Tuesday 30 December 2014

Penguins - why not!

My Art facebook page is Buchan Birds and Beasts. ( One day it will title my web site......) ( when I get to grips with it.)

In the main that is what I draw and paint.  The birds and beasts are what I see every day.  I watch sea birds from the Stevenson Tea Room in the Lighthouse Museum.

And as I drive there and to I see the beasts in the fields.

From the Shedudio I watch the garden birds.

 Not many penguins.

As many of you know my husband, the Dawn Patroller, also loves the birds (particularly) and will take photographs of the beasts (with my voice in his head, on and on, I must be able to see the eyes......), is not a bad photographer and tramps aroond and aboot so doing.

My physical disability limits me from door to car, car to door and a seat at the other side.  
So to have him is one big bonus, (in many areas I hasten to add.)

Recently asked to paint  -  a Penguin - I looked to the DP.  Not exactly Buchan but in Scotland, where Buchan is, is also Edinburgh Zoo.  To which he had gone with the grandchildren.  Possibly to see a Panda..... But he also saw Penguins!

One happy customer.  

Now once I become inspired I do tend to get stuck in a groove.  So more followed.

And more

 Ok, not from Edinburgh. These were from the Antarctic. Just happened to have a friend who has just returned.....

And more fromEdinburgh

 Macaroni Penguin.

So when I was asked to paint another Penguin.......

"Nae bother."

First day out of sick bed - down to my framers.  (He just made me laugh and nearly choke.  Something about someone wanting a painting of .......)

Saturday 27 December 2014

What happened after.

Here is hoping you all had a wonderful Festive time in whichever way you do it.

 Minerva McGonagall received her present a bit late. Yesterday. 

For some strange reason our Argos does not hold the same stock as our near neighbour, Peterhead, so had to travel the 10 miles from there to here, which we didnt want to, and strangely they didnt drive anywhere on Christmas Eve, or Day, and then took their time yesterday.

Though I doubt she knew that.  As soon as it was unwrapped and laid on the floor she was in. Curled up and purring very loudly. The cardboard box she had taken over was swiftly removed and now houses the tv the DP removed from the kitchen wall.  

Should explain that this house, when we moved into it had tvs in every room apart from the bathrooms.  

Now I dont know about you but I can only view one screen at a time, and when I go to bed I go to sleep, not to watch t.v. And when in the kitchen, I and the DP have other things on our minds than Jeremy Kyle or whoever during the day. 

 So when the dear friend recently departed, TO A NEW JOB , gave us a magnificent wine rack we both said , 
"Kitchen t.v. - remove."  

When we eventually work out the safest way to remove the electrics and aerials I will show you it.  But now the t.v. is in the cardboard box waiting to be freecycled.  And Min has her cosy cave.

Sith got booted out of his favourite chair for the present opening but didnt seem fussed.

As you can see the steroids have done their job and he is back to being a b-i-g cat.  Being weaned off the steroids now.  And blood tests coming back fine so whatever was wrong with him, although very expensive to neutralise, has gone. Well, fingers crossed.

The Dawn Patroller and I have had a good Christmas.  Just the two of us.  Not sure why we didnt have our ritual of Christmas Eve with friends.  We have shared this for years and years.  But perhaps as well as along with the lovely pressies from Santa et al, I recognised my old friend pleurisy had come to call.

So battling that, thanking my gp for giving me antibiotics always in my drawer, ibuprofen and paracetemol, and yes, at certain times, red wine (sadly not on prescription) I am slowly considering a shower tomorrow and actually getting clothes on I can go outside in.

My main present was this.



 Which quite frankly scared me to death.  I have been moaning for some time at the poor quality photos I take of my paintings and nagging the DP to do the photographing for me with his state of the art camera.

Well here I am full of painkillers, trying to focus, let alone focus a camera with all the different buttons and being told just squeeze then hold, so I will let you judge.

The above was taken with the old camera.

Ok, the picture is now finished as in background done and mounted, but is it a better zingy colour?

Hopefully better after.  As I will be.



Saturday 20 December 2014

Christmas Prep final.

Christmas has not reeeeeaally started.  The tree is up.  And lit, despite my scissor / secateur effort.

Large parcels are arriving and being unpacked. Placed under said tree.  All our parcels are sent, and cards.

Empty parcels are siezed on and enjoyed.

We have had two Christmas get togethers, one lunch, one dinner and still one to come.

Every evening on go the Christmas Carols, songs, from the sublime choirs to the ridiculous. Slade.....

But for me, this year has a tinge of sadness.  

A very dear friend is away to pastures new.

So I am thinking more of the New Year with all its challenges and changes to come.

