Thursday, 14 February 2013

All creatures great and small...

Face 11 & sketch 14 of 75

I started volunteering at the local animal re-homing shelter last week.  I'll be there twice a week in the mornings.  It's really small with only 4 paid staff so the chances of a paid position opening up there is pretty remote but never say never.

The morning routine is to clean out the kennels, the cattery and the small mammal room where they have kittens, rabbits, even hedgehogs and a black bird with a missing tail feather. 

It isn't a big place so there is only room for a few of each species of animal but while they are generally quite full (which isn't good as it means folk either are unable or unwilling to continue looking after their animal companions), the good news is that many of the animals don't spend too long there before they are re-homed. 

Face 12 & sketch 15 of 75

Of course I fell in love with every dog, cat and rabbit that I came into contact with and wished I could adopt them all. It's funny because one of the woman lucky enough to work there full-time said she often felt a particular connection with certain animals and I knew exactly what she meant as I felt a special affinity with one cat in particular but I don't think our dogs would take too kindly to him moving in with us and he has to be re-homed somewhere without other animals anyway, so hopefully he'll find a new home with someone else soon.  In the meantime, I'll always be sure to give him (and all the others, for that matter) plenty of affection and cuddles every morning that I'm there volunteering. 

Face 13  & sketch 16 of 75

In other news, on Wednesday this week there was a big old snow storm that affected most of the north of England and Scotland.  I had gone to the animal shelter in the morning but within an hour it was a full on blizzard and the roads were covered.  The manager sent me home early as he knew I was nervous of driving in snow never having done it before. I got home and settled in with my slanket and hot water bottle - the power went off (again!) and was off for most of the day which wasn't so good but at least I had my sketch book and my kindle and the dogs curled up beside me to keep me warm when the hot water bottle became a cold water bottle. 

S did his final exam for his training course on Wednesday morning  (which he aced!) and drove from Manchester all the way back up here - a long enough journey when there's no snow! Thankfully, he'll be staying up in the north of Scotland now with only the odd overnight stay on the Orkney Islands now and again so my days of being home alone with the dogs are over! 

Face 14  & sketch 17 of 75

It's been a few days since I posted so today we have Faces 11, 12, 13 & 14 of 29 Faces - all dogs - no surprise there!! These also qualify as Sketches 14 to 17 of the 75 day sketch challenge. 

I'm posting today but will be linking this to Paint Party Friday - be sure to pop by and see the ever-growing army of artists who join in every week!

And in an idea I'm borrowing from the lovely Tracey Fletcher King - Just in case you missed it and want to catch up on news from Craggis Cottage, my other post this week can be seen here:-

                    Last Orders...


  1. The moment I began reading I thought... Oh dear - this might not be the best job for Nicola... How many animals will she end up taking home??
    But then again, it's nice that the animals have someone like you to look after them - Just don't end up living in a zoo yourself, lol!
    I'm sharing a few sketches of my own this Sunday - but mine are nothing like as good as yours! Then again all of mine were done between 3 and 15 minutes, so it's hardly surprising!
    No doubt you'll be stocking up on candles the next time you go shopping, lol!:0)

  2. I was thinking that too, but look at all the live models you have in front of you. Fantastic. Your drawings are marvelous. Pen and ink I'm assuming? If you're going to be snowed in sans creature comforts, there is nothing more comforting than a pen in hand and a sketch book; the hours fly by. Glad S is headed home. Another human voice is pretty comforting too.

  3. Awesome portraits! And congrats on volunteering! I would find it so hard not to adopt everyone. :) It's a good thing they're quickly re-homed.

  4. Loving your gorgeous portraits and am pleased to hear you are making a great life for yourself up there. Happy Valentines Day. Happy PPF, Annette x

  5. Well done on volunteering...big or small, animal shelters appreciate all the help they can get. It is so sad and disheartening to see many shelters overloaded with unwanted animals and a large percentage of those poor, unwanted souls end up being PTS. It breaks my heart. :(

    I'm so glad we don't live in blizzard country....although we did have a tornado warning in Brissie not so long ago.

    Your dog portraits are beautiful!

  6. So glad S is home with you now. Your dogs blow me away, as always!

  7. Your doga are beautiful again! Especially love that great Dane.

  8. Glad you are putting your link up to posts in case people have missed them because your work is amazing... I know you have had too much time on your own, and I am glad that that time is done with , but boy are you drawing beautifully at the moment... each work is more stunning than the last and seeing each doggy face tugs at my heart... I would want to bring them all home as well.. stunning work... I am loving this series so much...xx
    PS hope that is the last of the horrid storms...xx

  9. These dogs are amazing! The bulldog looks very much like one I adopted when I was volunteering at a shelter. Sophie was with us for 14 years, a gem of a dog. You do such a wonderful job capturing the personality of the dog. Beautiful!!!

  10. the detail and the character that you have captured in this puppies is just amazing. Happy PPF !

  11. Your drawings are just amazing! I am glad you arrived home safely from the snowstorm. I often wonder what it is about certain animals and even people that we feel we must have met before?

  12. Lovely sketches, and glad you have found a worthwhile occupation with those animals! It's bitterly cold and snowy here, too! Valerie

  13. Wonderful portraits. I am so grateful for my rescue dog. :)
    We enjoyed watching the AKC Dog Show this week!
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  14. Your portraits are always full of the love you put into them. Love your dogs. Congrats on the volunteer job, that's so you. I'm sure the "tenants" are happy you are there to talk to them and give them your attention. Happy PPF and thank you for you nice comment on my blog.

  15. Gorgeous portraits of those dogs!

    Keep warm. Glad S will be back soon - hope that chimney is working soon.

  16. I seem cool your dog faces are perfect. Saludos

  17. I love your wonderful portaits. Happy PPF

  18. Beautiful sketches, I love them all! HPPF!

  19. Your drawing has taken a leap to another level - they are stunning and you are able to capture the spirits of those sweet hearts with your beautiful skills. I would have to bring them all home with me. They all are so lucky to have someone like you to share some love and cuddles in their limbo time between homes. Great for you for volunteering!! Such an inspiration.

  20. Super talented and I have to say that the amount of details in your line work is outstanding!!! well done!!!

  21. Your art is really amazing, Nic. I can't imagine having the talent you have to draw animals. Such beautiful pieces of art. The volunteer job sounds wonderful. I think I'd love it myself. Stay warm!

  22. Amazing work and beautiful sketches.
    lovely greet and nice weekend

  23. What a story ... Enjoyed every word. Your art is incredibly awesome, such detail. Wow!

  24. Nic, I love that boston terriers expression, so expressive! I would never be able to leave at the end of the day if I worked at a shelter - all those cute faces! x

  25. Nic, I love reading about what you are experiencing. I know the shelter is really excited about having such a wonderful volunteer. I will keep my fingers crossed that something permanent will open up. Everyone would benefit if it did.

    You portraits are amazing. Your love for animals shows through on each one.


Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.


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