Cate's Journal

Welcome to Cate's World.

UPDATING EVENTS

Spring/Summer 2015

It has been a fair time since I have updated the news on this page as life has thrown a few challenges my way in terms of the health of my family and the sad losses of those dear.

Still, I am happy to say that things are almost back on track and I am ready to forge ahead with work once again.

Please do keep an eye out for new additions to the site and to these pages.

Latest Oil Painting : "Connemara King"





I LOVE LIVERPOOL
5 March 2013


The past few days have been spent in one of England's great cities: Liverpool. It's a place I can't get enough of!

Take a look at the album by scrolling down the home page and see a few clues as to why I love it.

There is a energy that seems to eminate from the streets themselves and the whole place is vibrant with creativity and good humour. There is a genuine down-to-earth warmth in Liverpool which wraps itself around anyone who is open to it....and once it's taken a hold - you're hooked!

It's been called the Capital of Pop Music - a term it richly deserves and I spent a couple of memorable nights rocking in the Cavern Club to the Cavern Beatles and other performers -



- but you'll find talented musicians performing at a multitude of venues and even busking all over the place in the city and on the waterfront.




The Walker and Tate Galleries provide a feast for the eyes to suit all tastes and small private galleries such as Rennies in Bold Street are also worth a visit for viewing local talent.

They know how to feed not just your artistic tastes, but your stomach too and there's always good food to be had around every corner. Even both the Cathedrals boast a place to cater for not just soul but body too... I can heartily recommend the traditional Scouse at The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King! Restaurants such as that of the Steak House of Marco Pierre White are second to none for high quality food impeccably cooked and served.

Of course, Liverpool is also famed for Football....and being a fan of Everton, I took in a match with Reading, which we won 3 - 1 ! The atmosphere in Goodison Park is electric but good humour and common sense prevail before, during and after the game and security is ensured by the Police, whose presence, mounted and on foot is reassuring and friendly.



Myself at Goodison Park

The Ferry trip over the Mersey is naturally something that HAS to be done and affords a grand view of the impressive skyline of old and new buildings and naturally makes for a great subject to capture on camera.

More than anything though, it's the people of this remarkable city who make Liverpool what it is. So many have worked so hard to rejuvenate and redevelop the place after the devastation of World War II and the ensuing social problems all too readily reported and sensationalised by the media over the decades since.
The people however, may now have many a smart new addition of fine buildings and great art, entertainement and business venues to their city, but their genuine warmth, friendliness and wry humour has not left them and this is what gives the city it's enormous personality and big heart.



Liverpool is a city who KNOWS HER OWN NATURE and is true to herself....unlike so many places which seem to have lost their identity to a cosmolmolitan influx.

It's this heart and soul which I find so intoxicating and I cannot wait to return.




[b}January 2012

It's been a while since the last entry in the blog and much has been happening behind the scenes as I search for potential premises out of which to work and sell. Over the autumn and Christmas period, I took a break from commissioned work to concentrate on other matters....but I am taking in orders again and the portraits are appearing on the easel once more.




HOUSE SELLS AT LAST! Autumn 2012

Well, after sixteen months of worry, La Pommeraie - the old house at St Clement - is finally no longer mine. I went to The Royal Court to pass contract last Friday. Owing to the murder trial in the Courtroom, we could not use the usual location and all with contracts going through went to the States Chamber instead, an uncomfortable place for the common peasantry up in "The Gods"! Then again, this was fitting perhaps as life's significant moments never run conventionally for me. I was, after all, Christened in a boys' school gymnasium as the Church was undergoing repairs....and even one of my wedding ceremonies took place on a prairie, conducted by a Preacher in a Stetson hat! The other, years before nearly didn't happen as it was, one way and another, delayed for nearly an hour by the aftermath of a GHASTLY party that went hideously wrong the night before....was gate crashed by a Private Investigator sent by a paranoid "ex"....interrupted by bin men emptying the trash in the area ....and to top ot all, I got food poisoning from oysters and we had to call a doctor with an anti-emetic injection on my honeymoon night.....to stop me throwing up! It left me so sedated, I don't recall the next 24 hours and my husband spent a lot of time drinking coffee with my mother!

Anyway, the house has gone.....the house next door which burned so suspiciously is gone in a literal sense....and so ends a lifelong connection to the Parish where I was born, but because it holds so many recent painful memories, I shall not be sorry to have no need to go down there again. I wish that sale might have happened nineteen months ago as things would be very different, but life squeezes us all into corners from which there looks to be no easy or even possible escape sometimes and sometimes our hands are forced into actions, the writing of words, the signing of documents and so on, which under other conditions, we would never have become involved. Under other curcumstances and less intense and at times, totally unbearable pressure, some of us might have been living very different lives. Who knows? I have managed to free myself from a massive responsibility but now comes the much needed sorting out of much and many issues....and for some of those, I fear it is far too late. I always think though, that success is not about what you have landed on your lap in life, it's about what you do with it or what you go out and discover or show the world you can do. It is also about how you deal with disaster, how much grace you summon in defeat and what you learn and take forward to a wiser life. It does help though, if you have supportive people to encourage you and not those who seek to limit you for their own comfort. Time to reject the latter and be grateful for the former. A new era dawns.

JUNE 25 2012 ARKADY



Much has happened since last I wrote on these pages. An accident, falling on the yard in the rain, onto my spine earlier this year( not from a horse! ), saw me out of action for a couple of months and following that, catching up with all I had not done whilst I was unable to to do it! In the last few weeks, though, I have undertaken a commission for a client in North Carolina - author Sharyn McIntyre, for a portrait of her husband Randy and his horse, Hank. An exciting undertaking which I am enjoying thoroughly.

