Sunday, 15 October 2017

Work Very Hard You Will...

 Crochet Yoda...helping someone out who couldn't get their fingers round these patterns...
Current commission - I'm enjoying this so much that it's all I want to be doing.  Unfortunately, life has a habit of getting in the way!  Watercolour on paper.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Ellie & Isaac

Just completed, double dog portrait in Derwent Drawing Pencils/Coloursoft pencils.  A lot of work went into this - lots of hair & dark colours!  Private commission.

Next up...a bear.  Dream commission!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

A Day Out At The Country Show...



 Yesterday we went to the Autumn Country Show held at the Wealde & Downland Open Air Museum. We'd had the day planned for weeks but were keeping our fingers crossed the weather would be kind - luckily the sun shone for us.  We saw sheepdogs herding ducks...
 Indian runner ducks - they didn't seem perturbed by being chased round the arena, in fact I think they knew the routine very well!
We saw many heavy horses competing in a ploughing competition.
 They were magnificent!
There was a huge threshing machine worked by a traction engine - it did the whole job, threshing, sorting and baling hay.
Very interesting to watch, although a bit dusty!

As well as the above there were many demonstrations of old country crafts, food stalls, plus hawks and gun dogs.  A good time had by all!







Sunday, 1 October 2017

Mr. Tumnus...and some other stuff!

 I've been working on knitting Mr. Tumnus over the whole summer - it hasn't taken that long, I've just had other things with tighter deadlines to do.  It was, however, a very tricky pattern to execute - I really wish when people write their patterns they would not assume that everyone knows what they are talking about!  The knitting instructions were not written in the usual way, but I managed to follow them OK.  The making up instructions were..well, pretty much non-existent!  If I was a complete novice, I would have struggled with this pattern and probably have given up.  When I write a knitting pattern I always try and make it "idiot-proof" - which means that I describe every step of the process clearly and (hopefully) understandably, so that even a complete newbie to knitting should be able to make the item successfully. I wish others would do the same - there's nothing worse than wanting to make something but being thwarted because of unintelligible instructions!
 Busy day yesterday - we went to an open morning at Mr.B's work in aid of Macmillan Nurses.  It was very interesting and lots of fascinating old cars.  Don't ask me to name them, not my thing!
Some of these cars are worth as much as a house...or two.  Crazy!

We also went to Thread, the sewing & fabric show held at The Maltings in Farnham.  We nearly didn't make it - we went just after lunch and could not find a single parking space in the whole of Farnham. Tried again a couple of hours later and managed to squeeze in and spend an hour at the show.  For some reason it was only on for one day this year, and a Saturday, so no wonder it was busy.  Got my fix of fabric though, and came home with a few bits and pieces.  Now to find the time to do something with them...

Monday, 25 September 2017

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.