Saturday, 19 December 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2016

Hard to believe that Christmas is almost upon as once again. The unusually mild weather doesn't help off course but I also think as you get older the days seem to come quicker. This year hasn't been an especially good one. First, I lost my lovely neighbour and friend Helen at the start of the year and then towards the end of the year my dear Aunt Jenny, both to cancer. Both beautiful people with so much love and giving in their hearts it seems such an injustice in such a ever growing hateful world. Brother Steven's health issues are also an ongoing concern but we shall just have to take each day as it comes. My art as always is a comforter, where I can thankfully disappear for a few hours, even if the piece I work on ends on the too throw out pile. I decided early on in the year to take a break over the Christmas period. To wind down, eat all the wrong things, partake of a few Bailey's and catch up on the pile of magazines and books I don't seem to find time to read. So, this will most likely be my last blog until 2016. I wish you all the love and joy that Christmas can bring and the hope that 2016 will be a more caring and prosperous one. Xxxx

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Just one of those days...

Ok was so looking forward to today. I toddled off down to Prestwick with hope in my heart that my photos would be recovered. Unfortunately I'm no further forward as Joe who is taking to do with it was off. The girl that was there had a look at the memory stick and although there are quite a lot of photos, she says there are some that when you click on them won't open. She didn't want to give the stick to me until Joe had ok'd it. So rather deflated I made my way home. On the by-pass the low in fuel light came on. I normally get my petrol at Morrison's but pulled into Asda as it was closer. It's about here that everything really started to go pear shaped. I'm a creature of habit, I hate change, in Morrison's I put the fuel in the car and pay the girl behind the counter, easy peasy. Asda, went to put fuel in, I discovered too late I was in the pay by credit card lane. Never having used it before I glance over the facing of the pump and duly put my card in where it said pay by credit card. That's when everything got really complicated I lifted the nozzle and went to put in it the car but the stupid machine kept buzzing that I had to replace the nozzle. Off course says I to myself I'll have to put my pin number in first. Odd I thought theres no numbers. Thats when I noticed it also said pay here on the facing next to it and it had a keypad with numbers on it. I had pushed my card into the slot where the receipt for your fuel comes out. I made myself very popular when they had to dismantled the front of the pump to get my card back out and then when they put it back together it wouldn't load the paper for the receipts so they had to shut it down. I don't think I'm going to be welcome back at Asda anytime soon and some would say I shouldn't be let out alone :)

Sorry not quite sure why it copied like what a day!

...mind you there's alway's someone having a worse day than you!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Heavy Frost...

Woke this morning to the first heavy frost since way back in April. Although very cold it was a welcome change to all the rain we've been having. The birds were very happy to see me not just for the treats I put out for them but for pouring hot water into the bird bath and melting the ice. Sadly by late afternoon the rain was back, but it was a joy to take photos this morning.

"Let's not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it." ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly Merry Christmas ~ Peg Bracken

Friday, 4 December 2015


"It is of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter is full of it." ~ John Burroughs

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Work in progress..."Morning Glory"

"Morning Glory" Acrylic 8" x 8.5"

Had a lovely afternoon splashing paint around in the studio. Not sure if this one is done will leave it now, for a wee while, then go back and look at it. Doing my best these days to take things slowly. I've lost count of the number of paintings I've done that I wish I could get them back and do differently.
Can hardly believe we are at December already was quite depressed when I turned the calendar to the last month of the year yesterday. But, the depression didn't last long as I looked at the photograph and its story. Every year for as long as I can remember I've bought a calendar in support of the Injured Jockey's Fund. This past year I have been treated to a selection of photograph's chosen by the former National Hunt jockey John Francome. All have been great choices but December was dedicated to his former boss the late and great trainer Fred Winter. Tried putting the image on but its a bit grainy. The horse is the great Lanzarote with Fred Winter on top. John spent his whole racing career with Fred Winter and recalled going to Uplands for his interview one Saturday afternoon. Fred was less than impressed with him and worried that he might get too heavy to be a jockey. John said " When he asked me what was the lightest I had ever been I said about 7lbs 3ozs. He was not blessed with the greatest sense of humour and I think he took me on out of curiosity!" Made me giggle and cheered me up for the rest of the day :)

