This digital painting was done on Wednesday, sitting in my back garden and looking at the houses opposite:
I used Procreate on my iPad again but this time I didn’t start by drawing over a photo. Instead. I laid down a background blue to represent the sky and then a layer with medium and dark orange as if they were layers of cut-out paper. The white followed next, then the greens in the windows and the clouds in the sky before I moved to further details and working over and under with various textures and techniques.
If I was working with physical media, like watercolours or acrylics, it would have come out different but I think the ‘handwriting’ (by which I mean the whole piece, not just the signature in the bottom corner) would have been identifiably the same.
This morning’s walk was relatively unplanned. Jane said she wanted somewhere flat so I suggested a short drive to park up near Blackbrook Way and then a walk past Dishley Pool to the bank of the River Soar.
It was a gorgeous morning for it, with lots of flora and fauna to enjoy. The highlight though was getting to watch a kingfisher on the Soar, just up from where the Grand Union Canal joins it.
I expect we’ll make some effort to see if Kingfishers can be regularly spotted along there but, for today, we’ll just revel in the enjoyment of seeing it.
Earlier this month, I read an article about a church in Canada which held a social event in mid-March. Despite taking the precautions which were advised at the time, they still found that half of the people present got infected including two who died. They wish they could go back and cancel the gathering; they recognise they can’t but hope that at least others will learn from their painful experience.
It is on my mind this morning because, later on, my church is having a standing committee and staff meeting when we will be considering how we navigate the weeks ahead. Quite a few in the church are included in various forms of online fellowship. There are telephone calls and other chains of communication going on. I’ve still been putting out an average of 4-5 minutes of video material a day. We’re still operating under restriction though and, as of this morning, there hasn’t been a relevant update to the CoE guidance for some time.
We do want to meet together and we do want to gather in those who have been slipping through our imperfect, hastily assembled net but I think we will remind ourselves to go patiently. I am praying that as we, metaphorically, put our heads together, we will find some ways to step forward that won’t see us having to write about our own salutary lesson.
And, with a glimmer of hope, I’m thinking about nets. I read Luke 5 this morning when Jesus instructs Simon and other fishermen to put their nets out into the water. Those were good, well-maintained nets (in verse 2, Jesus meets them while they were engaged in the discipline of washing their nets) but they had caught nothing all night. When they follow, with grudging obedience, the nets almost break with the catch. Our nets are not as good but may we hear the master’s voice and obey gladly when the call comes. We do not lose out by, meanwhile, enduring with patience and love.
I was doing some more video editing today and needed a photo of the front of my Bible cover for the final scene. I decided to go for a close-up and ended up with this:
I think it looks quite realistic although it actually had a fair amount of processing work done with The GIMP – contrast adjustments with curves, sharpening and an overlaid translucent black layer to tone down the highlights. It did the job though, providing the background I needed for my video and banking up a texture I might well end up using again.
Somebody on Facebook observed that it is a rare day when The Guardian and the Daily Mail agree on something with their front pages. I suppose that could be credited to Dominic Cummings as an achievement, although hardly an admirable one in the circumstances. The exact details of the journeys he took during the early day of England’s lockdown are unclear but all agree that he drove his wife and child from London to Durham when she was clearly suffering with COVID-19 and he was expecting come down with it heavily himself.
Cummings still holds to the opinion that he acted reasonably in the circumstances, despite even many of those you would expect to be his allies rejecting this view. Were his actions permissible within the fine print of the guidance? Possibly, although I remain sceptical. What really raises my ire is his failure (refusal?) to grasp not only the dangerous example he sets to the nation (‘do what thou wilt’ is a tenet of Satanism, not civil society) but also his apparent lack of empathy and compassion.
So many people took the Government statements – stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives – at face value. Many of those who could have retreated to a country pile chose not to do so. An even greater number didn’t have that option and had to face the prospect of sick parents and several young children holed up in small properties, often without any access to private outdoor space. Many denied themselves access to loved ones even in the face of bereavement. Those stories were across the news – inescapable, surely?
I don’t recall Cummings sending out a tweet to let people know that they were unnecessarily restricting themselves from reasonable and compassionate actions. I don’t remember him raising his voice in defence of various high profile people who were cast out for perceived slips of judgement. And I think that silence, as much as his mewling self-justification, marks out his standard of integrity and decency as being severely lacking.
One is cautious, of course, about casting stones but, on the other hand, one is also wary of accepting a Herod sat on an undeserved throne and actively contributing to social decay.
Anchor Church is a series of shallow caves near Ingleby in Derbyshire, believed to be originally natural but developed in various ways over the years. The earliest known inhabitant is St Hardulph, a hermit in the anchorite tradition (hence the name). We took a trip there yesterday because I’d been trying to figure out where the nearby Ingleberry Road led to and the nearest possibility I could see was Ingleby. I’ve no idea if there is any real connection but I spotted the ‘church’ and decided it would be a good place to visit for a ramble.
It was, helped by a position much higher above the level of the River Trent than Google Maps had led me to expect. It was a windy day and we could look down to see swans barely making headway when flying and moving backwards when swimming against both current and wind!
This Procreate drawing was done from a bluff above and just along from the caves. The colours aren’t very accurate but I hope I captured a bit of the wind and sun that I enjoyed.