Friday, 26 February 2010

Gratitude Friday - it's Friday!

I've just popped over to Diana's blog, and realised it is Gratitude Friday time... oops forgot again.

Today I am grateful that it's Friday, as it means tomorrow I am flying down to see some good friends in Calabria, who I can't wait to see and catch up on the gossip news. I will also check on my flat and do a few odds and ends there. The other reason that I'm grateful is that TOMORROW brings SketchCrawl #26 and it's the perfect motivation and chance to draw all day. On top of that, I love seeing all the results from around the world, which are posted afterwards. Also, my ego likes receiving comments from kind people who see my results too. Tomorrow will be my 3rd SketchCrawl and my least structured as I have to work around the travel I am doing, so I foretell pics of buses, planes, people & landscapes. Please pop over to my other blog later in the week to see what I did.

Finally, I am thankful today is a beautiful sunny day here in Turin, but a little sad in that the auction did not raise any money for Xmas Torch, although I think it raised some awareness of it, which must be good.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


Click HERE to find details on how to bid.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Gratitude Friday - 2 weeks of thanks

It was on Saturday afternoon that I realised I had missed Gratitude Friday, started by Diana at Creative Structures who you must check out, AGAIN! I was walking down the street with my new friend and colleague Sarah, so together we started taking count of things to be grateful for...

First for both of us was the fact that we had both started working for our company at the same time, and our friendship has made it easier to cope with the awful working conditions. Second, vicariously I'm thankful that she has got a new job in France, which is where she really wants to be, and I think she will be happier there. Although, I will miss her here, especially as we normally do something together on the weekend, if only to meet for a hot chocolate. Another thing to be grateful for is the lovely hot chocolate :D

I am also thankful for the cultural opportunities there are here. I continue to explore, although I didn't do anything last weekend, except visit the monthly antiques market in the sleet, snow &  rain, sometimes the weather was doing all three at the same time. I think I liked the table & chairs in the photo, but it was hard to tell. After the market I scuttled home and was definitely grateful for a warming cuppa. Monday was another concert, unfortunately apart from one, in which a poetry reading was part of the composition, I didn't really like the pieces they played. Still, I am very pleased and thankful for the opportunity to listen to more live music, and do some more sketching of the musicians. Finally, yesterday I went to a small private art collection and saw several, huge, magnificent Canalettos, TWO Picassos, Renoirs, and more WOW! It amazes me the way Canaletto captured light and I can always stand for ages just looking at his work. So I am very grateful this week for the chance to see some awesome art.

Lastly, sandwiched between the dreadful weather, the top photo was taken Thursday 11th February, and the torrential rain we've had today, Monday was lovely. I was fortunate in that I finished early and when I got off the first tram, I enjoyed returning home in daylight (I normally get home around 8/8.30) by walking the 4 or 5 blocks home. A very simple pleasure, but probably the most gratifying of the week.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


Muddy duck
 Signed original pen & ink drawing.
Unframed 21 x29 cm.
Postage free worldwide.

I am auctioning this drawing in order to raise funds for the charity 
Xmas Torch For information, see below or their website here.
100% of the money I raise through this sale will go to them. 
I am donating the drawing and the postage. 

I am not using a popular auction site, due to the ridiculous charges, so this is how the auction will be conducted...

Send your bids directly to me at 

Closing date: 28th February 2010.

Please bid in pounds sterling (£). The highest bid will be displayed in the blog sidebar, so you have an idea of how much to bid, or if you need to increase your bid
After the closing date, I will email the highest bidder with details of how to pay. When Xmas Torch receive the money, I will then mail you the drawing.

Let's see how much we can raise. 
Send your bids now, but keep watching the sidebar in case you need to increase your bid. 
Thank you.
Most less fortunate children all over the world have someone or group doing something to help them. What most of these homes or groups can provide is mostly food, shelter and those who can an education. It is often forgotten though that they are children after all, however brave or tough their situations have made them. 
Xmas Torch was conceived in 2007 specifically for these children and for this purpose. A day exclusively set for them to feel like children, a day of ultimate celebration especially during the festive seasons, Christmas in particular.
The main objective of Xmas Torch is to spend 1-2(depending on the money raised that year) unforgettable days with children who are affected or infected by incurable diseases, poverty, orphans, rape victims and others. Over these days, the children engage in various outdoor activities which are educational, motivational and above all fun! At the end of these 1-2 days stint, it is our hope that the children leave there feeling more confident and positive about life!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Cultural catch-up

One of the reasons that I left Oman was my need for a bit more cultural stimulus. In the month that I have been in Turin I have certainly started rectifying that. So far, I have visited GAM (as I mentioned a few weeks ago). I have now visited the Antiquities museum, mainly because it was next to the Roman theatre and city gate, so I thought I'd pop in. Amazing Roman artefacts, as could be expected. On Saturday, a colleague and I visited Palazzo Madama, which is a real hotchpotch museum housed in a beautiful Savoy-era palace. Got a fabulous view from the tower over the city, but unfortunately it was reached by a glass elevator, which I hate.

Last night I went a concert billed as the "classical music of the future" at a venue near my flat. I find going to a concert alone a bit daunting, but as you can guess from the top picture I took along my sketchbook for company. After my pre-concert glass of red wine, I drew some of the instruments whilst waiting for the concert to start (above). I liked the double bass lying at the front of the stage, and was fascinated as he played. The second piece was played by four percussionists each with a xylophone plus drums, cymbals, whistles and other things. It was amazing! It was also it's première, so I wonder how it will do in the future... Will HM Qaboo's orchestra play it one day? After all he likes loud percussion pieces.

So that's 2 museums, an art gallery, and a concert so far In Italy, plus the ballet when I was home in UK. What next???

Friday, 5 February 2010

Gratitude Friday- attempt 2 RED

I'm still not overly inspired today, especially as I have to go out in the snow soon, and I know gratitude shouldn't be about things but...
I am grateful for the bottle of red wine a student gave me on Monday, which Sarah & I will open tomorrow.
Currently, I could not live with out my red kettle, (obviously combined with my Tetley's)...
nor the apartment's checked blanket.
I am also thankful for the glut of art that's in Turin. Below is an outside red sculpture I saw at GAM.

Gratitude friday errrm

It's Friday, time to be grateful and I can think of nothing except that I am pleased the heating is on as I watch the snow falling outside. Oh and I have a good supply of teabags. I'm so shallow. I will think and post properly later.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

An emergency???!!!

Only in Italy...
Lunchtime today, the road & pavements were closed. The tram was stopped and 2 fire engines and a police car were on the scene... A fireman is dispatched up the ladder with...

a bucket & hammer????
There was plaster falling from the building & the performance was to knock down any more. ha ha