Thursday, 18 September 2014

Another 'Doorways' painting.

I've had a strange couple of months - we sold our house at the end of July and have house sat for some friends for a few weeks and have now moved to my mum's. Our new house will be ready soon, I'm looking forward to living there. It's a bungalow, so my life should be a bit easier as I'll have no stairs to deal with :)

As a consequence, I've not had many opportunities to paint, but today it's my BFF's birthday today, so I've painted something for her. It's the entrance to where we stayed for her birthday last year; here's the photo I've based the painting on:


Here's part way through painting:

I painted the mortar of the bricks first, then used a small fitch brush to paint individual bricks, changing the colours as I went to reflect the differing colours of the bricks. 

The I painted the door: 

Even though I was going to be covering parts of the door in greenery I wanted to paint the whole door so that it could show through. 

Next, I shaded in background greenery and painted the lace at the window:

I just scrubbed the paint on, as I was planning on over painting it to do the detail of the plants.

I then painted in the plants - ivy at the top and bottom on the right, conifer in the middle and on the left. I enjoyed painting this, it was very relaxing!

The whole painting:



My friend seemed pleased with it :)

Monday, 26 May 2014

Zelda is finished!

At last, I've had more than 30 minutes to myself that hasn't included laying on the sofa recovering from having done too much!

These last couple of months have been hard going - a combination of trying to do more than I could, having ME flare-ups due to trying to do too much, then lying on the sofa doing nothing because I'm too tired to do anything.

My husband has been up for re-election as a local councillor, so for the last month, I've been a canvassing widow as he's been out every evening and most weekends. The election was last Thursday, and he was re-elected. I've been trying to do more around the house so that he could focus on politics, and at the same time we decided to put our house up for sale and move to a bungalow. 

Our house sold within just a few days, so now we have to find somewhere to move to!

Enough of all that though, let's get onto what you want to see. Zelda.

I've ordered some batteries for my camera online, but I'm still only iPad, I'm sorry!

Here's the whole thing:

Then a close-up top:

And a close-up of the bottom half:

This one was fun to do; once I receive payment it will be winging its way over the Atlantic to its new owner.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

National ME Awareness day

No pictures of paintings today, just this blog post.

If you're a regular checker-inner of canvas and paints you may well have noticed I have ME; Myalgic Encephalopathy to give it it's full name.

I've had it for almost 9 years now - I was on a cycling holiday round North Wales when I started with what I thought was a bad cold/flu. I've never recovered.

It's a mainly invisible illness - invisible because you can't easily tell that there's anything wrong with me if you see me sitting down on a good day. Invisible because on a bad day I can hardly make it downstairs let alone go out, so I'm invisible.

Why am I telling you this? To get you to think about invisible illnesses and the assumptions we all make. To get you to think about the impact of cuts in the UK - disproportionately affecting disabled people. For pity? No - what's the point of that? You can't eat pity, it doesn't heat your home, doesn't help you walk.

What does having ME mean to me?

Nine years ago, an average week saw me swimming a mile, running 2 miles and cycling around 60 miles. I also went circuit training, worked out at the gym and lifted weights. I wasn't muscly, but I was strong and fast on my bike. I used to do a cycle ride for the Christie Hospital in Manchester every year, cycling 57 miles to raise funds for them.

Then I caught that cold/flu. I got lost on what should have been a 30 mile afternoon's ride, ended up riding about 35, and feeling dreadful from about half way.

Now, walking up and down stairs exhausts me. Doing the food shopping causes uncontrollable muscle spasms in my legs and causes significant pain (despite the anti-spasmodics, anti-inflammatories and painkillers I take). I was on morphine patches for the pain - they were brilliant at first, but my skin breaks down too quickly so I've had to stop using them. 

Some days it can take me 2 hours to get up, shower, dress myself and make it downstairs. Some days I'm too tired to shower, so I sit on the loo lid and wash. My memory is shot - I can be told the same thing several times and have no recollection. I forget words and talk drivel when I'm too tired. I lie on the sofa lots, just resting, specially on a Thursday. I rely on my family and friends to do so many things for me, things that I used to enjoy doing, and some things just cos they have to be done. The glands in my neck are often inflamed and painful; I ache all over; I get bone-numbingly tired, so tired that I can't eat as I'm too tired to chew or swallow.

I walk with a stick, and if I'm walking more than a short way, I also walk with a gutter crutch - I can't hold a stick in my left hand, so I have a crutch that velcros onto my arm instead. My disability is fairly obvious because of the stick/crutch combo, and because of the speed I walk - well, lack of speed if I'm going to be accurate. For years I've hidden that I have a crutch as well, as I'm almost ashamed of needing it. Ridiculous.

I have friends who also have ME; they've experienced discrimination due to having invisible disabilities, I have too, and it's rotten. Think about what that must be like, even for a minute. People look at us funny. People make comments about us even though we can hear their mean comments. People treat us differently. People stare. People push past us. People try to push us over. People ignore us. People target us. People think we're scroungers. It happens regularly. (Thank you Cameron, Osborn, IDS, Daily Mail. Not.)

My fears for the future include never getting better, slowly getting worse. They include not being able to hold down a job (I currently work 3 days a week in the NHS as a Learning and Development Facilitator). This job is why Thursdays are so hard - I work Monday - Wednesday; my husband makes dinner on those days, and often on others. I try to spend Thursdays resting so that I can do something on a Friday. I'm fortunate to be able to work. Many people with ME are unable to - either because they are too ill, or because they cannot find suitable part time work. My employer is very, very flexible, and values the work I do. This government lied about the help I would receive to get into work (I was made redundant and didn't have a job for a while). This government have cut the Access to Work budget without publicising it - this money is supposed to help disabled people into work. It didn't help me. This government are scrapping the Independent Living Fund - the fund that enables severely disabled people live independent lives. It will cost more both in £££s as well as the impact on individuals to stop this fund, but it's an ideological cut.

Do I feel sorry for myself? No, not really. I get fed up at times, but being sorry for myself doesn't help anything change. Do I get cross or sad? Sometimes - I'm human, not superhuman, and I have grieved for what I've lost. Life expectancy for those of us with ME is 57 years. That scares me.

What else does having ME mean to me? are there any positives?

Yes - for a start, I paint! I run canvas and paints, something I would never have done before. I have to rest so much, and painting is something I can do even when I'm a bit tired. 

I've had to slow down. I have more time for other people because I'm not busy rushing to do the next thing.

I've enabled people to feel good about themselves by letting them help me - I have to ask total strangers for help sometimes - they walk away feeling good about themselves because they've been kind to someone. I never used to let people help me - I'm stubborn and quite bloody-minded, and was always the helper. Now, that's reversed, and although it can sometimes be hard, it's also really positive because it blesses others.

I campaign online - once over I'd have been on the march, the picket line, the barricades. I can't do that now, but I can email, sign petitions, publicise stuff.

I support other people in their struggles with disability as well as receive support from others.

My life is a charmed little bubble, where I am loved and love; where discrimination and intolerance get short shrift; where I am helped and am able to help.

My hopes for the future?

A cure for ME. There has been some interesting research in Norway with a chemotherapy drug that's had some success. There may be a trial in the UK. There's been some research about what's going on in our bodies at a sub-cellular level, in the way our mitochondria release, reabsorb and re-release energy.

One day I might recover. Til then, I'll hope.

Possibly useful sites:
ME Association
Action for ME

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Zelda almost done!

Well, I've painted twice today - this morning I've painted the walls in my front room, this afternoon I've painted more of Zelda. 

I've concentrated on finishing the bottom half of the painting - all I need to do there now is the white outline of Link and then the grey wash over all the background to fade the paint out a little.

Tomorrow I'll finish off the top, then finish painting Link. I've still not been able to buy some batteries of my camera, so I'm afraid I've used my iPad again, sorry.

Here it is:

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Even more Zelda done

I've been catching up with thei ting - looking after my mum following her knee replacement has taken lots of time, and has given me little time to paint, but I spent some time yesterday and this morning painting. 

It feels so good to paint, but I've had to stop as I'm heading out to a policy forum on disability in an hour or so, and need to get ready.

Anyway, see if you can Ot what I've been doing - I need to apologise for the quality of the photos as I've had to use my iPad as my camera has decided to stop working. I'll have to save up for another one!

I've done most of the pink here:

I've tightened up some of the black outlines here:

Hopefully, I'll be able to paint some more tomorrow :)

Friday, 4 April 2014

Zelda continued

Well, I completely overestimated just how much time looking after my mum would take - she had a total knee replacement 4 weeks ago, and I moved in to look after her, and carried on going to work. Consequently, very little painting got done! I managed to paint on a couple of days, but that's all. 

She's doing really well now, so I moved back home last week and am painting today.

My camera has decided to refuse to save any images, so I've had to use my iPad to post an update, so I'm sorry the photos aren't quite as crisp as I'd like them to be. I thought it would be better to post rather than not!

Here's where I'm up to; the whole image: 

The top half:

The bottom half:

I need to go over some of the black outlining, but I'll probably do that next to last, before I do the grey colour wash. Today I'm going to finish the background, and *maybe*, just maybe start Link. 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Zelda - a bit more done

I've been a bit busy the last few days - my mum has gone into hospital to have a new knee, and so I've been visiting her instead of painting.

I've arranged for other family members and friends to visit my mum though, so she won't get lonely in hospital, as I'm going away this weekend - its my church's every other year weekend away. 

Apparently some people are going for walks or playing football on Saturday - I'm taking Zelda to do some more.

I think pink and brown will be next, I'll be painting Link last, after I've slightly greyed out the background. 

I'm not sure quite how much painting I'll get done, but I'm hoping for a few hours.

Here's where I'm up to, I've done the orange tones:

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Zelda is a little further on

Here's some more of Zelda done - I'm back at work, so I'm not getting quite so much painting done as I did last week. Ah, well, until I can give up the day job and just paint, I'll carry on painting slowly!

Here's the whole painting:

Here's the top half:

Hopefully I'll get some more done this week.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Zelda colours started

Normally, I start a painting at the top left hand corner - I'm right handed, and have found that's the best way to keep the painting clean, as I smudge the pencil outline with the edge of my hand as I work across the painting.

With this style of painting though, I prefer to paint one colour at a time, as there are so many shades of each colour. I'd have so many small puddles of paint on my palette that they would dry before I had used them.

Here's where I'm up to so far - I've done the blue sections:

Here'e the whole thing:

Close-up of the top:

Close-up of the bottom:

Friday, 14 February 2014

Zelda outline finished

Here's the outline done:

The whole thing:

Close-up of the top: 

Link's eye is a bit wonky, I'll correct that before I start on the colours. The owl's eyes (at least I think its an owl) on the bottom right were wonky on the pencil outline, so I've corrected them already.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Zelda outline started

Oh, I've had fun today!

I've taken a few days off work, and have decided to paint lots.

I've already said that when I painted Guitaroo Man Lives! I used ink to do the outlining, which ran when I colour-washed the finished painting, even though it was supposed to be waterproof ink.

There's no chance of that happening with this one, I've painted the outlines using black acrylics.

Here's where I'm up to:

I'll do some more tomorrow :)

Friday, 7 February 2014

Zelda painting

Here's the pencil outline done - the whole thing, then a couple of close-ups of the top and bottom:

Almost the whole thing!

Top half:

Bottom half:

Link's left eye is a little wonky, I'll be fixing that!

Another Zelda painting

Really, I don't know why the games are called Zelda, because all she seems to do is get kidnapped - its Link who does most of the stuff!

Anyway, gripe over.

The next painting I'm doing is for Sirialis, and is this one:

Yes, Zelda is in the picture, but it's all about Link!!!

Think I'm going to enjoy this one - it reminds me a bit of the Guitaroo Man Lives! painting I did last year, but I've learnt from that one. I did the black in allegedly waterproof ink before I did the final colour wash over the background. It may well have been waterproof, but it certainly wasn't very dilute acrylic paint-proof! This time, all the black will be in paint, there's no ink going on this painting!!

I'm on annual leave for a few days, so I'm hoping to get this one started quickly.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Borderlands 2 finished

Well, I thought I'd finished it, and then LewieP had a look at it. 

He identified a couple of areas I'd got wrong, so I went back to it and corrected them!

See if you can spot the difference between the "thought I'd finished" and "really finished":

Thought I'd finished:

Really finished:

In case you can't tell, it was one of the helicopters, it wasn't quite symmetrical enough for his liking!

Anyway, it's finished and headed off to the USA a while ago.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Borderlands 2 continued

Next up were the shoulders, well, the part I classed as the shoulders:

It was almost finished, but I thought I'd better let LewieP cast an eye over it, in case there was anything not quite right.

He noticed a couple of things, so I changed them.

Next, I'll be posting the finished image.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Borderlands 2 started

Whoops, I thought I'd updated this - here's the next step in this painting, the head started.

I started with the overall colour of the head, trying to get the tones right, then continued down to the shoulders:

Next, I started pouncing the shade of colour on top, to achieve the speckled effect. This was fun - very de-stressing if you're feeling a bit tense, but definitely something to do with an old paint brush rather than a newer one. I used a slightly worn brush that I cut down a bit so it was more like a stencil brush, then loaded as little paint on as possible. I then pounced all over the painting:

I really enjoyed doing this one, and had to stop myself from continuing as I needed to make dinner!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Borderlands 2 pencil outline

My last post explained about the Secret Santa I'm in, and that I was painting an image from Borderlands 2. 

Here's the pencil outline:

If I could work out how to rotate the image, I would!

So far, it looks fairly straight forward - the key thing will be matching the pouncing on the head to the source image, as its quite detailed. I like detailed stuff though, sometimes I have to be careful I don't focus too much on the detail, as its tempting to keep on going!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Borderlands 2

This was for my Secret Santee - for the last 6 years I've taken part in an online Secret Santa, and have only once not received a gift from a Santa, and that year I was Easter Bunnied instead.

Each year I'm assigned a Santee and am given their IRL name as well as their forum name, their IRL address and their email.

I then spend a few weeks virtually stalking them, until I've worked out what painting they may like. One year I was particularly successful at stalking, found my Santee's sister and mum on FB, and messaged them about him. I found out all sorts of things - one, importantly that he was gluten free, so I made some gluten free biscuits for him.

I tend to send a load of English chocolate as well, as so far my Santee has always been from outside the UK, and let's be honest, we do make the best chocolate!

After a successful stalk, I was advised that he really likes Borderlands 2, so with some help, I narrowed the choice down to 3 images, then went with the one whose colours I liked the most:

The first image really interested me, the colours were lovely; the second filled me with dread because of all the straight lines, although I love the image; the character image bothered me, as I'd be removing the guns, which would change the images.

In the end, I decided to go with the first image, as the colours were just so lovely.

I'll update over the next few days.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Samsara is finished!

At last, I've bought a new SD Card Reader, so I can upload the photos of the finished painting.

Here it is:

One day I'll be able to take straight photos that capture the whole canvas - clearly the day I took these wasn't that day!

Most of the painting:

Close up left - you will see I added decoration to the walls and around the window - the commissioner asked if I could. I'm so sorry these photos are crooked, I have others I took on my iPad, but they're not a true reflection of the colours I used, and are a bit blurry. I'll add them at the end so at least you can see the whole painting:

Close up right, showing a little more detailing on the archway and some lit candles that I was asked to include:

Here's the iPad photos, don't say I didn't warn you! The colours are really off, almost like I've used a yellow filter. The camera photos are accurate:

Next up will be a painting from Borderlands 2.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Even more Samsara done

Once I started the figures, I had a discussion with the commissioner about how the sa-ilu (Dreamer) would look. I tried out a few different figures on paper, then cut them out and attached them to the canvas using my putty rubber. You may notice that I've painted over the background - where I'd originally placed the sa-ilu.

Version 1 - I found out that both men and women Sikhs wear turbans, and the sa-ilu (Dreamer) has not been identified as a man or woman, so I wanted to keep that detail difficult to determine.

Version 2 - In this one, I tried to hide the features with a veil, but didn't think it was as successful:

Version 3 - This one was a different character again, with a different type of veil - I was trying to achieve an effect that looked like tuille:

I had an interesting discussion with the commissioner, and we agreed on a composite character - he liked the second veil, but prefered the colours and stance of the first character. He also wanted the sa-ilu to have a more dominant role in the painting, so I suggested making that figure larger.

More in the next couple of days.