Author Archives: tatty

Queuing for food

I’m not ignoring the dreadful situation people all over the world are experiencing at the moment, I just think it’s important to have a little escapism.  Before we went into isolation a week ago, I took lots of photos in our local park and I thought it would be nice to share them with you.

Please keep safe and well, stay indoors and look out your windows.  Spring is here and there’s so much to see, albeit from the safety of our homes.

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Cat Sitting in Northern Ireland (Day Three)

With news of Storm Ciara moving across Ireland and this being our last full day, we set off back along the Causeway Coastal Route hoping to avoid bad weather.   This time we went in search of 700 year old Layd Old Church in Cushendall.

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We’d read somewhere that Medieval warriors are buried in the cemetery, but we didn’t find their tombs.  However, this headstone was intriguing.   Since we’ve been home I’ve done some research and it turns out Bud ‘CJ’ Platt, Wizard of Zigton is alive and well and living somewhere in America.   He sounds like quite a character!

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One of the headstones is a hole stone which has a legend “The Holestone is an ancient Celtic Stone that provides eternal love and happiness.  Couples undertake an traditional ceremony where the woman reaches her hand through the circular hole and her partner takes it, thus pledging themselves to love each other for ever”.Img_0809

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Game of Thrones was filmed in several locations and we were keen to find The Dark Hedges.   We would have found them earlier if I hadn’t sent us down the wrong road for miles!  The beauty of visiting Ireland during the winter months meant that there was only a small number of other fans/tourists there so we were able to take photos pretty unhindered.

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The avenue of beech trees along Bregagh Road form a beautiful tunnel.  Legend has it that a ghost travels along the hedges flitting from tree to tree!

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Another 13 miles and we were at our last stop of the day.  We’d read that Dunluce Castle was beautiful but nothing prepared us for the view as we rounded the bend high up on the coastal road.  With nowhere to stop at this point, it was impossible to take a photo of the castle from this angle but believe me, the ruins looked incredible against the darkening sky.

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Another film location for Game of Thrones, Dunluce Castle represented House of Greyjoy, the ruler of the Iron Islands in the show, but obviously with digital reconstruction!

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The light was fading fast and the wind was so strong it was hard to stand up so we called it a day and headed back.

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A pretty little rock sculpture island, snapped from the car.

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Back in time for dinner and lots of cuddles with this pretty pusscat.  When we first arrived she wasn’t too sure about sharing the sofa with us, but after three days of treats, combing and a playing with catnip mouse, I think we won her over.  Hope to be back soon <3

Cat sitting in Northern Ireland (Day Two)

After spending time with the pusscat we decided to visit the award-winning St George’s Market in Belfast.  We jumped on a train and enjoyed the ride to Lanyon Place.

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The Market is inside a beautiful Victorian building and has become one of the city’s most popular places to visit.  As soon as we walked through the entrance we could hear live music, smell fresh coffee and see beautiful original artworks and crafts.

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After lunch in the market we set off to find The Big Fish.  No trip is complete unless I’ve seen a mosaic!

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The Big Fish printed mosaic sculpture by John Kindness.

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Cat sitting in Northern Ireland (Day One)

When we were asked by friends if we could look after their cat for a few days in Northern Ireland we jumped at the chance.   Apart from never passing up the opportunity to cuddle a pusscat, we really needed a mini-break.  So last week, with weather warnings of the approaching Storm Ciara ringing in our ears, we boarded a plane to Belfast.

Shortly after arriving we had a brief tour of Belfast streets and saw murals depicting The Troubles and, more importantly, the hope for a brighter future in Peace artwork. celebrating community and tolerance.

Peace muralCultural Icons Van Morrison, George Best and C S Lewis, to name a few. ‘Luminaries & Legends of Eastside’ by artist Dee Craig.  

The following day we set off in our hire car along the Causeway Coastal Route.  Every twist and turn in the road revealed one spectacular view after another.  Day 1 (8) GOT resize

Fans of Game of Thrones will already know that the epic series was largely filmed in Northern Ireland (more about that later).  I loved this signpost sitting in O’Kane’s Layby.

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First visit of the day was to CARRICK-A-REDE rope bridge.   For 350 years, fishermen have strung a rope bridge 30m above the sea to allow them to access the best places to catch the migrating salmon.

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The next stop had been on my ‘bucket list’ forever.

GIANT’S CAUSEWAY

Steeped in myth and legend.  Carved from the coast by the mighty giant, Finn McCool ….. or a geological wonder with over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of intense volvanic and geological activity!

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The walk back up to the Visitor Centre was blowy to say the least.  The Audio Guide told us about The Stookans, (or Windy Gap to locals!) a path between the cliff face and a tall rock.   At one point I was nearly blown off my feet!

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Quick stop to take a photo of this beautiful church tower before heading back for pusscat feeding time and cuddles.

 

Blue Mood Mod (part II)

Back in September last year I posted the story behind my painting Blue Mood Mod.  Once it was finished, varnished and photographed I was able to get in touch with the rider and arrange for the canvas to be collected.  Graham had already told me he had a special birthday coming up and wanted to treat himself to the original artwork.

