Monday, 11 February 2013


We've had some amazing weather here in Whitstable over the last 24 hours.   Sleet yesterday afternoon and snow throughout the evening, coupled with gusts of wind which blew the snow sideways.  We had more snow showers this morning but that was followed by light drizzle and tonight we barely have any snow left (not a bad thing methinks). 

This is what the snow looked like yesterday evening as it raced past the security light on our bicycle shed.  Obviously the 'special effect' is caused as the camera was hand held and not on a tripod, but you can tell that the wind was blowing the snow in sideways at a great rate of knots :

and when the wind dropped a bit, the snow just swirled round and round making pretty patterns.  In case you're wondering, the strange objects on the top right of these photos are the feet of my little wooden man who sits on the shed roof!

and ..... I love to cook (David loves to eat) so my oven isn't just decorative - it gets well used.  I always wipe it clean after every use but inevitably it gets greasy/dirty and needs periodic 'proper' cleans.   It was David's turn to clean the oven and he was overjoyed to get a flyer through the letterbox yesterday advertising the services of an oven cleaning company at very reasonable rates .... who on earth would want to clean ovens for a living???

Anyway, he phoned the guy who had just had a cancellation and fitted us in this afternoon.   I had a pristine oven up till an hour ago when I baked a home made chicken/mushroom pie and roast potatoes/veggies.

I'm so pleased with this chap's work I think we'll book him regularly - worth every penny!   He was a professional chef but gave up the work to get more family time.  Oven cleaning was a major part of his training and he enjoys doing it (!!!???).   

I spent around 5 hours on this drawing today, not that it looks like it.  Because it is so large (A2), and done in coloured pencil, it takes an age to cover large areas like the boy's blue jumper with cross hatching - I wish I could employ somebody to sit next to me simply sharpening pencils.   Its so important to keep very sharp points on pencils to assist colour layering - but using textured papers just eats the pencils.    Never mind!   I could speed up the colouring process by using solvent to dissolve the wax pigment but I'm trying to avoid that process with this picture - once solvent has been used it becomes more difficult to adjust colours etc.

When I got bored with shading the jumper I made a start on the second family member (dad) - just working on the darkest/lightest values in his face and hair.   He has been drawn from a separate ref photo and fitted into the grouping so I have to improvise a little with his clothing etc ....

My client knows I've started work on the portrait but I won't send him any WIP pics till I'm a bit further advanced  as there is a lot of refining to be done on the facial features yet.    Yet again, I left it too late in the day to get a decent photo in daylight so the colours aren't very accurate.  Just wanted to prove that I am hard at work    LOL

 I shall write myself a note reminding me to take a progress photo mid afternoon so I can get a truer representation of the colours etc!!


  1. Whew! I'm glad you're working as I really didn't want to get that whip out!

    Great pics of your snow - the special effects really show the horizontal movement.

    Great minds on the oven cleaning. It's not my favorite chore so we got a self-cleaning model & it was so cold on Saturday that I used the feature. It came remarkably clean but I keep aluminum foil on the bottom of my oven to catch the drips & spills. It would be wonderful to have someone who actually liked to clean ovens though - you're really fortunate!

  2. I keep a tray in the bottom of the oven to catch drips etc but I think the biggest problem is using olive oil to cook with - it seems to make the oven dirtier than using the old fashioned cooking 'fats'

    Our house/kitchen is only 5 years old so we'll live with all the equipment for now ... but when we upgrade we'll go for a pyrolytic oven. Friends who have these ovens are really pleased with them and their self cleaning facilities

  3. Never liked self cleaning ovens, they didn't seem to work properly to me. Cannot imagine finding someone who likes doing the job though. In fact, I have a cleaner who comes in once a month and when it needs it, she does the oven, thank God.

    Love the snow pix. The portrait is coming along well, I can imagine it could get boring doing a garment like that. Also, sharpening pencils must be very time consuming.

  4. This looks so awesome Sue, the little boys hair is really well done, so soft and real..but I can understand you get bored by doing the sweater , such a big surface, but hang on , almost done :-))

  5. Thank you Jane. As you may have guessed I have a short attention span so find it difficult to work strictly left to right (being right handed) and I usually find myself 'flitting' around ....


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