Friday, 14 January 2011

14/01: I'M ONLY A GIRL ....... WHAT DO I KNOW???

When we 'retired' and moved to Whitstable we agreed to sell my beloved, very pretty, Mazda MX5 sports car (limited edition, Garnet Red with cream leather interior) and just use one car!      To be fair, I don't enjoy driving these days - David does!   But access to our house is via a private drive which is very narrow with a 90deg bend so his favoured car (Jaguar) had to go - it just couldn't negotiate the bend in one go!!     Our current (shared) car is a QashQai which I love.  It looks like a 4 wheel drive, but isn't -  it coped brilliantly in the recent snow and ice.      I'd like to keep it for another couple of years but the Lord and Master has decided he can't live with a car that is more than 3 years old and needs an MOT so he's on a quest to find a successor and I hate most of his shortlisted contenders!

Apparently modern cars have to comply with EU laws regarding shape to minimise damage caused to pedestrians when we hit them.  Hence the rounded elongated bonnets making all 'new' car designs look so grotesque - so injured pedestrians can roll off the bonnet to the side of the car and injuries are less severe ??!!!

David's and my combined driving life exceeds 70 years.  In that time we've never hit a pedestrian - obviously we haven't tried hard enough.   Why is the EU now presuming to dictate ugly car shapes so when we do hit a pedestrian the impact will be less significant?    

I can only assume they've overloaded modern cars with so many buttons and gadgets and lights inside that  drivers are sufficiently distracted that they can hit the odd pedestrian and justify EU concerns?

Must admit one of the (Ford) cars David tested had a dashboard so full of gadgets, lights, buttons etc that I hated it immediately.    Haven't they heard of the KISS idea, Keep It Simple Stupid ....... or do all you Men out there sympathise with David and want as many gadgets as possible to save you being bored on long journeys?    There was even an ESC key on the steering wheel in case the driver got too bogged down trying to find a radio station or chat network  ............ REally!!!!!!!!!

I should state here that I am in no way minimising the distress caused to people who have been involved in vehicle accidents, or have relatives that have been involved.   I just don't understand why we have to accept these weird looking vehicles which are supposed to be pedestrian friendly but are chock-a-block full of distracting buttons, lights, gadgets which can't fail to distract a driver's attention from the road ahead???

Watch this space ....

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


All I had to do today was email the latest portrait to my client for approval, the usual meal preparations and then sort through my collection of picture frames and parcel up all those with scuff marks/dents etc to take to the charity shop.  I'm trying to free up space in my studio.


BUT we lost internet connection this morning ... I initially blamed TalkTalk as the internet has been crashing regularly over the last week but I think we are getting power surges in the area.   Talking to another artist who lives locally, she reported that her home had been without electricity for several hours during the weekend - our lights keep flickering but so far no loss of electricity.

When the internet connection returned I was very pleased to find several 'good news' emails.

Firstly, the portrait has been approved by my client and he will present it to his girlfriend on her birthday in February.  I won't mention the dog's name ..just in case it shows up in a Google search (stranger things have happened)!   The portrait was completed in Pastel on white Pastelmat paper.

Then I had a lovely email from the man who bought my Zebra picture yesterday.   He was sorry not to have met me in person but the picture is now hanging in the hallway of his Surrey house (he also said he lives mostly in the South of France amongst vineyards and sunflowers - lucky man)!!  I was really 'chuffed' to get his message - nice to know the zebra has gone to an appreciative home :o)

Additionally, I've been getting positive reactions from various art materials distributors in response to my appeal for sponsorship for the big UKCPS Event which will be staged in London this year.   So, many thanks to Colorfin (Pan Pastels), ExaClair Limited (Pastelmat) and Jackson's Art Supplies (gift vouchers) ... its good to know that they are prepared to help in this tough economic climate!!

Check out the UKCPS website for full details of the 'Celebration of Creative Art' event, Westminster, London.   I hope lots of my blogger friends will want to put in entries to one or both of the exhibitions this year.

Anyway .......... to explain the Blog Post Title .... After all the faffing around I really couldn't face sorting through the frames in my studio.  So I decided to have a blitz on my wardrobe instead and get rid of everything not worn in the last 18 months.  I filled two black sacks with clothes for the Charity Shop but now have a pile of 'not sure' outfits that I'll decide on tomorrow - I wasn't quite as ruthless as planned.

So the house looks like a Primark shop on a bad day (UK blogger friends will know just what I mean by that - clothes all over the floor and every other available surface) :o)  

Must do better tomorrow :o)

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Today was the final day of the week long Showcase 3 exhibition - featuring the work of 17 local Whitstable artists at the Horsebridge Gallery, Whitstable (including me)!

