Monday, 22 May 2017

Bearly There...

Working on this when I get a bit of spare time - watercolours on paper.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Hot Off The Drawing Board...

Here is Otis, sadly no longer with us but at least immortalised on paper.  I enjoyed this one so much I now feel kind of sad that it's over.  Derwent Drawing Pencils & Coloursoft pencils on pastel paper, with acrylic white highlights.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Got To Love A Greyhound...

I enjoy painting and drawing dogs in all shapes and forms, but some more than others.  I do love it when I get asked to paint a sight hound  - they are such beautiful dogs, a real pleasure to work on.  This one is no exception, especially with the slightly different pose.  This is worked in Derwent Drawing Pencils on reversed pastel paper.
I rarely admit defeat, but this knitting pattern brought me to the brink!  I was asked last week to knit a sample piece in Fox Paw using various textured yarns.  It was all very short notice and I had to search around my stash to find anything resembling the colours and textures required.  The black stripe is shirring elastic - surprisingly nice to knit with!  The pattern is so complicated that after the third attempt and failure, I was about ready to throw in the towel.  However, I sat down with a pen and paper, laboriously noted down everything I did as I did it on the pattern and finally found out where I'd been going wrong.  Now I'd like to try it with 'proper' yarn in colours I choose - if I get the time!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Works In Progress

 Currently on the drawing board is this portrait of a greyhound, recently departed.  It is going extremely well - sometimes these just seem to draw themselves.  This is in Derwent Drawing Pencils on pastel paper, with a little gouache to suggest the blanket he is lying on.
This knitting pattern has driven me to distraction for three days - I just could not get my head around it and kept going horribly wrong.  I have to knit a sample piece for someone who is taking a degree.  It was driving me crazy - I don't like to be beaten and I could not understand why this was not working out.  In the end I sat with a pen and paper and noted down every increase and decrease as I made them, as well as going through the pattern (again) meticulously and eventually disovered where I was going wrong.  It is so complicated...

Friday, 5 May 2017

719 & 503

The numbers are the bears' "names" - can't wait to see them on the cams again this year. This was such fun to paint!  Watercolour on paper.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

This Can't Be Work, It's Too Much Fun...

 I have two commissions at the moment, and this is a snippet from the first one.  I've painted a lot of bears over the past couple of months and they are still holding my interest.  The next commission is of a dog though, which will make a change in both subject and medium and probably do me a lot of good before (perish the thought!) bears get stale.  All being well, this one should be finished by the end of the day and ready to wing it's way to Canada.
Amongst other things, I've knitted a small fuzzy dog - seems an awfully long time since I made one of these.  My poor Etsy shop is very depleted in the little animal section, which is a shame as they are good sellers! Time to redress the situation...

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Garden Stuff...

 We have a wren's nest in the ivy on the pergola.  We didn't know what it was when we discovered it and nearly pulled it apart while investigating - very glad we didn't.  The wren has been seen entering it, so hopefully it is being used and we haven't scared it off - I heard it singing loudly out there this morning.  The nest is about 6ft away from our back door so perhaps we will be able to see what happens if there are chicks.
 I've been planting flowers...
 ...the currants are already dashing ahead...
 ... the apple tree is covered in blossom, having recovered from it's severe pruning in the winter.
Of course, now that there are flowers, seedlings and bedding plants out there, the weather has taken a turn for the worst - the garden is now swathed in expanses of fleece until the cold snap is over.

Monday, 17 April 2017


I finished this yesterday afternoon, then sold it before the paint was even dry!  This is a watercolour of an Alaskan brown bear cub, peering around his mum in the hope of getting a little bit of that salmon.  It was great fun to paint and I am happy that the experiment of taking screenshots from a film in order to use them as painting reference worked - I'll be trying that again in the future.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Everything In The Garden's Lovely...

As the weather has been so wonderful over the past week, I have spent most of my time getting the garden back in order.  There was a fair bit of winter debris still to get rid of, seeds to sow, grass to cut, and compost to be spread.  Things are sprouting nicely and it all looks promising so far.  A few casualties - I sowed cucumber seeds too early (over enthusiastic) and they got leggy then keeled over.  So I have started again with them, but everything else seems to be doing OK, even the vegetable seedlings in my new tall planters - well guarded by slug tape!

So I haven't had the time or the inclination to pick up a paintbrush until this week.  It's another bear - I know, I'm sorry but this obession has yet to run it's course!  This is in watercolour, going well so far.

Currently on the needles: an oven...who knew it would need so much knitting?  Slowly losing the will to live...

