New Guildford Festival – ShyneFest

Round & About

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Family-friendly, live music festival with kids activities, entertainment, camping, glamping, silent disco, bars, food stalls, escape rooms, animal encounters and loads more!

Join ShyneFest on the 3rd – 4th June at their new venue, Merrist Wood, for a weekend of live music from Lightning Seeds, Jesus Jones, The Farleys and loads more, including top tribute band Guns2Roses!

Upgrade to boutique glamping tents for proper luxurious camping, have a kickabout, play giant chess, enjoy some rides, eat delicious food and have a cocktail or a pint from one of their bars.

This will be their 5th year and it is going to be the biggest and best yet!

See the lineup

Follow ShyneFest on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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Interview with local artist Catherine Cook

Liz Nicholls

animals

“From an early age growing up on the family farm, inspiration was never far away, whether it be our rescue dog asleep in the chair, my dad’s herd of Charolais cattle, to the farm buildings around me, I would be sketching.”

Catherine Cook’s desire to draw and create has taken her down several paths since she studied decorative crafts at art college and university, but drawing has always been her starting point whichever medium she is aiming for – glass, digital graphic or paint.

Having gained her degree she worked for a number of years in an auctioneers office but says “the yearning to create was always there” and so she returned to the pursuit of developing her glass artwork.

With the arrival of her two boys, family life took over and creativity was on hold briefly until the creation of a family birthday gift involving a collection of watercolour dog portraits took Catherine back to her paints and pencils and she has been drawing pet portraits continually ever since, working in watercolour, oil paint and pen and ink.

“When I paint a pet portrait for a client, I feel there is a great responsibility to capture the special character, which is achieved through seeing those fine details accurately,” Catherine explained.

“The power of a portrait and the emotional response from clients, when presented with the final artwork can be very moving and rewarding.”

“The process of drawing and observing your subject is a discipline which makes you stop and really look; this is an aspect I especially enjoy. You can become completely absorbed in the process of drawing, it is therapeutic, it is a form of escaping all other busy thoughts. During lockdown weeks, anytime I could find to draw was valued.

”Living in the Hampshire countryside she never tires of watching the seasons change and enjoys having an “endless list of plants, wildlife and breeds of animals to draw”. And her work can be enjoyed through everyday objects such as greeting cards, tea towels and coasters.

Catherine added: “I love constantly seeing new ideas around me on every country walk and during these lockdown months, there have been many!

“I take photos when out and about and use the images to build compositions. Capturing those magical countryside moments of a Robin chirping on a branch or a squirrel busy in the garden, greatly inspires my artwork style.”

While in-person events have not been possible – and much missed – you can discover Catherine’s work at thecatherinegallery.co.uk and shop on Etsy.com


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Win! A portrait of your pet

Liz Nicholls

animals

Love your kitty? Adore your doggy? We always knew that we Brits loved our pets passionately. But the last year has deepened our appreciation for our animal companions!

April is National Pet Month, and National Pet Day is on 11th April. To celebrate, we’ve teamed up with Surrey artist & pet-lover Bri to offer you the chance to win a portrait of your pet…

Artist Bri had planned to launch her drawing and painting workshops for beginners in March 2020… until the world put a stop to that! She jokes: “Timing has never been my speciality but this takes the mick!”

Keeping motivated

Bri decided to offer free pet portraits to local people… “This was an exercise to get some practice and to bring a smile to people’s faces,” she tells us. “I know how important a pet’s company is: I live alone with my dog. She’s my best mate, haha! And I couldn’t have been more grateful for the distraction she gave me. Also, she was a legal reason to leave the house! I thought pet portraits would be nice to keep me motivated as I was unable to tutor. I’d never done a pet portrait before but after I put up a couple of posters I was inundated.”

Hundreds of responses

Bri completed almost 50 portraits, 31 alone last April. “When I first thought about the type of work I could offer free to encourage people to commission me, pets were the subject I thought would attract most interest,” she says. “But hundreds of responses and the copious positive feedback was on a scale I didn’t imagine! It proves we’re a nation of animal-lovers. From dogs to cats, and the odd gecko thrown in, we love our pets. It’s particularly worthwhile to hear how someone got genuine happiness from seeing a pet who perhaps isn’t with them any more celebrated in paint.”

Rebranded as The Isolating Artist, Bri evolved to virtual workshops. “Online teaching is a fantastic way to communicate in what otherwise would be an impossible situation, but classroom tutoring is the best way to learn to draw and paint,” says Bri. “I hope soon to bring together a beginners’ art group. I want to introduce students to the fun of art and give people a chance to be creative, to look at the world differently. If there’s anything we need after all this it’s to leave the house so what better reason than an art class?”

As for influences, Bri says: “As a kid, art was the only thing I was any good at, so that was a natural inspiration. I remember coming across a book about Francis Bacon at school. It changed my opinion on how I should draw and paint; something I’ll never forget seeing for the first time”. Bacon remains one of Bri’s favourite artists, alongside Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, Egon Schiele, Edward Hopper and many more.”

Visit isolatingartist.com to find out about Bri or sign up for an art class.

WIN your pet’s portrait!

