Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Orange Tulip painting

This is my sixth flower painting and is of an almost neon-bright orange tulip - the light is coming from behind the tulip rather than from one side or the other, which is why the colour is so zingy and in your face!

Don't forget you can click on all the pictures to make them bigger.

I started this one on Tuesday 30 April and finished it on Sunday morning 5 May,  less than a week from start to finish.  As always, I printed out the original picture onto A4 paper, then masked off my A4 acrylic paper with masking tape to the size I wanted:


The printout had slightly bluer colours than the one on my computer screen which I preferred, so I decided to make my painting closer to the computer screen one than the printed one, which meant it would be more purple than blue.

I used a very diluted acrylic wash to start covering the white paper with a bluey-green in the top third, and purple in the bottom two-thirds:


I then drew out the shape of the flower in pencil:


And painted it white so I could see where it would go:


Then I started working on the background, adding lighter and darker shades of green, blue, purple, violet, yellow and black:



Then when I was happy with the background - which always takes the longest time to do in these kinds of paintings - I repainted the flower white again:


And painted in the stem in a light mint green with white edges, then the flowers of the tulip in shades of apricot, orange, yellow, red and pink:


And this is the final, finished version, after removing the masking tape, touching up any places where the paint got under the tape, and signing it.  I'm very, very pleased with it!


Spring finally springs...

Isn't this weather absolutely bloody marvellous?  You know it can't last, don't you?  I mean, this is Britain we're talking about here.  This'll probably be it now - it'll start raining tomorrow and that'll take us through until the clocks go back.

But it's jolly bloody lovely while it's here.  And how are you all, my lovelies?  I'm doing exceedingly well, actually.  The swifts have arrived for the summer, which always perks me up, and that, combined with the sunshine, means I'm feeling remarkably cheery!

We had a nice family get-together this past Sunday - it was a sort of joint birthday beano to celebrate my 50th that was on 23 April, and my mother's 75th which is today (Happy birthday, mum!!)  Just a small gathering of immediate family with lots of lovely food, and it's always a great joy to me to see my brother and his family, and see how his kids are growing up.  We decided to walk off the humungous lunch by taking the kids to the nearby playground, which wasn't there when Chris (my brother) and I were growing up.  We just had to make do with the field (the 'rec', as we called it), the nearby swimming pool and the very tiny old-fashioned playground nearby that just had swings, a wooden slide (yes, wooden!) and a lethal Witches Hat thing that looked like this but which has now been banned due to health & safety concerns:

But a great deal of money has been spent on it now and it's brilliant.  All that was missing was an outdoor cafe where parents could sit and have a coffee while keeping an eye on their kids.

Even we had a go - this rather dark picture is my brother having climbed to the top of this dodecahedron-shaped climbing wall, being photographed by his eldest daughter:


And today I decided to pop back over to my mother's to take her some flowers for her birthday and also to pick up my brand new shiny incinerator so I can start burning things again (bwahahaha!!), and I got home to notification that my very own Fuggler has been "constructed, restrained and sent on its way" to me!!  You remember I told you about Fugglers?  Back in this post - they're psychotic-looking handmade stuffed 'things', often carrying flick knives or small axes and always sporting alarmingly realistic human teeth, and I think they're genius (wish I'd thought of them...)

What else?  Oh yeah, TLH and I have been doing the 5:2 Fast diet since mid March - this is the diet where you eat normally (more or less) for 5 days a week, then on 2 days you restrict your calorie intake to about a quarter of what you would normally eat, so 500 cals for women, 600 for men.  I've lost about 8lbs and TLH has lost at least 14lbs and more like 20lbs.  It's a very easy diet to do and because you're only restricting your calories for two days a week, it's not much of a hardship because you can still eat what you normally would on the other 5 days.  So we still have curries and fish and chips and bottles of wine and chocolate, just not on 2 days of the week!  The weight comes off slowly (unless you're TLH, that is) at the rate of about 1lb a week and you will fluctuate but the other health benefits you gain from this are almost more important than losing the weight.  You can, of course, do more fasting days per week if you want to lose weight more quickly, but that might be counterproductive in that you'll feel more restricted and 'punished' (if you know what I mean).  You can also watch what you eat a bit more on the days you're not fasting (which is sort of what we've done) and also increase your exercise (which is what TLH has done - he's run a total of 19 miles over the last 3 days!)  Today is one of my fast days (the other is Thursday) and so far all I've had is a boiled egg and a single slice of unbuttered Ryvita with a cup of tea with skimmed milk for breakfast; a cup of low calorie instant hot chocolate over at my mother's (who is also doing the diet and has lost over 10lbs)); and a small pickled gerkhin at about lunchtime.  It's now 2.35pm and I'm feeling a little peckish so will probably have a cup of tea when I've finished this and go and find something else to do.  Dinner tonight will be chicken breasts stuffed with very low fat creme fraiche with lots and lots of herbs (tarragon, chives and mint) which have been baked on a bed of leeks and cabbage.  No fat, no carbs, very low calorie and extremely tasty.  Tomorrow I will be eating as normal.  Then Thursday will start will a breakfast of half a tub of very low fat cottage cheese with 100gm of raspberries - yum!

The downside is that you do have to be very conscientious about calorie counting, and therefore weighing food, on the two fasting days but a set of electronic kitchen scales helps together with the MyFitnessPal smartphone app.  We've both been very pleased with the results so far - TLH is going to need some new trousers before long because the ones he's got are just not staying up anymore!

And I've finished yet another flower painting, one I'm really very pleased with, but I'll do a separate post about that.

So I hope everything's copacetic in your corner of the planet as well!!