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

Friday, September 19, 2014

Paint Party Friday... horse sketch

Well what a night that was.... or should I say a few days/weeks/months even! 
I decided that I wouldn't post about the Scottish Referendum here, but I will say that I've been up until very late last night and awake from 5am this morning watching and listening to the outcome of the vote. 
So, as you can imagine I'm feeling like I'm having an out of body experience this morning as I try to wake up. 
It doesn't help that I still can't see anything due to the continuing fog outside! 
Yes, it's STILL with us which must be the fifth or sixth consecutively day. 
I feel like I have cataracts! 
Everywhere I look there's a blurred image.

I'm hoping that you can actually see my photo today because the light was very bad and not ideal for taking photo's. I've even tweaked them in the hope that it might help you to see the image.  
Now if someone had said "why don't you draw a horse"?
I'd have laughed or possibly used a swear word. 
Now as you know from my Silent Sunday entry a few weeks ago, I don't mind riding them but to draw one is a totally different challenge. 
But that's what my art teacher said in class this week, which produced a loud collective groan around the room. 
Not only were we to draw a horse but an enlarged version of the example picture at that!
At this stage, I nearly made my excuses and slinked out of the room, but let me tell you I'm proud to say I stuck with it, because I had no idea that there are tricks that can help with this challenge.
Numbers and measuring were not what I expected to be using in an art class, but hey voilĂ .... before I knew it, a horse appeared on my paper.
I'm now spending the odd hour or two when I can to complete the shading. 
Or should I say hatching and cross hatching... (hehe)... see something has sunk in. 
I must say I'm having difficulty with trying to do this, as I just want to run free with it but that's not part of the plan. I'll continue to do as I'm told for my homework and perhaps just redo my own version as and when. 
It appears that I'm creating a series of animal drawings over these last few months.
There's been Hettie, Nellie, and a very funny looking cockerel and now this horse. 
Who knows what will be next? 
If you'd like to see last weeks art class sketch then click here

As it's Friday I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday.

Paint Party Friday
and I'm also linking to Dion Dior's Friday Sketches...
Friday Sketches Button
Once again I apologise if I missed visiting you last week.
I'll try my best to visit as many as I can this week.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone... whatever you have planned, have fun! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gardening forever... housework whenever

This sign was given to me by my sister a few years ago. 
As you can see it's had a life! 
In fact it's a very well travelled sign, having covered three continents. 
It did have a stake, so it could be stuck into a pot, but somewhere along the way it fell off. I've always been fond of it, not only because it was a wee gift from my sister, but the sentiment is spot on as far as I'm concerned. 
I'd much rather be outside (weather permitting) instead of ironing, cleaning bathrooms or moving dust from pillar to post. 
So imagine my delight when I received some lovely happy post this week from Twinkletoes2day with the same saying....
'Gardening forever... Housework whenever'
... AND a  very special Toby Poby drawing!
Now if that doesn't make you smile flying through letterbox I don't know what would? 
Whilst I'm mentioning gardening, I thought it might be an appropriate time to show you a little produce.
(little being the operative word here) 
I've not organised the area where I'll have a beautiful huge greenhouse, raised beds, chooks and bee hives. Ha! All in my head of course or possibly in about Phase 15 of our renovation plans. 
(We're only onto Phase 2... but anyway I digress) 
I did have a little play though and for the first time I have grown courgettes... with some success. 
We had the four shown above and my word I have to say they were delicious. 
There are still some growing, so we might be lucky and have another meal soon. 
I love the beautiful flowers but so far I haven't eaten one. 
But then with success there were a few disappointments... my french beans to name but one. 
I had big plans for them but unfortunately so did the snails!
Don't laugh if I tell you that I harvested two... YES TWO... that's not a typo.
Here they are...
But they are stunning specimens if I say so myself. 
(I can hear you laughing...but there's more)
I cooked these two and cut them in half so that we each could taste them. Again, they were delicious and just reinforced that we will grow them next year, but be ready for the slug invasion.

I think my best results though, came from two old compost bags... I planted tatties (potatoes) in them and was rewarded with 2 kilos!
I'm about to plant more so we can have our own for that special day in December.
I'll leave you with a few pics of a beautiful visitor to our plot...

