Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Golly gouache, I think I like it!

Puffin in gouache on watercolour postcard 

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by last week and told me how to pronounce 'gouache' (g'wash)!

I spent this week completing my first ever gouache painting. It's the same puffin that I painted in acrylics way back here in May but this time I painted it with the same blurred background as in the original photograph which I sourced from Paint My Photo courtesy of Lynton Bolton 

Photo courtesy of Lynton Bolton at Paint My Photo

It's only a little thing measuring 10cm x 15cm on a watercolour postcard which I'm thinking I might submit to the Twitter Art Exhibit (I mentioned it a couple of posts back if you want to find out more about it and maybe enter it yourself). I'm quite pleased with how it turned out and I think I'm going to like using gouache although I think I might need to invest in some hot pressed watercolour paper that has a much smoother surface than the paper I have in my art supply cupboard at the moment. 

In other news this week, I'm really happy to report that the gorgeous wee dog I painted back here found his forever home at the weekend!  I was at the animal shelter today and I really missed my time in the exercise run with him as he would just sit contentedly beside me with a ball wedged in his mouth (which he'd shake every so often so I'd end up dripping in dog slobber!!) while I petted and cuddled him, but I'm so pleased he's gone to a lovely new home. The next dog I planned to paint on a mini canvas was adopted a couple of weeks ago but I had a real soft spot for him (actually I do for them all!) so I'm going to paint him anyway. 

That's all for this week - a surprisingly short post for me! I'm linking to Paint Party Friday as always and will look forward to visiting folk over the weekend.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

I'm not sure how to say this...

...'Gouache'. Really. Up until a few weeks ago I honestly didn't know how to pronounce it far less what it actually was. Perhaps that's why I'd never tried it before - the inability to actually ask for it in an art supply shop! 

Jotter Doodles - available as greeting cards in my Etsy shop

My friend Angela had suggested I might like using gouache so I asked her what it was and how to say it. Once she told me I decided that, yes, I might like it and so I ordered myself a set of 24 Daler Rowney colours from Amazon. The first lot went missing in transit and had to be re-sent. Then the supplier sent me oils by mistake which I may have kept if I liked oils but I really don't - they are messy and take way too long to dry for my liking and I already have a set that I've only ever used on one painting. Anyway, eventually my gouache paints arrived last Saturday. 

I tried them out for the first time on Monday and the jury is out on whether I like them or not. I like that you can paint light over dark so they are certainly more forgiving than watercolours but I'm not 100% sure if I'm using them right despite watching several 'how to' clips on You Tube. Anyway, the piece I'm working on isn't finished which is why I'm illustrating this post with another jotter doodle instead. 

If you didn't see my last post on how the jotter doodles came about you can have a wee catch up right here:

                                                                  Doodles in an old Jotter

Heart Song

My parents were here visiting from Sunday to Sunday and I had a lovely week with them.  The weather wasn't quite as wonderful as the week my sister stayed in July but while we had our fair share of rain, it only seemed to fall when we were in the house or in the car - every time we got out of the car to visit somewhere it stayed dry and sometimes the sun even put in an appearance so I can't really complain about that!

Me and my parents at Wick Harbour
We dropped my parents back to Inverness airport on Sunday and then S went off to the Orkney Islands with work on Monday so after a few weeks of various visitors suddenly it's just me and the dogs (and the grumpy garage cat!)  

Actually Purdey is a lot less grumpy than she was three weeks ago when she came to live in our garage - I'm not sure she'll ever be able to integrate into the house with the two dogs but hope springs eternal.  

Each time we go out to the garage to spend time with her we take her a ham slice much like the ancient tribes taking a sacrificial virgin to appease the volcano monster. I try to do reiki with her every day and I swear it helps - she curls up in a ball like a little kitten and purrs the whole time. She'll never be a cuddle puss but she does come up to us and rub her head into our hands for a little bit of a pet before deciding enough's enough and stalking away growling under her breath!

