The spell of Princess Neptune has taken effect - it’s official, I’ve got a thing about sheep. I did drop a big hint back in February and there has definitely been a clue or two in my recent blog posts. I think it was there all along, but has recently begun to be more difficult to hide. When I think about it, the best piece of art homework I did at school was a very detailed study of a sheepskin rug – I drew every little curl and twist in the woolly fireside fleece. The very first gift I bought for my Henry (before he was my husband) was a ceramic sheep by Tessa Foulkes (he was a bit confused if I remember, little did he know where it would lead) and my first oil painting was of some Welsh sheep. I’m not sure what it is – the warm woolly fleece, the knobbly knees, their little faces – probably a combination of all three. I started knitting in 2006 after I walked into a Chester wool shop one lunchtime and became mesmerised by the tightly packed shelves of beautiful colours and that smell! I was having a particularly tough time at work, and said to Henry that “I no longer want to be a manager, I want to work in a wool shop – everyone is so happy in there!”. OK darling, he said. Well, I carried on for a few more years and just nipped in to the wool shop for a lanolin-sniff and a skein-squeeze when things were really heavy at work. We would both go to the Woolfest in Cumbria for a serious fix!
These last few weeks have been a journey of discovery – I am not alone - there are quite a few folk out there who share my sheepish behaviour and I’ve found a whole on-line community of happy people passionate about sheep and wool. I’ve also discovered that this month is Wovember, a celebration of real wool from real sheep . In the spirit of Wovember I have embarked on a large sheepy composition, the largest pastel painting I’ve ever attempted. I very chuffed with the end result after 12 woolly faces, 20 knobbly knees and an awful lot of bleating!
|The Gang - not sure what to call it - just a few finishing touches to do yet|
|the initial drawing - ready for transfer onto the pastel paper|
|my reference photo ( taken near Latheron, Caithness) & the "notan" study|
|work in progress - lots of knobbly knees to go|