Thursday, 31 May 2012

This is the summer that was...

Credit S:  Brodie in her element!

Credit S: And Reuben in his!
So, that's our summer over.  The clouds rolled in yesterday and the weather finally broke last night with the more typical liquid weather that we're used to in Ireland.  Still, we had a whole week of sunny skies which is more than we had over the last few years so mustn't grumble.

Credit S: Wild flowers

Credit S: Busy, busy.
I'm not sure if the news is such a big deal in other parts of the world but over here (well in England) we have a Queen who's about to celebrate 60 years on the throne and it's reached saturation point here along with the Olympics and that damn torch.  I'm not much of a royalist, truth to tell, but am contemplating taking part in a competition I've heard about to paint a portrait of the Queen as the winner gets hung in the National Gallery (the painting, not the painter).  I'll keep you posted if I do. Anyway, in honour of the Queen's Jubilee we get an extra bank holiday meaning we're off Monday AND Tuesday (thanks very much ma'am!)

Credit S: Poppy in my folks' garden

We're celebrating in our own way by heading off to Enniskillen in County Fermanagh for the long weekend on our first caravan trip of the year - it's already June so we're a bit slow on it. I can't wait to get away and the dogs even had their hair professionally clipped today in anticipation of some more warm weather as they weren't too happy with all that fur during the hot spell.

Credit S: peek a boo!

Credit S: The early bird gets the, er, caterpillar

I didn't get near my art studio this week.  We spent a wonderful weekend up at my folks' house in Derry last weekend and made the most of their fabulous south facing completely private back garden! I even managed to get some prickly heat (the bane of my rubbish, fair, Irish skin! - in my next life I'd like to be Eva Mendes please).

Credit S: Brodie trying to cool down in the grass
Credit S: while Reuben just stays in the shade!
Anyway, Monday evening I wasted pottering round the house, Tuesday was my animal care night class and a visit from a bearded dragon, Wednesday was spent packing as Thursday was taken up with trips to the beauticians and the hairdressers and here we are with no art to show.  

So, I'm going to be really cheeky given that Paint Party Friday kinda has the clue in the title and link up anyway just so just because I wanted to show off some of the photos my husband has been taking recently.  He's really gotten into photography and he has a real eye for a good picture.  There's a competition coming up with a TV show called Countryfile for a photo inspired by wildlife in the UK and he's been snapping away to see if he can capture the perfect shot.  So, instead of my art, this post is illustrated with some of my husband's instead!

Credit S: An Irish country garden!
 Hope everyone in the UK enjoys the long weekend and that we get some more of that lovely weather!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sunshine on a rainy day...

Actually, it should be the other way round - here's some rain on a sunny day!  We've been having an extraordinary week of sunshine - 4 days on the trot so far which is practically unheard of round these parts.  Unfortunately, I went home from work sick on Wednesday afternoon with a blinding headache and was off the next day too so I haven't seen much of the sun at all. It is supposed to last right through the weekend though so fingers crossed,  I may yet get to stock up on vitamin D and even get a few freckles on my face on Saturday. 

Work in progress - 'A view less boring'
Anyway,  this week I sold the pig painting. Yay.  It was to my sister. She saw it and fell in love with her cute snout. I did offer just give it to her seeing as she's my sister and a very lovely sister at that but she wouldn't hear of it, pointing out that I'd never make a career of art if I give away all my work!  Fair enough, I guess.   

I bought some satin varnish spray to put over it as with the last few paintings I've made the mistake of using step 2 of the crackle glaze thinking that without step 1 it would just glaze and not crackle.  Wrong.  The owl painting I did is now very crackled.  Actually, it looks good on the owl but I don't want that effect on the rest of my paintings.  Anyway, the satin varnish spray is lovely and the pig is now ready to be sent off to its new home!

So this week I'm posting a work in progress which still has a ways to go before it's finished.  This is another rainy window painting based on a photo I took from our den window one evening when it was absolutely lashing down just before it started to get dark.  We live on a very unexciting street; it isn't pretty and the view from the window is certainly not inspiring.  However, some rain drops and streaks running down the window blurring and reflecting the street lights and even my street looks pretty in the rain!

As with all my art work these days, it looks better if you stand back and squint!

Work in progress - acrylic on canvas 30cm x 40cm
A view less boring - the photo I'm working from.

In other news, I finally stocked my 'shop' over at Fine Art America - I've put a link straight to it in my sidebar (hint, hint).  Gloria kindly told me about this site ages ago and I registered but did nothing else.  So, this week I finally took some time to upload a few of my paintings which Fine Art America sell as prints in all sorts of formats and sizes.  I was amazed at how many other artists from Northern Ireland are registered on there.  It seems like a great website for artists and hopefully I might have more success there than on Etsy (my shop is now empty there and I don't think I'll bother to restock for now).

