Saturday, 20 September 2014

James Patterson, the Alex Cross novels. Buying Tarot Cards occult books in the bookshop. A few thoughts on painting watercolours of traditional sailing boats as The Frigate Shtandart is in Ramsgate Harbour. A ramble.

Apart from closing my bookshop on Sundays and Thursdays I also employ someone on Saturdays, so if my wife is here too, then I can also skive off on Saturday sometimes and paint, so this is one of today’s paintings, more about this later.
On the whole I am not much of a fan of murder mysteries but as James Patterson is an author who has seen the writing on the wall about independent bookshops, which pretty much boils down to - the big chains like Amazon and Waterstones taking over bookselling - damages the relationship between the writer and the reader, I thought I ought to give his work a go. I am not entirely new to his work having read Maximum Ride with my children, anyway the long and the short of it is I have got addicted to this crime series. Anyway I am about half way through and read pretty quickly, but I have to admit that a lot of the time I would normally devote to blogging has been spent reading these. I don’t mean here that I am not a veracious reader anyway, it’s just when I get addicted to a long series, I also read when I should be doing other things.

Now I guess you are either familiar with my bookshop or not, if you are you will know that it one of the only fairly large bookshops where the stock is of reasonable quality and the books are mostly cheaper than the internet. Nearly all of the James Pattersons I am reading at the moment came from my bookshop, average price about £1.50. This is done by having a mixture of new and secondhand books, the new ones being sourced from bankruptcies, warehouse returns (we have this amazing computerised warehouse, but one we have taken a book out it is just too expensive to put it back in) and so on.

As it is a fairly large bookshop it has a fairly large mind body and spirit section, the pictures below are of the part of this loosely called “the unexplained” and of course predicting the future is a factor here. We sell a lot of books about this type of thing and so far no one has complained that they don’t work, but Tarot Cards are a bit of an exception to the secondhand part of business. 

Only new packs that have never been used by anyone else work, and really you shouldn’t buy your own because the also only work if you get them as a present. In terms of making something difficult to sell you would think that all this rigmarole would mean we didn’t sell any, however we managed to run out.

The good news is that I have managed to source some more, which are new, sealed and cheaper than you can buy them on the internet.    
The bottom line here is that at the moment I have four verities of packs of tarot cards in the shop (we are closed on Thursdays and Sundays) priced between £2.99 and £5.99 (I am not selling these by post or online as I don't think tarot cards bought this way will work) you certainly can't buy them for yourself as all the sources say they don't work if you do. I am pretty sure they need to be given to you, unasked for, so if you want a set I guess you need to work that one out somehow. If you do buy someone a a deck of tarot cards you need to leave them sealed as the person who is going to use them needs to be the first to touch them.

Anyway I had a go at painting the Frigate Shtandart today.  

What I wanted to do here was to only use watercolour paint, no pencil or pen sketch first, which means if you want white sails then the sky wash has to go on near the end, something I have hardly ever done before.

The notes here are for me as much as anyone else as this is my first try at painting traditional sailing boats.

The paper in this case is Bockingford 200lb Not 28x38cm which is nearly as big as A3. all of the paint is Winsor and Newton artist’s quality watercolour, the brushes Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolour Field Brush Set.

The rigging is painted with ivory black and the masts with burnt umber, this didn’t smudge too much when I painted the sky over the top, a thin wash of cerulean blue, it probably would have gone better if I had either had a bigger pot, so I could have mixed up all the sky at once or if I had sprayed the rigging with fixative first.   

This unfinished picture was my first crack at it, from the crosswall, I may go back and try to finish it tomorrow, why not use a photo? I can't really explain this one can I? You either understand or you don't.

 The second go was from a much more civilised location, here are the pictures.

Sorry about this but something has come up, so no time to correct the errors in the post, I will just click on publish and try to finish it off later... 

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