Wednesday, 5 April 2017


 As the reaction to this painting was quite overwhelming, I have decided to offer it as prints on Society6 with half of any profits to be donated to the American Humane Society.  I chose this charity as they are prepared to fight in court against  the cruel law just signed by Trump that allows the gassing of bears & their cubs in their dens in Alaska, as well as baiting, snaring, and traps, with the same ruling applying to wolves and their cubs.  Prints can be bought here:

I have also put this painting up as prints & phone case covers, profits of which just go to me - girl's gotta eat!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Otis and the Raven

This is a small watercolour & ink painting of a bear called Otis who lives in Katmai National Park, Alaska.  He's usually a very chilled old bear, concentrating on catching and eating fish in vast amounts while keeping himself out of trouble.  However, last year this raven just got on his nerves!  I painted this from watching the video clip several times & taking various screenshots plus using a bit of imagination.  Now for sale in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Bear Today, Gone Tomorrow?

I've been quite affected by the fact that the US Senate just passed legislation allowing the killing of bears & wolves in Alaska - in their dens with their cubs by gassing, from the air with guns, baiting bears & shooting them, using snares and traps - all because they feel these predators severely deplete the supply of moose and deer for people to shoot.  Seems a twisted logic to me, but nothing the current American government does surprises me any more.  So I was moved to paint this picture - looks innocuous enough from a distance, but has quite a bit of symbolism if you look closer and think about it.  Well, that was my intention at least - whether or not I've pulled it off is up for debate, but it's how I felt and interpreted it.
Acrylics on board.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Can We Get Back To Normal Now?

 Spring has definitely sprung where I live - primroses and violets in the garden, as well as daffodils and plum blossom.  The year is already a quarter through and I feel as though most of it has been spent either with builders in our house or with me ill.  After the kitchen refurbishment, which ate the whole of January, we were then told they wanted to fit a new boiler and water tank - begs the question as to why this wasn't done at the same time as the kitchen, but I guess that would require some sense and logic...
Anyway, that took place a week ago, and yesterday we had a chap come round to make good the mess caused last week.  We've also had numerous visits by various plumbers trying to sort out why the cold tap in the bath was only giving out a trickle since the refurbishment.  Despite me asking every time if it could possibly be the knackered feeder valve in the airing cupboard, I was ignored and each plumber had a different theory which meant they went off promising to come back and sort it and were never seen again.  However, after pushing to get it fixed before one of us got third degree burns in the shower, the fifth plumber came last week, ostensibly to change the taps (which were brand new six months ago) but after I explained the situation he crashed around for a bit then came downstairs saying he'd identified the problem.  Can you guess what it was?  Yeah...maybe the blonde lady should have been listened to six weeks ago and saved you all a lot of time!  So finally we have a safe bath, and hopefully after they come tomorrow to sort out a radiator that isn't working properly since the boiler was fixed (you really couldn't make this up) I might get my life back.  I wonder just how many days I have wasted on this in total - it has been virtually impossible to get any work done when I have strange men and their tools, dust sheets, and loud drills causing a disturbance.
There has been a fair bit of knitting in the evenings though, most of which I can't show just yet.  You'll have to make do with a small bowl of plums...
I've also been working on this painting - while at first glance it looks pretty normal, I have a bit of a different idea for this one, it will carry a bit of a message.  I'll only show it if it works!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Bear today, Gone Tomorrow...

Bears still very much on my mind at the moment, especially with the US government planning to pass a law to allow the killing of bears in national parks in their dens (mothers and cubs), from the air or with baiting as part of 'wildlife management' - this also include wolves.  I'm praying it will not get past the Senate but with the current regime I am not holding out much hope.

So a little watercolour I painted yesterday from a snap I took with the live cams on  I wonder how much longer there will be anything to watch...

Monday, 20 February 2017

Bearly There...

Since the end of January I have been in the throes of a very bad head cold which settled in my sinuses and caused all sorts of problems - headache, nose ache, face ache, toothache and a general feeling of ickiness.  I ended up on antibiotics, and am now recovered - thank goodness!  Consequently, there was not much art and craft work going on.  However, last week when I started to feel human again, I began the above watercolour.  It was finished yesterday, with the addition of white acrylic for the water splashes and a bit of colour pencil to add texture to the fur.  When I manage to get a decent photo in daylight, he will be up for sale in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Bears & A Doily...

 I'm not feeling terribly inspired this week - since getting the kitchen back in order there have been other outstanding jobs to be getting on with, such as shampooing any carpet trampled on by workmen's dirty boots...  I did squeeze in a quick half hour watercolour yesterday, a mother bear & cub taking a nap.  Hoping to start something a bit bigger this week, if I could only think of a subject.
I'm waiting for a delivery of yarn before I can get on with some work - taking far longer than usual - and in the meantime I crocheted a doily from an old pattern book I discovered while sorting out the stuff in the kitchen.  I also found a pile of very old knitting patterns from the sixties, mainly sweaters.  Not sure I want to keep these - if anyone is interested, drop me a line!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

January In A Nutshell...

