Sunday, 30 May 2010

It's raining Dogs and Dogs!

Today I was at the Hot Dog show for the greyhound rescue GraceHounds in Vogrie Country Park, just south of Edinburgh.

There were lots of greyhounds, dogs and, er, other dogs plus lots and lots of rain and, er, more rain! - it literally poured and poured and poured!

Though there was not a cat in sight to be seen!

I was invited along by Jane and I met some new people who also have shops on ! It's a small world.

In recognition of our jinxed day -

I brought an umbrella to shield myself from the harsh sun (ha ha!)
One lady got up 10 minutes early to paint her toenails so she could bare her feet
and I overheard a comment about the next thing happening will be the tent blowing away (which it just about did were it not for 10 able bodied folks pinning the legs to the ground in a huge gust!)

- I made an etsy treasury - called It's raining Dogs and Dogs featuring the new folks and some other folks dear to me

I shared a table with Ali from etsy shop AliBali Jewellery and was next to Angel from etsy shop Maiawalli Art all the way from Australia and Mike from etsy shop Wudwerx.

Beautiful jewellery, rich art and magnificent bee and bird homes and great company! and just down from us was Jess from etsy shop Jess Lovell, Emily from etsy shop Emily Moir and Jane from etsy shop The Dogs House!

My mum was kindly minding my stall for me as I darted amongst the rain drops taking photos.

In keeping with pouring rain and water in my treasury above is Angel's rich and celebratory Two Lovers artwork. I love the limited palette here and it works so perfectly with the turtles simple but provocative 'dance' as they communicate. When I lived in Australia I would often see these 'snake-necked' turtles and immediately recognized them today.

and I've put in Mike's amazing 'Bee Hotel' - isn't that just a lovely name - a hotel for Bees! I bet room service is included at no extra charge and the mini bar is forever full. Bees are needing all the help they can get, worldwide, so hopefully every garden will soon have a bee hotel beeing busy :)

and ofcourse I had to include hearts - just look at Ali's beautiful set of earrings in hammered silver and copper. I love the detail in the craftsmanship, the heart shapes are just right and the colours are a prefect compliment. Ali has some very desirable pieces of jewellery in her shop!

After growing up amongst ants in Africa and Australia I had to include them too! Jess made this fun and inspiring Leaf Cutter Ants original linocut and I really appreciate what hard workers ants are. Never complaining, working together in harmony, lifting many, many times their own bodyweight and always looking out for the biggest leaf! I have very fond memories of watching ants go about their lives.

I also put in Emily's Splat Mats! Isn't that a super name? and more appropriate than just 'coaster'. Wonder where coaster came from? but I sure know where splat mat comes from - I have a few book pages that can attest to being splatted on by cups of hot tea!

and ofcourse none of this would have happened if it were not for Jane inviting me along to support her favourite greyhound charity Gracehounds!

Her Max is always welcome in my treasuries - he is such an adorable and good natured chap that I am in trouble every time I come home to my two rescue buns with hands smelling of greyhound!

Here is Max wearing one of Jane's very smart doggy bandanas, customized to your pooch.
Would that be a picture of Max snoozing on it?

so .... whilst it pours with dogs and dogs of rain .....

Jane works at her stall and .....

Molly snoozes in comfort below ....

..... whilst Max proudly claims the Number 1 Prize!!

thank you all for a super day!

apart from being dressed for a summer scorcher and shivering most of the day I loved it all - seeing dogs of all sizes from Irish wolfhounds down to long haired yapping-non-stop tiny daschunds, multiple minature versions of greyhounds (Italian greyhounds) and big balls of fluffy not-so-small puppies to the most beautiful and happy 3 legged rescue greyhound - it was a wonderful day (and I actually do love the rain!)

Thursday, 27 May 2010

a Sea-Change - Exhibiting again at 3Harbours

Today I set up my exhibition for the 3rd year running at the 3 Harbours Art Festival.

It didn't take too long as I only had a few paintings with me that I was keen to show. Some had been at the previous years exhibitions.

They all fitted nicely on the single wall that I had.

I shall perhaps take along a few smaller hare sketches to add to this collection.

I've got one of my hare watercolours in the Greens and Blues gallery in North Berwick at the moment so I took all my other hare paintings as well as a large one of the Bass Rock with North Berwick Harbour and a smaller one of a mother Wild Boar and her 3 Piglets to put up.

If the large hare looks rather familiar ....

It may be because it has undergone a sea-change into something richer (but not stranger) ....

