Thursday, 3 November 2011


Do you remember The Reduced Shakespeare Company's claim to fame  'Three guys, one dead playwright, and 37 plays, all in under two hours'  ??    The troupe who managed to compress the complete works of Shakespeare into about an hour and 40 minutes of high-speed over-the-top theatre?

Well so much has been going on in my life I thought I'd attempt something similar ... so - in a nutshell here's what I/we have been up to (in addition to the usual charity/volunteer work I/we do):

Caught up on 3 weeks worth of snail/email correspondence 

Grand-daughter's first birthday  (Halloween baby)  done (Brownie points all round)!  Sophie Louise threw a wonderful party even if there wasn't any jelly/ice cream for Grandad!!

Calendars showing my artwork designed, ordered and delivered (family Xmas stocking pressies)

Personalised Christmas cards designed based on our own photos taken in/around Whitstable ... ordered - for delivery early December.

 I took up Peter Williams' invitation to join Photobox and receive 50 photo prints free of charge.  Peter (Mighty Fine Art) presents his photoprints beautifully with mounts/backing boards and they are in demand at exhibition and artfairs.

My photoprints arrived - I ordered 2 each of 25 pictures to see how they looked.  A few of them had a decidedly pink cast so I emailed Photobox and I was amazed to get a response within a couple of hours.  They checked my original artwork and agreed that the problem was at their end and they would reprint the whole order for me FOC.       I hadn't expected that response but I'm now a huge fan.   Things do go wrong in life but if Photobox Customer Service is that good I certainly have no qualms about dealing with them again.

Unlike Peter, I don't cut my own picture mounts but I found a wonderful frame/mount supplier who is doing an excellent deal with 25 mounts/backing boards/cellophane bags for just £9.99 .... so they arrive tomorrow and I'll have yet another little job to complete before the next art fair!

I'm still attending the spine clinic 3 times per week for treatment which is time consuming but I'm now just about back into a routine with my artwork ... about time too as I have lots of work to get on with.

Here's the latest update on the beautiful Finnish Lapphund I started before I went on holiday.   She has been approved so I just need to add the final whiskers, sign the picture and 'fix' the pastel.    It  has been an absolute pleasure to portray her as she is so beautiful.  She is intended as a Christmas Gift but I have permission to show progress on my Blog.

The Manchester Terrier has undergone several changes.   She has such a shiny black coat that the bright reflections can appear 'grey' or white ... this was a scan taken a few days ago (forgive the weird shape as we are trying out a new programme to allow us to 'stitch' scans where the subject is larger than our A4 scanner - not quite got the hang of it yet)

I was asked to make the nose and neck fur much darker so I toned down all the white highlights.   She now looks much darker but I'm awaiting feedback from my client before proceeding to add final touches like whiskers etc.

As daylight hours are severely curtailed at this time of year I'm planning to scan my Work in Progress pictures rather than trying to photograph them.   I have an old scanner that takes A4 sized pictures but am experimenting with programmes that allow 'stitching' so I can scan my pictures in pieces and then put them all together again  -   (to be honest ... its David who is doing the experimenting/testing).    Scanning is a bit 'warts & all' in that it shows all the tiniest detail in the artwork ... not sure if that's good or bad as I think most art looks better when you stand back a few feet to look at it ... but the scan does show all the subtle colours in the fur/skintones which can be lost when photographing art.    Jury's out on this at the moment!

I've done about an hours work this afternoon on the black labrador but gave up when my computer crashed for the umpteenth time and wiped out PaintNet ... one of my favourite programmes for manipulating photos to enable me to see more detail.

David has spent days trying to work out what is going wrong with my computer ... something in the background is causing horrendous problems but we can't get to the bottom of it.    The Help Desk that we pay monthly for can do little but advise us to take the computer back to factory settings .... Yeah right!!

My next commissions will be human subjects 4 in a row (unless I decide to slot in one of the four legged babies if I need some light relief)!!

I'm still missing the sunshine and the extra daylight hours in Fuerte .... but I think I have at last acclimatised and stopped shivering!


Amatheya said...

Wow you've been busy! But those two doggie portraits look amazing!! I love the Lapphund in particulare and you've dona an amazing job on his fur, I just want to bury my hands in it :)

Peter Williams said...

Sue, I'm a bit out of breath after reading that. Glad you got the mini-prints on the go, that sounds a good deal on the mounts, save a lot of time and effort. The Lapphound looks like he's jumping out of the screen at me...superb portrait.

Colette Theriault said...

Superb job on the dogs Sue! Is that fisher paper you are using?

Jan/ said...

Both portraits look great but the Lapphund is especially real.

I recently read that if you're having computer problems and support isn't helping you then ask for their tier 2 support level. Most of the time basic support does the job but the basic support people only read from scripts, the next level actually has some knowledge!

sue said...

Thanks Amatheya and Colette - much appreciated.
and yes, they are both on Fisher 400 paper

Janet Pantry said...

Sue I'm exhausted now after reading this ~ have to go sit down and have a cuppa! Perhaps you should too hehe. Fabulous doggie portraits, you are a master at those! Interesting about the scanning, I've been having trouble with that too ~ wish I could afford a bigger scanner. I agree that scanning's better for showing up the subtleties. Hope you get to the bottom of the PC probs, I know those so-called 'helplines' rarely help at all. Just make sure everything's backed up properly ;)

sue said...

Thanks for visiting/commenting Janet - I'm sure A4 scanners are fine with the clever stitching programmes available these days ... just have to get my brain into gear methinks!

Jennifer Rose said...

busy busy busy! I'd need a nap :p

good to know that photobox has been helpful, i keep meaning to order some prints from them

what is the name of the program you are using to stitch the scans together?

sue said...

Hi Jennifer. Yep I'm certainly impressed with their PhotoBox and their Customer Service. Having mini prints done as 'freebies' has also helped me to sort out which pictures work well and which don't - without wasting megabucks!

the stitching programme is Microsoft. Image Composite Editor (ICE)