Marion Drummond – Artist Extraordinaire

Last of the Summer
I know many of you share our interest in cultural activity both in sport and the arts, in all its forms. Our attention was recently drawn to the work of a Scottish artist who paints using a very unusual technique. The result is stunning as you will see when you look at her website gallery. We made contact with Marion and she kindly agreed to make an appearance on the Silverlinks Network .

Have a look at her work which can be viewed by clicking the following link    Marion's work    We feel sure you will find it every bit as beautiful and uplifting as we do. In our view she is certainly one to watch.

My New  Hat

This is what Marion had to say.

“Painting is my passion and I cannot imagine my life without it.  I have always adored flowers and have been a keen gardener from an early age when my parents gave me my own corner of the garden to do with what I wanted.  I used to collect plants from compost heaps and plant them in my little patch as a child.  Now I plant old-fashioned roses and tulips to paint and lavender, heaths and even nettles for the butterflies and bees.  It is always lovely to have fresh flowers at the breakfast table. 

I started painting with my fingers really out of the necessity to work fast during life classes and now I just simply enjoy working this way.  I'm far too lazy to bother with red brushes and blue brushes and then all the cleaning and, having tried to play around with disposable decorating brushes, I ended up preferring rags and fingers.  I have been very lucky to have a few excellent life models but my own children have always had to sit for me when I needed them.

Born in Glasgow in 1958. I have a particular love of the Blane valley countryside with its diversity of wildlife, rivers, moorland and hills. My daily walks supply me with colour notes for painting and the sheer enjoyment of seeing the constant changing of light and season. 

Largely self-taught, I have however benefited greatly from attending life classes under Christine Ironside, Drummond Mayo and Ann Johnston. My greatest influences in painting are varied from Rubens to Jenny Saville and I am very much inspired by all great drawing and painting. 

I would probably describe myself as a representational/romantic artist and my focus is on light. Subject matter is always real and studied; number of petals of any flower observed and changes from life, still life to landscape, though I would tend to describe the latter more as weather-scape. When painting life I am looking for mood and presence and for the skin to breathe. With still life the colours are all there so I am looking for light, while with landscape I am looking at the time of day and the weather. Painting landscape in Scotland, for me, has to be done with speed as the light changes so frequently and I have to take pastel sketches and re-visit the site at the same time of day on a similar day weather-wise to properly work on a piece. 

I used to paint with a knife but now tend to work quickly with fingers and rags, a method I adopted for working on life. I sculpt the paint, feeling my way and mixing on the board for speed and spontaneity and, whilst I am aware that the paint is toxic, I cannot feel anything like the same excitement when working with brushes.”


"Dear Grandad" Happy Christmas

cuckoo innFrom you to me - journal of a lifetime

It arrived as part of my Christmas present from my then eight year old granddaughter Daisy in 2011. It intrigued me from the start. The contents were a series of questions aimed at getting me to record, in my own words, the key events in my life and memories that would give my granddaughter a better understanding of the life and times of her grandad and other members of the family.

It was not a project to be rushed or tackled lightly. Each page, each question needed a fair bit of thought. I add this so that you, the reader, do not judge me too harshly when I admit that, two years on, I am still to finish the task !

The preface to the book sets the challenge:

"Dear Grandad,

Here is a gift from me to you......for you to give to me.

When we are children we are always asking questions.....well I now have some more for you.

Please could you answer them in the way only you know how and then give the book back to me.

There might be a couple of questions that you prefer not to answer, so don't worry, just answer the others as well as you can.....I won't mind.

People say we all have at least one book in us, and this will be one of yours.

The story of you and me that I will treasure forever."

My main concerns at the outset were that my handwriting may not be sufficiently legible and that, once recollections are committed to paper, inaccuracies that become clear later on will not be easy to correct. So, like all silver surfers I turned to my laptop. On this the tale could be told and recorded in good old Microsoft Word, in a series of answers and statements, each of which could then be printed on address labels and the labels inserted into the journal.

