Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Xmas and more.

I have been waiting until this day to post my latest painting. It was an Xmas present for my sister of her Border Collie Monty and she looks in here so I couldn't post it before now. I completed it a couple of weeks ago. Monty does flyball so my sister decided on a head shot and two smaller flyballing studies.
I went through to her house today and took the painting with me and she had a present ready for me in return. Also being the creative type, she had made me a lovely lead/harness hanger and had painted small images of Sleet and Wren on it, one at each end and there are 4 hooks which is great because I'm sick of there being about 12 leads and harnesses all being on one hook and am always needing the one at the back. Just need to find a spot to put the hanger now.
I took some photos of me holding my hanger and my sister with her painting but I took them on my phone so quality isn't very good. You get the idea. I have posted a proper photo of the Monty painting too. I got a little snap of the dogs all waiting in their kitchen along with me at our house with one of our cats next to the tree. I took my two scallies over to her house with me to see Monty and Storm and took them for a quick run on the park over the road. Sleet and Wren had a go on my sisters skateboard. She's been teaching Monty and Storm to get on it but, after I saw two kids with one out in the street and mentioned that I wanted to get one for my two, she said she'd got one and so we let them have a go. They both got on with it really well, climbing on and trying things to get a click and treat. They didn't seem phased if the skateboard moved or anything and a few times were even pushing it forward, without meaning to mind, but doing it nonetheless. I'm now going to try and get hold of a skateboard for them, they seemed to really enjoy messing about with it.
First thing, I gave sleet and wren their first stocking to rip open. Sleet could feel that there was a ball in it and tried to rip it open but was finding it awkward so she started to throw the whole stocking at see if I'd do it for her. I agreed to hold the stocking whilst she continued to tug at it. Eventually, she ripped a little hole and manipulated the ball through it, realised it was a SQUEAKY toy...then we never heard the end of it until I took them out for a walk.
When I took them out, I decided to take the nyladisc I have thats been sitting there collecting dust. My last two BCs loved chasing and catching that but I never introduced Sleet and Wren to it before today. Of course they loved it. Sleet started to get the idea that she needs to catch it before it hits the ground and managed a few good catches..Wren just wanted to get in the way..then grab it to play tug of war when sleet was trying to bring it back to me. She needs to be on her own to take this type of thing seriously. Sorry, no photos of that.
I'm working on preperations for a new painting and I also got an airbrush for xmas that I'll be able to use once I learnt HOW to use it and I'll be posting regular updates on the paintings here so keep an eye out for those among other news.

The dogs all waiting in my sisters kitchen:

Me with my lead/harness hanger

Kath with her painting
Me with Gizmo

Monty portrait.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Whilst I am still preparing for my next painting, I have been taking the opportunity to do a little loose sketching. I decided to sketch the dogs..mainly sleet because she's the one who always sports the most interesting poses in photos. I did do one of wren for good measure but I'm not too pleased with it. It's a 5 minute job. The ones of sleet are all action ones.
I enjoy sketching like this from time to time. I should do it more often though to keep my freehand drawing more polished. There is always room for improvement no matter what.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The problems of xmas and how creativity rather than consumerism can save the day!!

Well, this year, I've had a real problem finding out what people want for Xmas and my mum has been one of the worst. She says she doesn't want anything and when you do finally "Make", her think of something, it's always something daft that she'll not really want or need just to shut you up. Anyway, the other day, I thought maybe a couple of nice pictures of our two cats would do it. We don't have any pictures up of them but, at 15.5 years old, they are both part of the furniture in our house so I thought they deserved a portrait each on the wall and, being my mums cats and all, she'd appreciate it. Photographing cats is trickier than photographing dogs because they are notorious for not playing ball. Also, I had the issue of my mum NOT being around when I got some photos and making use of the sparse winter light...I HATE flash. I was going to get some in the porch today when I got home from walking the dogs but my mum went and turned up from shopping the minute I brought the camera downstairs so had to rush it back upstairs again. I decided I'd have to photograph them in my room out of the way but they were both fast out in the living room downstairs. They both love chicken so I stole some from in the fridge. When my mum wasn't looking, I stole both cats and shut them in my room then went for the chicken. I draped a pale yellow blanket over a chair and sat Gizmo on it. She's the tortie. Using the chicken, I got her to pose and kept feeding her bits. I got some quite nice photos of her and she sat still often enough to get some sharp ones. The lighting wasn't the best and I had the ISO bumped up to 800 which wasn't ideal.
Gino was next. She's easier to focus on because of her white markings but she was more fidgety so a little more tricky than Gizmo. They were both very unimpressed when I first took them upstairs but they were soon enjoying themselves when being indulged with chicken. Gizmo purred LOUDLY throughout the session and I got some lovely impressions from her in the photos. She has such a cute little an owl. I got loads of shots of each to be more sure of getting some good ones. A lot came out blurry because the cat moved I knew would happen. I checked through them on the computer to be sure I'd gotten some decent ones before releasing the cats from their hostage state...after letting them finish off the chicken. They aren't perfection but they'll suffice for what I want them for. I have printed one photo each off and will get them framed up for my mum for xmas. One more present finally sorted. Phew!!