Monday, October 30, 2006

Website award

I am very pleased with myself today. My website has gained it's first award. It is a Pet Portraits web award, awarded by Melanie Phillips of They are only for pet, art and craft websites and each website is visited personally by Melanie for at least 10 minutes and she checks for navigation, speed of pages loading, aesthetics, use of pop ups and meta tags plus many other things.

Melanie's Pet Portraits web awards have their own website here at, with each website listed with a link and a short description. Mine is on page 10 if you want to have a look, but here is what Melanie said about my site:
"Laura's website is very professional, i have visited Laura's site many times and she keeps her site fresh looking and updates it regularly so there's always something new to see. I'd recommend anyone to bookmark this site! ".
Obviously i'm really pleased about those comments, my award is on my homepage for everyone to see.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Boxer added to Pet Portraits Gallery

I have done a little bit of updating today and added the Boxer dog to the Pet Portraits Gallery. I have also been doing a little bit of work on my latest commission, which is turning out to be quite different for me than usual. Originally the customer sent me three photographs, two of which she really liked, so I drew two pencil sketches for her to decide. She has now chosen which pose, and let me decide whether to do a graphite or coloured pencil portrait. I have completed the first stage today in coloured pencil, and sent it to her, fingers crossed she likes it! Here are the two sketches I did, she decided to go with the head Pet Portrait as that was the pose that best described her dog's character.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Basset ACEO #3

Here is my 3rd ACEO, a Basset Hound puppy. I couldn't resist the cute reference, it was a pleasure to draw. I'm actually really pleased with the way it came out. It will be for sale on ebay shortly. Here it is:

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Scottish weather

When I moved up to Scotland, lots of people said, 'what do you want to live there for, it always rains'. Well it doesn't always, the first two weeks we were here were really nice, but it has made up for it today and yesterday!! We currently have a storm hitting us with 40 - 50mph winds and driving rain. Poor Caithness has had houses flooded, landslides, loads of fields flooded and roads closed, as has the rest of the northern Highlands.

I am a little bit nervous at the moment, I don't like wind at the best of times - but today the glass in the windows in the conservatory are flexing and the rain is blowing in though a gap between the wood and the window. Everything is creaking and rattling - it's not nice.

The amount of water was astounding this morning. In the next village to us the road was closed because the water was running out the fields down a little road, straight across it and into someones house. We drove up the hill, and there was water flooding out the fields for about a mile up it! It's just pouring out of fields and already full ditches, running across the roads like fords, and back into the fields the other side. I've never seen anything like it!

Well I took some pictures, they don't show the full scale, but they give you an idea.

This is Wick River in full flow.

This is Wick River bursting it's banks at high tide and flooding the park. You can see a picnic bench surrounded by water. The park is right next to Somerfield (below) which had the car park, and I think the store, flooded. The river wall is just beyond where the blue car is parked in the car park pic below.

These two are of a smaller river that feeds into Wick River near where we live. As you can see this is flooding the fields really badly.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pets at Home

I got a job today!! What?? I hear you cry - I thought you did Pet Portraits? Well, I do, but at the moment, as I am just starting out really I also need a part time job to pay the mortgage. So, as from today I am employed at the new Wick branch of the pet super store Pets at Home. It's opening on the 19th November and I have several training days and a weekend in Inverness to learn about the products and the pets in store. Today I have been reading about parasites - eurgh! worms, just gross! I will be working from 7 - 11 Monday to Friday which is fantastic, and means I'll be one of them cleaning out the animals. And I'll also have lots of time for drawing still, so I am really pleased.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Greetings cards now available

I have spent the last two days working on a small range of Greetings cards, from my own original artwork. I have only used images that aren't commissions so there are 5 so far in the range:

Boxer Dog
Yellow Labrador Retriever
Tabby Cat
Beagle Dog
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

They are printed on Epson Heavyweight Matte Photo Paper and come in a cellophane wrapper with a white envelope.

They are priced very reasonably at £1.50 including UK postage and Packing. If anybody is interested please contact me.

By the end of the week I will have the pages set up on the website so customers can order and pay securely online.

