Snapshot of front door and boxes © Sarah Vernon

Heavens to Betsy but moving is exhausting, as if we didn’t all know! It’s going to be at least another week or two before I’m back to normal or as normal as my life ever is. My landline and internet are not going to be up and running until 1st August so I’m still having to pop into the Pilot Boat Inn next door.

There are great advantages to having them as neighbours and I’m thankful that it’s not a rowdy establishment. I stayed there for three days before I could actually move into the cottage and the rooms are excellent. Included in their restaurant menu are mussels accompanied by a cream sauce with white wine and Vermouth, which is to die for. In fact, I’m so besotted I’ve yet to try anything else on the menu.

As for the process of moving, when your mobility and dexterity are limited, it takes a great deal more time and effort to do what you can and organise help for what you can’t.  My niece and sister-in-law are doing as much as they are able but the stumbling block, which will come as no surprise to my friends, are the boxes of books. ‘I’m so sorry,’ I said to the delivery guys. ‘I promise to stop reading!’

The locals are charming and helpful while the supermarket provided me with the biggest laugh:

Notice in supermarket © Sarah Vernon

Notice in supermarket © Sarah Vernon

I look forward to ‘rest bite’ care as and when.

In the meantime…

Take care and keep laughing!



4138RRS0B1L._SX342_On the 25th of July 1844, American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator Thomas Eakins was born in Philadelphia, U.S. Sometimes called America’s greatest painter, Eakins conducted many scientific investigations in anatomy, mathematics, perspective, and photography, which were vital to his art. He used photography as both a science and an art. In addition to his famous studies of animal locomotion with Eadweard Muybridge, Eakins also created other forms of photographs of remarkable psychological depth and beauty, among them, numerous nude studies of his family, students, professional models, and Eakins himself. “For Eakins the nude human figure became a symbol of freedom, intellectual and sexual liberty, and opposition to narrow-minded prudery. …Eakins saw the nude not as a transcendent image, nor as an allegorical or traditional one: it was a marvel of nature, the superb end product of centuries of evolution. To see and study the body in this way…

View original post 716 more words

Jane Austen died aged forty-one in Winchester, Hampshire on the 18th of July, 1817. Signature from…

Source: On this day: the death of Jane Austen | In Times Gone By…

Dear All,

This coming week, I shall be moving into my cottage and only sporadically on the internet. I will catch up properly as soon as I can. In the meantime…

Take care and keep laughing!


July 15th 1606

Birth of Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born in 1606 in The Dutch Golden Age (1585-1702) where the Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe. It led the way in trade, science and the arts. Rembrandt was this periods most dominant figure.

Early on, Rembrandt decided that academic life wasn’t for him and he left university to become a painter’s apprentice. This was only a stepping stone for him as he had greater ambitions of becoming an artist himself. In 1631, he moved to Amsterdam where his career took off. Interestingly, his paintings would offer art lovers today an insight into the Amsterdam of his day. He painted portraits for wealthy families and organisations, as well as scenes from history, mythology and the bible. Many of these paintings or portraits were known as ‘impasto’, owing to the fact that they were created on thick, lumpy paint. His technique also made dramatic use of light and shade.

The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq, better known as ‘The Night Watch’ was one of his finest examples of effective use of light and shade. It is also famous for rather than showing the soldiers in a formal pose, Rembrandt painted them as though they were about to march into action.

While his career flourished, his private life was clouded by tragedy. He would lose his wife, his son and later in life his lover. Bankruptcy would almost also cripple him, but despite his troubles his later years would be a prolific period artistically. His life work included hundreds of paintings and prints, and interestingly some 90 self portraits, leaving us a record of how he looked throughout his illustrious life, until his death in 1669.

Source: What happened this month in history? – If It Happened Yesterday, It’s History


Originally created in May 2014, this collage uses a vintage handwritten image from Wikimedia. The mallards, swan, and the butterflies hovering around some flowers, are all from The Graphics Fairy.

Mallards and Swan Collage Letterhead
Mallards and Swan Collage Letterhead by FirstNightDesign

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!