A close up section
So, that's my news for this week.  I'm linking to Paint Party Friday and hope to get round to visit as many of the other artists who join the party as I can over the weekend. 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Each one, Reach one

On our trip to the North of Scotland here, S took this wonderful photo of one of the pigs we befriended and I really wanted to paint it. So that's what I've been working on for the last week or so.

pointillism portrait of a pig
'I'm rooting for you'  Acrylic on 12 x 12 inch canvas
I deliberated over whether I could include it in my Windows to the Soul series because you can't actually see this wee piggie's eyes. But then I decided that the way she would come running when we called and then jump up and stick her snout into the air with curiousity and friendliness showed me that, just like us, all farmed animals each have their own wonderful personalities when they aren't being kept squashed in gestation crates in factory farms unable to exhibit natural behaviours. 

Her snout was all muddy from all the rooting and snuffling around she did in her big mucky sty and although I'm still hoping for a lottery win so I can save her and her pal from becoming Christmas dinner for the folk who owned the croft, I have to console myself with the knowledge that at least, while she is alive, she is getting to live just as a pig should. So, based on that, I figured her portrait absolutely qualifies to be included as I think her soul still shines through even without the eyes!

Now, onto another animal story. Those kind folk who've been following my blog for a while might remember the times when I've mentioned a wee dog called Lennox, who has now been locked up in a pound for 2 years this month because of the absurd Breed Specific Legislation in force in Northern Ireland coupled with the apparent inability of Belfast City Council to correctly recognise a breed of dog or to acknowledge their own mistakes.

As this is now the 2nd anniversary of Lennox's incarceration his family and supporters are joining together over the next 72 hours to try to reach out via Facebook and Twitter in a campaign called 'Each one, Reach one' to let even more people know about Lennox's plight and that of 1000s more dogs just like him. There are over 100,000 supporters worldwide so if each one could reach one more person then that's a whole lot of support worldwide. 

All dog folk have been asked to post photos of their dogs with posters of support for Lennox so here's mine, which S kindly took with the lure of a treat held above his head to keep them so still and accommodating!:

On 24 May there will be one last appeal to overturn the decision to put Lennox down. His family will even ask the Court to consider allowing Lennox to go to the Republic of Ireland where they don't have BSL as there are many supporters there who would be willing to offer him a home. That's how much they love him.  I'd really appreciate if you would take a minute to sign the petition and send good vibes to Lennox and his family so that finally the right thing can be done.

I'm linking as always to Paint Party Friday and am going to try really hard to start blogging more than just once a fortnight so I can start taking part in the Artist's Playroom as well!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Ice and Glass...

So, after last week's post on my unsuccessful rainy window painting, I did sort of end up regretting my haste in painting over it. Maybe next time I'll set it aside for a while before throwing the head up and wiping it out of existence!

Ice and Glass - acrylics on canvas 40cm x 50 cm

In my world this week, I am very excited that season two of Work of Art:Next Great Artist is starting on Sky Arts. Its on at 8am which is weird but that's the joy of Sky+ and bring able to record it! I was so pleased that Abdi won in the first season; he was definitely the best artist and the nicest person, in my humble opinion. I've had it on good authority from Carol over at Carol King, Painting, Drawing, Complaining that season two has even more extreme characters that will have me shouting at the TV so am looking forward to that!

Also this week we've got two more music concerts lined up. The first is Brit Floyd, a Pink Floyd tribute band. S is a huge Pink Floyd fan and has seen both the real band and various tribute bands over the years. I've tried really hard to like them but other than a few of their slower songs, I just think their music is too weird. Anyhoo, for our anniversary last year, I thought it would be romantic to get S tickets for this Brit Floyd concert and for me to go with him, as a couple, with me sharing in his passion for the music. A girl at work suggested bringing my Ipod and listening to something else while the band is playing!

Then we're going to see Train on Monday night. That, I'm hugely excited about as we have all their albums and I think they're amazing even though they don't seem to have made it as big in the UK as they should've. Without exception everyone I've told about going to see them has said "who?"

Anyway, art. So this is the painting I did over the top of the rainy window. This was a photo I took inside a wee vegan cafe in Krakow. It wasn't rain so much as condensation and actual ice on the inside of the window but I liked how we could see the old fashioned street lamp through the condensation. I think it's finished but I'll leave it for a week or two before I glaze it in case I decide to tweak a bit more. 

The photo I took from inside the Green Way Cafe, Krakow.
I'm linking to Paint Party Friday and love the new section of interviews with different artists each week. It's so interesting to hear everyone's back story.


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