Sunday, 30 January 2011

I am soothed

I have been digital collaging, listening to music and sipping a small glass of wine - the last of the weekend bottle (frugal times...) It's got more layers than an ogre (watch Shrek for explanation!), but I love staring into its depths and dreaming.... Don't you just think there's epic story in there? Do you want to turn the pages? Who is the ghostly figure?

Well, this piece started off as an experiment in Black & White for The Three Muses same-titled challenge, but I guess my Muse clearly fancied their Take a Word challenge of Vintage instead! I drained the colour of a flower photograph with the exception of the red dahlia. It was pretty enough, but where was the drama? I put some context in with another of my photographs of Coton Manor House. Kim Klassen supplied a texture (in fact it was this week's freebie, so thanks Kim :) and I added some mystique with some images I bought from Etsy.

I love experimenting in this way. The layers are out of proportion with intent. What lush colour and texture. What story... I could play all day.

The Princess and the cocky bird - a OWOH story

Readers, it seems something of a tradition for me to write a story for these blog events and so I couldn't resist having another go this year. Inspiration came from the event itself for surely there was a tale to be told in the girl riding a bird...

Welcome to One World One Heart 2011. A BIG thank you to Lisa Swifka for organising this event for the 5th year running. Last year I made so many new friends, had a whale of a time and even won a little something! Who knows what this year will bring - I know I can't wait.

Now, before you start, I should warn you that there's a bit of a twist coming up - all might not be what it seems...

Once upon a time a Princess was imprisoned in a floating tower that drifted aimlessly across the enchanted Kingdoms. There was no way into her prison nor exit save for a barred window where the Princess was apt to sit and watch the clouds and treetops drift past. Her food was brought every day by feathered couriers who provided her only companionship. After dropping off her meagre rations of bread, cheese and dried fruits, the birds would often stay a while to nibble at the crumbs she shared and listen in one-sided conversation as she dreamed of the life she had known.

For the story goes that the Princess had been set to marry the most handsome of Princes whom she loved with all her heart. But after their engagement had been announced a wicked witch had captured the lovers and imprisioned them in matching enchanted towers just visible to each other in the distance but so tantalisingly out of reach. The witch had loved the Prince, but her advances toward him had been rejected (it was hard for him to see past the warts and green skin). In a jealous rage, the spurned woman had decreed that if she could not win his love then nobody should and certainly not a beautiful young Princess. She cruelly tore their hearts apart and doomed them to a lifetime of loss.

As the months went by the Princess grew weak and sad as she pined for her lost love. The birds, sensing her distress spent more time keeping her company, the cockiest and most handsome of which became her true confidant. It was as one day, she poured her heart out once again to the poor beast that a clever idea began to form. Grabbing pen and paper (with which the tower was fortunately equipped - handy that, as there was not much else), she penned a love note to her sweetheart and begged her winged friend to deliver it to the distant tower, just as did her the food.

And so the romantic correspondence between the Prince and his Princess began. It was at least some small comfort to share words of the heart and dream about their future should fate intervene and put them back in each other's arms once again. Yet as the seasons drifted past it seemed as though they would be trapped beyond reach for eternity.

Until... one Spring morning, the handsome bird arrived with his regular letter in a state of extreme agitation. He chirped and sang until the Princess awoke and pushed the letter towards her with his wing. When she read the words it contained, she understood his excitement for they spelt out nothing short of a miracle.

A fairy had visited her lover and promised to perform magic beyond their wildest imaginings. By eating the small seed contained within the envelope, the Princess would shrink to the size of her feathered friends. She would then be able to climb upon the handsome one's back and fly across the clouds to join her lover. But there was a catch (isn't there always?). There was only enough magic for the Princess to shrink and once with her Prince she would be forced to remain tiny forever. The Princess didn't think twice. No matter that she would swap one prison for another and shrink to the size of a bird, she would be with her Prince.... She would sacrifice her life for him if need be.

She popped the seed in her mouth and swallowed.

