Friday 31 August 2007

Belly dancing

I am trying to teach myself how to Hula dance.
I read somewhere that it is great exercise and I want to recreate my waist, at the moment I can't find it.
Anyway I bought a little book with the basic steps in it, looked easy enough, right , left, right, tap. left, right, left, tap.
And you push out the hip of the leg that your wait is on.
Ok, I though to myself , how hard can that be....for me, nearly impossible!!
I expected to be gracefully swaying my way to fitness, ha.
It's really hard work, after two minutes I was out of breath and have pulled a muscle in my leg!
To do it anyway gracefully and properly you must keep your knees slightly bent, which puts mighty pressure on your thighs.
So to see how it should look I went to youtube, and found Sandy belly dancing.
Isn't she amazing, the control is mind blowing, I am in awe and determined to master the Hula which suddenly looks do-able in comparison!

Thursday 30 August 2007

Greylag Geese

I saw these Greylag Geese on Achill Island a few years ago.
They were priceless to watch, full of character and indignation.
I witnessed them chase a poor sheep off what they obviously decided was their patch.
There was quite a gaggle of them and at the same time everyday the traffic (all of one car and a tractor) would grind to a halt, while Goosey Gander, full of self importance, herded his waddling flock over the road to the lake.

I was reminded of them and inspired to do this piece by a gorgeous post on
I love her style, I find her work very happy and uplifting .

Wednesday 29 August 2007

Background madness

Still working on getting a lighter touch with the water colours.
Tried to get a slightly better composition and ran out of room for the little lady's tail.
Running out of room is one of my problems, so I now buy the largest sheets of watercolour paper!
But this one I did in my sketchbook...
Backgrounds are another Major nightmare for me. My usual trick is to photoshop in a background, which is fine for prints but I'd like if the original painting had a finished quality to it as well.
So, to start dealing with my phobia, I very tentatively gave these two birdies a wishywashy background on the actual paper.
What do you think, is it better with or with out? Not that I have a choice anymore which is why I balk at backgrounds!!

Monday 27 August 2007

Charming Goldfinches

Illustration Fridays topic this week is 'visitors'
My submission is this watercolour of a pair of Goldfinches that were frequent visitors to my garden up until recently.
They always came as a pair and fed from the nut feeder together.
I assumed they were a Mr. and Mrs, hard to tell because, unusually enough in the birdy world, the female is as colourful as the male, with just a little less red around the head.
But now that I think about it, they never showed up with their brood in tow like the Blue tits and the Green finches, and if they always ate together then who was minding the chicks?
So maybe they were two Dads out shopping for their Mrs' and hungry brood back at the nests!

Anyway I haven't seen them around lately, they're probably livin' La Vida Loca in Spain 'till next spring, lucky devils!

By the way, the collective noun for a flock of goldfinches is a 'charm' of goldfinches.

Sunday 26 August 2007

Monday 13 August 2007

'Emergency' Illustration Friday

This is my submission for the topic 'Emergency' on Illustration Friday.
I've gone abstract this week, it's acrylic on card.
I think it would work as a very large painting, say 6ft x 2ft or even bigger.
Unfortunatly it is only aprox.12inches x 4inches, but at least I think big !!

Wednesday 8 August 2007

Vibrant Poppies

Just a couple of photos from the garden.
Poppies are one of my favourite flowers, I love the vibrancy of the colours.
It's as if they know they only have a short while to bloom so they give it all they've got. A shot of pure colour.
Apparently the seeds can go into hibernation , if that's the right term, for years. So when road works or building churn up the soil poppies can suddenly pop up as if out of nowhere, just to see what's going on:)

Sunday 5 August 2007

Arguing Angels, Don't, just don't

Illustration Friday night's topic this week is "Don't"
I have this half finished acrylic painting that I gave up on 'cause I didn't know where it was going so I bunged it into photoshop and had some fun.
I had just read "When the wind blows" and "The angel experiment" both by James Patterson and both about children genetically engineered to have wings and fly.
The books are easy reading, like graphic novels just without the pictures, real page turners though and I've always loved the idea of angels, well who hasn't !!
But I didn't want saintly angels just people with wings really, so that's why they're arguing.

Saturday 4 August 2007

Illustration Friday "Missing"

Cuddles could have been missing both ears and he'd still be the favouite teddy.

I did the little girl in watercolour, scanned her in and added the teddy in photoshop to suit the topic for this week which is "Missing"

Thursday 2 August 2007

A lighter touch

I'm much happier with these watercolours, I'm getting a feel for the delicacy at last.
What I must remember is to allow drying time between layers of colour and to know when to stop!
The sweetpea are a pleasure to paint, their fragrance is so divine. Funny though, it's the white flowers that have the strongest fragrance.I thought the deeper colours would be more pungent but maybe the white ones have to compensate to attract the insects.
Anyway aromatherapy while I paint, blissful:)

Wednesday 1 August 2007

Fuchsia flower in watercolour

Having rashly boasted on my last post that it would be a lot easier to do a watercolour of the fuchsia after zen drawing it first, I put my theory to the test tonight.
And as a study I'm happy enough with the result, but I'm still yearning for a light touch.
This is still too stiff, I'd like it to be looser and freer. I need to work on getting an impression of the delicacy of the flower.
But anyway this is a good start and I find that after a few attempts, I do tend to loosen up a bit. We'll see.
Any advice would be very welcome:)