I have also had a part in the life of another former racehorse - ARKADY. Arkady, a twenty one year old chestnut thoroughbred gelding, had many successes in his career, including twelve wins ans on two of these occasions he was partnered by jockey Frankie Dettori. After his racing career was over, Arkady became a riding horse but in recent times, his fortunes changed rapidly, it looked as if his race was run and he would face a final finishing line. Supported by two new friends, made whilst trying to publicise Arkady's need for a new home, I decided to have him come to stay on my yard, until such time as he could be found a permanent placing.....but truth be told, he has got his hooves firmly under the table in a little less than two weeks and he is very much part of the furniture and much loved! He recieves regular visits from Sasha and Anna, the two friends so instrumental in aquiring him and transporting him and has already seen much of their generosity in time spent with him, walking him out, grooming and caring for him and in the provision of hay and rugs. We are sharing the responsibility for his future and hope to set up a trust to ensure his security for the rest of his life. Arkady has a bank account into which donations for him may be deposited. 100% of funds will go towards the care of this beautiful, gentle and loveable horse.

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2012

Arkady has left our yard to graze with owner Anna's other horse and pony. We wish him all the best. It has been a pleasure ans priviledge to be a part of finding him a new start.


October 26 2011

POORLY PONY....HORRIBLE HACKERS...

Milly, my little Welsh Pony has a nasty bout of laminitis - for those who wonder, its something not unlike gout in humans, just as agonising but in the case of a horse or pony, potentially fatal. Inflammation in the soft tissues of the foot ( as a reaction to incomplete metabolism of matter eaten ) can cause them to break away from the hard hoof wall, and the bone in the centre of the foot can rotate being unsupported. This can cause permanent, painful and incurable lameness. Ending the life of the horse as a matter of kindness may be the eventual outcome as walking or even standing comfortably becomes impossible. Milly has not grazed for four years owing to increased sensitivty to rich Jersey grass over time. She is now approaching 20, her first bout of this condition was over 10 years ago, before we had her.We have managed to keep bouts to a minimum over the years by controlling what she eats but a new batch of hay set her off this time. She is currently on stable rest and "bute" to keep the inflammation and pain down. Not a happy girl and I have been worried sick about her. Meanwhile, the email account I had with hotmail.co.uk was hacked and spam of a bizarre and unpleasant nature was doing the rounds under my name. I have closed the account and now have the hotmail.com address I wanted: cate_hamilton@hotmail.com


A New Addition... August 2011



My Thoroughbred Irish Girl ~ True Red ( Redback -Red Trance (Soviet Star) Known to her friends as Anoushka

That empty stable was asking to be filled and so it is....by a beautiful young 4 year old, chestnut thoroughbred, " True Red", an ex racehorse from the yard of trainer Nikki Evans. She is settling in well after her trip from Abergavenny in Wales a couple of weeks ago with Bryan Elliott who did a marvellous job transporting her. Contact details will be added to the page of links as I can highly recommend his service. True Red, for those interested in Thoroughbreds, is by Redback out of a Soviet Star mare, Red Trance and ran sprints. At 15.1hh and at 4 years old, she was small and struggling with the handicappers' weights and her considerate conectioons wanted her to have a different career as a riding horse whilst she was still young enough. Racing's loss is my gain and she is now enjoying the summer with Jasper in my meadows and will come back into work when it cools down. She now has the stable name Anoushka. Our new girl was born in Westmeath at the Tally Ho Stud.

RACING AHEAD July 2011 ENOUGH sentimentality!!! IT has it's place, but it has had it's day and I am moving on.....in various ways! The HOUSE MOVE is almost complete now and my family and I and all the animals are happily settling into the depths of the Trinity countryside! The house overlooks it's own meadows with a spring rising at the head of the little valley which slopes gently away to the trees, it runs into a large pond upon which wild Mallards often settle...and then out into a stream that waters the land well, so despite the drought like conditions here in Jersey, we have lush grazing.....almost TOO lush for greedy Jasper, whose appetite is being restrained by electric fences! We have a great little stableyard with four big boxes, two of which are used by Jasper and Milly.....one is a store at present....and one is vacant.....hmmmmm!!!! There is another stable and store, newly built by John, at a distance for the two little Shetland Stallions, Billy and Ginger. This is one of the most tranquil places I have ever been in Jersey. No immediate neighbours and views across the whole Parish....just tree tops and farmland. In the morning and evening, the blackbirds serenade us and as we have no tv connected yet, the PEACE is incredible! There has been a lot of trauma in the run up to this move....over three YEARS.....and only now is it beginning to abate a little. Looking forward to getting Art work underway in such a beautiful place and inviting clients over.....you cannot fail to be inspired! I have some projects I have started, a commission involving a sport at breakneck speed - watch this space......it is still a secret........and MUCH work ahead in another sporting field, very familiar to me....HORSE RACING!! If you enjoy my sporting art, then watch this space!! Images up soon, but I have no internet connection at the new house yet, so no way of posting unless I am at the old office! Bear with me please!! Also, as I am updating on an ipad, which will not scroll in the boxes on this Photium site, please also forgive any typing errors until I can read what I have written and correct it!!! MAC, you slipped up there!!!

Thank you to my Feather Fan!

Three years ago I bought a big black feather hat from Barnado's Charity Shop as I can't resist a bargain and earmarked this beauty for Ladies' Day at the Races.....to which I duly wore it some months later, teamed with a 50s style polka dot dress, peep toed red sandals and white gloves. I won a prize and the picture went up on my news page.it received a very flattering number of hits......but two and a half years later....and buried beneath dozens of news entries.....that story and shot are STILL top of my viewing stats! This can only mean that someone knows what it is and where to find it and I would like to say THANK YOU and PLEASE keep visiting! You make me feel appreciated! I never fail to be amazed at what my most popular images are here and the albums which are viewed the most. Again.....thank you to those who pop back and look on a frequent basis......those pictures are my favourites too.....and always will be.