The world span and pain racked her bones, light flashed and thunder clapped and everything seemed upside down. The Princess collapsed in a crumpled heap before being roused to consciousness by the gentle stroke of... a wing... a very large wing. Looking up into the bright eyes of her avian friend she realised the spell had worked.

Climbing aboard the soft feathers was harder than it looked and she gripped the coloured barbs in terror as they took off across the sky. Keeping her eye fixed on the twin floating tower was all that kept her safely aboard her unusual mount. However, the closer they came to the tower, the more something seemed awry and as they reached touching distance the Princess let out a cry of fear, for the tower was nothing but illusion and they flew straight through it. As she screamed the bird swirled and plummeted earthward. The wind rushed and the ground grew closer. Again the Princess blacked out.

This time when she awoke the touch was one that brought tears to her eyes for she recognised it instantly. She was in the arms of her Prince! In a storm of confusion she tried to make sense of what had happened and where she was. Who on earth were all these people cheering and why was she wearing what looked like a wedding gown?

The Prince set her on her feet, took her hands in his and told his story. As heir to the vast Kingdoms, he had always known he should choose his bride wisely. She would be kind and beautiful and an adored future Queen, but above all he must be sure that she loved him, for without true love the trees would surely wither and enemies break through defences. The truth was that there never was a jealous spurned witch. There was only one tower and one prisoner. The handsome bird had been the Prince - every day he had eaten one magic seed to grow feathers and then another to return to a man. To be sure of her love, the Prince had tested the Princess and when, after all she had been through, she still chose to be with him, as prisoner and shrunk in size, then he knew her heart was truly his.

As the marriage ceremony and feasting concluded, the citizens of the Kingdom rejoiced into the night and the Prince and his wife made their way to their honeymoon bedchamber.

"So," laughed the Princess. "I passed the test then. You realised I did indeed love you. Do you love me too with all your heart?"

"Of course" implored the Prince. "I am yours. I will do anything for you." As he moved to kiss her, the Princess became shy. "I am too used to talking to your bird self" she sighed. "He was my best friend. Will you change for me just one more time?"

The Prince, happy to oblige took one of the last remaining two magic seeds from the pewter pot by the side of the bed and with a tiny chirp became once again the handsome bird. He hopped onto her finger and gazed lovingly at his wife.

At which point the Princess popped the bird into a gilded cage and fastened the catch securely. "LOVE ME?" she cried at the startled creature. "LOVE ME? What lover locks me up alone for months on end until I go insane and start talking to wildlife? What lover half starves me on dry bread and fruit, shrinks me causing excrutiating pain, tricks me, drops me from great height AND doesn't let me arrange my own wedding, let alone pick out my own dress? What were you thinking - meringue is just so last century..." She gave one last glare at the startled bird before uttering her parting words..."I told you I loved you a thousand times. You blew it sunshine...."

And with that she filled a bag with the crown jewels, wrapped herself in a cloak and let herself out down the fire escape (for this was a health and safety compliant Kingdom).

The following morning Granny Bains, needing a new companion after her husband of 40 years had run off with a scullery maid, bought a handsome bird in a gilded cage from a pedlar in the market and took him home to talk incessantly to for a few years (until an unfortunate incident with the cat... but that's another story).

And what became of the last seed? Well, dear readers, seeds get planted...

Thank you for reading and visiting my blog. If you're a new visitor and have time, do take a browse around. I usually write about my art, creativity and anything else that might take my fancy - usually injected with a dose of humour, for I do struggle to take life seriously, as you may have gathered!
If you would like to win a giclee print of this mixed media painting I created just for this event (the Princess and the bird at the top of the post), then leave me a little comment. The original painting is made up of many layers of collage, painting, fibres, stamping and different paint mediums. It was a pleasure to create.

4 runners up will win some large postcards of the same artwork.

Please post your comment by 17th Feb when the winner will be drawn.

The other two drawings are some quick sketches I did to break up the text a bit - I was trying to be short in my storytelling, but as usual I got carried away!

