Friday, 29 April 2011

Paint Party Friday - step away from the canvas...

Ta-da, I finally finished the oil painting for my brother-in-law. I'm still not entirely happy with the first floor window but I was driving myself to distraction with it last Friday so decided enough was enough and it would have to do.


Kings House - finally!

We headed off on our Easter holiday last Saturday with a couple of days spent at my folks' house in Derry first where we had a great night out with my old school friends and then on Monday we took our new touring caravan up to the wilds of west Donegal where we've been enjoying the beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, great hill walks and wonderful fresh air (plus a welcome escape from the non-stop TV coverage of today's royal wedding which I personally couldn't be less interested in. Although I am grateful for the extra public holiday!)

As we're not home until tomorrow night, I'm not going to get a chance to get the painting framed before my sister and her husband arrive on Tuesday so I phoned a framers where they live in England to get an idea of prices and I made him up this gift card which we'll put the money for the frame in. That way he can be sure the paint is properly dry and choose his own frame. I also learnt you shoul wait at least 6 months before varnishing an oil painting so luckily their neighbour is a professional artist who can hopefully advise them on how best to do that when the time comes.

Overall, I've enjoyed my 1st oil attempt and am planning to try a large canvas for the wall above our sofa in the living room next - watch this space!

Don't forget to pop over to Paint Party Friday for a gleek at some amazing art work from loads of talented folk out there in blogland!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Young arts, run free...!


Last week I was browsing through the many wonderful blogs who join in with Paint Party Friday and I came across Kat Sloma's blog, Kat Eye View and an intriguing project she has come up with.

The aim is to get at least 200 participants, to include artists of all mediums, who will print 5 of their artworks onto postcards. Each postcard should then have a handwritten message which can be an insirational quote, a greeting or a note of encouragement; basically something which, along with your artwork, will brighten the day of the recipient.

All 5 postcards will then be sent back to Kat in America in July. Kat will then swap the postcards around, sending 5 individual postcards, all from a different artist, back to each participant over the course of a few weeks.

There will be a list of participants on Kat's blog so we can all learn more about each other and where in the world we all are and then in August we'll do a blog hop with a link up where we can share blog posts about the art we send out and the art we receive in return.

I think this is a great idea and am excited to be part of a project where I can discover new artists and likeminded folk from, potentially, all over the world.  

Now I just need to decide which of my pieces I am going to print onto the postcards. What do you think - the Walkies series perhaps or some of my pointy pet portraits

Friday, 22 April 2011

Doing the Lambeth Walk(ies)...

This week's  addition to the Walkies series is based on my notion of wartime Britain - the tearful farewells at the train station as the men went off to war, the women standing there forlorn surrounded by steam from the engines. When deciding what sort of dog my wartime woman should be walking there was only one choice really - it had to be a British Bulldog!

I don't know anything about fashion from that era other than what I've seen on TV and online and I don't know much about what life was like back then other than listening to stories my parents told me of when they were evacuated to the country as young children.  I do love watching films based on WWII years as, despite the horrors of war, there seemed to be a real sense of camaraderie and pulling together that to all intents and purposes doesn't seem to exist in 'me, me, me, I want, I'm entitled to...' UK nowadays.  It was all 'make do and mend' and 'keep calm and carry on' - people made the best of the situation and it seemed to bring the best out in people as a result. 

Anyway, before I go getting all nostalgic for yet another era in which I hadn't even been born and in which people really did know the meaning of austerity measures, here's this week's Walkies!

© Pointy Pix

This is also my Paint Party Friday post as although my oil painting and my portrait of Reuben are very almost finished, I figured everyone would be bored seeing them, yet again, in a state of not quite completion, so I'll wait and show them when they're properly finished!!

Pop on over and see what everyone else has been up to this week on Paint Party Friday.
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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

How long after 'I do' can I still follow wedding blogs...

Credit: Brian Friedman
So,  I know we've been married for 5 months now and I should stop writing posts about it. After this one, I promise I will.  You see, I had been religiously following Rock n Roll Bride's wedding blog for months before our big day and afterwards, I emailed Kat to see if she might feature our wedding and she did -  right here.  

Then, even after our wedding, I still had a bit of an addiction to wedding blogs and discovered the lovely girls at Any Other Wedding. I often left comments on the various posts they wrote - they talk about life after the wedding - like actual marriage - so I feel like I can still legitimately follow this blog and not feel like a fraud as I'm not a bride-to-be any more!  Anyway, they invited me to submit a photo and write up, to a weekly post they have called Any Other Photo where you choose one photo that sums up your day for you and tell the story behind it.  Its a great idea as the photos chosen aren't necessarily the ones you might expect.

