Author Archives: tatty

Abstract Floral Paintings

At the beginning of the year I bought an online class to learn the art of abstract floral painting.  Easy, you might say ….  but allowing myself to free up every brush stroke has been a challenge.  Putting down a chaos layer and ‘finding’ the flowers within has been fun but not always successful.  Sometimes I’ve worked it too hard and lost the looseness of the painting.

Practice3

I’ve made a lot of mess splashing paint about, our dining room table is out of use and there are traces of paint on the walls and floors but I’m loving the process.

Out of the dozen or so canvases I’ve painted so far, I’ve kept one for our spare room and two are now hanging on other people’s walls, so that’s not bad.  It’s such a great compliment when someone wants to live with a piece of my art in their home.

Pink roses Blue background resize

Tulips resize

Roses resize

The online class still offers so much more so no doubt there’ll be more to come.  Watch this space :)

Eggcellent!

Back in October last year my son mentioned he didn’t have any egg cups at his flat so the next time I was in the supermarket I bought two, but they were plain white and very boring.  What could I do to brighten them up?   Yep, that’s right, personalise them, of course!

Egg cups 1 resize

Using ceramic paint (I used Pebeo) here’s a brief outline of how I did it :-

Egg Cup Collage resize 1

Egg Cup Collage resize 2

Following the paint manufacturers instructions bake in oven and then enjoy boiled egg and soldiers for breakfast!

Click the link below to watch my YouTube tutorial for more details :)

PERSONALISED EGG CUPS

Egg cups resize

 

Our little mitten noir

I just checked and it’s six months since I’ve been here.

Last November we suddenly became aware that our little mitten had a health problem when she began breathing heavily.  Cats are clever like that, they mask their pain.  Unfortunately she was hiding several critical conditions and although we tried a month of veterinary treatment and medicating her, we couldn’t save her.   The last six months have been so hard because we weren’t ready to say goodbye and she has left a huge gaping hole in our lives.

Samba collageSamba 10.05.2005 – 14.12.2018

Our elderly dog, Elsa now requires around the clock care and we think the loss of Samba had an impact on her health too;  they really didn’t know life without each other.

I’ve lost so many furry friends over the last few years so I know that many of you will understand the great feelings of loss, but we have to remember how lucky we were to have spent our lives with each other and cherish all the memories we made.

Christmas Stick Tree

Earlier this year I collected fallen branches from the woods so I could make a Christmas stick tree again.  My last effort was made from big branches and it was VERY heavy,  so this time I was more selective!  (Yes, I am that woman with leaves and twigs in her hair, seen dragging things back to the van!)  This year I was determined to be more successful!

Stick Tree

I was so lucky to find the little hearts and stars in a charity shop and they were perfect for the tree.  I also bought some new lights (such a great price, from B&Q).

Stick Tree and samba

Stick Tree6

It looks so pretty all lit up at night :) and I’m definitely going to keep this one for next year too.  It’s amazing what you can do with a pile of sticks!

Stick Tree bokeh

Sheer fluke that I took this bokeh image!

 

Elsa, Flora and Arthur

During the summer months our beautiful dog, Elsa developed a condition called Vestibular Disorder.   I didn’t write a post about it before because, in some childish way it made it more real and because it was very frightening. 

“Vestibular disease in geriatric dogs is often mistaken for stroke.  The vertigo caused by the disease can be particularly intense in older dogs with symptoms of nausea, difficulty or complete inability to stand up, head tilt, nystagmus, and circling.   Treatment of the disorder consists primarily of supportive care and resolving any underlying cause. Geriatric dogs with peripheral vestibular disease often need supportive therapy in the form of IV fluids and supplemental nutrition, help with eating, drinking.”

The long, hot summer months were very challenging because Elsa needed round the clock help, she was given water through a syringe, hand fed and carried out to the garden with a harness. We took it in turns sleeping downstairs with her and there were many nights where she couldn’t settle;  so there were many sleepless nights.  During these times I discovered that a lady I follow on Instagram was also awake and up in the wee hours, also caring for an elderly dog.  This wasn’t a family pet like ours, this was a dog that was living out her last days on the side of a busy road.  Flora was malnourished, filthy dirty, had sores and weeping wounds, cataracts and wobbly back legs -  but they took her home.

(At this point I should say that Anja and her husband are living in rural France, in a caravan with three other dogs, while they renovate their home.  Anja also makes beautiful jewellery from broken vintage plates.)   Back at the caravan they removed 40+ ticks, washed and treated the sores and also discovered that Flora was incontinent …. hence the sleepless nights that followed ….. Anja was constantly laying out dry bedding and making Flora as comfortable as possible until they could see a vet and try to get the condition under control.

