Sunday, 15 November 2009

Portrait of a dog as a young pup.........

Thanks for that Mr Joyce- I was having problems with duplicating a previous post title then. This blurb is going to be as short and sweet as this dog is. Meet Pushka. I do not know what sex it is, or indeed what make it is ... but I do know it was a very cute and animated little fur ball, with a friendly nature. Hope 'Mum and Dad' like the painting- there were so many colours in the coat it was actually a bit of a challenge. This has sparked a flurry now of pets as people are trying to get presents done in time for Christmas. 'Oh what a shame' she said, as she thinks of all those many hours sat in the warm doing a job she adores! Wonderful stuff.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Illuminating the world......

It's not because I have been too lazy to write that this blog has fallen silent. Quite the opposite. I haven't even been able to work in the gallery workshop, having instead to turn our kitchen into a drying rack for christmas stocks of lamps. And more lamps. And a few more on top. There is well over fifty now waiting for discerning people to fall in love with and all sorts of styles and designs to choose from- because you must know what I am like by now. We reclaimed the kitchen at the weekend, so now down at SerenArts if all the new lights are switched on it is theoretically possible to see us from space. We glow! A very attractive sight on a cold November day.
Isn't it funny how some things go in cycles? Sometimes I have a commission for say, a dog portrait, and this then triggers of a small spate of other dog portraits. Or someone may buy a handful of the glass cards I do... and then suddenly the whole world and it's Mum are buying them up. This week already I have been asked to do a commission of one of my paintings that has already been sold ( pictured above because I clean forgot to take a photo of the national lamp mountain, in my relief at finally finishing!) The client in question, and quite rightly in my humble opinion, didn't want a mere print so asked for me to paint another similar one. I have no problem with that! Strangely though I now have another request- this time to 'copy' for wont of a better word, a Modigliano that is out of copyright, and has been manipulated in photoshop to change the colours. Not my cup of tea and it will be odd painting in someone else's style... but I may actually learn new techniques from a proper master... and the pennies come in useful of course. Watch this space!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Last illustrations of Charlotte Khan...... 'til the next book!

Can't think, brain's dumb.
Inspiration won't come.

Some days the words just flow onto the page- and other days like this I really struggle to say anything coherent or interesting. Doesn't stop me though as you may have noticed. Here are the last of the illustrations for Julie's (Mulholland) new children's book. All that is left is to go back through the pictures and grey in areas of interest and then process them for the publisher. 'Easy peasy' the computer bit because I hand that over to my long-suffering husband. 'Look Ma, no hands!' I cry, and I never seem to mind if he's busy or not.... I'm good that way. Barring a localized disaster all should be of to the printers in time for Christmas. How wonderfully exciting! Watch this space as they say.....
More good news to pass on. I mentioned in an earlier post of putting a picture into the Bath Prize competition, not expecting to win but more in hope of selling. Well I didn't win but have just had a lovely email saying my work had sold. Hurrah for that I say! I wonder if it went to one of the houses I drew in the Bath scene? I'd love to know.........................

Talking of Bath - seamless link alert - here's a little free advertising for a forthcoming event ( aren't I lovely?!)

An exhibition of water crystal photographs by Dr Masaru Emoto, is accompanied by Dr Emoto himself, who will be speaking at the Roman Baths, on 17th November 2009, on The Secret Power of Water. The world renowned researcher, who photographs water crystals, illustrates how human vibrations effect the external environment.
Tickets are available from the Bath Festival office on 01225 463362. Doors open at 7pm for the exhibition, the talk starts at 8pm.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

More commissions.......

