Monday, December 31, 2007

Jasper's Feline Abstract ACEO

Sarah's ACEOs

Haven't had much time to paint recently but we did manage to snatch an hour this afternoon to do a little fun painting. I had some ACEO size pieces of gessoed watercolour paper so I got a few acrylic paints out and got my daughter Sarah involved. I only finished one before our tom cat Jasper decided to leap onto the paint and one of the prepared ACEO cards. I've posted my piece here and will post Sarah's and Jasper's in separate posts.

I find new year a little bit depressing but I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thought I'd mention a couple of art technique books which I like. The first one by Claire Harrigan I have mentioned before in a previous posting 'Abstract and Colour Techniques in Painting'. I can't find a website for this artist but you can find examples of her work on the web. The book is illustrated with numerous colour illustrations of her work and gives a good insight into moving towards abstract and semi-abstract art and the use of colour. Being a 'colour junkie' I love looking through this book.

Another book which came my way recently is 'Collins 30 Minute Acrylics' by Soraya French. She is a professional artist and was the 2005 winner of the SAA Artist of the Year award. This book is a little gem which covers the basics as well as providing inspiration in small bites. It is also full of lots of colourful illustrations to whet the appetite. Her website is -

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The weather has been wet and windy - not quite 'Christmas' weather. The snow - if we get any - seems to come later now, between January and March.
All the cats went out to play before the rain got too heavy so the house is now covered in hundreds of muddy cat prints - amazing how they even get them on the walls!

Friday, December 28, 2007

I've never been ice skating before and today was my first attempt. I went with my daughter to The Centre for Life in Newcastle where they set up a temporary open-air rink during the winter.
It took me a long time to leave go of the side and the boots were killing me but I finally managed to get round the rink on my own - I never fell over once, which really surprised me. It's only something small but I feel a real sense of achievement and I tried something new!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The only problem with the days after Christmas is 'post Christmas depression' - that sort of empty feeling you get when the celebrations are over (or is it just me!) Could just be that I'm tired and need a rest - I just don't seem to have the time.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

On Boxing Day there was often a tradition of fox hunting in more rural areas – while some people call this a sport I could never see anything sporting about a group of grown men and women with a pack of savage dogs chasing a frightened animal and tearing it to bits – not to mention the occasions when they invaded peoples gardens and ‘accidentally’ killed peoples pets.

A few years ago a law was passed in England to make hunting wild mammals with dogs illegal though this often seems to be flaunted by people who think they are above the law. I know my views won’t be shared by some people but I’m sure there are more humane ways to deal with foxes and other animals if they become a problem, anyway today I am mentioning the website for the League Against Cruel Sports – always worth a look.

What we seem to forget is that the human race is encroaching more and more into the wild areas that are left leaving nowhere for our wildlife to inhabit – we seem to cause most of the problems, I just hope we can come up with the solutions.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Well , Christmas Day is here at last. We've opened presents, eaten and drunk too much and will spend the evening as 'couch potatoes' watching soaps and the Doctor Who special, then we'll all most likely fall asleep on the sofa with the cats.

My Daughter has spent half the day playing 'Brain Training' on her Nintendo DS - I did try it but found that attempting it after a few glasses of wine is not good for your score! The cats have been playing with the wrapping paper and Christmas crackers and my partner has been chilling out as today is his only day off this week.

I hope you all had a good Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I know it's a bit of a miserable subject to talk about on Christmas Eve but my Dad died late at night on Christmas Eve 1979, and for all it's 28 years ago I still think of him every Christmas Eve. It's a bittersweet time for me as I also lost my Mother in December 2005.
It's about this time of day when the sun has gone down and it's dark outside that I think about all those people I miss, whether they are just a distance away or gone forever. Spare thought for all those missing someone at Christmas, whether they have passed on, or are elsewhere and can't be with you, maybe they have to work over Christmas or maybe they're in the armed forces and posted abroad.
And as it's Christmas Eve and a special time for children let's remember Madeleine McCann who disappeared on May 3rd and hope for a miracle.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Well I've just finished wrapping all the presents so now I can relax and have a cup of tea. Did a quick two minute sketch with a Christmas / cats theme - that's all I've had time for recently as I haven't been able to spend time painting- it should say 'Meowy Christmas' but I don't know if it's readable.
Spare a thought for all those people still at work and those who have to work over Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The town centre of Newcastle is really busy in the run up to Christmas as is the Metrocentre in Gateshead. I suppose it's not just Christians who 'celebrate' the non-religious traditions - many people exchange cards and gifts and join in with the parties - I hope that everyone tries to be a little nicer to each other, a little more tolerant and charitable - lets all embrace the celebration of light at the darkest time of year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thought I would try and take some photos of the surrounding Christmas lights but I didn't get many good photos so I've just posted one - this house is just round the corner.

