Monthly Archives: April 2012

….and other loves

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It’s common knowledge that I hate phones. Ours is referred to as “that bloody phone” most times when it rings. Six months ago my husband beat his chest and told me that, if I was going to be buying a dog and walking it, I had to have a mobile phone because if I fell down and hurt myself or came across someone a bit suspect while off the beaten track, I’d have no way to call for help.

Yes Dear.

He told me that he was going to buy me the new iphone.

Yes Dear.

Well, I got the dog and went for walks and, for the past six months, have managed to put him off buying me a phone by claiming things like: “I won’t be able to read the screen without my glasses” and “They’re too complicated for me to work out how to use one” and “I’ll never remember to take it with me” and, my favourite, “It’s too much money to spend on something I’ll probably never use”.

Then, one day, I found myself walking the dog off the beaten track and I thought: “Hmmm…..If I fall down and hurt myself or come across someone a bit suspect, I’ll have no way to call for help.”

The next morning I bought myself a mobile phone. (Clairey, Clairey, quite contrary). It cost me £16.49 from Argos. How cool is that. For under £20.00 I can buy something that allows me to ring people while I’m walking the dog and invite them to meet me in town for coffee. Okay, that’s not really what it was meant for but, so far, that’s the only use I’ve found for it. It’s purple (because my daughter helped choose it) and it doesn’t need a case because it’s a flip phone and it has buttons, good old fashioned buttons. Yes, it’s a bit plastic and looks as if it came out of a Christmas cracker but I love my little purple phone.

Today’s painting:

“Cycling Down Allen Street” By Claire Shotter. For sale @ http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180871646808?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

 

 

Mr. Knowitall

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As the last few paintings have taken me a long time to finish, I decided to do a less detailed piece this time.

My husband glanced at my easel during the initial drawing and said: “I thought you’d decided to do a less detailed piece this time.”

His parting shot as he exited the studio, knowing smile turning up the corners of his mouth, was: “That’s going to take an age to paint.”

I hate it when he’s right.

“Chessington Street” By Claire Shotter. For sale @ http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180868446491?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

 

Claire and Doodle do Ripon

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A couple of days after I started this painting I went past The Bollywood Indian restaurant and the sign was being taken down. My husband reckons I’ve given the business the kiss of death by including it in my picture. I put it in because Doodle and I pass it almost every day while we’re out for a walk (the boob challenged woman with the sticky-out bum outside of it is me).The same goes for everything else in the painting except the people. These were all the places we visited or passed on just one walk. Spa Gardens is our usual destination. The Sun Parlour there has tables and chairs outside where I can get a coffee and Doodle can get a top up before the walk home from the numerous water bowls provided by the cafe. For the kids, and this has been going on since my own kids were little, there are climbing trees and a miniature golf course. For the older generation there’s a bowling green and, although the area itself is just a small patch of land sandwiched between the Spa Hotel and the hospital, there are several paths cutting through flower beds and borders and manicured lawns all beautifully kept by the council gardners. In the middle there’s even an ornate bandstand. It’s peaceful, child friendly and just a pleasant place to be.

“The Streets Of Ripon” featuring Doodle and Me. Up for auction @ http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180865298760?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

My very first painting

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As promised, I hunted through my old portfolios for the very first painting I ever did. I’ve no idea what the painting I copied was called or who the artist was but, no doubt, someone out there has a copy of the original hanging on their wall. 18 years! Can’t believe it’s been that long since I painted this. Looking at it now, I can still remember which house we were living in at the time, where I was sitting and what music I was listening to while I painted (Metallica’s album “Load”).

A nose by any other name…

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It’s been one of those days. My Cockatiel, Bird, who has never learned one word in 12 years, has finally managed to mimic the sound of something; the dog’s rubber squeaky toys. Oh joy! Not a morning person, really, really not a morning person, being woken up early by Bird performing her new found talent did not start my day on the best of footings. Four more hours of this very loud, unrelenting squeaky toy racket did nothing to improve my mood. I decided to carry her cage, tall and cylindrical, up to the studio to let her fly about for the rest of the day. Somehow, probably because I couldn’t think straight from the nerve shredding noise, I misjudged the ceiling height by the staircase, knocked the top of the cage on it, which then sprang back in my face and broke my nose. I swear I saw her smirk.

At least I got a painting finished.

“Stonebridge Street” featuring “Doodle”. By Claire Shotter. For sale @  http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180861663012

Prince Street

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Been thinking back to when I taught myself to paint 18 years ago. I’d just had a baby so any spare cash went on nappies and other infant related stuff. All I had to start with was a tiny little palette with about ten colours in it and the brush that came with it which was about 3 inches long. I recommend limited equipment to anyone who’s teaching themselves. At the time I didn’t appreciate it but it forced me to learn to mix colours (didn’t even have a black in my palette) and to use that little brush to make every single stroke from fat lines to fine detail. To learn the method, I copied paintings that I had hanging in the house, stroke for stroke, colour for colour, and it could take weeks just to finish one painting. By the end of that year though I’d have made a pretty good art forger! Tomorrow, when there’s someone around to save me from spiders, I’ll dig out all my old portfolios and see if I can find that very first painting.

Believe it or not, my toughest challenge over the years was teaching myself to paint in a naive style. My brain kept telling me to straighten things up and put them in perspective. Making things look unreal, for me anyway, was a lot harder than making them look real. Today’s painting, “Prince Street” is my first crowd scene. When I started it, as I mentioned in my previous blog, it didn’t look naive, possibly because I was (loosely) working from a photo. Once I put the photo away and let my imagination fill in the blanks, it began to take on the appearance of my usual style.

“Prince Street” By Claire Shotter. Up for auction @ http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180861046453?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Doodle and my son Ben on the windowsill of my studio. Neither, I’m afraid, are up for auction.

The devil’s in the details

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My studio had got in such a pickle that I called in reinforcements in the form of my lovely daughter, Harry (short for Harriet). Hello Harry. Took her over two hours to transform it from a Claire-ed room back into a studio. The pile of empty crisp packets alone was a major job. (It’s true; I have a crisp dependency). Thank you Harry.

As I’ve said before, I normally price my 12″ X 9″ paintings at a starting price of £10.00. My latest offering is priced at £15.00 instead because it took a lot longer. Feels like a month or so but it’s probably only been 3 or 4 days.

Once again I’ve been inspired by photographs taken by http://barbaraelka.com/2012/04/07/empire-dreaming/ . I adore her city crowd scenes and, as I’m in a scribbly mood, it seemed the right time to attempt my own crowd scene. So far it’s looking a bit “grown up” and not the naive style that I prefer. Only time will make the difference between it turning into a painting or a disaster. Looking forward to the challenge.