Wednesday, 29 September 2004

Sunday, 26 September 2004

Powis Castle

P had a day off from his accountancy revision today. The routine's only just begun and it's already a bind, but it really makes me appreciate the time we spend together.

We travelled an hour or so South to Powis Castle over the Welsh border. What a fabulous place! The terraced gardens are so beautiful with amazing views over to the mountains. We sat on a bench in the warm September sunshine and I felt really peaceful. There was a calming serenity that I'll remember every time I'm stressed.

The castle itself was very attractive. Inside the rooms were lavishly decorated with painted ceilings, wood panelling and ornate plasterwork. The library had a hidden door which, from the inside looked like shelves of books. I especially liked the bedrooms with their four-poster beds that still managed to be very cosy. I really could imagine myself living there. It always helps when the N.T. guides are friendly. The veggie soup I had for lunch was very tasty too. What a great day!

Saturday, 25 September 2004

Family Portrait - Stage 1

The group portrait is coming along ok so far. This is the stage where the figures look like the Nazi's in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the spirits from the Ark blast through them! A bit freaky!

On a more serious note, after drawing a rough layout in graphite to determine the placement of the faces, I go straight in with the acrylic (not worrying too much about colour at this point) and start to bring out the forms, the curves and shapes. In my mind I'm constantly measuring between things... the outside corners of the eyes are the same distance apart as the bridge of the nose to the end of the nose (in one case). I'm also measuring and comparing the negative, empty spaces.

Thursday, 23 September 2004


That portrait I've just started will have to wait.

I went out with one of my oldest friends last night. We met at the Broken Cross in Northwich who's bar I've not stood at since I left my job last year. It hasn't changed in the slightest and is one of the friendliest pubs I know. Anyway my friend (I'm not sure if I should mention names here although hopefully if you know her you'll recognise her!) has asked for a painting of her family to send to her mum who's just relocated to New Zealand. There will be four figures which is going to be a challenge but who doesn't love a challenge? So I may start posting the progress on this instead. The painting is from a digital image that was taken before her mum left. It's slightly blurry which could make the job more difficult but we'll see how we go.

Wednesday, 22 September 2004

Portrait Stage 1

Ok, here's what I'm up to today. I'm working through a portrait that I wanted to re-do for my friend's birthday.

I'm trying to do it as quickly as possible so I've started by drawing with graphite. I usually just plunge straight in with the paint but I thought if I did it this way I might avoid making changes later on.

Having a few problems with the eyes which are, unfortunately, the most important part. I hate working from photos! It's so much easier working from life. I feel that you get a much better likeness. When you work from a photo you're looking at just one moment in time. When you work from life you have a much better chance of showing the character, capturing the mannerisms of a person.

Monday, 20 September 2004

The Dutiful Fiance

Earlier today my dad picked some apples off their tree for me. I'm so proud of myself - I actually made an apple pie! Never done it before but it was sooo satisfying. It looked a bit, erm, rustic but it felt so good to know exactly where those apples had come from!

Today I layed off the painting and played the dutiful wife (well, fiance). I cleaned the kitchen and then made my poor revision slave of a fiance dinner. Homemade veggie chilli... followed by the apple pie... mmmmmmmmm! Ok, so the chilli burnt to the bottom of the pan, but at least I'm trying.

The portrait got a great reaction from my parents. Always a great feeling even though I know they're biased!

Friday, 17 September 2004


Oh my GOD!! A HUGE spider just jumped out of my water sprayer when I took the top off. I don't know why, but we are removing two or three 4 inch spiders from the flat every day. I can't kill them - what harm have they ever done to me except made me scream - so we take them to the end of the drive, spin them round a few times to disorientate them and let them go. I'm starting to think that they manage to find their way back in. They really do scare the pants off me.

One night at about 3am I noticed that there was a monster of a spider on the floor next to the bed. Being a complete wimp I asked P to get rid of. As he was taking it for a walk I threw my head back down on the pillow and found myself eyeball to eyeball with what looked like the mutant from Arachnophobia. My scream must have woken the entire street up. Ever since then I've found it hard to get to sleep at night.
Just about finished the portrait

Thursday, 16 September 2004

Portrait - work in progress

This portrait has been painted purely from life, but I'm going to use a series of photos to help me finish it off. As you can see it needs a fair bit of work on the background and the hands. I'm toying with the idea of toning down the purple in the background too. I will post my progress later.

Ooooooooooh the doorbell just rang and I've had a box delivered that's full of art supplies. I only ordered them the day before yesterday. What great service! if anyone is interested. There's nothing I like more than new paints and brushes. It's so exciting! I usually use Cryla paints but I decided to give liquitex a try. Oh my god! It's like a lucky dip! The box is full of shredded paper.

Work in Progress - Portrait of my father Posted by Hello

Charity Auction

Got the lily painting finished yesterday and have decided to enter it into the exhibition as an extra piece that will be auctioned at the end. The Black Sheep Gallery has organised a charity auction for the NSPCC. I will be putting a low reserve price on it and any profit made after that will go to the charity. Will be mortified if nobody bids for it!

Well it's a brand new day and I've got yet another painting that needs to be finished. It's a portrait of my dad. Every time my Mum speaks to me she asks about the painting. I think she wants to keep it but she already has so many paintings that there really isn't any room for it. Seriously, she'd have to fix it to the ceiling or something. Mum is my no.1 fan!

Wednesday, 15 September 2004

Lily 2 Posted by Hello

My first post

Well here goes...I've been wondering if this is really such a good idea. Will anyone even read this? But now I can ramble on and on to my hearts content!

I'm going to finish a painting that I'll be exhibiting in the next couple of weeks at The Black Sheep Gallery in Hawarden near Chester. I've got to get it done before my lovely fiance comes home and reprimands me for spending all day trying to work out how to blog. It's so hard to be disciplined sometimes.