Dragon hound

•March 21, 2017 • 7 Comments

Just a small creature this week. I’m not sure he’d be much use at hunting dragons, he looks to me more like a spaniel who thinks he’s fierce.

I made two changes from the original ms, the first being the colour. I moved away from the original blue because he’s trotting along underneath a big blue horse, and that would have been too much blue. The second was that on the principle of blank space is a very bad thing in medieval art, I put a flower on the end of his tail. Although I’m not so sure it’s a flower, it could be a decorative version of those spiky clubs some dinosaurs had on the end of their tails?

Don’t ask me the name of the dinosaur though, it could have been Gilbert for all I know…

Women’s labours – May

•March 19, 2017 • 6 Comments

May is the May queen. Mr May is hunting, so his counterpart is hunting for love.

I adapted an image from the seal of Eleanor of Aquitaine, I fattened her out a little because the original would have made a catwalk model feel fat, and I replaced her crown, orb, and sceptre with flowers. Since she has Lillie’s in her crown I gave her bluebells and roses in her hands.

obviously she had to have a green dress for spring ( I think her theme song is “walking on velvet green” by jethro tull, which was always one of my favourite songs, although I recall that as a teenager I was quite grateful that my nana was too deaf to listen to the lyrics when she was telling me to turn it down). However I gave her the most expensive red cloak lined with fur to emphasise her queenliness.

and speaking of queens, mays cat is Riley. Riley was born feral under a vintage car ( hence the name, although other people always assumed we named her after Riley ace of spies). Her brother came in on Christmas morning, but Riley didn’t come into the house until I’d spent most of February crouching on the back steps with my fingers covered in cat food. She was a tiny little thing, but ruled her enormous brother with a claw of iron – the poor lad wasn’t even allowed to eat until Riley had chosen which dish she wanted, and even then shed sometimes still smack him.

thou shalt hev a fishie

•March 15, 2017 • 15 Comments

on a little …pattern

I was going to keep this until Friday, because that’s when you eat fish, but then I remembered that it’s Lent, so by medieval thinking you should be eating little else.

(I had sausages for dinner)

They’re very tiny, only about an inch high, but they took three evenings because they’re very detailed, and I had enormous fun with the colours and textures.

Btw, you might be wondering why fishies in a the dragon fantasy, but obviously the water dwelling dragons like Nessie need something to eat



•March 13, 2017 • 6 Comments

I was looking for something else, and I found these…

and I’m quite confused. I mean, it’s obvious these were painted by me, but I don’t remember ever doing them. I don’t paint much, I find it frustrating because I can never quite get the colours right (I’m stupidly sensitive to colours, I’m better since I replaced my cheap standard watercolours with natural pigment ones because they’re not as jarring, but I still spend 95% of all painting time mixing colours because they’re wrong) and I don’t paint flowers.

I’m confused.

And Branston is tired. He says parenting is hard, and how long until the little spotty git grows up?

Dragon maggot

•March 10, 2017 • 5 Comments

I think this one is a larval form of water dragon

The fact that he’s  a baby, albeit an ugly, lumpy sort of baby, makes it all the more sad that he’s being slaughtered.

I always had quite conflicted feelings about including a dragon slaying in this composition. (eventually I will get to the fantasy with all the everyday scenes in it, and I’m already wondering what to do about the bear baiting tableau. I mean, on the one hand it’s a vivid illustration of the barbarity that once passed for sport, but on the other I want to cry every time I look at that poor, sad bear). What swung the inclusion of this vignette was firstly that it provides a strong diagonal, which the composition needed, and also that the dragon slayer is so obviously shown as a grotesque – perhaps indicating the scribe felt more sympathy for the dragon?

Anyway, I felt so sorry for the poor little maggot that I put little flowers on the end of his blood spurts, which are just wavy lines of red in the psalter. And I comfort myself thinking about the crocodiles who produce hundreds of eggs for only a few to survive, lest the world be overrun with crocs – maybe this is a similar form of natural selection…

Gratuitous kitten spam

•March 5, 2017 • 26 Comments

We brought trouble home yesterday afternoon. Madeline, his breeder, was worried he’d be traumatised by his first day away from home.

his reaction so far is pretty much “Madeline who…?”


He wieghs in at 2.1 kilos at twelve weeks, and is officially the biggest kitten Madeline has ever bred.

we showed him to branston whilst he was still in the carrier, as soon as we walked through the door. Obviously branston hissed, then had a good sniff before we took trouble away. Every other cat I’ve ever had has only hissed in extremis, but branston hisses conversationally, it’s his way of saying “WTF…?”, which to be honest is a perfectly reasonable reaction to a kitten.

Gareth took trouble up to the bedroom until dinner, and they had a nap. (Trouble screamed that he was being kidnapped on the way home, but after five minutes fell asleep)


At dinner time we didn’t want to leave the little one all alone until bedtime, so we stuck him in a dog crate on the living room floor so branston could get a good look at him without the potential to hurt him. Trouble howled his little head off whilst branston sat next to him making comforting chirruping noises, so after about fifteen minutes we gave up and opened cage door. This allowed to watch orphan black in peace whilst the kitten explored the living room, doggedly escorted by a chirruping branston.

we had intended that me and branston would sleep in the spare room until we were sure they were ok together, but last night all four of us slept together. There was a lot of chirruping, until about four am, when branston decided to impress his new protege by showing off a complex piece of performance art using two litter trays as percussion instruments. Trouble definitely got the hang of it because at the appropriate moment he joined in with a loud chorus of, ” jeezus, my eyeballs are melting, bast save me from this terrible stink!” And once Gareth had concluded the piece by getting out bed and scooping the smell, both cats finally came to bed – branston in his usual spot under my chin, and trouble made his first, successful, attempt at chastity cat.

this morning they played on the cat tree whilst we read the papers. Branston decided that it was more important to instruct the newbie in correct health and safety procedures for the adventure playground than to read the Sunday times through his arse like he usually does


Then branston decided he needed some grown up time, so he ripped the temporary door off the hole in the eaves and went to lurk in the dark for an hour. I felt like joining him after I had to fend the kitten off my cooked breakfast.

we have all come downstairs now, and the kitten went beserk with howling when we locked him out of the kitchen to clear up a broken jar. When Gareth came out branston was licking the kittens head. Gareth thinks he was being sweet, but branston insists he was just checking to see if there was anything in there, he says his tests have so far proved inconclusive…

Last bit of dragon owl border

•March 3, 2017 • 4 Comments


I really want to finish one beast, or significant chunk of beast when the frame rolls that way, every week. It’s easy with the tiddly beasts, but these dense borders take more work than you think.