Thank you all so much for commenting on my Rose in Snow post and giving me the confidence to upload the piece to my galleries. I made one change, which was to ensure the rose itself covered the whole area so that no background green is showing. I like it better this way.

A Burgundy Rose in Snow Flask
A Burgundy Rose in Snow Flask by FirstNightDesign
A Burgundy Rose in Snow Throw Pillow
A Burgundy Rose in Snow Throw Pillow by FirstNightDesign

A Burgundy Rose in Snow Card
A Burgundy Rose in Snow Card by FirstNightDesign

A Burgundy Rose in Snow Postage
A Burgundy Rose in Snow Postage by FirstNightDesign

Take care and keep laughing!


Jean, Jean-Paul Tibbles, 2015

I had the chance last weekend to visit the BP Portrait Awards 2016 at the National Portrait Gallery. As always it is an interesting review of the world of portraiture today. There are portraits of all shapes and sizes, some which strike a chord and some which don’t. But what made a very strong impression on me this year was…

Source: BP Portrait Awards 2016 at the National Portrait Gallery – Just add pictures

Portrait of Mary Robinson by Thomas Gainsborough, 1781 [Wikipedia]

Portrait of Mary Robinson by Thomas Gainsborough, 1781 [Wikipedia]

“She overloads everything; but I never knew a human being with so full a mind – bad, good and indifferent, I grant you, but full and overflowing.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772 – 1834] on actress and writer Mary Robinson [1757-1800], both of whom were said to be an influence the other.

e395blog copy

Since the above isn’t the kind of work I normally do, I’m not at all sure whether the image is effective. It’s part of a photograph of a rose I took a few days ago. It wasn’t actually snowing — I was inside — but I ‘painted’ it in Corel Painter and purposely left the specks of white as if there had been a gentle sprinkling of snow…or does it look like dandruff? I finished it off with a texture by Kerstin Frank. Does it have any appeal?

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Take care and keep laughing!


Jacob-Abraham-Camille Pissarro was born on July 10, 1830, on St. Thomas, in the Danish West Indies. His father was a French citizen of Portuguese Jewish descent, and his mother, who had previously been married to her new husband’s uncle, was Creole. The marriage was controversial, probably due to racial factors, and as a consequence the Pissarro children were compelled…

Source: Happy 186th Birthday Camille Pissarro | Waldina


61C8tjcyicL._SX385_On the 10th of July 1928, French artist Bernard Buffet was born in Paris. Buffet belonged to a group – “L’Homme Témoin (The Witness)” – along with Bernard Lorjout and André Minaux, considered as a new school of figurative painting. Going against the emerging trend of abstraction in modern painting, Buffet remained an Expressionist through and through: during his last visit to Musée Bernard Buffet in May 1996, he is recorded to have said, “I want you to have a dialogue with my paintings by pure affection. Painting is not something to talk about or to analyse; it is something just to feel. A hundredth of a second is enough to judge a painting.” (Musée Bernard Buffet).

In 1948, when Buffet first became popular to the public, the gloom, pessimism, and horror of his work appeared to be related to recent history and the end of the war…

View original post 670 more words

This is a delightful vintage photograph from Wikimedia of the seafront at Southwold (not ‘Southwell’, as the site erroneously calls it) on the Suffolk coast, blended with several textures created out of my photographs. I adore the grainy, textured look. I feel it has a touch of John Atkinson Grimshaw about it…and another artist whose name escapes me. Are you reminded of any other artists? Not, I hasten to add, that I’m putting myself on that level! To enhance the whole, I did quite a deal of work on the tone, sharpness, brightness and contrast and so forth.

A Stroll Along the Seafront Throw Pillow
A Stroll Along the Seafront Throw Pillow by FirstNightDesign

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!


V&A director Martin Roth with the Duchess of Cambridge

The Victoria & Albert Museum pledges to help smaller museums across the country after being named the Museum of the Year 2016…

Source: Museum of the Year 2016: V&A wins £100,000 prize – BBC News


Born in Switzerland in 1855, Otto Pfenninger moved to England in the 1880s, where he became a pioneer in the emerging field of color photography.In 1905, he designed and built a…

Source: Dreamlike color photos capture English beaches at the turn of the century

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