Thursday, January 26, 2012

Painting , penguin and exciting times

What a busy week. I have been teaching quite a lot, my Wednesday afternoon drop in sessions are getting busier and I am now starting to do them on a Thursday afternoon as well. I have a full day beginners group on the next 2 Saturdays and more phone calls everyday, especially now that the article about my opening went in the paper.

You can see the article here

I loved painting this week and finished my penguin. Its made me realise that I have got a bit caught up in the teaching and getting the studio sorted and now I need to make sure I put time to one side for my own work.

I've meet some lovely people who visit the centre. Today I met a man who is in the same situation as me 6 months ago and is considering his options for going self employed. I hope he takes the plunge as I want everyone to enjoy this wonderful lifestyle that I now have, I always feel sad when I see Mr Wd go into work as he still hasn't got a choice , so I have to do it for both of us. Not that he ever complains as he does sort of enjoy his job.

I am thinking about my online shops, I don't have the time I used to, to spend on them and I am wondering whether to continue on, or not. One option I am considering is to just list things like cards and bags rather than the artwork itself. I think its something that will dominate my thoughts for a while, so would appreciate your thoughts.

I have also had an exciting and busy week as I have sent image to the states as part of the licensing agreement I was telling you all about. I still have more to send, but its slow as I have problems with getting the images at the right dpi and size. I have had to have help to get them right . After my pictures arrive in the states a graphic artist will go through the images and modify them and fix them as needed. The images are then experimented with among the in-house metal artists. They will figure out which metal grind techniques work best for which images and they will then notify the graphic artists. The graphic artists then make a template of what the finished product will look like each time and the multiple variations (framing, multiple grinds available, ..etc) to be used as a reference guide for the metal artists. They file all of those, prepare the descriptions and then upload them to the site (after they receive approval from myself ) Once that is finished, the galleries are stocked with some of the pieces and the production office keeps a small stock as well. A majority of the pieces are made to order though. Also, the company are in the process of experimenting with different materials as well...So they will see how the pieces look on wood, glass and acrylic panels.

It sounds all very interesting and I can't wait to see the final result.

Monday, January 23, 2012

OMG what happened

See this Picture?.............I hate it, not because I have been caught in the act of trying to stab Mr WD or that am pulling an extraordinarily stupid face but because...... OMG how bad do I look.

This and a few other picture taken on the same day have been a real wake up call. I have really let myself go. I have never been a preener but have always tried to look good and have been proud that usually people think I am not as old as I am. I am loving my life and I know money is short since I gave up my full time job, but really there is no excuse. I think it really hit home as I am going to be 50 very shortly. I don't mind getting older and am enjoying my life so much that it shouldn't really matter, but I am realising it does.

So I am being pro-active. Here is my plan of action.......... ( big drum roll)

1st on the list was those roots, so down to the chemist and one hair dye later, they are more white hair for me.

2nd - I joined slimming world, got straight down the local group and started the only diet that has ever worked for me. One week later I am 5 and a half pounds lighter and feeling better for it already. Weigh in is on Wednesday, so hopefully I will have shed another 1 and a half pounds and will have lost my first half a stone.

3rd - Exercise more. Since being in my studio I am not on my feet as much and I just drive there and sit and paint and drive home. So each day I am trying to do a little walk, even if its just to the local shop and back, also hopefully it will save me a bit of petrol money at the same time.

4th - I have yet to tackle, I need a blooming good hair cut. Money has been tight so I have been chopping away myself , I do sort of know what I am doing as in a past life I was a hairdresser, but its not easy to do on yourself. I need to find a good cheap hairdresser, so anyone in the weston area if you have any suggestions let me know.

5th - Clothes, I need to stop wearing granny clothes and get a bit more up to date, this will have to wait a bit, both for money and for me to loose enough weight to be able to buy a few more fashionable clothes, they don't do trendy at Evans!!
Before you say try the charity shops. I'm afraid I have a bit of an issue there. Don't get me wrong I love charity shops, I buy and donate all the time , but I can't wear second hand clothes. I have tried but I never end up putting them on, so its a complete waste. I think its a bit of a hang up from wearing hand me downs a lot as a child.

So watch this space for some improvement, by showing you, me at my worst, hopefully it will help to give me even more incentive to show you the new me before to long and I want to look and feel great for my 50th

Friday, January 20, 2012

Painting, partridges and one for the pot

You can tell that I am settling well in my new studio, as its starting to look messy. I have found myself working all the time at the breakfast bar. It's funny as I thought I would work at the tables, but its much easier to perch on a stool as I am up and down all the time.

And I finally managed to get some painting done, this is as far as I got but its a start at least.
'Can you tell what it is yet'

Visitor numbers are getting a bit better, but I found when my students were in, people wont walk through the door. So I put up a new sign in my window. It seems to be working as when I had students in on Wednesday we had a few people still pop in, so I pleased with it.

