Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Neighbours and another picture.

This morning our field neighbours cows were making a terrific noise, so I took the dog and of course the camera, and went to investigate.

I've not seen these cows before so I think they've been brought down from another field, but I was pleased with how friendly they were and managed quite a few lovely photos that I can use for drawings or paintings.
Although this fella is black there are so many blues in his fur that it will be fun (I hope) painting the light variations and the texture of his fur.

These two were so sweet, but a little more timid. I never did find out what the noise was about, but I'm guessing that the young heiffer was distressed over something. She didn't appear to have milk, so nothing to do with calf separation, but she continued to shout at the farmhouse all morning!!!

Last week I took my little camera and headed off to the Butser Ancient Farm. Do check out their website as they have all sorts of wonderful enactments and special open days. They keep small flocks of rare breed sheep, including Soay, which sadly wouldn't come very close so the pictures are blurry! These little Manx sheep had no qualms at all and followed me about as I took snaps. The texture of the adult wool is so long and luscious.

This is the Daddy of the above babies and he's a Manx Loaghtan, a bit scarey to look at, but actually very sweet natured.

I love this picture of him and can't wait to get drawing.

I'm pretty sure this little guy is a Shetland ram, but he looks very like the mouflon ram on the Ancient Farm website, so I need to check that out to be sure. He posed very nicely for several pictures and again seemed very sweet natured. Of course, if I had a bucket of feed he may be a little less polite :D

My initial sketch of the Shetland Ram looked really quite scarey!!!

But after blocking in lots of colours and going over it all several times I'm at a point that I'm happy to share. I'd like to refine his features a bit more as I've not really captured his calm expression. I may also crop the finished portrait as his body distracts the gaze from his head, what do you think?

I know it seems like I'm painting and drawing like a possessed person, which isn't far from the truth in all actuality! But you see, it's only 6 weeks until my first major fair and I'm so worried that I don't have enough 'stuff' to sell. I have to put together a display stand and a gazeebo as well, plus selecting the pictures to take to the printer to be made into greetings cards. Ah well, back to the easel now and time for another sketch, first a quick cuppa :D

Monday, 28 March 2011


Today I dug out the pastels and 'painted' a picture that's been dear to me for many years. This is a favourite of mine, of the Moomin and my darling and much missed horse Oliver (Moomin is about 5years old). I first started creating pictures in pastels when I was very young and moved from coloured pencils into a more 'grown up' medium. I hadn't realised how much I'd missed it until last year's Beltain pictures. As with all of these latest pictures, my initial sketches are very loose with minimal detail.

As with the acrylics, I block in large areas of colour and work details in as I go.

I hope I've captured the feeling between these two, of innocence and trust. Oliver was a fiery horse and would give any adult more than a hard time if they were less than capable, but with both of my children was a guardian Angel.

I'd just like to add, that I started to rough out a picture in my old style and it just didn't sit right with me. Some reworking and I'm happy to proceed with the painting tomorrow.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Merlin in stages.

A rough sketch on the prepared canvas to get the layout right.

Then blocking in some colours.

Filling in more details and working on the shape of his back.

Almost finished, just the background colours to work on and refine his features.

This is one of my favourite poses of Merlins and I feel it sums his personality up so well as he's always ready to take off after whatever catches his eye :D

I'm enjoying playing with light in these paintings and have several ideas forming for the next ones. Meanwhile I have quite a few photos to go through after a successful trip to the Butser Ancient Farm, but more on that later.

Have a good day all :D

Friday, 25 March 2011

Another painting.

My latest painting is coming along nicely, but didn't flow as well as the first two. I'm wondering if it's because it's of Merlin and I'm trying to capture his likeness rather than just a feeling as in the first two. Even so, I'm happy with progress so far and would love to sit and finish it today, but I've booked a day off to spend time with my Mother. A break will probably do me good but these paintings have felt like being in love, all else has been pushed aside as they draw my focus, asking me to return again and again, just one more brush stroke :D

I hope you all have a lovely day and sun shines on you.x

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


I'm watching this movie in a week that's been filled with birds and my head is now racing to the picture beyond the one that I've begun. Crikey, someone stop me, haha!

