Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our Sparky---memories

Sparky with his sister Fizz...my sister Sharon had her...and a week later went on holiday , so we said we would have Fizz here with Sparky---would you believe that they had forgotten each other and they scrapped and scrapped! I rang Sharon in a panic and said we would have to take Fizz home as I was worried they would kill each other! They calmed down eventually and must of realised they were brother and sister!
Sparky disco dancing!!!
He stopped being a lap cat when he reached 6 months old--he hated being held or cuddled bless him....he went a sstill as a board when we picked him up-tail would be out staight and he would stickhis front legs into you as if to say please put me down....but he loved it when he was little...
Merry Christmas Sparks..
Ah Bless...
He loved Christmas...
This was the very first mouse he caught that we knew of... the first of many!!! Wouldn't mind a quid for every mouse and vole he has-besides the rabbits he bought home!
Chasing the squirrel here up the tree...
he did get into some states when he was asleep...
Fizz and Sparky went to sleep on the stairs after fighting all morning....the stairs were always Sparkys territory...and everyone went very carefully if he was near the stairs or you would get a clip off him or even a bite if you were unlucky...his favourite game was to hide round the corner at top of stairs and pounce out when you got near the top---then he would spit , hiss and growl at you and try and swipe you one..then he ran in our bedroom behind the door and would leap out and do it again,,,,,,little bugger!
this was the only time he slept in that bed!!!!!! Lost count of the amount of beds he was bought  and he never used them!
Sparks and his beloved Dad....what a huge hole that cat has left in our lives...we sat in here last night and really missed the door being pushed open and Sparks walking in-we always said to him "Shut the bloody door Spark" he would just saunter over to where Bill had his legs up on the pouffee look at Bill as if to say "come on then shift yourself", and of course Bill being the softy he is would always move his legs for him to get on there...he ruled the bloody roost bless him.. Then a soon as we had got up and shut the door he would want to go out again and would pull the door and go out leaving it open again!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sparky Cat --RIP

This is one of the hardest blog posts Ive had to write.... its with great sadness that I tell you all that our dear  fur-baby friend and companion for the past 10 years and 8 months  Sparky cat had to be put to sleep today.. We knew last Tuesday after taking him for what we thought would be his final checkup at the eye hospital..Emma his vet there discovered that the herpes was back in his eye and suggested we had him tested for FIV as with the treatment he had for it should have cleared it up.His shoulder had broken out again where he was bitten in January so we took him down to our local vets that evening and they tested him for FIV and he proved positive.Now in some cats that would just mean being kept in away from other cats and that wouldn't be too much of a problem,,but in a cat like Sparks who liked to come and go as he wanted it was impossible to do.Sparks loved to be outside mousing and rabbiting, lying in the sun down the garden and following Bill round whenever he was worikng in the shed etc. His other joy in life was terrorising the paper lady and postman who dared to tread on his property-earning himself the nickname of Hissing Sid....and he hissed and spat at anyone who came onto his property....hard to believe when you look at the little dot on top of his scratching post just after we had him..he did eventualy grown into those ears....anyway we tryed to keep him in several times before when he had injuries--he was a regular at the vets-in fact we should have our own car park space with our name on it we were there so often--thank goodness for pet insurance..though many times he has been there and the cost was just under the excess and we couldnt claim!     He hated being in--hated using the litter tray and hated us for keeping him in...it was a nightmare at times..he tryed everything to get out....he was so unhappy---  we used a Feliway plug in to try and help him calm down and it helped a bit but we couldnt prolong his suffering any longer and had to come to the sad desision to have him put to sleep.He has been spoiled rotten all week..and this morning we took him out into the garden with us and let him have a last prowl around--the look on his face when we opened the door for him was a picture, and Im glad he had that last chance to do so.....Me and Bill are in bits....he was our baby...but we have had so much support from friends and family over the past week and we are very grateful for that-it has helped us so much xx ...I will proberly bore you all to death in the coming days because Ive got so many photos of him Im going to put on here, along with stories of him.......lastly I want to thank our vet Andrew Cooke..a more caring compasionate man you would never meet--he made it so much easier than it could have been...and we are forever grateful to him for that. Well I cant see for the tears again,,,,Bills has made him a lovely box, he is being laid to rest in the morning acrross the bridge over the stream at the bottom of the garden, where he spent many happy hours mousing.. night night Sparky xxxx

