Friday, 20 May 2022

friday face off

Today, I'm joining in on Nicole's Friday Face Off challenge.
 
Recently I signed up to Sketchbook Revival and watched a demonstration by Tamara of Willowing. I noticed that she now has the same demonstration on her YouTube channel which you can check out HERE. I had intentions to get my own version finished today with colour but my son called in for a visit and that put paid to that plan. So I'm glad work-in-progress pics are allowed because this is all I've got for now. 


Here are a few of my older faces done back in 2016

To see the work of other Friday Face Off participants for this week, check it out HERE.

Love, Light and Peace

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

a bit of this and a bit of that

Firstly, you would have heard that there have been issues with Blogger embedded comments of late — some visitors being unable to leave a comment. My son and I have a mix of Apple, Microsoft, and Android devices and, we tested them all, and the issue seems to only be a problem with the Apple devices. It must be a conflict with the coding. So, as much as I love the embedded comments, I have switched to the pop-up comments for now. Even with that option, our Apple devices had to do their own thing — instead of a comment box popping up on the blog page like it's supposed to, it opens the comment box in a separate browser tab. 

No offence to Apple lovers but I'm not an Apple fan at all. I'm definitely a Microsoft/Android gal however my son is a steadfast Apple fan. I don't even like my iPad and don't use it much at all. I can get quite frustrated with it's limitations. I plan to send it packing in favour of a Samsung tablet in the near future. 

 *****
 
On another topic, a couple of weeks ago, I snapped a pic of this cloud formation as it was very clear to me that there was an adult bird coming down to feed a young bird while a wolf (head only) looked on. Can you see them too?
 
Two days ago, Brad and I were at the local shopping centre and, as we were leaving, I remembered that I had some coins to deposit in the ATM deposit which was just outside. When we went to the machine, there on the coin belt was a Welcome Swallow. Quite small at around 13 to 15cm (5" to 6") from head to tail tip. The poor little thing lay there panting very fast. Luckily, I always carry a spare fabric bag in my main bag so I gently picked her up and placed her safely in the bag. She didn't even put up a fight. 

 
I quickly deposited my coins and, when we got to the car, I transferred her into a cardboard pet carry box that I always keep in the car, among other animal rescue paraphernalia, for situations just like this. Such a pretty bird with gorgeous metallic colours on her wings.
 
I took her to the closest vet. You may remember we had to do the same for a baby dragon lizard a couple of months back. Vets here are obligated to take in injured wildlife and, if rehabilitation is required, they pass them onto the necessary wildlife carers in the area. They took the details of where I found her so that, if she recovers, they can take her back there. They thought she may have been stunned by flying into something. The vet was checking her over when I left. I sure hope she survived. 
 
*****
 
Now onto an art aid I made a few years ago and it still serves me well today. I like to call it my handy-board and it's 56cm x 36cm (22" by 14").
 
I made it myself by duct-taping 3 layers of Corflute together — a corrugated plastic board often used in sign-writing.

It was getting a little grotty so I gave it a clean up and a new pretty border of duct tape — Owls.

Why did I make it? Well, I found I just didn't have enough workable space when I had all my sketch and watercolour stuff on the desk. My tables form a right angle and I saw a possibility of giving myself some extra surface space. 

Before

And now with my handy-board in place. It fills in that corner perfectly, giving me extra surface space and because I made it with 3 layers, it's nice and sturdy too — no bending.

Sitting on top of my handy-board is my location sketch board. I got that idea from well known Urban Sketcher - Liz Steel. I will do another post soon to show you how that one works when in use. Very handy indeed.


 *****
 
On another note for your horror fans, just this week I signed up to receive a daily email from Dracula Daily. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is an epistolary novel made up of letters, diaries, telegrams, newspaper clippings, each of which has a date. The whole story happens between May 3 and November 10 and this guy has set it up so that we receive an email according to the timeline of the book. I signed up a little late but was able to catch up via the Archive. It's still early days. I used to love Dracula movies in my teens but I don't think I've ever read the book. It's been fun so far and I love that it's written in journal and letters etc. If you're interested in signing up for it, you can check it out HERE.
 
The rains have eased for now but it will be a short-lived break as they will be back on Friday according to forecasts. I'm not looking forward to that. They did forecast that we would be in for a warm and wet Autumn and they weren't kidding. 

I'll be back on Friday with some sketches so stay tuned...

