Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year

Here we are again, New Years Eve, already the fireworks are going off thanks to some idiots.  In a few hours 2014 will be consigned to the history books, not going to say: good riddance, it's not been a bad year in many respects, well not for me.   Not got my act together,  in more pain,  depression seems to be worse, but I am blessed with having a roof over my head,  food in my freezer/fridge,  a little money in the bank,  and I'm rich in friends.   Things could be better, but they could also be a lot worse.

As you can see I've been sketching again.  This is supposed to be a floating pyramid,  which I think is 'floating'!  Looks easy, but it is a little tricky,  the pyramid can be fiddly and I had a few issues with the shadow.

This is a droplet of water,  much shading went into this.  And guess what, yep I found the other blending stumps,  I'd stored them in my art bin with the paints,  yep very logical!  Wish I'd had a white pastel to make the highlights pop a bit more.  This took me ages,  I keep forgetting where the light source is, so have to remind myself constantly.   This is an exercise I'll come back to,  want to get it right.

And the 3D hole!  This has driven me nuts, got three versions of it so far. This is the best.  Got it completely wrong the first time,  it is all in the shading,  mess that up and the whole picture is rubbish.   I kept on being interrupted by Harvey who wanted to play, then he wanted to be fed, next he wanted to go out...   tried playing with him, he wasn't interested, put food down, he didn't like it,  let him out and he came straight back in!  CATS!!!!!!!!!     He can't go out now,  too many loud bangs around here.   He has finally decided to have a sleep. 

The midnight hour is approaching, albeit slowly.   So time to wish you all a Happy New Year,  and many thanks for visiting my blog. 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Only one day left

This was Harvey on Christmas day,  rather Bah Humbug!    You can just about see his nose,  he's peeking out in hope of getting one of his treats.   He loves playing with newspaper,   so the living room floor is covered with the stuff!   Oddly enough he doesn't like boxes, and I thought all cats loved boxes.   I got some new shoes the other week and put the box down, he just ignored it,  my old cat would have dived straight in.   So that is Harvey, the oddball.

A friend saw fit to challenge us to try an attempt to draw in 3D, so this is my first attempt.   I had to search for tutorials, found a few videos, but all were a bit fast!   Then I found one I could try, this one,  not sure if it works or not, it does from the right angle, but don't think I got it on the camera.   I knew it would be tricky, and it was, involving distorting perspective and the object, but I wanted to have a bash at it.   It is also good for other aspects of sketching.  I'm currently drawing bits of the face,  eyes, ears, mouth, noses....   in the hope that I can improve with practice.

Or should I just stick with the cartoons?  I enjoy all of it, and it is nice to switch between them.  I had a nice surprise today, a big box arrived,  inside were my skin tone pencils and my pencil storage bag - yippee!    I was getting a bit tired of all the tins, as nice as they are,  they do take up space.  So now the pencils are all in one place, along with rubbers,  bending stumps etc,  I can add more storage if I want.   Now just need the other things to arrive. 

I'm itching to take down the decs,  they're now getting on my nerves.  I want to put back my owls and buddhas, I've missed them.   I think they'll be coming down on New Years day,  then I can have a good tidy up.  Harvey is not liking the cold weather, it seems he doesn't like having cold feet!   He asks to go out, so I dutifully open the front door, and stupidly leave it open a little (so he can come back in),  and no sooner have I settled down on the sofa than he's back!   Last night he was Under his blanket!

Crummy sketch of Obama, eyes are too close together, face is too thin,  nose too big.  Oh well, back to the drawing board.  My other excuse is not having the skin tones, which do make a huge difference.   Today's efforts, a drop of water and crystal ball,  have yet to be photographed.  It was an exercise in shading,  which I enjoyed, it would be nice if I could locate my other blending stumps!    Must stop doing this, putting stuff away and believing I'll remember where I put it, cos I never do.  

Well it is all nearly over,  today it was quiet everywhere.  Went to tax the car,  was going to do it online, but didn't see why I had to set up a direct debit for a one off payment.  So I made use of the post office,  no doubt the bastards in charge would like to see the end of the post office, they seem to hate anything that is publicly owned.  The high street was very quiet,   I got a parking space very easily.  Even the supermarket wasn't too bad,   though considering the amount of food that was being bought last week they've probably got no need to shop until the end of January. 

