Tiger, tiger

I had a very rare day yesterday. So rare that I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a day like it, which is saying something. I actually had nowhere to be, nothing urgent to do, nobody relying on me to do anything and no reason not to take a day to indulge myself in the things I wanted to do rather than the things I was obligated to do.

And boy did I enjoy myself!

It took a while for me to get into the swing of it but I spent some time creating a picture of a tiger’s face, which I quickly did in oil pastels in my A4 sketchbook (and which has already been claimed by my son’s girlfriend!). I absolutely loved that feeling of applying colour to paper, and it prompted me to recreate it in oil paints on an A2 sized canvas, taking my time over it and taking care to build it up in layers rather than doing a “colouring in” exercise that I have tended to do in the past.

I copied them from a photograph online, and for the first time, I didn’t trace it onto the canvas beforehand. I sketched out the outlines in pencil for the pastel sketch, but…and I’m so glad I could do this…the painting was done entirely freehand with no backing sketch laid down first. It is totally painted and it represents a big step in my confidence as well as my developing technique. Who knows, I might even feel brave enough to take my materials out into the open air and paint something “live” sometime soon!

Here is the pastel sketch:

Tiger sketch in oil pastels

And here is the painting in its various stages of completion:

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I usually find that doing something creative helps if I am feeling a bit out of focus within myself, and yesterday’s and today’s activities have helped me feel better. Not that there has been anything drastically wrong, but you know what I mean? There doesn’t have to be something wrong for something to make you feel better.

Having a totally free day yesterday was the key to it and I’m really glad I haven’t squandered the time to myself. I’m really pleased with the results and I’m looking forward to attempting a landscape or something next time.





Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 18th May

Yahoo it’s hodgepodge time again!!!

1. What reveals more about a woman-her refrigerator or her purse?

Definitely her purse (or handbag/shoulder bag as we say in the UK). A fridge is a shared item and it tends to reflect the whole family, whereas a woman’s bag is totally her own and is usually her world in microcosm.

2. When was the last time you went to the zoo? Where? What’s your favourite zoo animal?

The last time I went to the zoo was probably when I was a child. I don’t like them. I know there is an argument that without zoos around the world certain species of animals would be extinct or in danger of becoming extinct, but to me that’s not a good enough reason to keep animals in unnatural habitats for entertainment purposes.  Especially not in these days of 24 hour news coverage and wall to wall internet feeds. We don’t need to see animals in cages to know what they look like as previous generations did. As for the second part of the question I would have to say that my favourite “wild” animal (rather than “zoo” animal) is the tiger.

3. What social issue fires you up?

There are a lot of social issues that upset me, but the biggest one is the one that not only supports but encourages a growing layer of our society where people don’t work and who don’t expect to have to work for a living. It enrages me that these people not only get housing, taxes, clothing and food allowances all paid for but they are “entitled” to free medicines and medical care because they don’t have a job. Well, hey. I don’t have a job at the moment but that’s because I’m too ill to work. Until I lost my job through ill health last year, I had worked full-time from the age of 17 right through two pregnancies and maternity leave, and only stopped last year because I HAD to. I am not entitled to ANY financial support from the government – not even my medicines – because guess what….because I WORKED and paid my national insurance for 20+ years. My mortgage has to be paid for, all bills and groceries, medicines, transport (including to and from the job centre and hospital) and I have to prove I am unfit to work every couple of weeks or so whilst these people who have NEVER worked have it all given to them on a plate. Am I wrong to rant??? Grrrrrr……it really gets me going!

4. Are you a coupon clipper? If so, are you extreme?

No. The UK doesn’t really operate coupons in the same was as you have in the US and so it’s not usually worth the effort. The only coupons I tend to use are things like if we spend so much in the supermarket we get a coupon for so much off a litre of fuel at their petrol station. In this day and age of astronomical petrol prices, every little helps!

5. What is one of your favourite souvenirs brought back from your travels?

We haven’t really travelled that much, and only really round Great Britain so apart from the usual nicknacks we picked up I’d have to say my favourite souvenirs are my memories of fantastic times with the kids on holiday.  However, my favourite souvenir brought back by someone else is 3 rocks from Ben Nevis that was brought to me by a very close friend who climbed it a couple of summers ago.

6. Lemon meringue or key lime?

Neither – they are both too sweet for me I’m afraid!!

7. What is the most beautiful word you know in any language?

“Amore” – it sounds beautiful when it is spoken out loud and if someone mouths it it looks like they are blowing you a kiss.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’m working on an arrangement of “American Patrol” today for our youth band to play at an upcoming 1940’s event. More about the event in a later post!!