Thursday, 29 March 2012

Pooch Paintings (Rory and Sheri)

I cant believe the great weather we are having ..and its only March ?

However the old saying "Ne'r shed a cloot till May is Oot" looks to be true even in this age of global warming. Colder weather with snow showers on the hills has to return on Monday.

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed the good weather, I have been very busy and not had any time for new hill or sea adventures ... yet.

I was visiting my mother in Ayr and doing lots of garden work. Servicing outboard engines for myself. Working round my own house and attending a family wedding.

When I introduced myself to other guests at the wedding, I mentioned I was now retired although Im only 56 years old. My eldest daughter assured me that I was too young to retire and that I was only temporary unemployed. I thought about this for a moment or two then said ...

" Nope.. Im not was by choice ..but I guess Im not retired yet either. However I have left the rat race to follow my dream "

Although I have not yet started advertising my services to the public, the Pooch Paintings are starting to generate a little money and I even have a short waiting list of folks who have heard of my work by word of mouth.

To help illustrate some more of my illustrations ....

Meet Rory the Border Terrier

And Sheri the little Pug

As usual..a click on a pooch wont bite but will bring up the bigger picture :-D

The great thing about Pooch Painting to suppliment my savings is that I can do it anywhere and at times to suit myself. Im not stuck in an office nine to five routine.

If anyone is wondering what I charge for a pooch painting .. Im doing them A4 size .. fully framed for 50 quid.. IMO ..its exceptional value.

So if you are wondering what to give as a present to someone that has a pooch..or even a cat or gerbile, or want to have an ever lasting memory of a family pet.. painted in a way that only I can do.. please dont hesitate to contact me. All I need is a good photograph of your favourite pets pose.

Sorry of my unashamed plug of my pooch painting..but I have to feed my own rescued pooch.. Holly :-D

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Ben Venue and Bealach nam Bo

I did return to Ben Venue on Saturday. However I didn't fancy doing it by the same route that I took during the week. I wanted to see Bealach Nam Bo (Pass of the Cattle) which is on the northern flanks of Ben Venue, then to see if I could get to the summit from the top of the pass. Its all new ground to me so it was like walking a new hill.

I arrived at the car park at Loch Achray earlier too and I was the first there. I didn't expect to see many people on my route but I didn't expect to see many people last Tuesday either. This time I had peace to get my photograph of the wooden bridge across the Achray waters.

It was a beautiful morning with blue sky and no wind. I followed a small path past the sluce gates at the eastern end of Loch Katrine. A lovely but unusual view of Ben An opened up across the other side of the loch

I was walking in a huge corrie and the colours of the hills looked stunning in the early morning sun. As I walked beside a small burn, I could see the high pass of Bealach nam Bo straight ahead.

A couple of massive boulders littered the floor of the corrie. The ground must have trembled when they broke free from the heights above.

A few small clouds passed in front of the sun, giving some dynamic lighting to the lovely scenery. High above the pass, I could see and eagle circle in the gentle updrafts. Its huge wings spread in glider fashion, it was almost stationary as it floated on air looking for its breakfast far below.

I wondered what it thought of my thrashing and panting as I clambered up the slopes to the pass. Soon I also had great views all around me but there was no breakfast to be seen anywhere. I was still on my diet, so I feasted my eyes on the scenery instead.

The lone tree at the top of the pass survived the winter gales but it had lost a couple of large branches which lay on the ground below it.

Moments later I was over the pass and on the open hillside looking over Loch Katrine. A few walkers have been in difficulty here when they descend from Ben Venue this way.

They miss the pass of Bealach nam Bo as it is not very obvious from the top. They then descend to loch level thinking they can get round at waters edge but find they cant because of the steep cliffs of Coire no Uruisgean. This was why I wanted to ascend to Ben Venue and not descent it for the first time.

In truth, not many people ascend or descend Ben Venue this way as there was no sign of a path once I left the bealach. The ground was wet and hard going with the heather. Holly was using a lot of energy junping through it. Deep revines are cut in the ground by the many burns and there are a few peat bogs to navigate round.

I tried to find deer paths through the heather or grassy patches to help make Holly's progress easier. It felt like it was a long way to go to get up the mountain.

Nearer the top we then had to navigate through the rocks and crags that surround the summit. I did see a lot of false summits which was a little disheartening as we were now quite weary of walking. A strong cold wind meant I couldn't rest for long as Holly was wet and would feel the cold if we stopped for a while.

