“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Friday 26 September 2014

Paint Party Friday and Sketches... Butterfly

Today has been a truly autumnal morning with sun shining brightly but accompanied by the wind which appears to be in a hurry to move us on to winter. 
Summer has definitely slipped away as have the swallows. 
Sadly I never saw them go, but in their place I've seen fantastic flocks of geese fly overhead. 
Truly a spectacle to be seen and heard.
A visually striking performance flying in formation as they call out to each other. 
Their voices are carried on the wind and can be heard long before they come into view. 
So with the change of the season, I thought that my artwork today would be to celebrate last summer... before I move on to autumn and all of it's colourful splendor. 

I took so many photographs of butterflies over the past few months, that it seems only right to draw one.
In fact, I hope to draw two... one in my favourite black ink line drawing style, but another with colour... 
but hopefully much more loosely.
Firstly, I designed a template in order to try to obtain a symmetrical design. 
I've been twisting and turning the paper plus myself in this attempt... a little like trying to take up a new intricate yoga position that is really only do-able for the extreme guru master!
Maybe I should take up yoga instead of art? 
Now there's a thought...

I used my trusty Micron pens on A3 Daler - Rowney, Bristol Board - Airbrush ( 250g/m²) paper.
I feel so comfortable with creating this kind of drawing now, that perhaps this is my style and I should stick with it. Although, I'm trying lots of different media and techniques in my new art group, so who knows what else might become familiar and comfortable over the next few months. 
It's all very exciting.
Did you spot the difference...?
No, not in the design but the fact that I'm on to my second cuppa whilst only inking the outline! 
I'm a real teapot.

Because it's Friday, I'm linking up with Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday blog... 
so if you'd like to party too, then click here.
Paint Party Friday
I'm also joining Dion Dior for Friday Sketches too. 
Click here
Friday Sketches Button

How brilliant to have so many like minded people enjoying the art of ART!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
I hope I'll see you here again soon and who knows I may just pop into your place... 
so keep the kettle warm.
Toodleloo for now 

Thursday 25 September 2014

Footdee ('Fittie') Fishing Village

I thought I'd take you on a little walkabout today...to a unique and quirky little village called 'Footdee'. 
Footdee is pronounced 'Fittie' by locals and is a small fishing village at the mouth of the River Dee and Aberdeen harbour. The expansion of the city of Aberdeen has changed many aspects of the area but Footdee has had a settlement as far back as Medieval times. The first recorded reference to the area of 'Fittie' was in the year 1398. 
The fascinating present day cluster of cottages was laid out by influential Aberdeen architect John Brown to rehouse the cities fishermen in 1809. 
I hadn't planned my visit to the village, but sometimes I think an impromptu walk can reveal the most enjoyable treasures. Admittedly, the sun wasn't shining but I'd walked with Mufftypup along the beach, when the village came into my view. I had intended to visit at some stage because I'd known about the village from when I last lived here, but had never walked around the cottages. 
It seemed appropriate that I'd tick that particular box with being on foot and so close... 
... and what could be better than to invite you to come along with me.
I'd watched a brilliant TV programme which aired a few weeks previously about the fishing village, so everything was still very much in my mind. 
So let's get started...

The village has regimented housing squares and was labelled 'Fish Town'. 
Later the name 'Footdee' was erroneously used to refer specifically to the housing squares, with Fish Town becoming forgotten. If you'd like to read more about the history of the village then please click here
The two squares, originally contained 28 single-storey thatched houses although this increased when the later Middle Row (circa 1837) and Pilot Square (circa 1855) were added. 
But as you walk around the village, the years just melt away and there's a real sense of the strong community that once thrived there. I could easily imagine the fishermen sitting outside their cottages (wearing caps and smoking their pipes whilst putting the world to rights or telling a fishman's tale in the local dialect 'Doric') 
Additional storeys were added to some of the cottages to the East and West sides of South Square creating a tenement feel.  This was an attempt to ease crowding resulting from an influx of fishing families from other less prosperous areas and to help try to enforce the `one-house-one-family' rule.
Some of the cottages have been renovated 

