“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Sunday, 18 March 2018

My Sunday Photo... Sparrowhawk

We have had an amazing amount and variety of wildlife visiting us during this past week, as this wintery blast clings unrelentingly. 
Day four of an Arctic wind whips through like a freight train.
The bird feeders and bird bath need daily attention and are definitely saving little feathered lives.
But with all of this activity there's a witness who is also hungry!
The Sparrowhawk
 He usually is extremely swift, swooping in on his unexpected prey... with amazing aerobic flight stunts.
Sometimes, all you see is a quick flash of grey as he zooms past on his mission... gliding just a few feet off the ground. 
The silent killer.
He's always aware of any movement especially when I grab my camera. 
Those piercing eyes miss nothing!
I desperately wanted him to turn around to show his plumage, but he just wasn't wanting to play. 
He had other more pressing things on his mind.
Thankfully, I haven't actually witnessed a kill... only the debris of scattered feathers.
I know he will be a regular visitor with such an amount of prey located in one area.
Nope still not turning around. 
He's like an owl with his swivelling head turning at least 110 degrees.
It's so unusual to have him stay for more than a few minutes.... but then off he goes towards the woods, in pursuit of more prey. 
Hopefully he'll be successful there.
... and for anyone who isn't in to birds or needing a boost of colour...
Here's some very brave crocus.
I'm off to join in My Sunday Photo linkup with Photalife.
Have a great Sunday and stay cosy if the Mini beast from the east has returned to your place.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Sketchy Faces... in more ways than one - PPF

Hello everyone... I'm here today to give you a little laugh.
As part of the Paint Party Friday linkup, I thought I'd share some of my sketches from my makeartthatsells practice assignment - Faces!
I, like many other artists grow pale at the thought of having to sketch a portrait... be it fictional or real life, but I took a deep breath and decided to jump right in and have fun with it! 
I was going to give you three guesses as to who I drew, but I think that's a little tough. 
I should give you 33 guesses and then you might actually get there.
But it was fun and I really enjoyed it.
One of the many pearls of wisedom that Lilla Rogers suggests to overcome the fear of portraits is to draw people as you watch tv. 
With that in mind, last week was a really sporty weekend in this household, so as one after another of the rugby and football matches played out on tv I sketched away.
I couldn't believe what fun this could be. 
Here's some of the results...
... I was so surprised that with each face the fear seemed to disappear a little more.
So I'm holding on to that saying "Feel the fear, but do it anyway"
Lastly, I decided that I couldn't resist sketching our lovely amazingly talented Lilla.
I hope she won't be too offended!
Have fun everyone and I'll see you again soon
I'm off to the PPF birthday party as they are seven years old this week!
Thank you Eva and Kristin for continuing to host this great inspirational link.
Click here if you'd like join me over there

Saturday, 24 February 2018

My Sunday Photo... The Greater Spotted Woodpecker

With spring on it's way (hopefully) the sound of local woodpeckers reverberats all around our garden and nearby woods. 
It really is an incredible sound!
Here's on enjoying the peanuts from one of my feeders.
About blackbird-sized and striking black-and-white. 
It has a very distinctive bouncing flight and spends most of its time clinging to tree trunks and branches, often trying to hide on the side away from the observer. 
Its presence is often announced by its loud call or by its distinctive spring 'drumming' display. 
The male has a distinctive red patch on the back of the head and young birds have a red crown.
Great spotted woodpeckers can be seen in woodlands, especially with mature broad-leaved trees, although mature conifers will support them. 
They can also be found in parks and large gardens. 
They will come to peanut feeders and bird tables. 
Not found in the far North of Scotland, although we have four woodpeckers visiting us. 
Only a handful of pairs nest in Ireland, but numbers are increasing. 
Common in England and Wales.
(courtesy of James Taft Published on Jul 6, 2008)

I'm linking up as usual with My Sunday Photo over at Photalife.com
I hope you have a wonderful weekend
Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Tasseography...Tea Leaf Reading. PPF