I'm very happy that 4 of my pictures sold during the exhibition, most of my Business Cards were taken and I received a couple of very lovely comments in the Visitors  Book.   So it was definitely worth doing and I'm just sorry that nothing more is planned for the Group till 2012 as all local Gallery space is fully booked  for 12 months. Whitstable has a reputation for being a very 'arty' town and we certainly have a huge number of galleries and craft shops in the area.

One of the comments in the Visitors Book referred to our Exhibition as being a great showcase for 'Bubble Artists'.      Coming from the borders of Kent and S. East London as I do, I couldn't work out what this meant ... in rhyming Cockney slang a 'Bubble' is a Greek Person (Bubble & Squeak - Greek)!!     Then I remembered the old TV adverts for Aero chocolate ... does anyone else remember the ads - an actress (possibly Stacy Dorning) travelling on the train and talking about going  to 'Dunstabubble or was it Whitstabubble'??  I guess thats why the author called us Bubble Artists - We all live in Whitstabubble!

As well as two cat pastels and Snow Drop (White GSD) my Zebra picture sold.     This brought it home to me that the best judge of what I should put into a Gallery Exhibition  is David.

Everything he dislikes or tells me shouldn't be exhibited SELLS!!    What a brilliant foolproof method I now have of gauging public taste in Whitstable!

He didn't like the Zebra and I didn't bother taking photos of the final work ... so here it is before I put the finishing touches to it.   and now it has a new appreciative owner :o)

Its a dreadful photo but I'm posting it anyway as I know David will be looking in later and I just felt like making a point!   Bless!

On the strength of my sales in the exhibition he treated me (and him)  to a lovely meal out tonight :o)  

Thursday, 6 January 2011


I can't post WIP of the current commission until I'm given the go-ahead from my client.

So, I'd just like to say how thrilled I was to receive an email from Bernadette Ward, co-founder of Colorfin LLC a couple of days before Christmas.    She had stumbled across my portrait of Noggin, the Mastiff I completed recently in pastel on Clairefontaine Pastelmat paper. Colorfin are the distributors for Pastelmat in North America and she asked if she could link my blog post to the Pastelmat Facebook Page.

Additionally, she is going to send me some sample Pan Pastels to try - I've heard lots about these innovative pastels from my American Blogger friends but they aren't easy to find here in the UK. So I'm very excited and grateful to Berni ... When I've had the chance to 'play' with them I'll post my reaction.

For anybody wanting to learn a little more about pan pastels, this is the link to their site

So ... there is a Christmas Fairy

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

05/01: TWO SALES !!

No pictures, or long posts today .... I'm exhausted!

Two sales at the exhibition today !!!! One is Snow Drop - her 'dad' phoned me to say he'd seen the portrait and liked it. The other is a cat pastel.

So despite worrying whether my 'realism' style of art will fit in with the more abstract work produced by most of the other artists, I'm doing OK it seems :o)

Off to enjoy a glass of vino and put my feet up now

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


This Exhibition featuring works of 17 local artists runs for 1 week from tomorrow (5th) and we planned to hang all the pictures/display the crafts this evening at 6.30pm.  

Then we received news that the Gallery was closing early tonight and we had to rush to get everything organised this afternoon .... quite an undertaking but we succeeded.  

I wasn't sure which pictures to display - I was expecting to have 7ft width of wall space to use so I wanted to maximise the pieces on display.  It helps to lay the pictures out on the floor at home first:

and just in case ..... take a few 'spares' along for the ride :o)

In the event my wall space was a corner one so I got 6 foot width on one wall and approx 3ft on the adjoining bit next to the Gallery door - 9ft to play with!!!    I hung more pictures than anticipated and may still have space for a large picture in the Main Gallery window tomorrow morning.

These are the works from some of the other artists - not everybody had hung/displayed their work at this point so there are still some gaps ... but there is a huge variety on offer from handmade silver jewellery, to glass ornaments and felted gifts - lets hope we attract lots of visitors who still have some pennies left after Christmas :o)

I love these glass fishes and birds ..... they catch the light beautifully

Sunday, 2 January 2011


Here she is finished.  

I had planned to text Snow Drop's owner (I think I can just make out the phone no. on her ID tag).  I planned to ask whether he'd like copies of  the photos I took before clearing them from my 'ref library'.  I was also going to let him know that this portrait will be on display at our local gallery next week.

But, then I realised the phone number shown is a land line, not a mobile no - so I can't text him.   I think a phone call might be considered a little intrusive and 'hard sell' ... which isn't my style.   So...... guess I'll give up on that idea. After all, I took these photos of Snow Drop back in October 2009 when I met her on the beach path on her very first outing ... its a long time ago now but as usual the ref photos got filed away in my 'to do' list which seems to get longer by the week!

Tomorrow I will get back to work on the yellow labrador which has been commissioned as a birthday present  for my client's girlfriend.