Thursday, 27 February 2014

Meg's Mugs

I thought I'd blog a more detailed post about Meg's Mugs, now that we're almost into spring and the Christmas recovery period is coming to an end, pennies could well be appearing in bank accounts across the nation so might as well go for a sales punt!

Well that and I know for a fact these mugs would look a sight better in your kitchen than boxed up in my house! But it does help to at least like wildlife or even happen to know someone who does :)

A customer's pic of one of Meg's Mugs in Action, sporting a fine cup of tea ;)
I admit I was quite envious of the traditional scales featured in the background!

Meg's Mugs are based on a series of British Wildlife drawings I have completed, there are 6 different designs in total. ***

The front of each mug features an original wildlife pencil drawing by Meg Ghyll. The reverse has a scaled down image of the front with English and Latin names. 

Meg's Mugs are both dishwasher and microwave friendly. 

Each mug comes with a "To/From" gift tag in it's own gift box with a cord carry handle.

I have recently sent a pair of mugs all the way to Canada where they were received safe and sound, much to my relief and the new owner's delight! So with this in mind, if you would like one of my mugs then please do contact me directly to arrange postage costs overseas.

Meg's Mugs are £8.50 each and standard UK postage is £3.95 and are available to buy from my online shop Click here for linky

Grey Seal Pup (Halichoerus grypus) - Front
Also available as a Limited Edition
Giclée print
Grey Seal Pup - Reverse
European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

European Badger (Meles meles)
Also available as a Limited Edition Giclée print

European Otter (Lutra lutra)

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus)

And one last thing. . . Meg's Mug's are available all the year round and can be used to contain both hot or cold beverages in most weather conditions. They don't leak or rust, they really do fulfil their function very well and have been tried and tested by the artist herself!

Enjoy your day my lovelies :)

***I am hoping to add more to the collection later on in the year.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

An Atlantic Puffin far

I'm just about to get back on with my latest wildlife portrait, "An Atlantic Puffin Study". I was lucky enough to spend two months working as a volunteer on Skomer Island (Wales) in 2011. I got to spend plenty of time getting to learn the quirky ways of the hugely charismatic Puffin. Fantastic little birds that spend most of their lives at sea and come to our islands only to breed and raise their Pufflings I didn't want to waste such an amazing opportunity to photograph these birds that are so unafraid of humans they will happily pose for the many tourists that flock to the island in the breeding season.

Here are a few pics of the drawing's progress so far...

We have an eye! The focal point of the drawing, I always like to have eyes done first :)
A filled in bill, normally very bright & colourful so intriguing to see how see how it would turn out in monochrome
Almost done!
Next up, a feeding pose with a beak full of tasty sandeels!
Addition of a preening pose, like the bird is wiping a tear from it's eye!
A peeking from burrow snapshot & last but not least, where the drawing is currently at, halfway through a takeoff pose!

More progress pics to follow soon when I crack on with the next stages of my Puffin Study, I hope you like it so far :)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Saturday's Birding Exploits

With the weather deemed far too windy for ringing it was decided that a day of birding was on the cards to make the most of the dry conditions. An early start out on the bike to Otley where I then became passenger on 4 wheels for the rest of the day. First stop, the RSPB's Blacktoft Sands Reserve, a first time visit for me. Arriving for 8.30am we were treated to cloudless blue skies and sunshine, the contrast of blue against the soft tones of the reeds were a real treat. Gadwall, Shelduck, Wigeon, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Marsh Harrier, Snipe and flocks of Linnet were the main highlights. Great views of both male and female Harriers,  stunning birds.

Wigeons with their blonde mohicans
A fuzzy Marsh Harrier

Next stop, YWT's North Cave Wetlands for a welcome breakfast butty from the Wild Bird Cafe Bar which came highly recommended and lived up to expectations, yum. While there we checked out the female Smew that had been around for a little while and was causing much excitement in the hide from a large crowd of elderly twitchers! A Little Egret and a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes among my favourites, I love these striking grebes and they were looking their best ready for the breeding season so always a treat.

View from the Turret hide
Good numbers of Shelduck
Spot the Smew!
Then back on the road to a very breezy Hornsea Mere where Long-tailed Duck and Red-crested Pochard were bobbing about on the choppy water, amongst many other water fowl. Great time for my homemade cake and a coffee I thought...I went in my bag only to find I had somehow mislaid my cake tin - with said cake! I was a disappointed bunny, I realised I'd taken it out of my bag to get at my camera back in a Blacktoft hide and forgotten to put it back someone has had a right treat on Saturday morning, I hope you enjoyed the banana, coconut and chocolate cake ;) I would like my tin back though!

Next stop, Filey Country Park for a spot of sea watching. Gannet, Redshank, Common Scoter, Guillemot and a solitary young Mute Swan were the main spots.