If I were able I would be springing back flips everywhere today. Instead I will just have to settle for leaping around like a loony in my head. You know how it is. I'd hate to knock over someone's mochachocadoodah coffee with a wayward arab spring into a full piked twisting somersault, so I will just sit here quietly smiling instead. Health and safety and all that.
Why so happy? Three commissions in a week all done and dusted and I still had time to watch Strictly Come Dancing ( although I still painted in between the dance routines.... sorry Brucey!) Pictured are two of them. The third I will save for next week to plump up the blog when content may be thin on the ground. Canny heh? Today I am being about as rebellious as I get these days and will NOT be painting a single dot, stroke or splodge of anything. These hedonistic heights may even stretch to a takeaway on the proceeds of all this hard work.... and the sun is shining whilst I'm manning the gallery workshop here. If anyone is having a bad day just come and rub shoulders with me and maybe the happiness will rub off- after all, life is good................................

Thursday, 8 October 2009

More illustrations.................................

I hope you can see these alright as I photographed them quickly rather than scanned them properly. As some of you already know I have been passing away time drawing up some illustrations for Julie Mulholland's new children's book 'The Adventures of Charlotte Khan- Charlotte goes to Hong Kong.' I thought I had finished but a couple of weeks ago Julie asked me to do another 13 of these drawings for her book as she can get more in. What a result! This time they are her ideas for what she would also like to be in there, so it takes the pressure off me to try and second guess what is wanted. I was going to methodically work down the list she gave me but couldn't find the fun in that, so instead I shout out at my husband to pick out a number left and I get on with the corresponding one he calls out. What teamwork, hey?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Finished Ferrari commission.....................

Firstly many apologies for the tardy blogging of late.... unfortunately when things get hectic at work this is the first place that gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. Quite unceremoniously at times! Life has been very good here of late and I find myself swamped with all sorts of commissions- hurrah! Gainful employment until Christmas... not bad heh? It was quite a gamble taking on the extra responsibility of a workshop/gallery space, but it has paid dividends and taking off in terms I only previously dreamed of. The downside though is time slips by alarmingly and you find you haven't written blog entries religiously as you once promised yourself. Ho hum, as my husband says for a multitude of things. I'm feeling all prodigal....
This is the finished ferrari commission I was asked to do by a lovely lady wanting something personal for her husband's birthday. She liked my 'Three Men in a Boat' painting at the gallery, or rather the detail in the picture I can get with oils, and wanted this exact car immortalized as 'hubby' is something to do with the tyres/wheels etc., ( things that go over my head!) I find I am very obliging when money is involved so jumped at this with relish. Apart from having to get the model and wheels right the lady also wanted it against a Tuscan house backdrop... so 'Ta-Daaaah!' Voila. It does exactly what it says on the tin, from Serena.
By the by, did any one read a piece about Damien Hirst recently.... he is apparently given up his pickling dead farm animals, sticking bits and pieces to skulls and getting other people to throw paint onto spinning canvasses for him. Hoorah, I thought, because I never really 'got' all that sort of art. If you are one of the clever people out there that can speak at length on the merits of this type of work/art, please don't write into me as I promise, in a month of sundays, your breath will be utterly wasted on me. I just don't and never will 'get' it. He is in fact taking ' a step backwards' ( his words) and has learnt to paint with a brush on canvas again. Well its about time Mr Hirst, and I truly hope you get the immense satisfaction most of us get from putting our hearts and souls down onto canvas, in true back to basics style work ethics. You never know, you may just enjoy it as it's not always about the money you see.... says she who has just painted for a tidy sum! But you get my drift don't you? More power to his elbow then. I can't wait to see what he comes up with and what he feels about it- how exciting, a new kid on the block.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Ferrari commission.........

Just posting this Babs so you don't think I have gone a.w.o.l.!!! More tomorrow- including some blurb hopefully...... !

