Thursday, January 20, 2011

That magic drawing book...

In response to some of your queries, here is the book I used to create Cilla.
It's a fantastic book, however, it is an advanced overview of techniques, textures, and etc. If you haven't quite mastered the fundamentals, I would suggest buying one for their more in depth and specific books first; like this one for faces, etc...

To Anora,
 I got my cursor at I tried leaving a comment on your blog, but sadly my computer doesn't like embedded comment boards :/ Anyway, there you have it!

Also, I'm thinking of having a Q&A post where you can ask me what ever questions you may have. Would you like me to?

Slán a fhágáil! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh, I'm happy alright

Dear readers, What you are about to see is my newest,
most- Cilla -like drawing I have ever done!!
Wacha think?

Okay, even though I practically went around my house screaming "Its perfect! It's perfect!" I can see its not. Quite. ^_^ For instance, I had planned to give her much more of a smirk, a kind of mischievous smile, you might even say. But for reasons unknown to me, the smirk-angle just would not come out. Being the chicken that I am, I was too afraid of messing it up to try and fix it.
 Her left eye I just noticed. Hm. How did it get so dark? It must've been my photo editor {I had to increase the contrast so you could actually see the whole picture - though, at the tragic loss of most of my painstaking shading.}. Oh, and yes, I did use a picture reference. My imagination has difficulty translating to paper in any form.

For so long I have been uninspired to draw anything - anything at all - that I thought I had perhaps grown out of my drawing vein and branched into different forms of art; namely, the written word. I did not want this to happen, but the more I scribbled it seemed the more I failed. Eventually I shut my sketch book for a month, a big blob of sadness and frustration forming in me when ever I looked at the thing.

For Christmas my older brother {also an avid artist. Yes, it does run in the family} received a first-rate drawing book on how to draw faces and make them look realistic. The teacher/author at fist glance through the book seems vague in his instructions and trade secrets, but when you are working with it as I was today, it is just the right amount of info at the right time. It gave me enough know-how to get me through the stickier places {except for the nose. I could have used a lot more help there} but plenty of space to bushwhack on my own. I had a great time doing it too. Such a great time in fact, that I was surprised to look at my clock and see the glowing numbers 3:48pm, having started at about 1:15 or so.

 I am so glad this drawing worked out for me! for many reasons:
One: I know I can still draw
Two: I know I can still learn
Three: I finely have a picture of Cilla!!

For some of my newer readers who may not be acquainted with my main story heroin, simply click the link on my sidebar Posts on The Legend of Skyrian. She's in there.

Well, tis supper time here so I must go. But please, constructive criticism is always welcome!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chicken Evaluation 2011

My mind recently has been focussed on renovations for the Spring. I have made countless plans now, for the garden, landscaping that needs done, building raised beds for a kitchen garden, working with the horses, and so many other projects.
 I really, really want to start getting the farm farming again. The past two years everything has happened to us. Growing veg and tilling earth has rather gotten knocked to the side.
 The first garden catalog also came in the mail this week, and when we went to buy chicken feed yesterday, the manager said they're taking orders for chicks starting next Monday which got me thinking about our own hens....

We've had this flock, I'd guess you'd call them, for about a year and eight months. Five Buff Orpingtons; four Plymouth Rocks, barred; and three Araucanas. We started out with 14, all hens, but two died - both Araucanas incidentally - leaving us with only twelve.
 The best egg producers have by far been the Barred Rocks, in both consistency and amounts given. They average about fourteen{in winter} to seventeen{in summer} eggs a week. For only four of them that's not bad! Even if they are mean.

Contrary to popular belief, a chicken does cannot lay five eggs in a sitting. It takes around 25 hours for a hen to produce one egg.

On the other side of the spectrum are the Araucanas. They lay around six a week, and that is not too bad for three in midwinter, but they definitely do not pay for themselves. They are also really wild creatures and nearly impossible to capture if one should escape. And if you do grab one, they're nasty kickers!

