Pet Portraits in aid of the Cinnamon Trust

A few weeks ago I was introduced to the wonderful work of The Cinnamon Trust- the only specialist national charity for people in their last years and their much loved, much needed companion animals.

Volunteers undertake a multitude of pet related tasks; exercising, bathing, cleaning out cages, taking the pet to the vet, fostering while the owner is in hospital or care - basically anything that will keep the pet and owner together for longer, thus extending the lives, happiness and well-being of both owners and pets.

On the sad occasion that an owner dies, the Cinnamon trust will then rehome the pet, where possible matching up with a new owner who's companion pet has died - allowing an animal loving person who is approaching the end of their life (and therefore cannot commit to a new pet) to still have an animal companion to ease their days. They also have a centre where some pets can go to live out the rest of their lives in peace and comfort.

Isn't that a fabulous cause? I was so blown away by this charity that I immediately decided to donate 20% of the list price of all future pet portraits to The Cinnamon trust. And in the Autumn I intend to donate my time too.

The Cinnamon Trust

A sample of my most popular miniature pet portraits

A recent colour portrait 2.5 x 3.5 inches

Pets come in all shapes and sizes!

How I package my small paintings

I'm frequently asked how I package my mini paintings, and am just as frequently complimented on how well packaged my art is. Here's how I do it...

The first layer of protection for my mini paintings is a clear cellophane collectors sleeve. I haven't shown the sleeve in the photo as the reflections play havoc with my camera settings.

Every miniature painting is presented with a Certificate of Authenticity. The certificate is made from card and acts as the second layer of protection.

The third level of protection is a super cute hand-made envelope, made from recycled materials. I use any good quality paper - magazine covers, top quality catalogues (the M&S food catalogue is a good one although it can make one feel a little peckish).

The fourth layer of protection is tissue paper. It only has to cover one side of the envelope with a little to wrap around the edges.

The fifth layer of protection is a piece of card. Shoe box card is the perfect thickness as this keeps the whole depth of the final package under 5mm, the size of an ordinary first class envelope, whilst being tough enough to offer a good level of protection. I always use a guillotine to cut my card - just because it is recycled doesn't mean that it can't look professional. The card needs to be just a little bigger than the tissue wrapped envelope so that the corners will be well protected. I tape the package to the middle of the card.

If I'm sending a few mini paintings in the one package I cut a larger piece of card and tape them so that they do not overlap, keeping the package within the standard first class envelope size.

As a courtesy to my customers I always include a hand written thank you note with the essential care instructions and a little snippet about the piece. Full care instructions are detailed within the Certificate of Authenticity.

The sixth layer of protection is the envelope itself. 

We were due some seriously wet weather when I posted this next one so I put it in a waterproof envelope. Sadly when I got to the post office the excess plastic that I had wrapped double around the package took it over the 5mm and I had to pay extra postage for a few more stamps. I'm glad I found that out before it went into the postal system - my policy of always getting my packages checked at the post office counter paid off this time. No prizes for spotting that I have manipulated the addresses in photoshop!

And that's it! Efficient, mostly recycled and most importantly, safe packaging for my mini artwork.

Larger pieces are packaged in lots of thick card...but that's a post for another day.

A watercolour postcard home

Lucky lucky me - I recently got a freebie set of watercolour postcards from Cass Art in Liverpool. When we took our week's vacation in Wales this last week, I knew that I would have lots of spare time as my daughter and her friend had tonnes of revision to do for their forthcoming A levels. What better way to spend it than painting?!

If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen that I regularly walk my friend's Fox Red Labrador (who has the most impossibly short and cutest legs that I have ever seen on a lab) so the first postcard home was addressed to Rory. We were staying on the coast in Wales, and Rory is a HUGE fan of water....

Next on the list was my wonderful Dad. He used to breed budgies when he was a lad, and I now own two beautiful budgies that we are hoping will breed, so it made perfect sense to me to paint my budgies at the seaside for him

I was wondering what to paint next when a seagull flew by. My in-laws live by the sea and love bird watching, so this was for them...

My very dear friend has an elderly black labrador who's beach visiting days are sadly over, he can't walk very far at all these days

What next? We met a very friendly bunch of sheep (yes, I know that they are really a flock, but such friendly animals deserve a friendlier collective noun) so my Aunt got this one

Now feeling in a VERY silly mood, my other aunt loves orchids and is very good at persuading them to flower year after year

And that's my postcard list covered :D

I still had time to spare, so on my facebook page I asked what else I should take to the beach...this suggestion pinged right back to me!

Do you think this counts as proof of posting? Hehehee

And here are all my paintings from our short stay. What fun!

Sketch Diary April 2015

Oh dear me a whole month has passed without me writing any blog posts! If you've missed me you can connect with me on facebook, twitter or instagram, I'm around and chatting most days on those platforms :)

Here's a brief glimpse into my life during April

week 14

week 15

week 16

week 17

week 18

Sketch diary March 2015

Here are my sketch diary entries for March 2015.

week 10

week 11

week 12

week 13
You can see February's entries here and if you'd like to keep up with me on a weekly basis you can follow my diary on facebook here

Sketch Diary February 2015

Boy I'm late showing you February's sketch diary entries, it'll almost be time for the March sketches! Still, better late than never....

Week Six

Week Seven

Week Eight

Week Nine

You can see January's entries here

Turner's Fighting Temeraire in Miniature

Do you subscribe to the Dolls House and Miniature Scene Magazine? 

I have a 4 page article in the latest edition that shows you how to recreate JMW Turner's Fighting Temeraire. Here's an extract from page 2:

This was not an easy painting to do! I painted it three times in preparation for this article, the first one was the wrong colour (too much red)...

The second one's sky was too busy and dominant (although I have to say, this one is my favourite)

And the third one came out truer to the original.

If you have a go I'd be very interested to see your results, if you post them on my facebook page I'll share them with my followers!