TGIF....It's been quite a week!

Well as they say...that was the week that was! 
Drama, storms, biblical signs and wailing banshees.
I kid you not peeps.
But before I natter away, I have finally (well nearly) finished the cacti and succulent watercolour I started after my trip to the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens.
I think I just need to tweak and add a few shadows and that's it. 
Here's the result... which is an amazing feat considering all that's being going on around here.

This photo is sort of the calm before the storm...quite literally.
The thunder and lightening arrived and the rain came bouncing down.
Why I thought to go out without a jacket on... I have no idea. 
Perhaps I was under the illusion that it was summer. 
No wait a minute...it IS summer! 

Maybe that's why I'm painting cacti and succulents?
Subconsciously I'm wishing for hot temperatures and more sun! 

I also missed a dental appointment due to my new mobile phone, that I haven't mastered yet.
The memo's and diary are still blank, hence missing the reminder, but I'll get there. 
Thankfully, I wasn't in any pain...my appointment was just for a brush and polish.
I didn't even twig when I got a phone call....mainly because I didn't recognise the new ring tone and didn't answer the call; wondering why someone didn't answer their phone.
Numpty!
I know...but in my defence as I said, it's been quite a week.
For those followers of my Instagram and Facebook I apologise that I may be repeating myself here, but I feel I have to share this lucky chooks near miss.
Say hello to Annie...whose very lucky to be here today.

Not more than an hour after I arrived home from a lovely weekend in Edinburgh...my hubby shot up from working on the laptop shouting 'FOX' whilst dashing for the door in record time, kicking off his flip-flops (thongs) to maximise his speed.
His cries were ear piercing and certainly frightened me!
I had no idea that he could either move that fast or get such volume and pitch to his voice!
Thankfully, the fox was terrified too, as the wailing banshee advanced.
Annie, who was joining in with her own squawks as she was dropped from the jaws of the fox, made off to hide in the corner of the patio...then more squawks came from the top end of the garden. 
More feathers flew and my hubby cries changed to rather colourful language (maybe he thought he was near enough away from me...or the circumstances certainly called for it)
Chickens were flapping and squawking all over the garden... it seems that we had far more than just four chooks. With the fox's escape under the conifer bushes and over the wall, we began to carry out a roll call.
Annie...yes, but traumatised and injured.
Bertha...present... (maybe too heavy for the fox to carry?)
Winnie...present (although hiding behind the rose bushes)
Flo? Flo? FLO?
Oh no...Flo was nowhere to be seen.
Only a mass of feathers were floating all around the garden and so with heavy hearts and sickly stomachs, we assumed that Flo had been taken.
I was so mad because I'd been telling hubby that he was being too blasé about them being free to roam, especially when he wasn't in the garden with them...but I had to back off because I knew he was so upset and guilty.
We scooped up Annie and checked her over...four puncture holes either side of her spine seemed to be the extent of her injuries. We've later found out that her leg is injured, as she now has a limp.
She's full of character and we're hoping that she has a lot of fighting spirit in her too.
She's recovering each day so we're hopeful she'll be fine.
Meanwhile the others were put in lock down!
Later as I was trying to calm my stomach with deep breaths, washing down the patio
(no blood... just feathers, bird seed and of course poop due to the fright).
A few minutes later my hubby called me to come and look.
I knew I couldn't take any more carnage, so declined, but he was insistent.
As I walked towards his voice and along the path...there he was holding Flo!
His favourite and with a huge grin to prove it.
She'd ran and just missed being grabbed by the fox (her lack of tail feathers are a new testament to her near miss and will be this seasons attire...basically minimal).
Phew... so now they're all together rallying around Annie and safe within the 'folly' walls.
They'll get a taste of free ranging (of sorts) by being in their movable run and we'll reposition it every day...but at least we know that they'll be safe and that's the main thing.

I hope you have had a better week and a brilliant weekend lies ahead.
I think I'm going to lie in a darkened room ;D
Happy Friyay Everyone.

Blue Tit Watercolour

Yay, it's Friday once again. 

One more week nearer to Spring, although when I look out of the window today, I can see lot's of spring-like images out there. 

After completing a successful RSPB Garden Bird Count last weekend, I decided that I'd add another bird to my current trend of painting the visiting birds in my garden.

I decided that I'd paint one of the UK's most popular birds... 'The Blue Tit'
Here's are a few photo's of the process

We have an amazing amount of these little cute birds visiting us. 

We've also recently stuck a perspex feeder onto our kitchen window and they are now coming to take the peanuts from it. 

Oblivious to anyone standing at the kitchen sink!
Not that I want to spend much time in the kitchen sink.
I'll try and get a photo at some stage.