Then we were on the summit. The views were worth the effort and I would certainly go to Bealach Nam Bo anytime, but I doubt if I would climb Ben Venue again by this route.

I shared my egg sandwich with Holly as neither of us had eaten any breakfast. Then we started off again. It was too cold and windy to hang around.

I had both summits to myself on Saturday. We had arrived on top before the other walkers arrived. We had not see a soul on our route either.

We then passed a few folks as we descended via the tourist route. Once we were in the forest section, it got quite warm .. both Holly and myself had a skip in our step as we walked to the car in the sun.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Ben Venue and the bus tour.

I headed for the hills on Tuesday.... just to clear my head of pooch painting practise and to tire my own pooch out. Both Holly and myself were getting a bit restless walking round the streets of our hometown and longed for a day in the countryside.

I chose Ben Venue for our destination, as its not too far from home and is a reasonable walk of around 6 miles to a summit height of 2386 feet. Not too demanding on a pooch with legs not much longer than 9 inches.

It was Tuesday and I set off from home a little later than normal as I didn't expect there to be many people about during the week. I parked at Loch Achray and started to walk in, taking my time and enjoying the dry but overcast weather. I noted that there was a feeling of new growth starting to appear in the ground. The birds were also happily singing in the trees.

At the bridge which crosses the Achray water, I stopped to take some photos of the waterfalls and the bridge. That is when I heard another "choir" above the bird songs. It sounded like a whole bus load of folks coming down the path towards me.

Yup..about a hundred yards away I saw a crowd of around 25 people all kitted up with hiking gear headed my way. I didnt fancy following behind that many folks so put my camera away and started to walk quite fast to keep well ahead of the crowd. They also walked at a good pace so I constantly hear them chattering on my tail. No matter how fast I seemed to go..they kept up. I only stopped for one photo the whole way to the summit. I was very determined to stay in front but I was tiring.

Holly managed the rocky bits near the summits very well. I put her on the leash in case she slipped while scrambling but she managed better than myself. We also managed to pull away from the following crowd on the steeper sections. Eventually we arrived at the top between the twin summits of Ben Venue.

I headed for the highest summit to the west and the views were as good as I remembered them. I have been at the top of Ben Venue two or three times but always in winter and under snow conditions. It seemed a little strange to see no snow as I looked the length of Loch Katrine

Across the other side of the loch, the sun managed to break through the blanket of cloud and illuminated distant parts of the hills.

I looked back along the path we had just come and took a photo of the crowds who were following us. They were now heading for the other summit where the cairn sits. I counted 25 hikers of all ages. They were fit as fiddles too as they didnt hang about.

I waited on the western summit and shared a sandwich with Holly before heading for the slightly lower eastern summit with the cairn and the crowd.

The view over Loch Achray and Venachar is stunning, even on a cloudy day.

As is the view straight down the hillside to Loch Katrine.

Even the view of the cairn was ok although it was now surrounded by the bus load of hikers. I didnt want to hang around but Holly was the star of the party. She didn't want to leave as she got extra helpings of sandwiches from the hiker's lunch boxes. In truth, everyone had a great time :-D

On the way back I headed straight down the south side of Ben Venue. There is no path this way until I crossed the original path we came up but much further down. There was no following crowd either.

The remainder of our walk was in peace and quite. Next time I think I will go on a Saturday when its not so busy :-D

Monday, 12 March 2012

Puppy Love

This is Sam and his girlfriend Brody snoozing together ... it must be puppy love :-D

I have been trying to get the fur looking a bit more realistic so there is a lot more detail in the painting... As usual... a click on the pic will let you see the big picture.

Another couple of months of painting and I hope to make up leaflets and such to start marketing myself ..

Ace Venture the Pet detective has nothing on DonnyW the Pooch Painter :-D

I need to get on the hills again before I really go to the dogs ..and the better weather is making me thing about the boat again .....

Friday, 9 March 2012

Sam the Boxer

Not much has been happening in my life lately...

Im walking the local rounds with Holly but I have not been on the hills and its still too cold for me to think about boat journeys.

To update my blog ... Im still developing and practising my pooch painting techniques and this is the latest :-D

Meet Sam the Boxer.... click on him and he wont bite..... but you will get a bigger picture.

I am in the process of painting his girlfriend Brody ..another lovely brindle Boxer.