Today I found 7 different grasses just walking through the garden to my studio (we don’t mow the grass very often).
I used them to experiment with making very quick drawings, looking closely at the grasses but trying not to look at the page. I didn’t worry about accuracy or detail.
Then I tried drawing in the same way with colours I wouldn’t normally combine…
…and ended up with green paint and a pencil/pastel line.
I really enjoyed focusing on the process instead of the end result, and just seeing what happened. I think I could have repeated this experiment with different subject matter all day…
I immersed myself in colour last week, as I’ve been preparing for an Illustrators’ Sketchbook workshop at the lovely Prema Arts Centre in Uley, Gloucestershire.
I’ve been coming up with all sorts of ways of approaching colour in a sketchbook – ways of playing with colour; releasing colourful shapes from painted pages; trying out colour combinations; and of course some scribbling, snipping and gluing.
And in doing this planning and preparation I’ve come up with things that I would never normally have tried…I found it really hard to stop playing around with colours and go off to school to pick up my kids. I felt as if I was floating along in a different (& quite colourful) world…
I thought I’d try something darker than usual for Friday’s colour_collective on twitter…
So I drew on a painted sheet with graphite pencils, then added a little colour with conté pastel pencils.
And I really really enjoyed playing around and experimenting!
This is one of the loveliest commissions I’ve had – “Could you paint me a dog on a gold background please?”
I added the flowers because it was for a garden designer who has a beautiful garden.
And on the theme of woolly hats…
This racoon hasn’t quite got the hang of knitting yet, but he’s determined to make a balaclava for his sweetheart Minnie. And I’m sure she’ll love it no matter how wonky it is.
Two weeks ago I had a big Summer Studio Sale to make a bit of space for new work (and to sell things of course).
I covered the walls of my studio with old illustrations,which had been lurking in portfolios stuffed behind my drawing board.
Although I haven’t been working with such thick outlines and bright colours much recently, it was good to see everything up together. I also found some etchings that I’d done years ago in a print studio in London, and a huge pile of rather silly mono prints. It reminded me how much I love printmaking and how I’d like to experiment more with prints in the future.
I put up some of my more recent ink illustrations too, but I was surprised to find that I kept quite a lot of them back at the last minute, as they just felt too newly-done to sell. I don’t usually feel like that, but I think it was because a lot of the illustrations were about my family life, and I just wanted to hang on to them.
It was a very busy day and I sold lots of paintings – it was easy to part with the old ones and great to know that they were going on people’s walls. I did sell one of my favourite family illustrations – to a very dear friend. This moment in the bathroom trying to clean two of my children’s teeth one morning reminded me that it’s not all about rushing out of the door to get to school on time…
Anyone in the Stroud area…I’m having a Studio Sale on Sunday! If you’d like to come, please let me know and I’ll give you directions.
Anyone interested and not in the Stroud area….there’ll be lots of Sale work up on the website soon!
Still going through piles of artwork – I have little inky pages from sketchbooks…..
…and designs that I did years ago as birthday cards and a Christmas card.
Ten years ago I had just started illustrating my first children’s book, One Lucky Duck, written by Alison Maloney and published by Meadowside Children’s Books.
I painted in the evenings and while my one year old had her daytime naps, and her naps never seemed long enough for the work that I wanted to do. I worked on a coffee table and had to clear it all up whenever I stopped.
Most of the books that I worked on after that were painted at a table in my bedroom…until I’d painted enough illustrations to afford a studio in my garden.
Recently I’ve been sorting out my studio, and looking through the artwork that’s been piling up. I realise that I need to make some space for my new work (both physically and mentally)…I don’t really need to hang on to all these paintings.
So at some point in the near future I’m going to have a Spring Studio Sale and try to create a bit more space.
And I still love the fact that I can spread this many paintings out in one room without having to put them on a bed or worrying that someone will stand/crawl/draw/scribble on them!