30 Dec 2012

New Boots and Paintings!


I’ve had a nomadic few weeks, been doing a lot of visiting and I’m never really sure where I’m going to wake up next! I’ve received a lovely pair of new DM’s (thanks Henry), enough wool to keep me knitting til next Christmas (thanks Mum & Dad)and a healthy number of commissions to start on next week (thank you all!). The Christmas tree looks a bit sad this side of new year - all the colourful gifts have been replaced with a pile of pine needles. But it’s always a very restful time for me – the frantic pre-Christmas period is over (I’m a year older) and as I reflect on a busy year I’m getting excited about the one ahead, rewrite my list of things to do and make lots of new art related resolutions for 2013! So, this marks the last blog post of 2012 and I hope you have enjoyed them.



22 Dec 2012

Snowdog days


Christmas seems to have crept up and caught me out, just can’t get my head round the idea of it being next week! I always struggle with any reference to the days of the week between 24th December and 3rd January – I can only compute either the date or the festive name of the day – Monday, Tuesday simply have no relevance, or is that just me? One of those dates is my birthday and ever since school I have abandoned any concept of work or normality between Christmas Eve and my late Grandmother’s birthday (2nd January). I am looking forward to Raymond Briggs Snowman & the Snowdog on Christmas Eve (that’s Monday for anyone who insists on superfluous labels!). I am fascinated to see what 77 artists have produced with 3000 coloured pencils to produce the required 12 drawings for each second of the film! No doubt I won’t be able to maintain dry eyes when I see the beginning of the cartoon as I shall miss our own snowdog this year, who was absent from this year’s card, but very much in evidence on those of previous years…..



16 Dec 2012

Sign Writing


Well, I got the Christmas card designed, painted and uploaded into an online template and it was printed and ready for collection the very next day – brilliant. Since then, with cards written and posted, I’ve been working on a commissioned dog portrait by daylight and a design for a restaurant sign by artificial light! The light in my makeshift studio (our friend’s dining table) was a bit troublesome - changing frequently from brilliant winter sunshine to a dark December gloom. The sign design is for our local restaurant who’s existing one is worse for wear after several welsh winters. My clients wanted a new logo and left it to me to come up with some ideas. My inspiration came from a local landmark on the Berwyn hills – a group of pine trees planted in 1815 to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. Having drawn the tree motif I turned it into a vector drawing using Adobe Illustrator to create a crispy and sharp silhouette that I could experiment with.


I then mocked up a few different designs for my clients to see using a font of their choice. Next I will get my trusty aforementioned printer to print out a scaled black and white image for me to transfer to the nicely painted wooden sign (Henry's contribution). Quite how I will transfer it I don’t know, but I need to work it out and get splashing with gold paint before the year ends!


9 Dec 2012

Liver Bird

It's been a couple of weeks now since the Great Liverpool Art Fair, but I have only just downloaded my pictures (busy 2 weeks!). A great day, lots of people through the door and many positive comments, not to mention a room full of inspiring creative people. All my business cards disappeared so I'm hoping some will turn into commissions. I've just finished a portrait of a wee doggy that I started at the show - the final of a quartet that I've done for someone who I guess I can call a collector, since I've done about 8 portraits for him so far.




3 Dec 2012

Mirror, Mirror.............


Back on planet earth after a few weeks of manic activity - The Great Liverpool Art Fair, a pile of commissions and preparation for a big adventure (which I’ll reveal next year!) and to top it all, a breakdown in internet connectivity. I have entered the world of android phones, spent a whole day working out how to use one and am firmly in the 21st century, connected to the information and gadgets that I now need in order to function! As usual I have left the design of our Christmas card to the last minute and am busy creating an image that encapsulates the adventures of the Simpson household for 2012! I should just about get them printed and out before the last posting day........