Well best stop waffling...   hopefully I'll have more to upload tomorrow. 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

And that was Christmas 2014

So that was Christmas.   My planned walk had to be cancelled thanks to the weather,   it was cold, windy and wet!   Today is worse as it is now snowing.   Harvey has an upset stomach, not from eating too much but from stealing some raw chicken.   He was also the reason, well the main one, that I had to venture out today as he had no food, mind you I had no milk.   Supermarket was actually very quiet, they had the relief staff on,  so that the regulars could all have a rest.

I've been busy filling up my sketch pad.   Started with this character, Pinnochio, wasn't sure whether to draw him as the puppet or after he has turned into a little boy,  anyway went with the latter.  I realised by this time that I needed a bigger fine liner, if that isn't a contradiction in terms.  I used my promarkers for his skin, do need to get some skin tones pencils!    So Pinnochio crossed off the list,  what next.....

Charlie Chaplin,  honest,  or it is supposed to be!   He's slightly out of proportion,  think that may be due to drawing all the cartoons,  but it isn't too bad.   May go back and colour him.    I also attempted a portrait of Barack Obama,  it is sort of recognisable, but not happy with it.   I know where I went wrong,  which is why I was up at Hobbycraft again buying the book on drawing portraits.  I also hoped that they might have had the skin tone pencils, but nope,  in fact the art department needs a restock- asap.   It is almost down to its bare bones.     I had some money put by for an art splurge,  but only got the book,  another pad, more pencils and a couple of storage boxes, and ended up joining the Hobbycraft club!  Well you collect points and get money off stuff.   Yesterday I got 8p off a litre of petrol, since it was 1.12,  I therefore got it for 1.04!  Result.  Mind you that is what petrol should have gone down to, must be why Tesco is continuing with its petrol points. 

Well I drew Garfield so I had to draw Odie!  This was one of the simpler drawings, and only 3 colours.  Loving the Derwent pencils,  they take water beautifully,  you can colour as normal, but if you want you can go over it with a brush.  I have because I've been using the mixed media pad for the cartoons, the paper is rough so you don't get a smooth finish just by colouring.  

I turned a few of the cartoons into cards using Craft Artist,  love the cut out facility, it makes life so much easier.  My friends on FB appreciated the cards. 

Well as I said that was Christmas, same old thing for all of us,  all the madness (which I no longer participate in, and haven't done for years), the over eating (something else I no longer do) and the burn out.  I've laughed at all the supplements that have come with the Saturday or sunday paper magazines, all showing a beautiful table,  pristine cloth, everything gleaming, everything matching.  We all know what the reality is,  tables put together, a mish mash of odd chairs, stools,  no room for a table centre...  and as for all the recipes!   Let's face it we all cook the dinner, and buy the pud,   probably the cake as well if you like Christmas cake.   Two courses is enough for anyone,  the plates are laden with food, sprouts, roasties,  parsnips and another veg, turkey, chipolatas, stuffing...  and Christmas pud isn't light!   I swapped the turkey for chicken,  and didn't bother with pigs in blankets,  but had extra veg,  including roast parsnips - delicious.    Harvey ended up with a dicky tummy after pinching some of the chicken I'd put aside for him,  I was going to cook it, but he had it raw and so he had an upset tum. 

Yesterday we had snow,  thought Harvey might have been interested, but nope,  he wasn't bothered by it.  My old cat, Ms Mufti was always fascinated by the stuff.    It snowed heavily for a couple of hours and I was worried that it would still be around today,  fortunately it melted away.  I like looking at snow, I used to like making snowmen etc,  but since my accident and having to use a crutch I am afraid I don't like it any more.  