Love, Light and Peace

Friday, 13 May 2022

a bittersweet mother's day for me

 
Firstly, I hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day! 
 
I did a rough sketch of the Mother's Day flowers Beau bought me. Sorry the pic is blurry...bad lighting at night.
 
I made my own style of laksa with noodles for lunch — tofu and veggies with a Thai red curry base. It was delicious!

All in all, I had a fairly hectic Mother's Day with a few different things going on but it was nice. However, it did end on a very sad note when we found out my daughter's doggy passed away. It was devastating for Michelle and her family. Abbey was dearly loved and will be deeply missed.  
 
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It's been a very wet week with lots of rain and, sadly, it caused flooding in areas that copped flooding less than three months ago. The farm animal sanctuary I support —  Happily Heifer After — have been flooded for the second time with 80 to 90% of their property under water again. Michelle and Hugh are an amazing couple who we met when we visited the sanctuary in November 2020. My heart goes out to them as they struggle against the odds. Luckily, they managed to get their 80-plus animals to higher ground for now, under the cover of temporary tarps, but it's dire straits and another major clean up will be needed when the waters recede.  Last time, they organised a volunteer working bee. I wish I could help but my hands cause me pain all the time. A financial donation will have to do. I pray they all stay safe.
 
I've been doing a lot of reading as I can't work for too long at my art desk with my neck still recovering from the fall I had. I plan on getting back to doing some book reviews starting Tuesday so stay tuned for that. As well as my Mother's Day flowers, I did a simple pencil sketch of part of my ZZ plant. I do plan on adding some colour so it's a work-in-progress for now.

And that's IF Kya will allow it. She does not like me at my workspace and, most times, will plant herself right on my desk. Naughty kitty!

On that note, I will bid you all goodnight...

Love, Light and Peace

Monday, 2 May 2022

what I've been up to

More catching up to do as it's been a month since my last post...

I had another fall on the 21st. Not kidding...
 
Same reason as my previous fall — slipped in water dripped by Scarlett, Aaron's poodle, after she had a drink.  I swear I'm not clumsy but, unfortunately, water and tiles just don't go well together. We have a mat under the dishes but Scarlett always drips a trail of water as she walks away. My feet went out from under me but, this time, my poor neck and shoulder slammed into the storage box near the easel in the studio ('X' marks the spot in the pic below). Lucky the box is padded but my neck and left shoulder are still on the mend. Needless to say, we are trialling another position for the water dish. Wish me luck.

I hope you all had a lovely Easter. Our Easter was nice, quiet and peaceful. Beau, my son who lives away from home, came down with Covid over the Easter weekend. He was fully vaccinated so his symptoms were fairly mild — sore throat and a fever mostly. He did lose his sense of taste and smell though which he didn't like at all. Apparently, loss of taste and smell happens to about 13% of Omicron sufferers and it can stay that way for months afterwards. Thankfully, Beau's senses are back to normal now.  He isolated at home for 7 days and is already back at work. 
 
On a Easter sweet treat note, Brad and I can vouch for the deliciousness of the NOMO vegan chocolate eggs....so creamy! YUM! 

Another delicious vegan snack/meal we often have is nachos with vegan cheese and vegan sour cream. We like our nachos topped with Sriracha sauce and some cayenne pepper because some like it hot!
 
The past couple of nights, for dinner, we've had vegan Sausage and Potato Madras on brown Basmati rice made by me. We do love Indian-style curries in this house. Vindaloo is my favourite.

All ready for May in my bullet journal — both analogue and digital. 
This is my analogue Month View, then I work daily from there. 
Click on image to view it larger.

I've even managed a bit of sketching here and there since my last post. This page spread is all ready for the journaling/handwriting. LOVED The Hobbit movies! The hobbit is drawn with a BIC ballpoint pen while the plant is inked.

Today, I started this giraffe in graphite pencil. He is just roughly plotted out at this stage so definitely a work-in-progress. Not sure yet if I will end up inking him or giving him splash of watercolour. What do you think?

I'll leave you with a pic of the Queen of the Castle nestled on the back of the couch. 

I'm planning to post frequently in May so stay tuned...
 
P.S. - If anyone is having trouble leaving a comment on my blog would they please let me know via email. searen3 at gmail.com.

Love, Light and Peace

Sunday, 27 March 2022

something fishy this way comes...