Saturday, 29 January 2011


I'm bringing my Sunday Sketch a touch forward  this week since I'll be posting my One World One Heart (OWOH) piece tomorrow. I've written a little fairy story, so you'll have to come back and let me know what you think - you might even win something! (See the button in the sidebar for more info on OWOH.)

This week has been all about sensuality within my art as I finished my Goddess (painting on canvas below,  inspired by Tam's course and loosely by Klimt), created another (sketch above, and as you can see, somewhat more inspired by Klimt), then completely let rip with the paint on an unfinished piece - I'll share it later in the week. It's taking a familiar topic but with a different approach. I was totally in 'the zone' when I painted her. She was inspired by nobody but me. I surrendered totally to the passion of art and let go... Just a few finishing touches once the latest layer dries and she'll be ready to unleash.

Tam's course over at Willowing.ning is food for the soul. What a wonderful group of artists are sharing their work in the forums. I am blown away by all that I am seeing. There is creativity bursting out across the globe with so much support and encouragement from all. It's so exciting to see the magic pouring forth from every paintbrush!

I'm covered in gel medium and acrylics (there's a dusting of peelings from my fingernails surrounding my keyboard!). I wish I could put into words quite what happens when I combine music and paint (and possibly pinot grigio!). I don't care if I never sell a painting (and am beginning to understand why Van Gogh persisted for so long). I am floating, my soul is lifting. What is this potent magic? How has it enchanted me so?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Pay it forward - UPDATE

There's always something lovely to find in blogland. We have all the excitment of the One World One Heart event at the weekend (if you don't know... where have you been? Take a look at the link in my sidebar!). I was visiting a fairy friend and found a little treat. The first five to comment on her post would receive a handmade gift in the post! Well, who could resist?

There were however some rules. If you want to play along then you have to be willing to repost this and do the same - will you commit to offering a handmade gift to five other people too?

I promise to send out my gifts as soon as I can, but you might have to give me chance to make something first as I'd like to create something individual for each. Just a little treat, something easy to post.

Just for clarity, I was offering gifts too! I'm playing!!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Fashioning something

This piece represents season after season of changing fashion that eventually blends into one. It's a real mixed media creation we've got here darlings. I snipped out a 'dress pattern' from the latest copy of Elle - using all the latest trends - from oriental, to romance and long, floaty skirts. Don't they make the most perfect skirt? She sits in my sketchbook looking rather lonely with no catwalk or magazine page to grace, so I had to keep on creating. I stuck her in a limo and we drove over to Photoshop.

Lots of words from the gabbling fashion journalists were grabbed and scanned to make a layer in Photoshop, a random page from Elle joined the mix, then the whole thing was given a fabric then a grungy photographic texture.

You need to enlarge her to get the full effect.

Credits - various pages from Elle fashion supplement, Kim Klassen texture. It was great fun - snipping out all those ladies was most therapeutic.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Goddesses and friends

I was feeling out of sorts at the weekend. A virus was trying to infiltrate my defences and they took quite a battering. I found it incredibly interesting though that I still just couldn't stop learning. Once my son had gone to bed and I could have just flopped and watched TV, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead, I stationed myself in front of YouTube and watched art technique clips then ran (OK, crawled) back to my work table and got sticky!

The new course began at Willowing last week. I was too busy to do anything but watch the videos until Friday but then grabbed my canvas and got stuck in - work-in-progress result above. Still much to be done with shading and correcting composition before she is finished, but thought I would share where we are.

Of course, you know I love a great online course but I'm still waiting for the perfect one to come along to attend in person. I see so many wonderful examples advertised but they usually come in US form with the cost bumped upby the price of flights across the Atlantic and hotel accommodation. While I might just about justify the expense of the learning experience, it does seem a little extravagent to cross continents just to take an art class! Most recently, I've been dreaming over Cheryl Dolby's (The Healing Woman) Sculpture school. Not only do you get to immerse yourself in clay creativity for a week, but you stay in Cheryl's new guest suites too...Oh and Cheryl is your teacher, she has her own chef, a swimming pool AND takes you sightseeing...  Ahhh, maybe next year!