19 Nov 2012

How to get that Blog read


Been away partying this weekend and recovering from a very cold and quiet day as Presiding Officer at the recent elections. I’ve been scanning the internet for advice on how to market your creative business online. Yet another steep learning curve for me, I thought I knew very little about marketing before I entered the magic words into the search engine – and now I am certain that I know nothing at all! But now I’ve got the bug and determined to make those hours of research worthwhile. I have been productive on the artistic front as well  – but these pet portraits are commissions for surprise Christmas presents so I’ll share them with you in the new year just in case my improved online marketing skills send the images into the wrong inboxes and spoil the surprises! Instead, here are a few images from my diary entered after similar memorable weekends of partying and feasting!

         

11 Nov 2012

Teamwork

Pru has been on overdrive this week and after spending hours on the accounts pulled tight a few purse strings and reviewed Flo’s pricing policies. The wings of the Amazon Fairy have been clipped, Dolly has had a budget cut and Gerty’s been told to get her act together and finish the Garden Design webpage – but all is well, Henry and Flo make a good team!  It took me a while to set up the look of the new blog page this week – a blonde moment made initial progress very slow, but with the help of Kip & Fig I worked it all out. I’m offering gift vouchers for a commissioned artwork at 2012 prices until February 2013 (see tab at the top of the page).








4 Nov 2012

Illusive Birdies

The garden is full of fieldfares – a chattering mob devouring all the berries. Since they were so handsome, albeit thuggish, I dashed out with my camera and new zoom lens. I am very impressed with my new piece of equipment, but the birdies were not so impressed with my enthusiasm and red skirt! Whilst I am now able to capture a good photo from a little further away, finding said birdie through my lens proved a little difficult, and as a consequence I have some lovely autumnal shots of branches (on which once sat a handsome bird). Yesterday, I completed my first commissioned Christmas card of the season, and will have to give some thought about what to put on ours this year without the usual outline of Ned. I plan to do some generic Christmas cards for resale, but that requires me to get into a festive mood 4 to 5 months early, which just didn’t happen this year. To avoid this happening next year, Pru has now mapped out a daily and monthly schedule to get Flo more organised!

Where's the birdie gone?

 

1 Nov 2012

Hello !

I have transferred my old blog posts from my website to Blogger - I hope all the links work properly and nothing is too squiffy ! The "you may also like" should link to 3 similar blog posts - but haven't fathomed out that gadget yet. Once I get the hang of Blogger it will be integrated with my website and away we go.
Please keep me company and use the features on the right hand side to follow and subscribe.....

Thank you - and now back to some painting!


29 Oct 2012

Leaves

So many leaves – barrow loads! These lovely clear & crispy days may have induced a rapid leaf fall, but they are invigorating and draw me outside for some fresh air. Tis the season of porridge for breakfast, hearty soup by the bonfire for lunch, and a sausage hotpot supper. So much to do at the moment and already fully booked for pre-Christmas commissions and getting ready for the Great Liverpool Art Fair in the Royal Liver Building on 24 November.

          

21 Oct 2012

Aromas

A large bowl of brandy soaked soft fruit is filling the kitchen with festive aromas  – the Christmas cakes will be going in the oven today. Yesterday I dismantled the frosted runner bean wigwams and scooped up piles of mushy nasturtiums. Winter must be just round the corner, the sun took ages to get warm enough to burn off this morning’s mist and I had to wait for some good light to photograph two different dogs for a commissioned portrait. One of them was Dylan, who probably had a wash & blow-dry for the occasion, whilst the other was a lurcher and a bit more low maintenance! Both dogs were very unimpressed with the whole affair and it took a bouncy red ball and the scent of a rabbit, respectively, to get them to look remotely photogenic. 588 photos later, I start the task of selecting the best ones (Handy Henry has an eye for a good one!). On the whole not a very creative week, but I did sell my first ACEO (Artists Cards Editions & Originals – collectible miniature artworks) which has inspired me to produce some more.  My laptop and printer however, have been very creative - reinventing their purpose in life, and upsetting Flo in the process - but that's another story !

