Friday, 30 December 2011

Festive painting, running and swimming.

I've been keeping busy during the holidays with a mixture of festive running, swimming in the sea and in the pool and sketching and painting, indoors and outdoors.
On Christmas eve, Tom and Phillipa Harley organised a festive run at Pencaitland. About twenty people including a couple of Santa's and lots of tinsel took part in a relay with a Christmas cracker as a baton. It was all followed up with some of Phillipa's delicious baking.
On Boxing day, I went along to North Berwick and joined up with Saartje for a swim in the sea next to the harbour. Luckily the air temperature was unseasonably mild. The swim was great, even though we were both in cossy's. The secret is to keep your head warm... no diving under the water. I took Harvey along with me and Saartje had a brown lab called  Haggis. We left the dogs playing on the beach, only to find that they came in after us. Harvey had some sense and turned back after a short while but Haggis swam around the buoys with us. We were in for about 10 minutes. When we got out, we ran up the beach... a great way of warming up. Later on I posted the work I have been doing on a portrait of Lia. I had taken a few photos of the painting process and posted them too, this is something I hadn't done before and I found it really useful, it's something I will do more of.
The next day, Harvey and I met up with Richard and his dog Sevy, a Rhodesian ridge back and went for a run from Yellowcraigs to North Berwick and back. Sevy, being a big dog lopes along with Richard and exudes a calm feeling of being in the present moment. Harvey, ran as he usually does, criss crossing the beach and occasionally disappearing over the dunes... every dog on the route is given a quick sniff around it's private areas.
On 28 December, I went along to the Loch Centre and worked on my swimming technique. I took the attitude to quantity rather than quality and did a series of sets which I was surprised to add up to 2300 metres. Since then I have come across an on line coaching set-up called Endurance Nation US. They give some great advice on their swimming clinic. I have downloaded their ebook, so New Year's resolution number 1 is to use it to improve my snaky technique and become a streamlined swim swimmer.
Yesterday, I went back to Hedderwick Hill Stables to do a sketch of a conically shaped building that I spotted on the Dunbar running club's festive run. It's  a great place for dogs and a great place to do some sketching. Someone told me that this building was used to with horses walking around in circles to grind flour.... not true. I knocked on the door of a local cottage to ask about it. It's a fridge, which used to store cattle carcasses, the inside is made of slates which  keeps it  cold in the summer. My plan is to turn this sketch into a largish water colour painting, if I can  work out how to make the reddish sandstone colour which the building is made of.

When I finished, I went along to Innerwick and had a run through the fields and along to Oldhamstocks... Stuart Hay country, got back just before dark.

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