Saturday, December 26, 2020

Festive Fun and Frolics - Merry Christmas! xxx

 It's that festive time again - and I'm late with a Christmas post! *tsk!* Even with everything closed in a pandemic, with no guests or visitors or events to attend it would appear that I am STILL not organised at all! 

    The end of the year brought a flurry of activity, commissions and orders, which was a little unexpected and entirely fabulous. Commissions CAN be a nightmare, but experience has made me picky and I choose the clients I know I can enjoy working with. It's been a sheer delight to meet some completely gorgeous people and to know that my work adorns their walls (and in some cases, themselves!) and makes them happy. I can't tell you the joy that brings me! 

    I've not had a chance to work on my usual Christmas as Yule pieces, with the exception of my "Spirit of Hope" Yule exhibition piece, and I never share commission work without permission, so the offering I have for you to celebrate the season is a series of little illustrations I made for my Husband's Christmas cards from the cats, Father Christmas and, oh yes - me! I am hoping, in the months ahead, to make this blog a lot more interactive, with more tutorials, product information, work processes and the like, similar to my old blog site. For now, though, I offer you my kitties in Christmas mode which I hope very much that you will enjoy. 

    Much love to all this festive season. May light and love follow all of you this coming year. Stay safe and well - Shroo xxx

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

"Spirit of Hope"

 There's nothing like setting yourself a challenge. I mean, OBVIOUSLY it would be a smoother life without hurdles and landslides and zombie invasions, but WHERE would the FUN be? Eh?

    My entry for the new exhibition at the Cultural Activities Centre in Temple, Texas could have been anything... a watercolour, a nice acrylic canvas...another inked piece... Anything. But as I sat staring at my sketch book that little tingling, nagging feeling started on the back of my neck, just below the hairline there... Just.....there..... Yeah. I know that feeling - it's my muse saying hello and feeding an idea directly into the art centre of my brain, an idea that I know will have no wiggle room at all. Once it's embedded I have no choice. 

    "You're doing this with textiles -- get out your needles and threads and settle in for the long haul!"

    So...yeah.I went digging. It's surprising how many embroidery silks you can have and STILL need to order 150 more from Amazon (they were an awesome bargain!) 

    The brief was to represent belief in Christmas. As a pagan, I wanted my piece to be a little more historically and culturally inclusive without offending or challenging other peoples' faiths. I chose to focus on the bringing of light into dark places, the lighting of candles, the burning of bonfires, an idea which transcends time and culture. Light signifies the hope that our species carries inside each of us: that the cold, austere dark nights of winter will eventually pass and become the warm light and abundant growth of Spring and Summer. That life replaces apparent death. That the earth itself is reborn and each of us with it. Even our fancy schmancy "modern times" and the educated rationality that abounds now doesn't fully banish our fear of the night and our longing for reassurance that the hope of light triumphs over the abyss of darkness.

    This piece is about light, hope and happiness. It's my belief that finding the bright and shining path will guide me through the blackness. This is bold of colour, wild of style - a freehand embroidery following the same processes as any of my art pieces...a concept with minimal form that follows its own path. The seed beads are sewn individually and the whole thing is stitched over my hand painted design on a piece of reclaimed cotton cloth. 'Nuff said - here be the finished working along with a few potentially useful close-ups:

In Remembrance

 We will never forget those who have bravely fought and fallen, that we may thrive and grow. 

We will remember them.


Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Hallowe'en 2020!!

 Scary times and frightening goings add to the freak party with this year's Hallowe'en illustration of our favourite monsters - The Leonard Monster, Count Gizmo, Doctor Sapphira and Missy the Bride of Tequila!

....and a reminder of our troupe in Dia De Los Muertos costume....

May the spookiness entertain you and may the year ahead be better than the last! xxxx

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day 2020

Our lucky black cats - no matter what level of buggerlugs they choose to be, our lives are richer for having them as our crazy companions/overlords! Love from Shroo, Mr Shroo and (left to right) Missy, Gizmo, Sapphira and Harvey xxxxx

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Autumn Tales From The Lunch Tin

More "Tales from the Lunch Tin"!

