Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year.

Just a few words to say that I'm back on line now, YAAAY! and to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.

I have a few resolutions and a few changes that I'll be taking to the New Year with me, but mostly I'm glad for the things that I've held on to, my wonderful family, dear friends and lovely animals. Thank you blog friends, for visiting, reading and sharing this amazing blog community and I look forward to 2011 and all the amazing things we'll share with each other.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Virus.

Just a few words to let you all know that my network is infected with a virus and I can't be online for a week or so. Sorry that I've not been able to visit and wish you a Merry Christmas on your blogs, but I am thinking of you all.

I'm at the library typing this, thanking the wonders of this public service :D

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas and Art Swap.

MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone :D

It's been so crazy hectic here lately that this is the first chance I've had to sit and compose a full post!

The Christmas card print was finished last week and I managed to send a few out to people, but the printer decided it didn't like the new card and the print quality was pretty poor. I'm waiting instead for a batch to be printed 'properly' by the print company I sometimes use. Their quality is good, but the prices are a little high, so that's a job for the new year, checking print companies.

The quality of the large prints is perfect, so I've popped a couple in the Etsy shop here.



My little fairy doll that I made last year survived her 12months in the loft and sits happily atop the tree, safe from sharp puppy teeth! He has actually been very good and the tree has only toppled once and there were actually two suspects for that occassion!


My handmade gingham hearts look so sweet beside the glass baubles and the little wooden fairies have been with me for over 20years and I love how they've lasted. They cost me £10.00 back then and I worried about the expense, but they've been more than worth the cost. When I first started work, I was earning £50.00 a week!


I didn't decorate very much other than the tree this year, although I dearly wanted my home to look like Kirsty Allsops. It just wasn't practical though, with the puppy growing tall enough to reach most decorations and being crazy enough to jump for those he couldn't reach!

I did get to make some gifts though and my cherry shortbread was very popular but my cranberry and wine preserve is yet to be sampled.
The perfect rag doll for a dear little girl, became something of a quest as I just couldn't find one that 'felt' right. Eventually I decided to make one for her.


I'm quite pleased with how she turned out, as this is only my third fabric doll. I'm learning quickly though and any mistakes were completely new ones :D Moomin fell in love with her and was quite sad when I wrapped her up.


On now to another doll. A couple of months ago I entered an Art Swap over at Spiffy Tomatoes blog. I had to send one of my pieces of art to Spiffy and Roxanne of Mentalmulch sent a piece to me. I wasn't prepared for the wonderful gift of this darling little doll, Veronica.


She's so pretty and fits in perfectly on my doll shelf, although Little Audrey (sat behind her) isn't too chuffed at having to share her shelf!!!


Thank you so much Roxanne, she's beautiful and I'm so thrilled.

I hope everyone in Blogland has had a wonderful Christmas and that the New Year brings prosperity and an abundance of love and goodwill.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Living with the Trolls.

That's how it's felt here at Oakmoon Towers. I've barely had time to pick up a cloth or do any hoovering as I've been hunched over my paintings like some grumpy old troll. The migraine hasn't sweetened my mood at all, but yesterday saw a breakthrough and it all began to feel better.

The painting is finished now (I think) and I took time out to have a jolly good clear out. I also discovered that a warm hairdryer administered by my hairdresser eased my migraine wonderfully. Sadly it also means that now my hair is way too short and I'm regretting it's loss!

On a positive note, after two days of being extremely unwell with a raging temperature and a mysterious illness, the pup is now on the mend and is back to being very naughty. Thank the stars for that as naughty is far better than worrisome!!!

I also have a wonderful surprise to share, something that came in the post. I'll take pictures later and share my little delight :D

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Struggle!

The last few days have been an incredible struggle. These two gorgeous mare have given me such a headache, literally and now my blurry vision is announcing the return of a migraine that's plagued me for days!!!

The picture looks fine here, but up close, it's not something I'm happy with. This is portrait attempt no.2 and I've a feeling there may be a no.3 on it's way! I'm not sure why it's given me such troubles, but it could be because these lovely girls have such complex colours in their coats.



I'll let my head clear and look at this again in the morning. At least I get to cuddle on the sofa with the pup now :D

Monday, 13 December 2010

Living in Narnia.

The last few weeks has seen some incredible weather, beginning with a little snow and ending with us totally snowed in! We woke up one morning to this - a gorgeous scene from Narnia complete with our neighbours lamp post.



This view over our back gardens is so serene in it's stark monotones.


I had to somehow get to feed the ponies, so walked the six mile round trip. It was an exciting adventure, but the return trip was exhausting. Very beautiful though.