Hello Everyone and Happy Friday to you all.
I've been missing in action lately on the blog front, as I just haven't seemed to find the time for blogging, favouring a quick line or two with a photo into my Instagram account instead. 
I've often thought...ooh that would be good for a blog post, but then moved on quickly to other things.
One of the things that has been keeping me busy over the last few months, has been my Bootcamp assignments from the makeartthatsells online course.
February's assignment was 'Tea'
Anyone that knows me knows I'm a huge teapot!
I drink copious amounts of tea per day, so this assignment was just my cup of tea (Aghh...sorry)
Anyway, for the main assignment it was to paint 'Tea Leaf Reading'.
Fond memories of my favourite Aunt came flooding back to me. 
My Aunt was quite a fun loving character and always up for a laugh.
Now I'm not saying that tea leaf reading isn't serious for some, but the vision of my Aunt bent over a china teacup with her face so serious, relaying someones future tickled me, but her readings were very popular.
I personally believed every single word she said.
I was probably under 10 at the time.
Here's my design... although for some reason the colours don't seem to be true.
The original is much brighter and vibrant, but I'm not sure why this is happening or what I can do to correct it.
Did you know that the art of tea leaf reading is called 'Tasseography' because I certainly didn't.
I'm linking up with the lovely artists over at the Paint Party Friday link.
Thank you ladies for hosting once again.
(This is my mock up practice ... with the help of my son)

Right... I'm off to make a cuppa with loose tea leaves.
Who knows, I may have the gift of fortune telling?
I'll have to see if I can see anything in my future.
Have a great weekend and thanks for popping in.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

My Sunday Photo... Look out!

It's pretty nippy here just now with another forecast of snow to arrive overnight.
The birds are all feeling the urgency of a good meal to see them through.
Here's one of our resident buzzards perched up high on his lookout tower.
He doesn't get much peace as the local jackdaws and crows become very nervous if he's spotted in their territory. They dive bomb him constantly and give quite an aerial display.

I'll leave you with a more peaceful photo of our girls... keep your heads down ladies!

I'm linking up as usual with Photalife.com
Thanks for popping by my place and I hope you'll be back soon

Saturday, 3 February 2018

My Sunday Photo... Creeper

Today, I thought I'd show you a few more of my visitors.
This little bird is a treecreeper.
I have never seen a treecreeper on the ground like this before... but obviously the fallen seed from the bird table was too tempting.
Once you know what you're looking for, a treecreeper is quite noticeable with his white underside.
They use their tails in a similar way to woodpeckers' as a support when climbing and they really are quite acrobatic... but with those claws I suppose it's not surprising.
Their bills are curved and sharp, for extracting insect food and seeds from crevices in tree bark.
He definitely could do with a pedicure!

I did miss a fantastic photographic opportunity today, as I drove up my lane as dusk began to fall.
A buzzard was sitting on a telegraph pole with the sun behind him. 
If only I could have stopped in the lane to take the photo, but that would have been foolish.
It'll have to be one of those tales of  'the one that got away'!
But here he is a little later, flying low over the fields looking for a meal before bedtime.

Apologies for the blurred image, but the light was fading... I'm surprised I managed to get any image in the circumstances.
Whilst I was photographing this buzzard two crows came and started to attack him... he was obviously on their patch.
But then so was someone else!
Mr Fox
At this stage our girls (hens) were still out in the folly... safe but because we didn't want Mr Fox to get too familiar with their whereabouts... we had to go out and get them into their coop. 
It was getting near to their bedtime anyway and three of them had already settled down and were comfy for the night.
We made a few unwelcome noises which made Mr Fox go elsewhere for his supper!

I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo once again.
Have fun and enjoy your Sunday.
Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon.

Friday, 2 February 2018

MATS Bootcamp... PPF

Here we are once again... Friday!
I've had quite a busy but fun time since we last chattered and would you believe it, I'm another year older! 
Moving on swiftly I mentioned a few posts ago that I'd enrolled on to an online art course with the brilliant Lilla Rogers over at Make Art That Sells
Each week we are given a mini assignment that leads up to the main assignment at the end of each month. The course lasts until May, so I will have masses of fun times ahead. 
The first mini assignment at the beginning of January was to draw/paint the contents of my bag, which lead nicely into the following week's main assignment... a book cover of a famous woman and what she might have in her bag?
My nominated person was Tina Fey. 
Everyone was allocated a particular woman for their birthday month. 
There were some great inspirational, powerful woman amongst the twelve options.
I knew a little about Tina beforehand, but I had to do some research to ensure I captured her personality. I can't believe I had such a good time doing research. 
Tina Fey is a very talented comic along with all her other attributes.
Here's my mock up of my completed piece.
I learnt so much whilst completing this assignment.
For a start I've never really done a portrait! 
Anyway, after much huffing and puffing plus shouting for help with Photoshop, I finally managed to enter it into the MATS (Make Art That Sells) Gallery for the month of January!
Apologies if you've already seen this painting in my Instagram feed or on Facebook, but I know there are many who don't have access to those online links and ask that I post here too.

