The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The simple life (WIP)...


I am having SO much fun with the new bear! I really wish that I hadn't wasted so much time fighting with the last when I should have just moved on. I'd almost forgotten the joy of painting!

Anyway, here is the under-painting which I have nearly completed. One more layer to get all of my tonal values should do it  and then I can start adding some colour!
And once the lightest areas are highlighted in the final stages, it should really spring to life :0)


© Sandra Busby

Note the date, which I have changed to 1938. This is because the bear himself dates back to around that period. But - Since taking this photograph I have changed it back to 1998!
This is because a friend of mine made a very good point - My style with the bears is old fashioned but with a modern twist - so why change the date at all? It made perfect sense as soon as I read her comment!
So, 1998 it is!

Anyway, going back to older times, some recent events have taken me right back to an era way before my own...

Last week, Paul returned home from a days work with a large, battered cardboard box tucked under his arm.
I was intrigued to learn what was inside the box and as he pulled off his rain soaked jacket and kicked of his big muddy boots, he explained that for one of the jobs he had done that day, instead of being paid with money for his efforts, the customer had paid him with sausages and bacon!!!
Paul seemed very happy with this exchange and - well, who was I to argue with that big, smiley carnivorous face as he proudly plonked what I am sure was an entire farmyard on the kitchen table?

Interestingly we had made a similar exchange of our own the previous weekend, when on Paul's return from a days fly-fishing, we had visited our local Pub and paid for our drinks with the trout he had caught!
Oh how simple life could be! If only we could pay our mortgages like that!

This is something that could only happen in the countryside. I'm sure it simply wouldn't happen in the cities.
Our local pub that took the fish is more than 600 years old and is the heart of where we live.
A while ago we were there with some family who were visiting from London. They were totally bewildered when a local farmer parked his tractor in the car park and wandered in with his Cockerel who then joined him at the bar for a pint of Ale! Anyone would have thought that they'd never seen a Cockerel in a pub before! The Ale wasn't for the Cockerel of course - If I remember correctly, the Cockerel was supping on the Whiskey-Chasers! (Just kidding) ;0)

If you ever visit this country and you want to see the real England, with proper red telephone boxes and friendly country folk, it has to be the countryside. London isn't really English anymore - and I don't mean because of it's multi-cultural society, but rather because the truly British red telephone boxes have been replaced with what can only be described as alien ships made out of glass and the traditional old pubs are few and far between.
And if a man walked in to a pub in London, chewing on a piece of straw and armed with a chicken, he'd probably be mistaken for an escaped lunatic and carted off to the nearest mental health institute!

Anyway, I have been waffling on for far longer than I intended and as I ponder over a Chocolate Mini-Roll and a cup of tea, on one final thing I could share with you before I go, I look up and see the beautiful watercolour card I received from Judy of De Draad Aquarellen, which is perched upon the kitchen fireplace...


Judy of De Draad Aquarellen
  ...Isn't it gorgeous?


36 comments:

  1. Let me start by saying 1938 was the most perfect year to be born in! :0)

    Well I'm glad you're back on track with the bear - he's coming along nicely ... try to keep him sober.

    I can second your statement about 'country folk' we spent many years in the 'Shires' - Wiltshire and Oxfordshire ... finally Yorkshire.

    Look forward to the next episode .... Judy's a real star isn't she?

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    1. So, you share the same birthday as the bear then John? A good year it was!
      I was about to say I was an egg back then, but actually my Mum was!
      When I cycled from John o Groats to Lands End, I was stunned by the beauty that is on our own doorstep - my favorite being Cornwall :0)

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  2. What a beautiful post, Sandra!! At the cost of food nowadays, the trade seems very acceptable! I love your bear and can't wait to see it finished and yes, Judy's little watercolor is lovely..nice colors.

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    1. Thank you Hilda! I hope it continues on the right track :0)

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  3. I absolutely LOVE this bear Sandra! This bear seems younger to me than your other bears, like he's a happy teenager, before he hits all that rebellious stuff. :D

    And your story makes me so happy. I wish I could see where you live, I can just imagine that is is exactly like a fairytale setting. :)) I don't know when I've ever had the chance to pay with anything with fish, or be paid in meat. But I sure would like to!