As the snow melted gradually, life began to return to 'normal', but we were left with freezing fog and trees frozen to their very tips.



Despite struggling with everyday chores that took twice as long, I managed to finish the first of my commissioned paintings. Only 2 more to go before Christmas!!!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

In between painting....

This has to be my most favourite puddings, upside down cake. This one was made with plums, it's a very simple recipe which I can post up if anyone would like it.
It's great to pop into a hot oven after cooking a Sunday roast and rounds off a dinner perfectly, especially on dark Winter days.


Serve with lots of cream :D


Painting of a different sort has been happening at Oakmoon Towers! I finally decided to give my bedroom a bit of a facelift. As it's half in the roof, a bit of a Gothic theme suggested itself so I dug out lots of pictures of the Gryffindor common room for inspiration.


It's slow going and the worst bit was the ceiling! I chose a dark cream for the walls, which looked very apricoty to start with but is quite warm and cosy now after getting used it! I have two more walls to finish and then the finishing touches.



I've looked everywhere for the perfect curtains, but have accepted that I'll have to make them myself, as I'm not shelling out over £100.00 for a set. The problem is that I want heavy tapestry drapes which are not easy to come by. I'll keep you posted on that score!

Right, back to the easel today as I've a lot to get done in a short space of time. Walk the puppy first though :D

Monday, 22 November 2010

Shoes for a Dragon rider!

Wow! The puppy is growing so quickly and we can see a difference weekly. He's been walking now for a week and today we met a whole heap of new dogs. It was just too exciting for him and he was sorely in need of a cuddle and a sleep.


I managed to get more painting done whilst pup slept and it was such a productive day. I love the way this picture is painting itself!!!


Also, a truly wonderful surprise arrived in the post! A very long time ago, I set my heart on a pair of magical shoes. I saved and went without a few things, the pennies added up! I placed a suggestion a few weeks ago on the Fairysteps site. So quickly my suggestion became a reality and my shoes took form. They arrived a scant few days after I paid and they felt like gossamer wings on my feet. Hermes could not have worn a better pair :D

Thank you Ren from the bottom of my sole :D These shoes are just too special. I feel like creating beautiful art when they are on my feet and I want to fly around the room too, haha! They are truly shoes for a Dragonrider :D

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Fled!

Standing under the early morning sky, stars all around me like frost chips and the grass crisp under my sheepskin slippers I looked around for my inspiration, but she had fled. The puppy snuffles the cold grass and rummages in the hedge while I wait in the precious silence. I don't hurry him as I love the stillness, the waiting as the cold seeps through my jumper and into my nightie, the moment before the World awakes. Usually the magic stirs my muse and I hurry to my paints, but not today, not this week.
This week I'll take a few days out, do some housework and walk the puppy. I've deadlines galloping towards me, but the work will go all the faster for a break. That's what I'm hoping anyway!!!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Autumn fire.

In between working on commissions, I've started on a painting for myself inspired by the gorgeous flaming Autumn leaves. The animal has had several incarnations, starting out as a hare, becoming a deer, coyote and wolf before finally settling as a Dragon. Maybe I should call it Morph!!!



Finally the website is almost back to how it was. It's not perfect, but considering the hours I've spent dredging up photos and adding copyright to them all, I'm half way pleased!

Friday, 5 November 2010

New Banner.

Well, actually it's an old one. I enjoyed painting it and thought it would freshen the place up a bit. I'm going to paint another one soon though as I've had fun giving the blog a facelift.

I've also been fiddling with the Website and hope to have the shop operational by the end of the week. I'd like to give the website a total overhaul, but it took soooo long to get it looking half way decent that for now I'll leave it.

Today will be full, as my last commission is just about finished, I have two new commissions to start, plus a whole lot of work for myself to focus on. Busy days ahead :D

Edited to add: If you visit the Website today, you'll notice that all of the pictures have vanished. That's because I cleaned up my files and lost the images, doh!!!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Wise words indeed.

If you have the time, please drop in to visit Rima at The Hermitage. She has had an issue with one of her commissioned paintings and explains more eloquently than I could, the dilemas of working directly for customers. It's a very interesting post and one that will stay with me all day as I potter about my studio, finishing off and then preparing my next pieces.

Several times I've had similar experiences to hers, and each time I've handled them differently. The clearest point Rima makes is that neither the Artist nor the Commissioner can know exactly how a painting or sculpture will turn out as we are at the whim of so many external forces. From physical properties that change paint and clay, to the mood of the Artist on the day of creation and lets not forget our tricksy muses who love to sprinkle their influence like fairy dust.