I also decided to paint a personal birthday card this week for a family member.
I had approximately 30 minutes from start to finish in order for it to get into the post... if I wanted it to arrive on time.
Yes, I know... always last minute with me, but this time it worked out perfectly.

I was really pleased with the outcome and the recipient initially didn't realise it was hand painted!
How's that for a compliment?
I obviously work better to a very strict timetable!

My daughter when visiting possibly noted that my art supply case was overflowing and couldn't close, so as part of my birthday present she bought me this super large bag!
It's 100% linen with this gorgeous design from Danica Studio
It's also lined and what do you know?... it still has some space even with all my brushes, pencils,
pens and bits! 
This can only mean one thing... I can buy more supplies... YAY!

I'm linking up to Paint Party Friday 
Click here if you'd like to join me. 
They would love you to visit and see all the amazing artwork.
Have fun everyone and thanks for visiting.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

My Sunday Photo... Beautiful Blooms

If you're feeling like me then you'll probably be missing flowers and desperate for Spring to arrive. 
In the meantime whilst we wait... here's a beautiful bouquet that I received last week.

It's a quick post today because I'm trying desperately to revive my mobile phone, after it decided to make a spectacular dive into the toilet! 
After a night in a bed of rice everything appears to be working okay, except the touch screen, so I'm unable to use the password to open it 😞

I'm liking up with My Sunday Photo once again.
Have fun and enjoy your Sunday.
Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

My Sunday Photo... Visiting Birds

With the current cold snap that's covering the UK at the moment, we've personally had quite a dry bright time over the last few weeks. 
Definitely a Scandinavian feel to our weather. 
Blue skies, not a cloud in the sky and lots of bright sunlight... even though I wouldn't have minded a little flurry of snow, as long as it would disappear quickly. 
It seems to have missed our part of Scotland.
So it is a tough time for our little wild birds... in fact, it's been tough for all our wildlife over this winter.
My bird feeders are always very popular, but when a - 3 degrees Celsius arrives, even in daylight, then it can be a battle ground out there. Every little beak needs it's fill before nightfall.
This particular feeder is hanging right next to my kitchen window.
I stock it with suet logs and it's very popular...even when I'm working in the kitchen.
Obviously, hunger overtakes the nerves and they feed right before my eyes.

There's obviously been no time for a pedicure lately!

Sometimes it can be tricky getting the last bite.
How these little cuties manage on those tiny wee legs is beyond me.
Also to keep warm with no leg warmers! 

We also had another visitor yesterday, who hasn't actually be brave enough to step over into the garden before. 
Hunger has brought him to us.
 Mr Pheasant...isn't he majestic! 
He actually hung around for quite some time.
I think he approved of our menu.
And finally, as I've mentioned before that our Goldfinch population has had a birdie boom since we returned to this house and started feeding them.
I have counted over 40 in one flock all at once...honest!
And that was from just one feeder!
Here's a little proof of just some of the goldfinches visiting the bird feeder in the fir tree.
You can almost seed the seed decrease as you watch them.
So I think it's probably time for me to get outside and replenish the feeders by now.
It has to be done every day! 

I am a little late posting today, but I'm going to link up with My Sunday Photo
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon.
Have a great Sunday everyone

Friday, 12 January 2018

Happy Monday... even in January! PPF

I know to be happy on a grey, Monday in January in the middle of winter is a rare thing, but I was happy... and still am :D
I've started my new online art course and it has certainly hit my mojo button.
As I've mentioned before I was a little lost over the last few months and had virtually stopped drawing/painting completely. (Maybe missing Muffin had hit harder than I thought)
But Lilla at Make Art That Sells has reignited my passion.
This weeks assignment was right up my alley.
Drawing the contents of your bag.
It's amazing once you take a look into it, just what it can reveal about you.
So I have a few sketches of various items, but I decided to take this bottle of perfume to another level...adding colour.
The bottle is now unfortunately empty... hint hint to hubby!
(Alien by Thierry Mugler)

I've also another reason to be happy today (well actually I've got many things to be happy and thankful for, but for this arty post lets keep it to art) and that is because I've been featured over at Paint Party Friday!
How brilliant is that?
I was so surprised as I went to catch up with the link and there was my Chef Chook! 
(There's also some cute roe deer photos included too...click here if you'd like to see)
Hardly a masterpiece, but it was the first fun piece of the year.
Something to get me back into creating art... and I'm thrilled to be highlighted.
Thank you both Eva and Kristin

I'm off to empty my bag (heaven knows what I'll find hidden in the depths) and to carry on sketching.
I think I'm getting to like this and it's a great start to the New Year.
Have fun everyone and thanks for visiting.

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