Monday, 30 December 2013

Ruby the wired haired dachshund (had a very shiny nose)

Doodimals zentangle pet portraits NicseARTh
'Ruby' - Doodimal commissioned pet portrait - A3 watercolour and ink 

So I hope everyone had their own perfect kind of Christmas. I know we did. This year was our first in our new Scottish cottage and we did what we always do which is to have a perfectly relaxing & quiet day with just the two of us & the dogs (& this year the cat too!) except this year we both went to the rescue Centre and spent some time walking the dogs there in the morning before coming home to assume the prone position on the sofa for the rest of the day. 

There never seemed any point sweating and swearing crossing Brussels sprouts and stuffing turkeys (or tofurkeys!) when it was just the two of us so we've never bothered with Christmas dinner preferring instead to cook a whole pile of 'party food'  like (veggie) sausage rolls, onion rings, spring rolls, potato wedges, nuts, dips, crisps - basically everything that's bad for you and we just nibble our way through that all day instead.

Normally we would go to my folks for Boxing Day but now we're up in the far north we had to make do with Facetime on the iPad instead this year which isn't quite as good as being there to enjoy their company and the amazing Christmas dinner that my parents make (just because we can't be bothered to cook one doesn't mean we don't enjoy my mum's home cooking!) 

Anyway, our day was perfect for us and luckily we only lost 1 roof tile in the storms that battered the UK - I know some folk in the South of England were flooded and had no power and it must've been a pretty horrible time. 

I decided I was taking a break from art over the Christmas and New Year holidays and I've done just that using the time to catch up on my reading instead which has been lovely as I never seem to get the chance to lose myself in a good book these days despite only working 2 days a week! I seem to have less time for reading than ever before-that was the only good thing about a daily commute to work I guess! 

Anyway this is a pet portrait commission that I did just before Christmas. Her name is Ruby and she is an adorable wire haired dachshund. Her person is an old school friend of my sister who happened to see the dachshund doodimal in a photo on Facebook of my Christmas fair stall. She chose the colour palette and I have to say I love it - perhaps my favourite colours of any doodimal so far. Sorry the photo isn't the best - I've yet to master photographing A3 pieces without the shadows - I need a bigger scanner!

The real Ruby - cute as a button.

Anyway I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year and here's to even more creativity in 2014.

Friday, 20 December 2013

A surprise tea party...

'Mushu in blue' - gouache and ink on watercolour postcard

A few weeks ago Eva and Kristin over at Paint Party Friday mentioned that they had something special up their sleeves, 'something that involves art, kindness, secrets and virtual gift-giving'. Well,  I, for one, was intrigued and had to find out more and when I discovered what it was they had in mind I just had to take part. 

Those of you who are frequent visitors to Paint Party Friday will know of a very lovely Antipodean lady called Tracey Fletcher King who has had a rough year, going through chemo for breast cancer yet still managing to keep us all entertained on her blog, with her beautiful illustrations and funny tales of life Down Under.

Eva and Kristin had the lovely idea of putting together a collage of artwork created around a tea party theme in honour of Tracey, as anyone who knows anything about her knows she is famous for her love of tea, tea cup, tea pots - anything involving tea really!

Tracey has a gorgeous little dog called Mushu whose mishaps and misadventures often feature in her blog stories and so I scoured Tracey's Facebook photos looking for a photo I could use to paint the little fella - there was always going to be an animal involved in my piece! Keeping in mind the tea party theme, I added a tiny red tea pot to Mushu's collar - I hope this counts.

Tracey is an inspiration to so many of us in blogland and the love and concern all of us art bloggers have for her is testament to how it's possible to develop friendships with folk on opposites sides of the planet that we might never meet in 'real life' but who we find we have so much in common with thanks initially to a shared passion for creating art and showing that art off in cyber space! 

I'm going to take a blogging break over the festive period so I wish everyone happy holidays and hope you all have a fabulously festive time and here's to 2014 bringing the best the universe has to offer to all of us.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Pet portraits and Christmas Fairs.

'Scrappy' - custom portrait in ink and gouache approx 7 x 8 inches

So, after posting and creating every day for the month of November, I decided to take a wee break for a week or so. Not that I wasn't being creative but it was more about printing and labelling and pricing stock for the Caithness Horizons Christmas Fair which was on Saturday 7 December. It took me the best part of a week to get everything ready.

The fair took place over two different floors and various different rooms of the building - which is a sort of tourist information/museum/art gallery/cafe/shop. My stall was in the art gallery bit - hence the beautiful landscape painting above my head in the photo.  I got asked twice how much it was and had to say (through gritted teeth) that unfortunately I couldn't take credit for it as it wasn't mine!

To be honest, it was a bit of a let down. It seems that it wasn't very well advertised other than on Facebook and really, the demographic likely to frequent such fairs may not, in all fairness, be very au fait with social media.

It was only after one of the other stall holders complained that someone went and put a sign outside the building to let folk know the fair was on inside!  Even then it was lunch time before someone thought to put up another sign to let the same folk know that there were more stall upstairs (where I was). There was the usual ebb and flow of people but, by all accounts, not nearly as many as there were downstairs. 

My wee stall 
Anyway, I sold a few greetings cards (one to a woman who, got to admire her honesty, stated it was so she could copy the zentangle style Christmas tree on it and use it for her own cards!) and one of my original gouache dogs on the brown card (half of which I'll give to the rescue centre the dogs come from) so after deducting the price of hiring the table, I didn't exactly make enough to retire on. Still, every cloud has a silver lining and one of my sister's old school friends saw the photo of my stall on Facebook and has commissioned me to do a doodimal portrait of one of her dogs!

The portrait illustrating this post is another pet portrait I've been working on this week which I got via my Etsy shop of a wee cutie called Scrappy. I really enjoy doing the custom animal portraits and am looking forward to starting the next one - a wire haired dachshund this time. 

Although this is an early posting, I'll be linking to Paint Party Friday come Friday as I missed last week and I'll do my best to do the rounds and see what everyone else has been up to in art blogland this week. 


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