EVERYTHING BUT.... The old house now belongs to someone else and I wish them well. It truly is the end of an era for me and the start of another for the new occupant

HERE WE GO? A provisional date has been given for the transactions that would see the close of an era. I was born and have lived nearly all my life in the Parish of St Clement. My children have grown up here and I have spent the last sixteen years in the house in which my family currently lives, the last eleven shared with Billy and Ginger the miniature ponies for who I always wanted more space.....but when Milly developed a chronic case of laminitis, I brought her home to nurse her and she has been here for the last four years too! Last Christmas saw the loss of my grazing when our elderly friend passed away and the farm changed hands......so Jasper joined us as a temporary measure. Life has been a little cramped in my minimalist paddocks! A move will see all our equines with an idyllic meadow, divided by a brook running down to a valley and flanked by shady trees and although they probably won't appreciate it, one of the finest views I have ever seen stretching across the very heart of Jersey's rural countryside.....all I could have ever wanted and the thought is very exciting. If this comes about, it will close a chapter of uncertainty that began three years ago, a time when many changes looked poised to take place and then stalled, when hopes were raised and dashed and dreams were awakened to a cold reality in the unforgiving light of day. A time of unprecedented experiences, gains and losses which have taken their toll on the whole family and still leave me lying awake at night wondering about so much. It began with the sudden and devastating illness of a close relative and the trauma of seeing this person unable to return home to live independently. It continued with my return to the world of banking to ensure family security, then the change back to producing paintings and photographs as I abandoned prospects of an entirely different life as it became clear that the needs of my family outweighed all other considerations. Returning to a home based career has been difficult and The time I spent considering seriously my other options has coloured my life significantly. Much has been gained, much lost and even more learned. Those people instrumental in bringing me to this point will be valued always and there are some whom it saddens me deeply to think I will leave behind, almost certainly for good......and others.....well, who knows what fate has in store? Meanwhile, I have a skip arriving shortly, so there is little time for sitting around and reminiscing as there is a great deal of clearing to be done! Even if all goes pear shaped....AGAIN....the clearance of a LOT of obsolete "STUFF" from my attic and even from my life is a bit overdue and it will be a good job finished. ....and just to add to the issues of the current time, I seem to have lost the internet connection of my main PC and MAC.....so no images will be posted for a while. It occurs to me if it is a glitch in the subscription department, I should leave it until after a move.....when and if it all goes to plan. I am typing this on my ipad....on which I cannot find a scroll key!!!!grrrrr! So please forgive typos! By the time I return here to post an entry, I may have a change of address to post too! Wishing everyone a good end to March and a hopeful start to April! ~Cate

A MOVING EXPERIENCE? If there is anything certain about life, it is that NOTHING IS CERTAIN! A couple of weeks ago, I had all but given up on the notion of selling a house and moving....taking a holiday in Africa instead and resigning myself to being somewhat stuck in the location in which I have lived for the last sixteen years..... Well, as I said, nothing is certain, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that a sale and a purchase will go ahead. All very nerve wracking but it may mean a very different outlook in many ways for me and for my family, including the furry members, who ~ if all goes according to plan, may have a LOT more room to kick up their heels. Please wish us well.....and watch this space!

"WORK IN PROGRESS" Gets Underway I thought it may be a good idea to show visitors to the site how the ideas for a project get off the ground and how the paintings develop from the first brush strokes, so I have added a "WORK IN PROGRESS" feature to my pages. A Lioness Takes Shape You will find it here: http://catehamilton.photium.com/page16238.html Please take a look!

ON THE PROWL I may not have been to Africa....YET....but I have seen a good many lions elsewhere. This is one such lioness. oils on canvas, 30" x 30" Some of them have looked somewhat uncongruous in their environments as they lounged under English Oaks in the lush grass of a temperate maritime climate ....and I hesitate to enter the debate over whether or not they should be there....but I will ask THIS: How many people really realise how long they can live under English Oaks and how healthy they remain and then I will ask if the wild is such a utopia where virtually all cubs are killed when a new male lion takes over a pride....where the old male is often left injured and unable to hunt well enough to feed himself and may starve to death or die slowly and painfully of his injuries in the fight for the pride he lost, with maggots eating him alive as they infest his wounds, where hunters and poachers still kill his kind or his prey animals regardless of the law or environmental concerns, where tick fever, TB and a host of other naturally occurring fatal illnesses can kill a lion in a prolonged and agonising fashion....? I am NOT suggesting that lions are better off in safari parks instead of in the wilds of Africa. It is after all, only because these magnificent cats evolved in the harsh conditions of the wild there that they became the awe inspiring animlas we all admire so much. However, I AM ASKING if the life of a captive bred lion in a huge park who is part of a pride family, always fed and whose health and psychological well being is monitored constantly by knowledgeable and caring people, who is never involved in battles for supremacy with other marauding lions or then sustains life threatening injuries, has to endure famines, droughts, deprivation of habitat and prey, diseases and so on.....is really so bad? The wild really does select the strongest and fittest to survive all the demands it imposes and challenges it raises and this natural selection DOES ensure that the finest live to breed and strengthen the species....but how many of us really think about what this entails when we rush to condemn life in captivity for those born there? Captivity is unnatural. Controlled and safe environments and Veterinary care are artificial interventions in natural selction. The Wild is NATURAL, a place to roam freely but also to be injured, fall prey to disease, fall foul of hunters, be stricken by failure of rains, loss of habitat and food and ultimately to be devoured by others...yes, all natural but not always as nice as we'd all like to believe. A DREAM OF AFRICA I have spent the best part of this month with wildlife frequently on my easel and constantly on my mind! My dream now is to visit South Africa and in particular the SHAMWARI GAME RESERVE on the Eastern Cape. Here are to be found two of the Born Free Sanctuaries whose work I should dearly love to see for myself. I would also like to see the wildlife rehabiliatation work of the Tenikwa Centre which specialises in smaller cats such as Caracals and Black Footed Cats. They are of course most famous for their Cheetahs who do much to raise awareness of the plight of this small Big Cat which is also endangered in the wild. This trip would be a VERY exciting and motivating idea which I hope may come to pass sooner rather than later! BORN FREE After a chaotic couple of years with many family concerns taking my time, the return ( for a thankfully short spell! ) to the world of banking, followed by a return to Art, I admit to having struggled to find direction again. Sometimes, when you think you lost your way a while back and are searching for the right road ahead, it's not a bad idea to backtrack to the last point you were certain of yourself and your purpose and knew that things were going well....and sometimes, it is not so daunting to look back to the very beginning and recall what motivated you so much that you were compelled to take a course of action. This is not always appropriate as much changes in life and of course, many people who are central to your life change too but when it comes to a prime directive, this seldom changes ~ the priorities that made you what you are or at least prompted the development of the best aspects of your life. If there are those things in life you are proud of, it really is good to remember and sometimes on the strength of that , refresh your motivation. In my case, when I look at the best of my own life (discounting my family, who will always come first! ) ~ my artwork involving animals and work for their welfare have always remained the common themes. Some of the most inspiring moments of my life have been linked either directly to animals or to those inspirational people who work with them or for them. Key figures I have admired include Joy and George Adamson who famously raised the lioness Elsa, the subject of the best selling book and highly acclaimed film, "Born Free" and also Virginia McKenna and her real life husband Bill, who portrayed the Adamsons in the film and who instigated the Born free Foundation in Elsa's memory. Lately, I have also come to be inspired by their son Will who also works for the foundation to raise awareness of the plight of abused animals, kept in unnatural and often heartbreaking conditions in run down zoos around the world, far from their natural environments, malnoursihed and neglected. The Born Free Foundation works hard to raise funds to help rescue, rehabilitate and restore these creatures, such as lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, bears, apes and others to their native lands and where possible, their liberty in the wild. Closer to home, I am inspired by the work of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, founded over 50 years ago as the Jersey Zoo by Naturalist, Author and Broadcaster Gerald Durrell which seeks to conserve the habitats of rare species in their native lands and raise awareness of this work locally and globally from their base on the island. I have decided that there can be few worthier causes for anyone such as myself, who is awed by the beauty and dignity of the world's most magnificent creatures and who is concerned for their diminishing environments. I am resolving to try to help these causes in 2011 through Art ~ so watch this space! Meanwhile, take a look at the incredible work of the Born Free Foundation at: http://www.bornfree.org.uk/ See an amazingly powerfu; film of Elsa's story and all she inspired to this very day at BBS iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ybvz1/Natural_World_20102011_Elsa_The_Lioness_that_changed_the_World/ The work of the Durrell Wildlife Concervation Trust may be seen here: http://www.durrell.org

