Friday, 15 November 2013


I'd set today aside to have a really good house-clean in readiness for our house-sitters when we're away but I kept getting sidetracked.   The squirrels are back so I had to keep checking how they were dealing with the squirrel-resistant seed feeders.  I wanted to see squirrel tantrums but they're just ignoring the new feeders in favour of the two non-squirrel proof ones that survived the last onslaught.  They've just about emptied those so I guess they'll turn their attention to the new ones whilst we are away.   Fingers crossed they won't wreck these quite so quickly.

I also did more work on Lulu (despite my intentions to leave her be till our return)

But I did get all the cleaning done and it transpires the house-sitters will bring their little dog so I needn't have been so thorough anyway .... perhaps the dog will keep the squirrels in check

I'm just trying to catch up on some last minute emails now as I doubt I'll get much access to the computer whilst away as David will be using our (shared) travel laptop to work on some websites he's setting up/managing for friends and colleagues.

So this is Lulu with a bit more hair.   I have a bit of a phobia about drawing hair (in coloured pencil) so have to think of my human subjects as puppies or kittens with long coats and that makes it easier LOL

I will need to deepen some of the colour in the shadowed areas but there are so many colours layered here I thought I should give the picture a light spray with fixative to ensure I don't get the dreaded 'wax bloom' which can give a dull grey finish to coloured pencil work.   The bloom is easily removed by wiping gently with cotton buds but spraying with fixative prevents it occurring.   

I did have to hold my breath though as there are a lot of red tones in Lulu's hair.  I still have nightmares about a double dog portrait I did years ago in coloured pencil.   When finished I gave it a light spray of fixative and one of the spaniels turned magenta pink.     One of the Prismacolor colours had reacted badly to the fixative and it took a few hours to restore the dog back to its proper colour.

Anyway, this doesn't seem to have suffered the same fate.        Now she really will have to wait until we are back from Fuerteventura

I was just sorting out my photos from the Alpaca trek yesterday and thought I'd show you Bertie.  He's a rescue dog living a pampered life on the farm now.     He is a lovely Bassett hound and has really mastered the 'long suffering' look of the breed .... lovely character!


  1. OMGosh having a portrait change colors after adding fixative would give me an absolute hearattack!
    Lulu is looking BEAUTIFUL her hair is lovely with all her different colors shining through.
    Safe travels!!!!

  2. Lovely pix. Have a good trip. Lulu looking really good.

  3. What's housework? Your portrait of Lulu is fascinating to look out. Beats me how you have done it's amazing. I don't have a lot of trouble with squirrels but I like those squirrel proof feeders for keeping away all the racing pigeons around here and can feed the small birds to my hearts content.

  4. Thanks Peggy ... yes I never want a repetition of the colour change episode. Thank you.

    Thanks Jo..

    Hi Polly
    Do you want a couple of squirrels? Guaranteed hours of amusement at their antics. That's the problem really, they are such destructive little pains but they are also very cute and extremely clever.

  5. She's coming along beautifully, Sue! I'm amazed at how realistic she looks...Excellent work....!!!
    Have a wonderful trip..

  6. the portrait looks really good :D

    yeah i hate when the colour change happens, but sometimes it actually works and makes the picture look better :p

  7. Hope you're all settled in the sunshine by now. The portrait is looking super! Do the parents know you're painting their little one? I'm sure they'd want it if they saw it!!!

  8. Wow, I can't imagine having the fixative do that do a piece! Lulu is coming along so well!!

  9. Thank you Colette.

    It was a rogue deep red shade of coloured pencil which I no longer keep in my collection (for obvious reasons).

  10. oops .... 3 comments just came in - out of sync.
    So thanks to Hilda, Jennifer and Jan. I tend to use fixative a lot when working with coloured pencil on dark backgrounds as its lets me add those few extra layers of pencil to deepen/brighten the colour. I know what you mean Jennifer about Fixative sometimes improving the finished look.

    Yes we know the family Jan, they're our neighbours here on Fuerteventura but we're just on 'chat when we meet' terms rather than very good friends. I will give them the portrait next year when we're back out but I'll probably enter her into the UKCPS exhibition to see if she gets past the Jury for the spring exhibition.


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