From a peaceful start to the year, steadily painting, enjoying some new subjects, life has become full on hectic now.
The new annual catalogue which I send out to everyone on my mailing list (email me your postal address if you'd like me to send you one) is at the design stage now, but I have not completed or even started all the new paintings which I hope to show!
To ensure we have some nice photos, giving you a glimpse of what goes on here, we get Nicky Rogerson, photographer, to come along and snap away for a day. Unfortunately the weather was far from perfect, and there was not a leaf on a tree yet..still, we got some lovely shots, I hope you'll like them, along with the new work, of course.
I took a trip to the cairngorm reindeer centre last week, to handle,watch,draw and photograph them - I think I will be painting them very soon, and also squeezed in an afternoon skiing on the mountain, in spring sunshine. What a shock to wake up to a blizzard on tuesday, and a nasty drive home too.
Lambing is in full swing next door. I say next door. Low Leam farm is enormous. They have thousands of breeding ewes, some pure swaledale, many mules, and a few texels.I have helped out at the busiest stage for the past few years. This year, there are loads of triplets, and the pet lamb shed is a sea of cute little orphans, all sucking from an automated milking machine until the (unlikely) opportunity of them being set on to a new mother.
Yesterday we managed this trick, using the 'rubbing in' tecnique. Basically, we caught a ewe just about to lamb a single. Fetched a small orphan, as the lamb emerged, all the mucous, blood, waters etc were slopped onto the orphan lamb and rubbed into its skin, it was then laid under the new lamb (so it could not escape). The ewe thought she had given birth to twins, and enthusiastically licked and 'mothered' them both.
Despite bathing, handwashing etc, I cannot remove the whiff of sheep.
Now to return to a mallard drake painting which is at a critical stage!