We want you to share your love for the pet in your life. Share a picture, poem or photo of your beloved animal companion on our social media channels. Tag Round & About (our links below) and #petportrait in your post and Bri will select the winner who will be immortalised in portrait form! Deadline: Tues 4th May.


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Time for wildlife

Liz Nicholls

animals

Help ensure the survival of beautiful African wild animals by supporting two amazing charities

The last 12 months have been challenging in so many different ways. But to mark World Wildlife Day we’d like to highlight ways you can help the urgent plight of animals in need of your support.

The AfriCat Foundation & Namibian Lion Trust team are working hard to protect the natural habitat has been built up over the last three decades.

But with travel restrictions hampering vital fundraising from safari bookings at Okonjima Lodge, both charities really have gone back into survival mode.The nature reserve is a self-sustaining eco system, unique in Namibia, which has provided so much valuable behavioural and scientific insight. This knowledge, about big cats, grazers, pangolins, hyaenas, rhinos and more, has contributed to considerable understanding of these threatened species.

It might be March but, as the world is only just opening up, why not take up the special offer to buy a beautiful 2021 calendar? These feature 13 amazing images from great photographers including Chris Packham, Rohan Van Wyk, Joe Hubmann, Robin Maeter, Naun Amable, Paul Martens & Wayne Hanssen, of lions, hyenas, pangolins, leopards, cheetahs and zebra.

Check out the AfriCat shop here. Every pound you spend on these gorgeous goodies will help ambitious wildlife projects, in particular building a school in one of the conservancies which borders the western boundary of Etosha National Park. Or take advantage of the Donate Now, Stay Later offer from Okonjima; email 

Please visit africat.co.uk for further info & sign up to the newsletter. Thank you!

 

For a very different charity – read about England World Cup legend Sir Geoff Hurst’s gin and whisky to support dementia charities here.

Creature comforts

Round & About

animals

More than half of Brits own a pet and there are so many benefits to having an animal in the family! Here are some titbits to ensure that your pet is at his or her happiest…

1. Taking time to decide which pet you get is vital. Responsible pet ownership is a big commitment. Consider your budget, space and lifestyle when deciding on a pet, not whichever animal is cutest. Rescue centres (such as Dogs Trust Surrey) not only have a huge variety of pets needing “forever homes” but offer advice on helping your pet settle in and their happy life beyond. 

2. “Dogs are descended from wolves which are very social animals.” Bruce’s Doggy Day Care puts doggie wellbeing first, offering full-and half-day boarding, a puppy nursery, grooming and a Tiny Town for little dogs to mingle. www.brucesdoggydaycare.co.uk

3. Breeding animals on the basis of appearance can wreak havoc on their health. The charity PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is trying to combat irresponsible breeding, especially in light of recent “teacup” breeds, popularised on social media.   Visit www.peta.org  to find out more

4. Here some some fun facts  about pets for you! Did you know, for example, cats have no facility for tasting sugar? Henry III of France used to have a basket of small dogs hanging around his neck. The bloodhound is the only animal whose evidence is admissible in an American court. Queen Victoria won six prizes at Crufts in 1891 for her Pomeranian dogs, whereas Winston Churchill, Raymond Chandler and Samuel Johnson were all cat lovers.

5. Rabbits make great pets but are not an easy option!A rabbit can live for eight years plus, up to four years longer if spayed or neutered,” says Sue Beckram of Pets Homes & Gardens in Cranleigh.“They need to socialise daily and can become listless and difficult to handle if neglected and need regular grooming.” 

6. All dogs need regular exercise. Without daily walks, dogs get depressed, fat, poorly or bored, as curious canines love to sniff about socially. How much exercise your dog needs depends on its breed, age, fitness level and personality. Contact Kaz’s K9s and Equines on 07881 915815.   

7. Should you insure your pet? The average pet insurance claim is £750, but claims can run into thousands if your pet develops an ongoing condition. If you’re unsure whether insurance is worthwhile, consider how you would deal with an unexpected bill. The easiest way to bag the best deal is to buy a lifetime policy when your pet is young. There might also be discounts for spaying/ neutering and microchipping your cat.

8. Birds can live to a ripe age. Larger species such as macaws and cockatoos can live for  35 up to 50 years. Tarbu, an African grey, lived to 55 and today’s oldest parrot is 82-year-old Cookie who lives at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.

9. Raw and grain-free food can make a massive difference to your pet’s health and behaviour. Most experts agree grain-free and raw dog foods are the best choice as they are the closest equivalent to the natural diet their ancestors (wolves and wild cats) would have eaten.

10. Don’t think of fish as low-maintenance. A thriving aquarium needs consistent attention. Overfeeding is the biggest problem with fish because uneaten food pollutes your tank and inhibits filtration. All pets need dedicated care.

11. Take care of your pet’s teeth & gums! Just as with humans, a good oral care routine is a vital part of your pet’s health and wellbeing. The experienced team at Lynton Veterinary Group advise: “This can be aided by regular brushing, a good diet and, if necessary, scale & polish to prevent further issues. A neglected mouth can cause pets a lot of pain and discomfort and may lead to other serious health problems.” 

Follow this link to find out how to enter out pets competition!