Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Jeffy...

This has to be one of the ugliest things I have ever been asked to make!  However, it is for a small boy, so if it makes him happy then I'm happy.  The pattern I was given was awful, full of errors and very unclear instructions, what there were of them. Half way through I had to give up on the pattern and wing it for a while - goodness knows what a novice would have done.

Needless to say, I am NOT making any more of these!

Monday, 10 September 2018

Dogs & Bears...

 This is my latest commission, a pair of golden retrievers in watercolour.  I'm enjoying a bit of a change of pace as usually my dog portraits are in pencil - this may yet have pencil in it, who knows, I'm just going with the flow!
Made a darker bear this week, based on a bear known as 151 Walker.  Shame the camera cannot cope with dark objects and electric light - hopefully I can get some better photos when the sun comes up.  This bear will be for sale in my Etsy shop later.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Another One Gone...

This Otis is off to sunny California...

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Brooks Falls...

I completed this on Friday - a larger watercolour than usual but it had to be in order to fit everything in.  This is a view from the Explore.org web cam at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park and was a private commission.  The photo sent to me was pretty fuzzy, but as I have spent hours watching this view myself plus I have painted Otis, the bear on the left, many, many times, it was easy enough to use a bit of initiative.  The bear on the right was very blurred but looked pretty much like one known as Beadnose, so I used another reference photo in a similar pose to get a better idea of how to paint her.  There is an awful lot of greenery in this painting whcih I was not sure would work, but it did in the end I think.

Next on the easel, a pair of retrievers!

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Work In Progress...

Still working on this big watercolour - luckily painting trees is still interesting, plus I am saving the second bear for last by way of a reward after all that green!  Hoping to have this done by the end of the week.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Seeing Double...

I finished these last night, two more Otis toys.  They will be for sale on Etsy later when Etsy is back on line.

Note:  This must be some kind of record - one sold 5 minutes after I listed it, the other forty minutes later.  Guess I'd better make some more....

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Painting & Sewing Otis...

 My work seems to be revolving around Otis the bear at the moment!  I'm painting a scene of Katmai with Otis entering from the left - this is a commission and one of the biggest watercolours I've done for a while.
Last week's Otis soft toy sold within a few hours and I have a lot of people interested in buying one if I make more, so I am slowly trying to get a couple done amongst everything else.  Here are the current two awaiting stuffing, ears, noses & tails.  The house is covered in fluff from the cutting of this fabric!

Currently on the needles...cakey things...

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Otis, Soft & Fuzzy...

 Watching the bear cams on Explore.org and seeing Otis sat there looking cuddly, I had an urge to make a soft toy based on him.  I rarely make my own plush toys, least of all with fur fabric so this was unknown territory.
Initially I tried to design my own but after struggling for a whole afternoon and getting nowhere, I found a free download of a bear pattern that I could use as a base to work from.
 I'd found the perfect fabric on Etsy...
 already had the eyes and black felt...
 bought some beanie-baby plastic granules which I used to stuff the legs...
this way he can either stand or sit without keeling over.

This is very much a prototype - there are things I would do slightly differently next time - but I am very please with how he has turned out for a first attempt.  Otis will be for sale in my Etsy shop shortly.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Whiling Away Some Time...

I have two commissions in the wings but I suddenly realised both needed larger paper/canvas than I have so I had to order some.  While waiting for it to be delivered, I painted this - bear 151, Walker.  I used a snapshot I took on the Explore.org webcam a while back as reference and painted with some Japanese watercolours that I got for Christmas.  They are a bit different from our regular watercolours, much softer and very re-wettable once on the paper.  I liked the soft effect I was able to get on the bear's fur - not intentional, just the way the paint dried!

This will be for sale in my Etsy shop shortly.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Popeye

Just completed this, the bear 634 known as Popeye - pencil, liquid pencil & white acrylic touches on paper.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Almost There...


...just the water and the last bits of undergrowth to do on this one.  It's been fun but I'm ready for it to be over now.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

More Bears...

 Knitted this little bear for a family member - this is the pattern they wanted me to use.  Cute little thing, off in the post today.
I'm still labouring over this one - pencil just takes so long!  I think it will be worth it though.  This is Popeye, a large male bear at Katmai National Park, Alaska.

And in other news, a plush bear that I made a while back has been bought to be possibly used in a Mothercare photo shoot - more on that if and when I find out!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Popeye...

Currently on the drawing board - I had forgotten how labour intensive using just pencil is....

Bee Nice...

This felt brooch has been waiting for it's knitted bee for weeks and weeks - it had to get pushed to the back burner due to other more pressing work.  It's done now and will be winging it's way to Boston!

Monday, 23 July 2018

Grazer & Her Cubs...

Watercolour on paper.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

I Will Not Lie...