Cheryl is a wonderful example of one of the many friends I have made through blogging. Collaborating with her on her Egyptian Goddess project was one of the highlights of last year. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to be a part of this wonderful online community of creatives who all inspire and encourage each other to live out our dreams. Thank you all!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Wishin and Hopin...

Lightbulb moments have been prevalent in this house today for, not only have we been watching Despicable Me... where the master villain utters utters this phrase repeatedly - but I had one myself. Clearly, watching kids' films is great for the Muse.

There I was ruminating over the Illustration Friday theme - dusty. I just didn't know what to do with myself. My mind wandered into old book shops with wizened old men sitting on stools in the corner surrounded by piles of dusty volumes... I dreamt of vintage bottles of vin rouge gathering a murky outside coating in the cellars of French Chateaux. I even contemplated sketching something in the dust on the TV. Until, at last the Muse rapped on the back of my eyelids then started singing something into the windmills of my mind. I think she was rather wishin and a hopin that I'd listen. She knows I'll try anything and, given that my weekly Sunday Sketch is beginning to have a theme of boundary pushing, then an attempt at an accurate portrait seemed perfect.

Have you guessed who it is yet? Does it look remotely like her?

Hmm, given the first batch of comments, I'm wondering if perhaps her fame didn't spread quite as far around the world as I'd thought!

Another clue? Well, I was listening to her songs on my iPod while I sketched her which was really rather wonderful. She serenaded me as (an approximation of) her face slowly appeared on the page. It is of course, Dusty Springfield!

Friday, 21 January 2011

May June be here soon!

We've been wrapped in the dark blanket of winter for weeks. Today, the sun has broken through the bits that were getting a little thin, where the fog had let down its guard. Can I really spy the shoots of bulbs? Is that a bird singing?

Of all the months, I love May and June the best and would be hard pushed to decide between the two for first place in my heart. For me, it's all about the nature - the endless possibility of summer stretching out its welcoming path. The lush gardens and hedgerows, the baby ducklings paddling down stream - I'm going all squishy and romantic. The promise of all those warm and balmy days ahead (before a damp July and August keeps us indoors sulking!).

Of course, these two months don't bring pleasure to all. The end of the football season is something to bemoan for a certain man in our house. May and June used to be the time of exams too.... ugrhhhh... and let's not forget hayfever! Oh dear, I am destroying my own dream with a nasty attack of the cynic. Kindly show him the door.

So, where were we?

While it's cold and drear outside let's dream of fragrant meadows that don't irritate delicate nostrils, crickets chirping in the long grass, and make hay while the sun shines.

A journal page - of sorts - for Inspiration Avenue's favourite month prompt. Layers of colour to represent the abudance of colour in the garden and field.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A rejuvenating soak

"Don't be an art critic. Paint. There lies salvation."
Paul Cezanne

I seem to have a voracious appetite for learning these days and will devour anything to teach and inspire me in my art and writing. Another course started this week - though I doubt I'll have time to do anything with it before the weekend [pouty sulk]. It's Tam's course on Magical Mythical Makings over at her Willowing ning site.

I'm also absorbed with books, magazines, online pages. I just want to learn. It's never a chore - isn't that wonderful! When we really and truly want something with all our heart, then you follow that dream without thinking. Learning is suddenly relaxation - who would have thought that when they were cramming for exams as a 16-year-old! Of course, now I'm teaching myself only what I want to learn which I guess makes all the difference.

The last couple of evenings I've rested my weary mind in the pages of my sketchbook, transported into the world of the Impressionists. The wonderful Three Muses came up with the perfect challenge - to be influenced by a famous painting. It was a little hard to know where to start, but I knew I wanted a lesson from a Master. So, I grabbed some books and looked for something that spoke to me (the particular words I was after were something like "I shouldn't be too difficult to try and copy"). Of course, who can trust a painting to be so one dimensional?