I did go shopping today,  found I had some money to spend - makes a change!   So I had a little splurge,   got the stuff from Hobbycraft, then popped to M&S,  found a nice pair of jeans and my favourite slouchy pants,  couldn't find a nice jumper in the sale sadly.   After that I went into Boots, intended just to get some make up, but ended up buying perfume as they had loads on sale.   It felt nice to be able to spoil myself a little, usually every penny is accounted for,  it still is, but this month is rent free, and no council tax either!    Meant to pick up some cat nip toys for Harvey,  but my back was killing me so I had to go home. 

And here's one of the cards I made, using an Elf what I drew.   That's all from me,   hoping you're all staying warm and safe.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Panic, what panic?

The Winter Solstice,  the shortest day of the year.  And for us the sun managed to peek through the clouds.  I was quite happy to stay tucked up indoors.   Yesterday I braved the supermarket,  it wasn't too bad, the car park was busy,  not many trollies, yet it wasn't too bad inside.  There were the usual ditherers,  make a list,  especially at this time of year then you wouldn't spend half your time wondering what to buy.   Having said that I had a list and still managed to forget three items, luckily they were not essential. 

Yep been Festive sketching again.  I had a bash at this snowglobe,  not so sure about the Christmas tree!   I'm now tackling the Grinch,  he's been fun to draw,  just needs to be coloured in. 

Also found this character, he's called Max,  no idea which cartoon he is from.  I admitted defeat on his original antlers so made up my own.  He started out as three circles,  then you start to add the other lines and soon he starts to take shape.  I put in a snowman, and a tree, which is sort of better than the one in the snowglobe.  Think I need to practise my Xmas trees.  Need a thick outliner pen,  my chunkiest is 3.0,  a 5 might be better.

I've not just been sketching cartoons, but also cats, like this lion.  It is my very first attempt at a big cat,  I was using my proper sketching pencils and the mixed media pad.  Don't think he came out too bad. 

I do have to brave the shops again tomorrow, plus pay the leccy bill (electric to non scousers),  I found it rather rude of Eon to send me a bill at this time of year!  So its the post office, then Home and Bargain for my heat pads to ease the aching back and neck,  oh and got to post some cards...  managed to forget to send a few! 

Of course the usual telly has been consigned to the shelf,  why can't they leave the programming alone?    I did enjoy Strictly Come Dancing, but oh boy are there some moaning minnies on the official FB page!  Many take it way too seriously,  as for those complaining about the winner being able to dance well - does it matter?   Caroline, who won, didn't start off very well, but once she found her confidence she was amazing, loved her show dance.    Right, best stop bending your ears.

Thanks for stopping by,  have a lovely week.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Nearly here...

Yes Christmas is nearly upon us, everyone is now out madly shopping for whatever they don't need,  enough food to last them through winter,  booze to pickle an army,  and presents galore, remember to keep that receipt, half will all be returned, especially the not so sexy underwear or awful perfume.  Yes, bah humbug!  

Well I was up at the retail park, buying me my pressie, and I  had thought about going into M&S,  then I saw the madness and had second thoughts.  Many coming out with their trolley piled high with food, drink... anyone told them that the shops are shut for precisely ONE day!?  Men clutching carrier bags,  nice jumper, shirt... well one can only hope...   Meanwhile all the Xmas decs are half price.

I feel sorry for the shopworkers, who have had to put up with endless festive music, moaning customers, and greedy bosses who can't bear for their stores to be closed for even one day.  If I was in charge they'd be shut on Boxing day as well, and would close at 2pm on Christmas Eve.  No more of this nonsense about not being ready,  Christmas happens each year at the same time,  so you have no excuses. 

Yep been sketching again.  A polar bear and a soldier, rather like the soldier.   My trip to Hobbycraft was to get some colour pencils, as I intended last week,  decided upon a treat and went for the Derwent Inktense set, plus a nice fat sketching pad, well a mixed media pad, and a book on how to draw all manner of felines.   I can feel my confidence growing,  and above all I'm enjoying myself.   Harvey was unamused,  he's having his 'sulk' day, he has one each week.  He uses up so much energy at times that after three days his batteries run out, and he need to recharge with lots of sleep.  He was flagging this morning during his playtime,  but like a small child, he wasn't going to give in to sleep.   After his breakfast, with a full tum he settled down for a long snooze,  while I braved the cold and the wind.  

