Sunday, 29 November 2009

Happiness is...a Robin

I think by now you will all have realised that I have a soft spot for the British robin. They are unbelievably gregarious with such personality. I laugh at them trying to see off the other birds from the bird table, single handed they can never keep them away for long but I admire them for their courage.
I have found over the years that some just go the extra mile too.
This one stood out to me about a month ago when Andy took this wonderful image.

He came a little closer than most and the inquisitive glance made me smile. In fact I liked him so much, I painted his portrait.

As time moved on a little, I started to give him an extra tidbit here and there. I go out with mealworms in my pocket, lol and he came a little closer. In fact I do think he is becoming quite a poser.

I realised he was not too concerned about me and increasingly have held out my hand to him, with mealworms in it of course ;)

As I suspected, if I keep still and don't make sudden movements, he is happy enough........

So, if you get a Christmas card from me and it has a robin on it, just know that he is VERY special :D

Also with many thanks to Andy for the photographs.

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Thursday, 26 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to All Across the Pond

For all my friends across the pond, happy thanksgiving and I hope you have a lovely day.

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Monday, 23 November 2009

Despite a rainy weekend

.....we still managed an hour or so to go out with the camera's and take a few images.

It did really pour down so I hade to rack up the ISO on the camera because it was so dark. It doesn't make for the best of images but there are some pools now in places where they had almost dried up...
The grey wagtail in the shot above seemed to be actively enjoying the rain....
I cannot say the same for me!

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Saturday, 21 November 2009

Easy Christmas Cards

With the weather being so awful again today, I am simply painting and crafting.
For a change nowadays, I thought I would share some of my latest Christmas card creations.

None of these were very difficult. I have been spending a lot of time painting so haven't had too much time for stamping, so I have been using toppers. I have also been using very small cards for a change.

One thing that didn't impress me this year was the selection of paper available. I have to say, it has all been rather boring. I looked and looked for something a bit different and innotative but the only paper that I think is gorgeous is "My Minds Eye". I have to say at £19.99 the book it is a little expensive...saying that I have just noticed it has a lot of sheets.

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Thursday, 19 November 2009

Skywatch Friday ~ Rainbow

It has been a week for rainbows somehow, although I discovered they are rather difficult to capture on camera!

Links to other sky photo's from around the world can be found on the Skywatch friday site.

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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Of butterflies and things

When I was on holiday, I worked on a piece that was a lovely photo of a Peacock butterfly. But, the image I was working from had a very vibrant flower in the background which almost seemed to detract from the beauty of the butterfly, so I never did make a start on the background.I gave it a shadow, which I then regretted but had a sort of half hearted plan in the back of my mind.

Last night I decided to do something with it. I had thought originally that I would use one of those box frames and 3d it. However, I had seen some great artwork where someone distressed a canvass and then added artwork. Well I tried that but it really did not work out at all. The ink pads worked ok but when I tried to stamp a background, it just looked like a mottled mess. So then I tried to draw on some swirls and it went downhill from there on in. the canvas has been relegated to the back bedroom so that I don't need to look at it!

Meanwhile, I cut out the butterfly and used zest it to soften the coloured pencil. I then edged it with a gold leaf pen. I added some gold glitter to the body area and that looked pretty cool. I took some earing wires and curled them into antennae and then thought what now? So I went back to my original idea and put it raised on some 12" by 12" scrapbook paper.

I am not sure now, I keep moving it around.

What do you think?

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Monday, 16 November 2009

Summer Stream

I thought I would share a another summer moment. It doesn't really seem fitting right now as we move into the winter months but it was painted only last week. I am working my way through a lot of photo's and tidying up. This image was one taken at the Horseshoes pub in a very small village, Ratlinghope. This is locally pronouced Ratchup, well ish.

It is a very special place for me...I played there too at about the same age as these two young ones.

Shropshire Hills were the place I most missed when I moved away. Cardingmill Valley, the Stiperstones and the Burway are all part of my life somehow.

I also love all the folklore that goes with it. The tales of Wild Edric, the mystery surrounding Devils Chair and the lovely story of the Reverend Donald Carr "A night in the Snow".

As we move into winter, it is a different view up there. The mists take over at the drop of a hat and it turns almost hostile. However, it is rather nice sitting here with the rain and wind outside, looking at it all in sunnier days.

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Monday, 9 November 2009

Art, wildlife, cards~ Quick roundup

As one that tiredness is ensuring that my words are all befuddled, I thought I would provide a quick photographic roundup of the last couple of weeks, pictures say a thousand words and all that!

I did a little decoupage for a change. I wa feeling a bit under the weather but it is easy to sit in a chair with a couple of images and a pair of scissors!

I have continued with my watercolour painting. Some of it was a disaster!

And some seemed to look a little more like I wanted it to.

It also seemed to be a similar theme from a photographic point of view. I didn't manage to catch any of those shots that you think, wow that is just so good and sharp!

But, I did play with some filters and had a little fun.

And I did see a Kingfisher... :D

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Friday, 6 November 2009

Dudley Zoo

We went to Dudley Zoo back in the summer and I didn't every get around to posting this....

I confess, I wanted to visit and I knew that Andy was not so keen on the idea. I also knew why. When Andy and I were younger, Dudley was rather a depressing place. The architecture was protected and yet it really did not provide the best conditions for the animals it housed. I have mixed feeling about zoos.
But, I recognise that firstly some animals that are in captivity cannot now be released back into the wild and secondly that they provide very necessary breeding programs.

I am also conscious of the educational awareness that they bring to children.

A lot of work has been undertaken at Dudley to greatly improve the habitat for the animals and thankfully, conditions are much improved.
The elephants rescued from a circus which caused so much controversy have been since moved to a zoo in France where they have more room.
The lions now have a huge area in which to roam. Lemur wood is fabulous and what's more, it enables the visitor to get a close view of these beautiful animals but under their terms so to speak. I have to say whoever thought of it was inspired.
I overheard one lady saying how terrible it was that they were in a zoo and what poor things!

Now, I am not an animal expert but having allergies of animal's means I spend a lot of time actually observing them rather than trying to interact with them. I suppose I cannot possibly gauge how they feel and they cannot tell us. But, I am very in tune with suffering and I thought that they seemed happy, healthy and well cared. I think I will save my pity for those pets that are living with abusive and uncaring owners.

The one thing that had gotten to me previously was the displayed boredom of the animals. I was pleased to see that there was little evidence this time; they all seem to be provided with a lot more stimulus.
It was also good to see that the feeding regime was interactive providing a good display and a workout for the animals.

Mind, there were times I did wonder as I was taking some of these images...who is actually watching who?

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Sunday, 1 November 2009

Autumnal Green Man

One of the contributors in the forum Wild About Britain recently put up a green man made of of autumnal findings! I decided to paint my effort and quickly put this together.

I had so much fun doing it that I may undertake a more detailed and thought out version yet. My thanks to Loripo for the inspiration :)

As a postscript, I did also do a digi - version in photoshop...

I think my next will be a winter version, I need snowflakes for that tho' ;)

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