Raining Cats and Dogs
It’s a very rainy monday here, so the perfect opportunity for me to write a little blog. With the nights drawing in, the weather’s shift to the soggy and the return of Downton Abbey (every cloud has a Crawley lining, remember), I think we can safely say that winter is on its way. Which I actually don’t mind at all. Autumn has always been my favourite time of year; the colours are magical and I love the smell of bonfires crackling away. Being an October baby I used to get that giddy excitement leading up to my birthday, but I can safely say I’m over that now. There’s so much to look forward to at this time of year: Halloween, Bonfire Night, dog walks on frosty mornings, pub dinners, the return of red cups and Pumpkin Lattes at Starbucks, and the C-word looming a couple of months away (Christmas, before you report me).
Maggie hates walking in the rain, and I don’t usually mind it except my Dubarries are currently at the boot hospital so I’m a bit short on waterproof footwear. These beauties were very kindly sent by Hunter after the Olympics and whilst I’m pretty sure they’d look great on Lady Gaga at Glastonbury they will not be featuring on Wimbledon Common anytime soon.
Gold is not the new green
I digress, as usual. Bad weather also makes me paint more, as I love working in a cosy office as the rain hammers down outside. (A very geeky aside- I’ve just ordered a daylight lamp that clips onto my easel which should make painting in bad light much easier. I’m also hoping I get a tan from it…?) I’ve just finished a new portrait, of Eva who sadly passed away earlier this year after a battle with skin cancer:
It’s always very emotional painting an animal who is no longer with us, but fortunately her owners had some lovely high quality photographs which made it easy for me to work from, and I was able to get a real sense of her personality before I started the painting. She was apparently a very timid girl so I think the quiet grey background is appropriate, and it compliments the colours of her coat nicely. I’ve painted a few pieces recently with rather muted, earthy backgrounds and I think they are a nice way of really emphasising the subject matter.
Random interjection- I am also loving ‘earthy’ nail varnishes. Somebody emailed me asking what colour I was wearing in the picture I posted with the frozen Cosmo. It’s Nails Inc. ‘Cadogan Square’ if you’re still interested… and now I think I may have lost all of my male my readers.
Back to cats. I’ll be brutally honest, I’ve never been hugely fond of felines. And I blame these two:
"We are Siameeeeese if you pleeeeeease"... Brrrr
That’s right. I was absolutely, bed-wettingly terrified of the Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp as a child. I had recurring nightmares about them for YEARS, and even now, the creepy song they sing still gives me the heebie jeebies. My irrational fear was somehow appeased when a beloved Grandma in South Africa acquired a Siamese, and I realised how exquisite they are in real life. But still, I’ve never been quite able to understand the species- I don’t know why they can’t sit on my lap without using my thighs for target practice with their claws, for example. I also find it unnerving how intelligent they are. However, whilst I was painting Eva I had the opportunity to really study her face and decided that they actually aren’t scary at all. I may even have a cat one day, but unfortunately that can’t be during Maggie and Rusty’s lifetime. They are tormented on a daily basis by our neighbours’ cat, who likes to peer in the window of my office whilst I’m painting:
I see you.
Maggie has made herself blurry in this photograph just so you can understand how angry she gets:
I'm Maggie and I'm REALLY ANGRY
Kudos to the cat, though- the more wound up the dogs get, the closer to the window it creeps. I recently caught it sitting on one of the cars on the driveway, swishing its tail as it cleaned itself, metaphorically flicking me the v-sign. I’m sure cat owners know exactly what I’m talking about. They certainly have bags of attitude, and I know this one could have my two for breakfast if it wanted. Although I can’t help imagining that it only eats seared tuna steaks on a bed of steamed vegetables, served on a silver platter by a waiter in a tailcoat.
Before my lowly canines get too insecure, here are some pictures of them that definitely don’t have any cats in:
We visited Devil’s Punchbowl in Surrey at the weekend before the rain came. It’s a lovely place where you can walk for hours and the views are glorious. However I can’t let Maggie off the lead all the time there as she likes to pull a Houdini and disappear into the woods, leaving me red-faced and looking like a total weirdo as I canon around bellowing after her.
One place she loves to go off-lead is on Epsom Downs, and we had a great walk with our friends there last week:
Apologies if you’ve already seen that photograph on Maggie’s twitter. Speaking of which, she would like you all to know she now has over 15,000 followers (wow! thank you), and asks if there are any cats out there with such a large fanbase…? Consider that the gauntlet officially thrown down.