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    1. Thank you Crystal! He does look younger doesn't he? He is SO cute! Almost bald but full of character.
      I'll post some photo's of where I live some time if you like. My house is in an odd setting. At the front there is a main road going in to town, whereas at the back I look over the fence and all I see is woodland! I once rode from the very furthest point of Scotland right to the furthest tip of England on a bicycle. I was amazed by just how remote some villages are! Where I live looks buzzing in comparison to some of them! :0)

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  4. I enjoyed your ramble. I only use phoneboxes for sheltering from the rain :) & near mum's most of them are glass/plasticless so your feet get wet. You can bring your chickens in our pubs(nr mum's not here obviously)but they are not allowed alcohol :)

    Bear's looking great. Crystal is right he does seem like a teenager. The point about the box is perfect too.

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    1. Thank you Sue! I'm glad you like him so far and agree about the date.
      Maybe I should take my own chickens to the pub! As long as the Landlord didn't expect to put them on the menu in exchange for a drink, lol! ;0)

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  5. Scary we commented on each other at the same time :)

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  6. I'm glad the joy is back in your painting, Sandra! I agree about the year 1998.
    Great story, that is why I love your country so much: the beautiful countryside and the lovely people!
    I had so many lovely responses to my cards, I walk on a cloud! :)) Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Judy! Your card is so lovely I just had to share :0)

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  7. Sandra, your new bear looks amazing. I feel like a complete fraud as an artist as I have never in all my life done an underpainting the way you do (and truth to tell, I don't think I even know why although if your end result is anything to go by then I need to learn and quickly!) is it acyrlic (have I asked you that before?)
    As for your bartering system - while I wouldn't much want the bacon and sausages, I do like the old fashioned idea of swapping 'things' instead of money. When I was getting married, I wanted to incorporate a gold necklace and bracelet set Steve's dad had given me which belonged to his mum who passed away earlier that same year and I'd found a girl on Folksy who could do it by combining it with silver and pearls (so it could be taken apart again unharmed afterwards) but then I had to take a pay cut and decided I'd have to do without. I explained this to the girl who offered to do it anyway (I know, amazingly kind, right!) I couldn't let her do it for nothing so I offered to do a portrait of her dog and so we each used our creative talents and no actual money changed hands!

    And I love the idea of a cockeral in a bar!

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    1. Thank you Nicola! I do my underpainting in acrylics (for the purpose of speed drying) and then I overlay the rest with oils.
      Because I paint as much of my paintings as I can without the use of white, if I didn't do an underpainting the harsh white of the canvas would show through. It kind of 'warms' the canvas before I start. Also, it guides me when it comes to my overlays. All I have to think about is colour because the tone is already there to match. That doesn't make you a fraud though! What works for one Artist doesn't always work for another and it might not work for you. I suppose it depends on your subject and the effect you want at the end - You might be better to have the white luminating from beneath the colours, it just depends :0)
      I loved your story of swapping a portrait too. It would be so nice if more things in life could be that way! Maybe someone should set up a website for people who have a skill they can swap in return for a skill they need! :0)

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  8. Your story just made me crave even more to visit the English countyside. Though I have never been there I have heard so much about English countryside that I have always wanted to go there. Now your story makes me even more curious. Simpleways of life always attract me. ANyway good to see your progress on the new bear. All the best for this one.

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    1. Thank you Prabal. Yes, wouldn't it be nice if things were always so simple and money just wasn't an issue? I have never been to the Cotswolds yet, but I am told that it is one of the most beautiful parts of England. Cornwall is my favourite place - so if you ever do visit, they are two places I would recommend going to :0)

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  9. Hi Sandra. Mr. Bear is looking most handsome in his elegant setting. I look forward to seeing more of him! And your country tales cracked me up! I love life in the country, too; it just seems more "real". If you wave at someone in the countryside, they wave back. If you did the same in the city, they'd think you were waving a gun!

