Monday, 13 February 2017

Indian tour February/March 2017

Next weekend we're about to embark on our 3rd tour of India as a couple - (I've been to India many times in my earlier life).

With intermittent internet access and hectic travel schedules its always difficult to keep up to date but I do try to write Blogposts most days - and publish them when there is a decent internet access.  Because my camera takes such huge pictures I have to downsize photos before posting - this, coupled with slow internet, means that posts are like London buses.   Nothing for days then 5 come along together (or something like that)

In 2014 I introduced David to India via an organised tour which spent 8 days in the North (Golden Triangle tour) then a week in the South.   As a result we decided he loved India as much as I do ... but he/we couldn't cope with the organised tours - being herded along with 40 other people on a tight schedule with no time to stop and really enjoy the spirit of India.

In 2016 we compromised.    David and I decided where we'd like to visit in South and North India and asked a tour company to put together a package - including a driver and car where appropriate.   We had a great time - stayed in a tree house on a coffee plantation, on rice boats on the river, travelled by steam train and ferries and generally were able to meet local people and embrace local food/customs.

This year we've done our own thing.   We know where we want to go, what we want to see/do and have organised it ourselves (well David has done most of the nitty/gritty stuff).   We are enlisting the services of Joshi - our wonderful driver in Cochin/Kochi, in the South.    He was so helpful last year once he realised that we really did want to sample street food and street life ....

The weather forecast shows we're in for some very hot weather which isn't conducive to sightseeing (for us) but we'll take it as it comes ....

anyway ... last year's blog was here:   India - 2016

This year's blog will be: India 2017

I hope you'll follow our adventures!   Suexx

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Flat Coated Retriever - finished

Whiskers and eyebrows added and I'm calling it finished now.

Time to clean up the working area now ... pastel dust certainly travels!

and in a double mount reading for framing.  

The mount is antique white colour so not quite as dull as it looks in the photo.  This gloomy weather is not good for getting accurate colours in the photos but looks as though its going to get worse over the next few days.     Temperatures are not due to rise above 2deg max with the possibility of sleet/snow.   

We're off to France tomorrow to stock up on wine and the weather forecast is very similar so we'll be wrapping up warmly.    We hadn't planned to go this early in the year but good old P&O Ferries are doing another offer of a crossing with car for £27 and they give us a box (6 bottles) of wine so basically the crossing is free.     It would be rude not to take them up on such a good offer wouldn't it?

Living fairly close to the Ferry port at Dover means we can do the return trip/shopping in an afternoon.   We don't linger for lunch or dinner but buy a selection of pate/cheese/pickles to eat with french bread/baguettes on the 90 minute homeward crossing ... we enjoy our 'picnics'

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Flat Coated Retriever - WIP III

Another couple of hours on this today, darkening some areas and finishing the chest fur/curls and I think its finished .... barring the final whiskers/eyebrows which I can't add till I know my client is happy with the rest of it.

and ... phew!! that's a relief, the email just arrived saying she loves it.     Its dark now so will leave the final touches till tomorrow and then it can be mounted/matted and ready to ship .

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Flat Coated Retriever ... WIP II

I got a little more work done today on the secret birthday/memorial portrait and emailed an update to my client

The picture made my client (and her daughter) cry apparently so think the likeness is OK.    

That's the 'bittersweet' side of doing memorial portraits ... a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for the clients and the main reason I don't like to personally deliver pictures if I can help it (I'm such a wimp)!

Anyway, I won't have time to do more work on this till Tuesday so another update in a couple of days

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Back at the Drawing Board

Well, we had four weeks on Fuerteventura (Canary Islands) and the time just flew by.    We have a home there but also have a couple of apartments we rent out long term so it was kind of a working holiday getting various jobs done around the properties - including removing old wall tiles from the garden in our own place so it looks a mess just now.    I've got skinned knuckles as a result being a bit too vigorous scraping tile adhesive off the walls!

Whilst away we both had nasty colds so didn't do as much walking as usual and I don't think I took more than a dozen photos this trip - so nothing went on the Blog

We got back yesterday and I started work on a 'secret' birthday present commission which I need to finish and despatch next week.    Sadly the dog is deceased so its also a memorial portrait.

This is pastel on light grey Clairefontaine Pastelmat

Stage I - this is where I stopped work yesterday.

Stage II - I'd hoped to get more done today but had a restless night and didn't get to sleep till 3am so am feeling jaded today.    Its also very drizzly/gloomy so the photos are a bit dull

She was a lovely looking dog ... but such a serious expression here!     I need to do more work on her eyes at a later stage.   The photo was taken with flash I think so I've drawn what I see in the ref. picture but it looks a little strange.

I will do more work on the portrait tomorrow then email my client to make sure she's happy with progress to date ...