It's been a fairly busy month and I even did some painting. Aaron, my son wanted an aquarium scene done for his bedroom and, typical of Aaron, it had to be done 'yesterday'. 

So it was rush-rush...and not a small piece either. I designed it on the go over three days...


Aaron wanted it done in a similar style to the previous fish painting I did for him years ago....so NOT my usual style. 
 
Background first....

Then painting in some of the elements

Some refining of the pebble base with more elements...

Some fish, refining rocks and more plants...

This (see below) is where Aaron called it finished because he just wanted it on his wall. lol You will spot the Angel fish and the Betta fish. However, the Neon Tetras (upper-mid right) and Corydoras (lower left) are not so easy to see in the pic but more visible in reality. A Bristlenose Catfish and some Epistogramma Cichlids were also planned but I didn't get the chance to paint them in. Maybe at a later date...

 
In its new spot on the wall 

In keeping with the fishy theme, I thought you might like to see some of the goldfish in Aaron's pond on the back patio.
 

There are Shubunkin, Oranda and a couple of Telescope-eyed, butterfly fish — all goldfish species.



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On another note, are any of you participating in Sketchbook Revival hosted by Karen Abend? I've been watching the videos and doing a little here and there. Some are not my cup of tea but I do like to watch the videos regardless. Inspiration can be found everywhere. 

Anyway, that wraps up my post for today. I hope you are all keeping well. 

Love, Light and Peace
 

Monday, 7 March 2022

floods, more lizards and a catch up

I've been feeling quite overwhelmed of late. 
 
The rains came a few weeks back and they turned Biblical — non-stop torrential downpours which caused major flooding from the Sunshine Coast (including Hinterlands and Inland areas) down to South East Queensland. I'm so grateful to live in an area where we have been safe from flooding despite having a creek at the end of our street. There were a lot of road closures, our region included, due to flooding over the roads. Sadly, so many homes went under with people being rescued from flooded homes and rooftops. In a span of just three days, we received 80% of our annual rainfall which, for a sub-tropical area when not in drought, is a lot! Sadly, 11 lives were lost due to the floods. Not all, but some were due to attempts to drive across flooded roads and then being washed away. People don't account for the strength of the current, not to mention the fact that, once the water or moisture gets into their car's distributor, it dies and they're stuck in rising waters. It's heartbreaking to think that some of those deaths were avoidable.

The rains eventually cleared and moved down through New South Wales where it wreaked havoc with floods and loss of life there too.  A major clean up is in progress now. We have more rain on the forecast but not another deluge, I hope. 

We've had major flood events like this in 1974, 1996, 2011, and 2013. We've had significant flash floods in the years in-between too but the thing I notice is that we've had more major flood events in the span of 10 years whereas, previously, it was decades between major flood events. Add to that our biblical bushfire event through 2019/2020. Bush-fires here are seasonal due to our extreme heat but I believe global climate change is making them more extreme. I know that La Niña has played a role this time with the torrential rains but scientists have also stated the event has been a lot worse than would have been expected.  Some scientists say that it will eventually get so hot here that living on the surface will become unbearable and we will end up moving underground, like in Coober Pedy in northern South Australia where summer temps can get to 52.7°C/127°F. Most of the town is underground. 
 
 *****

During the torrential rains, I had a fall — slipped in the water the doggies dripped after having a drink...didn't see it. My legs went out from under me and I came crashing down onto my butt and hips. I couldn't put my hands out to help as I was carrying stuff. For hours, from the mid-back down and my hips felt frozen with weird sensations, if that makes sense. I wasn't in pain but it was extreme discomfort, pain came later. So I did see the doctor who ordered X-rays and an Ultrasound of my right hip. I kinda knew there would be no fractures as I wasn't in severe pain. I was most concerned about my hip tendons after having tendon surgery in 2019 and the symptoms were much the same as when I tore the tendons. Unfortunately, ultrasounds aren't great for picking up tendon tears. Last time, one U/S said there was no tear yet an MRI clearly showed there was. Anyway, this U/S said 'no tear' but there is Bursitis and inflammation —same as when I had the torn tendons. The plan is to give it a couple of weeks. Do some Physio. If it hasn't helped, my doctor will refer me back to Orthopaedics. I hope that won't be necessary.

