Featured Artist!

Do you ever do anything on the spur of the moment?  Is there ever a time you’ve woken up and decided ‘yep, I’m going to do this today!’? 

Well, I did just that on Saturday.  I woke up and announced to my youngest that we were going on a train.  She didn’t react with the same kind of enthusiasm: ‘But, I’m busy!’ she groaned, not even bothering to ask where the train was heading. With a little … OK a lot of persuasion … we caught the train with five minutes to spare and she finally cheered up when we arrived at our destination two and a half hours later in Portsmouthnd I managed to squeeze a drawing in, using my 6″ x 6″ sketchbook on the return journey.

  
 We were met with glorious weather and a bear hug from her big sister.  She bounced out of the station and took you straight to a massive ice cream parlour.

   
 It’s been an exciting week.  Not only was I featured in an eco e-magazine sharing about my art and creativity using natural products for painting and my passion for recycling, upcycling and using items found around my home to create, but I am this week the featured artist over on an amazing Facebook group site called DoodleArt 😀

How did this happen?  Well, I posted one of my forty-five minute doodles of my OH and the cat, Nikon onto the page challenge: portraits.  It was selected as receiving being among the top three with the most ‘likes’.  The group runs a different challenge a month, so there’ll be a new challenge set on June 1st.

The irony of the icecream parlour visit and eating in a restaurant, aptly named Giraffe, was that my latest doodle depicted both icecreams and a giraffe all painted using naturally made inks from coffee, tea and strawberries!

  

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Doodling bunnies

Today, I glanced out of the window at work to a field that usually has three horses nibbling the grass.  By mid-afternoon, the horses had vanished and ten wild rabbits ‘binkied’, hopped and sniffed around.  Every one of them was a character that I could bring into a story.  However, having just got a baby bunny rabbit two weeks ago, I can’t stop drawing her!  She hops up and down from the sofa, scoots around my rainbow rug and loves having the run of the lounge!  

She is going to be a character in my children’s story I’m writing, so I guess, the more I sketch her, the better!  Can’t wait to do the proper illustrations, but first I’m jotting down the bones of the story.  Maybe I should start a new blog dedicated to the adventures of Willow.

   
     

Sneak a peak at my next project: a children’s picture book

Morning everyone. I’ve finally got round to making a start on a long term project – my children’s book and thought you guys might want a sneak preview of the cover as a WIP 😀

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Still a long way to finishing this and need to add a splash of colour, but I thought it an apt time to share. The story is based on a nickname my children gave me when they were little 😉

Best wishes xx

Elephants Never …

Good morning everyone!  Have you ever had to do something in secret?  Have you ever had to go ‘undercover’?

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the UK and sadly I didn’t get to see my own mother.  But it got me thinking this morning about the time i helped a neighbour secretly arrange a surprise birthday party for her.  In the week leading up to my mum’s birthday, I made my excuses and popped around to my neighbour, Sheila’s (who incidentally told me she’d always wanted a little girl, but couldn’t), to bake.  In previous posts, I’ve revealed that I dislike cooking, mainly because my mum was a qualified chef and a perfectionist.  Anything I did had to be perfect, so I didn’t like baking cakes with her …

in the space of a week, Sheila and I prepared trifles, traybakes (flapjack), a birthday cake and savouries so colourful that there was no need for a table cloth!  I faced the complaints by my mum as I kept asking to go over to Sheila’s.  We fell out over it, but I couldn’t tell her what we were really up to.  That’s a hard thing to do when you’re ten years old!

On the day itself, my mum had to eat her words (she’d said some spiteful things in that week) and I watched as her mouth fell open in amazement when she saw the spread of food.  It was a good celebration, but I still hate baking!

Hurtful words linger and dig deep; they create invisible scars.

One person posted a quote and image on Facebook (the social networking site is usually littered with them).  I’m not sure where it originated, but on a search, it informs me that it was written by ‘Anonymous’

“One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all your broken pieces will stick back together.”

I wish I could have hugged my mum yesterday, especially after the weekend I’ve just had.  I hope she’s enjoying her holiday.

Ok, it’s been a while!