Then a new wedding blogger came to town locally called Quirky Weddings and I happened to put a comment on the Facebook page mentioning that I had a handmade 50s style wedding dress for sale if any of their brides-to-be were looking for something like that.  Cate from Quirky Weddings contacted me and asked if I would write a post on the story behind my dress and it would be posted when their new site went live.  I must confess I've been so busy with arty blogs and art work that I only just discovered it had been posted here!

Anyway, I know this has nothing to do with art but I did draw the sketches for my wedding dress design so there's a tenuous link there somewhere! I promise I won't mention weddings again until at least our first anniversary!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Paint Party Friday...rework, re-do and repeat!



This week I've mostly been working on the oil painting of my bro-in-laws house. I asked my sister to send me some reference photos without cars parked outside. Turns out there isn't a time when there aren't cars parked outside!

Also I was slightly off when I dated the house to the 1800s - it was actually built in 1580!!

Anyway I decided I didn't much like what I'd done so far. It seemed flat and the perspective was all wrong. So I repainted most of the painting, changing the angles of windows, walls and the way I applied the paint. I also found myself adding a lot of red and pink; colours which don't really exist in my reference photos but I quite like the result.

I'm not sure why but even if I stand back from the canvas I still don't see the things that are wrong the way I can when I take a photograph. So once I finished last night, I took a photo for the Paint Party and straight away saw that the angles still weren't quite right. Still, I have to leave it to dry again for a few days and hopefully, hopefully I'll get it right and can start with the little details to add some depth on the session.

In other news, I took my portrait of Reuben to work today and found an empty office to draw in at lunchtime because otherwise I'll never get it finished! This has the added bonus that if I'm drawing at lunchtime then I'm not spending money at the shops!


King's House - built in 1580!


I'm off now to see what everyone else has been up to on Paint Party Friday!


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Walk(ies) like an Egyptian...

On Saturday night myself and S went to a party to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of my friends from school and as we were teenagers in the 80s that was the theme for the party. We had a brilliant night and there were some fantastic costumes and outfits celebrating the decade that taste forgot! The DJ was even the same actual guy who used to DJ at the club we all went to as teenagers (trying to look over 18 when we were actually 15!)

So, in honour of such a great night, this week's Walkies couldn't be any era other than the 80s (and it may be based a little bit on the outfit that the birthday girl herself was wearing!)  The dog of choice for the 80s had to be a Yorkshire terrier because we had two wee Yorkies as family dogs during our teen years.

© Pointy Pix

As far as fashion goes, this wasn't my favourite era at all. Having lived through it and worn the marble wash jeans, the duster coats, the massive belts and more than my fair share of batwing, shoulder pads, neon and primary colours, I'm not that impressed to see so much 80s fashion back in the shops every so often - I even got my harem pants for my outfit in Primark!!

However, as far as music goes then the 80s to me is possibly the last truly great era for music - 90s saw it all go over to the dark side of 'house' and manufactured pop. The 80s really had a fantastic soundtrack.  We were all asked for our favourite track of the 80s (hard to narrow down as there were so many) and these were used as the play list for the party - mine was The Waterboys, Whole of the Moon - it just takes me back to being a teenager, sneaky cigarettes and listening to vinyl records - how did we ever arrange our social lives without mobile phones and facebook! Those were the days when you literally waited by the phone for that boy to ring!!

Anyway, here's a couple of photos from the party - I did have some truly awful hairstyles back in the 80s (who didn't!) but I promise nothing quite as bad as what's going on, on top of my head in these pics!

The Birthday Girl (left) was glowing and so not looking 40!!

Me and S sporting some dodgy hairstyles!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Paint Party Friday...here's one I made earlier

© Pointy Pix
Well, as the saying goes, Thank F it's Friday!  Another week over and another opportunity to ogle all the other wonderful art blogs participating in Paint Party Friday.

This week I did precisely no art work at all. I have reasons/excuses for this which are as follows:-

  1. My stepson K is over for a week's holiday from Scotland. I still had to work so my evenings were spent playing Uno/Smart Ass/Logo at the kitchen table instead of painting at the kitchen table.  I was going to paint last night but then realised K goes home today so my time would be better spent playing some more board games with him and S instead.  I can paint tonight.
  2. The weather has been pretty nice this week (for Ireland) and so after work most evenings, we headed out to the local park/beach for a jog/play around with the pups before coming home for said board games.
  3. Er, actually that's all.
I mentioned in my last post that my love/hate relationship with oils is continuing.  I decided last weekend that I didn't like what  I had done so far with the painting of my sister's house as it wasn't textured enough and I do love a bit of texture.  I also felt like it was trying to be photo-realistic and unless I could do that really well (which I can't) I decided I needed it to be more impressionistic but still look like what it's meant to be.  Therein lies my dilemma.  

