In which I talk about the joys of painting, drawing, knitting, cats, music, living in London, and whatever else takes my fancy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pink fairy armadillo and other creatures

Yesterday was a day for feeding my imagination in the company of some fellow children's illustrators: we all met at the Natural History Museum for a morning of sketching there. A truly amazing place for drawing, both the exhibits and the people looking at the exhibits (or on their mobile phone!)
My plan was to head straight for my favourite of the mammals galleries - the one with the whales and dolphins, then I got distracted on the way there by the bats! I never feel quite comfortable looking at stuffed, dead animals, but reminded myself that this is probably the only way I am going to get the chance to study bats up close.  Such dainty creatures, and with a lovely contrast between the soft, fine fur of their bodies, and the leatheriness of their wings. I especially loved the way the shape of the nose of the spear nose bat echoed the shape of it's ears.
My discovery of the day was the wonderfully named "pink fairy armadillo": a tiny creature from the Argentine pampas, that I had never heard of before.  In spite of it's name, the specimen in the glass case is not pink - more of a slightly pinky beige fur, with creamy plates on it's back. I want to find out a lot more about this creature.

I was also excited to see some of the fossils Mary Anning discovered in Lyme Regis, having thoroughly enjoyed reading Tracy Chevalier's "Remarkable Creatures" 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Coming of Cats

Life at home has been lonely and sad without a furry feline companion since the beginning of October.

Happily, this was all changed yesterday. I painted this birthday card last week for a friend, which presciently had a tiny black cat peering round an open door!

At the top is Poppy: she likes hiding out and watching what is going on from safe spaces, which will make getting a good photo of her quite tricky for a while.

Toby is the handsome black and white long-haired boy who loves to be groomed, which is just as well given how long his coat is!

Both cats have agreed to pose for drawing, and to refrain from playing with paintbrushes, or sitting on paintings. As for interfering with knitting, that remains to be seen!