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.


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

Prints!

 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:
https://society6.com/product/bear-today-gone-tomorrow_print#s6-6842120p4a1v45
https://society6.com/product/bear-today-gone-tomorrow_stretched-canvas#s6-6842120p16a6v28
https://society6.com/product/bear-today-gone-tomorrow_cards#s6-6842120p22a16v71

I have also put this painting up as prints & phone case covers, profits of which just go to me - girl's gotta eat!
https://society6.com/product/blue-jellyfish-10_print#s6-6842087p4a1v45
https://society6.com/product/blue-jellyfish-10_iphone-case#s6-6842087p20a9v430a52v377

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!