Friday, 26 November 2010

Feline Happy...

It finally happened, a cat chose us! We went to the animal rescue sanctuary last week, and wandered amongst the mud, kennels, runs and myriad of animals, everything was there, including chickens, rodents, dogs. We were met by the ‘meeter and greeter’ cat Boff, a tailess tabby who did a good job of showing us in. Then a nice lady took us to the first run. Boyfriend tried to make friends with a very scared looking fluffy tabby, but I was determined to stick to my rules: One cat only. Short haired. Friendly. Absolutely no neurotic, grumpy cats coming home with me. Most of the other cats in that run were nervous wrecks or spoken for, so on we went to run two. “I’m afraid all the cats here are in pairs” said the nice lady. “There is that little black cat” said the owner, passing by, “it’s very friendly.”

Out came the little black cat, pausing to stretch its back legs in a totally unconcerned manner before allowing us to make a big fuss of it. Perfect. When a dog wandered past the run it took a quick swipe at it with its paw. I liked it already. But there was bad news: “I am afraid the owners handed it in because it is pregnant” said the lady. “Don’t worry, we can re-home any kittens” she added. Easy to say, much harder to get a sobbing teenager to part with a litter of adorable kittens I thought. Then suddenly some luck. “Wait a second,” said the nice lady, peering at the backside of the cat... “It’s a boy!”

Well, the vet confirmed it; a boy, and already neutered. What luck! The animal centre had called him Snake for reasons unknown, green eyes perhaps, but Boyfriend and the Teen have re-named him Gimlet. His somewhat bloated stomach has since been diagnosed as a very bad case of worms, and he has had a tablet to get rid of them.

Gimlet has proved to be adorable, even tempered, affectionate and if not exactly a lap cat, then certainly a sit next to people whilst stretching out to take up half the sofa cat. The first evening he was with us it was like he had gone to cat heaven, after living in an outdoor run with minimal contact he found himself in warm house, with new toys and 3 humans making constant fuss of him. Even concerted efforts by boyfriend to tickle his feet and endlessly wind him up have failed to turn him into a psychopath.

All week I have been trying to take photos of him with limited success. He is so black, the sofa is black and he automatically shuts his eyes when the flash goes off which looks like this:

In the midst of all this cat fuss, final touches on the studio are happening, although very slowly due to bad weather, and boyfriend working long hours. But the new workbench is finished!

It is already proving invaluable, firstly to finish the pastel dogs portrait I have been commissioned to paint by one of my students,

and today it is covered with equipment I am preparing for teaching a one day mosaic course tomorrow, (weekend, what weekend?)

And finally on the art front, I have just received the first copies of my illustration work from the paper models company. Big Ben! It’s so tiny and cute, I will give one to the teen to assemble, she likes that sort of thing...

Monday, 15 November 2010

Just a quick link

Meant to post this link last time, but forgot so here it is:

A post by Welsh artist and Blogger Judy Adamson. Judy kindly asked myself and 6 other artists why we use 'real' art materials, rather than work digitally, as is the trend nowadays. The answers are surprisingly similar, and the post provoked strong debate...

Seven artist's reasons not to go digital

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The end is nigh!

 No, not the end of the world, the end of my studio build. I have actually been working in the studio this week, although mainly on computer/paperwork. The heater has not been quite sufficient for the size of the building: I have been putting it on timed for 6am and starting work at 8am, but the studio is not warm enough until about lunchtime.

We have therefore ordered an extra plug-in heater, which I hope will supplement the warmth during the colder months. The studio is well insulated and dry, plus it warms up quickly when the sun comes out, so in the warmer months it should be cosy.

There is a myriad of minor finishing jobs to do, including painting, cushions etc, but the main jobs remaining are to get the sink connected with real water, and build the large work table that I will do artwork at. The table is designed to have paintings, browsers, large rulers etc stored underneath. Due to it's height I will work on a draftsmans high stool. After a few frustrating days when we were unable to start due to the appalling weather (the table saws need to be used in the garden), work finally got underway.

The frame is huge, and we have already considered that it could just be used to make a cage for teenagers, during any bouts of whinging/bad behaviour/being stupidly noisy, but tempting as that option is, I do need somewhere to paint.

So work continues, and should be complete in the next two or three weeks. Meantime at least I have the paperwork organised, which is good as I am starting to work out next years classes. It may be November but I am already planning spring and summer next year.

As for artwork, I am out of my comfort zone again, having been commissioned to draw a pair of cute little Jack Russells by one of my students in charcoal. Considering it's about 30 years since I last drew a dog its not going too badly, but time only time will tell...

Friday, 5 November 2010

No more moaning...

Just a quick post today; as promised the photos from last weeks Saturday Class. I don't usually get my camera out on a Saturday, but everyone did so well I couldn't resist a few quick snaps. The subject was Night Pictures in Pastel, to be completed on dark coloured paper. I have to say, whenever we do pastels there is more than the odd moan: "I don't like pastels..." "I am no good at pastels..." "But they are so messy..."

Well class, in future I am not listening to the moaning, as the evidence shows that you are fabulous at pastels!

Check out these great pieces of art:

A charming atmospheric piece;

There's nothing like a sunset in the snow;

 The long arm of the law shows a surprisingly sensitive touch;

Wow, perfectly spooky for Halloween;

One of the most experienced artists in the class shows Van Gogh leanings;

Plumber by day, accomplished marine artist by weekend;

Another successful snow scene for this student;

The matriarch of the group shows the youngsters how it is done;

A seascape of Malta's Valletta harbour at night, beautifully executed;

 And finally, a stunning local sunset;

Well done class, see you tomorrow!