So, there we both were, ‘chatting’ over phone messages, supporting each other with encouraging comments and both staring at the same bright moon whilst standing in the garden with our wobbly dogs.

    • “We had a dry night!!! Up at 5am”
    • Tonight is a more pleasant temperature for our furry friends”
    • I’ve slept in my own bed for the last two nights”
    • Flora tried to bounce today, all stiff legged and 2″ off the ground!”

Skipping back to May, Anja posted a photo on Instagram of one of her other dogs.  Arthur.  She describes Arthur as a bird watching, tractor spotting, hat loving dog.  When I saw the photo I just knew I wanted to paint it one day.   So I did.

Arthur

Doing what he loves …. bird watching, tractor spotting, wearing a hat.

Arthur2

Arthur looks like he approves of the painting and I hope there’s a corner in his house for it to hang.

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Elsa is doing well;  after a few weeks she began eating and drinking unaided.  We found that a turning point in her mental state came when we took her to the park for the first time after the disorder began.  She is sometimes still wobbly and has a head tilt, but and on the whole she enjoys her walks.  She makes us smile when she skips and jumps like a new born lamb just finding its legs!  .  She appears to have had the most common form of canine vestibular disease – the peripheral form – which in most cases improves with time, supportive care and love.

Flora is no longer with us but during her last months she had a full belly, she was clean, comfortable, had companions and in the end truly knew what love was.   RIP Flora <3

JACK

You may know the Fab Four as John, Paul, George and Ringo.  Well, not where I live, we had Harry, Jack, Blue and Elsa.  They were well known in these parts.  Three Lurchers and a Collie cross.  On any given day we could be seen crossing the meadow, woods and park with the Fab Four or, should I say, the Fast Four. They would run and run and run, in big loops before coming back for treats.  My friends and I had to stop meeting for morning walks because the dogs were all over-exercising and beginning to suffer muscle related problems.  I miss those days.

Jack & Elsa

This is Jack and he is fast and funny and if you stand still chatting for too long he can jump as high as your shoulder from a standing position just to remind you he’s there … and bored … and wants to go home to crawl under the covers.

Jack

Jack bed 3.1

 

 

Mosaic Pot

I really made the most of the warm start to Autumn by spending more time in my workshop during the evenings.  I started this mosaic pot earlier in the year but a busy summer stopped me from finishing it.

Pot wip

Once the teal-coloured tiles were stuck down I chose lilac-purple tiles to compliment and achieve the Moroccan feel I was looking for.

Pot done

Once again I chose black grout to really bring out the colours.

After planting up the pot with Purple Flame cyclamen I’m really happy with the result. This is going to give much needed colour to my patio over the coming months.

Autumn 2018

What a glorious start to Autumn.  The temperature has been perfect, the colours have been amazing and the sunsets have been incredible.

Tree

Tree surgeon

Pigeon

Not a cloud in sight.

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Tree light

Cone

Ivy

All of a sudden it’s turned a bit nippy, the clocks have turned back and the light has changed.  I’m fighting the need to hibernate, the only way to keep me awake is to make more art :)

Luna y Dino

Around 49 years ago eleven year old me was standing on the open platform of the 168 bus waiting to get off at the next stop.   There had obviously been some altercation between me and the dark haired Spanish schoolgirl standing in the aisle – but for the life of me I don’t remember what it was about – although I do remember surprising her (and myself) by sticking my finger in her Home Economics pudding and ending the argument on the spot.  She was livid and I got off the bus.

That was the start of a friendship that has lasted throughout the years, across different countries, with never another crossed word.

Last weekend I made a surprise visit to Inma’s home in Spain with two paintings to celebrate her 60th birthday.

Luna Painting complete

This is Luna, she’s a really sweet Miniature Yorkshire Terrior but don’t be fooled, she rules the roost!

Dino Painting complete

This is Dino, the new addition to the family.  He’s full of bounce and love sticks!

Of course, I asked them all if they wouldn’t mind posing with their paintings for me ….. just for a second!

All dogs_Fotor_Collage

Oh, come on Dino, no sad faces – you only had to put down the squeaky toy for a second!

Do you remember Birra from my April 2016 post Pequeño Perro Negro? (I’ll link it if I can find out how!)  I couldn’t forget a quick photo of him too.