I missed Paint Party Friday last week but I'm linking up again this week and will try, as always, to visit as many folk as possible over the weekend. 

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Doodles in an old jotter...

It's funny how things come about.  I was looking for a specific type of card recently and I couldn't find just the right one so I decided to create my own. I came across a quote that I really liked and decided to illustrate it and turn it into a card. I used an old lined jotter to sketch my ideas onto before drawing them out on watercolour paper. However, after I'd drawn the final sketch on good paper, I realised I preferred the one on the jotter paper. The problem was that paper was lined and had holes punched for putting into a file. Then I had an idea. What if I used that jotter doodle anyway and made the lined jotter paper a feature of the card? So I scanned it, cropped it and then added the paint spatters before scanning it again, adding the quote text and printing it out on blank white card stock. And do you know what? I kinda like it!

'Heart Song' - Jotter Doodles Greeting Cards - in my Etsy shop now!

The card went off to it's intended recipient and a new series of 'Jotter Doodle' greeting card ideas was born!

In other arty news this week, I've got a couple of things that I'd like to share with you. The first is a give away that Poppylocke is having (a scrummy new illustration website that I discovered for the first time this week). I've really got my eye on that blue footed booby illustration and so I figured if I mention it here I'll get an extra shot at my name being picked out of the hat! Of course, once you see her lovely work, you'll all want to enter the give away too which will in turn lessen my chances of getting picked! Hey Ho!

The other thing you might like to know about is a thing called #twitterartexhibit that my friend Angela told me about. It's in its third year now and it's getting bigger and bigger each year. Basically artists submit a postcard sized piece of original artwork which gets exhibited at the City Arts Factory, Magic Gallery in Orlando. Each piece is sold for $35 dollars with the beneficiary being the Centre for Contemporary Dance, Special Needs Students. The exhibition runs from 20 March 2014 to 11 April 2014 so you've still got time to get your work sent in with the deadline being 21 February 2014. You need to be on Twitter and you can follow them on @twitterartexhibit or on their Facebook page. 

I'm not sure what I'm going to do for it yet but I'll have a think and get started on it next week - no doubt an animal of one kind or another! In the meantime, we're driving to Inverness Airport tomorrow to collect my parents and I'm looking forward to having them visit for a week - their first visit to our new Scottish home (and quite possibly their last when they see how far away it actually is - about 3 hours drive from Inverness Airport!) 

I'll be linking up with Sunday Sketches this weekend (if it's on as Alexandra is on holiday with her family and her new fiancé at the moment - congratulations Alexandra!!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Give a dog a home...

Staffy pet portrait - acrylic on 5x5 inch box canvas

Well, the last of the art shows is now over and in all I sold only one small painting which wasn't even one I thought was particularly good. It seems that my taste in art is very, very different from that of the good folk of Caithness!! It was quite a learning curve and it seems that if I'm to put myself and my ego through it again next year then I'll need to pay more attention to what sells and less to what I actually love to do and, to be honest, although I'd love to be a working artist selling her work, I'm not sure how much I want to sell out in order to sell art.

Speaking of selling art, I have been putting more time in with my Etsy shop recently (still on stuff I love, mind you!) and spent a lot of time on Royal Mail price finder working out the postage to various destinations depending on the value and weight of the item.  Postage is so expensive nowadays but then you need to be able to get proof of delivery in case it disappears in transit which always costs a bit more.

As well as pet portraits in Indian ink and watercolour, I wanted to be able to offer them on canvas but because the cost of postage is such a consideration, I had an idea to do the opposite of 'go big or go home' and instead I decided to go small and hopefully go international! So I ordered a bunch of little 5 x 5 inch boxed canvasses to do bespoke pet portraits which I'll list in my Etsy shop.

In order to have some samples to show I took photos of some of the gorgeous dogs and cats currently awaiting their forever homes in the animal shelter I volunteer at and plan to do their portraits as well as probably doing yet more of my own two dogs and quite possibly the ever grumpy Purdey, our new, old cat!