Already experimented with my new pencils,  colouring as normal and then adding water,  oh boy are they gorgeous.  I may redraw some of the characters and use the pencils.  

Going to brave the supermarket tomorrow, must be mad.  Harvey has plenty of food, took advantage of Tescos offer on Felix.  It's me that needs the food,  not getting turkey, no point, so I'll roast a chicken breast.  I want a cold and frosty start to Christmas day so I can head out for my walk,  I enjoyed it last year, met all the dog walkers who put a smile on my face.  Just received a card from my brother, stunned, last year he didn't bother.   Families! 

Well time to wrap this up,  I'll try to remember to take pics of my latest sketches tomorrow, in daylight.   Stay warm.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


I draw a picture of Jack Frost and it warms up!  Monday it was freezing, yesterday it was slightly warmer but not by much, today it is positively balmy, but with that horrible mizzly stuff and endless grey skies. 

I had a busy morning,  sorted out what I needed to do: pay bill,  get heat pads for back, branston beans... cat food.  I chose to go to Crosby for a change and use Sainsbury's, bad move,  they have Felix on offer and that means Harvey's favourite Felix won't be on the shelf, and it wasn't!  Rats.  Worse, only took half the bill to the post office, chap said he needed the bar code bit,  something to be said for the old fashioned way... mmmmm.  Did get heat pads and my favourite beans (for half the supermarket price), then back to Tesco, braving the bloody roadworks.   Great time of year for road works, wet, cold...  

Anyways I got home hungry and tired, and with a sore back.   So slapped on a heat pad.  Had lunch,  the tea did the trick then wondered how to amuse myself,    a bit of sketching was in order I thought.  I was out yesterday, the idea had been to attend the art therapy Xmas part, which I sort of did.  I made it for 1pm, but couldn't see any famliar faces save for the tutors,   but I knew a friend was coming so  I found a seat, couldn't see anyone else I knew.  The anxiety grew, and kept growing, I'm not good in social situations at the best of times, so I nipped out for a cigarette.  As I stood outside I spotted my friend, phew,  but we then both decided to bail out of the party, it was a small room and so very noisy.  We had a nice cuppa and a catch up,  then headed for home, well sort of, she went to the market and I decided to see if the Clarks shop had any shoes I liked - eureka, they did!   Result, I've been looking for new shoes for ages with no success.   Then I popped into Smiths and spotted a one off art magazine on sketching, so bought that as well.  By  now it was getting dark, so on the drive home I enjoyed seeing all the Christmas lights. 

Today has been quiet,  was tired after yesterday.   Didn't feel like painting, so that is why the sketch pad came out.  I half watched a soppy Xmas film on C5,  and drew Jack Frost and a Snowman, plus a polar bear, who isn't quite finished.  I have found my confidence returning,  now the lines are bolder,  I know that what I am aiming to do is achievable.   I go over the pencil marks with a fine liner.  The pro-markers are being well used,  just a couple seem to be drying out, not sure why as I've stored them properly.  The rest are fine, and they have come way down in price.   Going to continue with the Xmas sketches,  may make some toppers out of them for next year.  Not made any cards for ages, but think the rest has done me a lot of good, I was getting very stale.   This stint of sketching should also help me with the painting.  

Christmas wise the spirit keeps coming and going.  And I'm still feeling weepy.   Not sure why this year feels worse than last year, second Christmas without mum is much harder than the first one.  

Not long to go now till the big day,  got my characters, so will be making use of CraftArtist soon to make a card.  

Thanks for stopping by...

Saturday, 13 December 2014

A bit sketchy....

Well once again I have been remiss in keeping my blog, must make more effort next year.  

I seemed to have become a bit stale painting wise, so I decided to have a go at sketching.  Back in the mists of time this was something I found easy, but I seemed to lose the knack and with it the confidence.   So I bought a couple of 'how to' books,  and got out my pencils.   This owl wasn't my first attempt, but I love owls, so naturally I wanted to show  him first.    The books break the object down to simple forms like circles, ovals, squares and triangles etc, from there you start to add shape and form.   I was a bit gobsmacked with the owl,  never thought I would be able to draw one.   The other book I got was how to draw cats, well as a cat lover why not! 

