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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Birdwatching Paint drying?

Hello there. A mixed bag of blogging today. I love to watch the Birdies, love Birdy paintings etc etc. This weekend 28/ 29th Jan was the annual Big Garden Birdwatch that the RSPB instigates. A one hour birdwatch that anyone can participate in. I've done this for many years now, I like to think it helps record the fluctuations in species throughout the country.
I feed the birds every day, I don't always get to watch them, but it's something I've always enjoyed doing. My Brother probably introduced me to this, he was always bird spotting and would draw them too. He is my Skylark now, as before he passed away last year, I was telling him how we had been watching the skylarks while out walking. He said how lovely, I just remember him that way.

Anyway Saturday morn was sunny, hurrah, I decided to feed the birds just before going up to my workroom to sketch, that way I could look down on them. Sure enough all the regulars came, including 2 big fat woodpigeons, who I had to shoo away, they are too greedy, along with the magpies who target the dried mealworms and hide them elsewhere! There were also the prettier birds, Goldfinches, bluetits, coal tits and then Swoosh...., right under my window , the amazing blue/grey and barred stripes of a male Sparrowhawk. He must have landed near because all the birds disappeared. Sparrowhawks visit regularly, they tummult in, wings tipping and tilting so low over the wall or fence. So for the next 10-15 mins all was quiet in the garden. Then birds gradually came back and I had a real treat as a pair of Siskins, I thought they were goldfinches at first-but no, binoculars out and a pair of pristine looking Siskins sat eating the niger seed. These birds sometimes visit at this time of year, but they turned up for the first time on my birdwatch. So I had a couple more interesting species to note down this year.You can just see a goldfinch I think, my photo is not so good.

My sketching turned out OK, despite the distraction of birdwatching?

I've been ordering some art materials too and with them came these lovely little tester dots of Daniel Smith paints, they look like little jewels, I'll enjoy trying them out, what a good idea, to be able to try colours out. On the back of the cards is a description of the colours which is just lovely, enough to entice you in.... You might be able to request these little testers from the manufacturer??
Hope you've all had an enjoyable weekend, see you again soon.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Quietly working.......or not?

I am attempting on this post to add a youtube video???Not done this before, so 'The Son' will be called in to help....Please, he can't fathom why I just can't do these things..... just like that. I am an old fogey after all. Anyway I digress. Whilst working away in my room I am at the sketching stage of things, I sometimes like to listen to music, sometimes it's distracting, but usually I'm Ok with it. I tend to like moody sort of music, someone with a powerful or very decent voice and the words have to be there, words that make you think. I also tend to fall in love with a particular CD or artist, and play this over and over..... I have recently fallen in love with Laura Marling. You may have already heard of her, she won the Mercury prize? I think.
I can remember it being announced and me thinking 'That will be a load of rubbish then' it being awarded for up and coming artists etc. Then I saw on the wonderful blog 'Seven impossible things before breakfast' by Jules (Children's book Illustration) a video of this same artist and I was just captured, What a voice, it is classed as folk music, but I don't think I would put it quite in that catergory. I managed to tape...Yes tape record as in the olden days, the concert she did on radio 2, I keep playing it over and over, I haven't found any song that I don't like as yet. Perhaps it's the earlier influences of Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac or maybe I just like moody sort of songs? I'm also listening to Adeles 21, what an amazing voice, hope she gets back to it soon, and Sade 'Soldier of love' So it is all quite moody. No art on this post, but I can say that the 'Book' is going 'Live' which I think means......Yes, it's going ahead. I'm sketching 4 more double page spreads now. I hope you like the music, that's if I can do the link thing??? JOE......Joe.....Help.......

 I went a bit mad with this and posted 2 videos, easy when you get the hang of it? Hope you enjoy them?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Here we go round......on a cold and frosty morning.

I have been so very busy for a couple of weeks, illustrating away, weekends an all ! It's been a bit manic. Mustn't grumble, that was a New Years resolution, not to grumble....failed on the first day :(

