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A Floral Portrait

A friend sent me a quick selfie a while ago of herself wearing a dress that she had made. I thought the pose and expression was interesting (as well as the dress being lovely) and so I made a painting of it – though, I had to change a lot of things. 

The original photo was taken with a phone camera into a mirror, indoors in artificial light.  This is the painting I made from it.

My friend is a great lover of books, so I turned the phone in her hand into a book, and added her pet budgie and tortoise to the picture to keep her company, along with an enormous rose-bush and a random pillar.

This picture is only 14 by 10 inches, so I'm quite pleased I achieved a likeness in such a small space.

Wandering the river

Happy Easter!

I have taken about 999 photos of various expeditions I keep meaning to at least mention here but in the meanwhile, I shall just note that my sister has been visiting from Canada, and so yesterday we first went for a Rosie-Led Walk, in which Rosie led us Up and Up until there was no more Up available and then we had great difficulty persuading her to go back down again.  But eventually we got her to go back to the river, which was much cooler and very pleasant, and while we were there, we saw some dippers and a pair of distant but definite kingfishers.

And then in the evening we went out on the river at Wacker Quay, since at long last the sun is not only shining but the wind has dropped too.  Our canoe is not much fun in wind. We paddled up to St Germans, which has a handy little slipway where we were able to swap paddlers over so all three of us got a chance to paddle.  Today my shoulders are a bit tired but it was fun.  Very calm and quiet with huge reflecting hazy skies.

No photos of that because although I did remember my camera, I forgot it didn't have a card in it.  Oh well.  I snapped some pics on my sister's camera, anyway, which is one of those superzooms, though I imagine those will not come to light till she gets home and rummages through them. It was interesting to try out the amazing zoom, though I prefer to have a bit more control over what the camera does, it wasn't easy to work out even how to adjust white balance, since it's designed very much as a point-and-shoot.

Oh, and we saw a fox wandering through a field, from the canoe.

SO, here I am

I made a redbubble shop.

This is my first adventure in selling my photography or my art. I have spent so many years practicing and trying things, taking courses and trying to understand colour, composition, what works and what doesn’t, looking at art in galleries and online and trying to develop an eye.

And now at last I think I am making things that I like enough that I might buy them, so I am wondering if anyone else would like to. And there’s only one way to find out…

Not really expecting anyone here to buy anything, but you could go through the link and click the ‘like’ button  on something if you wanted to be nice - and offer any constructive advice you may have.

I'm planning to try to sell some of my original art on my own victoriaclare.com website too, if for no other reason than the house is getting kind of full of art, but I'm not quite there with that yet.  I'll do a Facebook when I am.

This week in art class...

... we were painting things inspired by the work of Joaquín Sorolla, 'Spanish Master of Light'.

I painted this based mostly on a photo I took when we were canoeing on the Helford estuary, but I added a seal and a swimmer for no particular reason.  This is quite a large painting by my usual standard, A2 size. I'm pleased with the light and colours, though as usual it doesn't look quite as vibrant in the painting as in real life..



And here is... well, I had intended him to be an orc, but Pp, who is versed in these matters, thinks he is an ogre.  With a kitten friend.  (Pp says: "You said you were going to paint a monster, but you have painted the world's SOFTEST ogre!"  Which is, I suppose, true.


(I didn't paint the ogre in art class, he just came to me as an idea one evening.)

Cattitudes

We've had lots of little milestones with the three kitties.  Nenya (the white one) is slowly becoming more chilled and less likely to chase the other two and bop them.

Fankil (the grey one) was terrified of her for a while (despite them being so close when we saw them at the rescue!)  I think it was because Nenya didn't know Gothmog (the black one, and the youngest).  So, when she arrived, Gothmog tried to play a bit rough: Nenya was in no mood for that, having just been spayed and suffering from mastitis, so she chased Gothmog, who ran to Fankil, who hissed and hid.

So for a couple of months we have had something of a state of war within the house, Fankil and Gothmog hiding upstairs, and Nenya ruling the roost downstairs.  But things have got easier since Nenya has been allowed outside (and has discovered that the outside is the realm of the Giant Next-Door Cats, who are all about twice her size.)  Also, Nenya does actually like cats, and I think she got a bit lonely.  So we have been trying to encourage peace, and basically not spitting and tearing around the place like tiny furious loons in hot pursuit.