Seriously though, if you haven't already seen this movie, check it out. It's a little dated, but sooo lovely :D

Scruffy canvas.

This is how the scruffy canvas turned out, and this is the rough sketch for todays painting. I'm really enjoying this method, even if I do seem to be almost making it up as I go along!

At halfway stage, I've blocked in the heavy colours.

Just about finished with the details. This took me all day as I just couldn't leave it alone and had tremendous fun again :D

Just a little more fiddling and then the varnish before it can be hung :D

Meanwhile, a nearly black canvas is beckoning and I'm wondering if I can start a new picture tonight!!!


I've been prepping canvases while coping with a head full of ideas. Painting random mixtures is very soothing.

This messy canvas looked a right state by the time I'd finished, but I need a dramatic background, so it should work (fingers crossed!). Luckily I have a stash of canvases left over from my evening class days, some I even made myself as we were encouraged to try this out. It was pretty successful on my part, but easier to just buy a few!

While out dog walking, Moomin was persuaded to pose dramatically for some new paintings in my head. These will most likely be watercolour again, as now I'm getting to grips with acrylic I find I'm missing the sloppy washes!!!!

The sun is shining and the Studio beckons, have a great day all :D

Monday, 21 March 2011

Playing with acrylics.

I got back from feeding the ponies last night, and what should I find but the Moomin doing a fairly good impression of me :D She had taken over the kitchen, borrowed my table easel and was even playing my Prodigy album at full blast!!! I knew that she'd bought some supplies while out shopping with her Dad, but I was caught totally by surprise at her single minded determination to produce her own picture, with absolutely no input from me!

It's nearly finished already and I just love my girl's style :D I'm very proud. So much in fact that I dug out my own acrylic paints and an old canvas that had been painted blue, just because I wanted to paint something but didn't know what, so I just painted lots of blue swirls.

An idea formed and with as little preparation as my daughter, I sketched a chalk owl roughly onto the canvas and copied a picture from a reference book. I just threw a load of colours onto the canvas and had a play.

Painting the white feathers over the darker colours was just enormous fun and the owl was finished in less than 3hours. Crikey! Have I been making a mistake fighting with watercolours for all these years? Maybe not, as I love watercolours and lovely wet washes. The trouble is that I then try to get tighter and start to fiddle, which just makes the colours muddy. Whereas here I could fiddle as much as I wanted and it just looked better and better.

I'm off now to get some more canvases, for Moomin, myself and now the son wants to have a go, haha!

I'll be making some prints of this soon for the Etsy shop. Can you tell I'm doing a happy dance :D

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Studio this week.

The temporary studio is beginning to take shape and who knows, maybe I'll even stay a while if it works out.

Believe it or not, this book case is looking pretty tidy and organised!

This new bookcase was a cheapie from Ikea and I love it. It's perfect for my doll making supplies, baskets of fabrics, organza and jars of pretty beads.

My beautiful print of The Phoenix by Linda Ravenscroft. I bought it at the Faery Fair after Linda told me the story behind it. Every day I look at it and remember the words she spoke and I feel stronger, more determined to do well. Thank you Linda :D

Now, can you guess what this is? It's not a headless teddy bear.....

Any ideas now it's beside it's partner?????

Finally I've finished the Woodelf and I have to admit that I'm very pleased with her. She has a moon charm in her braided hair, a sun charm holding her shrug together and beads and crystals on her boots.

She's my first fabric doll and I've learned such a lot from her and especially how to improve the next one.

The next one is currently under way and I'll post some pictures very soon.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Faery pictures.

