Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Beauty - the Animal Rescue Dog

Looking through the news here in England, I have been captivated by the stories of the dogs who helped in the search for humans trapped in the wreckage of their homes after their houses were destroyed by bombs. All were recipients of the Dickin Medal - the animal VC. In particular, it is the story of Beauty that captured my imagination. This wire-haired Fox Terrier was owned by Bill Barnett who was aPeople's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) superintendent during the Blitz.

Beauty accompanied him when he worked alongside a Civil Defence unit. On one assignment, she scratched at rubble with her paws. Not long afterwards, the team uncovered a cat buried under a table. In all, she saved 63 animals from being buried alive.

The Daily Mail carried a really interesting feature on the subject. Click here to read it.

The BBC has a slide show of the dogs involved - click here.

For more on the PDSA, which provides free veterinary services for the pets of needy owners in the UK, click here.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Fine Art, this is Not!

By popular demand [well, Owen and @eloh, actually], I present a handful of ideas, rough sketches - call them what you what. It is a bit embarrassing to put up such work, but it is all I have to hand.

It all started when I neared 50. I decided that, to mark the occasion, I would either: learn to play a musical instrument, learn to sing or become an artist. I chose the latter and enrolled on an A-level art course. [I did later buy a ukulele and a blues harmonica, but that is another story] I think I must have been mad as I hadn't scrawled on paper since childhood. That said, I did pass my A-level with my dissertation being on Georgia O'Keefe . . . My submitted painting [in my own humble opinion] is so awful, I include it at the end of this post, rather than at the beginning.

Anyway, here is quick sketch of my cat Sylvie.

and another turned monochrome by Photoshop

with the original below

What follows is one of those ureka moments for me. I used a non-waterproof drawing pen and then washing over it with water using a brush. I quite like the effect.

Finally, a shot of my submitted work for my A-level course. It was based on a burned out car that is overgrown at the side of a footpath near my home.

I promise to find some storyboard pieces/sketches from my Children's Book Illustration course and publish them in the not too distant future - unless, of course, there are too many howls of 'Stop - do not show us any more! So please be kind, I hurt easily . . .

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Paintbox Abstract

While cataloguing images today, I found this shot of a fellow student's paintbox that I captured during a children's book illustration course in Bath. Very colourful, but I found that most of the professional graphic illustrators attending the course had similar looking paintboxes. I have always cleaned my mixing trays after use. Perhaps I was doing something wrong?

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Not the Best Looking in the Land?

There is something about this family group that makes me uneasy. I was first reminded of an old black and white sitcom - The Munsters, but then thought there was no comedy in this scene. The father has an extraordinary expression on his face and the heads of the boy and girl stood to his left seem over large, as do their bodies which seem out of proportion. The child on the left of the photograph seems relatively normal in comparison. What do you make of it?

Molesworth Pet Cemetery

It has been quite a while since I posted a photograph of the headstones in the Molesworth Pet Cemetery in Huntingdon. I found another this afternoon and was struck by the statue of a small dog at the top of a column. Then I looked at the angel with raised arm on the left of a nearer grave. On the opposite side of the cross, I can just make out another small dog statue, but cannot make out its name. I have had another look and almost thought I can see two dog heads - siamese twins? There is, however, only one pair of front paws dangling over the front of the name plaque. What do you make of it?

Jack Russell Time 2

I went to a bric-a-brac fair yesterday and looked through the Dog section of a postcard dealer's stock. Most were Jack Russells with multiple puppies, but there were some others. I share them here.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Jack Russell Time

I don't know what it is about Jack Russells, but whenever I pick up an old photograph of someone and their dog, it seems to include a Jack Russell terrier. Here are two I found today. It is nice to think that the owners cared enough to take their beloved pet to the photographer's studio. What, by the way, is your favourite breed?