The Phoenix and the New Job

Well,  I got the job I went for a few weeks back and today I passed the health screening from the County Council Occupational Health Department, so come September I’m going to be working again!  I feel really lucky because it’s a really super school and the job fits what I’m able to do at the moment really well.

In celebration I thought I’d paint something.  I’ve just finished listening to the audiobook of J.K. Rowling’s Chamber of Secrets again and, since I go off to sleep listening to these stories, my dreams have been full of phoenix’s.  So here’s what I dreamed…



I painted this in watercolour.  It was a new experience of the medium for me.  Although I was aware of the fact that I was working in watercolour I continued to paint as if I were using gouache which really changed how things went.  I build the pcture up in layers – a background colour and then firey feathers over the top.  Finally I wanted just a little more definition at the end and  used ink to add some harder lines.  It’s not a typical watercolour type subject but it was kind of fun to do.


Alohomora – Wandmaking Adventures!

Today my little dog brought me home a stick.  She doesn’t often do this because she usually loses them really quickly – she’s not the cleverest dog in the world – in fact my Dad thinks she has the brains of an aubergine!


So I was about to put the stick into the rubbish when I saw how straight it was.  I wondered what I could make out of it.  I’ve been reading a lot of J. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ recently so I thought I’d try to make a wand out of it.  I got out my carving tools and had a go:


Here’s the stick in it’s ‘dog-scrounged’ form:

bonnie's stick

First I stipped the bark off:


Then I could see how good or bad the wood really was.  It wasn’t great…


Both ends were moulded and split:

end2 end1

But the stick was much longer than I needed so I cut those bad ends off:


And I began to carve a handle shape on the thicker end:


(In this picture you can also see my dog’s tooth marks in the wood!)

Once I’d got the basic shape I got out my Dremel and began to clean it up and smooth it out in earnest until it looked properly wand-like:

shaping fishined,jpg

The next job was to sand it, paint  and varnish it.  I decided to paint the handle only and leave the varnished wood on the main shaft.  I used acrylic paint – blue and gold – and Yacht Varnish for it’s high shine.  It took three days for the various coats of varnish to dry but here it is:


I might give this as a gift to a child who’s into Harry Potter.  I did try it 😉 but sadly it’s doesn’t do any magic – you just can’t get the unicorn hair these days!  Good fun for kids though.

Dobby – A Watercolour Portrait

I decided to do a portrait today of a personal hero – Dobby the House Elf (from Harry Potter).


I began with a sketch. I don’t know if you can see it (below), but made him smile a bit more – I wanted a happier elf.


And then began to paint.  I approached the actual painting in a series of discrete washes, starting from light coloured ones and moving towards darker coloured ones.  (This is a method I’ve read about in a Water colour book:


So here are some photos of the painting as it progressed.

dobbypaint1 dobbypaint2

And here it is finished:



Daniel Radcliffe as ‘Harry Potter’


I realised yesterday that I’ve made hardly any Harry Potter fan art.  So after tea last night I decided to sketch Harry.  My original idea was to sketch Harry talking to Hermionie in the Great Hall but then I saw this portrait of Harry and decided to sketch his face instead.  This was done with HB, B and 6B Wolff’s sketching pencils on printer paper.