Here is a picture of what they look like:

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Boxer Pet Portrait finished

Hooray, I have finished the Boxer drawing today. I found a second reference and added the body, so now it looks like a dog, not just a head!! That's the third one in the prints and gifts range, so I can start another one now. I am trying to work on only two at a time, otherwise I have about twenty pieces on the go all at once. As it is I have the Golden Retriever to finish, my 'portfolio' Bengal and the Newfoundland sample I started all part finished. I have also sold my sleeping Basset Hound on ebay, so i'm pretty encouraged by that so have some ideas for some new ACEO's. Wow, simply not enough time in the day! Anyway, here is the completed Boxer portrait.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pet Portraits blog change

As some of you may have noticed the blog has changed a little bit. I have changed the template so the white background blends a bit better with the rest of the website - when I have time i will sit down and study the template a bit and amend it to look more in keeping. I have also removed the about me bit and instead put some links to pages on my website. This will make it easier for prospective customers to find information if they're interested in a portrait, and hopefully will also help the website page rank with the pages being linked to from the frequently changing blog - I like the theory anyway, in practice who knows!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Boxer head finished

I finished the Boxer dog's head today. It's looks a little odd at the moment as it is just a disembodied head floating on a sheet of paper!! The position on the reference photograph wasn't to my liking so i'm going to have to modify the Pet Portrait with a different body to the original photo. I don't normally do this, especially for commissions, but as this is a drawing for the prints range I need to have a standard pose. Here is his head:

I have also started today one of my 'portfolio' pieces. It is a silver spotted Bengal cat, from a reference photo posted on the Pet Portraits and Wildlife Art forum. I couldn't resist the cute pose, so here is the outline so far:

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Boxer dog work in progress #2

Well now it is the end of the day and i've done some more of the Boxer dog. I have amended the pictures in the work in progress on the website, to show the latest stage, but still leave room for one more before the final one. I like to try and make it quite a gradual progress. I may get him finished tomorrow. Here is the picture at the moment.

My customers came today to look at my drawings, which was a bit nerve - wracking, felt like a job interveiw, but they were happy with what they saw and impressed with my Newfoundland drawing, so now I will have two to draw when I have gone to take the dog's photographs. This won't be for another week or so, as they are going away next week, but i'm looking forward to it. I really like big dogs, can't wait to meet two Newfies.

To expand my range of 'portfolio' drawings I put some pictures on my 'to do' list that are of particularly nice reference photographs or cute subjects, so I will have something to show in the future. I will try and get one started tomorrow, I have two cat drawings on the list, as I need practice with cats and some examples on the website to show I can draw other pets as well as dogs.

Boxer work in progress

I am working on my Boxer Pet Portrait at the moment. I started on his ear yesterday and have updated the Pet Portraits work in progress on my website with the latest picture. Here it is:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pet Portraits blog feed

Hooray, my feed is working again. You can now subscribe to my Pet Portraits blog feed and read my blog not a load of rubbish. This is all thanks to Paul at PM studios who reset my site feed settings.

Today, I have been working on a new portrait of a beautiful Newfoundland. I have a potential client visiting me to look at my artwork 'in the flesh' as it were, to decide whether they would like me to draw their two Newfoundlands, so I thought i would start one to show them what I can do. It probably won't be finished in time, but at least they will be able to see how much work goes into my drawings. Here it is so far:

Monday, October 16, 2006

Basset Hound #2

I have spent the afternoon completing my second ACEO - not doing very well with the 'to do' list coz these weren't on it!! Never mind. This one was harder to do because it was a full body I couldn't get as much detail as i'd like, but i'm still pretty pleased with it. It's now for sale on ebay with the other one, so fingers crossed.