 It feels like I didn't do much throughout January, but on the other hand I did an awful lot.  This was the last painting in the series of square animal portraits, a raccoon.  Acrylic on board and about to go into my Etsy shop.  I haven't touched a paintbrush since as I have been trying to sort out the finished kitchen.  Once the workmen had left, it was up to me to then bring all the boxes and books downstairs once more, sort them out and find homes for everything.
 This was hampered half way through by a nasty head cold which took the stuffing out of me for a few days. However, as of last weekend, I think we can consider the room done.
 We added a few extra touches - a shelf here, a couple of small cupboards there, and I was able to hang the pictures in some semblance of order rather than willynilly as they were before.
 It's all very white and clean looking - which is what I was after as I am quite an untidy person by nature, so this way I am forced to keep up appearances!
So far it is working very well indeed and I can't quite believe the amount of space we have - I threw away very little considering the amount of 'stuff' we have.  We seem to have gained a fair amount of extra cupboard space - either that or I am being better organised!  Whatever the reason, I am thoroughly enjoying our new look!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Stretched canvas prints of my original paintings, available now in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Almost There...

Here is one end of the newly refurbished kitchen - not quite finished as we are still missing the cooker hood and a nice pale blue metal bin, both of which arrived severely damaged and are being replaced.  I also want to replace the brown rug with a blue one but it's cold underfoot at the moment, so the rug stays!

Yesterday we spent most of the day re-assembling the bookcases that live at the other end of the room - they have been under severe strain over the years holding a great deal of books and were coming apart at the seams.  So with that done, we are ready today to bring down everything that has been jammed into the spare room & my daughter's bedroom for the past three weeks and find a home for it all.  I feel I am going to have to be quite ruthless if I want the place to remain clear of clutter - not something I am good at!  Wish me luck...

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Work In Progress...

I can honestly say I haven't had this much painting time in a very long while!  As the kitchen and bathroom refits  take their course, there is not much else I can be doing around the house while it is full of workmen, dust sheets, equipment and mess.  So continuing the vague theme, I have started another animal portrait in acylics on board, a raccoon this time.  I had fun with the background, using lots of glazes, stippling, sponging, dripping...and then rubbing half of it off in order to get the effect of tree bark.  Nearly over-did it, but luckily I have a magic sponge that takes the paint off very efficiently even when it has dried.  We have another three days of work in the house, perhaps I will be able to complete this by the weekend!

The kitchen & bathroom are nearly done - we are in fact a day ahead of schedule thanks to the lovely tiler staying very late on Monday to finish both rooms, and the painter yesterday finding it an easy job - we look after our home, it just needed a couple of coats of paint, not much else.  It's all coming together and looking very nice indeed. I cannot wait to start putting everything back and returning to normality.  I think the dog must be feeling the same way - I bought a crate for her which has been wonderful, a safe haven as well as a means of keeping her contained if I need to pop out.  She's only been shut in it a couple of times for no more than half an hour, but it's good to know the option is there should we need it and that everyone remains safe. Three more days...

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Fine Fox...

Despite the chaos around me, or perhaps because of it, I have finished this in record time - nothing else I could do this week other than sit and paint while they do the kitchen & bathroom.

This is now for sale in my Etsy shop - acrylic on mountboard.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Before & After...

 This was our kitchen early yesterday morning...
...this is it now.  Yesterday was noisy, chaotic and cold (door wide open as the guys worked) but they'd finished ripping the guts out of it (and the tiles in the bathroom) by just after lunchtime.  While the workmen were doing their thing, I shut myself in the living room with the dog - who wasn't as hysterical as we'd anticipated, although she had been given a sedative with breakfast - and painted.  I got to paint for about five hours, which hasn't happened in years! 

So now we don't know where anything is other than the kettle & teabags, the rest of the house is stacked high with boxes of kitchen equipment, etc., there is a possibility that we will have no way of cooking for the next three days and the washing machine is not plumbed in.  But it's all happening and should be done by next Friday - I'm looking forward to getting it all neat and tidy, which is something it hasn't been for a while!
I am going to be very sad to see this go though - it took me a week to paint this in the bathroom and now it is going to be completely tiled over. Oh well, you can't have everything!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Today's The Day....

 ...they come in and rip our kitchen out!  Dreading it, but at least it should all be over and re-fitted by next Friday.  I've put in some work on the fox, pleased with how it is coming along.  I'm just hoping that with all the disruption I will still have the inclination to paint - it's going to get noisy, plus I'm not sure how the dog is going to react...
I crocheted the final figure, Charlie Brown, from my Christmas present kit - think I might lengthen his arms...

Thursday, 5 January 2017


It might go very quiet on here for a couple of weeks or so - we were informed barely a month ago by the housing association that they were going to completely tear out and re-fit our kitchen and bathroom, starting 10th January.  While I have no objection to getting a new kitchen and bathroom, completely decorated, it would have been nice to have had a bit more warning.  And not to have it start so soon after Christmas & New year - who is going to take everything out of their kitchen over Christmas?  So this week is devoted to transporting everything from bookshelves, cupboards etc. upstairs and trying to find a home for it.  I sure have a lot of very heavy books.....

In the meantime, I've started another painting in the small series of square animal portraits - not sure I will have time to work on it but at least it is there as a respite from the ensuing madness should I get a minute or two.