Pinching Things

Molly and I had a plethora of fishy treats at the weekend on a visit to the Norfolk Coast. There are endless opportunities to nosh on something with the salty taste of the sea. The beaches there have more than than their fair share of rocky bottoms so the crabs are plentiful and I brought a whole crate home. I’ve been munching claws for every meal since and I’m surprised that my neighbour Ken hasn’t been around complaining about the noise of my cracks.
’A Case of Crabs Caught in Norfolk’ (2019)

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Pounding It Out

My neighbour Ken plays the keyboards for our local male pensioners’ voice choir ‘The Tena Tenors’ and I was delighted to see them perform at the weekend. You should see how Ken smashes at the keys for their rendition of Ace of Spades. It got me so worked up I was still quivering the next day when I painted this:
’Neighbour’s Relentless Organ Leaves Me Trembling’ (2019)

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Hot and Dripping

This was my Friday morning treat: A filter coffee at Gary’s café. I’d only gone in for him to have a look at my Blackberry but he was raving about some new beans from Brazil and instantly started grinding for me. Fortunately I had my mini watercolour set with me and I painted this on the spot:
’A Smooth Brazilian To Start The Day’ (2019)

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All Torn Up

It was my nephew’s 18th birthday and I was put in charge of entertainments. I’m well aware that the kids like all things ‘Retro’, so what could be better than a game of pin the tail on the donkey featuring a watercolour mule by yours truly? Well my nephew didn’t agree and, perhaps because he’d had one too many sherries, he ripped it up in a fury and said they would all play the xbox.
’Angry Nephew Tears My Ass To Pieces’ (2014)

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Morning Dumping

Painting can be cathartic. Frank and I hadn’t been getting on very well and I decided to join the Bridge Club Fun Weekend at the last minute. Molly was getting up to some disgraceful shenigans in the back seats of the coach and as it was a nice morning, I alighted at Sandra’s and walked back through the allotments. I turned into the alley behind my house to use the back gate when I saw all of Frank’s (admittedly pitiful) belongings. Our home looked so empty and Frank never came back in again, only returning later to load his stuff into his friends Transit. This watercolour was an important part of me grieving his departure.
’Ex-Boyfriend Shocks Me With His Junk In My Back Passage’ (2016)

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Fanny in a Flap

My Frank used to call pigeons “Rats with wings”. A few years back we were visiting the Palace of Westminster in London. We had just treated ourselves to a Mr Whippy when the quarter hour chimed from Elizabeth Tower. A flock of the vermin were startled by the sound and flew straight towards us, making me mess my oyster right down Frank’s trouser leg. Despite this, he managed to take a picture, from which I painted my watercolour later, AND keep his Screwball intact. It’s being renovated now and I can’t be the only one happy to see that bell end.
Nasty Birds Terrified by Big Ben’s Powerful Dong’ (2015)

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The Secret of Calm

Do you know the Secret of Calm? Somebody brought in a selection of inspirational pictures to the charity shop last Wednesday and it prompted me to create one of my own. We all have those moments where we need to let off some steam and knock out the stresses of the day. These are my tips for you to memorise, lie back, shut your eyes and see what comes.

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Fanny's Bloomers

I bought these antique bloomers from a market in Bayonne. They were in perfect condition except for what I can only assume are a few rust spots. Here they are flapping about in the wind, drying off in the garden. Frank always suggested putting some pearl buttons down the front so I looked like “one of those posh birds off Downton Abbey”
My Period Knickers’ (2018)

Gary's Milk Technique

My lovely web man is also a barista in the local coffee shop and I love watching him in action. He has many flourishes but my favourite is the way he wipes his little wand after working up the froth. I've painted his most important utensils that he uses to fill my cups. Doesn't he keep them shiny? I often find him hard at work, rubbing away. I'm fussy about my milk though and the shop only does full fat or skimmed so I give him a semi myself once a week.
An Impressive Pair of Jugs’ (2017)

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Puppy Love

Never too old for a time out, Kirsten, my sister’s eldest revealed her new tattoo at a family gathering. Disappointed with everyone’s reaction she went to sulk in the hallway. I felt sorry for her, but was relieved to discover her finding comfort with their new puppy and made a sketch of them while they cuddled from which I painted this piece.
’Naughty Niece Loves Doggie’ (2019)

So Springtumnal

Spring has officially sprung when the blue bells flower. This weekend I walked to the woods with my neighbour Ken’s dog. Our destination: this beautiful but fleeting blue bell patch. I don’t know if it has a name so I made one up for my painting. I showed it to my lodger and he said “I think it’s balls”. How rude.
’Blue Bell End’ (2019).

Strictly PG

My Frank had a very strict morning routine. A bowl of All Bran and tea in his “big mug”. I have drunk exclusively leaf tea for most of my life but Frank was convinced he got a better flavour from those infernal bags. One compulsion he had was what he called “The Scrunch” which he said got the last bit of flavour out but, as you and I know, only bruises the leaves. Does anybody else do The Scrunch? Anyway, here is my watercolour memory of Frank’s breakfast ritual which I call:
”Teabagging Boyfriend Squeezes Out Every Last Drop” (2019)

Fanny in a Jam

Hello my dears. Spring is here and last week I decided to make some conserves for charity stall at the fun run. I was reminded of last summer when I made a whole batch with the plums from Ken-next-door’s tree. My jam pan was almost frothing over! I’d just done the wrinkle test and realised I’d used almost all my seals and pretty cloth covers. In the end I only had three jars to donate and Ken and I were spooning for the rest of the year from my largest Tuperware. This is my painted memory called
“The Day I Ran Out Of Jam Rags” (2018).

Pampered Gran

How I chuckled when I popped around to see my friend from choir, Molly. Her granddaughters were visiting and had coerced her into playing makeovers. Her face-pack looked astounding and Little Enid took a photograph on her apple phone so I simply had to paint a picture from it.
'Surprise Facial for Grandma’ (2016)

A Plucky Escape

My dear Daddy is a very musical man. His banjo was one of his prized possessions and he would often sit and pick out tunes on it after supper. When he turned 70, I thought it would be amusing to play Happy Birthday to him on it. Unfortunately the sherry had got the better of me and I strummed far too vigorously, putting it out of action and even drawing some blood so I put it outside before he found out. Here is a painting of that bittersweet memory.
I Snapped My Father’s Banjo String (2017)

Checking Out The Birds

My garden is at it’s most beautiful in the Spring. To my delight last year, my neighbour Ken popped round and was hanging a bird feeder so I commented on how full and heavy his nut bags looked. He corrected me and said they were called “Fat Balls”. From Wilko. Well whatever they are, the birds can’t get enough of the seeds within, so I spent an afternoon sketching and painting them getting their fill.
Tits Around Fat Balls (2018)

Handy Man

The chimney breast in my bedroom caved in on a very windy night in the storms of 2016. It made a terrible racket and I didn’t know what to do. Fortunately Ken from next door heard it collapse and the next day offered to plaster the damage. The sweetheart even moved my furniture and I painted him while he worked.
‘Neighbour Fills My Gaping Hole With Drawers Pulled To One Side’ (2016).