Monday, 30 November 2015

Happy St Andrew's Day

"This is my country
The land that begat me,
These windy spaces
Are surely my own.
And those who here toil
Are flesh of my flesh
And bone of my bone.
Sir Alexander Gray (1882 - 1968)

Friday, 27 November 2015

Christmas Show at the Torrance Gallery Previews tonight...

"A Hint of Autumn, Rozelle Pond" Acrylic 12" x 12"

"Early Evening Tide, Barassie" Acrylic 6" x 6"

"Summer Greens" Acrylic 6" x 6"

"Grey Day" Acrylic 6" x 6"

Travelled up to Edinburgh at the beginning of the week with four paintings that will be taking part in this years Christmas exhibition at the the Torrance Gallery. From top to bottom we have "A Hint of Autumn, Rozelle Pond", "Early Evening Tide, Barassie", "Summer Greens" and last but not least "Grey Day". Grey day it was but I managed to off load the paintings when there was a break in the rain, not very festive weather for the time of year. There is a preview this evening at the gallery and another tomorrow morning, you'll get a warm welcome if you happen to be visiting the capital and would like a peek. The exhibition runs from 28 November - 9 January 2016.
Meanwhile I'm working on some new paintings in the studio and hope to share them with you soon. Stay warm and safe and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to my friends across the Pond.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Bigger spaces in between...

"A Hint of Autumn, the Pond, Rozelle" 
12" x 12" acrylic - work in progress

Been quite a while since my last post and where do I start. My lovely seven years young Packard Bell laptop suddenly and without any warning decided it didn't want to play any more. And, on the 28th October it ground to a resounding halt never to start again. I have to say up until that moment it was a great wee machine and we had many good times together. Unfortunately it's hell bent on keeping some of those secrets and refuses to give up the contents of it's hard drive. Hundreds of images locked out of reach. Hopefully or should that be wistfully, Joe at PC World will eventually manage to get it to spit them out. It has certainly given me food for thought as it's not the first time I've lost precious images. While taking some of the blame I really should have had a external hard drive connected. Something you can guarantee will be happening asap.
It also made me think, and not for the first time, of the amount time I've spent on a computer. It's just something over the years that I've just got used to and has become part of the daily routine. I've enjoyed meeting folk online, some that I would most likely never have met if it hadn't been invented. But something has changed this past year. Even before the last drama with my laptop there have been niggles of time wasted that could be spent elsewhere. Perhaps it's a milestone age arriving next year that has triggered this feeling of wanting to turn back time. Not to my youth mind you, nothing silly like that, just to do things a little slower. To savour each painting I do so that Daily Painting means I've spent time at the easel and not that I've rattled a 6" x 6" off in a day. To sketch read, art books and magazines instead of facebook newsfeeds, to feel like an artist again. It doesn't mean I'll disappear never to be heard of again, I will pop into facebook and I'll still share my blog, just bigger spaces in!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Back in the Studio tomorrow...

Had a a beautiful walk this morning with my two best buddies and my trusty camera. The colours right now are outstanding and my artistic juices are being cooked. Been a spell out of the studio getting myself into the right mindset and I feel tomorrow is time to get my painting hat back on. I've loads of ideas running around in my head so there could be a fair bit of doodling going on

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

"It's yer Aunty"....

Been a while since my last post but as I'm sure those who follow regularly will have guessed my Aunt's illness has kept me from writing. Sadly I lost my lovely Aunty Jenny on the early hours of Monday morning (5th October). I'm not sure how I feel at the moment, loss, hurt, pain at the loss of someone close. Relief at the awful pain she suffered uncomplainingly was over and she was at peace. At a loss to find the words of comfort for my Uncle struggling to come to terms with losing the woman he has loved for nearly sixty years.
I'll miss our visits, the laughs we shared about daft silly things that no one else would think was funny. I'll miss her voice, coming home to a  message on the answer machine, "It's yer Aunty, phone me back hen".

