Thursday, 21 September 2017

I'm Painting As Fast As I Can...

Whilst I am really enjoying this commission - I always love to draw and paint dogs - I am also champing at the bit to get on to the next one as it is something that excites me.  The trouble is, you just can't hurry a painting like this, it has to be done with as much care and attention as ever.  Black dogs take twice as much time as other coloured dogs as it takes a lot of effort to get the depth of colour required.  Thankfully the other dog in the painting is a tan coloured German Shepherd, so might be a tad quicker to do.

Currently on the needles: working out patterns for small things...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

What Have You Been Up To?

 Although I've been quiet here, it's been a busy week at home.  The grape vine in the garden has once again produced a bumper crop, so I picked about half of the grapes and made some grape jelly.  I wasn't too sure of what to do with the rest - I don't think we can eat any more grape jelly, so I though I would boil them down to syrup in the Greek fashion and try to make some mustakouloura (must flavoured biscuits.) Got to do something with them as the dog keeps eating the ones that fall.
 We've paid another visit to the UK Wolf Trust, this time with decent cameras.  I was very pleased to have got some great shots with no wire fencing showing up.
 It was a bit of a blustery day with the odd rain shower, but we stayed for an hour or so and notched up over 300 photos between us.
So I have plenty of reference material for the winter months should the paid work dry up!

I've been knitting & stitching a couple of things...for the little animation that goes with this year's Knitting & Stitching Show.  Watch it here and see if you can spot my sewing machine and poodle!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Bear Cub

I completed this today - I could have done more to it but was beginning to get bored and very conscious that I have commissions lining up as from tomorrow.  I started this as a study more than anything - when I draw or paint an animal I learn so much about the way eyes are, the way the hairs grow, the structure of the skull, etc.  This one is not perfect by a long way, but it was valuable for future reference.  Watercolour on paper.
We've also been away on holiday - Alderney in the Channel Islands.  It was idyllic...


Thursday, 24 August 2017

Bearly There...

Here is a little watercolour study of a bear cub that I started this week, thinking it would be a quick & easy way to de-stress.  Turns out it was a bit more difficult than I thought!  Still a great way to escape the daily trials and tribulations though.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Pair Of Pink Painted Peonies...

 This was a rather nice commission, a pair of small watercolour paintings.  I have to admit I struggled a bit - peonies have an awful lot of petals!
They turned out OK however, and it was quite a learning experience although I'll wait a while before tackling such flowers again!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Busy Summer...

 At the beginning of the summer I received a very sweet commission - to knit replicas of a couple and their rescue collie, Brogan.  I thought it would not take long...how wrong I was!  Work suddenly took a busy turn and I had to squeeze knitting these in to any spare time I had...which was not much.
 However, we got there in the end and the family is now complete, ready to go to their real counterparts.
Another commission, one of a pair of small watercolour flower paintings.

Work has really stacked up this year - not complaining, but I need to either give up sleep or take on an assistant!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Poppy

Just completed this portrait of a Chinese Crested Powderpuff dog, one of the sweetest commissions I have ever had!  This was a painting that flowed, I enjoyed it so much.  Derwent drawing pencils and Coloursoft pencils, with acrylic highlights, on pastel paper.

Next up - a pair of flower watercolours.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Otis At The Falls...

A little watercolour done inbetween commissions - Otis at Brooks Falls, watercolour on paper.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Polite Notice

I recently had someone (anonymously) comment on a post here three times, asking for a free pattern of the item I was writing about.  I was a little annoyed.  Firstly, if they had bothered to read the post, the item was made from a pattern in a book - I will always credit a book when I use a pattern.  If you like what I have made, then go buy the book as I am not about to give away for free someone else's hard work.

Secondly, if the item I am writing about was designed and made by me, then unless it specifically has a link to a free pattern, then no, there is no free pattern.  I work very hard when it comes to designing and writing patterns - would you ask your plumber or electrician to work for free?  I don't think so...

Thirdly, on many occasions the items I design are not for me but for someone else and therefore I am not at liberty to give away/sell the pattern.

