Saturday, 25 May 2013

Introducing Custer

Here he is - our new rescue boy Custer (we were not keen on Buster) has now been with us about 28 hours.  What an eventful time it has been too!
Poor boy is 16 months old, he has had no training at all - not even lead training, and is a big puppy.. infact he is a VERY big, strong PUPPY.

It will be a long road ahead, as not only is he a big puppy, but he is the most stubborn dog we have EVER owned.  Not surprising in his short life he has already had 3 homes, we are his fourth.  He has also had 3 names, none of which he seemed to know, his first puppy name was Custard, so I thought Custer was close enough and OH refused to shout 'Custard' across the park. Although it will be some time before he is off lead to do any shouting, as he needs some level of control first, which there is none at the moment.  Aside from the halti we purchased to stop anyone else ending up on the  floor whilst trying to walk him.

This was him this morning helping me to do the hoovering..

It really is such a crying shame people ruin these beautiful dogs so badly and dump them in rescue centres for someone else to have to pick up the pieces of the damage they have done to the dog, through either cruelty or lack of training and boundries.  This poor boy hasnt got a clue what his role in life should be, landing in his fourth home too.
But he is adorable when he is asleep look!  This was after this mornings lead battle when he spent over an hour glued to the spot before I had to go get him in the car.
This evenings walk with the halti was a much bigger success, and he is enjoying some grooming time. Learning some gentle boundries.. its going to be a very long learning curve for us all, but hopefully Custer will learn to be a relaxed dog and that he is loved in time.

If you wish to follow Custer's future journey you will find it here

As this blog is for my creative stuff, once I get some time to get back to it.  Just now though Custer is a bit of a full time job, so the art may well have to take a back seat for a short while.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Painting over faces

Part of my wonderful 'Facecinating Faces' course was learning to paint over a magazine image, this is to help learn about features, shading etc.  Last time I tried this it really was a disaster, but this time much better.
First off I made a background on my journal page..

Which I then added some paints, stamps and stencilling too - then added my magazine image..
then, I painted over her and changed some of the colours..

The idea is that she no longer looks like the image used.  She has a painterly look now, which was a lot of fun to do.

If you read my last post about gundogs, you will know how much we need another Labrador in our house.  Well, I have been to see one today - he is totally adorable, he is currently at our local RSPCA shelter awaiting a new home.  A yellow boy, 16 months old - and does hugs.  Our only problem could be misery guts the Lurcher who might not be too thrilled with him, we are too take him tomorrow and see how they get along, and I have a homecheck to pass too! no probs there as this house has always been dedicated to dogs, and as I am at home painting most of the time, when I am not dog walking or caring for parents (were I can take the dogs) all should be well.

Not a brill picture as he has a lot of energy with being in kennels - but this is him, and we are really hoping he will be with us soon..

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Working Gundogs

I bought this stamp this week (on above card) it really made me smile so I just could not resist.  I then went on to make a whole set of notelets, well I say 'whole set' there are 4.
Well of course, I think they are funny.. let see if anyone else does? as I have just put them up for sale in my Etsy shop see how they go.

I am missing my Labradors so much, my house is just not the same without one - so I have spent a lot of time looking at Labradors on-line, we are toying with the idea of a puppy, for over 16 years I have had rescue dogs, and will always have a rescue dog.. I still have our Lurcher Jaja.. but having recently lost 2 dogs to health problems it might be time to buy our own from a good breeder (there are some v. good responsible one's out there) or at least look at dogs returned to breeders, early days as yet.  I know it is very selfish of me, but I would just like a dog with good hips for once.

Enough about that, I also made this card that will be listed in my shop this week

I would like one just like that please!!!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

facecinating faces II

The class I told you about here is now finished, although I have yet to catch up.  I am still practicing the shading we learnt about in week 2, I do 'get it' now but still need a lot more practice which I am doing daily and having a lot of fun in the process.  Week 3 we learn about mixed media backgrounds, this is the first one I did with one of my coloured pencil girls.
This was a lot of fun to do too.  In one of Andrea's video's she showed us how to shade a girl in marker pen, I am enjoying this too - never quite 'got' that before either - we also had a fun challenge to do a 'boy' face - I did this one, nobody could guess who he was so when I did the background I added a LARGE clue.
I still have a lot of training video left to watch - as of course I would rather be 'doing' than sat watching video's on-line but needs must, so will try tear myself away from the art room tonight and watch some more video.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

New Bags in Shop

Just a quick blog post today, I don't do much advertising really - but it is sometimes necessary as paints and paper do not come free and I still have to make a living whilst I learn.  For anyone who does not know here is my Etsy shop  

Above is the first of 20 new bags that will be gracing my Etsy shop (in time). Whilst moving rooms around to created my art room I found a large box with 20 bags in I had pulled from another selling venue, with every intention of listing on Etsy and totally forgot.  Majority of these bags were the first batch created by "Bags of Swank by SimJaTa" so exclusive designs which will not be repeated.  Although I have every intention of creating more, the sewing machine is pretty much redundant and put away - I would far rather paint.  Therefore at this time it is unlikely there will be many (if any) more of the "Bags of Swank" created.

This batch will be listed at a reduced price as I need some more space, and I am hoping they will find the loving new homes they deserve that way.  So, do keep checking back - so far I have photographed 2, and will be listing those this week.. with another 18 to go when I have the photographs done, that I am not the fasted in the world at getting around to editing.