Monday, 14 September 2015

25 - wip Jockey

When I got out of bed this morning I was all geared up to paint, then after getting brother organised I took the dogs for a walk. It was a lovely morning sunny but with a definate hint of Autumn in the air. Only one lady with a dog for Lily to have a grumble at... a Lab which just looked her as if she had sprouted horns. He and Buddy shared a sniff and the lady and I commented on how pleasant it was and then we wnet on our way. We took the Knockentiber side of the walk which I call the wooded path. Still lots of fresh green around but the hint now of ochres appearing and feeling that most of the flowers have reached their peak. By the time we got back home my mood had changed, mooched about on Facebook, another name for procrastinating. Lunch, then into the studio with no real idea of what I was going to do. Faffed through images and nothing sang out, paint me. Determined to do something I picked up the sketch pad and made an effort with the jockey drawing I started more than a week ago. Actually got quite lost in it, drawing seems to do that, sends you into a trance like state. Just the sound of the pencil on the pad. I posted on here yesterday about my Aunt but took the post down almost as soon as I put it up. I don't really like bringing my home life into my blog. The animals and the garden yes but not the people stuff. Not sure why might be a Scottish thing we can be a wee bit deep and take things inwards. But I only mention it now because I kind of disappeared last week when we got the news that Aunty had cancer. My head is still trying to get round it all but now as I start to take it all in I can hopefully use my art to get me through!
Thanks as always for looking!            


Monday, 7 September 2015

24 - "Autumn on the Tay, Aberfeldy" Acrylic 6" x 6"

"Autumn on the Tay, Aberfeldy"
Acrylic 6" x 6"

Much as I enjoy doing these little 6 x 6's I think the time has come to go a little bigger. I have some 8 x 8's and 12" x 12"'s sitting in the wings ready to get started on, so not going too on 40 x 40's by the end of the 365 lol. Kinda running behind with the 365 project but, hopefully once the winter month's creep in and the garden is asleep I'll be able to start catching up.
Was thinking about Aberfeldy this morning as a letter arrived the other day with the date's for the Christmas Exhibition ( sorry for mention Christmas in September). Perthshire is pretty spectacular with Autumn colours and this is from photos I took a good few years ago. Autumn colours were just starting to take hold along the Tay river at Aberfeldy I also loved the dark mountain in the distance with the cloud wisping across the top. Hope you like it :)

Thursday, 3 September 2015

23 - Jockey wip continuing and big waves and wind surfers at Barassie..

Another busy day but managed to scrape in some time on my jockey drawing. The more I draw the more I enjoy. I love trying to get the detail in the saddle and saddlecloth over his arm. still a long way to go so will probably get started on something else.
Would have liked to spend more time on it but needed to go to Framework Gallery to pick up four paintings that were being framed. They look amazing as per usual. Was a brighter day today so took some photos. The wind surfers were out as the waves were pretty big. Was difficult to get both the sail and the surfer together that the guy was just a pin. Great to watch sometimes he was about ten feet into the air...superfit!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

22 - Jockey wip...

Late starting today so picked up my wee sketch book and in a moment of madness started a drawing/sketch of a jockey. Yeah I know he's got his back to me, I wasn't that! It's a big enough challenge trying to get all the wrinkles in the silks while trying to make them shine. Not sure of the outcome or if there will even be one, but I'm having fun :)

September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather,
And autumn’s best of cheer.
~Helen Hunt Jackson

Sunday, 30 August 2015

21 - "Autumn Lamb" Acrylic 6" x 8"

"Autumn Lamb"
Acrylic 6" x 8"

I know I've been calling this a sheep but it's actually a lamb and the first one I've ever painted. Reasonably happy with it, but then lamb/sheep anatomy is a bit out of my expertise. I've enjoyed trying to get the textures in it's fleece and in the rough grass. So I've learnt something and that's a bonus.