I'm on holiday at last! tried to do some last minute Christmas shopping - I hate it when I have to do other people's Christmas shopping.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I have one more day at work then I'm on holiday for a few days (hurray!!!) Quite a few of the houses in the area have lights outside so I may take a few pictures and post them tomorrow. We don't have any lights as the cats chew the wires. Never mind I can enjoy everyone else's lights.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

To get into the Christmas spirit we had a little lunchtime 'buffet' in the office. Everyone brought some food or soft drinks (no alcohol allowed on the premises) - makes a change from the boring sandwiches I usually have.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

One of those 'up and down' days today. Just think this time next week it'll be Christmas day and we'll be stuffed with turkey and chocolate........

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just a quick post today as things are hectic at the moment. Went to a Christmas dinner/disco last night - food was OK but there's never enough of it! Most popular thing seemed to be the plastic water pistols which came out of some of the Christmas Crackers - great way to use the awful wine they served!!
Been food shopping this morning as there will be little time as Christmas approaches. My partner's father has been taken ill so we may be really busy for the rest of the week

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cats are close to my heart so I thought I would mention a couple of cat charities - many cats and other pets are homeless through no fault of their own so spare a thought for them at this time of year.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's my birthday today so I treated myself by getting my hair coloured - might as well brighten things up for Christmas.
As I'm another year older I thought I would highlight the 'Help the Aged' site - - I think the elderly get a raw deal when it comes to health and life in general - according to the site half a million older people will eat Christmas dinner alone - something for us all to think about.

I'm hoping to relax tonight with my family, eat my birthday chocolates and watch the X Factor finals.

Friday, December 14, 2007

On the lines of the elfyourself site I mentioned previously there is also scroogeyourself - so that's what I did! - I thought the sideburns were quite fetching LOL
The frost is still here and it looks like it might stay for a few days. As I was walking home from work in the dark the light from the street lamps made it sparkle on the pavement like thousands of tiny diamonds.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Well it's been another cold and frosty day today and people seem to be getting into the Christmas spirit. Some of the houses in the area have outdoor lights which brightens things up and I can see everyone's Christmas trees through their windows. We haven't put a Christmas tree or lights up - not because we don't want to - but because the cats still chew everything in site so Christmas trees and lights are out of the question. We've even had to pin the Christmas cards up high to avoid them being pulled down and chewed

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I've added my friend's site to my list of links - Satori Jutsu - it is a martial art that is more of an art form than a sport and it's well worth having a look at.

I went to Parents Evening at my daughter's school - I'm pleased to say that she seems to be doing well. Next summer the school will be closing and all the pupils will be transferring to a brand new school - a bit sad really as it was also my old school, but then again everything will be new and up to date so I hope it all goes well.

Was hoping for the chance to do some sketching this evening but it's getting late and I've had a busy day (and there's ironing to do)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Today is the second anniversary of my mother's death. She had a hard life and never had things easy - she never seemed to find the happiness she was searching for and I wish things could have been better for her. I do miss her - as you get older yourself you come to realise how short life really is - don't forget to phone or send cards to all your family and friends - even a little gesture can mean a lot.
'elfed myself'' using the site I mentioned in last nights post - here are the results -

Monday, December 10, 2007

Decided to get my hair cut today - I haven't been to the hairdressers for 15 months! (but that's another story) Have booked myself in for a full colour on my birthday, might as well cover up the grey.

