Can't decide what to gift to buy for someone special? Let them choose their own!
The gift certificate is printed on beautifully textured art paper, with envelope included, ready for you to gift or post. The voucher can be redeemed on any online purchases from my shop by entering the unique code at checkout. I also have vouchers specifically for pebble pets and art prints.
View the gift vouchers here...
It always seems like spring and summer days are the idyllic times of a country existence but I also really love the stormy winter nights when it's cold and theres a gale blowing and the rain is horizontal. Of course it's not so pleasant having to go outside to tend all the animals: squelching around in the mud at a 45° angle with leaking gumboots and drips going down my neck from my not-properly-waterproofed raincoat. And stepping in squishy sheep poo on my way down the hill and landing flat on my back.
But it's worth it all to come inside to a nice warm fire and the smell of wood smoke, getting into dry clothes and joining the two furry family members by the fire who obviously think by their expressions that I must be mad to voluntarily go out in THAT. Then I can read my Georgette Heyer novel with a mug of hot chocolate with the knowledge the goats and sheep are cosy in their shelters with hay to munch on and the chooks are cuddled up on their perches (except for the weird ones who like a bit of night-time excitement and prefer to roost up trees).
The problem is, what usually happens is I wake up at 2am that night when the gale's at full force and start wondering if I really did shut that window in my studio... (I don't want a repeat of last time when it got ripped off its hinges and thrown halfway across the paddock) and so it's back on with the leaky gumboots, the soggy raincoat, and out into the howling blackness. I'm greeted by a chorus of yells from the goats as I splosh past their shed - "HI MUM! What on earth are YOU doing out here at this time of night?!"
Sometimes I really wonder...
Shortly after my first post about our enterprising quail pair Bertie and Gertie, they disappeared. I'd hoped they would decide to hatch a family at our place but after about a month of seeing no sign of either of them I'd given up hope and thought they must have gone elsewhere.
But one day what did I see out of the window but a little quail procession marching past... Next minute there was a tap on the door and there were Bertie and Gertie standing to attention on our doormat along with with two adorable spotty chicklings with the most ridiculously cute topknots.
They spent the next few weeks pottering round my vege garden and were joined by a single mum with 7 kids who had somehow mislaid her husband and obviously thought Bertie was the bees knees. A while after that they all roamed off to different territory - if I know them, probably helping themselves to another neighbour's chook food.
Here are the proud family of four posing on the edge of the garden path after introducing their offspring. Miss you Gertie and Bertie - I hope you'll be back next Spring!
One of my recent painted stones - a green and golden bell frog.
Painting this brought back fond memories of my two pet frogs - Freddy and Algernon - that I raised from tadpoles when I was a kid. These pets had my Mum's full approval (unlike the 30 mice I kept in the spare bedroom at the time) because it meant I became an expert at catching flies for them and regularly patrolled the house with a pot and small piece of cardboard to nab the unsuspecting critters when they made a landing.
I always found it fascinating to watch the frogs' lightning speed leaps to catch their prey, although I couldn't help feeling a bit guilty at consigning the poor flies to an unhappy fate!
Going away on holiday was always a big problem at our house because of all the animals to find sitters for. On looking back I realize how heroic my Nana was on one occasion by accepting with apparent nonchalance into her spotless house a tank sloshing about with water, rocks, moss, 2 frogs and approximately 50 flies buzzing frantically round the interior. Mum asked me several times in a worried voice if I was sure the lid was fastened on properly.
Frog shaped stones are really hard to find, so I don't often get the chance to paint these amazing critters. This one is ready to hop off to his new home and is available for from my shop.
Meet Bertie and Gertie - a pair of Californian Quail who turned up on our doormat one afternoon a few months ago and started tapping with their beaks on the door! On their honeymoon perhaps and looking for luxury accommodation?
Since then they have made the discovery that pretending to be chickens at feeding time is a good strategy and are now by far the fattest quail in the district. Their return for this kindness is leaving lots of little squishy brown presents on our deck.
This morning Gertie walked into the kitchen cool as a cucumber and helped herself to a crumb on the floor next to the cat dish. What next - roosting on the end of the bed at night perhaps?
We are hoping that one day they might appear with some miniature fluff balls in tow - but so far they've shown no signs of nesting and now the season's almost over. Perhaps they are a modern quail couple and prefer a lifestyle of travel and no family ties.