So when you commission a piece of work, it's good to remember that you are buying so much more than paint on paper or clay. You are buying time, effort and often a piece of the Artist themselves.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Nearly there.

I'm nearly finished now with this latest portrait and despite the strange paper, it's worked out ok. The other horses and cat need to be finished off and the main horse needs his fine details filled in.
It's been a good days work and I've had the puppy on my lap keeping me warm and cosy in the Studio :D

Monday, 1 November 2010

Introducing.......

Manchee, our new puppy. He's a Pocket Lurcher, which is a very small version of the standard Lurcher and will probably only reach about 20inches in height. He's a Bedlington x Whippet, is as cute as a button and goes like a rocket.



Despite the distractions of house training and playing 'fetch', work on the paintings continue and I hope to have some progress pictures soon and maybe a few things for the shop, yaaay :D

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Storm.

We had a terrific storm in the night, all rain and gales. I woke at 3am to hear things crashing around the garden and my mind began panicking but couldn't work out why. As I struggled to reach wakefulness I remembered the new painting in the Studio and how vulnerable it was left on the easel below a very leaky roof!

Sleep finally reclaimed me as the wind continued to bash at the house but my dreams were jumbled and uncomfortable.

With glorious sun pouring through the window, the last thing I did as I got up was check the Studio. I guess dread made me wait until my tea cup was full! The strip of spare roofing was miraculously still in place and everything looked ok. Now I'm waiting to finish my tea to go and check the inside. Fingers crossed!!!

Updated to add: Thank you friends for your comments :D The painting was fine and had even dried a little better than I'd hoped. The sun was glorious for most of the day and then more rain and thunder attacked the poor Studio. It still stands and resists. I love that Studio sooo much :D

Friday, 22 October 2010

Wrestling!



Today has been a struggle as I must finish a commissioned painting and it's not going at all well. The sketch was perfect, but the paint just doesn't want to lay properly. I'm using a new paper and I don't like it at all. Sadly I may have to scrap this one and go back to my beloved Bockingford paper. The paint just flows effortlessly with the Bockingford, but the new pad shows all the brush strokes and the paint just sits on the surface, doing it's own thing, grrr!

I won't waste the new paper, as it could be used to create some interesting effects and sometimes I like to throw paint down and then see what comes of it. But for a fairly tight portrait, I just can't take the risks! I'll do a little more to this one and see if I can't nail it down, so fingers crossed!!!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

On the way to work.

After dropping the children at school, I took a little detour before heading home to the Studio.

Along frost spangled paths


through trees silent and sleeping.


Willow leaves floated down to meet the still, dark lake,


and sun warmed water rises to meet the sky.


A nearby neighbour greets me with a curious stare.


And a doll, half finished takes her ease by the fireplace.


Willow, the goldfish who thinks she's a dolphin, passes judgement (rather rudely, I think!).

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Wonderful news :D

This is just the best news since Merlin was granted his Stallion licence!

Tonight I had a call from Nonie's owner. Nonie was the beautiful Eriskay mare that stayed with us for the Summer. It would seem that Merlin is going to be a Daddy :D
Nonie's foal is due in July which means that she fell pregnant almost immediately after arriving! So despite only being a little chap, Merlin has what it takes to support the Society's breeding program, yaay!



Well done little fella :D

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Heads!!!

My flashy new little glass headed pins look so lovely in my tiny home made pin cushion. This picture is a little dark, but I enjoy these little gems a bit too much, haha!


I've been making fabric heads and think that I've finally got the hang of it now!


They look a little odd, gathered in one place, like a macabre collection of trophies!!!
But what can I say? I bought a book to help me with my ceramic dolls and then fell in love with the fabric ones!

Oooh, books can be dangerous to the weak willed!!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Trapped!

I found myself trapped among treasures and delights all colours of the rainbow.
Button jewels


and bolts of bright fabrics. Embroidery threads


and reels of delicious cottons.


I escaped only after handing over my coins of gold and clutching my treasures I returned home to make magic! (I hope!!!)

Friday, 8 October 2010

Drempang!

Wow! What a great word Drempang is. It was the word verification on a blog I posted on today and has filled my head with ideas for a Halloween piece. A doll, a painting or maybe a spooky place. Stay tuned, I have to complete this today, so I'm heading to the Studio to see what lurks there :D

Edited to add:

Well, this is the little guy I found out there, but he seems way too cute to be Drempang! What do you think???


