated they remind me of a pack of wild turkeys that belonged to a long departed neighbour of mine.

A highly entertaining evening culminating in a very surreal walk home alone. I didn't see a single person or car. Just streets lit up with orange lights. I could have been in a film.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Odd Parents

Just downloaded a trial of Corel Painter 11......It has great drippy ink pens. It has a lot of great stuff.
It's like a wind tunnel outside.

Mr. Campo

Friday, 12 November 2010

Out of the electric sea and into the page of a very rare book.

Completely taken over by heebie jeebies yesterday when it transpired "the group" is playing in the concert next Friday. We are not talking about the Royal Variety Performance here, nor indeed the usher Hall. No, this is the local community centre. This playful concert, is in fact, performed by very excited little people, and self concious teenagers, all showing off their steadily improving musical skills to proud parents. This concert is not even open to the public. It is literally for mums and dads and teachers and yet I am reduced to a state of primal fear, presently in stage two. Yesterday shooting up to stage four as Jordi announced the forthcoming event. In the fourth stage your body supposedly shuts down totally and is completely unresponsive. Not we file out the building Jordi says "Rehearsals Wednesday morning. Everybody fine with that?"
Nope, apparently not. Not me anyway. Stage four fear burning behind my eyes, coursing into my heart as I forget Edith de France is giving me a lift home. Somewhere in the distance I hear a chorus of "Rosana, Rosana...?"
But Jordi knows me pretty well and has opened up the fire exit at the side of the building , newly lit cigarette in his mouth. "Don't panic, don't panic." (Captain Mannering)
. I am snaking around the side, lugging the guitar, just wishing I could be normal like other folk.
Edith de France has now got me cornered with her Volkswagen. Game over.
So she has invited me to go to the Choral rehearsals (with two real flamenco guitarists) tonight so I can walk around on the stage and see how easy it is.
I didn't tell Edith that my last stage appearance was as Snow White in the Lochgelly community centre when I was twenty five. The dwarves were taller than me but one little girl from the audience came backstage afterwards and she thought I was a real princess. Magic.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Mr. Campo

Sometimes it's fun to use software to do a strip. In Toonlet you can choose and make your own characters and add your own words. I am glad I do not know Mr. Campo in real life...or do I?

Ooops, I can't change the size of the image.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Universal Ship

Sometimes, I have no control over how the drawing takes shape. This one almost did itself as I'm listening to Leon Russell on Youtube. In case you cannot see, which you probably can't unless you're wearing 3D glasses or something, the base is a photo of an Egyptian rowboat that I took in the ROM in Toronto. There are a bunch of fractals and I just love the "fish spray" in Painter Essentials.

This is part of Captain Mackenzie's Travels...more on that later.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Captain's reflection.

Oooerrr...zzzpppptttt! This is like too much chocolate cake. Colours have the same effect on me as sugar. No spray cans here. All directly out of my brain. No comment.

Playing around in Ultra Fractal and suddenly the raytrace bakground emerged so  I dropped...oh never mind. Squirly font size again. Anyway...dropped it into Painter Essentials, turned it into a woodcut. Sprayed in some fish, a house,lanterns, snowflakes, cherry blossom (None of them my own drawings. It comes with the software. What is the copyright on that?) Gave it the woodcut treatment again.

Still on a quest to get to Arisaig land. The bean and her husband have offered a seat in their camper van in exchange for the guided tour of the road to the isles...however, sleeping arrangements are up to me. I came across "Sunnyside Croft" which is exactly the place where I spent happy summer holidays. It is still there! But modernised!! And virtually fully reserved already for next summer!!!! Aaaaaarrggggggggggggg.Should I get a tent?

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Watch out for the fish.

Captain Mackenzie is continuing his travels through the electric sea. I'm just sitting in rainy Catalonia...but...tonight there is promise of a dry martini (with olive), hooray!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Doing a spot of flower arranging

By the way if anybody knows who made this chest do let me know.

Would you like a Franco sticker?

So, the conversation with the luthier went something like this...
Edith: And it's right here, no varnish, all pulled off. Jordi is frightfully sorry.

Luthier Elvis: Easy. We can replace the scratchboard with a thin veneer of wood or a sheet of plastic or completely revarnish the top part of the body.

Edith: It just came off in his hands and he was being really careful.

Luthier Elvis: We can't just revarnish the affected area. It would have to be the whole top. Somewhat more expensive but it would restore it to the original condition.

Edith: It's not as if he was tugging it off. He says if you stick anything on a guitar it dampens the sound.

Luthier Elvis:  Well, actually that's true, although in this case it's a minimum amount.

Edith: And then crrraaaarckkkk, it all just pulled away and the varnish came off.

Luthier Elvis: Or we could put on a sticker of Franco?

(Beat, two, three four)

Edith: I beg your pardon? Franco?

Luthier Elvis: Yeah, funny guy. I grew up with him. Short guy, short legs, silly moustache. Bossy fellow. You could put a sticker  of him on your guitar.

Edith: I don't think so.

Luthier Elvis:  Verneer or varnish then?

Edith:  Errmmm...

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Waiting for Mermaids.

Aha, click on image whilst posting and choose size. That's how it works.

Taking Edith to the mad luthiers in the next village this afternoon. Jordi pulled off the golpeador on her guitar and all the varnish came off with it. I arrived for my class just as it has happened. Jordi on the verge of self destructing with horror, Edith, being French, insanely in control. The luthiers have their studio in the attic of a carpenter's shop. One of those Spanish set ups where nobody answers the door unless you phone first. From the outside it looks like an abandoned warehouse. These luthiers are the kind that talk to wood personally. I knew a stonemason like that once but he went mad when a painter friend took him to Barcelona and he discovered putas. He never recovered. Nor did his wife.
Anyway, I really like people that have conversations with wood and stone.

Monday, 25 October 2010

New Hat

Whoops...lost a few layers here.

The wild cat next door has stopped running away when I leave the food for it. Eric and the Reiki mistress return on saturday. After two weeks in France they may have possibly changed their minds about perhaps living there. The cat will be glad to see them.

The invisible wife is still hiding out next door. I have a gut feeling that her husband Henry may have become so emerged in Oktoberfest that he has forgotten he got married again a couple of years ago. She's stopped ringing the doorbell and asking me if she should leave him. She should, but not for me to say.

Friday, 22 October 2010

The Captain's Log.

One of those mornings where I swear I connected to the universe while cycling. I feel more normal now, thank you...although my sense of normality is apparently not normal. 
Told off in the group for making faces while I play , How do you stop that?  Time to go, gremlins at work here...