Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Well, slowly but surely the flooring is going down - we now have new oak throughout most of the downstairs and just David's study to finish tomorrow.   Then the skirting boards need to be fixed and that leaves just the upstairs bathroom floor to be relaid with vinyl (the scene of the crime, where the cistern cracked and flooded the downstairs)!

I've done more work on the Spaniel but I think for the next few days I won't be able to work with pastels so if I have any opportunities for artwork I'll make a start on the KC Cavalier Spaniel which I will be working in coloured pencil (I need smaller work area for cps than pastels).

I'll email this update to my client tonight to see what she thinks so far.   I started putting whiskers in then realised that was silly, in case I need to make changes to the coat colour/ears etc ..

Oh, meant to add that we did well with our collection buckets for Air Ambulance on Saturday.   Now the cash has been counted we're told that I collected £425.40 and David collected £283.20 (obviously I'm far more approachable than David - or more scarey perhaps) LOL

Over the five days at EuroTunnel we volunteers collected £1648.35 so a good result which will keep the helicopters flying for a couple of minutes .....

Sunday, 27 July 2014


I won't be getting much artwork done over the next couple of days as the floorers will be working in my studio and the hallway outside and all my studio contents need to be shifted out of the way first .... so here's where I've got to with the Springer Spaniel .... I'm working in pastels on light grey pastelmat.  Partway through I decided to add a bit more colour to the background which will help the white hairs on her neck/chest area show up a little more

I haven't bothered adjusting the colours too much at this early stage.  The photos were taken at different times of day and varying light conditions.   This is a little 'blue'

and these two are a little too 'yellow'

I'm working through adding the rich colours to her ears at the moment and will then go back to finetune  and add more highlights etc before moving down to the neck/chest fur.   She's a gorgeous colour dog.

Once I've got the ears more advanced I'll email an update to my client and will spend a bit more time ensuring the photo colour is a little more accurate.   Though of course pictures/colours never look the same when viewed on different screens/monitors

Saturday, 26 July 2014


Today David and I were at Eurotunnel (Folkestone) collecting money for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance on what is one of their busiest weekends of the year.   This is the start of the School holidays and vacation time.     Yesterday 10,000 cars passed through Folkestone en route to France and today the number was 7,000 cars.

We had a lot of fun chatting to some lovely people, most of whom were happy to be starting their holiday and generous with their donations.   Everybody loves the Air Ambulance so its never a hardship collecting for them - although the buckets get very heavy, very quickly, with the weight of coins and we had to keep swapping the buckets for empty ones.

 July 26th will forever be a day of mourning for everyone connected to Kent’s air ambulance service.   It was an accident which brought the county together in grief.

Tragedy struck on that day in 1998 when the air ambulance crashed in a field near Burham, killing pilot Graham Budden 40, and paramedics Mark Darby, 37 and Tony Richardson, 47 .

This is the memorial to the brave crew who died that day (taken from the Kent Air Ambulance website)

Friday, 25 July 2014


We're certainly getting the hazy and crazy but lazy???   not a chance!

Our house is beginning to look a little more like home now.   The ceiling has been sealed and painted and today some of the replacement oak flooring has been laid - hopefully by end of next week all that will be needed is the walls/skirtings painted and then we can take delivery of the new sofas and move all our contents/furniture  back into place ..  its been 6 weeks of living in a mess, unable to find anything but it has made us appreciate how little we actually need to use in our daily lives  ... so lots of decluttering has been done and more non-essential stuff will be sent to the charity shops once we start unpacking it all from storage.

It has been very difficult to settle to artwork with workmen in and out, banging and drilling etc., but the horse has been finished and approved.  I've parcelled the portrait today in readiness for posting it next week.

Since my last post I've made his muzzle pink, darkened his mane and added a mottled background

Tomorrow David and I will spend the whole day 'rattling collection buckets' at the entrance to EuroTunnel to raise funds for Air Ambulance.     Its going to be a long session - we usually just do half a day as it can be very tiring (but great fun as everybody loves Air Ambulance and is very generous).  This is the probably the busiest weekend of the year at the Tunnel with school holidays starting and a mass exodus to French campsites etc

Sunday we are visiting family in the daytime and then going with friends on a workshop/guided walk to view and photograph fallow deer - hope to get some nice photos if the weather stays good and the deer are obliging.

I have made a start on the next commission - a beautiful Spaniel but its a surprise birthday present so don't think I'll be showing WIPs just yet.    I have another Spaniel to portray afterwards, different spaniels - one Springer and one Cavalier but they have similar colourings.  

Saturday, 19 July 2014

19/07: MY HERO ...... LOL

Shrieks from the lounge this morning ...... hubby went to open the box he keeps his medication in and found a squatter on the box.  

Wifey to the rescue - the moth is now safely outside.   

Must admit it was a big beastie but I think its a common Poplar Hawk moth.    We found lots of tiny green balls on the window sill which look like eggs so have just cleared those away.  The occasional visitor is OK but don't want a whole family moving in

Friday, 18 July 2014

18/07: SORRY!

Its been so long since I posted on my Blog ... but things have been pretty horrendous at home.    5 weeks since we flew home from Fuerteventura to sort out the flood damage and we're still ankle deep in dust with all the furniture stowed away in sheds and spare bedrooms etc.

So far, we've had the hole in the lounge ceiling repaired and the downstairs ceilings 'skimmed' throughout.    All damaged furniture has been removed and replacements ordered - due for delivery in the next few weeks.

The oak floor has been taken up throughout the downstairs apart from the kitchen which has tiled floors.   The 'sub floor' - the one underneath the oak was found to be damaged and that has all been taken up and replaced today.

But .. hopefully its onwards and upwards from now on.   The ceilings will be sealed and repainted next Thursday and the oak floor/skirting boards will be be relaid starting next Friday (for 4 days) ... so if all goes according to plan we can get the decorator in to make good around 2nd week August ... then we have the huge job of putting everything back into place ... can't wait!  

On the hottest day of the year here, I had 3 burly guys sawing up the 'sub floor' and replacing it - I did feel sorry for them as I was uncomfortably hot and wasn't doing manual work.   But I shut myself away and cracked on with the horse portrait commission which I'd hoped to start last week.    I got a lot done and am now awaiting feedback from my client.

Sadly this horse passed away recently and the ref photos are all very small so I'm struggling a bit.    I did portray this horse a few years ago (double portrait together with the horse belonging to my client's mum)  I'm working from the same refs but have been able to brighten the pics a little in Photoshop Elements to see a few more details.

Lots of tweaking needed yet but I've got a good base layer of pastel down so just need to fine tune with past pencils