Self Portrait in coloured pencil

Monday, 12 November 2018

Housework



Housework 

I wrote last week about how I couldn’t work on my paintings because I had a bad cold. This last week I did very little because I was spending my time catching up with housework. 
The photo shows the corner of my bedroom where I used to do my best paintings before I moved my old cat in there and the room became full of scratching barrel, cat litter tray, food and water bowls... You get the idea. Also my latest rescue cat, Jet, is territorial and lurked outside my bedroom marking. I didn’t like it when he scratched the banister handrail. It gave me splinters in my hand. So I set up my studio easel downstairs and worked there despite the cats jumping on my work table. 
So, the old cat having died and having got over the worst of my cold, I did a lot of sorting out my house. 

The best thing is that I have my table easel set up again and Bentley is already being worked on there. 
I like this space next to the window with lots of north light. It is upstairs so I am not shadowed by the houses opposite and neighbours’ cars and vans. (I can cope with grey ones, but brightly coloured cars outside the window reflect strange lights on my portraits.)
You may have noticed the step ladder under the table. If you look at the top corner you can see blackish marks on the photo. They are caused by damage to the plaster from rain coming through the wall which has been fixed now. I will need the steps to climb up and repair it. I will do that after I have finished Bentley. I don’t want to drip plaster on him!

I want to spend more time painting. 

I only have two serious distractions. One is my pets, but that is a welcome and enjoyable distraction. The other distraction is housework. I am trying hard to organise my home so that housework is easier. 
I tried blocking in time to dedicate to artwork. That is the recommendation for getting things done. But it doesn’t work for me. I can’t concentrate on painting when there is dog hair all over the place. (One friend called it tumbleweed.) And NO! I am not getting rid of the dogs. 
So my solution is to schedule Housework time. That means that I have the rest of the day to paint. 

As for organising my house, I have plans to rearrange the kitchen. I designed the kitchen when I didn’t have any cats. I always had dogs but they were no trouble until I had to keep them out of the cat litter and stop them from eating the cat food. I am going to take the lower shelves out of the small alcove and buy a corner kitchen base cupboard which I am going to use to hide the cat litter trays and hopefully store cat food too. Then I am going to feed the cats on the higher shelves in the alcove. Meanwhile I will replace the storage space with a tall wide but shallow cupboard which will go behind the kitchen table. At the moment I have a desk behind the table and that will go in my bedroom to hold my best printer. 

I have other plans too, but they are waiting for the kitchen to be finished. 

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Difficulties



Difficulties

I didn’t post last week because I had a difficult week and didn’t do any art. 
Everything happened at once. One of my dogs, Bryn, became very ill (her legs collapsed), and my old cat died. On top of that I caught a bad cold. It doesn’t help a person recover from a cold when they are digging a cat’s grave in the rain. 
Instinct told me that the best way for Bryn to recover was to take her for short walks where she had something interesting to sniff. I used a harness with a handle on the back to support her. It worked and she has recovered. 
My cold took a lot longer to recover from. In fact I am still snuffly. There is no way that I can paint with a cold that bad. I was coughing non stop and I can’t paint in pastel when there is danger of it getting spattered. I vividly remember the day that I was painting a mother and child portrait in my dining room. My son was listening to a recording of one of the William stories by Richmal Crompton, and eating a cheese sandwich at the same time. He burst out laughing and sprayed greasy cheese all over my pastel portrait. I had to start the painting again but it was worth it because the second version was much better.  
So instead of fun stuff like painting and drawing, I worked on my end of business year accounts. 
I started thinking of filing. I always want a better way to file my projects and plans. One day I will find a perfect solution. I have digital filing systems but I have a feeling that I will do better with a paper solution. 
I went on my favourite website who stock my favourite notebooks. I ordered lots of notebooks in different sizes and some cards because I think a card index file might work. 
Then I looked at pencil sharpeners. 
I have been buying a lot of different pastel pencils and in the case of one brand in particular, I have a problem with breaking leads. I do drop the pencils a lot. I have a lot of different types of pencil sharpener. In every case the lead broke. I used a craft knife. That was better but it was still stressing the leads. 
I had read about a new design of pencil sharpener made by Caran d’Ache and I wondered if Cult Pens stocked it. And they did! 
So you can see it above. It is so easy to control. I hold the sharpener in my right hand with the pencil in my left, and use my left thumb to push against one fork of the sharpener to stabilise it. 
It is amusing that a new pencil sharpener should be the high spot of my week.