Good job there will still be 

Happy Christmas.

n.b. new header depicts the Northern Lights.  A lot of activity out there, keep watching.

Thursday 18 December 2014


No, not to Christmas.  I am just about done with Christmas preps.  In fact I doubt I will be allowed to do any ever again. (One lives in hope) .

No I am on the countdown to the Winter Solstice.

Winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Winter solstice occurs for the Northern Hemisphere in December and for the Southern Hemisphere in June.
The axial tilt of Earth and gyroscopic effects of the planet's daily rotation keep the axis of rotation pointed at the same point in the sky. As the Earth follows its orbit around the Sun, the same hemisphere that faced away from the Sun, experiencing winter, will, in half a year, face towards the Sun and experience summer. Because the two hemispheres face opposite directions along the planetary pole, as one polar hemisphere experiences winter, the other experiences summer. Wikepedia.

Which basically means the days are shorter before it gets dark, after the solstice the earth tilts the other way and the daylight increases.
My view from the shedudio this afternoon at 3p.m.

My 'normal day' consists of me doing anything physical in the morning.  Getting up sometimes being a challenge, and getting dressed even more so.  Have you any thought on how much breath you need to bend over and put your socks on? (As you bend that squashes your lungs = no breath).

After lunch sees me down the shedudio drawing and painting.  Yes, I do have a daylight bulb down there, but when that is switched on all inspiration disappears as I feel like a 

 Hey ho.  So my pencil and paintbrush wielding is minimal.

And a painting takes forever to finish.

Here is one done and one on its way - the Cormorants could take quite a while......


 Roll on the 21st.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Christmas Prep 2.

 As explained before our Christmas Tree was from 

It came in a net.  Not as tall as we are used to and very wide at the bottom once released.

Purchased by the Dawn Patroller.  He sat and looked at it.  

This was after we had decorated it.  

And decided it needed to be taller.  So sat it on a table.  He then decided it still didnt look right.  

So while he was out I trimmed the lower branches.

As it became dark I switched on the lights.

This is not a sponsored post.

I am not allowed to use secateurs ever again.

Friday 12 December 2014

Christmas Prep.

Yesterday was the Lighthouse Museum's annual wreath making session.  It is the only one where kids are not allowed! 

After having soaked 12 wreaths in my bath overnight and then had to haul the 12 wet and heavy wreaths into my car, out of it, and into the museum.  Plus half a garden of evergreens, masses of ribbons and secateurs, scissors.... I did not want to wrestle with a wreath.

So I stabbed an orange instead.

In the evening it was the staff Christmas Meal.

As always the Dawn Patroller takes me looking like the Wicked Witch of the North......

Today I finished off the Christmas Decorations.  Here are a few, there are more......

 And as my Secret Santa gift was a bottle of the red stuff I fully expect this will be my blurred view of the tree at Christmas. (Forgot to put the anti shake on the camera.)


Monday 8 December 2014

December? Almost missed it.

Well, no, not really.  

 I found these lights, gifted to me but, never used before.  They reflect in the opposite window of the shedudio so I look as if all lit!  (As it took me so long to put them up they will now be a permanent feature.)

More free stuff.

 Plan being the visitors spend a lot in the shop and the cafe!!!  And we get the locals in who are always up for a freebie.  Aren't we all....

Since I last blogged I did succumb to one germ floating about .  Although the chest infection - or exacerbation as they are called (?) - cleared pretty quickly thanks to my dear GP ensuring I have antibiotics ready at home, it still knocks the stuffing out.  Plus each time it takes longer to get back up.  I will not tell you how long it took me to clamber off and on a chair to get them b***** lights up.....

But you dont need much breath or muscle power to paint!

So I was able to fulfil this commission.  

 Although the bat eared one was a worry..................   and on the photos they were sitting on a bed.  Hm. ( Says she who cant turn over in bed due to one cat up the back and one anchoring the legs.)

So bring on the rest of December.  
Secret Santas and all. (Has anyone a fool proof solution to these?)

Oh! Almost forgot.  As some of you will remember we have always prided ourselves on buying a locally grown Christmas Tree.  Well this year we struggled.   Ended up with one from Aldi tho it was apparently grown in Scotland.  Well tis a big country.

Friday 28 November 2014

50 Shades of Grey.

No celebration of Black Friday here.  I am not shuffling along with hordes of germ riddled shoppers fighting in lumps in over heated, overcrowded shops.

First I went where there were no crowds, hopefully no germs, to my framers.  

Not only do I get a cup of coffee but words of wisdom.....

Two lighthouses to mount plus the penguin.

 Rattray Head Lighthouse at dawn - appropriately from a photo by the Dawn Patroller.