Found a fun site on the net, I haven't tried it out yet but it looks good - it's your chance to be an elf - - will post the results if I try it myself.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Today I decided to contact a few friends that I haven't spoken to for a long time. It's so easy to keep putting things off - you come in from work tired and hungry, decide to phone someone later, then weeks later you still haven't picked up the phone.
I phoned two of my best friends and was really glad I did - I won't leave it so long next time.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Thought I would give a mention today for a British artist who paints beautiful fairy and fantasy pictures. I've admired her work for a while and have just purchased her Woodland Faeries Calendar for 2008. As well as producing some beautiful paintings she has produced a book 'How to Draw and Paint Fairies' plus a Mystic Faerie Tarot deck. Her website is and I recommend that you spend some time looking at it

Friday, December 07, 2007

It was 26 years ago today that I started working for the NHS - in fact I've worked for the same NHS trust all that time - the name has changed a few times and I've been in different locations but in the end it's been the same employer.
I suppose the one thing that makes me a little disgruntled is the fact that you get nothing for long service. I know the NHS is always strapped for cash but you don't even get a mention in the newsletter - nothing, zilch. I'm not the only one to have spent almost all their working life so far in the NHS - just a little recognition would be nice - an acknowledgement for our loyalty.
Well that's my grumble for today - normal service will be resumed tomorrow!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

As an early birthday present I decided to order the Blade Runner 5 disc DVD from Amazon. I know it's not my birthday yet but it arrived today - what a bargain at only £17-99 including postage. Just think I can bore my family rigid watching all the different versions plus the documentaries etc - it just happens to be one of my favourite Sci Fi films.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Still trying to keep up with the daily postings - not much exciting to report except that it's very windy outside and it seems to be driving the cats wild.
It's also my cousin's birthday so - HAPPY BIRTHDAY LINDA!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Still trying to post each day for December. I like December - probably because it's my birthday this month - the only thing I don't like is going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark - sometimes I feel like hibernating!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Poor Jasper went to the vets today - his cut paw was dressed to keep it clean but as soon as we got home he managed to remove the dressing. We went back to the vets and they fitted him with a collar to stop him from licking his wound. This wasn't very successful either - he looked so sad and kept on bumping into things so we had to remove it - luckily he has some antibiotics to stop any infection.

Have posted a picture of Jasper and his sister Carmen in the cat bed.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Thought I might try and make the effort to post each day of December. Not sure what I'll write about yet but I'm sure I'll think of something. My big ginger tom Jasper has cut his paw so it's a visit to the vets tomorrow - I haven't told him yet!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Wow, I haven't checked in here for ages. My internet connection was very slow but now I'm on broadband it wizzes along!
1st of December today and I'm finally beginning to feel a little bit Chrismassy.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

It seems such a long time since I posted. Have been busy with work and can't get on line so often.
It saddened me to learn that the artist Laurel Burch passed away on 13th September 2007. I loved her bright paintings, especially the cats. One of my favourite pairs of earrings is her rainbow cats. Her bright colours and designs really sang to me. I'm sure she's somewhere painting the rainbows and colouring the flowers.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I can’t believe that I haven’t posted for such a long time. Things have been hectic and chaotic – I’ve had to move offices and start working with a brand new computer system. Life seems to consist of getting up, going to work, coming back home and going to bed. I haven’t had time to even lift a pencil to sketch – there must be more to life than this.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Hoppings has arrived! Europe’s biggest travelling fair is here for its annual ‘Race Week’ pitch. And of course the ‘Curse of the Hoppings’ has brought the inevitable wet weather – we had torrential rain on Saturday and it’s been raining on and off ever since so the Town Moor is a quagmire of mud.
When I was young the arrival of the Hoppings was one of the highlights of my year, on a par with Christmas, Birthdays, Easter and Bonfire night. We weren’t well off so never went on holidays – instead I would save my pocket money to spend at the Hoppings – it even had its own smell, a mixture of generators, chips and candyfloss!
I still enjoy walking around the Hoppings but if the bad weather continues I may have to give it a miss this year, probably a sign of getting old......

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's ages since I've posted anything in my blog - work is so hectic I tend to crash out when I get home (or I would if I got the chance!) Have got some cat photos etc to post at the weeknd - might even do some painting.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Good old English Bank Holidays - sunshine and showers, rubbish on TV, bored kids, men attempting DIY- musn't complain, at least I'm not at work today.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Another interesting artist - Sylvia Edwards - who paints brightly coloured, imaginative watercolours.
I also have a large book filled with her striking watercolours - - it's expensive but I got a cheap almost new copy for half the price.
This book features her work along with other artists - - out of print but well worth reading.

After messing about with splodges of colour on thick watercolour paper I decided to try a five minute painting of an apple - it's not too bad but I can see I need a lot of practice!

