Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to Basics–An Adventure in Drawing

Well last month it was my birthday and with my birthday money I bought myself a couple of case bound sketchbooks and the Eden Projects Botanical Illustration Course Book. So last night saw me going right back to basics and producing tonal charts using the range of graphite pencils that I have. this is something that I have not done for over 20 years, not really since I did my foundation level study. Yikes but it was really hard. As a result I have decided to go back to basics as well as doing more observational drawings from real life.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Illustration Friday - KING


My take on the theme this week for Illustration Friday.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I know I said…..

Arrghhhh i know i said i would be blogging daily but I just can’t do it ok. I just forget to do it or i am caught up in the making of art and everything else goes out of the window an the, oh i will do that later train of thought. However here is a quick catch up on the past few days….

1. I made art

2. i ate a lot of food

3. I suffered in this heat and my condition has flared up and now I am in a symphony of pain

4. I managed to make it to 44 years of age and my mother finally managed to get me a birthday card on my birthday.

I did discover a lovely artist called Kimika Hare who does illustration using embroideries – here are two of favourite pieces:


and here is a link to her website http://kimikahara.blogspot.jp/and a great article about her on Illustration Friday http://illustrationfriday.com/2013/06/artist-kimika-hara/


I promise to do better at this blogging lark but don’t hold your breath Winking smile

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Grey day, windy and raining….but these lovely Shasta Daisies have cheered me up no end. Shasta_Daisy_Alaska

Friday, July 18, 2014


Today has been a day of discoveries. My buddleia is in bloom, the bergamont too and the shasta daisies are superb. It has inspired me to create a new illustration based on mother nature. I also discovered plug in wireless doorbells which for me is just fab. No more batteries and such like!

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Today was a better day in terms of motivation. I sold 4 prints and got them out in the post…woo hoo! I tidied my kitchen as it was a mess and i cooked a nice meal. I also managed to do some online research. Today was a good day because despite feeling under the weather and looking slightly heat frazzled, a younger man made appreciative noises on par with a wolf whistle but not quite so crass! Ha one week away from my 44th birthday, with greying temples and gravity heavy body, yet that moment made me feel like 20 again!

So i found this quote by Andy Warhol and it is now my mantra – daily mantra – hourly mantra lol


Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Today I saw the trailer for 20,000 Days on Earth and it got me thinking how many days I had already had on earth. So today is 16, 061 and it has been a waste of a day – lots of sleeping and playing on Facebook. Didn’t wash, ate crap and took pain killers. It has been sunny, it has been raining. My total achievement today was getting the bins out. Maybe 16,062 will be better?

I seem to be living more and more in my brain – daydreaming about making art and ideas for my home decor preoccupy me. Maybe this is an artists life but it is easy to get sucked into a vacuum of nothingness and to lose the motivation to move on, move forward and be productive.

16,060 was a better day and involved hours of work scanning, editing and compiling some more pages for a memorial book I am working on. I finished working at 2am and had completed and printed another section….but there is so much more to do.

I tell myself that today was a rest day but in reality it is a nothing day and I ponder on how many of these nothing days I have had. Too many, if I am being honest.  So at the end of day 16,061 I make a pledge to stop the nothing days and the day dreaming vacuum.

So welcome dear reader to the beginning of the new days of my life!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Green Man Commission

A lovely lady called Teri from Canada asked me to try my hand at a Green Man. Well of course i Said yes but then in doing so I was taken on a magical mystical research trip around the internet. I discovered that many different cultures have versions of him albeit by a different name.

Our ancestors must have been in awe of the natural world around them, so much so that the created stories, myths and religions based on the verdant splendour before them. Sadly there is no so much awe today and we are, as a species, hell bent on cutting things down, taming nature to our tune and destroying natural habitats.

My first Green Man was drawn with all of this in mind and he came out looking a bit sad and despairing about the current state of our planet.

Here he is in all his splendour.



Then after posting this on Facebook, another lady asked if I could also create one for her. She told me how she and her children would often go into woods and forests and look for the Green Man. A lovely family ritual that held many  memories.

Because she was living in Scotland I decided to give my second Green Man a more Celtic/Nordic feel to him. Again with the background story in my mind, I set to create another Green Man.


So both commissions are now with their owners and i thoroughly enjoyed creating both of them and even more so because the Clients were so overjoyed with them. :)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Routines and Rituals

My life is not routine, regular or rigid. I have no discipline to get out of bed early or for that matter to go to bed early. Sometimes I sleep 12 hours a day and sometimes I am lucky if it is 4. I have always struggled to be a morning person and relish the times, often past midnight, when the creative muse has a grip on me and i go with the flow.

