Monday, 31 January 2011

Big Baby

Everyday Matters - Something huge
This is my 'baby' and he's huge.   We've had Jackie for five years now after he appeared early one morning, crying outside our gate.  He was only a puppy but his paws were enormous.
We kept him for a while thinking someone would come looking, but nobody ever came.  By then we'd grown so fond of him he had to stay!
He's always been fond of this deckchair, what he doesn't realise is that he doesn't fit on it anymore and his legs drape down almost touching the floor.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Passing Through

Not much time this week for painting, but I have been watching these birds settling in a tree along the road.
I particularly like their silhouettes against the grey skies.  Each time I went past they flew off just as I got there, and I thought I would have to draw from them from memory.  But I got lucky, when after waiting for a few minutes they all came back.

The sketchbook I made doesn't fit in my scanner if I use a double spread......I will have to bear this in mind when/if I make another.
The one question I ask myself is why that tree and not one of the many other trees along the road, they've been there for a week, I think they are migratory on their way somewhere?

Monday, 24 January 2011


When I saw the topic  for this week's Illustration Friday I had to take part.

These are my old dusty boots, faithful dog walkers for many years and kept on the doorstep until....
(If you are of a nervous nature, look away now!)
...until one evening I returned home in nearly darkness to find that one of my cats had put a rat in one of my boots.  I knew it was a rat because I could see its tail sticking out.
Fortunately we only have 'country' rats round here, little things with white tummies, but it still frightened the life out of me when it jumped out and started running around in a frenzy!

The rat was quickly caught again (while I stood on the table), but I just don't feel comfortable in my old boots anymore.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Pebbles and Stones

A little study of some stones I picked up on the beach.  I can't  resist  smooth coloured pebbles and stones, my bag gets really heavy after a day by the sea.  Most of them  go into the garden and they look lovely in piles or in plant pots.
This is watercolour and coloured pencil with artistic splatters to represent the sea and sand!
My new watercolour book arrived a couple of days ago, so I'm going to have some fun trying out some of the different techniques....which book?  You'll have to wait and see!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tying up Loose Ends

Everyday Matters - Something you can tie.
I tried to sketch some different coloured ribbons but it wasn't working, so I went for a small piece of soft rope.
It was sitting on my sketch pad while I was drawing, gently unravelling.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The Winner is...?

We have a winner!  Thank you for all the comments and everyone who took part in my January Giveaway.
A total of 31 people left a comment, the random number generator gave me the number 23.

This corresponds with the comment left by Jill from the 'drawing diva' blog.  Well done Jill!
I have sent you an email and as soon as I have your address your bookmarks will be in the post.
Sorry to everybody else, I would have sent a bookmark to you all if I could!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Ends and Beginnings

Oil 40x50 cms

This has been a week of finishing projects and starting new ones.  At the beginning of the week I finally finished this portrait of my daughter.  This is a painting that I have been doing at my art class.  I was forced out of my comfort zone as I am not comfortable with's so obvious when you get it wrong!
But after much moaning and nearly binning it several times I managed to get it done in the end.  This thanks to the other members of the class and of course the teacher.

I also had a go at making my own sketchbook.  It's not perfect, a bit wonky here and there, but it's the right size and filled with my favourite paper.

I have decided to use it to sketch the area around my house, lets say within walking distance.  One of the reasons I started this blog was to do just that, hence the name ....down a dusty lane.  I have done some sketches from near my home before, but now they have their own book.

This is the first sketch, still a work in progress.  The first pages I am saving for a view of my house from the lane, but this is the view from the side of the house and from the spare bedroom window.

I have been following Cathy Johnson's new blog Artists' Journal Workshop and I feel inspired to keep a journal of some sort.  A record of where we live and the changing seasons will be something to treasure in years to come.

Don't forget you have just one day left to leave a comment on my January giveaway.  Here
I will announce the winner tomorrow Sunday 16th January.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Red, Green and Mauve

I felt a bit lacking inspiration so I went for a wander over the hill behind my house.  I found so much to look at and all under my nose.  I came back with three leaves from the same variety of plant, but all were a different a colour.  I'm still playing with small narrow pieces of watercolour paper, that way I don't waste anything.  Most of these little bits are off cuts from a whole sheet.

Seeing the three little oblongs with the coloured leaves made me think of doing them much bigger for my kitchen.  Whatever happens it was fun and good to practice watercolour. ( I did use a tiny bit of coloured pencil too)

Don't forget you have a few days left to leave a comment for my Great January Giveaway if you haven't already. 

Saturday, 8 January 2011


The challenge for Everyday Matters 303 is 'something frozen'.   I live in a fairly warm place near the sea so ice and frost are unheard of here, although we do get snow on the mountains occasionally.
So I had to look in my freezer to find something frozen and came out with fish!  There are several small harbours nearby where you can buy fresh fish, and if you go at the right time (just before lunch) you'll find a bargain.  You can come home with a full of bag of fish to cook or freeze.

Friday, 7 January 2011

A Boston Street View

The Virtual Paintout for January is in Boston.  I had a look round using Google Street and found Richard Gere  a nice man with grey hair walking down a street.  I didn't look any further and sat down in the house opposite to sketch.  From the little I saw of Boston it looks like a lovely city, one day in my dreams I will go there.....and maybe I'll find Richard Gere!

For anyone who hasn't heard of  the Virtual Paintout, it's a site run by Bill Guffey, who chooses somewhere in the world each month for us to paint or draw.  We use Google Street to find  a view  to use as a virtual subject then send it to Bill.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Celebrate 2011 with me! (The great January giveaway)

We all love a giveaway and what better time than the start of a new year?

If you remember I made quite a few  bookmarks as Christmas presents this year.  They were fun to make and let me play a little with colour and designs.  I had a couple left over and I thought I would let someone have them as a present from me.   The finished product comes with a ribbon threaded through the hole so that you can mark your place in your book, or just use them simply as a greetings card.

All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of this post and I will use a random number generator to select a winner.  You have until January 15th to comment and then  I will announce the winner on January 16th!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Watercolour and coloured pencil

Wishing everyone a happy and creative 2011!

This is the time of year when everyone makes lists and resolutions.  I prefer to set myself goals rather than try to keep resolutions.  A list of goals keeps me focused during the year and I also think about how I will achieve them.   The above painting was from the beginning of last year and one of my first attempts at mixing watercolour and coloured pencil.  This year I'd like to improve my watercolouring skills (last year I learnt to use oil paints at a painting class), but I need a good book to start me off...any recommendations?

This is also the time of year when people wish for a good year ahead and there are many traditions that hopefully will bring them luck.  In Italy they have one strange custom of wearing red underwear on New Years eve, so obviously I couldn't resist drawing these for you!

I hasten to add these are not mine and they were new.  Now you know what to wear next year!
Happy New Year to you all!


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