I'm currently in the middle of a book so good* that it's a real wrench to put it down and post about something else. Even more so because having put it down I then realised that I was hungry and a trip to the kitchen has told me I really need to wash up and have a general tidy as well. I really need more reading time, and possibly a cleaner, and by need I suppose I mean want.
Something else I really want is a Norman Ackroyd print (if I won the lottery it would be a watercolour) I know which one, I know where it would go, and at £450** it's tempting to think I could, with a bit of scrimping, commit such an extravagance. What I need is a new mattress, and after that the washing machine is looking a bit iffy, as is the fridge, the extractor fan in the kitchen has given up the ghost, and my bathroom heater isn't in perfect working order either. Art, however necessary for the soul, will have to wait. Meanwhile I can content myself with this (and the earlier 'Shetland') notebook.
'A Hebridean Notebook' really is a beautiful thing - published by the Royal Academy of Arts in association with a couple of galleries that represent Ackroyd. It looks like a facsimile of an original sketchbook right down to what looks like a ringed stain from a cup of tea on one page, though in this case I think it's a collection of sketches made over a number of trips. Ackroyd makes it look effortless; a few dashed lines and a wash of paint somehow resolve themselves into a landscape filled with light and weather.
I've messed around enough with watercolours to know it's not in the least bit easy, and oh how I wish I could sketch like this. I've spent a long time looking at this book just wondering how he does it, and more time appreciating that he has done it, and yet all they are, are sketches. Some are clearly done very quickly, probably from the deck of a boat, and in not the nicest of weather, others suggest a slightly more leisurely pace, all of them are wonderfully evocative.
* Susan Pleydell's 'The Road To The Harbour' for the curious
**It's not a practical purchase but I have a sinking feeling it's going to be one of those things I really regret not doing.