2011 and New Year begins on a sombre note I could think of better starts to a new year....in fact, I could think of better ways to see an old one out....All in all the festive season has been ANYTHING but festive in this part of the world. A week before Christmas, the lovely lady who had leased me a field for Jasper, our Connemara X, fell ill very suddenly and unexpectedly. She passed away on Boxing Day and meanwhile all six of her Arabian Horses were put to sleep. I was stunned and I certainly was not alone in that reaction. All our local community were shocked to the core. The horses were those that remained after this lady's long and happy lifetime breeding fabulous Arabs and Anglo Arabs. These remaining ones were all quite elderly and apparently it had been her wish that her little herd , at their advanced ages, were not to be separated or fall into lesser hands than hers and should anything ever happen to her, they were to euthanised and laid to rest on the farm. Although the local equestrian community would have stepped in very willingly to try to rehome them, it is impossible to go against the wishes of someone who had seen all these animals born at her home and had raised them and loved them for nearly thirty years in the case of the eldest ones. Her relatives were adamant that her wishes be carried out swiftly ... and so they were. All the same, it is very difficult for her friends to come to terms with decisions made and carried out so rapidly. The horses found their final rest three days before the passing of their owner, whose illness had been pronounced final. My daughter and one of the elderly but still very beautiful Arabians a little earlier this winter I attended the funeral a few days later with my family and a dear friend and could not help but shake my head when I saw the florist's choice of flowers on the casket. The little yellow miniature chrysanthemums in amongst tulips and other blooms looked EXACTLY LIKE RAGWORT, the notorious and noxious pasture weed all us horse owners spend hours a year digging out by the roots and burning as it is leathal to our animals! This lady had been a very green fingered gardener and I could almost see her poking the hapless flowers and laughing at the irony! She had a philosophical and humorous approach to life and bless her, she would have seen the funny side. For this lady and her horses, I will not add "rest in peace" as this would have been the LAST thing such a vibrant soul would have wanted....together with her beautiful Arabians, I hope she is galloping free once more, where there is no age or pain to slow any of these wonderful free spirits. Bless You dear friend, until we meet again.

Were that not enough, my entire family and myself included, were struck with the flu virus, a particularly virulent strain, which if any attenpt is made to return to normal activities too soon, it returns with a vengeance as we have found to our costs and we are STILL trying to shake off secondary bugs which have followed it. I suppose, under the circumstances, we were all a bit low and it has not helped that Jasper is now without his field and has come home to live, on a temporary basis, in our Welsh mare Milly's bare paddock which she needs to be in with all food weighed and measured as she is a chronic laminitic. ( For those who are not aquainted with this horrid condition, it is a bit like gout in humans, where by-products of too rich a diet ( ironically grass! )cause swelling in the tissues of the feet. In a horse's case, the hoof restricts the soft tissue's movement and the pressure can distort the bones of the foot which can prove fatal. Milly was laminitic when we had her and we have spent the last nine years attempting to ensure she does not get it again! ) Jasper, to his credit, has adapted well and the only problem is that he is VERY excitable when taken out to ride as he doesn't have so much room to gallop about as he is used to....and as yet, I do not trust him on the beach, neither is there any strength in my arms after all this flu! Still, the sun is out, the days are longer and the buds are evident on the trees, bulbs are pushing up through the earth and the grass - and sadly the weeds - are growing! SPRING IS ON THE WAY ! This MUST be the case as my German Shepherd Dog Alf is MOULTING for Britain! Today I raked a good refuse sack full of falling fur out of his coat....but I have to say, he now looks GREAT! Yes, coats are falling and Spring is stirring ...in Jersey at least!