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Lansdown Crescent in Bath..... The Bath Prize

Just a quick post today, as in roughly 3 hours and 24 minutes I am off on holiday. For all you stuck here in this pre autumn snap of bad weather, I will try not to enjoy myself too much ( doesn't count! I had my fingers crossed!) If there are any comments ( probably rude ones after that last remark) I will of course reply the moment I am back. Well, definitely after the first load of washing goes on anyway.
It's been a very busy five minutes here trying to quickly complete a commission and a painting for a local competition. The commission was a present for a couple's daughter getting married shortly, and they thought it would be a nice idea to have a painted momento of the church they are to have the ceremony in. I too think that this is a splendid idea as I enjoy being gainfully employed. The painting has been framed up and collected to a rapturous response which was nice- oh if all commissions were that easy.
The second piece is my entry to a local open competition designed to promote the City of Bath. Here is a bit of blurb from their website

Introducing The Bath Prize

A wide variety of artists, working on paintings of the City will produce a multi-faceted portrait of a special place. From this will emerge the one painting judged to be the work that most truly captures the essence of Bath in 2009. This painting will win The Bath Prize! The Bath Prize will be an annual competition and, for this inaugural year, the prize fund is £5,000. The competition is open to British artists over the age of 18 years submitting a painting produced following a visit to Bath.

A Very Special Place

Bath is unique, a world-famous destination where, for more than two thousand years, artists and craftsmen have been inspired by a very special place. Now The Bath Gallery has created The Bath Prize, a painting competition to stimulate new work celebrating the glory of Bath, to recognise the best and to display as much of it as possible in the City that inspired it..

A Painting Competition With a Difference

To ensure that the whole of the City is covered, entrants taking part will be required to produce at least one painting inspired by a specified location in the Georgian heart of the City, these locations will be allocated by ballot.

Guess which bit I got? Even if you tried you couldn't get any more windows in the place! They allocated Lansdown Crescent to me which is quite balking if you are not into architecture. Good job I don't mind a bit of repetition. Good job I don't mind a bit of.... I didn't actually finish until the early hours of the day it had to be given in so I call that a close shave. My wrists are going to thoroughly enjoy not painting frantically for a week. First prize is £2500 which I could spend in the blink of an eye given half a chance but I'm trying to be realistic here- I'd be more than thrilled if it sells at the two week exhibition after the voting has been carried out. That's an equally nice scenario so here's hoping someone has a space on their wall for a sweet little series of watercolours depicting a historic part of Bath. You never know, with all those windows on show someone who lives behind them may snap this up!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Adventures Of Charlotte Khan..... book cover

It took an awful lot longer than I originally thought it would as I woefully miscalculated just how long 'doing the Hong Kong skyline' would take, but here is the approved cover for Julie's (Mulholland) new book. Actually the text hasn't been approved but I only put that on to show the general idea of the finished article. The book is called 'The adventures of Charlotte Khan.... Charlotte goes to Hong Kong' and will be the first of many episodes, knowing Julie's 'hot nib' prolificacy! I had word from her saying just how much she enjoyed the cover idea and it was exactly want she wanted. This bodes very well for future collaborations which I am hoping for, as Julie is one of those people with boundless energy and enthusiasm for life, and sunny temperament to boot. A lovely lady indeed. I do hope her book gets the break it deserves- and no, not just because I have a vested interest!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

New website alert!

My husband is a very talented man. He has just completed a full blown, bells and whistles garnished professional photography website for me to house my ever growing collection of local scenes. I know I am biased, but I think it is a fantastic effort and it all looks professional, modern and easily navigable. A job well done indeed. This new site will run alongside my main art site which also has a more worldwide photography section, but as mentioned before the new website will house photos taken of places in the West Country, my inspirational stomping ground. Hence the name 'West Country Photographs'- a ' it does exactly what it says on the tin' style name! If anyone is interested in having a look here is the link

As ever, all thoughts and comments will be gratefully received, and if any of you out there want your own website why not get in contact with Mike through here- he is very friendly as well as clever!

p.s. Thank you Peps for proof reading it all for us!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

The Adventures Of Charlotte Khan.....