I’ve been away on holiday you see, soaking up some much needed sunshine in Cornwall. We had limited access to wi-fi and so I made the most of the break away from technology and drew, doodled

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and watched my youngest paint a picture of a labrador puppy.
Then of course, like all holidays, they eventually come to an end :-(. I had to play catch-up at work and still slot in some me and family time. So what have all you lovely people been up to? Have you been glancing across the road for the first buds of spring? I spotted snowdrops this week and suddenly daffodils are shooting up on the verges. My favourite season: spring! Excited! Not only do I wait in anticipation of the appearance of flowers and blossoms, but some gorgeous leaves that I will be able to print from.
Anyway, for today’s WordPress post, I’m going to share with you some photographs of my little getaway trip to Cornwall to accompany one of my drawings from my time away – hope you like them.

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This was a hidden underground pool found in a disused slate mine – isn’t it wonderful?

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For literature fans – we visited Jamaica Inn, the setting for one of Daphne du Maunier’s novel of the same name. According to some people, there are parts of the inn which are haunted and when we toured the adjoining museum we were treated to memorabilia by the author and details of smuggling that took place over the centuries across Cornwall.
As well as taking a sip of a cool drink, we were able to watch a fifteen minute video about the history of the inn and surrounding areas.

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One of many smugglers’ caves … This one was found at Polperro. When we weren’t exploring caves, we played around with our shadows. Even though it was February half term, the weather was glorious 🙂

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Interesting then that we returned home to snow, sleet and rain making it feel all the more real that we’ve been away on holiday 🙂

Little Darwin

I’ve been working on this doodle/Zentangle since our little guinea pig passed away on Wednesday. It’s been a difficult week for my youngest child as she’s had to deal with the loss of two pets close together. We miss Pom Pom the lop eared rabbit and little Darwin, so to help get over the sadness, I’ve captured Darwin forever in a doodle of dandelions and cradled on a bed of leaves so that our daughter, when she feels up to it, can colour to heart’s content over and over again and decorate him in glorious rainbow colours.

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Pepper foam stamps

This was interesting: carve into a foam cube and hope it looks like something once ink has been applied!
I chose to do a set of peppers. One whole one; one cut in half plus some chilli peppers. On another side I also sketched out some peppers growing among leaves, but for now this seems a bit complicated to cut out with the tool I have available.

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Will share some more pictures tomorrow, but before I say goodnight, how about this for making prints

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My daughter didn’t seem all that impressed when I asked if I could borrow her shoes to do some prints of the sole!

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This imprint was spotted this morning on my driveway after a frosty start. I think it would be a bit excessive to remove a car tyre just to make a Gelli print. What do you think?

Tiny trees and tiny silhouette people

Anyone else like trees? I drive past them in winter and try and imagine their branches being limbs and the trunks being the body. I love the fact that they look so magically different during each season and how beautiful they seem when cloaked in a fresh layer of snow. Autumn colours of fallen leaves surround the trunks and carpet the ground like rainbow snow from a distance and blooms from spring blossom always make a great photographic opportunity.

So this evening I had fun carving out a rubber stamp tree using an everyday eraser, then doodling silhouettes of people sitting in them, lying under them reading or painting by an easel. Can you spot them?

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I might try this handmade stamp on a sheet for wrapping paper next – it’s my mother’s birthday in a couple of weeks. I thought I’d make her a pair of gloves. I’ve also just crocheted my seventh pair of gloves since Christmas Eve! They’ve become a bit more elaborate since my first pair, using my own pattern, so I hope she will like the pair I plan to give her 🙂
This is my latest pair – complete with a ruffle …

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Do you like to receive handmade gifts? What’s the best one you’ve received/or the most special? My mother-in-law (much to my DH’s embarrassment) has a handmade snowman using cotton wool balls and a cardboard tube which makes an appearance every year. Obviously it’s very dear to her. For me, it’s the early drawings of my children, such as a cat my eldest drew when she was 3 1/2 years old. She’d captured our tabby, Samson with giant claws and drew him dressed in rainbow stripes. Delightful 🙂

Happenstance

This past week has been difficult and a mix of both excitement and sadness.
I’ll start with the sad part and end on the happy part.

