Sunday, October 30, 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sky Watch Friday - Silhouette

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A river runs through it

I went into town this afternoon to run a couple of errands and was surprised at how busy it was. As a tourist area it tends to be very quiet from around mid September onwards and many of the restaurants start closing early in the evening but today the sun seems to have brought people out and it was very busy with all car parks full again.

The river levels have started to rise and it wont be long before the winter canoeists are braving the rapids through the town. For today however the river remains peaceful and the territory of ducks and gulls only. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cathedral Arch....but which one?

I have been looking at some cathedral photos for a few minutes trying to figure out which one it is! I visit as many as I can and they do have many similarities. Thankfully I have tracked it down to Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire that I visited with my sister 4 years ago. Although there are similarities with other structures they are also all unique and worth visiting and considering in their own right. 

Number 1 on my list to visit is Westminster. I have been to the outside but as of yet have not had the opportunity to go inside. In addition to its significance as a structure many of my historical hero's are interred there.

I do get the impression from the website though that tours are structured due to the number of visitors which would be a shame as sometimes you just want to sit and take it in. At Canterbury a few years back I had the Trinity Chapel to myself for a few minutes and sat in the presence of King Henry IV and Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince, which is a memory I will treasure.

Anyway, it's on my list for 2017, in the meantime here is a splendid arch from Ely Cathedral which caught my eye for its autumnal shades.

Rip it up and start again.

I have started joining in an art meme recently. The first couple of pieces I produced I was so worried I would mess them up and have to scrap them altogether that I didn't push myself as much as I would have liked. I was pleased with the outcome, although they could have been better, but it was a good starting point.

Yesterday I spent 8 hours working on my third piece and have learned some things that work and some that don't; unfortunately in the process I have messed it up completely and need to start again but I feel ok about it. 

I am quite surprised actually but in a good way. I am going to have to find some time to get back to the point I am at with it now but the process shouldn't take so long and I have learned some great news skills through trial and error.

I also spent most of last night dreaming about doing it again and how it would best work so the planning bit is all done!

Image Credit: Quote Counterquote

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sketch Practice 2

Well I didn't get to have a go at the body today so far but I think I made improvements on the head. I have messed up one eye but perhaps he has had a heavy night!

Sketch Practice

The next theme for Creative Tuesdays is up and has found me exploring the imagery from The Wizard of Oz. Like many people this film was a staple of my childhood at Christmas. My sister and I would be allowed to pick some chocolate from our selection box and watch the film every year. It wasn't until I started thinking about it and making some notes that I realised just how much of an emotional rollercoaster that film was to me as a child! 

Anyway I decided to start with drawing a lion. I have always stayed away from drawing animals as it is so very hard, but recent efforts with a barn owl and raven silhouette have given me the courage, (that's C-ourage) to have a go and I am not too disappointed with my first efforts. I am going to try again now with some colour and see what I can produce. I may even try a body rather than just a head!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Come on in the water's fine!

I found this picture yesterday, I hasten to add it is not one I took! But as it is from a card that was sent to me I feel I am ok to share it here. It always makes me happy, and a little sad given the state of the environment for these creatures, but mostly happy. A snapshot of true enjoyment.

October in Bloom

I came across this riot of wild flowers on my walk last week. What a fantastic site for late October. It's a funny time of year here that can vary so much however thanks to a long summer, mild temperatures and a lack of the usual storms we have had by now that tend to strip plants and trees of their foliage this is still here to enjoy and looks set to stay for a week or two yet.

Friday, October 21, 2016

I can't wait any longer! (Confessions of a festive nut)

I have the Christmas playlist on, and I am loving it! Its a mixture of the traditional (carols) the modern (pop) Celtic, and original old english and medieval pieces both vocal and instrumental, and goes on for 10 hours! Well in theory, in practice it will be turned off in about 6 hours before Mr Dancin gets home, it will definitely be a little early for him to feel festive.

Don't worry I wont be putting up decorations or anything, not for a long while yet, but this playlist makes me feel so happy, nostalgic, safe and excited about the approaching Christmas which will be our first with our soon to arrive daughter.

I know there is still Halloween and Guy Fawkes to come yet but Christmas is the ultimate celebration, especially this year, and I am going to indulge myself without guilt. Bing Crosby and David Bowie are currently performing Little Drummer Boy, perfect!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sky Watch Friday - Smokey Dawn

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Robert Bissell

A few years ago we bought a jigsaw for my husbands parents for Christmas depicting bears standing on their hind legs in a meadow as swarms of butterflies ascended around them. It is the most beautiful jigsaw I have even seen and the image has stayed with me. Recently I have started looking for another copy to do myself as the image is so calming and it finally occurred to me to search for it online. 

That lead me straight to the artist himself, Robert Bissell, and if you are not already familiar with his work I highly recommend you visit his website and have a look for yourself.

I would dearly love to post a picture of his here but feel it unfair even with image credit without permission. So please believe me when I say it is worth a look. If nothing else go on Google Images and type in Robert Bissell Bears and Butterflies, or click HERE.