On Wednesday eveningI walked out to go and see Pat the clock repairer and when I came back there were about 20 partridges walking up by my studio. As they saw me coming they dived round the corner to hide, but as I walked round they all turned and stared at me, it was the funniest thing, they looked shocked that someone found them as they were hiding so well, it would make a great picture, if only I had had my camera. Of course they all then panicked a flew off in a flurry.

They flew up by these wonderful trees that are at the back of my studio. I took the photos and I think I may paint them sometime.

I had visited Pat as he said he had something for me. He has a motorbike and sometimes can't collect things so I am always happy to run him places to collect items he can't get on his bike. A couple of weeks ago he bought a gas heater and a microwave from ebay for his studio and I collected them for him. It wasn't a problem as they weren't far from my house. But he was very grateful and so has given me this Teasmade. I love it, I have been admiring them for sometime and he kindly gave me this Pink one.

I think it looks great in my studio. It does work so sometime I will use it but at the moment I just love admiring it.

Last few pages .....

.......of my sketchbook project

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Working in the studio

So I have had my first couple of weeks in my new studio. Its been amazing better than I ever imagined. Its been lovely and busy at the studio, but I felt it had taken over my life a bit to much. Christmas and the New year was dominated with the opening and just slipped away virtually unnoticed. So when away from the studio, I have made a decision not to turn on the PC so much. I felt it was important to get some perspective back and so instead of getting my online shops back in action. I have been washing, dusting hoovering and sorting out. Finally we seem to have reclaimed our house back and I am trying to spend a little bit more time with the wonderful Mr WD. I am blogging but not sure when I will get back to stocking my internet shops and promoting again.

The studio is fantastic and I love being there so much. I didn't think it could get any better than in my little studio, but I can't tell you how much I LOVE being there. Bookings are coming in well. I have run a few small classes and drop in sessions and it is slowly building. The space is working well and even though I haven't had a full class yet, its been good to see it in action.

This small group, made a composition using objects around the studio and they had to make the tulip the main point of interest. I was pleased with the results and they seemed to learn quite a lot of techniques along the way.

Its been a week of flowers and this was another students work, she wanted to loosen her style up a bit, so we worked on doing some wet on wet painting of poppies. She had sketched some already so we worked from her drawings. There is still some work to do on it, but its a great start.

I have another busy week ahead and I am soo looking forward to it. I do feel I have to pinch myself to believe I am really doing this . My main aim from now on, is to put in as much work as needed to make it a success and pay me a small wage. But I think I also have to reflect on recent events and realise that I do have a life outside the studio and a wonderful husband and home that also need some attention.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Studio tour

So now I am officially open, I thought I would show you round the new studio.

I need to get some good signage as I am in the last studio in the Centre and round a corner at the back. At the moment I have this inherited banner and have added a laminated logo onto it.

As you come round the corner you see the front area and garden by my studio.

I moved my old sign ove,r but I think I need to get something new but it will have to wait a little while, until I know what I want and what I can afford.

As you walk through the door then you can see the bookcase I painted to hide the sink area. Is quite handy to put baskets of cards on. I have got card stands but somehow they didn't look right, but maybe when I am more used to it all they will come back out again.

I am pleased with the hanging rail system, now its all sorted its easy to use. It was slightly difficult to set up but as always Mr Wd sorted it out for me.

Behind the bookcase is the kitchen area, I could have put all the kettle cups etc in the back but wanted it easy for my students to access.

I find myself gravitating to the bar, and sitting on the stools by it. I quite like being over at the back. Only time will tell if that is where I end up working, or if I use the table and chairs.

I added a hook to the side of the bookcase to hang a sample of my bags as the rest needed to be folded up and as they wouldn't stay, so I ended up putting them in cellophane bags.

The browser for my art work is on the left . It was an ebay bargain that I picked up last week for £10, I was so lucky as they normally go for £30 +

My students desks have been a slight disappointment , the laminate is already chipping and I am tempted to take them back, but its so much hassle and I am not sure when I will get time . Also the legs don't adjust, so as my floor is not very straight the tables wobble a bit and my project this week it to get something under the legs to get the table straight, before my first students come in on Wednesday.

The bottom wall has my guest artists for January. The left ones , the trees, are by Greg Hunt who will be in my studio, working once a week. The ones on the right are by Gail Clarke.

At the back there are 2 comfy chairs by a bookcase that has all my Art books on, I am hoping some students will like to sit there reading the books and magazines. I have got an old yellow sofa that will probably go there when I can persuade someone with a van to pick it up, as it wont fit in the car.

Through the double doors you are taken into my covered garden.

These look out to the stables on the farm.

This is the view from the windows, I think it will be great if the students want to sit out and sketch the horses.

This is my storage area out the back

And finally a view through from my storage area back into the studio.
I hope you have enjoyed my little tour.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Mayor was in the building

Yesterday I finally had my official opening. After days of rain we had the most glorious sunny day. I was so pleased that quite a few people turned up. Inevitably at the last minute I got lots of texts and messages, to say people couldn't come , so I was a bit nervous the Mayor would arrive and it would be embarrassing with just a couple of people to welcome them. But as you can see from the photos then it was a nice crowd.
Mr Wellydog escorting them from their car to the studio. I had visions of them arriving in a big Limousine, but they drove themselves. Which was really nice as straight away they felt approachable.
There was several people taking snap shots and I am sure they will slowly appear on the Clevedon craft centre Website and Facebook page and on here and my facebook page, so keep an eye out for them.