Summer Day Workshop Feb 25th

We use a wide variaty of brushes and a knife in the Summer Day workshop and while its quite easy to explain how to use the brushes the knife is a different matter! I can explain and show how to load it with paint and how to apply it to the canvas but the easiest way to show it properly is to literaly hold peoples hand and to guide them through the process....that way they can feel the pressure needed to get the paint off the knife and onto the canvas.. we had a mix of first timers and some people who had a been before ...We had met Derek 3 years ago when we did the Gloucester Summer school....the 2 paintings he did with me he entered into the local art exhibition and sold them both! It was lovely to meet him again, and we are looking forward to seeing him and his wife in March...
Derek with his lovely painting--he had to leave early so he isnt in the group line up..
Vikki also had to leave early---
Lovely work every one!
Well done everyone....
great work!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Birch Tree Workshop Feb 18th

Wonderful results from the ladies in thee Birches Workshop.......
The Birches is one of  my favourite workshops...its great fun to do and the results are always beautiful! There is a range of colours and canvas size to choose from which makes the workshop interesting for me to teach..above you can see Brenda and Tracey adding the detail to their birch trees..
Diane loved the technique....she had previously used oils in the Stormy Poppies workshop.she made a cracking job of her birches;;
Tracey chose to do the big 3ft canvas--and did the sepia shades with silver birch trees..the silver catches the light and the painting appears to change as the day goes on. We always allow an extra hour for this workshop as there is always a few choosing the big canvas and it does take a bit longer to do as there are more trees to add in.
Laurna came along with her godmother Joy who has been to 2 workshops before, one here in ludlow and one in llanidloes...
Wendy has been once before with her mum--who unfortunately was poorly yesterday and couldn't come so she bought along Alison who has been to me before.Everyone loved Wendy's painting-it looked almost photographic..the combination of silver with the black and white works really well..
Alison used a 12in x 24in canvas which suits the painting subject beautifully...almost at the end here..and I suggested that Alison made the black trees taller to get the perspective better...she did so and it made a huge difference.Its always amazing to see how the students get better and better with each row of trees they add...its a true saying "Practise makes perfect!"
Joanne has been twice before...we have such a laugh together....we are right on the same wavelength...she seems to be finding the painting quite easy-she follows my instructions to the  letter,
Joy wanted to add bluebells to her painting to give it a spring time feel..I wasn't sure if it would work when she said she also wanted to do the sepia tones....I know it works to  add a splash of colour when using the monochrome because I did a series of paintings in monochrome with just a touch of colour to them...but Joys painting was lovely--it had a much fresher, lighter feel to it which is exactly what she wanted...all in all a great worshop--and looking forward to seeing everyone again!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Llandudno Break

We are away for a couple of nights at Llandudno....my friend Jeannie is looking after Sparky and Paddy and Jake has gone on his hols to my sisters......I need the break after spring cleaning  ready for Jeannie to come and house sit! I love Wales---the scenery is so beautiful....lots of inspiration for  paintings when we get home..
We have a huge bedroom here at The Broardway Hotel, a double, single and sofa bed in our room....a lovely desk and chair and also a table and 2 chairs in the bay window--ideal for people watching... we are right in the centre of town right close to the shops, so we will leave the car where it is tomorrow and have a mooch about on foot.. My tinnitus has been great for a few days again...had nothing at all   Saturday  and Sunday, woke up with it this morning really loud and it went within the hour so I think its going away gradually...We will have to take it steady tomorrow when walking around--the steroids make my muscles weak and my legs can go to jelly if I try and do to much to quickly..its really annoying but something I have to put up with...Ive managed to come down to 11mg of steroids now but will have to stay on that for a month..I was a bit up and down for a while and wasn't sure if I would have to go up again because I had some stiffness and pain at first but that seems to have sorted itself out---I did to much to quickly as usual and have to learn to pace myself more.....anyway I will take things easy now we away, looking forward to going down to the seafront tomorrow...weather forecast is good!
we have a lovely big bathroom with a bath and shower so may find myself in the bath with a book and glass of wine later :-)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Serenity Workshop Feb 11th