Please do take the time to check out my shop  thank you.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Facecinating Faces

These super on-line courses are certainly keeping me busy.  I mentioned this wonderful course back in April when I first signed up here  I am now in week 2 of this amazing faces course by Andrea Gomoll, and enjoying every second of it, Andrea is an amazing teacher and the course is just fab.  Above are the first sketches I did in week one, the first thing that is taught is about proportion, which as you can see I havent quite 'got' yet but I am getting better.  I am hoping to start the shading we have been taught tonight.  Wasnt one of my better idea's to do two courses at once, I am finding that quite tough as life does get in the way a bit and all I want to be doing is art stuff.

To find out more about this course you can find a video here

In my usual haste and impatient way I started a face without the instruction - the thing I did wrong was to colour all the head before adding the hair, so learning that is NOT the way to do things, but I did enjoy the process.  This one was larger in size, but the rest I intend to try keep to A4 size as I have bought a file now to add them in order to view my progress, and to have somewhere other than all over my art room to put my works.  Here is the one I did on my own....

I did like her nose!  Although still not perfect I do think her an improvement.  I think one of the things I am learning is to take more time.

To those in the UK isnt the weather just awful? today is cold, wet and miserable outdoors and we are in May, its my husbands birthday next week we are certainly used to better weather for that.  Still, we did have a few good days last week and many got to enjoy the bank holiday so that was something.

OK, back to that drawing board....

Friday, 3 May 2013

Neck and Shoulder Pain?

Ok, as promised several posts ago here is my tale of recovery.  It might seem a bit 'off topic' for the creative life, but any crafters or artists out there have probably suffered at one time or another.  I know I have just spent a couple of hours sat in a chair sketching and strained my neck (again) and I know better, and I have my newly purchased drawing board to prevent this.

Anyway... My neck pain begin just over 3 years ago when we adopted our beloved Alfie, as a rescue dog he had not been taught how to walk on the lead and he was a large and very powerful dog.  After a few days of being dragged around I did invest in a head collar, but the damage had already started, that along with some rather severe training that was needed as the 'big guy' had no manners either, and was starting with aggression toward other dogs, so a lot of 'control' was needed.  This resulted in 8 weeks at physio trying to fix my shoulder.

It did get better, but only to return a couple of years later.  After pain killers had no effect, neither did incorrect exercise the only temporary relief I had was the use of 'wheat bags' I often had 5 or 6 a day to lesson the pain.  This went on for over a year........

A few weeks back I realised this was affecting my life and something 'HAD' to be done.  So... I did what is not recommended and I 'googled' this did lead me to a website on neck and shoulder pain (which I now cannot find) that diagnosed my problem as a trapped nerve, I had begun to suspect this to be the case.  But what of the cure??

First off was recommended a book, yes... a book......  Not any book, but for me and many like me the book of miracles.  The book is by a genius called 'Robert McKenzie' and you can find it here

Now, that did help a lot.. though I am not that good at instructions but the first lot of exercise he recommended gave me some instant relief.  I then read about another device he recommended called the cervical roll, to pop into your pillow to support your neck whilst you sleep.  To tell the truth I was not 'that' convinced, but when in so much pain willing to try anything.  You can take a look or purchase one here

Did it work? well, I have not used a wheat bag in five days.  For the first time in over a year.  Yes, it has worked for me.  Of course it does depend on what your problem is, mine was trapped nerves caused by neck strain, so the exercises and advice worked, and the neck support is fantastic.

I do still have to check myself, as earlier.. I know all to well NOT to sit in a chair and sketch, but I still did it - as I know with my super neck support I will be pain free again by morning.

Sadly I am not on the payroll of this book or product - just sharing my own experience on what worked for me.  There are no guarentees it will work for you, my husband couldnt stand the cervical roll at all, so it was no help for him - off shopping for a duck down pillow for him.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

My Competition Entry for Gulfsprite Class

You may have already seen my mentioning my fabulous class '30 pages in 90 days' I am taking with Christy Sobolewski at above is my latest page finished just yesterday, we are now on page 20 - all the students in the class are finding this sad, as we are getting closer to day 30 and we have loved our daily lessons so much we dont want them to end.
I cannot tell you just how much I have learnt about art journal process and mixed media in this class - every day has been a new technique and new process to learn.  Each page we do takes 3 lessons, and sometimes there is even a bonus page included.
You too can take this class, but not until June 1st when it opens again - you will not be alone as most of us will miss it so much we intend to start all over again so we will enjoy your company, and I'm sure Christy will be there too to lend further encouragement.
One of the other great things about this class is the teaching itself, fun and fresh and gives such a wonderful light approach, though at the same time professional - Christy has a superb knack of spreading her cheery self to others and making us all feel great for the day, whilst thoroughly enjoying each class.  This class could not have arrived at a better time for me, as many of you know it was at a time of great sadness for me, and helped to take me through those times and keep me focused.  It can be found here
Last but not least.  By joining this site you can even take FREE classes to enable you to see how you enjoy the teachings. Above is the Scrapy Journal I made at the FREE class offered by Christy, there are others too.  If Art Journal is not your thing there are other courses on painting faces, which is another class I do (when I can find some time) this too can teach a lot about how to paint faces using mixed media, though unlike me I would recommend you take class I first!  Thats the one I want, along with all the rest on offer.
This blog post is my entry to Christy's giveaway, in which I could win another of her fabulous classes - how cool is that? I could take the painted faces I class, or the other journal classes ... how on earth would I choose?