I definitely want to do a quail painting at some stage: their colouring and feather patterns are absolutely fabulous closeup - and their little topknots are so comical and cute!
Not this one...
I definitely don't like the habits NZ possums have, but I think they are truly adorable animals. I mean, have you ever been face to face with one and really looked at that gorgeous fur, the earnest bulgy eyes and little pink twitchy nose without noticing how cute it is? (Even if it is in the middle of the night and you have just been woken up by something that sounds like a combination of several galloping racehorses and a lawnmower gone wrong.)
Anyway... this little fella is a celebration of the cute side of our national pest and is guaranteed to be totally harmless to all plant matter and native bird life. He's looking for a loving home where he will be content to live a quiet life as a house pet. Just look at that innocent expression on his face!
The Feathers & Fluff Greeting Cards are finally back in stock!!
Packs now available of my original series of miniature paintings as well as my new NZ bird collection.
They are printed on thick luxurious art card and packaged beautifully in a clear cellophane bag with raffia ribbon and label.
As well as making great all occasion cards, these can also be framed afterwards and enjoyed on the wall. With a bit of trimming, they will fit standard 4x6 inch frames.
Something a bit different from my usual.... I've been having fun with my knitting needles and crochet hook this winter. If you fancy a fluffy feline to look after your keys, or a pair of cute hand crocheted earrings, head over to my shop!
Thanks to the lovely Fiona of Wishcraft who supplied the keychain attachments!
Gift wrapping now available!
Would you like to send a beautifully wrapped surprise direct to that special someone?
Your purchase will be sent in gorgeous festive paper and ribbon, with gift card attached. An option for your own personalized message is available.
View the gift wrap listing here...
My latest painting 'Sapphire Spring'💙 Finding shades of blue bright enough to capture the kingfisher's plumage colours was a challenge with this one!... I had to unearth various tubes of blue that don't usually see the light of day very often!
Just as a quirky piece of info - if you were to scrape the paint gradually off the body of the dragonfly you would find quite a few different coloured versions underneath.
The progression went something like red, blue, orange, back to blue again because I couldn't make up my mind which looked best. At one stage it was a revolting muddy brown when my layering went wrong. One of the most frustrating aspects of painting is that sometimes you spend more time on a couple of square centimetres, than you do on a large portion of the rest of the work!
The original has sold but art prints of this work are now available.
Meet Twynkle, my most talented caprine escapist. And yes those ears are real!
My studio is located in a paddock right in the middle of our 1.5 acres, so I tend to get lots of nosey parker visitors – the kind either with beaks or four legs – if I leave the door or windows open.
This sometimes actually has it's advantages if a project isn't going very well and I feel like a diversion!
Though I have been painting and drawing all my life, I first discovered stone painting when I was about 14 years old, and the addiction has continued ever since!
I’ve always been fascinated with illusion in art. While growing up I was very inspired by Graham Rust’s ‘trompe l’oeil’ murals in his book “The Painted House”. For me, rock painting is an ideal art form because I can combine a lifelong love of animals with a realistic artistic technique to produce a 3D illusion!
The latest from Mousewhisker Studio.....a teeny tiny painted owl pebble!
This mini morepork owl holds the record for my smallest painted stone. He's just over 1 cm high and took more than an hour to complete, using my tiniest brushes and lots of patience!
He's currently up for adoption in my shop, and can't wait to travel to his new home in his own special little gift box!
Find out more...
One like this won't take up much space and does not require feeding!
One fascinating fact I found out recently is that an adult elephant is capable of eating 200kg of food in one day. They can also weigh up to 9 tons!
You certainly wouldn't want one sitting on your desk.
Except this one maybe?
He's a wee baby African elephant painted on a stone collected by me on a walk along the beach. As soon as I saw it I knew what it had to be!
Owls are one of my most loved subjects to paint, both on rocks and as wall art. Suitably shaped stones that stand upright are rare and hard to find, so I have to ration them out!
The morepork and the little owl are particular favourites of mine, and the only species which live in New Zealand, except for the barn owl which, as I discovered recently to my surprise, actually does exist in small numbers in this country, as a migrant from Australia. It is a great hope of mine that I might one day see one in the wild here in NZ.
This is my latest stone artwork, a juvenile 'Little Owl', who seems to have had a glimpse of something rather startling!