Remember 'if a garden is finished... then it's dead'
Thanks for visiting.
I hope to see you again soon!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Paint Party Friday... Picasso Cockerel

This post should come with a warning... ha... now I bet I've got your interest.
It's just that the photos are a wee bit blurred and this time it's not my eyes! 
Let's call them action shots shall we? 
So with all the kiddywinks going back to school ... I wanted to get in on the act too.
I enrolled for an art class which it appeared at first glance had me entering Hogwart's.
Here's the first apology for the photo above because due to the poor available light the stained glass window at the turn of the stairs doesn't show up properly. But even so the staircase is impressive isn't it? 
Maybe I'll be more successful and manage to capture it at a later date.
 I entered the classroom (ballroom) keen and raring to go...
Art supplies, name badge and cups of tea handed out without thankfully the usual... 'let's take it in turns to stand up and tell us a little about yourself" introductions. 
We went straight into the fun stuff with a few exercises first and then a small study.
There are 'returners' who have finished the first course and are now carrying on, so we get to see their work and also the resident artist creating drawing/paintings examples too.
I learnt quite a few things in this first lesson, so I think it will really help fill in the gaps of my very sketchy (sorry) art knowledge. Instead of winging it constantly.
One of the fun exercises was to sketch the Pablo Picasso, 1938 (charcoal on paper) cockerel.
He's not exactly a handsome chook but he certainly was fun and caused some humorous comments as we worked away. 

But then it all got turned upside down... quite literally. 
We folded the sheet of paper in the sketch book in half and hid it. Then turned the cockerel upside down. 
We then had to draw him again. (all very odd until you get to know why)  
This exercise was to help draw only what we saw and not a cockerel. (if you get my meaning) 
Instead of trying to make the cockerel appear from our memory, we were only using our eye hand 
Once the sketch was finished we then looked and compared the two... and had to decide which one was the one we liked the best. I'll let you decide. 
But one thing I was really pleased with, was how loose my sketch appeared.
I've tried and tried to loosen up previously but always have difficulty. 
I thought right from the outset of this course that I'd shed all of my hangups and just go for it. 
I have to say so far I'm pleased. 
I had so much fun visiting and being part of Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday link last week that I'm heading over there again today. Maybe you would like to join me? 
If you'd like to then click on the button here
Paint Party Friday
I'm also linking to Dion Dior's Friday Sketches...
Friday Sketches Button
I apologise if I missed you last week. I have been away for two days, but I'm trying desperately to catch up.
Well the sun has arrived so I'm off to enjoy... maybe my order for an Indian Summer got through after all.  
Have a fantastic weekend everyone... whatever you have planned, have fun! 

Hot off the Press....
My daughter has entered a competition to find a new contributor for Ohh Deer (a quirky online retailer of illustrated goods) and is so excited because if successful, would be joining a very talented bunch of creatives.
Click here to help her out and vote for her designs!  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cozy Cuddles - Paint Party Friday

This morning I thought that there was something wrong with my eyes. 
I couldn't see anything out of my window. 
I'd slept well (a clear conscience obviously) but they couldn't be that bad surely? 
I then realised it wasn't my eyes... it was FOG!
We've had fog for the last three days, even after having promises of good weather and reasonable temperatures for this week. 
The temperatures aren't bad but it would be nice to be able to see clearly.

So I thought I'd give in and just enjoy the day for what it was... perfect for finishing off a painting, especially because I'm home alone!
This is a very rare thing these days. 
As you know I love a full nest but can appreciate an empty house for a few hours. 
(Doing a little wee jig here)
Mufftypup is here with me but I know she can keep a secret... she'll not tell a soul what we get up to. It's good to have such a loyal friend.  

So the studio was mine all mine... MMMmmwwwwwhhhhhaaaa 
... and I wasn't afraid to use it. 

Let me introduce 'Nellie' 
(don't ask my why I name my paintings... I have no idea it just happens)
I used the same inks, paintbrushes and nib pen as I did for 'Hettie' 
You may be pleased to hear that Hettie no long balances on the bread bin. 
She's actually multiplied and got herself a herd...
I always think no matter what, you can always find something positive even if it's difficult or hard to see and today was a perfect example of that.
I was disappointed to see the weather but then looking out with dismay I was lucky, because out of the fog came a surprise to lift my spirit. 
I've had to edit and tweek these photos for you to be able to see the deer. 
It really was very foggy. 
These photos were taken from my phone because I had to move quickly. 
There one minute and gone the next...

And here's someone that just needed a cozy cuddle this morning...
Although thinking about it, with everyone out of the house could be that she's sulking because they didn't take her with them. Hmm...

Because it's Friday I thought it would be ideal to link up with the Paint Party Friday gang... there's always lots to see, admire and be inspired by, so why not join me and click here to be transported.

