PAINTING TIPS FOR DUMMIES…

from a dummy.

I have zero artistic talent. None, whatsoever. Back at school, my friends would spend hours during art lessons, focusing all their attention on the centre piece. They would squint to focus on the image every time they looked up and they drew with intricate wrist movements, using a variety of tools to imitate the look of the object in the centre of the room. I, on the other hand, would finish in no more than 10 minutes. I would hand in my work to the teacher, who would only just sigh, knowing that the weeks of training me to have the slightest bit of artistic flare had gone down the drain.

Its been many years since then and although my patience for drawing has not changed, I have learned to appreciate the skill and dedication needed to fill a blank canvas. I have also found a new love for geometric drawings and painting block colours. Long gone are the days where I tried to draw streams, forests or skeletons in the centre of art classroom.

I started drawing one line pictures and used blocks of colour to create repetitive patterns. At this point, my godfather (an excellent painter) gifted me some acrylic paint. I immediately YouTubed ‘easy painting tutorials’ and came across one that easy enough for me to try.

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I used a mix of poster and acrylic paint. The reason for this is because poster paint can easily be manipulated due to its soluble nature and acrylic is not water soluble. The advantage of acrylic paint is that it gives the painting a softer finish. Mixing both paints allowed me to create new colours without waste and have a cleaner finish. The brand of poster paint I used was Giotto. It’s amazing; inexpensive and comes in an array of beautiful colours.  

First, I dabbed my paintbrush in orange and topped it off with some white. It was important not to mix the colours as that would have given me a light orange. Instead, I wanted a strong orange tone with white streaks. I painted on a landscape piece of card, starting in the middle of the page and working my way down. 

Next I moved to the top of the page. I painted the entire top half white before adding a bright pink to it. With the pink, I worked my way downwards until it met the orange. At this point, I continued to mix a blend of pinks, whites and oranges until it looked as though both colours ran seamlessly through each other. 

Next, it was time to tackle the mountains. I started by drawing some blue lines 3/4 of the way down the page. I started filling some of the colour, but it wasn’t necessary to complete the entire painting since I was going to add more colours. The point of this was to create a shadowing effect, as if the sun had just slowing started rising.

I repeated the mountain effect 3 more times, using a darker colour each time until the final colour used was black. To create more of a mountain range effect I made sure to layer them over each other. Over the third layer (greyish – black), I decided to dab my paintbrush over the wet paint to add some texture in the painting. Once the entire sheet had dried, I painted a golden circle. After all, what would a sunrise be without the sun?



Now, might I warn you that just because I’m giving a painting tutorial doesn’t NOT mean I’m any good. I purely paint as a form of therapy and relaxation. If you would like to see the actual tutorial, it can be found here.

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The trouble with birthdays.

The trouble with birthdays: Only one thought had invaded my mind last month as I came to the daunting realisation that my birthday was fast approaching. Ageing had come easily to me during my more youthful years, yet now I was extremely bothered by the thought of having to ‘grow up’ – I was clearly not ready. I was afraid of the responsibility that was to make a sudden entrance. My parents were even suggesting that I move out into a place of my own as if I was: 1. financially stable and 2. had actually done any of my own laundry before. “You’ll thrive with the freedom”, they said. Which is true, especially when you’ve been living with the same people who absolutely don’t know about the meaning of personal space. I digress. As my birthday was approaching, I started questioning my successes the previous year. I had thrived in many ways but I still felt underwhelmed – as if there was more to be done. At times throughout the year, I was teased with glimpses of what my life would be like, but I knew there was still some distances to go. The problem was that I didn’t know how to get there. I plummeted with this depressive thought for a while, even tried to cancel my own birthday. To my delight, however, my mother had already planned out the colour of my birthday invitations to match perfectly with the recycling bin. I even thought about spending the day on my own, to find new self and find peace with the old me. Instead, when my special day did come, I spent it meditating beneath the walls draped with floral wallpaper between one of many sausage rolls I had that day. I may not have found the solutions to my problems but the day passed with ease – my mother did a great job with the party. Let’s just say that I won’t be moving out any time soon.

Rush Hour Crush

I got caught in the midst of rush hour on Thursday. The worst time of the day when you’re in London; crowded trains filled with business people or tourists. Everyone receives a fair amount of pushes, shoves and the occasional elbow to the rib. All in all, we just want to get home.

Somehow I got onto the tube in one piece. Holding a large shopping bag, wearing my backpack over my thick winter jacket and headphones in, a must, whilst listening to heavy metal to drown out the noises of crying babies and enthusiastic tourists. There I was, looking like a right sort. I was tapping my fingers on the pole to the beat of the music when I saw him. I must have been loud because he saw me tapping and smiled. He was standing about an arm’s length in front. But of course, having been rush hour meant that there were at least 3 people inbetween us – like the wall of Verona separating Romeo and Juliet.