Not so long back in Blogland I posted a couple of cartoon-style illustrations for a new children's book by Julie Mulholland- the lady I had previously worked on book cover ideas for (The Iraqi, and Guns and Roses.) Well, to cut a long story short (can I hear a collective sigh of relief?) she has approved of the designs and sent them off to her publisher. I can show the rest off now without fear of hexing it all. I had an inordinate amount of fun doing these as illustrating a children's book is quite a way removed from my ordinary works; not only was it a liberating media to attempt, but whilst I was immersed in the drawings I kept reliving parts of my childhood long since forgotten... embarrassing moments at school, fun days out and copious amounts of daydreaming the weird and wonderful, all came flooding back. Further more I have been asked to do the book cover too, so it looks like I am gainfully employed in this game for a bit longer!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Another dog portrait...

This space is fast becoming a doggy blog! As promised here is the second of the two ladies I was commissioned to paint. I am so pleased with this one and how it turned out. Black is such a hard colour to get any life into but I've managed it well, I think. She wasn't a natural in front of the camera and kept putting her ears back whenever I moved the lens towards her, looking more like a sea lion than a dog. Luckily I have a good zoom, so managed to capture her unawares while she played. Now all I have to do is frame them up and hand them over- although I wouldn't mind keeping this one for posterity!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Dog portrait.....

Hot of the press a commission I have been working on of a beautiful young golden retriever. She is the palest one I have seen to date, with just a smattering of straw around her neck, ears and eyes. She has a friend too who will hopefully be gracing the blog in a day or two when I have finished her. She is the other end of the scale being a glossy, black labrador... I will certainly be tested on my contrast skills! It's been nice escaping away into my drawing of late- we have the roofers in at the moment doing what they do best, so this is proving a welcome distraction!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Ah.... but is it art?

The prodigal has returned! Apologies for lack of posts recently, but when a girl is busier than an umbrella firm during our summer, then you know something has to give. Alas, the blog 'bought it' for a while. I have had so much to say and show you all, but that was days ago and I have moved on from all the gossip of shows, commissions and wotnot now. If I don't write about things in the moment then I'm afraid it gets consigned to my erratic memory banks for eternity, while I concentrate on the new ( that's a round about way of saying there is only room in my head for one thing at a time! )
Seamless link alert... Ahem, 'talking of new' (did you like that? No visible joins hey?!) the photos I have posted above are the current creative bent that I have found myself engrossed in. I am most sincerely an avid photograph taker, and find great pleasure in lining up a view, setting a scene with light, capturing a split second of life, the finding the beauty in the natural etc, with my camera. I am quite a traditionalist as you have probably garnered from my art postings, so was pleasantly surprised that I found myself enjoying 'altering' and blending photos together, or just bending colours around to suit. The cynic in me says this is just another commercial route to keep the roof over my head but that is only 49% - the other 51% just loves to keep on creating in whatever way, shape or form it may take. I also still have all the associated memories of taking these pictures au natural, as well as the bonus of a sense of achievement by making something new. Whatever your views on altered art I would greatly appreciate your feedback about the photos- and it's o.k. as I am after all, a big girl now!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Bradford on Avon work in process

(Silent scream.) This painting still needs a large amount of work doing to it.... and I have to give it in midweek. Guess who'll be painting through the night again then? I think a small ripple of applause for the person who came up with fast drying oil paints. The paints caught me off guard to start with (...easily done...) with the drying times. They act like a slow acrylic, and areas were setting before I had a chance to 'do my thing' which was quite unnerving. I don't like to be rushed at some things but I have struck up a working relationship with the little tubes of life-saving now. Hurrah.
O.K. What have I done? Somebody please put me out of my misery. How did I get this underlining to happen.... and more importantly, how do I turn it off?! I have looked through all my blog tabs etc and still no clue, so is it something I have touched on my 'puter? There are going to be so many people thinking ' surely she is having a Steffi- everyone knows about underlining!' But I genuinely don't. I know other things instead... like guinea pigs have only three toes on their back feet, and not four like the front ones. Stuff like that. Stuff of no particular value really. Well, unless you're a guinea pig trying to find some well-fitting Jimmy Choo's. As a thank you for showing up my disgraceful secretarial skills I will send out a Butterfly print to the first person to put me right- but there are two conditions...
1. The answer has to be on the blog here and not the Facebook copy feed,
2. There must be no alluding to the undeniable fact I am a bit of an eejit.
There. Fancy helping a lass out and getting a free bit of art to boot? I'll sort posting via email to the clever and quick.
Mm. Just had a terrible thought. What if this blip doesn't show up on posting. If this happens I'll switch to plan B- could you kindly disregard the second part of my posting please!!!! I'm going to push the publish button now.... here goes

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Another illustration....