So, first up is this happy fella.  He's a very intelligent Staffy who absolutely lives for cuddles and affection. If ever a dog could change your perception of the unfortunate stereotype surrounding a breed, then he's the one to do it.  He's such a sweet character.

A Sweet Staffy

I really enjoyed painting this sweet wee guy and have a few more photos lined up of some of the other dogs to do next.  Some of them are a bit too busy playing ball to stay still for a photo opportunity but some, like this wee man, just love to look up adoringly at you (especially when they know you've got treats in your pocket!)

I'll be linking up to Paint Party Friday as always. I'm quite pleased that I managed to get round most of the folk who had linked up by Saturday of last week - such a diverse amount of art to see! I'll endeavour to do the same this weekend although my folks arrive on Sunday for a week's visit - first time I've seen them since January - so I may be busy doing housework just so mum doesn't realise think I spend all my time painting or on-line and none cleaning!! Hi Mum!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

An art class winner, mini art for sale and a new, old cat

'Dancing Skies' - mixed media mini canvas

Last week I posted about a chance to win an on-line art class courtesy of They contacted me last night with the number of folk who entered and I picked a number at random.  The winner is...(drum roll please)...Patsy over at HeARTworks!

Congratulations Patsy, should have emailed you by now with the details you need to claim your free class. I hope you enjoy it. I still haven't managed to start mine as we have visitors for the next couple of weeks so I'll do that once visiting time is over. 

'Stacks' - mixed media mini canvas 

I've been working this week on some more mixed media mini canvasses on the Big Skies, Little Planet theme. I had six mini canvasses and I've used them all and that's all there'll be. A limited edition if you like. I'm done with this series for now so if you'd like to buy one you can do so right here on my blog. I've added Paypal buttons to the Big Skies, Little Planet page in the menu or if you prefer, you can click on the paypal button on this post - just email me to let me know which design you want. 

'Sky on fire' - mixed media mini canvas 

'Full Moon Rising' - mixed media mini canvas

And the two I did a last week: 

'Keep the home fires burning'

'Peace and Quiet' 

These are £16.50 in my Etsy shop but I'm offering them here for a discounted price of £14.00 for as long as anyone happens by this post and they're still available. 

Special Blog Price

Postage is by Royal Mail signed for delivery and the prices are below for International and UK.


In other news, we adopted a cat!! Puss Puss (Now re-named Purdey) was the oldest, grumpiest feline in the shelter where I volunteer and she'd been in there since January always getting overlooked for the younger, more affectionate cats. She used to grumble a lot when I'd clean her run out and she certainly wasn't one you could scoop up for a cuddle! Still, I felt sorry for her because she's about 13 years old and was used to being outdoors and I thought it would be really sad if she spent the rest of her days stuck inside in the shelter.

Anyway, I brought her home after my stint at the shelter on Wednesday and she's already made herself very much at home in the back garden and the garage and the back porch which is all glass so she can sit and watch the birds at the bird feeder. It was thought that she couldn't jump any more but it turns out she can jump just fine so the dry stone wall round the garden which was meant to contain her and keep her away from the dogs is not really doing its job which I discovered as I saw her strolling past the living room window a couple of hours after we brought her home!

She's as grumpy as ever she was - I don't think cats do gratitude and we now live in fear of getting scratched simply walking through the garage to hang the washing up in the garden! Still, at least she's not stuck in the shelter any more and maybe she'll mellow once she gets used to her new surroundings! S introduced the dogs to her one at a time today (on their leads) and she reduced Brodie to a whimpering wreck by all accounts so I think she'll be able to hold her own (against all of us!)

This photo pretty much sums up the bad tempered wee madam that she is!!

Purdey - approach with caution!
I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday, with thanks to Eva and Kristin who are still hosting this great event in its third year and growing still!


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