The Buffies on the other hand, are sweet little yellow hens. Therefore, they are my favorite. They do fairly well with about the same amount of eggs that the Barred Rocks give, but there are five Buffies.

This June will be their second 'birthdays' so we are going to order future replacements soon. I'm going together with Mum this year so I'll get to pick out a few of my own. I know I want something different, not your plain ol' Leghorns or Rhode Island Reds. One like this little cutie--
A Faverolles Salmon Hen. There is a sweeeet looking one in Mum's calendar, but it's not on the the Web. But take my word for it, its pretty darn cute.

Or maybe something cray-zay! Like this Polish White Crested Khaki. {Yes, there is a face in there :)}
Something interesting is what I'm going for. But Mum also wants good producers. So I ask you this, fellow chicken farmers, do you have any idea for me? Crazy birds you've known? Anything?

p.s. Oh, and another thing: The weather here has been crazy! Yesterday I woke up to -22* and today it was in the thirties before the sun was even up! Only here...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Words of encouragement

Sometimes all you need
to get you through the day
is a quote that seems
as if it 
was written
for you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Horsey thoughts

I often wonder how different I would be if not for horses. What would I be like? I can't even begin to imagine. I've always been around them; from my first ride with Da when I was three months old, to now when I am helping others learn to ride and care for their own four-legged friends. It's strangely surreal.
 I realize how lucky I must be from the thousands of "I wish I had a horse" and similar notes written across cyberspace; all the hopes and dreams of the creatures I have been blessed to know since birth, I wonder just how many of them come true.
 I know I often take them for granted, and do not even come close to expressing profound gratitude to the One who gave them to me.
 Sometimes it seems more of a burden to go out in terrible weather to feed and chop at the water tank for them, or stand out in the wind a snow while they get their feet trimmed.

 But then there are times when I see with almost painful clarity just how blessed I truly am: Anything from small moments combing a mane to all out gallops across the pasture.

Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?
Job 39.19
The farrier is coming today, but I refuse, refuse to be ungrateful even for that! I want to spend my time learning from and with these incredible animals and not grumping about the fact that the water tank is almost frozen solid.

 I am excited for the snow to melt so I can really start working with them. I have so many plans...! Oh, you want to hear them? Well.... okay. I've been dying to tell someone!
 First I want to...
Teach Roanie to ride bareback. Generally after you've saddle broke a horse well they don't mind being ridden bareback. Them may give you a weird look or two and maybe take a few minutes to adjust but no bucking occurs*. Usually. I'm a little apprehensive about Roanie, though, because of her 'slightly' impaired vision. She doesn't like people messing about where she can't see, and is apt to startle. Even when I saddle her I have to make sure she's paying attention or she'll spook the moment pad meets back.
 I definitely will not being swinging up on her. I think maybe a box the first few times till she's used to the idea.
*No case is typical {:P}

Get Double Stuff pulling the cart. We started him a few years ago and he got quite good at it. He's a great puller and works hard {when he's not trying to eat}, but then my sister and I wrecked the cart - I don't remember how. Amnesia? - and we never got round to repairing it. But this year...

Work on barrel racing with Roanie. She's already shone some promise; she digs in well on corners, and she not a bad sprinter. Speed isn't exactly her strongest suit but she is in no way slow. Especially when frightened.

Expand Roanie's Trail work. She's already great at opening and closing gates, side-stepping{or pacing, depending on where you're from}, and backing quickly - though we need to be a little straighter and a bit faster. I'd like to start her on pivots and sliding stops next. She's got the brains, but has trouble focussing for more than five minutes.

Help lil brother turn Double Stuff into a kid-ridable pony. We started late last summer and gained some ground with the wayward pony, but I think we'll be back to square one come green grass. Dudders is awfully stubborn, just like his mother nicknamed "Piggy" {by me anyway :)}

Well, I'd love to stay and continue sharing my goals for this year, but the farrier is here and I must *joyfully* go about my duties :)
Au revoir!