And finally, it really rubs me up the wrong way if someone cannot be bothered to use a name or write more than a one line terse request "how can I get the free pattern please". I generally don't respond well to rudeness.  If someone comes to me asking politely for help or where they can find a pattern, I will always take the time to respond as best I can. Often the people I respond to don't bother to say thank you or even acknowledge my reply.  You get kind of jaded after a while....so no, no you can't have the pattern for free.

Rant over...normal service will be resumed shortly.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Otis, Golden Bear - Prints!

Well it finally stopped raining long enough for me to get the decent camera out and get a clear photo of this in order to set up prints on Society6.  This has been executed using Derwent Drawing Pencils on pastel paper. 

Prints available here.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Otis, Golden Bear

 I completed this yesterday - needs a quick check over today to make sure I haven't missed anything, then it is good to go as it was sold before it was even finished.  This is a portrait of Otis, one of the main bears that people want to view on the live cams from Brooks Falls, in Katmai Park, Alaska.  He's an old but wise bear, reaching his age by keeping out of trouble and concentrating on eating plenty of salmon before going into hibernation.  His floppy right ear gives him a cuddly air - but I wouldn't want to try it!

Derwent drawing pencils & Coloursoft pencils on pastel paper.
In the meantime, the garden is really going great guns this year - best crop of sweetpeas I've had for a few years, I'm picking them every day.  Also picking courgettes, a few tomatoes & lettuce, with more on the way.

Friday, 14 July 2017

And In Other News...

 My portrait of Otis the greyhound reached Canada safely and the client very kindly sent me a photo of it framed and in situ.  I love it when people do this, it is always interesting to see a painting of mine framed.  This one looks great!
 My daughter had a couple of her pieces of art work displayed in a little exhibition this week.  We went along and were taken aback at how good they were.  I should mention that she has Down's Syndrome, so anything involving fine motor skills needs a bit more effort for her than anyone else.
Her self portrait was wonderful - I'm looking forward to getting this one home, I think it deserves framing.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Hairy Bear...

I know it's stating the obvious, but bears have an awful lot of fur - this could take longer than anticipated!  Derwent Drawing Pencils on pastel paper.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Garden Goodness...

 I have started picking produce from the garden - small quantities still, but enough for a rhubarb crumble and this morning I made some white currant jelly.
I made it at 6 a.m. and had it on toast for breakfast - delicious!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Green Headed Tanagers & Guitar

Completed this morning, sold this afternoon - that's the way to do it!  Despite the initial concept frightening me to death, this was surprisingly easy to execute and a lot of fun. The top bird is a composite of about five different photos, one of which was not even the same species of bird!

Derwent Inktense pencils & pigments on smooth watercolour paper. 

Now I have a gap of about ten days before the next commissioned dog portrait...time to squeeze in a bear perhaps?

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A Bird In The Hand...

Second tanager coming along nicely - this one is quite difficult to do as it is a composite from several reference photos as I couldn't find the pose I needed.  Seems to be working out OK so far.  The really tricky part will come when I have to paint the guitar in behind them both...wish me luck!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

One Down, One To Go...

Inktense pencils on smooth watercolour paper. 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Tanagers...

 Last week I got a bit of an unusual commission, which at first I was not sure I could make a go of.  However, once I had the suitable reference photos and got pencil on to paper, it all came together nicely.  This one is of a pair of tanagers flying out of a guitar - it has a personal meaning to the client and I hope I manage to execute it properly.  This is using Derwent Inktense pencils on smooth watercolour paper.
 Meanwhile, now the weather has warmed up everything in the garden is coming along nicely!
I honestly cannot jam another plant in anywhere!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Knitting...

I get some interesting commissions...at the moment I am working on knitted replicas of a couple and their dog.  This is the lady, first one to be completed.
Also had another Clanger to make - these are always such fun to do!

Plus there is a big long list of items for animation...glad the fingers are holding up for now!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Mother's Love...

Finally got time to finish this one - another experiment with taking a film screenshot and working from it.  This is in watercolour on paper and was a little more complicated than I first imagined!  There is someone who would like first refusal of this, but if that falls through then it will be going in my Etsy shop.

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 Explore.org 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

Peekaboo!

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.