With thick fog outside there was nothing for it, but to enjoy finishing my painting yesterday.

Here's the top 10 results of my own personal count thanks to the RSPB's feedback.
I was pleased because I actually counted 15 different species in that one hour of the count.

Oh yes, and if you would like to see my finish painting of the Firecrest from last week... click here
Okay the sun is shining this morning, so I'm off to enjoy the outdoors. 

I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday.
If you'd like to see some amazing artists from around the world, why not click on the above and enjoy some fantastic art and inspiration.

Have a wonderful weekend whatever you get up to I'd love to hear about it.
Thanks for visiting.
Bye for now

Iris... PPF

There's nothing better than rising to bright sunlight and finding a beautiful surprise waiting to bring pleasure to your day. 
That is just what happened yesterday. 
This gorgeous Iris certainly brought a smile to my face, even though it was rather early in the morning and my eyes had hardly opened properly. 
The word iris stands for 'rainbow' in Greek. 
This is quite relevant to reality, since you can find irises in every colour of the rainbow... and there are over 200 iris species.
So for this weeks link to PPF how could I resist painting this beauty. 
I was stunned that the bulbs that I'd planted back in the autumn had actually survived and popped up.
I'd forgotten all about them.

I could never do such a brilliant job as Mother Nature had, but I could have fun trying.
I didn't have much spare time (what's new) so I just jumped right in. 
Initially, I used an Inktense watercolour pencil to make an outline draft.
(see I'm trying really hard to leave pencil marks out of my work) 
Then I used my Japanese watercolour paints.
Although I would have liked more time to paint, I did enjoy myself but I should have used better quality paper... it was initially only going to be a quick painting.
I always regret using the wrong paper once I start. 
Does that happen to you too?
But what's not to enjoy hiding away in the studio for a few hours. 
I'm thinking that I might like to revisit this idea again at a later date. 
Next time I'd use good quality paper or perhaps even a canvas.
 
I decided to use the blue and white liner ink pens to finish off. 
It's a little late for taking photos now, even though it stays light here at the moment until after 11pm.
The final photo doesn't really look like the original... but such is life.
I also couldn't help myself... I had to pick a wee bunch to come into the house. 
I think the iris might well be one of my favourite flowers, but then as each new plant bursts into bloom that too becomes my favourite! 
I hope you have a bloomin' great weekend. (sorry I just couldn't resist!)
Happy Paint Party Friday.

Caravaning Capers... PPF

Have you ever been stuck on a country road, going uphill behind a caravan?
Did you manage to keep calm or did you or the driver look like they were going to interally combust, because obviously you needed to get to that destination in the shortest time possible.
I remember when I was young that the caravans always seemed to struggle up hill or weaved slightly, which made all other drivers around rather nervous.
So imagine my disbelief when my sister announces that she and her husband are to become caravaners! 
It's something that I thought I'd never, ever hear, but apparently they are so excited.
I must admit listening to her talk about all of the pros, I'm 'slightly' in agreement that there maybe 'something' in this pursuit. 
But I hasten to add only 'slightly'!
 (I'm being generous here because after all she's my sister)
Remember I've never been camping in any shape or form... and I class caravans only just above a tent. 
But there you are... they're excited and are on the hunt for the right caravan for them, and then they will be taking to the open road. 
I've been informed that 
caravans are completely different these days and can travel at a reasonable speed... and up hill to boot!
So for this week's artwork I couldn't resist sending them a little congratulatory caravaning card.
I've never heard of this kind of card before... but then what do I know about caravaning? 
Diddlysquat apparently!
My son was rather bothered that I'd parked the caravan on an apparent sheer cliff face, but I told him he's being over cautious. It'll be fine! (gulp)
I've printed copies of my sister and her hubby's faces from a photograph, so that they can actually be in the caravan, but obviously I can't post their image here, as I haven't asked their permission. 
(Which is something that I always do... but this is to be a surprise) 
The card is on it's way to them today, so I hope that it arrives before she sees this post. 
I placed some kitchen paper over their faces for now, but I'm thinking it looks like net curtains.
Obviously, when she opens the envelope she'll get the full impact photo and all...and it hopefully will give her a good giggle.

I thought I'd use the opportunity to practice some more lettering on the inside of the card.
If you visited last week and saw my poor videoing skills sketching (click here if you'd like to see)
I did promise some readers that I'd show the sketch when it was finished. 
So that's it for this week folks...
I'd love to hear any of your caravaning cappers if you have had any... or what you've done recently to pass on a giggle. 
I'll be linking up with Eva and Kristin as usual over at PPF
If you'd like to see more art just click on the PPF link above.
I'm also linking to Alexandra's Sunday Sketches 
Until we meet again... have fun and keep smiling.
xoxo