After having a full hysterectomy on 16th November I’ve obviously been laid pretty low and had to take things very, very slowly indeed. But now things are easing up a bit pain and discomfort wise and so I am doing what I can to get ready for my weekly classes which start again in Pontypridd on March 2nd.
It is nice to have this 3 months off to get more prepared than usual – I may even have a programme I can present to my lovely students!
My YouTube channel has been seriously neglected this last few months and viewers are asking for more so my first priority when I felt well enough 2 weeks ago was to video something.
I chose a simple mushroom, an avocado and then did a quick clip about my Leisure Painter Magazine features since 2015 and gave everyone a micro tour of my studio.
The videos are here – just click on the image and you’ll be taken to YouTube.
Also – I have one or two lovely commissions with no huge time pressure on them so they are now starting to be looked at. The buyer is an old customer of mine who commissioned nursery art for her first baby 3 years ago. Now she is very kindly back wanting these graceful swans for her new girl baby to be.
Here is my reference image plus the very early pale washes.
Finally I have been writing a book. It is a complete fantasy of mine about 2 Jack Russell Terriers who escape their city life to live in harmony with nature in a snowy log cabin:)
Personally I blame this writing venture on the book “Create Your Own Universe” which I read last September. It’s by the brilliant Brothers McLeod. If you have creative ideas or need some I would read it.
It really put a flea in my ear and as soon as I read it I was jotting down book ideas.
The main thrill for me of course will be to illustrate it. I already have the prototype for the front cover which is below. As you can see the terriers are able to weave and do other human things which is a real hoot.
Want a sneak excerpt to read? Well here we go then – and I’ll leave you for now – speak soon and please feel free to comment below on anything – Alison
“Tales from Terrier Cabin” – Excerpt
But at least they had their snowy view and their imaginations. And tea. Once human had gone to bed and the place fell silent the dogs would sneak into the tiny kitchenette, hop up to the counter via the stool and boil a meagre amount of water. Then they’d steep one teabag between them so that it would not be noticed. Into this precious brew of salvation they dropped one cube of sugar (or rather Dotty did as Tilly couldn’t bear to get sticky things on her paws) – again to avoid being found out and would sip it, eyes closed blissfully, in turns at the window savouring its tannin taste and letting it hearten their needy souls as they watched the snow drift down.
This ritual of reprieve got them through their days – what they would do without tea was unthinkable for as everyone knows life without tea is no life at all. At least they could resort on desolate days to the solace of daydreaming while watching the glittering city and the mountains beyond from their high tower and waiting for the arrival of snow. Mesmerised by the magical mica pieces the snow soothed their doggy souls. Slowly at first it would come, as if sifting through some celestial sieve on high, sparkling specks and shimmering shards augmented in turns as sumptuous swandown swathes quietly yet insistently erased the city grey. Veiling the sky with curtains of rime the snow piqued their inner pup’s playful side. With glee they witnessed this irresistible force of nature as the city din was silenced – flake by tranquilising flake. Stilling street sounds and covering cars the tinselike fragments swooned to ground beneath the stars. At length sky and land became one – a diamond diaspora of dreams where Tilly and Dotty escaped to a world of imaginary natural delight – a place of forgetting long into the night.
It had been a particularly tedious and irritating day, the city being noisier than usual as it was a late night shopping day. As the dogs watched from their window it threw up a cacophony of discordant sounds from below. The perpetual parping of irritated car horns, the shattering metallic racket of shuttered doors on delivery trucks, the roaring and revving of thousands of engines belching diesel and fumes skyward and the hum of traffic moithered them all day long. The screech of tyres, the abrupt and perfunctory clunk and slam of many vehicle doors and the hair-raising wail of sirens that raced from one human emergency or drama to another.
Then finally hearing footsteps on their landing they heard human let himself in. He was not in his usual relieved mood and instead of greeting them with his customary gentle words and smile as he ruffled their ears he slouched past them, slumping defeatedly on the sofa with a sigh. He called them over and said “Girls, things are not good – I have some awful news. I have just lost my job. They say they don’t need my skills anymore and I won’t be able to keep up the rent on this place. I’m really sorry but I will have to stay with a friend until I figure out what to do. The thing is though that he has cats you can’t come with me. I am so sorry my babies”. He began to weep and the dogs pawed gently at his knees and snuffled at him with their noses to try and comfort him. He stroked them and smiled and tried to assure them that a lovely family would come to their rescue once they’d been registered at the pound. At the mention of that word the dogs exchanged a horrified look, a queasiness suddenly assailing their bellies. This was the day they had always dreaded…to be continued!