Watercolour – give art a go!

coverThis year I’m studying watercolour painting. It’s a tricky process. The paper needs stretching, the paint never stays where you put it and if you mix the wrong pigments together you end up with mud. It can be frustrating but when it works, watercolour is wonderful.

Forget the idea that watercolour paintings are limited to depicting bland landscapes and posies of flowers. Emil Nolde, Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso all used watercolour to create powerful images. One of my favourite contemporary watercolourists is British painter, Shirley Trevena. The artist’s rich and vibrant works are glorious and she discusses her approach in an open and easy-to-understand way.

New synthetic pigments have added a punch to the pale old palette and today watercolours are portable, reasonably priced, easily mixed with other mediums and are funky so why not give them a go? There is plenty of encouragement and tuition available through art groups and courses.  I can virtually guarantee that watercolours will prove a challenge right the way through 2011.

The dark side of libraries

CoverCan you imagine anything more terrifying than an evil librarian? Yeah, so can I…but that hasn’t stopped highly imaginative types speculating about the sinister mystery surrounding librarians.

“Don’t they shelve books..?” you hear people stammer. Yet somehow they know there’s much more to librarians than meets the eye. Something dark (navy perhaps, or maroon) that gives them a curious power over people and information (even while apparently limiting their fashion sense)…

There must be some subtle, frightful purpose. Why else would librarians sit silently in front of computer screens, waiting for weird and obscure questions (leading to dusty books and forgotten stacks) as if they actually found some absurd pleasure in hunting down and capturing singularly unusual bytes of knowledge.

(That doesn’t make much sense, but it expresses the puzzlement of the non-librarian.)

Alcatraz Smedry claims he knows just how evil librarians actually are. If you read his autobiography, he’ll tell you (among other things) about how he was about to be sacrificed on an altar of outdated encyclopedias, and…

But in the interests of self-preservation, I will say no more. You must take the risk of finding a copy of this dangerous book yourself…

This link may be able to help you

Will you write your novel this year?

coverI’ve just finished Walter Mosley’s This year you’ll write your novel. Spend an hour-and-a-half a day writing, Monday to Sunday, he says. Six hundred to 1200 words, a day, he says. After three months you’ll have the frst draft of your (short) novel, he says.

Sounds good, eh? Then what?

Nine months of  read-re-read, re-write, edit, re-write, hone, scuplt, chop, slash, re-imagine, re-write, edit, read again. He continually stresses how important that is. Once you’ve done that, you can start selling it.

If you’ve made a resolution to write a novel or improve your writing, you might also like these:

So, if you were going to write a novel this year – what would it be about? Go on, think big!