On Wednesday evening my youngest child and I snuggled down to watch an episode of ‘six Puppies and Us’. We don’t own a dog, but my eldest has taken up drawing them … lots of dogs. She recently ran a competition called the twelve dogs of Christmas where people posted photos of their dogs and then others voted which should be the top thirteen (twelve dogs – one for each month + one for the cover of a calender). The dogs were voted for and the close of the competition was 6th January.
The programme, as the title suggests is about owners and their puppies. We hadn’t watched the first two programmes and just happened to come across one … The adolescent episode. What transpired was a lot of giggling from my daughter as each dog reached adolescence. However, there was one comment made by one owner that riled me. She said that she decided to buy a dog so that her children could understand death through a dog before having to cope with a person dying. I felt that that was a rather strange reason to take on the responsibility of bringing up a puppy. Anyway, it made my daughter and I have an interesting conversation about the validity of the woman’s comment and whether or not she was doing the right thing for her children.
Later, I went on to watch a film and death seemed to feature in this too. This time, a lad’s pet turtle passed away and was found by his step mother. Urgently, she ran out of the house to find a replacement – one that looked as identical as possible so the child wouldn’t discover the turtle’s sad demise.
It was nearing 11pm and I switched the movie off before it finished. Jobs beckoned me: the dishwasher needed to be filled and I had to go to work the next morning.
With the washing up sorted, I went to say goodnight, as I usually do, to our house rabbit Pom Pom. At that time of night I’m normally greeted with an excited bouncing rabbit eager to say hello and have her head smoothed and her ears rubbed. Not this time. I knew something was up. She was still. She was, well you know. I cried of course. Maybe the film and the programme were preparing me. Happenstance, coincidence. Whatever. Grief struck and I didn’t know how to tell my kid. We all were extremely fond of her. I will say though that despite how difficult this week has been, I have been moved by the outpouring of kind comments and thoughts from friends and family but also people I have met in creative groups and not actually met face-to-face. It’s certainly been appreciated and I know I am among some wonderful, thoughtful people who care very much and hurt too when they know you’re hurting or sad.
The rabbit’s life flashed before me: we went to see her as a tiny bundle of fluff and brought her back as a surprise on Christmas Eve seven years ago. My husband and I were like excited school kids as we hid the hutch in the boot of the car and then presented three squealing children with the bunny who looked like a pom pom ball. She was the most placid and delightful pet and now she’s gone … But Pom Pom won’t be forgotten.

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Now to some fun news … My first printed book arrived on Wednesday: I’d spent ages planning out the pages and checked out various outlets for the best offers. I wanted something that would showcase my printmaking – the best prints from lino cuts and using the Gelli. Of course, when choosing the style and shape, I had to go for a square book. My portfolio of prints, now contained in a printed book, fit perfectly in my handbag and has arrived in time for workshops I’m starting to run in February. People taking part in my tutorials will now be able to flick through the glossy pages and find something that will hopefully inspire them in their own journey of creating 🙂
Best wishes everyone … And apologies for being away.

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Drawing and story a day #3

Ever forgotten something on a really important day? How about forgetting to put a 35mm film in the camera for your engagement party? We did. Many years ago my father gave me a Fujica camera for my birthday while studying for my ‘A’ Level art and design. He’s an avid photographer who likes to do nature shots of flowers and he’s got a multitude of boat pictures in his collection of slides and displayed in photo albums.
When it came to the momentous occasion of doing a studio photo shoot for my future husband, one of the 35mm reels of film jammed in the camera and without a darkroom, my future father-in-law thought he was being helpful by opening up the back (big no-no as the light destroys the film). Both my boyfriend and I stood mouth agape at the unravelled roll dangling from the back of the camera like the intestines of a cadaver during autopsy.
Later, during our engagement party, we snapped away photo after photo of the cake and the riotous game of skittles only to find that we’d forgotten to include a camera film when it was too late. The drawing of the Fujica camera was an attempt at creating a picture without removing the fineliner pen from the page. There were occasions when I did have to lift the pen though, such as for the lettering to be readable! It was tricky gauging the right dimensions and trying to keep to scale (reason for wonky lens).

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My son, now also an avid photographer, enjoys using the Canon and I’ve watched him create and delete photos he’s not happy with and I’ve observed the glee on his face when he’s captured that perfect moment: sunsets and portraits, deer feeding while surrounded by ground frost. I wonder how he’d get on with a 35mm film in a camera where you can’t check the shot and then have to wait a fortnight for it to be developed and printed like back in the 80s? I hope he likes the rubber stamp I cut this evening for him. He can use it over and over again on letter heads or business cards … Or he can use the eraser and gradually the camera will fade away! Lol!
Meanwhile camera fans who read this blog might appreciate a photograph of my son’s kitten he named Nikon, after another camera. Here she is playing around with the dismantled Christmas tree …

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