My stay was short and sweet, just for the weekend, but it was lovely to catch up again.  Plenty of good food and drink – but no finger dipping in puddings this time ;)

Click the link below to see to my journey to Spain with the paintings:

PERSONALISED PET PORTRAITS & MY TRAVEL VLOG TO SPAIN

Frida Kahlo

I don’t know when I first became aware of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo and, if I’m honest, I don’t know what I like more, her paintings or her image – because she was also a work of art – but I do know that I was thrilled when I learned an exhibition was coming to the V&A London and I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale.

I remember my son coming home from school and telling me his class were studying Frida’s work and I remember telling my daughter how much I loved Frida’s floral headbands and months later her presenting me with a handmade headband to thank me for all the lifts backwards and forwards along the motorway to Uni.Frida catlo_Fotor_CollageI have two portraits of Frida, a ‘Frida Catlo’ pin (cats and dogs are another obsession), matchboxes and Christmas decorations all bearing Frida’s image.  My DVD “Frida” staring Salma Hayek has been played many times.  I believe I’m a little bit obsessed!  As you can imagine, I was quite excited about the exhibition, but then again, so were many others.

Frida & Me2

We had lunch in a nearby restaurant and then rushed over to the beautiful Victoria & Albert Museum.  I didn’t have the confidence to ‘dress up’ in my Frida headband but I was so happy to see that other ladies did.  One lady in the gardens was wearing a pink outfit with matching pink hair and floral band.

Frida garden

Frida headress frame

Inside the exhibition rooms lots of women wore pompoms, flowers or fancy headbands.  The spirit of Frida was very much alive.  It was in stark contrast to many of the exhibits which dealt with her disabilities;  polio as a child, the bus crash as a teenager and the subsequent operations that followed throughout her life.  French writer, André Breton once described her art as ” .. a ribbon around a bomb”.  I felt like this could also be applied to Frida.  She said of herself “I have enjoyed being contradictory”.

Her costumes and jewellery were exquisite;  seeing her make-up, perfumes and nail polishes was insightful, but I felt seeing her medicines was a little intrusive.  Her medical notes lay in a cabinet for all to see and I couldn’t help wondering if that was something that should have been kept private.  It felt a little like the exhibition was feeding the beast of celebrity and we, the paying public, were eating it all up.

I learned a little more about Frida Kahlo, her relationships and her life.  There are many, many books available telling her story but it really hit home seeing the prosthetic leg, plaster corsets and the body braces she wore.  The pain she felt must sometimes have been unbearable and yet she found the strength to paint, she dressed her hair with ribbons or flowers and her body in beautiful clothes and even matched her nail polish and lipstick.

Frida poster

Photography was not allowed in the exhibition so I visited the shop and bought lots of postcards, a poster and some little Mexican figures and I came home with even more respect for the Mexican artist (if that’s even possible).

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Now I would like to have a moan about the exhibition, or should I say the curating of the exhibition.  At this point I would like to remind anyone reading this that these are my opinions and this is my little space on the internet, so I’m going to voice my thoughts.  Someone else might visit the exhibition and have an entirely different experience or point of view.  Don’t let my opinion stop you from going.

When we arrived at gallery 38, our tickets were scanned and we were allowed through the door – and this is where my disappointment began.   Just beyond the doors was an information panel outlining the exhibition which was being read by at least ten people, the small entryway was almost filled with people arriving, reading at different speeds and causing a bottleneck.   We then entered the first room which had framed images lining the walls with information panels that were printed in what seemed like font size 10.  To read the image details I had to stand about a foot or so away, but that was not always possible because virtually everyone there was of a ‘certain’ age and probably needed a larger font and was also trying to read up-close.  At one point a rather large lady even rested her breast on my arm in order to lean over and get a better view!  Bustling for space continued throughout the room so after a while we skipped ahead and entered the next room.  To add to the small font size problem, the lighting here was so bad it made it almost impossible to read the information.  Even with reading glasses on I still couldn’t focus on the writing.

I understand the need to protect the exhibits from light but I also think there must be alternative solutions.   If the flow of visitors were fed through the entrance at 2 or 3 minute intervals it would allow more time and space to study the exhibits.  The information panels should be printed on a

MUCH LARGER FONT

and perhaps they could also be illuminated.  There also seems to be too many tickets sold for each 15 minute time slot because we were continuously jostling for space and needed to check we weren’t about to step on anybody when we moved along.

The Victoria & Albert Museum is light and bright with ceilings seeming touching the sky but the gallery where the exhibition was held was dark, claustrophobic and hot.  A few years ago I visited the exhibition “Shoes: Pleasure and Pain” and I left with a terrible migraine, probably for the same reasons.

On a positive note, unless you are able to travel to La Casa Azul in Coyoacán, Mexico you may never get the opportunity to see Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up and if you are a fan that would be a terrible shame.