Annie was much loved and left a big hole in her family’s lives.
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.
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.
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.
SUNFLOWER 4 Sunflower 4 close-up
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.
They look great individually or grouped together and will bring some much needed sunshine indoors
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 BRILLIANT
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”It’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.This is my favourite, probably because the canvas is an unusual size and the blue background worked better in my opinion; a proper winter scene.
(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
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.
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.
The online class still offers so much more so no doubt there’ll be more to come. Watch this space
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.
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.
Doing what he loves …. bird watching, tractor spotting, wearing a hat.
Arthur looks like he approves of the painting and I hope there’s a corner in his house for it to hang.
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
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.
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.
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.
This is Luna, she’s a really sweet Miniature Yorkshire Terrior but don’t be fooled, she rules the roost!
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!
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: