I can hardly believe this is my 100th blog post, how time flies!
It’s been a busy start to the year, which has seen me being fully occupied almost every minute. This is a good thing, in many ways, as the news is full of concerning headlines and it would have been more difficult for me if I hadn’t had things to keep me fully occupied.
Last year, my friend, Mary Redshaw, requested me to do an illustration of her late pet – a beautiful greyhound, named ‘Rio’, whom she had obtained from a rescue centre. Having re-homed Rio later in the dog’s life, Mary didn’t have a great deal of time to spend with her new greyhound, but that time was very enjoyable and special and Mary’s whippet, ‘Tina’, also loved her new companion.
They had some great times at Cullercoats beach and Mary has some stunning seascape photographs of the wonderful times they spent up there visiting Mary’s sister.
Illustrating black dogs can be a bit ‘tricky’ as very often there’s no shape or texture to the illustration; so to convey the beauty and the gentleness of the dog, as well as her texture, I made the drawing slightly more pastel, so the detail and expression can be seen. Mary is delighted with the pet portrait, which is now framed and displayed on the wall with all of Mary’s other beloved canine friends.
I always say the love of a dog is so unconditional; they don’t care what you look like or what you do for a living – they just show their belief and trust in you.
I think this is a very difficult time for all of us in our history and it is time now to have a belief and trust in each other at a time when it’s most needed.
I’ve done quite a few birth names now and have done a few varities of names too, but a new name often comes my way; one that I like and one that also makes me keen to get on with the illustration request.
The name Penelope is a nice Greek name and a friend I had called that told me that the name relates to a Greek story about a lady who was famed for weaving a never-ending tapestry whilst waiting for her love to return from a long voyage.
The client, in this case, didn’t want a weaver but did want lots of dalmatians (I couldn’t fit on one-hundred-and-one), which happens to be my favourite breed of dog.
I started off with the pencil sketches and soon realised that no matter how I drew the young dalmatians they were going to look so like Walt Disney’s no matter how hard I tried. Walt Disney has rather cornered the market on Disney films, making both the cartoon and film version, which featured Glenn Close.
I wanted the Dalmatian pups to interact with the letters and tried each one in different positions before settling on the final version. The colour chosen for the letters was yellow and this was very complementary to the black and white of the dogs. Once the puppies were all drawn in I added a slipper, some balls of wool and a mouse. A woodpecker flew into my garden as I was working on the sketch, and seeing as the colour of it was so similar to the dogs I thought it would be nice to include it.
The client loved the final illustration and I hope you do too…
There’s much ado…this April, about one of England’s most famous writers – William Shakespeare. I have heard that there are new stamps being issued by the Royal Mail, which feature famous lines from his plays and the Royal Mint are also issuing three £2 coins, which feature the three main themes of his plays: comedies, histories and tragedies. Being an avid stamp collector I must look out for those…and perhaps those new shiny coins too…
Until a few days ago, I had been unaware that 2016 is the 400th anniversary of this well-known man, who is the most published author and the most performed dramatist of all time…
It cannot have been my subconscious, but for some reason whilst walking around Durham, quite recently, I felt most inclined to do a quick watercolour sketch of the Shakespeare public house. I don’t normally have a free hour or so to sit down and paint (particularly in a busy city, as I don’t like crowds or an audience), but that’s just what I did. I didn’t have that much time to paint anything more than the fascia, but I did enjoy just doing something because I wanted to do it and not for a specific reason or for a commission. It seems appropriate to put this watercolour painting, of this popular public house, on my blog, in recognition of Mr Shakespeare…
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” The Tempest
William Shakespeare, English poet, playwright and actor
Baptised: 26 April 1564 – Died: 23 April 1616