Annie was much loved and left a big hole in her family’s lives.
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:
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.
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.
HE LOOKS LIKE HE’S SMILING !!
Fidget has now joined the gallery wall alongside Paris and Tèa
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.
It looks to me like Cocoa loves his garden. Perhaps he’s out there pondering why black cats get such bad press.
I love the way the light is bouncing off his shiny coat.
Before the painting left to go to its new home my own little black cat gave her approval
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.
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.
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.
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’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