The bottom right photo (above) shows the North Square Mission Hall which occupies the central area of the North Square, reflecting its significance as an integral part of village life. Known locally as `the schoolie´ the hall was built for general as well as religious purposes and continues to operate as a multi-purpose meeting space.
Seeing the washing hanging out on the washing line made me smile and I purposely wanted to show it in my photo, because back in the day the locals were not allowed to hang washing out on any other day but Monday, which was washing day. Anyone who didn't comply with this unwritten rule would have a serious reprimand and told to kindly take their washing in! 

Here's a map to show an ariel view of the village squares. 
(map courtesy of The Doric Colums)
Throughout the 19th century, `tarry sheds´ were added to the communal land within the squares opposite each dwelling and now every dwelling has its own shed. 

Originally constructed from drift wood and other found materials, the sheds have been built and rebuilt over the years in a variety of materials with rendered brick now predominating slightly.
When oil was discovered in 1969, the quirky village found itself on a new path as the big oil players arrived in town and at one point, it seemed Fittie might be bulldozed to make room for booming business (as was Old Torry across the harbour) but fortunately, it survives to this day and retains its unique community feel.
As we walked around the square the best surprise of all came into view...
It was the lady from the TV programme leaving one of the cottages walking her wee doggie. 
What were the chances of that happening?
Obviously we had to stop for a natter (Muffy was insistent) and I couldn't help but mention her TV debut.  We must have stood there for over half an hour, whilst she reminisced over the making of the programme and the village history. It was fascinating to listen to her. 
Her mother still lives there and has wonderful memories and stories to tell.  
I feel terrible because I never asked her name or can remember it from the TV programme, but she was lovely and maybe if she sees this or anyone else that might know her then please contact me to let me know. (I can add it at a later stage).

If you're interested to find out more of the history of Footdee Fishing Village (Fittie) then Click Here
Also here's a video by James Thornton that will take you on a walk around the village that you might like to watch. It will give you a real sense of the place.

(Courtesy of 
James Thornton)
Well until next time... thanks for popping by my place.
Have a great day 
I hope to see you again soon!

Friday 19 September 2014

Paint Party Friday... horse sketch

Well what a night that was.... or should I say a few days/weeks/months even! 
I decided that I wouldn't post about the Scottish Referendum here, but I will say that I've been up until very late last night and awake from 5am this morning watching and listening to the outcome of the vote. 
So, as you can imagine I'm feeling like I'm having an out of body experience this morning as I try to wake up. 
It doesn't help that I still can't see anything due to the continuing fog outside! 
Yes, it's STILL with us which must be the fifth or sixth consecutively day. 
I feel like I have cataracts! 
Everywhere I look there's a blurred image.

I'm hoping that you can actually see my photo today because the light was very bad and not ideal for taking photo's. I've even tweaked them in the hope that it might help you to see the image.  
Now if someone had said "why don't you draw a horse"?
I'd have laughed or possibly used a swear word. 
Now as you know from my Silent Sunday entry a few weeks ago, I don't mind riding them but to draw one is a totally different challenge. 
But that's what my art teacher said in class this week, which produced a loud collective groan around the room. 
Not only were we to draw a horse but an enlarged version of the example picture at that!
At this stage, I nearly made my excuses and slinked out of the room, but let me tell you I'm proud to say I stuck with it, because I had no idea that there are tricks that can help with this challenge.
Numbers and measuring were not what I expected to be using in an art class, but hey voilĂ .... before I knew it, a horse appeared on my paper.
I'm now spending the odd hour or two when I can to complete the shading. 
Or should I say hatching and cross hatching... (hehe)... see something has sunk in. 
I must say I'm having difficulty with trying to do this, as I just want to run free with it but that's not part of the plan. I'll continue to do as I'm told for my homework and perhaps just redo my own version as and when. 
It appears that I'm creating a series of animal drawings over these last few months.
There's been Hettie, Nellie, and a very funny looking cockerel and now this horse. 
Who knows what will be next? 
If you'd like to see last weeks art class sketch then click here

As it's Friday I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday.

