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.