Yes I know I've not got the face quite right.  I've been studying Harvey so I can make corrections to the next drawing.   I was pleased that I managed to draw a cat which was turning round,  and managed to do some shading.  This was one of my first sketches,  so I was getting used to drawing again and making very tentative lines on the page! 

Boosted by this I decided to go back to Hobbycraft for another book, a sketchpad and some coloured pencils.  Got the book, the sketchpad and what I thought was a set of 24 coloured pencils...   and headed for home.  After a nice lunch of cheese on toast (winter food),  two mugs of tea I opened the new sketch pad, got out the new pencils,  eh, what was this, they weren't coloured, they were a sketching set, charcola, pencilsl etc...  doh!   But I gave them a go and was delighted,  so it was a  happy accident! 

And this is why.   In amongst the pencils were some skin tones, which allowed me to draw this young black boy.  I was very pleased with this effort,  it was a get to know you session with the sketching set, to see what did what and what worked best for me.  By the end of it I had this sketch, and it was now getting dark,  Harvey was snoozing happily in his new bed...  and all was well with the world! 

Well almost.   I thought this year would be easier than last,  last year being the first Christmas without mum, but in fact this year has been much harder.   A friend came to stay and offered to get my Christmas decs down from the loft,  but my heart wasn't in it.   I almost backed out of putting any decs up, but thought that was a bad idea, so a neighbour came to the rescue and got the decs down.   I managed to put up the tree,  thought I'd mislaid the lights so bought some new ones, and of course the old lights were lurking at the bottom of the box!   I haven't put much up this year, my heart really wasn't in it.   I even let the cards pile up, couldn't face opening them, or even buying them, let alone making any.    I have now got some nice cards to send,  which I will force myself to do tomorrow.  

A friend who runs an FB group challenged us to come up with a Christmas drawing a day.  It seemed beyond me, but I had a bash, drawing this cat,  based on one I saw in Radio Times, but mine has a Christmas hat on him!   I spotted photos of the original 101 dalmations, the cartoon,   and decided to have a go, by george she managed it, but forgot to take a photo...    Buoyed by that I looked on line for some how to draw cartoons stuff, found a page and had a bash.  What I like about these sites and the books is that they just break it all down,  they are not intimidating,  a few circles, a straight line, a few curves and suddenly you have a picture.  You still have to do the work, but it is so rewarding, why wasn't it like this at school?   

So here is Rudolph, and all by my own hand, with some dodgy colouring in.  Going to draw him again and this time use my pro-markers.  He was just a few circles to start with, added a few spindly legs, a curve or two... then slowly he began to come to life. 

I'm still nowhere near being full of festive spirit.  I went to a garden centre today which has lots of lovely Christmas stuff,  I needed to get out, the weather has been awful here so I had no choice but to stay indoors.  But even surrounded by all the Christmas stuff I still felt incredibly sad.  I spotted a decoration, a twirly thing,  which had Mum on it, so I bought it, oh and an owl, can't resist owls.   I tried to buy a few bits of luxury food from the food hall but, nothing appealed to me.  I watched a load of soppy films today,  well half watched as I was also painting!   Yep my enthusiasm for painting has returned, but now I feel confident to use the basic tracings, but then add to it, as I have with the one I am currently painting, and I'm trusting myself to pick the right colours.

Distressingly this morning I saw my good neighbour being taken to hospital, he was in a bad way, so my thoughts and prayers have been with him all day.   I was disgusted by the ambulance crew who let him walk down a flight of stairs and then expected him to walk to the ambulance, the man has only one functioning lung!    My blood was boiling, back in my day we would have carried him down the stairs and into the ambulance to ensure his comfort.   When I broke my knee they asked me if I could walk to their bloody ambulance,  I said no, and then added that I'd been in the ambulance service, funny how their attitude then changed!   It still stank, but they had fallen far short of being a decent, and humane ambulance crew. 

Making no promises as to when the next blog will be....  before Christmas I hope.