We had 13 in the workshop yesterday...a good mix of first time students and people that had been before--though some of them only once before...Brian -above -came along for the first time with Lynda who has been several times.Brian is a sign writer by trade but had never painted a picture before..there was lots of banter going on with everyone all day...and it was lovely to see everyone checking out each others picture as they developed through the day...
Abi was probably one of the most nervous people Ive ever had in a workshop---completely convinced she wouldn't be able to paint a picture at all.. before we started she said "Id rather be giving birth than holding these brushes-"--which cracked me up----"I'm not that scary am I ? " I replied.....anyway she soon settled down to painting--she was bought along by her mum Virginia-who also bought along her sister Steph and Abi's daughter Katie, so we had a real family affair going on which was lovely!
Katie came with her Nan Virginia, Mum Abi and aunt Steph..--she  worked with the paints confidently...and once we had the angles of the brush strokes sorted she got on with the painting very quickly..
Isabel, Joanne and mum Maureen had been down from Derby before to paint and when Joy saw the Yesterday paintings from the last time they were her decided she wanted to come along as well...she was gobsmacked that she could do it---and we had loads of laughs with her.-she has the same sense of humour as me...
Joanne and Joy had arrived the day before with their hubbies and managed to get a £15 night Travel Lodge deal just up the road from us..when the hubbies walked in the room and saw the finished paintings-they were so socked at what the girls had done--it was lovely to see the reactions...."You've never painted that" said Joys hubby----followed by "I don't believe you've just done that" by Joannes hubby! So obviously a great result!
Steph really enjoyed herself-she seemed very laid back and found the procedure easy to follow....lovely results from her!
The lovely results ....well done everyone--looking forward to seeing you all again!
The family group....Steph, Katie,Abi and Virginia
Beautiful results everyone..
Lynn , Christina and Katherine-well done girls..

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Feb 4th Workshop "Yesterday"

Well they were dropping like flies this week---4 cancellations for the Yesterday workshop---everything from sciatica to flu to close family members being poorly....all very disappointed not to be coming and all and booking again....I was dubious if the class was going to run at all after seeing the weather forecast--heavy snow! 
Anyway as there was only 6 students I was pretty sure we would finish on time so decided to take the chance.All the students had travelled a fair distance and most of them had to use country lanes to get back home so we all kept our fingers crossed it didn't come down to before they got home.
Virginia (above) has been twice before- she has tryed a white canvas class and a black canvas class-so decided to try acrylics--she loved them,and didn't seem to find them hard at all..the blues and purples made a very mystical looking painting.....she is back again next week to paint Serenity along with her Sister , her daughter and granddaughter so it will be a real family affair! 13 booked in for that one so it will be a busy one!


Lois and her Mum  Alison were with me for the first time...Lois decided to use a new combination of colours I haven't used before...fuchsia pinks, reds and purples...and WOW  didn't it work well......

Jackie has been once before---she used the beautiful vibrant oranges and reds and made a cracking job of her picture....
Kate and her friend Amy came along as an 11th birthday treat...the canvas looks huge up against her! She chose the chocolaty browns , she got the hang of the brushes pretty quickly and soon had her sky and water in,,,lots of lovely movement going on in the sky.
Amy chose some bright colours for her picture----and I love the way the white clouds are reflected in the water..
Alison kept saying she couldn't believe it! She was really nervous about coming-in fact she had almost chickened out of coming her daughter Lois said! She soon settled down to it and her painting seemed to come together with ease!
The girls helping each other to Paint the bottoms of their canvas!
I loved Lois's tree---very dramatic ,,,and it encouraged some of the others to have a go at adding a tree--she finished it off by adding some little bunnies!
Great results---everyone---I hope you all got back home safe and sound!
Jackie,Alison and Lois
Amy and Kate really came into their own when it came to painting in the rabbits--both made a beautiful job of them, Virginia was brave and added a tree at the last minute,,,,she used a touch of metallic paint to highlight the blossom on there--it worked a treat! Well Done everyone!