Well, I picked Cezanne's bathers because I figured I could get away with 'sketching' rather than an in-depth painting. I loved how the lines around my figures were free and uninhibited by the desire for complete accuracy - this was impressionism after all. Staring deep into the painting takes you into the world of the artist - you almost get to feel that touch of brush on canvas. It was a fun exercise.

Top picture was my sketch - mixed media, mainly neocolour crayons, plus some watercolour and inktense pencils; next was the original by the master himself - as if you needed telling! (Interestingly, the version I copied from my book had colours closer to my own - I wonder which printed reproduction was closest to the original?); final two, I couldn't resist a little play in Photoshop (the bottom one benefits from enlarging).

Sunday, 16 January 2011

I'm not chicken

It's coming something of a theme that my Sunday Sketch pushes comfort zones, so this week I decided could be no exception. Particularly when the theme at Illustration Friday also happened to be chicken! Come on, what you do?

I was also experimenting with a different sketching technique from Carla Sondheim's Drawing Lab (for Gumnut's work through of the book) - though I think it needs some serious perfecting! I drew a sketch of my bird on tracing paper, turned the paper over and brayered on some black acrylic paint. the instruction was then to draw over your sketch again to transfer the paint to your paper. Slight problem here... can you guess what? Graphite pencil over black disappears somewhat! Also, I didn't put enough paint on.

Take 2. Sketched my patient model again - who only paused to peck at the earth twice - this time I outlined my sketch with white oil pastel. Success! Still not enough paint though.

I'm not sure tracing paper was the best medium for this (or maybe, seeing as I wasn't actually using 'tracing' but 'greaseproof' paper...). Anyway, might try it again using thin plastic sheet - the kind that gives you a see through view of your cake in the supermarket!

Finished my little chickie off with some neo-colours. Rather rough and ready I'm afraid, but the cats were making her nervous so I had to hurry up!

Saturday, 15 January 2011


What inspires me? What a question! What doesn't? A crack in the pavement, a crinkled leaf, a comment from my son.

For the purposes of this post though, we'll concentrate on just a couple. I'm writing and creating, appropriately for 'Inspiration Avenue' who wish to know what kick starts the Muse.

This week, my Muse has been pulled into action on the work front. She's been writing scripts, newspaper articles, devising adverts and all manner of fun activities. We've been a touch tired by evening to involve ourselves in too much creativity so instead, we stuck our nose in a book. We are learning Accessible Abstracts with Laura Reiter.

And... we are inspired! Which moves me nicely onto talking about magazines. I have a monumental pile of glossies taking over the gap between the sofa and the wall. In fact, I confess that there are actually two piles these days... and sometimes, when they topple, an amalgamate mess of paper! Most of them have bits of cut up paper sticking and falling out, for I confess that I am cruel to these publications. I rip them, I cut and glue them... but it's all in the aid of art and posterity. My models reside here patiently waiting for their turn to be immortalised on paper and canvas and splashes of colour and texture become collage, background and 'interesting bits' in my paintings.

So, if you looked at the picture above you're starting to see where my inspiration went this week. Abstract... magazines... and finally....Photoshop! How I love that software. So much fun to be had just playing and tweaking and experimenting. This one only had a tiny treatment - a little poster edge feature to give some emphasis.

Right, I must be off, for the parents will visit shortly and the house is covered in bits of cut up paper...

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Something to do with the cheese

Well, that's it. I can relax for the rest of the year now, my resolution is complete - I am about to be published. Initial print run of 500 with potential readership of 2,000 once we release the international and online versions. Impressed?

Well, it probably sounds better than it is. I have been published like this before. It's a work thing. I've just spent the last week writing and producing the 2nd issue of our corporate newspaper. It has been something of a labour of love, an all-consuming marathon of interviewing, researching, writing, procuring  images, proofreading and liaising with designers. In fact, it says it all that I am writing about it here - there's no time for anything else happening in my life to talk about!

I would share some of the contents with you here, but it's all secret internal stuff and not for consumption by just any old person. My favourite line though I will divulge - must be something to do with the cheese.

