Tuesday, 11 June 2013

11/06: CATS AND WOBBLY HEDGEHOG

First stages of the double cat portrait which is going to be a birthday surprise later this month.    My client is a self confessed technophobe so probably won't be following progress on the Blog but I'll wait till the cats are a bit further advanced (and through the 'ugly' stage) before sending him a progress photo.

The cat on the left is grey and white.   Most photos are taken indoors with flash so I can see lots of pink tones in her fur.    The male on the right of the photo is black and white and apparently very chunky and his owner's favourite.

Basic coat colours for grey cat:


I stopped work on this cat and started on the second one to ensure I get enough contrast between the coat colours - may have to lighten the grey fur slightly but I'll be guided by my client once he has seen a progress picture.     I will be adding some finer hairs and of course whiskers which will make a huge difference


The black cat's left eye (our right) looks a little strange at this stage but he is tilting his head so I think it will look better once I've completed more of the fur and 'wrinkles' etc

I'm working with pastels on light grey Clairefontaine Pastelmat for this portrait.


and ..... as I keep reading, hedgehog numbers are critically low at the moment.   After the long hard Winter in the UK we thought we'd 'lost' our nocturnal visitors but we had one in the garden shortly before we went to Fuerteventura.      I've been putting catfood out in the hedgehog feeding station each night since we got home.  The food has gone by morning but we hadn't had any sightings of our little prickly friends - till last night.    

Sadly there is something very wrong with last night's hog.    We thought he/she was moving in a very strange rolling way and wondered if it was pregnant.    On closer inspection we noticed that both hind legs were being dragged behind the hog and although it was moving fairly quickly it obviously has a major problem.

I took advantage of the hedgehog's natural 'fear' reaction which causes it to 'freeze' and act dead and I put the food bowl in front of its nose on the lawn.    Then I watched from indoors whilst it 'unfroze' and tucked into a decent meal.  

We've searched the internet and it seems very likely that our hedgehog friend has 'Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome' which starts with paralysis of the back legs initially and then on to the front legs as well.   Prognosis is very poor so today we have to phone round Hedgehog rescue centres/Vets to seek advice.    I suspect we may have to catch the hog (if it returns this evening) and take it to be humanely euthanized.  Obviously, I hope there may be another solution but we don't want him/her suffering a slow death from starvation or being hunted/killed because its unable to escape predators.

You can see what I mean about its back legs here:


Will know more later once we've spoken to somebody who is more knowledgeable about hedgehogs than us.

Off to a Bowls Match now.      Its my first game in 5 weeks and I'm head to head with a very Senior Bowler in a handicap knockout competition.    No doubt she'll trounce me very quickly so I'll be back at the drawing board early this afternoon!

More later ...

4 comments:

Jo said...

Poor hedgehog. I am sorry to hear they have had a bad winter, I do hope the species will survive.

Cats coming along, looking forward to seeing them as you progress.

Polly Birchall said...

Welcome back to Blighty and to your wonderful work. I do like to see how you progress and read your thoughts. I didn't notice anything odd with an eye at all! Doesn't look good for your little Hedgie. We had one came out in the daytime, which I was thrilled about,took lots of photos, but that is not normal and one day I found it dead in the garden. I was quite upset.

Katherine Thomas said...

Those cats are so beautiful, you've captured the sleek, smooth, soft fur of a cat so perfectly, and the wise expressions... very nicely done! I don't know anything about hedgehogs, but that grass around him looks like fun to draw, and the whatever-you-call-them on his back would be fun too! Have fun at the game!

Katherine Thomas said...

Those cats are so beautiful, you've captured the sleek, smooth, soft fur of a cat so perfectly, and the wise expressions... very nicely done! I don't know anything about hedgehogs, but that grass around him looks like fun to draw, and the whatever-you-call-them on his back would be fun too! Have fun at the game!