23 Mar 2014

Mucky Paws

I think I’ve been going ever so slightly mad of late on account of an absence of art in my routine. It’s been a bit of a slog since Christmas, house building, job interviews and an adolescent dog. This weekend I managed to start a portrait commission of a very photogenic German Shepherd called Kai. I’m working from a lovely professional photograph for the pose and using my own photos to get a more accurate coat colour. As I drew the outline of Kai I was reminded of my childhood when I had a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of an equally handsome German Shepherd – it took ages to put together with at least 500 pieces which all looked the same! My father made a special board so that the unfinished jigsaw could be shoved under the sofa away from the dog and the kitchen table. My unfinished portrait of Kai is raised to the highest position on my easel – so provided Titus keeps four paws on the floor, it should be quite safe till I have time to do some more. The winner of my Christmas prize draw to win a pet portrait arrived this weekend to have her photo taken. Misty and her pal were not so good for the camera as Kai, being more interested in our fearless cat than posing for a portrait! It was cold and wild, so when the dogs got bored with cat, the wind flattened their ears - I may have one good photo out of 125! Tonight inside, the Simpson household is comparatively calm and cosy. Henry is surfing the net after a hard day building a house, Titus is asleep on the sofa after an enjoyable run on the beach and I am feeling a little more sane after getting dirty at my easel.

Kai's outline

Mucky paws

Early stages

Misty & her pal planning to eat cat!

16 Mar 2014

A new commute

The last couple of weeks have been a bit crazy – madness prevails chez Simpson! Poor Titus has had a little op, which has meant that long romps on the beach have been replaced by short walks on the lead and bags of pent up energy. Henry on the other hand, has used up all of his energy on the roof whilst the sun shines and I have used up all of mine dealing with the energy levels of the men in my life! Tomorrow is the start of a new routine and big shock to the system – I have secured a part time job. The commute to my old job back in 2011 meant leaving home at 7am, driving for 60 minutes, sitting in traffic for 20 minutes, getting on a bus for 20 minutes, walking 10 minutes to spend an hour or so in a sick building before reversing the journey back to my car to make another 40 minute journey to another office, some 2 hours from home. Below are a few photos to give you an idea of tomorrow’s commute, which will start at 10am and ends at 10.15am.

The roof is on - soon to be the start of my commute, currently Henry's workplace
Traffic on the road to work

The office is just round the next bend
Somewhere to have lunch with my car-share buddy, Titus

2 Mar 2014

The sheep that came to tea

Perhaps last week’s blog was a bit too cryptic in places. The sheep who came to tea? Princess Neptune of course. I was at home, working away and trying to keep warm (with fingerless gloves, and a padded boiler suit hiding a lower layer of thermals and warm scruffs) when I was called to a film shoot on a nearby croft. I quickly removed my outer padding and threw on a respectable jacket and scarf to hide my under-layer of scruffs. I quickly did the best I could to correct a bad hair day and slapped on a bit of blusher and lip salve before heading off into the unknown.
I arrived to find Alan Jenkins from STV, a very large camera and a warm welcome. We had a civilised lunch of hot soup and buns then headed outside to do our bit for the camera. The jacket I had grabbed was a sheepskin, fake, but wholly inappropriate I realised – so I decided to expose my scruffs and froze instead. The wind finished off the salvaged hair do. Princess Neptune was very suspicious, but performed for camera by going up & down the stairs before being hand fed biscuits from the table. She went into the car, out of the car and ate about 3 bowls of proper sheep food before she would do her finale. Ellen (Princess Neptune’s devoted owner) and I were amused when Alan disappeared for a few minutes and came back nicely groomed in a smart jacket ready for his piece to the camera, indoors in the warm and out of the wind! When the excitement was over, we had a wee dram and laughed about our more than unusual day.

Here’s a link to the STV news item  (put up with the adverts then skip to 19.00) and below is my unedited version of the finale (you had to be there!).......… 

The roof did lift safely into place and the phantom photo flipper has gone.