Friday, 27 March 2015

Misty mornings

I love mist.
Fog too, but not the way I love mist.

The ethereal nature of it.
The way it mutes the sounds and colours of everything it enfolds.

How it drifts idly across a road, transporting you to a momentary realm of magic, as you pass through it.

The way it languishes in the bottom of a valley.

How it hugs a pocket of trees, holding them close in its damp embrace.

Mostly I love the layers it creates - muted tones of real life, in ever diminishing, ghostly hues.

There is something so compellingly otherworldly about it. Eerie even.
So dense and substantial from afar, yet so unearthly and chilling, once inside its enveloping stillness.

Misty mornings make my heart dance. Like yesterday's.

I pulled the car over on my way to work, and snapped a few pictures of the chilly world around me. Not the best on an iPhone, and not the views that I really love. But these are illusion, and can only be seen from busy roads with nowhere safe to stop and snap. 

Perhaps one day I will get up with the birds, and go capture those images before the world is up and travelling?


Thursday, 26 March 2015

A weekend in Lisbon - Tiles part 2

As promised, here is the follow up to part 1, a photo heavy post of the close ups of the amazing Portuguese tiles, or azulejo, we saw in Lisbon. Enjoy...

the fresh hit of green really lifts this design

so beautifully reminiscent of Royal Copenhagen china patterns

this pairing of border tiles and main pattern tiles, makes me very happy

a full run of the main pattern ones from above

it amazed me how many had been painted over...I found it really sad actually - seemed a little disrespectful of old traditions and workmanship

I love the tone of these

these are my favourites!

There were so many that I didn't photograph too - some really funky, contemporary ones - perhaps we'll have to plan a return trip some time in the future!


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A weekend in Lisbon - Tiles part 1

Paul and I have our birthdays within 6 days of one another - me on the 13th, and Paul on the 19th of March - and every year we try to do something as a joint celebration...a meal out, night away, day trip, or occasionally, a full weekend away.

This year, we managed to stick another pin in our imaginary map of places visited, when we jetted off to Lisbon on Friday 13th March.

For me, the interest in visiting Portugal's capital city, was sparked when we were in Hong Kong in 2009 and whilst there, we took a ferry to the former Portuguese colony of Macau for the day. A very hot day for a pale, freckly, red head...never in the history of me, has my hair been that frizzy, and my face that red! I'm sure everyone I passed thought I was about to explode.

hot and bothered in Macau 2009
I fell completely in the love with the bright tiles I saw on the exterior walls of some of the buildings there, as well as the incredible patterned, cobbled pedestrian areas. The tiles were naturally beautiful, but when the sun shone on them, the colours sang!

ahh the original Portuguese tiles in Macau
So did Lisbon live up to my tile expectations? Honestly, I was gobsmacked! 

Gobsmacked at how omnipresent they were, and at the sheer areas covered by them on the outside of the buildings - entire facades bedecked in them, and I'm not talking your two up two down English terraced house sized. Nope. Huge multi storied, multi windowed buildings, with the most beautiful tiles gracing their fronts. I couldn't quite wrap my head around having to tackle a task of that magnitude. Never mind the tedium of such a job!

After reading up a bit about them since we got home, I have learned that they are called azulejo in Portugal, and that whilst they are ornamental, they also served as a method of temperature control in homes. We did spot a few instances of them covering the walls of the basement rooms of restaurants in the city.

I've included a few photos showing the tiles and the buildings that they adorned. I took so many photos that I may do another post of the close ups I took, but there would be far too many to include them in this one.

Fabulous tiled panels on the frontage of this old pharmacy

I love the plants at the top of this tiled panel
Which are your favourites?


Monday, 23 March 2015

down the rabbit hole

I've just rescued myself from disappearing up my own bum!

I've been delving into the realms of Illustrator and Photoshop with gusto, of late, but I fear I delved so deep that I almost forgot to come up for danger of vanishing into a warren of pixels, vectors and ctrl Z.

Do you do that? Get so completely engrossed with something, that you fixate on it to the exclusion of everything (& occasionally everyone) else?

I'm a bit of a bugger for doing just that, and this time it was Ps and Ai's turn as the object of my stalking.

A bit of background: My word for this year is DRIVE, and in my efforts to drive myself forward personally and professionally, one thing I wanted to tackle was the wondrous world of Adobe. So I signed up for Illustrator on Creative Cloud (I already had Photoshop) and set to, enrolling in as many courses as I could find on the subject, and watching as many tutorials as I could get me hands on.

Brilliant! Honestly, I have learned plenty in the past two and half months, though I'm light years away from being proficient in both applications, but still..I now have some skills that I am happy to wield with wild abandon. And by wild abandon I mean, whilst carefully following the notes I've made.

All is good, and I had a lovely (and very welcome) four day break whilst Paul & I explored Lisbon. Then we came home and I got right back into to it. Sucked deep down into the rabbit hole, once more.

I have spent the best part of the last two days trying to get a banner loaded into my website and my blog, that isn't stupidly, annoyingly blurry!!! Seriously, you create it in a package that supposedly can shrink and expand without loss of detail, then you upload it into your required place and {wet fart noise} all the super shiny clarity is lost.

I have driven myself potty trying to suss it out, thinking about it as I fell asleep last night, waking up to it in my mind this morning - I have only just got dressed* because I had to try one more idea (which lead to many ideas) with the same fuzzy naff result.

So there I was an hour ago...heading down the rabbit hole of fixation doom, my legs just poking out of the top..when I stopped, and pulled myself out in the nick of time.

I had completely lost myself inside my Macbook and my software programs. I was feeling utterly dejected at the lack of desired results; a tad lonely due to lacking in company whilst glaring at my screen; and if I'm honest, a bit blue.

It's time to take a break - even if it's just from banners and logos! - I haven't drawn in ages, and I need to get back to that, and the loo could do with a good clean, and fresh sheets would certainly cheer me up! But I definitely DO need to move away from the logos!!!

Besides, it's often walking away from something and the coming back to it refreshed, that's helps us see more clearly the problem at hand!

Cheers for now

*I started typing this at 2:30pm but then my mum popped in for a cuppa, hence a little delay in getting this posted...a very happy delay at that!