There is plenty of space within the journal for photos or copies of important letters or press cuttings (reproduced by scanning into the laptop), and I managed to source those little, sticky corner mounts - which I had thought might now be well out of fashion - from John Lewis.

So, as I say, I have paced myself and have tried to answer the questions honestly and as interestingly as possible. It's often meant a bit of research in the family archives and a few surprises have inevitably turned up. Completion is in sight and I'm looking forward to Daisy's reaction.

If any other Siverlink Member thinks they would like to have a go the journal was produced by 'from you to me ltd' in 2008.

Peter Pinnell


Changes in Nursery Education

2dASVKZThe headline read, “Playtime is over in Britain’s nurseries,” my heart sank.

As a retired primary teacher of many years standing I always despair when I read of yet another education initiative. Ask any career teacher and they will tell you that they have lost count of the number of curriculum changes, initiatives, fads and fashions they have experienced during their working lives. Most of these ‘new ideas’ come to nought and do not further the cause of improving the education outcomes of our young people. Indeed, if you think about all the money which has been lavished on schools and colleges it is amazing that we are still turning out pupils with such poor skills.

The new thinking from the government education minister Liz Truss states that nursery children should be taught reading and maths at a younger age. I’m sure I’ve heard that before. Ask any level headed teacher living in the real world whether children of nursery age are ready for formal reading and maths and they will tell you that the majority of 3 and 4 year olds are not. Far from introducing formal education they should be spending those early years playing, exploring their environment, socialising, having fun and generally getting themselves ready to learn formally. We are constantly being told that children entering nursery education have poor verbal and social skills. Why do we feel the need to add more stress to the lives of very young children, society is already depriving them of their childhood. We seem to think that to improve education out comes at secondary level all we have to do is start the education process earlier and earlier but we have tried this before and it doesn’t work.

 It is difficult to know where these new ideas come from I can only assume they come from academics and government ministers out of touch with how children present in nursery classes and have no idea what is really needed to get them ready to take full advantage of their education prospects. Why do we feel that education is a vehicle ripe for constant change, these are small children we are experimenting on, they only have a few years in nursery and we owe it to them to get it right.

 The same Liz Truss also wants nursery workers to have much higher qualifications in order to introduce this more formal education. This seems to be paralleling the recent career path for nurses which saw all nurses having to have a degree. Most people now think we have lost those nurses able to provide care and compassion but not necessarily able to cope with a degree. We need nursery workers who enjoy working with small children who can provide a stimulating environment with care and love. Surely if we demand these higher qualifications we will lose many excellent people from the sector who feel the demands are beyond them. If we expect these workers to be more highly qualified won’t they rightly expect more money thus putting up nursery fees even more and many parents already find the fees prohibitive. More and more qualifications often give us the results we don’t.

I await with interest the results of this latest initiative let’s hope it’s not an army of unhappy children.




Happy New Year 2013

nJuVHIcHappy New Year to all our readers. Silverlinksnetwork has now completed its first year of operation and it is our intention to bring in a few small changes. We are currently investigating how to give open access to the home page but then restrict access to further reading to subscribers only. Technically this is causing us a few problems but hopefully they will soon be resolved. We have had quite a lot of new subscribers as the Birthday article indicates but this new approach will hopefully provide more.


This year could be eventful on the political scene with the forthcoming debate on the European Union and our place ( or not ) in that, the ongoing issue of health care. We are still mystified by the lack of willingness on the part of Silverlinkers to express their views on the site. We can only assume that we have not been controversial enough and will be seeking to put that right.


New features we are working on will include a Good News section, especially as most news is bad. This might produce some more activity as many of us would like to read and share some nice stories instead of the usual depressing catastrophes that seem to pepper our days. We would be grateful top hear of your views on things that would encourage you to visit the site and perhaps contribute.


2013 will, as usual produce many unforeseen events and exciting opportunities. It is possible to influence the world around you but this is best done from a position of strength. This usually means the expression of views by large groups of people rather than individuals. This concept is at the heart of why the Silverlinksnetwork was formed and is still very much work in progress.

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