Our journey was looong but not too tiring as my navigator was extremely thorough and wildly entertaining. Village names were read out in the voices of Lord of the Rings characters, but not maybe as you would recognise them and I was in very real danger of driving off the road as I laughed helplessly!

Our travel worn spirits were instantly calmed and soothed by the Chalice Well, our Mecca and the first place that we always visit in Glastonbury.

The pool is so soothing and I wish we'd had more time to just sit and contemplate. The water is orange because of the high iron content, and higher up, you can drink it at it's source. It's meant to have healing properties, whether drunk or bathed in.

My Fae companion.

We both took a paddle in the pool, but believe me, it is so absolutely freezing that I salute those people who are able to fully submerge in it! The cold is so intense that it shoots up your heels and into the back of your head, well, that's how it feels for me and the Moomin agrees with my description :D

We ate our lunch in a quiet spot and admired the view over the trees to the Tor.

This is such a beautiful place and the view from the top is incredible, but we simply didn't have the time to go there today.

I did however stop for a quick picture. I'm not keen on having my photo taken, but I urge you to check out my footwear.

I'm wearing the wonderful Faery boots from Ren over at Fairysteps. They were so lovely and drew more than a few admiring glances :D

The Fair itself was a delicious melting pot of artists and their work.
One of our favourites was this wonderful man who creates mind boggling sculptures from pieces of found wood and bones. He had such a large array of creatures and curious that I couldn't photograph them all, and it seemed rude to ask. He did however let me snap this little beast, who was kept in a mysterious and dangerous box which is almost an unbearable curiosity. We had to be careful and quiet as this little Ratnarok likes to steal the souls of the unwary.

This beautiful piece is Volehalla, the place where the voles souls go to at the end of their lives. The central piece contains a multitude of tiny vole bones and was so delicate and slightly macabre!

Now sadly, I didn't take any photos at the actual Fair, because I was so star struck after meeting the beautiful and wonderfully kind Linda Ravenscroft. She spent a long time talking to me and I'm afraid I walked around in a bit of a daze afterwards. Moomin managed to spend ALL of her money and was more than happy with her purchases, including a couple of gifts for her brother, who really didn't want to come and spend the day with a load of Faeries. Funny that!!! So in all, an amazing day and an invitation to do it all again at the Three Wishes Faery Fest in June, when I promise to take a lot more pictures, especially ones including some actual Faeries :D

Avalon Faery Fair.

We are off today to the Faery Fair at Avalon in Glastonbury. I'm so excited to be meeting all the wonderful people I've become acquainted with on line. The internet is an amazing phenomena when you think about how we've all become linked from all parts of the globe.

I'll take lots of pictures and hopefully I'll meet Linda Ravenscroft, one of my art heroes.

So have a magical day all, I know we will :D

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Feeding the Muse.

Finally the rain has stopped and we can enjoy warmth of the sun for a while :D
It seems that Spring waits quietly for days such as these and then buds and flowers pop up in great haste. Along the hedgerows the tiny hawthorn buds are swelling and soon we'll surrounded by new life.
Now that he's older and fitter I can take Manchee on one of my favourite walks, through the village and to my special woods.

The twisty, turny branches held me fascinated while the dog ran off and explored.

Deep, dark badger sets needed to be looked into, by us both :D

The dog took more time than I did, sniffing and sticking his head deep into places I was too wary of. Maybe he could tell the badgers were deep in their dark underground nest and so not likely to bite a nose off!

I have to paint these wonderful branches. Their patterns were such a delight.

And I loved these staggering trees on the skyline, they may also have to be included somewhere.

It must have been the warm sun on my face, because I found myself just staring at this lovely tree for the longest time, until the impatience of my companion forced me to move on.

I finally finished the portrat of Manchee and am very pleased with how the new background colour has changed the whole feel of it.

I think it will look very good in my temporary studio, which I've been busily organising. Pictures to follow :D

For now, I must get into the garden and make the most of the weather, as I have a new project in construction and I'm keen to get it completed. Have fun all.x