No blog feed

Hello, I am feeling cross today. In the 24 hours between moving my blog from my by address to my new address, someone took over my old address and filled it with rubbish. This isn't really a problem, except when the blog, on the new address, is read by a feed reader it shows all the rubbish added to my old blog, and not my new blog, which is annoying - both that people can't read my blog feed if they want to, and someone else is gaining off my hard work updating my blog. So, for the time being I have removed the 'subscribe to my feed' icon, until I can work out how to sort it out, if it can. Anyone with any ideas, let me know!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

basset hound ACEO

Well here is something new for me, an ACEO. ACEO stands for Art Card Editions and Originals and are 2.5" x 3.5" pieces of artwork, designed to be collected. They can either be originals or reproductions. This one is a Basset Hound sleeping, which I have called 'Basset dreams', in coloured pencil. I have several other nice reference photographs of Bassets, so am going to do a little Basset Hound series. Here it is:

Caithness Links

I've already told you about my 'to do' list. One of the items was to set up a new links page to showcase local Caithness websites. I have now done this, and have included about 9 arts, crafts and pet sites that I have found. It is linked to directly from my two pages about Wick & Caithness and also from the links page with the other pages. Have a look at the 'Caithness Links page.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Boxer portrait work in progress

The Boxer is the other drawing I am working on at the moment for the gifts range. Ihave already started a Boxer drawing, but after looking at other photographs I have found a more suitable reference photograph. Here are the two work in progress images I have dones so far, and I have updated the Pet Portraits work in progress page on the website to showcase this Pet Portrait.

Golden Retriever work in progress

I have gone back to the Golden Retriever today, if I get time I would like to get it finished tomorrow. Here is the latest scan:

Lauras Pet Portraits to do list

As I said earlier, I have written myself a 'to do' list. Amongst the many items on it is to finish the drawings for the gifts range i'm doing. The dogs I am going to include are:

Labrador Retriever (completed)
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (completed)
English Springer Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel
German Shepherd Dog
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Golden Retriever (work in progress)
Boxer (work in progress)
West Highland White Terrier
Border Terrier

I have now got all the reference photographs ready and am working on two at the moment. More items on the list to be discussed soon.

Blog on my own

Hooray, i'm feeling clever today. I have managed to publish my blog on my own web server now, so hopefully the frequent updates will bode well for the website as the blog is now part of it.

I wrote a list yesterday of things to do, which is 1 1/2 pages of A4, wow, when will I find the time?? but I have done one of them, which was put the blog on my website. I like to write lists, it makes things seem less frantic, as when I write them down I'm not thinking about all of them at the same time, I can just concentrate on one thing at a time.

I have also decided that I don't think I will ever understand Google page ranks. My last post had two comments left on it, so I replied to the comments and the page they're on has a PR of 4!, but the blog itself and the individual 'page' with that post on have a PR of 0. I guess the answer is leave a link when I reply to my comments!

I have lots to talk about today, but I will post some more after cooking my tea.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dog gifts, keyrings, magnets & mousemats

As you know I have been working lately on a number of drawings to use on gifts. Today I have ordered blank keyrings, square fridge magnets and a mousemat as a sample that has an insert to put a picture into. I'm not sure what the mousemat will look like, hence why i've only ordered one! They should arrive in about a week, by which time I should have done some more drawings. As soon as they do i'll take some piccies so you can see what they look like.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wick, Northern Scotland photographs

As you know I have recently moved to Milton, which is near Wick. Now all the boxes are unpacked and i've showed you some pet portraits I thought i'd share some photographs of Wick, which is about half a mile from Milton where I live.

These two pictures are both of Wick Harbour, which was originally built by the British Fisheries Scoiety during the Herring Fishing boom.

This photograph is of an outdoor pool in Wick, which i've not discovered yet if it's used or not.

These two images show the Wick River which runs straight through the cenre of Wick.

Both of these pictures are taken from my house. The top one is the view from the side of the house, looking up Stemster Hill, and the bottom one is looking behind the house towards Wick.

I hope you enjoyed these photographs, no doubt I will have more to share soon.

Monday, October 09, 2006

First Scottish Pet Portrait!

Hooray, I'm back online!! I have been really busy but have finally emptied my last box and found a bit of time for some Pet Portraits and some website updates. Here's my latest finished portrait, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

I have also been updating the website. I have added my two latest pet portraits, the Labrador Retreiver and the Cavalier to the Pet Portraits Gallery with their own individual pages, and I have updated the Pet Portraits Work in Progress with the step by step images from the work on the pic above.