I repainted everything I had done so far. Then I was just getting it all muddy as there was too much wet paint. So I stuck it out in S's tool shed just to get it off the kitchen table (for the games' evenings as mentioned above!) and haven't looked at it since. The perspective is skew-whiff but I think if I can get that sorted then it might still be salvageable. Otherwise, bro-in-law will be getting Amazon vouchers for his birthday instead! Anyway, no photo of that this week so instead, I present you with:

The Walled Garden, Bangor, Northern Ireland
This is a little bit of a cheat in that this was the cover illustration for the Sketchbook Project which I sent off on its American travels in January.  However, a friend of mine liked two of the paintings (here and here) and wondered if I would sell them.  I explained that they were part of the sketchbook and I didn't have them any more but I would print them off onto watercolour paper and she could have the prints.  

While I was printing them I decided to do one for us as well and asked S to choose one.  This is the one he chose which wouldn't have been my first choice but actually it'll look pretty good up on our living room wall! By the way - a normal printer really doesn't like dealing with card or watercolour paper - I had to fight with ours to get it to run it through properly but got there eventually!

Hopefully, I'll be back on track next week with more new art work and I'll have finally gotten the perspective on that damn oil painting sorted out! I'm off now to have a gleek at the other artists blogging this week on Paint Party Friday.

Monday, 4 April 2011

The one where I'm a mum...

So, yesterday was Mothering Sunday in the UK.  I don't have children, well, not actual human children at any rate. However I am mum to two Wee Furry Lumps of Love™ and as such, I suggested to S yesterday that surely I should've gotten a Mother's Day card from them.

Later that afternoon, S and my stepson, K, who's over from Scotland for his spring holidays, decided to take the dogs for a kick-about with a ball down at the park while I got on with some more of my oil painting (the love/hate relationship with oils continues unabated and I spent the weekend painting over all my previous work and basically starting again but that's a story for another day).

When they returned they disappeared upstairs for a while and then they handed me this:

S even managed to find one with two white dogs on it!
K had signed it on behalf of the dogs, who haven't yet mastered writing, due to their lack of opposable thumbs.

I also got this:

My beautiful fur babies!!

I don't even care if people think I'm weird - it's on display in our kitchen as it matches the colour scheme!!

I once heard a quote by an unknown person who said 'Children are for people who can't have dogs!' which seems quite apt for me in the circumstances!!

Belated Happy Mother's day to mum's of ALL species!!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Paint Party Friday...it's a dog's life


This week's post is all about dogs.  It is both an update of how my portrait of Reuben is coming along and a plea for help for another wee dog.  I've been juggling this with the oil painting from last week's Paint Party Friday post and also, with the onset of lighter evenings after the clock went forward last Sunday, I have actually been attempting to get down to the beach en famille (me, S and our two dogs!) and start jogging or at least power walking again.


Apologies for the quality of the photos - The lighting in our kitchen wasn't great when I took them.

Session 1

Session 2
Session 4

Close up of eye and ear

Now anyone who's ever read through my blog will know that, although it is essentially about all things arty, there is a bit of a doggy theme running through it.  I love the wee blighters!  As S will tell you, I would adopt every waif and stray we ever see at the local animal sanctuary if I could, and the only times he has ever seen me confront another human being was on the two occasions when said humans were (1) smacking their dog (for no reason other than puppy exuberance) and (2) trying to (drunkenly) kick (!) a baby seal into a beer crate in order to take it back to the sea when it was washed up on the shore.  We had already phoned a local seal sanctuary about it and they had advised that the mum had left it there on purpose and to let it be as she would come back for it.  Normally I would run away rather than get into a conflab with someone but, when it comes to animals, then it seems I will run down a beach shouting like a fish wife and shaking my fist in the air!

So, I'm sure you are wondering where this is going...well, my two dogs are my world and I couldn't imagine them being forcibly taken away from me and left to languish in a bare cell in an unknown compound for almost 11 months while waiting for the local council to secure their death sentence on account of them possibly, but in reality not actually, looking like a 'dangerous dog'.  

Lennox in the unknown pound they're keeping him in
This is exactly what has happened to Lennox, a 5 year old Labrador/American Bull Dog cross in Belfast.  He's been taken from a loving home with a disabled child who adores him and has been left in a pound since May 2010.  Despite Lennox never having caused any problems, the Dog Warden came to the family home, measured his muzzle and rear legs with a dress makers tape measure, decided without any professional advice that he was a 'possible pit bull type' and took him away to be put down.  

You can read his full story at here.  Even my dog-loving heroine Victoria Stilwell from It's Me or the Dog has become involved in Lennox's plight now and the more people who know about it and sign the petition the better chance that the City Council involved will be shamed into admitting they made a mistake and letting this dog return to his loving family.

Sorry for hi-jacking Paint Party Friday but thanks to anyone who clicks on the links and gives Lennox a voice.

Once you've done that, don't forget to pop over to Paint Party Friday to see the great array of art out there in blogland!!

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