I do rather love my job sometimes and putting this baby to bed (that's media speak for giving it the OK to go to the printers) was immensely satisfying. I feel a bit like the Piers Morgan of the corporate tabloid - but hopefully prettier.

Meerkat in a smoking jacket picture highlights another aspect of work today. (Probably best that you don't actually ask!). The plan this evening is to draw the doyen of the Muscovite Meerkats as a journal page entry. Simples ;)

If you're looking at a sketch then time has passed and I have actually succeeded in this task. If not, I am passed out on the sofa softly snoring and dribbling onto a cushion.

I'm rather fond Aleksandr Orlov. If you've missed the chance to get to know the pride of meerkat aristocracy, then you can find some of his finest works on YouTube.

Woo, how spooky is this. While searching for a portrait of the furry one, I found an interview with him and... Piers Morgan?!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Hares, ravens and perpetual tea

Sometimes I think I might be mad as a March Hare. Certainly this week I've been charging around like a lunatic - but then what's new? I saw a hare on Saturday - it pelted across a steep hillside, ears pricked and safe in the knowledge that nothing could catch it - a wonderful sight.

This rather scruffy, half-hearted drawing was antidote to the stresses of the day - a dabble of light relief after taxing my brain and driving for hours. I nearly gave up on the poor fellow on numerous occasions but then how would he ever get his tea? I persevered and moved from coloured pencil to watercolour and ink but I fear he may regret my haste. His fur looks a little mangy and that tea looks barely brewed.

Still a fitting end to a day of mayhem and hopefully perfect for The Three Muses 'creatures of nature' challenge (at least I'm sure that's what it was - I might have a shock in a minute when I discover it's winged things or something decidedly non-floppy-eared! As I was painting, I rather smugly realised its perfection for Illustration Friday too - 'deja-vu'. For after all, what could be more deja-vu then being stuck in a perpetual 6 o'clock tea party answering impossible riddles? Even a Mad March Hare might start thinking things looked a bit familiar!

I was just going to post last week's entry as deja vu, but that was really a bit of a poor effort (if rather funny!). Incidentally, my son is going to take in a piece of blank drawing paper for 'Show and Tell' tomorrow at school. He will announce it is a picture of Harry Potter.... wearing his invisibility cloak! Like mother like son. (I'll probably get hauled in front of the Headmaster for irresponsible parenting).

I seem to be slowly working my way through the Wonderland cast with the Hatter, the Red Queen and Alice all falling under my brush in the last year or so. Who shall I do next?

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Pearly whites

In common with last week's attempt at ears and fingers, this Sunday I thought that it might be time to extract teeth from my avoidance repertoire. You may have noticed my portraits tend to remain rather tight lipped about this lack of pearly whites, but now I am at last giving them free speech.

It was an interesting exercise on two counts.

1. It turns out that if you put your mind to something, then it's not actually all that difficult.

2. It's amazing what you can see when you really take the time to look.

and, it turns out that there's a 3 too...

3. Except between typing that last sentence and this I've forgotten what it was. Blame the man sitting next to me. He's playing Call of Duty and all I can hear is a monotony of "enemy spy plane approaching...." "we have their flag..." "we've lost their flag...." (He's wearing his earphones now after a subtle hint from yours truly!). Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, looking for the third point. Ah yes...

3 (again). Teeth are not actually white. With the exception perhaps of Simon Cowell and other visitors to his expensive dentist, teeth are actually a whole variety of creamy shades. Nor are they flat, but rounded and ridged.

I'm sure you all knew this, but it's just that sometimes I still become fixated on what I believe something should look like, rather that what it actually does look like.

Pop along to Sunday Sketches and take a look at what everyone else has 'seen' this week.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Not a leprechaun in sight - updated

I'm not entirely sure I've got the energy to post tonight, but I am missing my blog and my visits to friends around the world. It has been quite a week dear friends - one which has been spent writing, writing, interviewing, writing and more of the same. And what's more, getting paid for it. A busy few days on the work front but I do love a bit of pressure and pulling together a 12 page newspaper in a couple of days sure does hit that nail on the head.