Last stop was Holbeck, Scarborough where at least 4 Mediterranean Gulls were wandering about the car park with a few Black-heads. Fantastic views and a great way to finish the day. By now it was knocking and a long way back so we set off back. Bike picked up and I was home for half 6, a very full day. Not my usual approach to birding but I certainly learnt a lot. Plenty of miles covered, that's for sure!

Friday, 14 February 2014

My latest commission

I finished this drawing a couple of days ago, she's a stunning looking dog. A "British Utonagan", she's a Malamute, Husky and German Shepherd cross. The name Utonagan means "Spirit of the Wolf" and it's a very apt name indeed as these dogs are bred for their wolf-like characteristics "without the wolf!". The Utonagan is yet to be accepted as an official breed by any of the major kennel clubs but founders of the British Utonagan Society are working on getting the breed officially recognized.

Ellie Mae, British Utonagan
Commission, A4.
Meg Ghyll © 2014

This portrait is a birthday gift. A commission is a very special one-off drawing and a unique way of capturing the character of a beloved family friend in pencil. I take on commissions all year round so if you're struggling for a birthday, anniversary or graduation gift then do get in touch. I usually like to allow four weeks for a portrait completion so the more notice you can give me before the big day the better. But if you think you've left it too late then don't despair, get in touch anyway as depending on my current workload I might still be able to squeeze you in :) There's more information on the "Commissions" link to the left of this blog, if you have any more questions I'll be more than happy to answer them!

Also, I'm now a member of the Association of Animal Artists (AAA)
(I finally got round to applying!) so a bit of a serious move for me! Onwards and upward as they say, I hope anyway :)

Guess what?! It's the weekend! Yussss :D Hope you all enjoy yours x

Monday, 10 February 2014

Miss Muddy Madam Malamute

Can't believe a whole week has passed since my last blog post!

So last week Miss Muddy Madam Malamute and I managed 21 miles and today, seeing as a rare frosty day was bestowed upon us we thought we'd make the most of it. It was planned for her to stay with us a few days this week also as her owner had to make another trip away but it turns out that trip was cancelled so she could go back home this evening.

Blue skies and next to no wind, a perfect walking day and an opportunity not to be missed. A Chaffinch was heard for the first time this year singing its little heart out in the trees, plenty of Blackbirds, Blue, Great and Coal Tits too. A local walk of 7.5 miles, mostly across very waterlogged fields and muddy farms but a route I've been wanting to explore for a while having not done much of it before. A fair number of Fieldfare and Redwing still about, the highlight of the walk included 4 Buzzards circling on the thermals at one time before going their separate ways. Too far away to get any decent pics typically. I caught sight of two more much later on in the walk but by then I'd of course put the camera away when the best photo opportunity arose!

All squeezed up next to each other, reminds me of the roost under Aberystwyth Pier from my uni days!
Pretty Snowdrops
...and what happens when you attempt photography in a Madam's presence? Sorry what was that? You prefer these pretty flowers to my company? We'll see about that!! #plonk# I kid you not. No snowdrops were harmed..too the making of this photo :/
Looking out towards Cowling, Lund's Tower to the left.

Weather looks to be a bit rubbish over the next couple of days so plenty of drawing to be done. I'm nearly finished with a commission and then a few projects in mind, got to keep those pennies rolling...!

Monday, 3 February 2014

House guest!

We are looking after a friend's Alaskan Malamute, I walk her often anyway but this is her first proper stay with us :) I thought I'd use her as a kick-me-into-touch aid, with the target of getting out and about doing some decent mileage walking. So today, 14 miles and gosh I'm achey! Someone seems more tired than me and bar from wolfing her tea down she's hardly moved since we got back!

I took the OS map and planned a vague route in completely alien territory for the most part. The dog and I had some right adventures! Normally my other half takes control of the map when we're out and about so it was really good practice for me to be chucked in at the deep end! We only got lost a couple of times...And trying to fit a broad shouldered dog through stiles just wider than my leg is amusing...and time-consuming! Not much wildlife seen really, a bit disappointingly but the weather was pretty good so can't complain. Everywhere the ground is absolutely saturated after the huge amount of rain we've had over the winter so far.  Highlights included a Roe Deer early on on a golf course, a few Red-legged Partridges (my first of the year, yey!) and a very smart pair of Goosander.

A few pics!

Looking across towards Silsden

Very old...any ideas what it is?
A very scenic resting-place anyway!

You can see Cowling's Salt & Pepper Pots to the left of the horizon!

And some Brown Jelly Fungi I believe!
One very mucky pup 14 miles later, don't know who's more tired, her or me!

As for artwork, I'm currently still working on a commission of a very pretty subject...And a lovely Canadian lady purchased mugs for my first overseas order, exciting stuff!

Bye for now :)