When I start working on a new piece of work I do not pick up a pencil and my sketchbook. No, firstly I start to think. My brain plays out a variety of scenarios, options and directions. I then find myself drawn to images and things in life that are about whatever 'theme' or subject I am thinking about. For example if I am drawing animals then all I see are the animals....everyone does this to some degree. You know that circumstance when you are thinking about buying a car, a red car and then all you see for days are red cars everywhere!

Then the thinking and seeing move onto doodling and sketching on bits of paper, in my sketchbook and on the back of envelopes. i am rather fond of back of envelope drawing. Sketchbooks make me feel pressured to do something nice and polished but scraps of already used paper help me overcome the fear of the blank page.

Then i really start imagining how I will do the brush strokes or move the pen, what patterns I would use, what composition I would follow....this goes against everything I was to taught to do.At college and university the wanted to see the development of ideas on paper - I had to show my sketchbooks and the drawings of my preliminary work. I hated this, always have - how does one capture what one thinks all the time? It is so personal, that journey from A to Z and sharing each step is uncomfortable.

I talk a lot about the ideas in my head with family and friends, nothing too specific but a general dip in the water with creative big toes to get some idea of how the work would be percieved - I don't do this too often as I find that others have different ideas or struggle to understand mine.

Finally I gather up images and colours, infact andything that will help me channel and direct these creative thoughts and I sketch out ideas properly. This whole process can take anything from a few hours to a few months.

Then oneday I sit down and I just do it. It is usually late, everyone is in bed and I work away without fear of distraction or disturbance. However this late night working often means that I am useless during the day because I am tired etc. I do like working when the light is naturally good but to be honest, when the sun is shinning all I want to do is be out doors or to get my home clean and tidy again. Creativity makes me ignore cleaning, tidying up and sometimes even washing myself!

As I have got older I have reconciled myself to the fact that this is the way I work. It is not conventional. It is not easy and it is not sociable.

I found this great artcile in the huffington post - it explains things a bit better than me. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mad March Hares

I love hares and their lanky majesty. There have been a few popping up in the doodle zoo and for sale on eBay and Etsy. But behind the illustrations are hours of prep work that help me understand how the body is put together, what kinds of movements are typical to that particular animal and generally the character of the creature I am about to draw.

Discoveries to date are that hares have a kinetic skull, that the boxing hares are not males as was once thought but male and females fighting - she is boxing him away from her. The females also box each other over territory. But also it is that they have a very muscular body, long ears but not as long as you might think and very big eyes.

I decided that i would accentuate these characteristics and make my hares more hare like - that is the prerogative of the artist!

here are some preliminary drawings that i did - i really like being able to scan them into Photoshop and flip them and see what they would look like - saves time and it is quite fun.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Love is at the Heart of Family

Last week I was commissioned by the lovely Hannah to create a bespoke Heart drawing. She wanted the names of her children and husband included in the design. What a lovely idea and then I thought about symbols and their meanings.

In my research I came across the West African symbols called Adinkra. Adinkra are visual symbols, originally created by the Akan, that represent concepts or aphorisms. Adinkra are used extensively in fabrics, pottery, logos and advertising. They are incorporated into walls and other architectural features. you can find out more about them here.

I have called Hannah's heart - Love is at the Heart of Family.

Sunday, February 09, 2014


Wow it has been ages since I last blogged and it is weird to write that because now i feel somewhat like I am back in church and in a confessional. I lost my account details and then my laptop died and then things really overtook me.

It is the usual excuse : too much to do, not enough time blah blah blah, but seriously after a year long period of ill health, I rediscovered myself and my art and feel finally that I am on a path that is straighter than it has ever been. On the health front, well after a year of heavy medications and pain relief, I discovered that diet and food is playing an immense part and so I have changed my diet, got loads better and got back to making art. Now to lose the flab and get fit again – hmmm might be some time working on that on.

Anyway the art making has been very productive and I have moved  into decorative illustrations, which are listed in my Etsy shop and on Ebay but also i have been selling directly through facebook page – woo hoo there is finally some money coming in and it is no longer a choice between food or art materials.

So here are a few pictures to whet your appetite and a promise to post more often.

Theodore – the slightly grumpy cat with green eyes – created winter 2013
(Original SOLD, Prints available here)