Tag Archives: art

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.

Winter Trees resize

(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 :)

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

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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 :-

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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

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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

 

 

Fidget aka ‘The Fudge’

It’s so nice to meet the ‘sitter’ of a portrait before I start to paint.  I always work from a photograph and if I haven’t met the pet it’s sometimes hard to gauge their personality.  When I dropped off the portrait of Tèa in May I was lucky enough to meet her brother Fidget, a Pomeranian/Spitz.  Even with his mohawk haircut, he is just a bundle of fluffy loveliness.

Fidget

It’s easy to see why he has the nickname ‘The Fudge’ because he is so sweet.

When I deliver a commission there’s always ‘that moment’ when the client peels back the brown paper to reveal the portrait – What if it’s not what they wanted?  What if they don’t like it?  What if I haven’t captured ‘the look’?   My fears were allayed when I got home and my phone went ping.  When I opened the notification and saw this I could’ve cried.

Fidget smiling

HE LOOKS LIKE HE’S SMILING !!

Fidget, Tea & Paris

Fidget has now joined the gallery wall alongside Paris and Tèa :)

 

Cocoa the Cat

For my latest commission I was sent an envelope full of great photos of a very handsome black cat and given total freedom to chose which one I wanted to paint.

Cocoa photos

It looks to me like Cocoa loves his garden.  Perhaps he’s out there pondering why black cats get such bad press.

Cocoa on easel

I love the way the light is bouncing off his shiny coat.

Cocoa final

Me, Samba & Cocoa

Before the painting left to go to its new home my own little black cat gave her approval :)

Paris

My next commission was to paint Paris, a 13 year old Staffie.  I’ve never met Paris but I was sent lots of photos and was asked to paint one specific pose and background.  The background requested was a spot-light effect, which I’ve never done before.

So I watched YouTube tutorials and learned about a product called an ‘Extender’ which allows more movement of acrylic paint before it dries.  It also allows you to blend and smooth-out brush strokes.  With this medium the acrylic paint performs just like oil paint and is workable for a longer period of time.

I visited my local art shop to buy the canvas and invested in a bottle of Extender, went home and practised, practised, practised.  At first I thought the spot-light looked like a halo so I practised more and blended more and eventually I was happy with the effect.

Paris

I’m so glad I was asked to paint Paris because I feel it’s pushed me to learn a new paint effect which I know I’ll use again.

After Christmas I received a lovely thank you message from Paris’ Mum together with photos of the canvas framed and hung.

Paris in frame

Tia

Back in the Autumn I was asked to paint a portrait of Tia, a beautiful German Shepherd.   I was given a selection of photos to chose from with a variety of backgrounds.  I’m lucky to have met Tia before and know she loves the outdoors.

After nearing completion of the portrait I started concentrating on the scene behind.

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Initially I painted a floral background but decided it looked too much like wallpaper.  I didn’t feel I could give enough depth to it.  So I painted over the flowers and gave it a blurry background which I was much happier with and thought it looked less distracting.

Tia December 2017

Tia on wall

Tia’s portrait was delivered in plenty of time and I was so glad to hear that her Mum and Dad loved it and hung it immediately.

I could now get on with my Christmas shopping ….. or so I thought!   Skip on over to my next post and meet Paris :)