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    1. I know what you mean Kathryn! I often have to go to London for various reasons and sometimes need to ask for directions. The first reaction is usually to look at me as if I am completely mad - but then usually follows a really helpful and forthcoming answer as though they are quite delighted that someone has actually spoken to them, lol :0)

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  10. Loving your bear so far, and thanks for the description of the English Countryside. I would love to visit it one day. I like the fact that so many things and buildings are so old.. Here in Florida is the oldest one room schoolhouse, and thats about 400 years old. That's as old as it gets here.!
    BJ

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    1. Thank you Barbra. I got married in Florida - in Naples. It's a beautiful place and there are lots of things that it boasts that we don't have here - beautiful hot weather and sandy beaches for one thing! It struck me though that nobody ever seemed to be on foot and you couldn't just nip up the road on foot for a pint of milk if you needed it! Here it's very different :0)

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  11. Hi Sandra, your new bear looks already very nice! I'm glad to see that you have re-found the enthusiasm and joy for painting. Hugs!

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  12. Thank you Tito! Yes, it's nice to feel that buzz again! :0)

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  13. Well if you want a red telephone box in your garden, there is an article in the Daily Mail today saying that they are selling them off for £2000 each!

    Maybe the chickens would enjoy it as an extension to their mansion.

    Bear looking good.

    Me x

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    1. Wow! £2000?? There is one about 50 yards from my driveway so thankfully I don't have to buy one! It's only the large towns and cities that have replaced them but I think local councils have seen the light :0)

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  14. Oh yes, it's very gorgeous! I like the new bear, Arianna

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    1. Thank you so much Arianna! I'm so glad you like him - It's going well so far :0)

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  15. Hello Sandra,
    the bear is doing very well. I like this process of coal, sepia tones, halftone color, dark and light at the end! A good traditional technique!
    Their texts are also very nice conversational tone by, spontaneous.
    a hug

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    1. Thank you Antonio! I have finished the background now and also the foreground. Now I'm on the really fun part and it's progressing quite quickly! So far it is turning out just as I hoped. I love the old fashioned way of painting - and the old fashioned colours too :0)

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  16. Love the new painting, Sandra. He's coming along beautifully.

    Oh yes, the countryside is more like that! London changed so much, that a man with a chicken would be quite suspect :lol:
    Love your card from Judy, isn't she so kind? :) xx

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    1. Lol Pat, thank you! And can you imagine a tractor driving through London? It's bad enough in a car! I was so pleased to get the card. It's always lovely when something nice arrives in the post box :0)

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  17. glad you are happier now sandra and pleased with your underpainting ...we live in the countryside too :D good exchanges here vino ,olio , salami .... judy's cards are lovely

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    1. I expect the weather is far better where you are though Jane! Ooh, vino, salami, lovely!!
      Thank you, I am glad you like it so far :0)

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  18. A great post Sandra. I love the countryside too and, if circumstances had been different would have loved to live in the country. Still, I get there whenever I can and absolutely adore the Cotswolds. You must get there.
    The painting's coming on great. ;-)

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    1. Hi John - Thank you! Oh yes, I've heard so much about the Cotswolds. I've been to Bath - Isn't that close by? Or is that really blonde! My geography is appalling, lol! :0)

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  19. We have the same here I grow vegetables and give them to friends and neighbours they in turn give me fish and birds. The old barter system had much more than just an exchange of goods there was also an exchange of friendship and that still survives here in Scotland. But beware, the other day there I came home to find a large package of chicken manure on my front step, given to me by the lady whose garden I dug on easter day.

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    1. Lol Ralph! That's so amusing! There is an obvious response to that comment which I wouldn't dream of publishing!
      We go to Scotland from time to time and we love it there. Fort William mainly, but Glen Coe is pretty amazing place to travel through and John o Groats must be the remotest place I have ever seen. It amazes me that Scottish people hang their washing out in the fog, lol! :0)

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Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Where possible I will respond via email. I really do love to read them! They always make me smile ;0)

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