Paint Party Friday
I'm also linking to Dion Dior's Friday Sketches
Dion has an amazing  "Watercolor Pencils" class scheduled soon... so why not check it out?

Thanks for popping over to my place. 
It's always great to see you.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone... you deserve it! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

A final fling perhaps...

Everyone seemed to be on a mission this morning.
 The traffic even though it was rush hour was static, but it still didn't stop revving and inching closer and closer to the car bumper in front... getting nowhere fast!
Quite frankly, I've never understood why it's actually called rush hour, when most of the time the cars are static!
 It felt as though those leisurely drives at a slower pace may be a thing of the past for now, having been replaced with urgency whether it's to get to work, kids to school, appointments or those Christmas bargains! (ARGH)
Leisurely summer days seem to have drifted away. 

A few days ago I was watching the swallows stretching and putting on an incredible aerial display, but I knew all the time that they were participating in their pre-flight preparations to take off for warmer destinations soon. 
I've been searching the skies today to see if they're still here, but there's not one in sight. 
It's a shame because we're to have a warmer week ahead apparently, so they could have stayed for a little while longer. I feel sad that it will be quite some time before they return. 
I have to remind myself that to miss something sometimes is to really appreciate it upon it's return. 
Looking at the photo of my jasmine above and it's wonderful warm autumnal colour confirms my fear that perhaps summer is about to disappear. 
I doesn't feel like we had a long summer, but I'll embrace autumn if I must. 
One advantage will be that we can wake up our Aga soon... she's been asleep for far too long. Casseroles and comfort food will be on the menu and I can't wait. 

Here's a starter...Jam Doughnut Muffins
These gorgeous jam doughnut muffins are incredibly like doughnuts but without the deep frying. They are so quick and easy to make too... and I must say even quicker to disappear, but it does say in the recipe that they should be enjoyed whilst still warm. 
No problem there! 
They were wickedly divine even though my guilt would only let me eat half of one. Next time (oh yes... there will be a next time) I'll make them smaller and add more jam. 
Well if you're going to indulge you might as well make it worthwhile!
The recipe came from Karen's Lavender and Lovage blog and her photos are far more superior than mine. The smell brought a crowd so I had to snap the photo quickly.
Karen has amazing recipes so why not pop over (with a cuppa) and enjoy all the baking delights. 

Now the sun's shining here so I'm off outside...
Enjoy your Monday because it'll be Friday before you know it!
Late news in...
Tuesday afternoon: Wonderfully warm with glorious sun. 
Swallows seen so summer is still here. Yay!
Crazy weather and that's why people in the UK are always talking about the weather! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WOYWW...What's On Your Work Desk Wednesday #273

Today thankfully I didn't wake up next to a monster
Don't laugh because yesterday I did!
I turned to thank my hubby for my early morning cuppa and nearly dropped the cup.
Looking back at me was a red angry puffy slitted eyed monster.
Having someone look at you first thing in the morning and physically recoil from the sight of you, possibly isn't the best start to your day... or the fact that you have back to back meetings all day and look like you've been in the boxing ring all night.
But after anti-histamine and two days later he looks like he's just sleep deprived.
We're not sure what caused it... whether it was three excitable visiting dogs running throughout the house or the dust from yet more renovations.
Yep... we've moved into Phase 2 and this week we're changing all the radiators.
There are 18 radiators waiting to move in which means a little Pollifilla here, sanding there and a swish of paint in between. 

Anyway, I'm sitting here in the study on a 3C degree morning with the sun streaming through the window dreaming of hot showers and how long it might be before I can have one! 
I've lit the fire and I'm becoming increasingly cosy and comfy... at this rate I might not move for the remainder of the day, but before I forget I did promise that I'd show you my finished Highland Cow 'Hettie'
Yes, surprisingly I finished her and what's more I really like her!

(Painted using Daler Rowney Acrylic Artists Ink)

Here's my last WOYWW post that show's her in various stages of undress...click here

And below is a photo of a real HIghland Cow that I promised I'd take if I saw one on my rounds. 
I have to tell you that I did virtually everything to make her lift her head, but she was on a mission to consume as much grass as she could possibly manage before nightfall.

I haven't shown you my desk this morning because
1. My daughter is using it once more and
2. I've got my next drawing in the planning stage and it's a surprise.
I'll hopefully be able to show you that next week. 
If you'd like to see other artists finished work and their desks then there'll be lots to visit over at
 Julia's Stamping Ground. 
Click here to transport you

Have a great week and Happy WOYWW to one and all.

See you again soon

I've also linked up today with Jenn over at the Artist Playroom 

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