Paint Party Friday
and I'm also linking to Dion Dior's Friday Sketches...
Friday Sketches Button
Once again I apologise if I missed visiting you last week.
I'll try my best to visit as many as I can this week.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone... whatever you have planned, have fun! 

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Gardening forever... housework whenever

This sign was given to me by my sister a few years ago. 
As you can see it's had a life! 
In fact it's a very well travelled sign, having covered three continents. 
It did have a stake, so it could be stuck into a pot, but somewhere along the way it fell off. I've always been fond of it, not only because it was a wee gift from my sister, but the sentiment is spot on as far as I'm concerned. 
I'd much rather be outside (weather permitting) instead of ironing, cleaning bathrooms or moving dust from pillar to post. 
So imagine my delight when I received some lovely happy post this week from Twinkletoes2day with the same saying....
'Gardening forever... Housework whenever'
... AND a  very special Toby Poby drawing!
Now if that doesn't make you smile flying through letterbox I don't know what would? 
Whilst I'm mentioning gardening, I thought it might be an appropriate time to show you a little produce.
(little being the operative word here) 
I've not organised the area where I'll have a beautiful huge greenhouse, raised beds, chooks and bee hives. Ha! All in my head of course or possibly in about Phase 15 of our renovation plans. 
(We're only onto Phase 2... but anyway I digress) 
I did have a little play though and for the first time I have grown courgettes... with some success. 
We had the four shown above and my word I have to say they were delicious. 
There are still some growing, so we might be lucky and have another meal soon. 
I love the beautiful flowers but so far I haven't eaten one. 
But then with success there were a few disappointments... my french beans to name but one. 
I had big plans for them but unfortunately so did the snails!
Don't laugh if I tell you that I harvested two... YES TWO... that's not a typo.
Here they are...
But they are stunning specimens if I say so myself. 
(I can hear you laughing...but there's more)
I cooked these two and cut them in half so that we each could taste them. Again, they were delicious and just reinforced that we will grow them next year, but be ready for the slug invasion.

I think my best results though, came from two old compost bags... I planted tatties (potatoes) in them and was rewarded with 2 kilos!
I'm about to plant more so we can have our own for that special day in December.
I'll leave you with a few pics of a beautiful visitor to our plot...

Remember 'if a garden is finished... then it's dead'
Thanks for visiting.
I hope to see you again soon!

Friday 12 September 2014

Paint Party Friday... Picasso Cockerel

This post should come with a warning... ha... now I bet I've got your interest.
It's just that the photos are a wee bit blurred and this time it's not my eyes! 
Let's call them action shots shall we? 
So with all the kiddywinks going back to school ... I wanted to get in on the act too.
I enrolled for an art class which it appeared at first glance had me entering Hogwart's.
Here's the first apology for the photo above because due to the poor available light the stained glass window at the turn of the stairs doesn't show up properly. But even so the staircase is impressive isn't it? 
Maybe I'll be more successful and manage to capture it at a later date.
 I entered the classroom (ballroom) keen and raring to go...
Art supplies, name badge and cups of tea handed out without thankfully the usual... 'let's take it in turns to stand up and tell us a little about yourself" introductions. 
We went straight into the fun stuff with a few exercises first and then a small study.
There are 'returners' who have finished the first course and are now carrying on, so we get to see their work and also the resident artist creating drawing/paintings examples too.
I learnt quite a few things in this first lesson, so I think it will really help fill in the gaps of my very sketchy (sorry) art knowledge. Instead of winging it constantly.
One of the fun exercises was to sketch the Pablo Picasso, 1938 (charcoal on paper) cockerel.
He's not exactly a handsome chook but he certainly was fun and caused some humorous comments as we worked away. 