Whistle-stop picture post alert. Here is a further illustration for Julie's book. I think I have watched too much of The Muppets over the years as that pigeon definitely pays more than a passing resemblance to Gonzo, don't you think? Like a homage really then, before I get arrested by the 'that looks a little bit too much like a copyright infringement if you step back and squeeze your eyes to small dots' police. They are everywhere you know. 


Friday, 26 June 2009

Nude with towel.......

I have just finished this painting between doing the cartoon illustrations for Julie's book. A cheeky little number, don't you think! It is an oil on canvas 14"x18", and is one of the offerings for the Bath Art For Life Exhibition coming up in July (16th -19th, Queen's Square,) along with the completed seascape. I have yet to start the Bradford town bridge one yet so I had best get a wriggle on and stop watching Wimbledon surreptitiously on the laptop at work. Oh yes! I'm sure the eagle-eyed among you have already spotted that in the background- isn't work great? Ha! We even have a punnet of strawberries down here at the gallery to top off the hedonism.  I would offer them around but I just know they won't last much longer than the time it takes to get the lid open!

Hope you like the painting and it's gentleness. I am pleased with it and especially like the light captured. Enjoy!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

More book illustrations.......

A couple of further illustrations ready for perusal. I'm really getting into this type of artwork, as you can do what you will in essence... a real sense of freedom goes with cartooning. It's satisfying drawing with a sense of humour too, as life sometimes needs a lift from the daily trials. A welcome, light-hearted break is just the tonic on occasion. I think my soul must have needed this commission, as I have taken to it avariciously- I cannot seem to pull away and get on with some oil paintings I HAVE  to start on. I need one of those clone brush tools my husband has on his photoshop program to duplicate myself... although in reality, the thought of two of me not getting on with something is a scary thought indeed! Enjoy....

Friday, 19 June 2009

Second illustration for new book....

Hot off the press the second illustration for Julie's new childrens' book. This picture shows our wee subject Charlotte having one of her many daydreams about her nemesis ( her mum's boyfriend Steve!) likening him to an alien. She cannot believe her mum does not see him as she views him. It's SO obvious!

I originally had his bottom half as a big, fat, slimy, sinewy, muddle of tentacles, but as it actually made me feel queasy drawing them and I am a supposed adult, what on earth would kids think? Too freaky methinks, so out came the eraser and in went a suit. Much better imagery and no pending lawsuits from parents with traumatised offspring. Bonus!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Large seascape in oils........ 5' x 3'

I would like to say that this is the current painting drying on my desk... but it is so large that it is hanging over the end. Makes getting a brew on somewhat tricky! I like doing these big ones every so often, ( even more so when, like this, it is a commission) as I get to stretch my arm out and get lost in the sheer joy of applying paint. Another joy of the larger canvas is that I get to hide behind it at the workshop!  That left me the peace and quiet to daydream away where I had what I think was, a great idea. This idea came after about half an hour of standing on tiptoes, arm at full 'starting to shake with effort' stretch,  cloud painting... 

how does ' a TELESCOPIC filbert' sound?  A handy aid to helping you get to the parts of paintings no brush has gone before etc. Any takers? It would be an adaptive idea that could be used with all types of paintbrushes. What do you think? 'Shreen's Stretchy Stick' has a certain ring, I feel. 

Seriously though, having a painting on the go is a welcome talking point for visitors coming in to the gallery. I'd recommend this tactic for starting off numerous conversations with people as an icebreaker! Works a treat.  I still have some waves to paint in and some more highlights to pick out, but you can certainly see the general idea. Enjoy!