Sunday, 29 June 2014

Blogs revisited.

I'm not sure it's a good thing, dwelling on the past, but people who blog have an opportunity to view their past in a unique way.  More so than people who keep a journal or no records other than photos.  Bloggers capture words as well as images, snippets of your thoughts at that precise moment of typing and the words may be different to what you put in a journal.  My journal is for my eyes only, so I feel comfortable throwing in the odd swearword or cuss at a situation but I would never write that way here.

My old blog tended towards the 'warts and all' approach, but when I found myself alone in the world and had to begin again, I pulled back from sharing so much.  What was lost along the way, was the poetry of my life.  I'm amazed at how much I've changed and I need to reconnect with that part of my soul, so there may be some flowery descriptive pieces dropping in from time to time as I explore the beauty once more.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Studio - part 1

With all the warm weather we've had lately, I decided it was time to tackle the outside Studio. I needed a long, dry spell as I knew the work would take a very long time! Emptying the contents and then sorting through what I was keeping took an entire day.  So much junk had accumulated!
With the walls laid bare, I could assess the damage, and it was worrying!  The outside floor supports had rotted, so the whole structure had sunk on either side, raising the floor in the center.  A lot of earth had piled against one side and the wood had rotted through.  With the floor raised, the doors wouldn't shut, so more water had come in from outside, along with an army of snails and some pretty enormous spiders!
There was light showing between the boards and the walls and ceiling had twisted.  I reinforced the wood with new planks and in some places put new wood inside and out to strengthen it all.
Next came the membranes, waterproof for the walls and breathable for the ceiling, which should be waterproof from the outside.
It was then lined with silver insulation and clad with pine tongue and groove planks which slot neatly together.  Not the cheapest solution, but it was an easy one for someone of limited ability!  My lovely son did a lot of the sawing and spent an afternoon tackling around 50 planks!
The ceiling was lined with hardboard as I felt that the plyboard would be too heavy for an already weakened structure.  I did put extra supports at the corner, as the window had a tendency to twist when opened and then I couldn't get it shut again.  Hopefully it's sorted now.  Manchee has enjoyed helping me :D
There are a few places inside where the linings aren't as neat as they could be, so I'll be using a mixture of logs and branches to 'decorate' and hide the unsightly bits.  I also have plans for rustic shelves.
All of this work has taken about three weeks, as I've needed frequent rest breaks and during this time, my beautiful Finn cat went missing.  I was a wreck for the whole time he was gone and could barely function for worry.  Posters were put up and doors knocked.  I put leaflets through most doors within a cat's distance from my house (that's quite a long way!) and finally, after 5 days he returned, very thin and with almost no voice at all.  Clearly he'd been shut in and my biggest fear, during such a long hot week was that he would die locked away and unable to escape.  The other cats were so pleased to see him and happily shared his supper of tuna and turkey.  He then spent the night in my bed and now feels that it's actually his!!!
Meanwhile at the field, Merlin escaped from his paddock and spent a night in with Bo, I arrived to find them happy and peaceful, so decided to let them have time together.  As it was all going so smoothly, I decided to put Toffee in as well.
This gradual combining of the herd took two weeks to achieve, but the boys are now together in their little bachelor herd and all is peaceful.  Toffee spends a lot of time on his own at this time of year, due to too much grass making him overweight and ill, so it's good to be able to move them around to suit their needs. So when Merlin has eaten his fill, he can go back to the starvation paddock with Toffee and Bo gets some peaceful time alone.  He doesn't mind this as he's a very independent little soul.
Thankfully, the rain has waited until now when the studio is all but finished and in fact, the sound of it pounding against the window has been a welcome relief. So this weekend will be spent sketching and resting and then I'll be back in the studio to continue with decorating and painting of a different kind. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Who stole May?

Where on earth did May go?  One day I was working my socks off painting and then suddenly I was laid low with a cold that really outstayed it's welcome.  Next thing I know it's June and my work is stacked up waiting for me to do double time!!!

I did manage to squeeze in a trip to the Wickham Horse Fair.  It's a smaller version of the Appleby Horse Fair, where the Travelling community of Romanies gather to sell or exchange horses.  The whole village of Wickham is taken over for the event with many of the shops protected behind huge metal screens while the horses are picketed in front.  The road becomes a display area for the horses to be shown at speed! There are of course lots of stalls selling tack, clothes and there is even a small fairground at the top of the village square.  It's quite an amazing spectacle and I've captured a good many photos that hopefully will become paintings.
 This little foal was so adorable, but almost broke my heart when his sister was sold and he tried to run after her!
 This little group may well end up in a painting.  They were so mellow and the center pony asked for Reiki which I was glad to give.  The owners are quite happy for their horses and ponies to be touched and I was made several very tempting offers and could easily have come home with a couple of extra horses!!!
 Back to the Studio, and a portrait of a very lovely young horse.  The owner has asked me to sketch or paint her as she grows up, which is a lovely project for me to handle :D
 Next on the easel is a mare and foal which are currently going through that worrying stage.  I just have to have faith that it will come right in the end!