Some slight exhaustion of an evening will explain my prolonged absence - though to be fair, a couple of days is hardly lengthy, but what can I say? I like blogging!

I like making art too and so tonight, for the sake of my sanity, I must dip into my creative juice and see what appears. A challenge always helps with a kick start and so I thought I'd tackle "Do you dream in colour" by Inspiration Avenue. Well, here's an interesting question. I do dream that's for sure! In fact, if I could only remember my nightly adventures long enough to write them down I may become a best-selling fantasy novelist (or put in a straight jacket). This week, I know for sure that there's my dreams are no black and white movie for I distinctly recall a scene in which the protagonists were all exclaiming on the coincidence of all being dressed in green - and the same green at that. There was me, a couple of friends and ... a leprechaun. Well I did warn you!

Looks like I do have the energy to post tonight after all... But what about the artwork... Hold on, I'll be right back..

OK, I present a green picture! Amazing what you can do in Photoshop in next to no time. Seven layers and lots of manipulation - starting with a photograph I had taken, mixed with a Kim Klassen free texture and some lovely digital collage material I bought from Etsy.

For those of you who would love to get started in Photoshop Elements, I've just read that Kim Klassen is offering a free mini ecourse for beginners starting Monday. Details here.

And if you want more detail, there's a full course by Kim here.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Old fashioned communication

MSN is terribly old-fashioned these days - or so I was told by a trendy 17-year-old. Apparently those who are 'with it' (clearly not me) use Facebook chat these days. Well, I do stand corrected - though truth be told, I haven't used it myself for ages, though that's mainly because I prefer the even more old-fashioned tools like the telephone, face-to-face conversation, and that new-fangled email thingiemebub.
Anyway, speaking of fashion, this pearl of wisdom I might point out came from a young man wearing a pair of jeans that only came half way up his underpants. I mean, how can you possibly take anyone seriously who spends so much time grooming his hair yet walks around looking like he's lost his elastic from his bottom half?

It's a rum old world, make no mistake, but I should thank him for gifting me this pearl of an idea for The Three Muses' challenge this week - 'Old Fashioned'. Just check out that ancient screenshot of ye olde MSN we used to communicate with each other in the olden days... A little digital fun for you!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Heads & Shoulders...

Knees and toes, knees and toes. Heads and shoulders knees and toes, and eyes and ears and mouth and nose... it's time I stretched my comfort zones...

This sketch represents the beginning of a limbering up in my pencils. I do love to draw a face, but it's time to branch out. We start by tucking the hair behind the ear and attempting to capture the funny little thing. My poor models in the past have suffered with hearing problems and have complained to Artquity (that's the artist models' union you know) that they never have ears! What a cheek! In fact, the only time I think I ever attempt anything auditory is for pointy elf appendages.

And as for fingers... well if I can hide them under a fold of clothing then all the better.

Not so now my friends for it's time to feel the pain, it's time to put on those trainers and get the heart beating hard and fast. It's time to leave the comforting blanket of long hair and head and shoulder poses... Eek, am I up to the challenge?

My post for this week's Sunday Sketches.

Saturday, 1 January 2011


This resolution's not mine (non-smoker, rather than a refusal to give up!). Instead, it's a bit of fun to start off the New Year and answer the theme from Illustration Friday.

I must say, it shows how times have changed when I'm sober and bored enough on New Year's Eve to get the paints out... That can't be a good thing. I did stay up until gone 2am though - what a rebel!

If you read yesterday's post, you'll know that this time next year I'll be waking up in some swanky country hotel looking forward to a bracing walk with the family through the countryside on fresh fallen snow. I'm getting excited already! We'll have tucked in to a hearty breakfast involving copious amounts of local produce, wrapped ourselves up warm and allowed the fresh air to blow away the cobwebs.

Today however it is grey and drizzling... I'm off to do some housework... deep joy...
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