It's that time again... The passing of Autumn is recorded in the antics of our feline family. Their adventures are seemingly neverending and are constantly entertaining to me and Hubby, whose lunch tin contains one of these updates every day. Here are some of the latest daily chapters...
    The children have new beds! In fact, they have a whole newly furnished annex to stay safe and warm in at night. Snuggly igloos, warm plushy cushions and even a little kitty duplex fill what was a barren utility space, transforming a stark spot into a comfy, toasty haven for the babies to enjoy, during rainy days or chilly nights. They've each chosen their favourites, apart from Leonard, who can't be trusted there at all. From the great beyond, the distant harp music and tinkling bells accompany a heavenly Harvey's Noel Coward tones - "Marvelous wubbies! Must have ALL the lovely wubby snugglies! Fabulous, dear boy, fabulous!" The Colonel approves. 

    Autumn chases rats with the falling leaves as they skitter into the garden to steal scraps from the chicken coop and the hutches. To Leonard, this is a positive Black Friday event - a veritable bargain hunt of rodenty goodness! He's focussed, determined and gleefully lethal... It's a massacre!
    The big sycamore in the garden has held on to its leaves like a spoiled child gripping a lollipop, but gravity and the season's weather finally ripped the curling leaves from the branches, sending them hurtling to the ground like a drunk on a dancefloor. It came as something of a surprise to Gizmo, not the quickest on his paws, and as a treat to Sapphira who lost all reason in her pursuit of airborne combatants. Sapphira went nuts. Gizmo composted. 
Gizmo has ways of clearing a room so that he can have the comfiest seat.
    Leonard takes one look at the weather and refuses to move, a furry stealth emo.
Everyone embraces their inner couch potato on occasion, but Leonard is the Messiah of all soft-furnishing-based root vegetables. He is the expert. He is the One - the Neo of slovenliness.... ninja skill invisibility...until he snores, farts and wakes to furtively consume his own body weight in nippity-biscuits.

    Gizmo is not a rain lover. While the miniature maniac and the idiot play in the puddles and the big, splooshy raindrops, Gizmo is very much aware that, basically. he just gets wet. He is prepared to tolerate this state of affairs only because he is ALSO aware that looking like a drowned rat will guarantee being wrapped in a warm, fluffy towel, cuddled, brushed and fed his favourite treats. He will sacrifice dignity for luxury at the drop of a hat.

    As Gizmo staggers unsteadily out of the kitty house with pasted fur, looking like a bomb blast survivor with alarmingly moist shell shock, it's clear that his sister's assault upon his person has had significant and devastating effects.
    While Gizmo recouperates, Sapphira, undeterred, employs her overactive saliva glands in her own ear-to-bumhole 'Andromeda Strain' style cleansing ritual until her big brother returns for more feline waterboarding.
    As a cat hairstylist, she makes up in enthusiasm what she lacks in restraint.

Gizmo's entrepreneurialism knows no bounds.
Fed up with 'singing' for his supper - during what appears to be a distressing national sausage shortage - he has discovered a potential solution to his dilemma...
Whilst wandering around the fields and farms he happened upon a couple of lage wild sausage plants, which are well rooted and prospering in an undisclosed location. Gizmo will now impatiently await the harvest, although to his surprise these sausage plants are surprisingly active and may put up a bit of a fight making collecting sausages a lot tougher that he originally planned....

    Gizmo has finally discovered how to harness the mighty power of the sun itself - in the form of a hot water bottle with snuggly cover, pre-approved by his Heavenly brother-from-another-mother, Harvey.

Mummy is working a piece for an exhibition. This time it's a textile work which means that copious amounts of embroidery thread dance seductively before the captivated eyes of Leonard Shrewsbane. Upon being given his own piece, Leonard embarks on an emotional thrill ride of blissful, overexcited insanity which results in a shredded footstool cover... along with an equally shredded foot.

   Sapphira is in her element now - finally - in her role of mercenary protector of the Shrewsbane's space. Tense as a piano wire garrote, she paces like a rabid wolverine on speed, awaiting directives from the slovenly teenager moping and wallowing in his pit of mysterious smells behind closed doors.
Approach at your peril!
....They will never find your body......

Gizmo's continuing impatience at food time and his almost constant cravings have driven him to take up the questionable hobby of wizardry. Taking a somewhat classic approach - somewhere between Paul Daniels and Tommy Cooper - he works earnestly towards his ultimate goal - turning shrews into sausages...
    That's all for now from the crazy cats - more will be here as soon as Husband has more lunch hours! Thanks for stopping by - don't forget to leave a comment and say 'hello!' See you soon xxxx
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