Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Sunshine and Snow!

'Puffin Christmas' - gouache on watercolour paper

Did I mention that I'm going to Florida next week?  No?  Well, I'm off to Florida next week!!

When my sister came to visit back in July, she told me that she was going to Naples, Florida for a friend's wedding. Her husband couldn't go so she had a plus one.

A couple of days into my sister's visit I came downstairs to find S and her industriously checking out flights on-line and S said he was going to book me a flight so I could go with her citing 'we'll be a long time dead' as grounds for not worrying about whether or not we could really justify a flight to Florida when we still have so many ugly carpets to replace in our new house! So, my sister booked me a flight from Inverness to London and S booked me a flight from London via Dallas Fort Worth to Fort Myers and so, I'm off to Florida with my sister on 25 September for a whirlwind week!

Puffin on brown recycled card stock 

Now, despite having known about this for two months and despite being determined to start a healthy eating plan (I'm the unhealthiest vegan ever) and an exercise plan - it seems that once you hit your forties just walking the dogs everyday isn't enough to keep the pounds from creeping on - it would appear that here we are with less than a week to go and I'm still the same size and shape(less) as I was. I went into panic mode on Sunday and began flinging myself round the living room, in a very poor approximation of the Zumba moves the Latina lovelies are doing on the DVD but that lasted two days until I was so stiff I could hardly move so I doubt it's going to do much to reduce my bingo wings in time for me to have to reveal them in sleeveless dresses and tops.  Now, I'm philosophically telling myself that while I won't be the thinnest person in Florida, I certainly won't be the largest and just to get on with the business of enjoying every second of it.

Puffin on brown recycled card stock and on white card stock 

Anyway, you came here expecting to see some new art so I better explain what I've been up to this week. A new Christmas card design. That pretty much sums it up. I did it in gouache. I ordered some recycled brown card stock so as well as printing it onto the white card stock I have also printed them onto watercolour paper squares which I've then Mod Podged onto the brown card. These will be joining my other cards in my Etsy Shop.

I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday this week as usual and I apologise in advance if last minute packing keeps me away from visiting everyone but I'll try to get round as many as I can.

See you when I get back from the Sunshine State!!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Make a little birdhouse in your soul...

It's been a productive week Chez McLean.  I bought a box of 6 little birdhouses from Amazon a few weeks ago and as I've just signed up to take a stall at a Christmas Craft Fair in Caithness Horizons in town, I decided I better make a start on painting them.  

I came up with and quickly discarded several ideas on how to decorate them. I'd been thinking of doing Big Skies, Little Planet scenes on them or perhaps little patchwork patterns or suchlike but it just didn't feel right. Then I woke up on Saturday morning with a lightbulb moment - they already are little houses so why not just keep them as little houses and give each one a different theme and a different little bird?!

So, here is the first of them. I was going to do a seagull but those cute little puffins just keep calling out to me!

'Birdy Beach Hut' - painted birdhouse




I also had an idea on how to possibly raise some funds for the animal shelter I volunteer at. I'm offering to do commissioned pet portraits of rescue animals that people have adopted and I'll donate 50% of the commission fee to the shelter. I ran it past the charities head office and the manager at the centre and they were happy for me to put up some posters at the shelter to let people know. I've also put a notice on a local community website and I plan to see if I can get an article or an advert in the local newspaper as well. 

Here's the poster I've put up at the centre:


That then led to an idea of creating gift certificates which I can sell at the Christmas fair.  That way, if someone wants to give the animal lover in their life a gift they can purchase certificates in multiples of £5 towards the cost of a commissioned portrait.  I'm going to list these on Etsy too. 


Last but definitely not least, I wasn't the only one being productive this week,  my lovely, romantic, husband disappeared off to his man stuff in the garage on Saturday and then presented me with this:

Driftwood Love made by the very lovely S McLean 
He made it out of little bits of driftwood that we'd gathered from the beach when we came here on holiday way before we ever dreamed we would get to live here. We'd taken them home with us to Ireland and then brought them back here when we moved. I love it so much - he's such an old softie at heart!

I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday.  Be sure to pop by to see the many & varied artists who join the party each week. 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

A very gentle giant

'A gentle giant' - acrylic on box canvas 5x5 inches

Back to acrylics this week and my little mini dog portraits. This is one of the dogs at the shelter still awaiting his forever home. He's a Great Dane/Lurcher cross who for the purposes of this post we'll call Thor. When he stands on his hind legs he's taller than me but he's just a big, old gentle giant. 

Both S and I fell in love with this guy when he first arrived at the shelter a few months ago. We went so far as to introduce him to our two dogs to see how it would go. It didn't go well. Despite being ankle high to Thor, Reuben decided he didn't like this possible interloper and competitor for our affections one little it and made his feelings abundantly clear - it nearly came to doggie blows. We were gutted but unfortunately it just wasn't to be. Some folk can add to their dog family without the existing dogs having a furry tantrum but not us, it would appear. Hey ho, I guess two dogs and a cat will have to be enough for now.



Anyway, Thor loves human company and when I take him out for his exercise he'll do anything for a treat and a belly rub. He's learnt to give me his (enormous) paw (very enthusiastically, I might add!), sit, lie down and roll on his side whereupon he'll stay there in dog ecstasy for as long as I tickle his tummy. Hopefully, someone worthy of his affection will come for this beautiful boy before too much longer - if you could all send some positive thoughts out into the universe for him it couldn't do any harm!



In cat news, Purdey fell asleep on my lap. Twice! This is a huge deal as she was so unapproachable when we first brought her home just over a month ago. She now comes running up to us every time we visit her in the garage and when I do Reiki with her she'll lie down beside me or, the last two times, on my lap! I'm still optimistically hopeful that by Christmas she'll be in the house, in front of the fire, although every time she sees the dogs (through the glass door) they bark at her and she hisses at them so maybe it won't be this Christmas!

I'm linking to Paint Party Friday and want to say again how much I appreciate those who take the time to visit and leave a comment. I try to get round everyone at some point over the weekend but sometimes the business of life means a week passes and here we are again and I've not completed all my visits!

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