Thursday, 28 August 2014

Counting Down....

Everything this weeks seems to be on a clock, counting down.  I'm coming to the end of the work for the animated film, just one final thing to make.  These little bits and pieces are part of it, as is this:
Each square in this mini patchwork is just over an inch - fiddly work!  It is all hand sewn, and now needs a backing.  As I am obviously unable to sign my name on anything I have made for the film, there is a tiny reference in the border...I know it represents the name of my shop, even if no-one else does!

The school summer holidays are drawing to a close - I don't feel that I have had the chance to relax at all, what with the crashing and banging that has gone on in the plot next to our house.  In fact I feel more stressed now than I did six weeks ago!  However, we are planning a short break very soon and hopefully a few days on a beach at one of the remotest parts of the country will re-charge my very run-down batteries.

We have had some rather nice dog walks lately - came across this large fellow the other day.  It's the caterpillar of an elephant hawk moth.  In fact, we found several.  This is what they do when you annoy them by taking too many photos, they puff themselves up and rear up to make themselves look really scary - this caterpillar is a good three inches long.  We're keeping the location to ourselves though, it's out of the way and I think these amazing creatures need to be left alone to do what they do.

And that is August nearly over - I can't believe how fast this year has passed by.  I hope you enjoy the last few days of summer!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Exhibition Time!

It's taken me many years to pluck up the courage to join the Marwell Art Society, but I finally did it a few weeks ago after some persuasion and managed to just squeak a couple of entries into their annual exhibition.  Drop off day is today, so this handsome fellow is off to try his luck along with this one:
Wish them both luck - it would be nice if they didn't come home again!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Feelin' Good......

Day 2 of peace and quiet - for some reason the builders have left us alone since yesterday.  I'm not complaining!  And it's a Bank Holiday weekend, so three more days of blessed relief to come.

With the removal of noise pollution, it was amazing to feel normal again and ready to get on with some work rather than wanting to curl up in the foetal position and cry for ten hours.  I'm building a television, to be covered in fabric and wool. After searching the whole of town for some polystyrene sheeting, I eventually got given an offcut at a builders' yard by a nice young lad called Luke - thank you Luke, you saved my bacon!  Now the structure is done, I can get on with covering it.  Hopefully today the dog won't find a pile of rubbish in his dinner bowl...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wish You Were Here...

So, this got finished yesterday - it's an acrylic painting of Yaquina lighthouse in Oregon.  No, I've not been there, I poached the photo reference from an internet pal of mine who very kindly gave me permission to use it. 

It's not one of my better paintings due to extenuating circumstances - hard to concentrate when the house is shaking and even Aerosmith can't drown out the noise - but it's not bad.  Kept me happy for a while at least!

Not sure what to paint next - got a hankering for a flamingo.....

Monday, 18 August 2014

Better Luck Next Time...

Well, no film career for this little guy, he just didn't measure up!  Never mind, I will make him child friendly over the next couple of days and pop him in my shop instead - nothing is ever a total write off!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

...Soothes My Soul

I gave this painting a rest over the weekend - spent the time catching up on some sleep, gardening and general slobbing about while it was peaceful.  Back to the noise today, so I am sure at some point I will be plugging myself into the MP3 player and getting on with this.

I have cropped an inch or so off the bottom - it was unnecessary so  it had to go.  I think the painting will be finished very soon - I need to complete the bottom section with the plants and then go over the whole thing 'trouble-shooting'.

I'm hoping that when we go on our little trip to Alderney, I will be able to make a few such paintings 'plein air' although they will have to be watercolours as I am not carting a ton of acrylics on holiday with me!

On the needles - socks for my daughter, a sleeveless sweater for me and some unsuccessful design attempts at a monster....

If you have a spare minute or two, check out the progress of the Amur leopard cubs at the zoo in Estonia.
They are big enough to be outside now and always make me laugh with their antics, like giant playful kittens  - which is what they are I guess!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Song Of The Sea...

It's not long now until our mini-break in Alderney and I'm so impatient!  It's not been a good summer for me -  I know I keep banging on about it, but the noise and disruption caused by the building works three feet from our house has really affected me badly. It starts shortly after 7 a.m. and carries on until 5 p.m. and is driving me CRAZY! We can't have windows or doors open as it is too loud, which makes the house hot and stuffy.  Even with everything battened down, the vibrations can still be felt.  So no lie-ins, no sitting in the garden, no gentle summer breeze wafting through the house, no birdsong, no escape.

Usually I use the school holidays to catch up on some painting, but it's very hard when your concentration is shot to pieces and your nerves are stretched to breaking point!  However, I am manfully carrying on with this acrylic - if I put on my headphones and turn the music up, I can almost drive out the presence of the Doozers.  Plus the subject matter reminds me that I will get a few days respite soon!

I'd like to camp out in the offices of the people who say we are not entitled to any compensation for having two summer ruined by building works and play the drums while running a vacuum cleaner, a blender and a hairdryer for 10 hours solid, five days a week and see how long they last before getting annoyed...if only!

I promise I'll try and shut up about it from now on - it's boring and depressing, but hopefully goes some way to explain the lacklustre blog posts lately!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Time Out...

A very small chicken...I bought the Mini Mochi book on Monday and this was my first project.  It took about half an hour. 
To escape the building noise, we've been out and about the past couple of days.  Yesterday was an impromptu visit to Bird World in Farnham. I always loved wandering around in there - I love to watch birds and possibly plan new paintings.
Plus there are lots of parrots to feed, stroke and generally annoy.  We fed these two plenty of meal worms - I guess they had to sleep it off!

On the needles....not a whole lot!

Friday, 8 August 2014

There's A Kind Of Hush...

So, this morning there were no builders outside....I waited just to make sure they weren't lulling me into a false sense of security, then it was time to whizz round the housework, do a bit of cooking for later, fly to the supermarket and back, and ahhhh, have two hours at the easel before lunch.

This acrylic is based on a photo of a lighthouse in Oregon - nowhere I have been unfortunately!  It did beg to be painted though - the idea of being by the sea in the sunshine is very compelling at the moment.  So much so that we have booked a few days in Alderney at the tail end of summer.  I cannot wait - just to sit on a beach with my paints, to beachcomb, to eat fresh fish and chips and not be woken up by diggers and drills....

Currently on the needles - the alphabet!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Can't Paint, Won't Paint....

Wow, I am having trouble this summer!  I finally have the time to paint but just cannot concentrate due to the incessant noise and vibrations from the building work going on three feet from our house.  It is very frustrating!  I did manage to sit out in the garden late yesterday afternoon and rattle off a few watercolour sketches - felt good to get something on paper, small and rough though it is.  Maybe today I might get a chance...
I discovered this yesterday - my hibiscus plant has not produced a flower for several years as our summers have been pretty awful lately. However, the warmth and light of this summer have kicked it into action and there are several buds growing.  This flower is about the size of a side plate - gorgeous!