.. from this bright and bitty watercolour to a more scratchy and free flowing darker hare.

To me art is always changeable if it does not initially satisfy and I make sure to listen to myself and not to be afraid to make those changes - even it took a year to make them! The essence of your original painting will always be there if the eyes are just right, they are the soul, after all.

Arabella was impressed by this sea-change and decided to try out a sea-change herself as a fluffy-faced, short-eared cat until I told her that cat's aren't vegans and don't like curly kale!

Do stop by to see my exhibition if you have time.

It's on this Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th May and then next week Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th June at VENUE 54 which is in Cockenzie House on 22 Edinburgh Road.
It's a very big old building set back behind a big wall in gardens and I'm in the West side conservatory with 3 other artists. The front and North Gate will be open and sign posted.
(I was in venue 56, a hairdressers, but that doesn't bide too well with watercolours, so thanks to Yvonne for changing my venue at short notice!).

Friday, 21 May 2010

All in a Day's Work .....

This little chap is my latest 'Wesley' Bag.
My Wesley Bags are inspired by my lop eared rescue rabbit Wesley .....
and when I was asked to make a custom bag for two lop eared rabbits I was very excited indeed!

This side has the very handsome and very confident lop rabbit called Biffy.
He has the most amazing markings with very warm eyes - a real charismatic chap!

and on the other side is his bun wife Sogna!
She is a beautiful and gentle lop who lives free range with him in their mama's house in America!

When I was asked a while ago if I could make a Wesley bag depicting these two beautiful, precious rabbits I immediately said yes, ofcourse! Then I spent rather a little while scratching my head.

I studied photos of the posture and markings of Biffy and looked intently at Sogna to see how much white fur she has around her eyes to try and make this bag as real to them as possible.

Their mama, Lisa, was endlessly patient with me as I took far, far longer than I anticipated. All my ideas were tossed around, new ones came, old ones sounded better, new ones again, and all the while Lisa was upfront and honest with me.

I can't thank Lisa enough for sticking with her taste and helping me make this bag just the way she wanted it. Thank you Lisa!
Though, ofcourse, it is nothing compared to her two real-life loveable bundles of fur Biffy and Sogna!

I love all challenges but as an artist I find this can be a long, drawn out process as I work thru different mediums, ideas and angles to come to a solution that will make the commissioner happy.

.... and it all takes time .....

sometimes alot longer than just a day ...

... sometimes even a month ....

.... and no matter how soon I finish a bag I still must give myself a little 'waiting' time with it before it is ready to head out into the world ...

... and we both can part on happy terms, knowing that every thread is in place and every angle is just right ...

even 'regular' bags can be upgraded to have those new features if so desired ...

... so perhaps all in a day's work isn't quite my working schedule, but everything comes together in time

Arabella is completely exhausted listening to me talking about time and avoiding loose threads falling about the place. She is far more interested in catching some real sun time!

and Wesley wants Biffy to know that he just loves his spots, however he was wondering that if Sogna keeps on licking - will they all come off?

Monday, 17 May 2010

do I need to S P E L L it out?

I do indeed!
T h a n k Y o u ! !
to Toni and to the folks who voted for me in the story competition!

I Won!! - Arabella was wondering what all the elocutions were about!
and as a thank you I made this Treasury on etsy and included as many of the other contestants as I could and a few special people too -

it stars BeeBee and Christopher and .....

...... after they got off the long train ride Christopher found the perfect house for them on an island surrounded by pearls and jewels.
He gave BeeBee a small Treats Bag and inside was an exquisite gold ring!
ofcourse she said Yes! amongst the snow and trees, her heart beating fast with love and happiness
- they will never be without, their bowls will always be full :)
.... the End.

So now I have the hard task of choosing my prize from Toni's etsy shop The BuckToothed Bunny.
Now that I Am the winner I have been dithering over my choice!

I love this Love Languages Tote above! Perfect colours, perfect sentiments!

Then again, there is this cool pink Love Languages Long Sleeved T! I'm not a pink girl and the only thing pink that I own is a flock coated plastic stag! but this really appeals to me - looks so comfy and confident!
(and I've used the word 'cool' to mean 'groovy' without showing my age - but I think I've done it now?!)
and I've also been admiring this Canine Trio Tote too! I hope they got their treats after sitting so nicely for the camera?

I asked Wesley if he wanted to give me a hand choosing but he was too busy deciding what to eat first!

but I can see Arabella has already made her choice for me - here she is doing her impression of peeping above the rim of the tote!

aaah - my two little fur balls - always have a great sense of humour! but oh-so wise!

thanks again to Toni and my voters :)

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Skit ....