I've been trying to get back into painting after many years - I passed my A level art approx. 28 years ago but I was never a fantastic artist. So I finally succumbed and decided to try and make a colour wheel. Had a look through the Nita Leland book "Exploring Colour" and decided to use lemon yellow, azo yello med., quin red, permanant rose, ultramarine and Phthalo blue (GS). You can just about see my haphazzard attempt. Just to compare a few colours I put splashes of other tube colours around the outside - Buff titanium, phthalo green (BS), cad orange, cad red light, quin magenta, diox purple - all are Winsor and Newton Finity range except for the Buff tit.
which is System 3. My daughter wanted to get involved so I let her paint some of the colour patches.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

It would have been my Mother's birthday today - she died December 2005. It's one of those sunny Spring days today, the sort of day she loved - I can picture her sitting in the garden with her cats, soaking up the warmth of the sun........

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thought I might post occasional links to artists I admire. Not all have websites of their own - especially those from previous centuries!! LOL So I'll post sites where their work can be seen.
I want to start with Mary Fedden who is still going strong even in her 90s! There is a book by Mel Gooding showing her work and there will be a new book coming out in June - both are listed on Amazon if you want to check them out. Below is a link for a gallery featuring some of her art.

Anne Redpath is another interesting artist - a short biog and images can be seen at this site -
Was browsing Amazon the other day (can't resist books!) when I came across an interesting art book. It hasn't been published yet but I've pre-ordered it as it looks good. Looked up Claire Harrigan on the web, couldn't find a site as such but found her paintings on some gallery sites. Was very impressed so I'm looking forward to the book.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring is finally here, the tree in the front garden is covered in pink blossom which looks like pink snow when the wind blows.
I've been trying to grow some English bluebells, a few have come up but not as many as hoped - sorry about the blurry picture.
The cats are enjoying the weather although Daisy is a little nervous about being outside so she tends to hang round the kitchen window (yet another blurry picture)
Tomorrow is 1st May which I believe was called Beltane, a festival which marked the return of Summer wth the lighting of fires - and a chance to dance round the Maypole.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Found an interesting new book on Amazon - Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reyner. It's not available here till the end of June but should be available in the USA now. Have put it on my wish list. Had a look at the author's website and was impressed by her paintings.
Haven't been to the Laing Art Gallery for a few months - even though it's in the centre of town I never seem to have the time to call in. I went yesterday with my partner as it was his birthday and we had a day off work. There's a great exhibition on at the moment 'New Art for a New Era' featuring some of the artists who emerged at the beginning of the 20th Century. I must make a resolution to go more often.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

While I was ironing I thought I would quickly try to sketch Carmen who was sleeping on the sofa. For a sleeping cat she moved around a lot in a few minutes. I switched on the TV to pass the time because ironing is one of the chores I hate most in the world – I would really welcome a fashion for wrinkled clothes. March of the Penguins was on – I’ve never seen it but I ended up sobbing most of my way through it – thought I would try a 30 second sketch on the back of an old envelope – need more practice …LOL

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My young cats haven’t been outside a great deal so to get them used to the garden we’ve started taking them out on cat harnesses. Here’s a picture of my daughter and Jasper, a close up of Carmen and another picture of Jasper.

It was my daughter’s eleventh birthday last weekend – she had me all over Town and the Metro Centre looking in all the teen clothes shops, by the end of the day I felt very tired and very, very old!
The weather can’t seem to make up its mind – it’s been quite mild but very wet so all the flowers are confused – we already have lots of snowdrops and now some miniature Iris.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I am officially old! I got on the crowded Metro the other day on my way to work and a young man in his early 20’s offered me his seat. It was very polite of him and I’m glad to see that good manners still exist, but I was always taught to give up my seat to the elderly or infirm so where does that leave me!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

January 2007 is already passing by at an alarming speed. I realise I haven't posted anything in a while - I've had a reccurance of a 'flu' type virus so I've felt pretty awful for the past few weeks - I suppose it's that time of year - 'post Christmas depression' ha, ha.

My cats are still destroying the furniture - I've never known cats chew so much, in the past few days they've destroyed a telephone, a six pack of bread buns, my daughter's favourite scarf and two toilet rolls! I'll never get any painting done at this rate as they seem to be attracted to my art supplies....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Christmas cards have only just come down but already the shops are promoting Cadbury's mini eggs and creme eggs. Now I like both these items and eat them all year round (given the chance!) but they’ve got great big displays full of them – please give me a chance to recover from Christmas first…

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007 is here - and I've got a rotten cold (again). Some things never change....