Being a freelance illustrator, as I have discussed with many fellow illustrators, is Famine or Feast  and that is quite normal. It's sometimes tricky to programme this into your life? ? Last week we ended up with my husband making tea one night....Beans on toast! Basically because I hadn't been shopping, and had no time to make tea! I have been doing my usual Greeting card illustration, and also doing some artwork for.....a BOOK.....Yep, that's right....dreams come true, Hooray.
Now don't get carried away,( this is what I keep telling myself), It is not absolutely nailed on that I will actually do all this book, I have only done a front and back cover, one double page spread and end papers. I think it now has to make its way through a process of meetings.....and might not get out at the other end....But, it's a start. A BIG learning curve start, I couldn't believe the size I have had to work at, almost A3 ! Wow, so it has taken some doing. I will hopefully update my blog with how this progresses, I finished my last bit at 9pm Sunday eyes were out on stalks. I can't show anything of it, it's all sort of secret and has come via my agent, Advocate art. They worked some magic for me! I have one or two images of me working in the twilight hours of early morning or evening, on my other artwork for cards, at the bottom of my post today.
In the meantime, life goes on... (I did lose track of what day it was last week) We've had a  few frosty mornings lately, and my favourite pooch and his pal 'Rosie' had their photo taken for my blog, aaahw they are waiting nicely for a biscuit, Rosie comes running over the field to me, knowing I have a bit of biscuit for her, and my dog 'Jet' (The big black doggy) has cottoned on to this fact, and joins the queue, crafty! Look at her cute little face, she had her little coat on this morning, as you can see it's quite frosty. These two wander off, partners in crime, sniffing out anything tasty....naughty pooches!

I do enjoy seeing fellow peoples blogs, and the weather going on all around the world, it's fascinating, so thanks bloggers for posting your photos.
Hope you like my new artwork, things are going back to normal workwise? Although I'm still busy, this New Year has got off to a flying start, Yippee!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The North Wind Doth Blow...and we shall have snow...

It has been a wild and windy week here. It has lashed with rain, and blown part of the fence down, and generally upset my equilibrium!! I don't like the wind, my least favourite weather. But, we managed to escape on the walk last Monday....Hooray. Off we went up into the Dales, it was a lovely sunny day back at home, washing hung out etc.... as we approached Skipton,we could see the SNOW on the highest of the peaks. Ooooh, we thought we might be in for trouble. But no, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Nice to be blasted with some cold air, and quite lovely to see the snow capped tops. We did end up in a little bit of snow, and I managed to land a snowball on the husbands head...he wasn't expecting that, Ha. I was just glad to be out, I've been beavering away in my work room, and to escape for the day was lovely. You can see on the photo (top) the leetle bunny paw prints next to mine, cute. We walked about 5and half miles, it was quite muddy in the bottom of the dales, the water at Linton falls was gushing and spectacular. The best bit was in the tearoom at Hebdon of course, in the little old schoolhouse, they have just the best food. It was so busy. They are closed for the next 3 weeks, but we must get back there when they open again....Yum :)

I have been very busy workwise, normally things are quiet at the start of the year, but it has gone crazy, 4 briefs to work on and more work on the NEW project, I'm still not definite about the new thing, but hopefully will know soon??? No new artwork to show as yet. But here's one I did earlier, as they say. I have put this into the 'vintage' title on the 'Being Creative' project with Julia Crossland. Hope you like it?? I'm particularly proud of the highlighty bits! It's stuck in my folder, not been bought by anyone, so I may put it in a frame on the wall?? Bit of a strange subject, but I like it, the teaset belonged to my Mum, no longer with us, a little bit of posh in our lives it was! See you again soon folks. X

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing all you lovely blog friends a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Hope you have all enjoyed the festive season?
I have had a mixed sort of Christmas. Had a lovely trip to York, and saw the ice skaters on the artificial rink, I took photos for reference. Some very nice shop displays including the sledges! It's been lovely seeing family we don't always see a lot of through the year. I most crazily have had work to do over Christmas, getting a new project ready for the 3rd Jan for NEW people, this has been exciting and a bit stressful, trying to work around things going off here and there.
I will add a photo of some other work I did just before Christmas, these were nice to work on, I don't appear to have a finished photo, but hopefully you get the gist? I think the eyes needed strengthening?

We have managed to fit a couple of walks in, one was extremely wild and windy, the photos of this walk shows some strange clouds that we saw, they are apparently called Lenticular clouds, it all looks quite calm on the photo, but believe me, we were walking practically horizontal on some bits of the walk! When we got home, the weather man had been inundated with amazing photos of these clouds, they can fool people into thinking there are UFO's in the sky!  It's been strange weather, not very cold, but a bit wet and dreary!
I have finished the work today, phew, and so tomorrow we plan to escape to the country,(Yorkshire Dales) hoping for a leeetle bit of sunshine Please! It's the last official holiday day.
I shall have to wait on the verdict about the new work I have just done til later this next week, fingers crossed! I shall be back to let you know??? X