I rather like writing stories, hence my Baby Hares tales and the adventures of Priceless and Evdokia so when Toni from etsy shop The Bucktoothed Bunny announced a writing competition I had to dive right in!

Titled : Murder? Mayhem? Romance? Comedy? Tragedy? Musical? You Decide!
It features 16 images from 16 etsy shops and a story has to be written to encompass every image.
Well, well, I put on my thinking cap (dreaming cap actually - my stories tend to the whimsical side) and before you knew it I had it all down -

Beebee was simply fed up of getting canned this-and-that for dinner every day, it was making her breath smell like a damp forest! So one dark evening she put on her best pearls and met up with Christopher for a chat over a coffee.

The next night at the theatre they sat hand-in-hand (paw-in-paw) and watched a corny, French romance with bad accordian playing that sounded like a typewriter (did you ever!) and resolved to end the can-slop-saga once and for all.

The following day Christopher supplied the fatal potion and Beebee tipped the vial into the wine glass. Half an hour later they heard a thud like a pile of books - Miss Maplethorpe had tripped over Augustus in the living room and whacked her head on the vintage camera.

Whew! that was a relief! no need to check under her nose every five minutes for an air flow now.

They picked up their backpacks and headed to the train station. Well actually, Christopher carried BeeBee's bag with the love heart on it. She is his sweetheart after all!

That was it then - no more tins-from-hell.

Ofcourse, as it's a competition there would be no winners without voters - so please stop by Toni's blog to read all the other entries - have a pot of tea and some biscuits on hand and at the end cast your vote for the story that best takes your fancy.

Toni has made it possible to vote three ways
2. on her facebook page
3. on the Etsy treasury page in the comments section

I was, ahem, 'forced' to vote for my own story, as I had Christopher and BeeBee 'smiling' at me (as dogs do) as I typed my vote!
but please vote for your fav story - they are all fun! I particularly like Tamera's version!

and the prize - a super gift card from Toni's shop!
I know exactly what I love there!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

X Marks the Spot

Today is election day in the UK and unlike any other election in UK history this one will be decisive for two political issues - 1. climate change and 2. fox hunting

Both are equally important to me, primarily because if climate change is not tackled at a governmental level to force industries and individuals to change (those who are not doing it of their own free will and have to be coerced) then the world will be a very sorry place in 50 years time, and rather unrecognizable 100.

I was brought up in Scotland, Zambia and Australia and I have witnessed first hand the effects of global warming in both hemispheres. I have seen disturbing changes in the weather patterns, more so in the last 10 years than at any other time. The extremes of our annual weather are becoming extreme both ways - worse floods, worse droughts, coldest winters in decades, warmest summers in history, etc etc

This is big wake up call, for those not already awake and panicking (ever so slightly because you can always turn the TV off or choose not to read the facts online). Some people will never come onboard and do their bit, team effort style, for humanity and life on earth.
But for those of us who are it is very worrying that the government does not take it more seriously.
We still have a lot to learn from nature, in particular the structured and ordered societies of ants and bees!

Franny Armstrong, environmental campaigner and the founder of 10:10 and Director of the climate change movie 'The Age of Stupid' had her say in the guardian online about whom to vote for.
You can watch The Age of Stupid for free here, until close of election booths tonight, UK time.

The second issue that I am greatly concerned about is the silly 'pastime' of fox hunting and the other blood sports that the UK hunting law covers such as hare coursing as well. The Conservative party (also know by their slang term as 'tories') has said that they will repeal the hunting law if they get in power, which means that will surely allow hunting again. The LibDems have announced that they will side with the tories too.

I am completely mystified as to why any sentient human would even consider hunting in today's society. It is a barbaric, animalistic practise that surely died out when humans no longer had to go and catch their dinner instead of growing it.

Unfortuntately some parts of UK society believe it is their birth right to pursue, harry, torture and kill those animals who belong to no-one except mother nature.

I won't describe any of the events - as animal lovers you will already know and feel the pain badly.

The picture of the Fox above appeared yesterday in the main UK newspapers. It was placed by the Political Animal Lobby which was founded by Brian Davies and appeals to those who do not know about the tories hunting plans.
Brian Davies is the founder of IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and he has campaigned long and hard on many important animal issues.

So I am concerned about my vote and want to make sure that my X will work best for these two important 'issues' (if I can use such a flippant term).
Glad I know what party I Won't be voting for!