Friday, 28 August 2015

20 - sheep in progress

 A little progress with my sheep, which I actually think is an older lamb, doesn't have a wizened old sheep look to it. Putting some of the grasses in now. As I remember the grass had gone to seed and was gold and scraggy, bending in the autumnal sun it sparkled. Trying to capture that feeling without getting too detailed.
Was at Troon yesterday at one of my galleries, The Framework Gallery, not only do they hang my work but they do a wonderful job of framing it. Looking forward to seeing the four I took down when they're framed. Had a walk along the beach and managed to get some photos but on the whole it was a bit dull and overcast. Autumn is slowly creeping in...

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

19 - I'm Baaack...

This 365 day thing is proving a little more difficult to keep organised and up to date than I thought. Fortunately I've been numbering the posts so I'll know when I've actually done 365 blog posts. That feels as confusing as it sounds lol. I'd love to be able to split myself into little compartments, house keeping, shopping, dog walker,garden, carer, artist e.t.c. But I can't, so I'll just have to try my best, you will just have to follow on my That said even in this small space in time I'm starting to feel more like an artist again. It's a grand!

Monday, 24 August 2015

18 - Like a lamb to the slaughter...

Have to say I've kind of lazed about all day, might be an instilled thing to me that Sunday is a day of rest. Around about 10.15 this evening I suddenly realised I hadn't anything to post. Keep calm I said, still time to get something at least started. A small landscape easy peasy, at which point my mind went completely blank. Then I remembered the sheep. I had put it in a folder along with some other images I thought might be interesting to paint. It was round about the same time I got this stupid idea of doing 365 blog posts. Before I even start, I better say I haven't painted a sheep before. If it all goes bad I get a sympathy vote for trying. If I nail it, smiles all round.....

Saturday, 22 August 2015

17 - Unfinished study Kiss n Mix SSH

"Kiss n Mix SSH"
Unfinished study
8" x 5" approx
Calling this one finished, well actually it's an unfinished finished. Sometimes you get to a point when you feel it's done even if it isn't. I know that must sound a bit Irish to a lot of you looking in, but I'm pretty sure all my artist friends out there know exactly what I mean. There might be a round two for the pretty Kiss n Mix further down the road, you will just have to keep popping!
Back to Kilbarchan today to pick up paintings as the exhibition closes, fingers crossed.
Thanks to Ros and her beautiful horses for allowing me to use her images

Friday, 21 August 2015

16 - wip alterations and a lost day...

(Click on picture for larger image)
Yesterday was a lost day, stuff happens and it just has to be accepted. Realised when I looked at this work in progress today it wasn't right so most of today was spent altering here and there and I'm pleased with the outcome. After spending such a long time painting with acrylics I'm feeling a bit like a fish out of water using oils. But I am enjoying them even if does feel as if I've been at it for weeks.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

15 - wip foal study continues slowly

(click on image to enlarge)

Not a lot done today because I got interrupted this morning with the guys coming to clear the guttering. Then off course I had to watch the match race that never was from sunny York. Disappointed of course that the main man Gleneagles had been taken out because of the going. But, as with all good stories the heroine stepped in to save the day. Teeny weeny African Queen held off the challenge of the unbeaten Golden Horn with a very gutsy performance. I did feel a little sorry for Golden Horn and his connections but the thing about horse racing is anything can happen if you dream big and today it paid off, smile!!
( With thanks to Rosalyn Serex )for allowing me to use her photographs)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

14 - wip Foal Study

Bit of a rush to get something posted today, very much a last minute dash. Quick sketch out of a bonnie foal so as to be ready to make progress tomorrow. Haven't been sitting twindling my thumbs all day. Had to go to Rozelle to pick up paintings from the Showcase exhibition. Was delighted to have sold one. Had a wee relaxing walk round the park (photos below) then back home.
Tomorrow is another day and hopefully a less frazzled one.