I am also delighted to say that his website features a shop selling jigsaws, prints and note-lets amongst other things and anticipate several of his items appearing on my Wishlist very soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sun Worshiper

I am sorting through old digital photos, as we have a new computer and organising them is long overdue, and I came across this taken in Wales a few years back. 

We had gone for a dog walk along the cliff and I peered over the edge and caught this seal taking some time out on top of a pile of seaweed and rocks. Eventually he heard my camera after I had taken a few shots and looked straight at me. Feeling bad about disturbing him we moved on; no animals seem to like having their photo taken. 

It was a wonderful moment to witness though and after our departure he returned to the business at hand, taking 5 and worshiping the sun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Autumn Walk

I have just been for a glorious walk up the lane. The trees are really turning now, the sun is out, there is not a cloud in the sky and its cool and windy, perfect! 

These are the best of the shots I took and typically when the oaks really started shedding their leaves into the air above my head my camera battery went flat! Never the less I enjoyed the spectacle.

The colour of harmony, balance, and growth...

According to colour psychology green is the colour of harmony and balance, growth and hope. I am aware of the power of colour and how it can be used to encourage certain reactions from people and situations although I seldom use it to its full advantage and prefer to rely on my instincts for colour preference however it is a useful tool to have and I have absolutely no doubt of the benefits of looking at the colour green.

It represents our natural environment, the start of the growing season, new life and new food resources. And there are no greens, or other colours, so vibrant as the ones created in nature; we simply cannot replicate that.

Winter is fast approaching and although I don't begrudge it at all, especially having had the longest summer, I do know I will miss the colour green. It will be there throughout the winter, with a whole host of other colours, but it will be a little harder to find.

Autumn and winter can be a challenge and I know many people suffer from the lack of green but there is a wide variety of colours out there. This winter I hope to capture them and demonstrate that here.

In the meantime, here is a whole heap of green to tide you and me over.

Monday, October 17, 2016

In the company of Ian Anderson (Via CD)

Jethro Tull have been my favourite band for many a year. I saw a documentary about them about 30 years ago as a teenager and was instantly transfixed by Ian Anderson: he was incredibly gifted, wonderfully weird and played music the likes of which I had yet to hear. 

Image Credit: Goldmine

I listen to them regularly and always have but every now and then I get a real Tull yearning and nothing else will do; its been like that for the past few weeks. So this morning I have played at my PC to Broadsword and the Beast and Songs from the Wood, two of my favourite albums, seriously not a bad song on either! Next I have Heavy Horses lined up.

They are currently on a world tour with dates throughout 2017 noted on their website and I sincerely hope to get to see them again at some point. I have been several times but it is never enough.

Categorised as progressive rock (of which I am a fan) it is their unique folk style that attracts me most and as such I have chosen the following song to share here and urge you to listen and watch. This is Velvet Green, a song seldom performed live, and probably my favourite (although there are so many contenders!).

River Walk

I mentioned a few days ago I had a longing to be by water and was able to make it to the river that very afternoon, unfortunately it has taken me until now to get my photos off my camera! Technology, great when working, not so much when failing!

Anyway, I had a lovely walk, got down to the waters edge, saw the beginning of the autumn colours coming out and spent some time sitting there just listening to the river passing by, punctuated by the persistent barking of a spaniel who's lust for fetching sticks from the water could not be satiated. 

It was perfect actually, all walks should be shared with a dog and unfortunately our pup cannot make the descent to the river at this point nowadays. She doesn't miss out though, there are plenty of walks she can do and she likes nothing more than sitting on a mountain side admiring the view which she gets to do daily.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Creative Tuesdays #2 - Tree House

As an arborist I predominantly manage amenity trees, and the frequent conflicts between them and people; this includes consideration of the wide variety of wildlife that rely on trees for habitat, food and navigation. As such I chose my tree house to be more natural and depict some of the creatures I have to look for and consider as part of my job inspecting and managing trees.

This has been a great challenge and encouraged me to practice drawing some new things which has been a rewarding experience. This piece was created using soft pastels, coloured pencils and black pen.

To join Creative Tuesdays (and its not too late to submit for this theme, the deadline is 18th October) or view other participants click on the banner below.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sky Watch Friday - Let Storm Clouds Gather

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Do you see what I see?

Mr Dancin took this yesterday while out at work, when he showed me it we both said the same thing. I thought it would be interesting to see what other people thought on first glance.

This is not a complaint...but

We have had the most glorious summer and autumn here which are still going on. We have had so many sunny days and even now the temperature is starting to lower and we have had our first morning frost it is still so sunny and warm for the time of year. 

The trouble is, I am missing water!

I am for one reason or another less able to get out there at present and as such am restricted to local walks and short journeys (although not for much longer!) and looking through some photos yesterday I realised I need to be near water, a river, the sea, anything.

Its odd what landscapes we get used to and what suits us and our primal needs. I follow a blogger who lives in the dessert and while I love all of his photos, without fail, I often think I couldn't live there, I would feel parched all the time. I definitely need trees and water in abundance. That will be the British side of me then, certainly on the water side! (With the exception of this year.)