A SPARKLING SHOW! Friday 24 September 2010 What better way to lift the spirits than to be met with a cold nose, a canine smile and a wagging tail.....or to play an uplifting song and dance until you are breathless.....or better still....why not combine the two? Kaieleee the Collie pup has not an inkling of what I am planning for HER! We are doing well at obedience classes and already she will do heel work off the lead in the presence of a dozen tumbling, raucous youngsters at the weekly puppy classes whilst keeping her focus entirely on me. After the trials I experienced with Bryn, my other red and white collie when we always seemed to be in the "naughty coner" for his own safety and that of others, Kaielee is an angel in a fur coat who loves everyone, human and canine and is loved by all in return! This weekend saw the chance to watch dogs and their handlers from all over the UK, from novices to advanced competitors taking part in "Canine Come Dancing", a Heelwork to Music and Freestyle competition and Gala show organised by local resident and star of the Canine Freestyle World and television's "Underdog Show", Donelda Guy. An inspiring and entertaining time was enjoyed by dogs and their people and even Kaielee came and sat quietly near me to watch for part of the afternoon. I was pretty occupied with photography and a kind friend stepped in to babysit the pup as I snapped. The results can be seen in the galleries and meanwhile, Kaielee and I are making games of training for ten minutes a few times a day and I am determined we are going to have as much fun as the dogs and owners taking part this weekend. Hopefully, one day we will end up as dancing partners. I am already listing my favourite songs that have a bit of that "Old Razzle Dazzle"! It has also made me determined to persevere more with Bryn as he could also be more successful and confident than he is ~ if not quite as obliging as Kaielee! And in closing, I am happy to add that after after the nasty shocks of recent times, I am relieved that a couple of friends have come to Jasper's rescue and mine with offers of solutions. I would like to express my own gratitude and that of my family. Jasper, mercifully, remains unaware of the careless whims of some although I am happy to say, at least I have had my faith in human nature restored by the generosity of others!

Tuesday 14 September 2010 A terrible shock. After months of being told that our family pony had a home assured him for good, I was then informed out of the blue, with only two weeks notice that Jasper will be without his regular care on which we depend and possibly even a home after this point. I feel used. My livery cost me what it cost those who charged it to lease the whole yard area they used for their own animals as well as our pony and so Jasper, the only livery, effectively afforded them the place for free. They have only just told me that they are going, after making sure they had their rent for this month from MY livery costs. This means they are leaving me without two weeks care already paid for....and for which I have a mind to counter charge THEM. Why are people SO dishonest and nasty? Anyone know anyone with a field....seriously. I would be grateful. I am a good tenant with references and honest and reliable. tel 07829 746944

Monday 13 September 2010 View of St Catherine's breakwater just before the start of the 20 mile Walk ahead. On Sunday, a beautiful day with a much welcomed cool breeze, together with nearly 400 others, I took part in the actual Great North Coast Challenge Sponsored Walk in aid of "Help an African School Child" and knocked and hour and a quarter off the practice time! I'm pleased with myself and grateful to my sponsors who donated £ 185 at short notice on the day....but the donations keep rolling in! Thank you all. You know who you are! Thinking about Itex next year.....may just stay thinking...it's another 18 miles....!

Monday 6 September 2010 I have taken up distance walking! Yards from the finish after 8 hours 45 minutes and 20 miles! Over the last couple of years or so, the legal complications and other issues involved in taking over the affairs of an elderly family member, no longer able to deal with matters themselves, has left my nerves frayed and jangling....to the point where, although a proper holiday this year was not feasable, SOME sort of break HAD to occur for the sake not only of MY sanity but that of my family! I took a month off work, on medical advice and wanting a natural solution to the stress that was making life difficult, I took up walking....and Bryn, my Red and White Border Collie and I, have never been fitter! Of course, I have always walked the dog....dog owners DO that! However, possibly not for the distances that have become the norm for me. Bryn comes with me most of the time but not this weekend. This Sunday, as a practice run for the Great North Coast Challenge, I walked ( without Bryn ) the 20 miles of cliff paths that make up the route. I managed it ( with a lunch hour! ) In 8 hours, 45 minutes and was quite pleased with that! Meanwhile, I am back at the easel and I am working on several projects: Collie studies including my own dogs, figure studies and landscapes which I hope may prove popular in the run up to Christmas. I have also started taking commissions again for Christmas.It has already started to get budy, so if there is anything you might like portrayed for a special someone please get that order in FAST before I am booked up!

9 August 2010 We now have another member in our family ~ KAIELEE the Border Collie. When my family lost our lovely Dobermann girl Diana, the whole family lost a playful, intelligent and loveable dog who has been very sorely missed.....especially by 3 year old Bryn our red and white Collie who features in the portfolios on this site with our German Shepherd, Alfie. I decided we ought to have another Collie as few other dogs would keep up with Bryn, who badly misses a playmate, Alfie being a rather more sedate, senior gentleman most of the time these days at 10 years old. Wanting to find a pup who could get to know us during the summer months and be easily taken out and about, soicalised and house trained during the kinder weather, I began to look and found an attractive litter of Border Collies in Gloucestershire, ready to go to new homes at the beginning of August. I arranged to go and see them and so on 3rd August, I went to meet her and a couple of days later, after a welcome break in the beautiful Forest of Dean ( one of my favourite places in England ), Kaielee came down in the car and across to Jersey on the ferry. Travelling with a puppy can be nerve wracking and Kaielee complained very loudly for the first half an hour, but the journery was broken up with frequent stops and a pub lunch when she slept under the table on the lawn outside . It was upsetting to have to leave her in the dog cage in the car but she seemed none the worse for the trip ( I was a nervous wreck! )and slotted into life at home from the moment she arrived. The introductions to the other animals were made slowly, with plenty of treats handed out to the older dogs the first few times they met her to convince them that good things happened when she was around....and all went smoothly. Just a few days later and the naughty little pup is swinging on Bryn's tail and racing under the chairs where she KNOWS he cannot follow and nipping at his paws! To Bryn's credit, he is very tolerant and of course, VERY willing to play with her. The big smile on his face and his wagging tail says it all. I haven't seen him like this since last Christmas, before Diana developed the agressive lymphoma that was to bring her time with us to a close after 12 1/2 happy, healthy years. Alf just sits happily in his corner, enjoying a bit of peace and watches the crazy collies do their thing! Oddly enough, Demeter, the Siamese cat who barely tolerates Bryn, does not mind Kaielee and the two have been seen sharing the sofa quite amicably! I shall be booking Kaielee into the vet's today for her vaccinations and will be looking forward to puppy classes when she is a little older and the whole host of canine activities that can be enjoyed here with active clubs such as the Alsatian ( GSD) Training Club, which I have attended with Bryn. A friendly, confident and outgoing pup already, Kaielee's social diary is already filling up for the next YEAR....she just doesn't know it yet!! Watch this space and Kaielee's progress as there are sure to be plenty of updates and pictures on this loveable and fun filled girl! 14 July 2010