*****

After the rains eased, Aaron (son) found a teeny-weeny baby Eastern Bearded Dragon lizard in the large drain we have in the back yard. He must have become trapped and then exhausted himself trying to get out. We thought he was dead at first until I spotted a slight movement in his eyelid. We immediately went into rescue mode. Aaron set up a more suitable environment and we popped to the pet shop to buy heat bulbs and UVB bulbs, and crickets. Reptiles use thermoregulation to manage their body temperatures. This means they rely heavily on external factors, heat from the sun, and cools spots in the shade, so we had to replicate that artificially.

He was about 4" in length so possibly only 2 to 3 weeks old. He was eating the crickets and enjoying the warmth, and recovered very well. Sorry the pics are a little blurry. It was hard to focus in on him as he was so tiny.
 
 
Australia has very strict laws when it comes to their wildlife. It is illegal to take an animal from the wild and keep it as a pet. The next morning, we dropped this precious baby into our local vet who would then have contacted Wildlife Carers in the area and they will care for and rehabilitate him. 

The lizard story doesn't end there so stay tuned for more in an upcoming post. 

This is the problem after being away from my blog for a month. I have so much to talk about. 
 
 *****
 
On a more unsettling topic, I'm sure you are all in shock and disgusted with the events happening in the Ukraine — as am I. Putin is downright insane and dangerous! This war was unprovoked. My heart goes out to the Ukrainian people and my thoughts and prayers are with them. I pray that Putin doesn't succeed. He has made sure that a lot of Russians are being fed fake news. He is telling many lies to his people and they believe him. Remind you of someone else? I've read where Russian soldiers are shocked that they are meeting with resistance because they thought they were on a peace-keeping mission and would be welcomed. More of Putin's lies. I wish there was more that the rest of world could do to help the Ukraine, apart from the Sanctions. Thank goodness, neighbouring countries are taking in the refugees fleeing this horrible and unjustifiable war. It's heart-wrenching! Where will it all end? Scary thoughts...
 
On the home-front, our Prime Minister has committed to setting up a nuclear submarine base in either Newcastle, Port Kembla, or Brisbane (where I live). Scott Morrison said it is to support the future nuclear submarine fleet in partnership with the US. Our relations with China haven't been the best since we agreed, along with other nations, that there needed to be an investigation into how Coronavirus started in Wuhan. China turned very nasty. Our Prime Minister believes that Russia and China are aligning to reshape the international order. More scary thoughts...

So finally I will end this post. Is that a shout of joy I hear from the Peanut Gallery?

I will post again soon. 

Love, Light and Peace

Saturday, 29 January 2022

studio, sketches, and a lizard

Hello everyone, 
 
WOW! February is just around the corner — this year is already moving fast. 
 
I've only managed a couple of sketches since my last post. 
 
A pelican sketched in ink from my own reference photo. Sorry it's a bit blurry. It was taken in the early morning, still dark outside, so lighting wasn't the best.


Second sketch was of my cat mug which I have in my studio. It holds all the brushes and combs for Kya and Teenie. It usually holds more than 2 items but the rest is currently in the laundry where I normally do the grooming. 
 
This one was done using graphite, watercolour, and a bit of white gouache.
 
Speaking of my studio, we changed the new layout a little bit more. We turned the end desk so it was right angled to form a U-shape to the studio. I loved it before but I love it even more now.

 
Kya wondered what was going on

 but approved the change
 
Yesterday, I heard some hissing coming from our front entrance. I checked it out and found a poor blue-tongued lizard being pecked at by a young adult magpie. As much as I like magpies, I couldn't allow her to be pecked to death so, I shooed the magpie away, grabbed a cardboard box, and managed to get her into it. While blue-tongued lizards aren't aggressive, they have been known to bite if they feel threatened and she was already stressed enough from the magpie attack. She was approximately 15" in length.
 
I released her into our front garden where she had plenty of plant cover to hide and recover from her ordeal. I did try to get a photo of her blue tongue which she popped out here and there but I kept missing the moment. After posing for a few snaps, she moved off under the protection of the ground plants where I hope she remains safe. As for gender, she could well be a he — I did research it but it's not easy to tell, however, I felt it could be female. That said, I'm certainly no expert.

By the way, last week, I attempted to comment on several of my friends' blogs and Blogger wouldn't do anything at all when I hit the Publish comment button. So frustrating! I hope they've sorted it now.
 
That wraps up my post for today. I hope you are all enjoying a lovely weekend. 
 
Love, Light and Peace