17th March 2014

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Hello. I’ve been busy, working on a commission (which I found really hard despite the client being super easy-going & lovely…). It’s difficult when painting is hard, it shouldn’t be hard and it’s not like I’m doing portrait painting or anything. Oh well. Here is the piece, titled Odette & painted on a 120 x 120 cm canvas. It’s off to Australia later this week which is very exciting for it, I think most people would like to follow it and have an adventure. Here’s a random piece of information about me though, I hate travelling, particularly overseas. I think most people would love to travel to Australia! I’d very much rather stay here, I always say to Rich that I’m happy to see these distant lands from the comfort of my sofa thank you very much!

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The other photos are of a new piece and Griselda on the wall with James’s kitchen dangerously close to her. Might have to re-think the kitchen’s location… I finished the cardigan I cast on in the new year (Firth o’ Forth by Kate Davies), yes it took me nearly two and a half months to knit but it was so worth it, it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever knit. Sorry for the cheesy ‘gazing to the side’ selfie (the camera was perched on top of the wheelie bin), it’s that sort of photo or one of me with a terrible rictus grin. I will share some of my scary rictus grin photos on here one day!!!

Till next time… I took delivery of ten 100 x 100 stretcher frames this morning (from the miserable TNT delivery guy who always just grunts at me*), these are to be stretched, sized and painted and then lent out to offices. I like that sort of opportunity so I said yes although it’s suddenly dawned on me that I have to crack on with them super-fast.

*Speaking of the miserable TNT man, I think he delivers to me as a revenge (of sorts – from the universe, naturally) for my own miserable grunty years in catering – I was bloody awful to some of my poor customers and I still feel no remorse because I was nice to the nice ones!!! Ha ha.

17th Feb 2014

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Here’s a piece I painted the other day after sending ‘Lauren’ off. I wanted to keep the yellow theme going and to explore it a little further. I also feel like I’ve got stuck painting the same painting over and over, although I’ve always been the same, ever since college. I get stuck on a theme or style and it takes a while to break out of it. This piece reminds me very much of the first paintings I made at uni, they had vast empty areas, drips, and the more concentrated sections of ‘goings on’.

But I had this hanging in the lounge so I could see how I felt about it and it started making me a bit uneasy as it reminded me of someone else’s work. I do worry about that sort of thing, I’d hate to knowingly rip someone off! – I did check, and it’s fine, it was the colours more than anything!

 

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11th Feb 2014

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I always like to have a good clear out after doing a commission. I kind of rush about when I’m making something for someone rather than just for myself, and stuff ends up everywhere – and by everywhere I mean the floor. I’m very much a dump it and close the door on it kind of girl.

Rich made the wooden tray in the top two photos. It’s designed for me to size my canvases on as rabbit skin glue is so sticky and ends up everywhere and often there’ll be paper stuck to the bottom of the canvas once I’m finished. So he appeared the other day with the tray which will be useful for resting work on while I paint it too!

7th Feb 2014

How is it Friday again already!? The hours just fly by… Oh well! Here’s some pictures of the commission I’ve been working on, and two surprise pieces. The clients had purchased a piece in 2013 for their new extension and were just lovely customers. When they got back in touch early in January about a possible second piece for their living room I was definitely up for the challenge. They wanted a piece with yellow as the predominant colour – a colour I don’t usually use and it was tricky but I got there with it in the end and really enjoyed myself – expect more yellow to come in the next few weeks. They requested that I name the piece after one of their three daughters, it being much fairer if I did it.. Could I do it? No! I’m one of three girls and I thought it would be fun to paint two little extra pieces (I had loads of sized tiny canvases in the studio), so that’s what I did – I love a good surprise!

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The paintings are titled Lauren, Nicole and Kristen – lovely names. Lauren was one of our name choices on the girl side both times round, but this has definitely turned out to be a boy house! Cars, trucks, lorries, diggers, tractors, stuff with wheels, the bigger the better as far as James is concerned. I honestly had no idea they even made such big trucks, those humongous mining trucks are just unbelievable and are bigger than our house I swear – very, very impressive. I’ll leave you with my son James’s favourite video at the moment – German heavy metal and giant trucks – it’s compelling viewing although it makes me a little sad about our modern world. James just LOVES the trucks and shouts ‘Look mum! Oh no! The wheels have come off!!!’ he also dances to the Eisbrecher soundtrack – I’m not usually a metal fan but Eisbrecher are pretty good!

December knits

My festive knitting… The first’s a cardigan by Mary Jane Mucklestone, pattern from The Rhinebeck Sweater. It’s a warm wonder of a cardi.

The second is awesome. It’s a baby cover for when Oliver’s in the sling! The pattern is Tír Chonaill – Baby Wearing Edition by Eimear Early, a modification of Kate Davies’s design Tír Chonaill. So useful and so much fun to knit.

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26th January 2014

So my New Year’s resolution was to work harder and I’m kind of getting there now. Have been feeling like hell because of the baby’s night waking, plus there always seems to be so much to do. I’m trying to fit everything in and starting to get somewhere with it all although I continue to wish I could stop time for a bit, or at least fit more into the time I have. I need to relax really, that would be the sensible thing to do, but no! There’s far too much laundry and the carpet needs hoovering and I can’t stand the mess!!!

I finished some small paintings anyway, here are 3 of them. They’re called Nella, Lucy and Anni. Nella for the wartime writer Nella Last, an ordinary woman who took part in the Mass Observation project and whose diary was published at some point. It’s a fascinating read. Lucy. Why Lucy? I can’t remember now, it seemed a good name at the time and I used to love the Lucy and Tom books by Shirley Hughes. There was a lovely Lucy in my year at school too, she was a lot of fun. Anni after a recent customer whose name I just loved – what a nice way to spell it!

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14th January 2014

I literally have never been tired like this before. I know I shouldn’t complain, I did choose to have my children after all, but it is a bloody nightmare at the moment. Oliver isn’t as easy as James was, James had naps, James slept through the night.. Yes, he was hard work too but not like this. Oliver seems to fight sleep with all of his might. I keep telling myself it’s just a phase and that I will sleep again, one day I will be able to sleep as much as I like. I’m even looking forward to being an old lady, actually looking forward to it. I think about it when I’m woken up by one of the boys in the night, and I just want to cry because I’ve been woken up, again…

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Anyway! Enough baby talk… I decided last week that I would try painting with acrylics, you know, they dry fast, you can wash your brushes in water… What’s not to like? They sell themselves quite well, until you start working with them that is – they’re impossible to learn! I particularly hate the way they streak across the canvas. But I always did give up easily, well, at things I’m really not enjoying. I didn’t give up on oil paints because they smell so good, they feel good to work with, they look the best and I honestly just love them. I suppose sometimes it’s nice to wait a while for things, like the painting above, I finished that the other night but it’s been ongoing for about a month or two (blame the sprogs…). It’s the layers and layers and blending I like.