Heartwarming Herring Gull Most people have their dog or cat curl in the in office if they work from home....but being me, that's a little too predictable. This is my friend the Herring Gull who was hatched on my flat roof four or five summers ago in a heat wave. The girls and I took pity on the single chick who was clearly distressed by the temperatures and we took it water in bowls to cool off in and for it to drink....and extra food so the parents could keep their baby alive....and it seems this bird imprinted on ME as much as it's parents and has returned every year....with partner and raised a family. Now some would say that Gulls are noisy, nasty birds, but "mine" has been an endless souce of amusement at his/her ( not sure! ) antics and is friendly and not threatening to me or my daghters in the least though happily not so trusting of others. Some just would not understand and might harm a Gull that appeared too "familiar"....an easy target for annoyance at others of this kind. Still, this wild creature is heartwarming in his friendship with my family and follows me like a dog, and not just for food as he is well stuffed enough to keep him and his family quiet and contented. He comes and just " hangs out" with me in my office when I leave the door open. I think he IS a "he" ....and he is just avoiding the "housework" and the "kids" and leaving it all to his wife to care for their chicks as he HIDES out with me! Yes, he IS a MAN!

12 July 2010

Breathtaking Birds of Prey These images here are of the beautiful birds belonging to ye Old retail Falconry Display team. For some time now, Birds of Prey have held a special fascination for me. I used to graze the family ponies at a field where Barn Owls hunted regularly. I believe there was a pair although they did not appear together. They were mesmerising to watch, silent, focused and graceful. One would always be sitting on a fence post in the early morning and the evening and would watch for prey in the grass as my daughters and I completed chores and we all enjoyed their beauty and quiet, dignified presence. When checking the horses after dark however, the owls were not quite so reserved and at twilight or later, when they hunted the most, often one would swoop over the Landrover as I drove up the track and screech at me. I tried to complete the tasks of the day before "their" time as I did not like to disturb them, but occasionally I would coast down the top track in the Landy with the engine off, just to a bird sail over me like a ghost. That summer saw a myximatosis outbreak amongst the rabbit population in our area and the larger prey for a pair of Marsh Harriers and Sparrow Hawks was then in short supply as the bigger birds started to feast upon the usual diet of the smaller ones. All were now in competition for the rats, mice and voles and the Owls, took to hunting in the daylight.....and this was the downfall of one little owl, I am sure.... I missed this beautiful bird over days and nights and kept a particular eye out to see if I could spot my quiet friend.....but all to no avail.....until I changed the horses over from one field to another and as I led my mare in to graze in her new paddock, I spotted a pair of wings and a skull. The surprisingly small skull had sustained a fracture to the rear of the cranium and had been stripped bare. The wings were intact. I have always been of the opinion this little bird fell foul of the needs of a larger hunter, possibly the Sparrow hawk, also out to earn a living for her family from the ever dwindling rodent population that summer. I buried the skull but could not bring myself to commit to the cold earth those soft tawny and white feathers that should be so lightly riding the air. I asked advice on preserving them, and salted and air dried them.....and I have them to this day.....the wings the owl left me. They flank a sphere of crystal in a display cabinet and remind me of an enchanted time I shared with my children and their ponies in a secluded little valley near our home and of the marvellous but merciless birds that hunted there. Nature has no rights and wrongs, only the need to survive and only the strongest do. The little Barn Owl, died as she lived ~ as part of the hunt, only this time, she was the prey instead of the predator. I sadly did not see so much of the remainiing bird and was obliged to change location with the ponies not long after this, but when we moved elsewhere, I was delighted to see that an owl lived in the barn at this farm and every evening at twilight would swoop over the granite wall and off into the adjoining fields to hunt. Some years have passed now and although I have once again moved our remaining pony at livery, I am now pleased to note that an owl has moved in not far from us and can be seen gliding over the studio on quiet evenings....and when I cannot see her....I hear that unmistakably screeching call.... ********************************************************************** My daughters were both introduced to birds of prey at an early age. At a local attraction, Samares Manor, a Falconer would give a display daily during the summer months which included Harris Hawks, Lanner Falcons a magnificent European Eagle owl named Bart ( my favourite! ) and an entertaining Black Vulture named Igor. Both my girls have experienced Bart perching on their gloved hands and felt the soft breeze of his wingbeats as he flew over their heads....they were probably around four and five years old at the time and Bart looked nearly as big as they were! Owls remain my favourite birds and thanks to Harry Potter, their popularity is unquestionably on the rise. It is wonderful that Falconry generally receives such a good reception and that my favourite birds, the owls, are so very admired. Hedwig deserves many thanks! One of my next projects will involve owls as it will be an interpreatation of the strength and grace embodied by the Goddess of Greek Myth, ATHENA, whose consort is the Owl. Traditionally. Athena's bird would be a Little owl....but anyone who is familiar with this bird will know that as the name suggest, the owl itself is small and rather unremarkable compared to some of it's cousins.....and unfortunately, it has an air about it that makes it looks like it has been the subject of TAXIDERMY even if it's very much alive! My depiction of Athena then will either feature a etherially beautiful Barn Owl which will emphasise the feminine strength of Athena, or the impressive presence of an Eagle Owl .....watch this space!

