Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Keesha's new toy

We're currently enjoying our 'staycation' and that includes lots of time with Keesha, of course. The other day we got her a new toy, by the company Ruff 'n Tuff, who makes strong and durable toys. We love them, and so does Keesha, so we decided to give this one a go: the 'Eggstraordinary Baffler'.

It is a food dispenser or puzzle toy. You fill the bottom up with dry food, either kibble or treats, decide whether or not you want to adjust the gap through which the food will have to make its way to the top half of the toy, screw the top half on and then just sit and watch your dog have a great time.

(Can you believe she's 9 months now? Oh how time flies....)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I want to be these people when I grow up

Tommy Kane

Danny Gregory

Alisa Burke

And then there's the amazing Mattias Adolfsson and the supercool Miguel Herranz aka Freekhand.

All these people are such great inspiration! I love their use of lines and colours, how most of them draw from life but change it up a little according to taste, their amazing photos, how bright their work is without making your teeth ache, their eye for detail without getting all anal about it and feeling the need to have every single line on paper.

And I love you, dear Internet, for making it possible for me, and anyone who is interested, to soak up all this inspiration and then go out and create our own art work, using our own observation and our own favourite subjects to draw or paint.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Playing conkers, the arty way

Saturday morning I woke up to a new point and shoot camera. Tye picked one up from Tesco's on his way back from work. I love it when it buys me flowers, but a digital camera is much-MUCH nicer!

So that afternoon we went to Hylands House Park, taking lots of pictures as we went for a nice walk, to get to know this new camera, and of course so I'll have some reference pictures to draw and paint from during the winter or these grey and horrible days like we've been having.

I also stuck some plastic baggies in my bag, so I could bring back leafs and feathers and other things I found. I came home with three of them filled with things to draw from.

Even though I like to work in pen/ink and watercolours, I'm not confident enough yet to start off that way, so before I grab my pen I'll do a quick sketch in pencil, just to see where I am and really look at the object:

And then I did my pen drawing, using a Micron pen this time, and added my Koh-i-Noor watercolours. I did two paintings: one on sketchbook pad so I could take it out, and one in my Moleskine large sketchbook that I reserve for pen and watercolour work. For some reason, the loose leaf page got a Dutch text, and the one in the book an English one... I hadn't even noticed until I saw the two next to each other.

I think drawing and painting them is a much nicer way to play than using these chestnuts for a game of conkers, that truth be told I had not even heard of before moving to the UK. Strange people, these Brits...... ;)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The right order of eating M&Ms

It drives Tye mad: whenever we share a bag of M&Ms, I have to sort them out by colour and eat them by colour. I can't help myself, I've always done it, and the order never chances:

Blue - brown - red - orange - green - yellow.

I'd even go as far as to say the blue and red have a very chemical taste compared to the yellow, which is the best tasting one out of the lot. (But don't test me on this, I'm sure I'll fail horribly).

Do you eat M&Ms in order of colour, and if so, what order to you stick to? I'm sure I'm not alone in this, right? ....... right?

Playing with purple

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wrapping paper

In about 30 minutes, Niece will turn 11. She's been here all day counting the hours until her big day, bouncing off the walls. We bought her a nice prezzie, but tonight I suddenly realised that we haven't got any wrapping paper!


But then I remembered the brown paper I got ages ago, thinking I'd use it for bookbinding, but never got round to it.

I started with a black outline:

and then added white and turquoise:

Wrapping up the present, I almost like the back better than the front:

It was such an easy, fun project, I think I'll be doing a lot more of this!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Scared no more

Not many people I know online will know this, but people who know me back in Holland certainly do; I have been scared of dogs for a good part of my life. It's rather strange, as I grew up with a Bouvier des Flandres, but it got to the point where I would not go to a park or forrest, and I would cross a busy street if I would see someone walking a dog coming towards me. I would not visit friends who owned dogs, I knew all the dogs in my neighbourhood and knew roughly when they got walked so I knew what time to be home by.

And now, I'm walking a German Shepherd every single day and loving it!

Anyway... Nephew Aaron (6) has always been a bit scared of Keesha. She is rather big and can get a bit jumpy and tends to nip when excited, so I can see his point. He came over today just as I was going to walk Keesha, so I suggested taking him to the park on his own, and walking Keesha when he left.

At first he agreed. We went to the park and he had a good time on the slides and climbing frames, but after a little while he started thinking out loud of all the things we could be doing with Keesha. Like, running with her and playing fetch and maybe hiding her ball 'so she can sniff it out'. I asked him if he was absolutely sure, because Keesha would be going off lead so she could run, and yes, he was absolutely sure. So we went back to get Keesha!

Aaron did great! He was a little...let's say uneasy, at first. I could tell, because he kept saying how Keesha was 'a good girl, really, a really good girl.. isn't she?', reassuring himself more than anything, but after a while he was running with her and playing fetch. I was so proud of both of them!

And then, on our way back, he asked if he could hold the lead. Now she's on the Gentle Leader she can't pull like she used to, and I showed him how to use it. Not pull it really hard, but ask Keesha to come with you.
He did great!

They got to walk together for a little while, and I don't think I've ever seen Aaron more chuffed with himself. So very cute!

When we got home, Aaron told me that he will never be scared of Keesha again, and that next time he comes over he will play with her and come for a walk with us. Yay!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cheap is not always cheerful

So the other day I purchased an A6 notebook (that's 5.8 x 4.1 inches for those who don't know), and filled it with patterns. You've already seen it, although in the previous post I did not mention the notebook.

Here are some more patterns I made in it:

which effectively makes the notebook my self-made colouring book. ;)

I also bought some more cheap watercolours, as I could see myself going through my Koh-i-Noor set quite quickly when adding colour to these patterns. There's 80 of them in my book!
So here's cheap set by Farrel & Gold, bought at The Works for £2.50.

I had tested them out and was rather happy with them. The colours were nice and bold, and they took to watercolour paper quite nicely.

But when I used them in my little colouringbook, something awful happened. The paints turned very creamy and thick, and it looked more like a child had been splashing on some watery acrylics that did not have a nice glossy finish after they dried:

Trying to outline the patterns in the hopes of saving it did nothing but crumble the paint:

At first I thought that maybe it was the water brush I had used, but then I tried the same paints again on watercolour paper, and they are fine:
They're not turning to thick blobs and you can actually outline them again with pen.

Maybe some (cheap) paints just don't take to notebook paper.. Looks like I'll be using my Koh-i-Noors for the pattern-colouring-book anyway....