The words of wisdom led to the lighthouse being moved to the right a bit more .  Apparently there is some sort of mathematic equation one applies to draw the viewers eye in.
Well as soon as anyone mentions mathematics my brain shuts down.  So I cannot remember what it is called.  It may well be to do with thirds...... There were a lot of hand waving during this lesson.  So I just said, "Get on with it."

Not a lot of possibilities to apply the mathematical theorem to this one, so it will remain in the middle.

After a visit to my favourite place after the shed.

 Preliminary sketch of..... from the best seat in the cafe at Kinnaird Head.

I returned home through 50 shades of grey.

At 2.15p.m. this was the sky.  

 It has been like this for two days now.  From dawn til dusk.  We still have not had a frost. Hence the multitude of bugs and viruses,  unseasonably warm.  

Good job I have a daylight bulb in the shedudio as otherwise I would not be able to draw or paint.

Fortunately my hairdresser has the solution for 50 shades of grey.


Cut it off.


Wednesday 26 November 2014

John Lewis has not cornered the market on penguins.

Not being a fan of performing animals I did prefer the alternative John Lewis advert. But knowing some of my readers are possibly a bit prudish I chose not to share it here.

However the penguin is having an effect in other areas.

I received a commission to paint a penguin.

There are no penguins, to my knowledge in Buchan.

However the Dawn Patroller on one of his jaunts was at Edinburgh Zoo.

So here is my Penguin.

Which sold within seconds.

Perhaps I should do some more.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Santa on his way.

The Lighthouse Museum's third Primary age child Christmas Card Competition.

We received over a 170 entries.  Above is Chairman of the board's wife selecting a winner.


Here it is.

The DP has made the image to fit on cards and I made the cards.  Now on sale in the Gift Shop.

I also had the pleasant task of presenting the prizes to our winner.

 A Family Ticket for the museum, a hoodie with the lighthouse emblem on. a book about lighthouses, a poetry book on lighthouses, and a bag for life to put everything in.  Oh and her card being the official lighthouse card for 2014.

Comes to something when a primary school pupil is as tall as I am.  


Wednesday 19 November 2014

This could bore you.....

Lighthouses.  As you may well know they fascinate me.  Still have not got to the bottom of exactly why.  I was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, quite a way from the sea.  In fact holidays as a child, to get to the sea, took some considerable time, in a car that looked like this.

 No, we were not rich.  My Dad had a garage.  Repairing cars.  He probably borrowed one in for repair to give it a test run.

I remember holidays to Butlins.  Hunstanton, Norfolk, and Withernsea.

My first sighting of a lighthouse.  In the middle of the town of Withernsea.  Didnt take much notice of it.  I think I thought it was just an over the top street light.  In fact I still do not understand what it does/did there, must google it.

I lived in Cornwall in the late 60s and came across a real lighthouse.  Lizard Point.

Every time I visited it was foggy.  The sound of the foghorn was quite magical.  But I was then more interested in if it had a tea room.

(All the above images I took from google, so apologies for not naming individual photographers. Tres difficile to obtain. For me anyway.)

So here we are, many years later, and I discover lighthouses big time.  

I am interested.  I learn about them.  The people who worked them, their families.  I find out how they were built, and by whom.  

Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh is now a big part of my life.

Built for the Fraser family, this fine 16th century castle was altered in 1787 to take the first lighthouse built by the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses.
Historic Scotland.

Since taking up art in 2011 I have on occasions attempted to depict 'my lighthouse'.  Perspective not being one of my talents I gave up. Lighthouses do have a slight slant I believe but not quite as much as I drew.  But then, recently, decided I was going to DO it.  

Challenged to do some pen and ink which would then feature on cards to raise funds to keep the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses going.  I had another go.

 Through the Keepers Cottage window.

 These bouys had a light/beacon.  There are quite a few of these around the Museum grounds.

Through the Keepers garden door.

 One of the few occasions the Lighthouse is lit.  This was the Queens Silver Jubilee. ( There is a more modern boring looking effort that is nearer the shore that works all the time.)

Different views of.  Done.  All the photographs were taken by the Dawn Patroller.  I then did the pen and ink/ colour wash painting.

I sat on my laurels so to speak.  THEN I received another challenge.

Next year the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses celebrates being 20 years old.  Within the Museum are so many lenses, lights, screws, dinner services, pictures, artefacts etc. etc. from all the now unmanned and electrified lighthouses..... 

As the Stevenson Family were involved in building, designing, engineering - Jill, 20 paintings of Stevenson Lighthouses.

I might just go off Lighthouses big time.

Ooooh.  Rattray Head , Boddam, just down the road............... 

Told you I could bore you.