The Mayor greeted a lot of people as he walked through and then he was introduced to me by my studio. Anna Williams, who is the daughter of our fantastic handbag maker Romy, presented the Mayoress with a small posy.
She then posed with the Mayor and Mayoress for some photos. They were very accommodating when it came to having their photo taken.
The Press photographer didn't come, luckily they gave me a days notice that he wouldn't be arriving, apparently the sporting events on a Saturday are more important. So we did get a couple of people with cameras and hopefully the paper will print one of them. The ones you see here were taken by my son and My daughters boyfriend.

The Mayor then kindly said a few words and officially opened my studio and cut the ribbon. The ribbon was fabulous and got lots of compliments as it had Wellydog written on it. Supplied by the ever helpful John at Printed on Ribbon

They were very kind to pose for some photos in front of my pictures and hopefully a shot like this is what we will send into the paper.

It turned out they were every interesting to talk to. The Mayor had a background in engineering and the mayoress obviously loved seeing the art work and loved coming to places like the Craft Centre. They chatted for quite a while and you can see us below chatting. The lady at the back is my new landlord Judy, who has been very helpful in the last few days and did a brilliant job tidying up around the Craft centre ready for the visit.

After the Mayor left my studio there was still quite a crowd left chatting and looking round, I had quite a few sales and I also had some bookings on courses, including one lady booking 10 afternoon drop in sessions and a couple who are complete beginners and want to learn to paint together.
Add VideoJudy and Mr WD continued the tour with the Mayor. They didn't rush through but went into every studio and chatted to all the crafts people. The Mayoress took a card from every studio and seemed genuinely interested in coming back. They really seemed very down to earth and related very well to everyone. They also seemed like very nice people.
They finished their tour at Dot Teas with a chat and a cuppa and even posed behind the counter.

It was a great day and hopefully will be good for both my studio and the Craft Centre. The Mayor and mayoress will also probably return later in the year in an informal capacity to help us with our 40th Year Celebrations.

I would really love to thank everyone who turned up and everyone who sent me good wishes. But I especially want to say a huge thankyou to Mr WD who has been my greatest supporter and who made sure the whole day went well yesterday.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New studio, sneak preview

I am finally in. It has seemed a long time coming. Me and Mr Wd , moved the last bits over today, its still chaos and only one picture is hung as I just want to check the strength of the rail on my heaviest painting . I will start hanging the rest during the week and hopefully get everything into some kind of order so I can find everything.
Considering I have only been in my other studio since August I have accumulated an awful lot of things.

Sorry the photos aren't brilliant, the wonderful Mr Wd took them on his mobile phone, as forgot my camera again ...opps

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 roundup

Wow what a year I have had.

Here are the highlights and some of the low points. I am including some links to blogs about some of these events


This time last year I was waiting for an operation and dreading going back to my job. I am painting ACEO's and doing very well on Folksy selling them. My work is getting bigger and I am loving painting again


I had no idea what direction to go in, but this is the first time I was starting to think maybe I could become a full time artist. I love this quote as it actually turned out to be very true

"So what's the plan, well actually there isn't one. I have been an unsuccessful planner, so nows the time to change"


I had my operation and had to not lift for 6 weeks, so relieved I didn't have to go into work for 4 weeks of it. I was painting every day again and started to include bigger work into my folksy shop.


My birthday month . I was obsessed with painting turtles (pictures here). It was Easter and the Royal Wedding long weekends and we ripped the kitchen out and put in a new one ( Well Mr Wd did , I was still not allowed to lift)


I made my first website, an older version of this


I re-arranged my craft room to try and help with better working practices. For various reasons I was still off work and it had become obvious I wouldn't have a job for very much longer. So it was important to have a place to paint that was more comfortable.


We decided that I would try and step up my painting and perhaps get a bit of teaching until I could get a part-time job that would allow me to continue painting and find a way to make it pay.
I still couldn't settle in my craft room and on a particularly difficult day I decided to try and get inspired so took a drive out to our local craft centre. I a moment of madness I enquired about the cost of the empty studios they had..


1st August I opened my studio at Clevedon Craft Centre and couldn't believe my luck
My blog now started to get dominated by the studio and a whole thread is started here
We also celebrated 30 wonderful years of marriage


I became obsessed with painting water. Experimented with painting with wax and started preparing for Christmas

Our beautiful Welly dog had a stoke and died this over shadowed everything, he had been with us 16years and I am still totally lost without him xxx


The studio was very quiet and I started looking into moving into a larger studio.


Preparations for the big move and a lovely Christmas and looking forward to 2012

Wow you can see just how much my life changed in 2011 it will certainly be a year to remember