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Draw a Bird Day: Rainbow Songbird

nina draw a bird aug 8

Nina’s internet has been out since the tropical storm, with no promises of when it will be back, so she took a photo on her phone of her bird and sent it to me to post.  Another colorful tribute to Draw a Bird Day!

And hopefully her internet will be back soon so she can post more of what she’s been doing.

The Kick-About #7 ‘Ennui’

The latest Kick-About, with much to say about Sickert’s painting “Ennui”.

Red's Kingdom


ennui: a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.


Gary Thorne

“A most welcome challenge to enjoy the mood and establish a balance between location and figure. As always significant changes up to the eleventh hour, perhaps a blessing with oil as this chap had a companion all the way through, yet his removal as well the monochrome against a sliver of colour has pushed this to a more ambiguous resolve.” Oil on canvas board. 40 x 50 cm.


linkedin.com/in/gary-thorne


Vanessa Clegg

“I wanted the process of the drawing to be as tedious as possible (and it was!) creating a sense of time stopping/ dragging… the only indication of its passing being the alteration of pencil type and pressure… repetitive pattern making tying me to the work table. A sense of entrapment. Clouds are mercurial by nature, constantly metamorphosing, so, by freezing the…

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First Weekend in August/messing around

I messed around this weekend with something I saw on TikTok. You dab paint down (several different colors) and then swoop it with a big brush. I did these in a sketchbook and they’re not that good. But it does give me some ideas. Here are a couple more:

I took a big canvas from work. It was just sitting around and I asked for it. I’m going to sand it down and maybe start painting bigger. Sometimes I look back on work I’ve done and it seems like another person did it.

But I guess I always like to paint symmetrically.

Batch of rocks started. I started sanding the rocks as per another hack I heard about. I think it’s going to make a difference.

Have a great week and stay safe. Nina

Last weekend of July, 2020

I spent an hour and a half in the pool yesterday. Swam laps for a while, then a friend of mine came and I kept swimming and chatting with her. It’s been very hot and I’m grateful to have a place to be in the water.

Tried to do something different with unpainted rocks. I may have to mess with these more. I swooshed the paint to make a design, kind of fun.

I still like painting them matte black first. I’ll spray the finish on but it’s too hot to do it outside. I’ve been keeping a few in my drawer at work to give to people (if they’re not afraid to take them. I am not shedding the virus as far as I know).

Random picture of the poet who wrote “Paterson”, my home town. I’m going to attempt to do a drawing.

Have a good week! Nina

The Kick-About #6 ‘A Field Guide To Getting Lost’

The latest Kick-About offering featuring my labyrinths and lots of other wonderful creations as usual.

Red's Kingdom


Arguably, all previous Kick-Abouts have been a response to this same prompt, courtesy of Francesca Maxwell, with each resulting showcase of work offering a guide to the ways in which different people take unpredictable journeys into new and unexpected terrains. As is attested to by a number of the works in this edition, ‘getting lost’ is never about losing time, but rather gaining experience.


Charly Skilling

“When I started thinking about this prompt – about how you plan a trip, about what can go wrong, about getting lost – I was reminded of this bit of family lore which is often trotted out at our family’s events: the day mother went to Shrewsbury and got lost.

It was actually in the mid-90’s (Cadfael was a very popular mystery television series at that time, based on the books of Ellis Peters) but everything about Mum’s story was reminiscent of…

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Drawing and painting over the weekend

I took a break from rocks this weekend. I had some black paper with paint marks from getting the point on the brush and decided to try turning them into something.

Drawing of an old brooch

I have a lot of shots of random stuff on my iPhone so that was another option:draw some of them. I take shots of stuff I like and that I think I will draw someday. This was a brooch on an auction site I look at because I like to look at jewelry.

I love medical drawing so here’s a brain and a heart.

Another one on black paper with paint dabs on it. The dabs were up by the left eye. This one, not so great but posting it anyway.

I also cleaned up my area a little. The rune in the photo was a gift from K. I think she meant for me to paint it but it’s too beautiful the way it is.

Drawing table with some rocks I still have. The blue elephants are out in the neighborhood.

Hope everyone has a good week! Nina

Weekend batch #?

I spent some time this weekend painting rocks again. As Claudia McGill has suggested, this is a very meditative activity for me. I’ve evolved it into a production line with steps: first paint the rocks flat black, paint in white the mandala-looking design, go back in with colors.

The first couple of steps. The white suggests an outline of what to paint. I start with the color and the next few colors will reveal to me what they should be.

The purple started to look very Easter-eggy. I knew I had to use some gray and yellow ochre.

I don’t know why I am painting rocks as I have mentioned before. I am putting a lot of painting into these; I almost think I’m reverting to my textile design days when we had to do some small-brush detail painting on the prints of the 80’s.

A couple of these are for work friends. I made one for my practice manager that says “The Buck Stops Here”. I didn’t think she’d know what that meant (I believe it was a plaque on Harry Truman’s desk) but she laughed and said “Nina, I’m not that young “. (She is but she knew the phrase.)

Anyway, I’m not sure these are totally done. They need some black outline. I hope everyone is feeling well and looking forward to a good week. Nina

Draw a Bird (or three)

A group of three birds of no particular species. I wake up to them singing around 5 in the morning. There is also a bold robin who sits on my car’s rear view mirror and proceeds to use it as a bathroom.

I filmed this in my neighborhood last year. It’s kind of a shaky video but it’s a mother duck in a bit puddle left by the rain. The male babies looked like the dad and the females like the mom. I was inordinately excited about this beautiful sight.

Happy Draw a Bird Day to all! Nina

The Kick-About #5 ‘Symbols’

The responses to Alice Neel’s painting provide another inspiring look at the creative process.

Red's Kingdom


With Jean Cocteau as our guest referee, little wonder the Kick-About #4 was a game of magical doorways, shadowy thresholds and nebulous reflections. This time we have Alice Neel as our muse, whose uncompromising paintings have, hardly surprisingly, prompted a range of provocative impressions from our motley crew of up-for-it creatives. Happy browsing.


Eleanor Spence-Welch

“This painting really intrigued me, so I took time to read about the story behind it and the symbolism within it. Alice Neel painted Symbols in response to her husband leaving her, taking their daughter with him. When I look at the doll and glove on the table, I see things that were left behind by the daughter when she left, little items that were once insignificant, now a symbol of what has been lost. There are discussions on how the inclusion of the cross and apples represent Eve, perhaps suggesting Neel sees herself…

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A Commission (sort of)

My little cousin in Florida saw my rocks and requested two-Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear. I’ve never done cartoon characters before and these were fun. Sadly I didn’t have a big enough rock to do Buzz’ full space getup with all the buttons and headpiece.

I hope he likes them!