In November Graham drove 270 miles (round trip) to my home to collect the painting and once here we spent a good few hours chatting about his lifetime’s interest in all things scooter related.   He also told me he had freshly decorated his living room in order to give the painting pride of place and he was over the moon when he saw it.

It was so nice to receive photos of the painting in it’s new home and to know that Graham and all his family love it.

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Sunflowers

When I was a young girl I loved the 1966 British film ‘Born Free’ about Elsa the lioness … and the song ….. well, I’ve only got to hear the opening line and I’m a sobbing mess, it’s so beautiful.    The rescue home that named our Elsa couldn’t have chosen a more apt name;  she had the colouring and big mane of hair that was so reminiscent of a lion.  Whenever I’ve posted photos of Elsa on Instagram I’ve used the hashtag #elsatheliondog for that reason.

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Since losing Elsa, when I’m asked how I am, the response is often ‘not great, to be honest’, to which the reply more often than not is ‘do some art …. paint, or do something creative’. My own words coming right back at me.   When a kind friend, who I met through Elsa, came round with some beautiful flowers the other week she said, “I’ve bought you sunflowers too because they remind me of Elsa”.  A seed was sown.

I’ve painted a series of four sunflower canvases and they are bright, colourful and full of texture.  I’m putting them in my shop for £25.00 each (plus £4.00 p&p) and when they sell 100% of the money will be donated to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in Elsa’s memory.  If you would like to buy a canvas (or even all four!) you would have a piece of original art and the money would help the Battersea rescue centre make life a little more comfy for it’s residents.  Please follow the menu to the left and it will take you to my Shop with secure checkout via Paypal.

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I really enjoyed painting these sunny pictures and it would be so lovely if the money raised brings a little joy to the current ‘residents’ at the home.

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They look great individually or grouped together and will bring some much needed sunshine indoors :)

Elsa

On a sunny April morning in 2005 we met Elsa and our lives were never the same again.  In June we celebrated Elsa’s 15th birthday.   Some might say that’s a grand age for a dog, but it wasn’t enough.  On 16th September we said goodbye.  She brought so much joy and fun to our lives that it’s hard to imagine ever feeling complete again.

Over the last three weeks I’ve been going through hundreds of photos and she is pretty much in all of them, so many happy memories.

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Nick & Elsa

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Sweet dreams my puppydog, until we meet again xx

Blue Mood Mod

Two years ago over the August Bank Holiday we were in Brighton and walking along the seafront.   We’d already been shopping on North Laine and had seen a few Mods and their incredible scooters, but they were just a taster for the spectacle on Madeira Drive.

The long weekend sees live music events, a market selling vintage clothes, memorabilia and art and the highlight has to be the ride-out where 100′s of scooters drive 5 miles from Madeira Drive along the coastal road to Smugglers Rest, Peacehaven.

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I was taking photos as we walked along and just happened to turn and see a scooter at the traffic lights.  The rider turned and gave me the thumbs up as I took his photo.

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When we got home and I went through the photos on my camera I knew then that one day it would be really cool to turn this into a painting.    So, a short while ago I did just that.

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I toyed with the idea of replacing the ugly background of the photograph with a seascape, or arches, railings, a roundel etc., but kept coming back to my original plan of a posterized effect with black background.  I’m glad I went with the dark background because I think it makes all the colours and small details stand out.   At 24 x 18″ it was quite a large canvas to work on.

The fine details of the rider’s coat badges, fog lights and pipework were major challenges!

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As I was nearing completion I thought it would be a nice idea to try and find the Mod to show him how his ‘thumbs up’ inspired me and I’m so glad I did.  I put a post on a few Facebook groups and eventually he got in touch.   He’s chuffed to bits that I painted him and loves what I’ve done and even wants to treat himself to the original for his birthday in December.

Trees

Who doesn’t love a tree?

When I walk through the woods with Elsa in the winter it’s always slightly warmer among the trees, during the summer it’s always cooler and the leafy canopy above means we get rained on less.  I take photos of birds in the trees, bees, butterflies and insects on the leaves and if I look closely, I usually find a face in the bark.

They remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, provide a habitat for animals, birds and insects, provide shade and shelter, timber for house building and furniture, fuel for heating, fruit and nuts to eat and sticks for dens.  TREES ARE BRILLIANTTreesTrees 2

Inspired by my recent floral painting course I decided to try another class and signed up for ‘Trees in Four Seasons’.  Trees are structurally beautiful and provide unlimited inspiration for painting, even during the winter months.  This is what I produced from the first session:  “WINTER”Tree collageIt’s not always easy to photograph artwork indoors given the poor light and often overcast British weather, so I took the canvases out to the woods and made my own little art installation.Tree art installationThis is my favourite, probably because the canvas is an unusual size and the blue background worked better in my opinion; a proper winter scene.

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(Acrylic on canvas 100 x 30 cm)

As always I have far too many projects on the go.   I need to complete this course;  there are three other seasons after all.  Yesterday I bought a bunch of huge beautiful peonies and I’m itching to go back to the Abstract Florals class and have a go at painting them …. but I couldn’t help myself,  I’m working on something new and very exciting.  More to follow soon :)