Anyway, the river is not far from me and I am going to make an effort to get down there this week and sit by its side for a while. I am sure it wont be too long before the rains arrive and I am missing the sun somewhat, although I am really looking forward to swollen waters and dramatic skies.

We used to live by the source of the River Nene in Northamptonshire and walked by the watercourse almost daily with the dogs. It is a small but healthy stream only at this point but following heavy rainfall would increase significantly in size and make for interesting walking. I can only imagine what our new nearest river, the River Dee, does under similar conditions.

Before I head back to bed I may revisit a video I posted on YouTube some years ago to support WaterAid. It is a collection of photos of water I have taken on various holidays put to the brilliant track Wallbreaker by Benji Kirkpatrick. Its HERE (and below) if anyone wants a look. I really like watching it as it reminds me of many brilliant holidays and remains one of my all time favourite tracks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Raven - Practice will make perfect...eventually.

I am practising drawing a Raven in silhouette, I mean how hard can it be, there is no shading to do, no features to add, its a silhouette! But, it must be said, practice is making for small improvements!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The First Frost

We had our first frost this morning and although it was only a light one it has put me in mind of frosty morning walks with the pups and made me so excited about winter. We have had a glorious summer here and so far a beautiful autumn with lots of sun; as such I don't feel cheated by the weather gods and am ready to welcome in the next season.

I had a look through some of the photos I have on this device and found these which have made me chuckle and brought back memories of a lovely dog walk. 

Buddy (in the foreground) is no longer with us and Roxy would struggle to exert this much energy these days but she still loves her walks and we think of our little boy Bud whenever we go out. 

I am quite impressed I managed to find some pictures of them in focus as they never stayed still on walks and as such photos of the two of them were always a challenge!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Be Careful What You Wish For

So sleep alluded me last night and after deciding against the Wellingtonia I settled on attempting to draw a maple. These are my results in transition. Its not brilliant, and I hope to try again and improve, but I discovered some interesting techniques along the way and thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Midnight Activities

I have been doing more and more artwork these past couple of weeks since I joined in at Creative Tuesdays (CT) and have really enjoyed messing around, already noticing some improvement in my output. The next challenge for CT is a tree house and in preparation I have been mulling over some ideas and produced this during a sleepless Friday night. Its a cedar specimen and I am quite pleased. I am actually half hoping I cant sleep tonight so I can have a go at another tree I want to try, Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), as the wee small hours are quiet and free but that is only half hoping, sleep would be better!

Friday, October 07, 2016

Red Devil

Seasonal Play

I have had a great couple of days with my sister during which time we indulged in some art and doodling. It was brilliant fun and very therapeutic and these are my efforts from yesterday. Very topical I thought.

I really enjoyed trying something new and just playing at it. Taking part in some kind of art is such good fun, there is no right or wrong, no good or bad, just the fun of your own expression.

Sky Watch Friday - Shades of Dawn

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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Creative Tuesdays #1 - Little Red Riding Hood or Snow White

This is my first submission for Creative Tuesdays, the theme being Little Red Riding Hood or Snow White. I decided to join as I really liked the brief for the scheme and thought it would be a great way to get my hand back in at art as it has been some years since I have done anything regularly.

As always when starting again what the brain conceives the hand often struggles to re-produce however I am quite pleased with my first efforts which have culminated in this and am looking forward to seeing what other participants have come up with. (Image drawn with oil and soft pastels,  and a black pen for outline.)

To join Creative Tuesdays, or view other participants work, click HERE.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Bats in the Attic?

I think I made the wonderful discovery last week that we have bats in our attic! I am absolutely thrilled. We know there are bats close by and in neighbours roofs and see them just after dusk around our house but as they are so small and its difficult to see where they emerge from have not been sure if we actually had any ourselves.

Anyway, last week we had a new boiler fitted which involved the removal of some pipework from our airing cupboard and has disturbed a bit of debris from our attic which fell through and included bat poo! For those that don't know it looks like mouse poo but it crumbles rater than smears under pressure.

I am a huge bat fan, especially since studying them extensively as part of my job, and have held several of our native species as part of a bat handler course I took some years ago. They are amazing mammals and always a joy to see.

I have no idea what species we have and am only assuming it is a current roost and not an old abandoned one. Our attic space is tiny and the only thing up there is roof insulation. I have not even looked in it since we moved in 7 months ago but will take steps to borrow a bat detector in the spring to see if I can get any more evidence.

We live in quite an old house which already provides a home for nesting sparrows and bees within the stone work but bats are the icing on the cake for me.

Bats are currently afforded significant protection in this country due to a notable loss of habitat and decrease in numbers in more recent years. 

I would like to confirm their presence as it makes me very happy, and we can advise the local bat group for their records, but also as we would be restricted as to what we could do up there so as not to disturb them. 

We have no plans to develop the attic however future house maintenance could see us needing to go up there and as such we do need to know if they are actually using the space.

It could be a roost for one or many, but either way they are welcome.

I am aware that many people dislike bats and are afraid of them, often due to false assumptions and information, so I have chosen the cutest picture I could find to go with this post however if anyone has any questions about bats please leave me a comment and I would be happy to answer your query. 


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