 ...this caused me an awful lot of problems!  Someone got in touch saying they had bought what they thought was a crochet toy off Amazon but in fact was a kit with the instructions in Japanese, could I help?
 "Yeah, sure!" I said, thinking it would be like all the other amigurumi creatures I have made from Japanese patterns.  Famous last words...
 There were a lot of colours and two different instructions for two different versions and I had not a clue where to start.  Luckily, my son taught himself some rudimentary Japanese a few years back and was able to help.
But the pattern was still not as clear as others I have worked from, so I had to wing it a bit in places.  Hopefully the small boy this was made for will not notice...

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Jammin...

Might have gone a little over the top with the raspberry picking on Sunday...  Nine jars of jam made yesterday and another large punnet of raspberries still in the fridge....

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Fergie

Derwent Drawing Pencils and Coloursoft pencils on pastel paper.  Private commission.
Sweet little dog, fun to draw!  Next up - more bears!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Paintings & Picking...

 A lady that bought one of my paintings and two prints sent me a photo of them framed and on her wall - I love it when people do that!  Don't they look great?
I have one white currant bush in a pot in the garden - yesterday I picked 3lbs of currants off it!  This must be a record yield - time to make currant jelly!

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Rascal

'Rascal', watercolour on paper, private commission.

Monday, 25 June 2018

"Helping..."

Put this down for a photo and Daisy thought I'd made it just for her...

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Work In Progress - Rascal

Nearly finished this one - a bear nick-named Rascal, seen in Katmai, Alaska. Watercolour on paper, private commission.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Progress...

 Still cutting and pinning....notice I am also watching bears on the tablet whilst I work!
Yesterday's little haul from the garden - sweetpeas filling the house with their scent, broad beans were delicious!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

It's Chaos I Tell You!

The state of my kitchen floor yesterday.  I need to get rid of some of the mess...

Monday, 18 June 2018

I'm Working Really Hard....

...and the kitchen looks like a bomb's hit it.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Sew Busy....

 Part of what I'm making at the moment - this took half a day.....
When I have a few spare minutes, I am working on a commission.  Another Alaskan bear, watercolour on paper.  I'm painting the background first and saving the bear for last, a trick I usually do wwhen the background is boring but I'm actually really enjoying painting these vivid green leaves.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Monday, 4 June 2018

Beagle...

I completed this yesterday - Derwent Drawing Pencils & Coloursoft pencils on pastel paper.  Yet another commission - this year has been my busiest so far since quitting the day job and going solo.  I have four more commissions waiting in the wings, two of dogs and two of bears so at least I can ring the changes and not get bored!

In other news, somehow I have to make a bus out of bits and pieces and fabric.  Could be a bit of a challenge...

Garden Drama...

We have had a family of bluetits nesting in one of our boxes in the garden this spring.  The baby birds finally fledged last week but on the day we had heavy rain and a thunderstorm in the afternoon. I could hear them cheeping at various points in the garden and had to keep the dog inside or on a lead to make sure she did not inadvertantly kill any of them.  By the evening the baby birds were waterlogged and still fluttering about in the flower beds.  We managed to get a few photos quickly without stressing them out too much.

Happily, the following day they were still alive (despite neighbourhood cats and marauding magpies) and were drying out.  By lunchtime they had gone - another little success story!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Some Fiddly Work...


Boy, this was time consuming!
I am super busy at the moment, the rest of June looks like I will be working all day every day - lots of painting commissions plus some other work that is a bit of a secret for now.  In the meantime, the garden is starting to produce some lovely things...

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Day I Fed A Wolf...

 My birthday is in December, a rubbish time to have a birthday as it can get swallowed up by Christmas.  Plus people have to think about getting you two presents, which can prove difficult.  But last birthday Mr.B managed to give me one of the best presents ever - a day behind the scenes at the UK Wolf Conservancy.  The only trouble was, I had to wait until May!  But it was so worth it! 
 We got a tour of the place, all round the perimeter of the enclosures whilst having a very interesting talk by one of the volunteers.  The Arctic wolves were shedding - I got given a clump of this wolf's hair which is now a prized possession.
We got to have a go at telemetry, finding a radio collar in a large field.  We made enrichment 'toys' from scented straw & hessian sacks and gave them to the wolves.  We got to take photos through special holes in the wire that the general public do not have access to.  And we got to hand feed the wolves!  I volunteered to feed Nuka, the wolf I spent many hours painting a portrait of earlier this year.
It was a very special moment for me.

Sadly, this was probably the last time we will be visiting the wolves.  Since the escape of Torak, one of the older wolves, in the winter, the place has become too popular for it's own good and cannot handle the amount of visitors that turn up.  That, combined with the fact that the wolves are now getting quite old, they have decided to shut the doors to the public and give the wolves a peaceful retirement.  They will still continue their very worthy work towards conservation of wolves in the wild.

I'm just so happy we managed to get to see them close up and personal while we could.