Today for the first time, Fankil went outside.  I saw Gothmog leading him through the living room and then out through the open door (because it was sunny this morning I had the door open so the cats could dot in and out.) I was a bit worried that Fankil was going to just vanish, but no, he and Gothmog played with leaves for a little bit on the patio, then they came back in.   Nenya has worked out how to use the catflaps, but Gothmog and Fankil haven't, yet.

And now they are playing in the livingroom, and Fankil just came and sat on the sofa next to me for a bit!  Now he's gone a little way away, but he's still sitting on the sofa next to Rosie.  This is very fine progress. I admit at one point we were starting to wonder if we would ever see Fankil, and then if we could possibly get all three to actually get along.  But things are looking good now.

I make a card...

I got tagged by Lurcherlink this year asking if I would join in with designing a card for their card competition thingy!
I did something rather different to last year; Brusho and ink rather than acrylics.  I am now seized by doubt and wondering if I should have gone with acrylics after all, but I do like the vague drifty colours of the trees from the Brusho...  Sorry for the out of season festive post.  I suppose they need to plan this stuff early!
I hadn't read this, but when the suggestion came up on the Silmarillion Writers Guild Discord that there should be a group readthrough, it seemed like a great excuse to get around to it, so i swiftly bought a cheap second-hand copy.

So far I like it a lot, so much so that I did a brief reading of the first bit of the The New Lay of the Völsungs... oh drat.  Apparently I can't upload MP3 files to LJ, only MP4?  Oh well, here's a link to it on Tumblr.


Reading schedule, if anyone fancies joining in: here's the Discord Invite*.
First week (6-12 April): Introduction, "Beginning", and  "Andvari's Gold" (unnumbered section and I, wth the relevant part of Commentary on the Lay of the Volsungs)
Second week (13-19 April): "Signy" to "Regin" (sections II - IV, wth the relevant part of Commentary on the Lay of the Volsungs)
Third week (20-26 April): "Brynhild" to "Strife" (sections V-IX, wth the relevant part of Commentary on the Lay of the Volsungs)
Fourth week (27 April - 3 May): Lay of Gudrun & Commentary
Fifth week (4 May - 11 May): Appendices A to C, including "Attila"

* I don't really know why this has ended up on Discord rather than anything else, but so it is.

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Pussy Willow is insect pollinated

I never knew that before!  But a few days ago I found a pussy willow tree basking in the morning sunlight, and it was all over bees, hoverflies, wasps, and even a rather raggedy peacock butterfly left over from last year was feeding enthusiastically (I wonder where it went when it snowed?)   I had always assumed that plants with catkins were wind-pollinated, but in this case, clearly not.

Sadly I did not have my camera with me, so here's a brimstone butterfly feeding on a violet instead.

Letters Home from the War

Worldbuilding Exchange reveals happened, so I can now admit that I wrote Letters Home from the War for Narya, who had THE most amazing list of prompts, I could have written almost any of them.

She did not, however, ask for Finrod, who none the less turned up anyway, which is at least very in character.  I don't suppose Beor the Old asked for Finrod either. Or Sauron.  Nobody expects the unexpected Finrod...

1st Apr, 2019

A peacock!
I am rather pleased with this because I think it's the first thing I've ever made with coloured pencils that actually has a decent depth of colour and doesn't look too stiff.  Background is brusho again, and then the detail is all Inktense pencils, overpainted with a waterbrush to bring out the colours. 


And here are three dwarves fighting an acrylic dragon!
Read more...Collapse )

I made a card for my Mum for mother's day too, and took it over to her today, but I forgot to photograph it. Hey ho.

On Saturday I found some pheasant tailfeathers while walking along the River Walkham, and brought them home thinking the kitties would like them. This was apparently the best decision ever: Gothmog keeps bringing me tailfeathers to throw for her (they aren't the easiest things to throw, but if you throw them like a dart, with the hard bit first, they will travel several feet.)

More wind than we thought on the river today,  so we were only out an hour and then quickly headed back with the aid of the breeze behind us for an icecream (or in my case, a sorbet : one scoop of kiwi and one of gooseberry fool).  Now my shoulders are aching so I'm quite glad we called it a day early.  

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