He wore a charcoal grey suit jacket and an unbuttoned baby pink shirt. No tie – which I don’t blame because of the humidity. I couldn’t see his shoes but I presumed they were somewhat smart. He had an olive skin tone but it was his hair that had struck me the most. Locks of brown glossy hair, curly and remained at the scalp yet dead straight on the edges.

He got a seat after a herd of people got off at the train at Turnpike Lane, leaving me still standing. I thought it’d be a good idea to bluetooth him a picture of what I was listening to since he had cared enough to smile. He didn’t appear on the Airdrop list. To my unfortune, nothing came up with his image and instead I accidently sent the image to ‘Danielle’s iphone’ – boy I bet she was confused. A few stops went by and the seat next to him became available. A message from the heavens. This was my chance. I sat beside him and took off my headphones and adjusted my hair using the help of my reflection in the window opposite. He smelled strongly of a freshly applied JPG – a smell which was fairly familiar to me.

The remainder of the journey was a quiet one. We both left the train at the same stop via a different set of double doors. He smiled again when I turned to look around for him. Is he just polite or playing with my feelings?

The train jolted to a stop. I ran out through the doors and up the escalators to catch my next bus in time. This was it. Time for the love of my life to run up behind me and ask for my number so we could stay up all night and talk on the phone. Tonight was the premiered night of many that we’d spend together and live to have a life of four children and live in a country home and own the biggest farm. Tonight –

“Excuse me?”

I stop. Eyes wide open in shock. Heart pounding against my chest. Legs turn to jelly. My prayers just keep on getting answered today. The angels are by my side.

That’s when my farce o’clock struck. I turned around to find it wasn’t him. It wasn’t him at all. I knew who this person was though. He sat diagonal to me on the train I had just been on. Gym bag, jogging bottoms, baggy t-shirt, expensive trainers and wearing AirPods. He was probably one of those exercise people – oh no – a personal trainer. He’s not going to ask if I needed any help did he?

“Yes?”

“Would you mind if I had your phone number?”

I politely declined and walked away, still searching for my twilight tube man. He was gone and so was my bus ride home.

Turing’s Pardon.

Alan Turing was a code breaker who revolutionised artificial intelligent engineering during the second world war. There were only a small number of people who only knew of him and his work before Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of him in the award winning film, ’The Imitation Game’. Turing was part of a team which set out to break the Enigma Code – a complex set of letters and numbers coded by German scientists which was used send secret messages to German U-boats in the battle of Atlantic during the second world war. U-boats would often disrupt the paths of containment ships which contained vital supplies for Great Britain. By breaking this code, Turing and his team were able to outsmart the U-boats which eventually led the allies to victory and pushed back the war by at least four years. 

In contrast to the victory, Turing’s unfortunate suicide was triggered at first by being found guilty of “gross indecency contrary to Section II of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885” on three attempts. Punished with a choice of either imprisonment or chemical castration, Turing was left with no choice but to ingest chemicals to “cure” his homosexuality. The idea was that the castration technique would turn him into a heterosexual by reducing his hormone levels. Turing was found dead in June of 1954 after intentionally eating an apple filled with cyanide. 

Almost 60 years later, in 2013, Turing was given a royal pardon by the queen – this was essentially an apology for the way in which he was brutally treated. This, of course, was supported by many important persons on a global scale. However, it also raised questions and thoughts about the type of small minded society that most Britons lived in. Those in the LGBT+ community often lived by keeping their identity a secret- or like Turing, marry a person of the opposite sex in order to remain ‘normal’ to the rest of society. 

During the war, there were many countries in which being homosexual was criminalised. However, in Germany, the LGBT community were especially segregated and went under the most merciless treatment. Both Great Britain and Germany were damaging communities and punishing homosexuals at extreme measures even though both countries were fighting each other. If both parties believed most truly in the same causes then was the war even that necessary? Additionally, it is a known fact that the person on the throne will pass all the laws. The Queen herself was coronated in 1953, Turing died in 1954 and homosexuality was legalised in 1967. Discarding all the circumstances, would it have been possible the homosexuality bill to be passed earlier, preventing Turing’s death anyway? 

There are many questions still being asked in which getting hold of an answer will merely seem impossible. Although, Turing’s work saved the lives of hundred and thousands of people, it was his identity that let him down in the end and he could not go on to contribute more to science due the simple fact that his sexual preference was not accepted in society. Changing laws does not necessarily change opinions. Everyone living in a small minded society cannot suddenly become more open to new ideas due to a passing of a bill. Yet following authority figures in order to bypass commotion only shows conformity and fear. Turing ignored the stigma placed upon his sexuality and came out honest and clean despite opinions and laws- this being a method we should all adapt. 

Source : The Daily Beast. (2018). The Castration of Alan Turing, Britain’s Code-Breaking WWII Hero. [online] Available at: https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-castration-of-alan-turing-britains-code-breaking-wwii-hero [Accessed 16 Oct. 2018].