His creation began over a year ago, and he's been naked and unformed since then. Until today. He is loosely based on the Moomin's Hamster and so is a Vampster, although at some point he's lost a fang!!! His eyes are the result of leaving a set too long in the oven, creating a burnt and bloodshot efect. He's also waiting for his feet!!!


As I've got to create some feet, I may well create some more heads and limbs and see what happens. This is very exciting and if he proves popular, then Vampster and his family may well end up in the Etsy shop :D

Please let me know what you think of my creations, all comments are very welcome :D

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Rainy days and lists.

The constant and very heavy rain of the last few days have driven me inside to work. My poor studio is such a leaky vessel that I'm thinking of renaming it the Leaky Cauldron! Or, and readers of Terry Pratchett would appreciate this, the 'Broken Drum'!!! Either way, the poor structure may limp it's way through another season or two but few more! As it is at the moment, my shelves are giving one wall stability and stopping the rain from reaching me from that side.

I must point out that it wasn't an expensive structure, but was bought wholly with the proceeds of a pretty good Exhibition one year and so means a lot to me. The roof will be repaired in the next few days, so at least I'll not feel like I'm sitting under a sieve, haha!

I have lots of lists to write, plans and timetables, commissions and their priorities. First though, I have some fun little Halloween pictures to work on and get in the Etsy shop. I've had some inspiring ideas in the dark quiet moments of the wakeful nights and I need to put them to good use.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Catching up.

I have such a lot of artwork to catch up on and as the wind is hurling heavy water at the windows, it feels like a day to snuggle up in the lounge with my sketchpad and pastels.

This is just a fun drawing I made from the trailer for a new Ramone Bosco movie. It's just my kind of weird and wonderful.


It's not a faithful copy, just my version. I love the idea of these odd little characters on a bridge. I can feel more ideas stirring just from this one image and as Halloween is well on it's way,I'd like to get some prints and felted creatures in the Etsy shop soon.


For a complete change last night, we switched off all electrical appliances and had a technology free evening. It was a great experience and interesting to see how each of us dealt with it. With more planning and forethought, we may do it again. It was inspired by Rhonda Jean of Down to Earth. Please pay her a visit, her blog is amazing.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Returning.



Finally my health is improving and I feel the return of good health, therefore, I will also be returning to the Studio today. I have missed it soooo much and have been quite crabby :D

Also, the beautiful Nonie will be returning to her home and family. Merlin will miss her very much I'm sure but we are desperate now to have our darling Toffee back with us. Hopefully their union has been successful and next year will see a mini-Merlin entering the World.

But for now I need to wash chicken poo out of my hair before work begins - don't ask me, it's too embarrassing!!!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Poorly bunny.

That's what I've been this week. Not a lot of art has been happening here and that's just typical - I make a pledge to do something daily and then life steps in and says 'maybe not!'

I've been very kind to myself and have been resting. A burst of energy earlier was only short lived and now I'm back in bed. It's only a cold, but a real hummdinger that's knocked me right off my feet.

On a lighter note, Merlin has some good news. I'll be posting about it tomorrow on his blog, which is here .

Have a good weekend all and I hope to be feeling creative again real soon :D

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Zebrasus.



My little Zebrasus. I'm so in love with this little guy :D

He's in the Etsy shop here.....

A sketch a day.



I've set myself a task of completing a sketch a day. I hope some of them will be good enough to go onto cards or prints as they are, as I do love sketching. It can produce some pleasing effects. The picture above is the start of my latest portrait. Three other subjects need to be included and that's causing a few layout issues, but I'll get there in the end :D

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Woods.

Last week I finally managed to escape to my own special woods. What makes this wood so special is that half way through there's a beautiful view across the fields to my home and it means that we can walk or cycle there in almost no time at all. The woods here are young, although there are a couple of tree specimens that date back to Saxon times, I've been told, so this area has always been covered in woodland, just not a great deal of it remains.



From gnarly fallen trees,



to vine covered fairy homes we explored, the Moomin and I.



Then back home to paint up some wooden slices from our hawthorn hedge at the field. I feel the stirrings of fairies, but also want to indulge in some Autumn pictures. What will actually go onto these little slices is anyone's guess. I want to make them special though, as I only have a very few of these pieces.



More trees, only this time, these are back from the printer. I'm so pleased with how they turned out. The colours are gorgeous, although the pictures don't do them justice. I don't mind that though, as I'm a tad bothered by copyright again these days!



I'm also very pleased with my two fantasy horse cards. I'm going to be putting a few of these in the Etsy shop, but soon I'll be dipping my toes with the shop on my website, so that should be interesting!