For those who would like to see more of the owls feautred here and other breath taking birds of prey, please visit the Galleries and the section on BIRDS to see the awesome birds of Ye Olde Redtail Falconry Display team who recently performed at Jersey's West Show. Please also see my "links" page for information on their website.

19 06 2010 SPRING ROLLS INTO SUMMER Time flies, so they say, while you're having fun and if that is true, then being busier than ever must be so exciting that I am too exhausted to notice the fun I MUST be having! I have had a number of more personal issues to address including the continued renovation of the house and the handling of some matters I took over for an elderly relative. This coupled with photography and painting has meant that my time has been VERY overstretched. It seems that the rest of the world has a similar problem as only days away from MIDSUMMER, Jersey held a SPRING Fair ! (Well this IS Jersey! ) Now on that occasion, I did take time to socialise and chat to old friends.....but still ended up working and photographing dogs , both in the Show Ring at the "Fun Dog Show" ( pictures in the Galleries )and out of it for my own "SCRUFFTS" initiative. It doesn't really feel like Summer yet, although Springs rolls on and the Island is in full bloom. The days are long, but the Easterly winds keep a chill in the air, even in June! 26 04 2010

A Little Piece of Paradise This year has seen an increase in work load with some wonderful commissions to paint but also a charity iniative to support a cause dear to my heart ~ Greyhound Rescue for which I have undertaken to run the "SCRUFFTS DOG OF THE YEAR" photo dog show, details of which are to be fund on the main site. All these developments are very exciting and I am thoroughly enjoying them! I suppose, having so much to attend to though, my thoughts have wondered back to much travelling that I did last year around the beautiful region of Lake annecy in the French Alps. This is an area particularly beloved of my parents and somewhere I passed some memorable holidays when I was a child. I would happily live here in this little piece of Paradise, although the reality of the needs of my family growing up here in Jersey are of paramount importance.....so maybe not just yet.....but I still wistfully dream .... Can you blame for sometimes still wanting to just close my eyes and wish....and open them to find myself here.....?

01 10 2009 HOUNDS AND HORSES HIT HEADLINES Today saw the publication of the article to highlight the plight of ex~racing animals and the Art intiative to help them. Take look at the "News" page for the details!

HELPING HOUNDS Well, the project I wanted to get off the ground is "flying" at last! See the "NEWS" area for details. Painting Malarky the greyhound from the "Greyhound Rescue" sanctuary in St Brelade Jersey, has been on my list of "must dos" for a while and I am delighted to see his portrait completed. It will publicise the initiative to get more Canine Portraits painted, with a gift from each donated to Greyhound Rescue and also prints will be available of the painting ~ either giclee on etching paper, to be framed behind glass, or as a canvas box print.All profits to go to the charity. Both types, unframed, will be available to be delivered anywhere you might wish! I also have a portrait of my German Shepherd Dog, Alfie on the easel now and he also will be printed in similar fashion , again to raise funds for needy dogs. ....eventually, I MAY get my Annecy phots up on this site!!

CHRISTMAS IS COMING I am now back again from Annecy and hope to have the album of photographs from the trip up on the site soon, but with over 1000 shots to edit, progress is not going to be overnight! I am also planning my usual Christams Gift initiative for Greyhound Rescue and Greatwood ~ please see the "NEWS" section of the site for details.

Freddie RedCat ( Rymarose Suchanight to give him his official name ! ) our gorgeous new kitten, travelled with his breeder Rosemary Woolfenden to the Three Counties Cat show in Southampton earlier this month and won Best Kitten in Show! Well done Fred and Rosemary! Meanwhile back at the ranch, it's a pre Christmas spring clean ~ or autumn clean I suppose ~ to clear the decks for the Christmas orders! My daughters had good results in the A and AS levels, so the summer is closing on a high note for them. Wishing everyone a good final few weeks of warm weather! ~Cate

BACK BEHIND THE EASEL July 7 2009 After a break which lasted from September last year until last month owing to ill health in my family and the need to attend to a good many responsabilities connected to this, I am back behind the easel and delighted to be working again as an Artist. I gave the finance industry my best shot, but it was almost inevitable that I should return to this work. I have a number of exciting projects coming up and will share them as they progress. I am planning a trip to Annecy in the French Alps later this month and expect to have a great deal of inspiration from this. I have already visited twice this year, once in February and again at Easter and I already have countless photographs to add to forthcoming albums on this site.

Annecy, February 2009

I have also added to my family and have a gorgeous Red Tabby British Shorthair kitten named Freddie. Albert will always hold a special place in my heart but I was ready to share my home with another "Golden cat"....and Freddie just happened to have had his picture posted at the vet's the morning I took my dog to be vaccinated.....FATE!

Freddie June 30 2009

GREYHOUNDS WALK FOR GUNNER September 6 2008 Gunner the Greyhound lived all of his 11 years in a shed and wired compound. He never made it to the track.Because of his deprived living conditions, Gunner had behavioural problems, arthritis and other health issues. Luckily for Gunner, his pight was to come to the attention of Gail and Malcolm Hickmott of Greyhound Resce, Jersey. Gunner now lives in comfort, a well loved and cared for member of "The Gang" of hounds at the Sanctuary in St Brelade. He still has health problems but will live out his days as a much wanted dog. My daughter, Caroline and I went on the sponsored walk through St Helier for All the Gunners of this World" , as Gail put it , to raise funds and awareness. The rain held off and it was a very happy afternoon spent wih around FORTY hounds and some lovely owners and supporters. Gail had asked me to photograph the event and over 40 pictures are now in the portfolio dedicated to GUNNER'S WALK.


TILLY TURNS SUPERMODEL August 1 2008 Recently, Tilly, a gorgeous Cocker Spaniel Puppy was the subject of a photoshoot I really enjoyed! Her kind owner, Nina, gave her permission for Tilly to help promote "Puppy Packages" to help Greyhounds.

