Monday, 16 August 2010

Gone But Not Forgotten...

For the past week, the old wall unit from my kitchen has been blocking our hallway - I tried very hard to donate it to charity but to no avail. Apparently, these units are ten a penny and nobody wants them any more. So after seven days of having to sidle sideways in and out of the house, and do a diagonal shuffle to get into the downstairs loo, we broke the darn thing up and it is now a stack of kindling awaiting a trip to the tip. Behind the unit on the hall wall (I am going somewhere with this!) are several paintings that have been up there for years. After dropping & breaking one while wrestling with the unit, upon re-framing it and hanging it back up there, I realised this wall is a bit of a memorial to dead pets!

First as you come in the door is a little acrylic I painted of Jasper in a typical pose. As a terrier, he was obsessed with chasing small (and large!) furry creatures. Can you find the squirrel?

Next is a watercolour I painted of Jasper and our first saluki, Luke, on one of our favourite walks. This is a path behind our house which takes you past an overgrown pond and on to a couple of fields that have lain fallow for as long as we've lived here. Great for doggy exploration as it is teeming with wildlife. This is not a particularly good watercolour but it evokes such happy memories that I love to look at it.

This is a self-portrait I painted over 12 years ago - I can tell that by the fact I only have one dog and still have my conure! I entered this in the BP Portrait exhibition - didn't get selected, but the six months it took me to paint were invaluable in experience. Working from a mirror is extremely hard, as well as putting the animals in as obviously they weren't going to take part in sittings! I think the bits I enjoyed painting the most were the hands (so difficult but yet so satisfying) and getting the fabric on the sofa right. I don't like the very stern expression on my face - it's hard not to frown when concentrating that hard!

I don't have the conure any more either - I had to bow down to family pressure (they were fed up with his noise & getting bitten) and give him away to a friend's husband who kept aviaries. I thought he would be the safest new owner for my little parrot - how mistaken was I! He thought it a good idea to play Long John Silver around the house with the parrot on his shoulder.....he also thought the bird would stay there if he took a walk down the garden. Bizarrely, when talking to a fellow dog walker several months after the bird's escape, she mentioned a little green parrot that landed in her garden during the previous summer - it was indeed him, but she had been unable to catch him as he bit her and flew away. I wonder how long into the winter he survived?

And this has nothing to do with the above, it is just a selection of some of what I have managed to grow in the garden this year. Not in any great quantity however, but if all the tomatoes ripen at once we could be in for a glut.

On the needles at the moment - a 'raggedy' t-shirt, which looks terrific on the model in the magazine but will probably elicit remarks such as 'did you know you've snagged your jumper?' when I wear it.
On the easel - a watercolour swan with a myriad of reflections & leaves.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for the witch's cat if you haven't done so already - still another fortnight to go until the draw.


soggibottom said...

I have art on my walls....... they only ever go up there when they are "special".
Pleased you moved the old cupboard because I might not be able to see all your great art work properly the next time we visit.
x x x

WoolenSails said...

I think your paintings are wonderful and I love the one with the path. I used to take the dog and my two kitties for walks down the path and wanted to do a piece with them, but will be in fabrics. I have never been a great painter, I love watercolors, but I am a naive folk artist;)