14 Oct 2012

Handy Henry

Another busy week – Pru’s new regime has Flo working non-stop. Dolly has addressed the cake shortfall and it’s been so wet and cold that Gerty has retreated indoors. Meet Henry – who regularly makes an appearance in my diary sketches, but has not been formally introduced. Henry is the beloved husband of Flo, he supervises Gerty and is a devoted fan of Dolly’s cakes (but easily drops off to sleep when satiated by her latest kitchen creation). However, Henry is allergic to Pru and her lists of things to do, especially if they involve him! He is very handy, often found engulfed in a cloud of dust or pile of autumn leaves. He likes to hide where Pru can’t find him, and delights in jumping out to frighten Flo as she walks by his hiding spot. Henry will lovingly prop up Flo when Pru has overdone it and is a trusted critic of Flo’s artistic ventures.  Despite being surround by women, he is a bit lonely these days without his companion Ned.

                             

7 Oct 2012

Spice Girl

They say variety is the spice of life - certainly plenty of variety for me lately! There was my first book cover last week, this week I’ve been on the computer doing my first graphics commission; I’ve had a lesson on the anatomy of horse tack and mane plaiting in preparation for a horse portrait; discovered that using charcoal on watercolour paper is to be avoided; picked up a UFO (unfinished object – namely a complex Fair-Isle jumper pattern approaching it’s third winter in the knitting bag), and been on a short portrait course. Pru is proud, Flo is tired. Gerty has neglected her greenhouse plants and Dolly is in the dog house due to a lack of cake.

                 

30 Sep 2012

Sketching Pelicans

I’ve signed up for the Sketchbook Project – an American based idea which creates an annual library of artist’s sketchbooks from around the world and takes them on  both a real and virtual tour. My sketchbook will be digitised and available for you to see. I have until early January to complete it, so if I plan on an entry every other day I should get all 30 pages full in time for posting on to Brooklyn after Christmas. I shall start tomorrow – not sure whether to follow a theme or do a series of cartoons like my other visual diaries. I’ve finished the book cover I was working on, but you will have to sign up for my newsletter to see the end product before the children’s book is published ! Here’s a line from the story and a few preparatory sketches.

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  “Right Daisy, climb aboard, onto my back, hold tight, put on your jersey and anorak” You can now see all the entries for the MS Trust Secret Art Show – the online auction starts on 5 October. Can you spot mine?

24 Sep 2012

Winter's arrived

Summer’s over then! It was so dark this morning we over slept, the fire is lit and porridge season has begun. It seems only a few days ago that we were enjoying a brief Indian summer, but now the wildlife is getting more enjoyment out of our weed-free garden than we are. The resident squirrel has been digging up the lawn burying our nuts for the winter, the kingfisher has been visiting the pond in search of a gold-fish supper and the blackbirds, having devoured the soft fruit, have moved onto the apples – just one peck of each, enough to make an unsightly hole and knock it on to the floor to bruise! Talking of birds, I've now got a Twitter account it's amazing how many computer literate dogs have too!  The awful weather means that whilst Pru supervises purposeful tweeting, Gerty Gardener gets a well deserved break, Flo can paint all day and Dolly can start to think about the Christmas cakes and what to do with a freezer full of last year’s damsons.

     

16 Sep 2012

Floatie Flo

You have met Dolly Domestic and Gerty Gardener, but perhaps not so familiar with Flo – seen floating about in the background, slightly overshadowed by Dolly & Gerty. Flo has realised this herself and recruited the forgotten skills Prunella Project to redress the balance! Prunella is so annoyingly efficient and productive that she hasn’t allocated time in her busy schedule for doing many new cartoons of herself, focusing on commissions only.
                      
Floatie Flo is very tired after a week of Prunella’s new regime, but she must admit that productivity has increased, with 4 different commissions on the go, in different mediums and at various stages. Prunella is also working on Dolly & Gerty to ensure that next year we are not eating Christmas pudding at Easter and breaking our back weeding the garden on an erratic schedule. Her objective is to turn Flo into “Floatie (but focused) Flo” with the right skills to get the most out of complex staff like Dolly & Gerty. For the time being, Flo is quaking in her DMs at the thought of Pru’s deadlines and a little nervous about what she has on her action plan. When Pru allows, Flo will do self portraits of the 4 faces of Flo. In the meantime -  here’s Penny
 the Staffy , work in progress. You can click on images to enlarge them

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