You can see more of the results in Tilly's Album in the Gallery and also read about the promotion in "News". I hope the idea will take off, especially with the Christmas market just around the corner...,yes, honestly....as soon as we hit the middle of August, some of my clients start to book work and it's probly just as well as I'm already booked until the end of September with a couple of orders to go out in November too!

ROCKIN' HORSES STEAL THE SHOW July 12 & 13 2008 The two day West Show, held in St Peter, Jersey went with a real swing thanks to so much hard work by all the organisers and exhibitors.....and the audience was wowed by the incredibly skillful stunt riding of the Rockin' Horse Team, led by Guido Louis. You can see the pictures from the show in the Gallery. The Rockwood Dog Display Team also entertained the crowds with their marvellous variety of talented canines from a tiny Yorkie who could beat the German Shepherds over obstacle courses to a Rottweiler who retrieved a flaming dumbell. A sunny weekend full of smiles and great photo opportunities!

July 4 2008 Despite the threat of rain, I went down to the beach at Grouville to photograph a beautiful chestnut Trakehner, Bluewood Hamamelis ~ or "Hamster" to his friends. The weather held and his lovely owner, Nicci Drabble was full of enthusiasm and took him for an exhillerating gallop through the waves. He looked spectacular ~ Powerful and graceful.



The pair will certainly make a superb painting with the backdrop of Mont Orgueil Castle adding to the impressive composition....but in the meantime, the photographs for reference stand by themselves !



See all the images in Hamster's own Gallery, accessed from the Home Page.

July 2 2008 July has arrived and I have been making a point of taking the camera everywhere. My daughters think I am a little obssessive, but then again, it makes sure I do not lose the moment if I see something that catches my eye! It's as if I am seeing the world afresh. It's been a while since I last indulged this habit of capturing everything that seems to make a good image but I am sure that whether it is done in a sketchbook or with a camera, it sharpens the perception and sparks off new and original ideas for pictures. I have been documenting life around my own patch ~ Le Hocq in the Parish of St Clement. I have had a particular liking for the ever changing world to be found on the beach and the results will be going in a gallery on this site. Here's a look at a couple of examples You don't always have to travel very far to find the extraordingary ~ it can be there right under your nose, contained within your ordinary everyday experiences....it's your perception that makes the difference and your ability to show the world afresh to others with your own unique view that matters.

June 21 2008 Midsummer's Day Last night I attended a vibrant performance by French group Sambadaboom, whose open air show at Grantez, St Ouen as the sun set included drumming, dancing and chanting that proved the perfect way to celebrate the Summer Solstice with everyone up on their feet, dancing and clapping! Images are in the gallery. June 16 2008 It looks like summer is finally here. The swallows are nesting in the barns at the fields where I keep my horses and at home, the seven chicks one of my hens, Paige, hatched are growing bigger by the day. Yesterday, I found myself up and away at 3.45am to attend a concert given at the end of the breakwater at St Catherine's bay by Operatic group Diva Opera at dawn! Nothing like a little light Mozart as the sun comes up on a fine summer's day! You can see the resulting photos in the gallery. What a superb idea, a grand piano and fine performers, all in evening dress at sunrise! I have aquired a new computer and printer system which means I can now photograph subjects and within minutes give my clients a preview of their pictures. This is particualrly good for shoots which are undertaken as preparation for portrait paintings. I recently photographed a beautiful Airedale terrier, two of whose photos you may see in the canine photography section. Within a couple of minutes, the digital images were loaded from the CF card and up on the screen for the owner to choose a pose that best showed the lovely character of her dog. To think that not so long ago, the shoot would take place, the 35mm films had to be developed and printed and another visit had to happen so the client would be able to approve images used for painting references ~ all taking DAYS if not a week or more! I am looking forward to being able to give clients the option to buy prints "hot off the press" INSTANTLY if they so choose! If the shoot is out on location, I can at least submit emailed proofs to clients to save time. As far as I am concerned, this IS progress and I certainly wouldn't want to go back to the "good old days"! Am I becoming impatient as the years advance or just eager for faster results for my clients, results over which I have FAR better control?

May 18 2008 I am so happy that my most recent clients have been so delighted with my work. Because of the situation involving the health of my Mother following an illness and the aftermath of a fire at our home, I have been very pushed for time and have stayed up into the wee small hours working on the two paintings several nights this past week. Boris Kentee They really were well received and I am thrilled to be able to produce lasting memories of two such beautiful animals for their loving owners. The comments of the owner of Kentee, Gail Hickmott of Grehound Rescue (Jersey) can be read on the Clients recommendations page. All in all two very satisfying pieces of work which I have been privileged to paint and have enjoyed immensely!

May 12 2008 Another warm and wonderful day with a little miracle having brightened the weekend ~ one of our hens, Paige, appeared from sitting under the hedge with a new brood of 7 chicks. No matter how many times I've seen these newly hatched balls of fluff, cheeping and running after their Mother, I'll never fail to marvel at them and the attentiveness of the hen as she clucks and purrs and fusses over them. A magical time under the pink and white of the apple blossoms ~ makes you feel particularly glad to be alive on a day like this! May 8 2008 After the fire, three weeks of working with my husband, John, for around 8 to 10 hours a day, washing, cleaning, clearing up and painting (walls ! ), the house is finally beginning to look a little more "normal" and that terrible smell has finally vanished. I have returned to work and feel almost swamped by the backlog which has built up not only during this period of time but over the five weeks prior to this when the needs of my Mother who has been unwell, needed to be put first. I have two dogs on the easel to complete within the week. I'm not panicking but the pressure is a little "warm" to say the least! Meanwhile, outside, the grass is lush and the fruit trees in full blossom. The ponies look plump and shiny in their new summer coats , sleek after the last of the winter woolliness has moulted and dozing lazily in he sun. That's another reason I want to clear my backlog of work ~ I'd just like to see the sun myself!