But then it all got turned upside down... quite literally. 
We folded the sheet of paper in the sketch book in half and hid it. Then turned the cockerel upside down. 
We then had to draw him again. (all very odd until you get to know why)  
This exercise was to help draw only what we saw and not a cockerel. (if you get my meaning) 
Instead of trying to make the cockerel appear from our memory, we were only using our eye hand 
Once the sketch was finished we then looked and compared the two... and had to decide which one was the one we liked the best. I'll let you decide. 
But one thing I was really pleased with, was how loose my sketch appeared.
I've tried and tried to loosen up previously but always have difficulty. 
I thought right from the outset of this course that I'd shed all of my hangups and just go for it. 
I have to say so far I'm pleased. 
I had so much fun visiting and being part of Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday link last week that I'm heading over there again today. Maybe you would like to join me? 
If you'd like to then click on the button here
Paint Party Friday
I'm also linking to Dion Dior's Friday Sketches...
Friday Sketches Button
I apologise if I missed you last week. I have been away for two days, but I'm trying desperately to catch up.
Well the sun has arrived so I'm off to enjoy... maybe my order for an Indian Summer got through after all.  
Have a fantastic weekend everyone... whatever you have planned, have fun! 

Hot off the Press....
My daughter has entered a competition to find a new contributor for Ohh Deer (a quirky online retailer of illustrated goods) and is so excited because if successful, would be joining a very talented bunch of creatives.
Click here to help her out and vote for her designs!  

Friday 5 September 2014

Cozy Cuddles - Paint Party Friday

This morning I thought that there was something wrong with my eyes. 
I couldn't see anything out of my window. 
I'd slept well (a clear conscience obviously) but they couldn't be that bad surely? 
I then realised it wasn't my eyes... it was FOG!
We've had fog for the last three days, even after having promises of good weather and reasonable temperatures for this week. 
The temperatures aren't bad but it would be nice to be able to see clearly.

So I thought I'd give in and just enjoy the day for what it was... perfect for finishing off a painting, especially because I'm home alone!
This is a very rare thing these days. 
As you know I love a full nest but can appreciate an empty house for a few hours. 
(Doing a little wee jig here)
Mufftypup is here with me but I know she can keep a secret... she'll not tell a soul what we get up to. It's good to have such a loyal friend.  

So the studio was mine all mine... MMMmmwwwwwhhhhhaaaa 
... and I wasn't afraid to use it. 

Let me introduce 'Nellie' 
(don't ask my why I name my paintings... I have no idea it just happens)
I used the same inks, paintbrushes and nib pen as I did for 'Hettie' 
You may be pleased to hear that Hettie no long balances on the bread bin. 
She's actually multiplied and got herself a herd...
I always think no matter what, you can always find something positive even if it's difficult or hard to see and today was a perfect example of that.
I was disappointed to see the weather but then looking out with dismay I was lucky, because out of the fog came a surprise to lift my spirit. 
I've had to edit and tweek these photos for you to be able to see the deer. 
It really was very foggy. 
These photos were taken from my phone because I had to move quickly. 
There one minute and gone the next...

And here's someone that just needed a cozy cuddle this morning...
Although thinking about it, with everyone out of the house could be that she's sulking because they didn't take her with them. Hmm...

Because it's Friday I thought it would be ideal to link up with the Paint Party Friday gang... there's always lots to see, admire and be inspired by, so why not join me and click here to be transported.

Paint Party Friday
I'm also linking to Dion Dior's Friday Sketches
Dion has an amazing  "Watercolor Pencils" class scheduled soon... so why not check it out?

Thanks for popping over to my place. 
It's always great to see you.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone... you deserve it! 
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