February 6th, 2012
Right, now it is February it seems like a good time to talk about what I was up to over the Christmas period! ;-)
This year I decided to try to make some of the prezzies I was giving. However I didn’t just want to limit this to drawings or paintings, I figured this was a great opportunity to try something new that I had been meaning to try for a while.
I have been admiring some of the miniature food jewellery made by crafters from polymer clay. People such as Petit Plat and Shay Aaron are able to make mouthwateringly realistic miniature tarts and cakes and I really fancied giving this a go. Also I thought I could see a way to replicate some actual size beads of the sweeties I loved when I was young (and still do if I’m honest). I figured these would make good prezzies for sweet toothed friends and teenaged relatives alike.
The photos here show all of my first attempts at making these sweet little treats. they are all made from polymer clay (Fimo or Sculpey), some glitter, some varnish and a few ready made jewellery findings. I haven’t made anything from these materials since I was quite little and I had always thought of polymer clay as just a way to entertain small kids but having made these and having had a look around at what other artists are making, I was surprised at how versatile a material it is and what beautiful things can be created with it.
The materials available have become a lot more sophisticated too, you can now get semitransparent and liquid clays with which you can achieve some great effects.
I am quite pleased with how they all turned out especially the dolly mixtures and jelly beans. I might even have a go at putting together a collection to sell. What do you think?
Some of these were quite fiddly to produce. The sugar coating on the jelly tot dolly mixtures and the icing on the cupcakes for example sent me quite cross eyed. As you can probably tell from some of my artwork I tend to like getting lost in the tiny details of a piece of work but this was the first time I have really felt I could do with a magnifying glass.
It’s not just my eyes either. I ended up so hunched over each bead that after a while my back and shoulders hurt too. In short this is a sure fire way to make me feel old before my time ;) but fun all the same! :)
December 16th, 2011
Oh dear, poor, poor neglected blog. Over 3 months since my last post!
Outside of work I have a habit of getting completely absorbed in new projects. I only seem to have enough room in my head to focus on a few passions at once and when I get into something new this usually means that I start to neglect something else (like this blog).
Over the past few months I have found myself focusing on a few new projects. I will update you on these over the next few posts.
However I have been inspired to start posting here again…
Last Saturday I had to go up to South Yorkshire to work, but once I had finished in the afternoon I had a little time to spare before I needed to head home to London and I remembered reading in Lynne Chapman’s blog that the Sketchcrawl North group was meeting in Sheffield. I couldn’t make most of the day (a visit to a museum in the morning) but I made it in time to join the group and catch the end of the first Dr Sketchy event in Sheffield.
Dr Sketchy’s is a global franchise, they bill themselves as the anti-art school. At their events they get together fabulous (and raunchy) burlesque performers to pose for an audience of sketchers. They also run several competitions during the course of the event in which they ask the performers to choose their favorite drawing of their pose. The Sheffield event had a 1920s theme which carried through the costumes, music and the competition prises.
I only made it for the last 3 poses but my 2nd sketch (above) won me this prize. A fabulous Gin bottle necklace by Tatty Devine!
After all the sketching had finished the group made their way down to the bar to share sketchbooks. I was in for a real treat. There were some fantastic sketchbooks for me to see. I also got the chance to look at not only Lynne’s wonderful sketchbooks full of wonderful loose, fluid colourful sketches but also one of Andrea Joseph‘s beautiful detailed sketch books. I have followed both Lynne’s and Andrea’s blogs for some time and I always look forward to their posts so it was wonderful to not only have the chance to meet them but also to see their fabulous sketches in person! If I’m honest I was probably a little bit starstruck ;)
All in all I had a great day (even if I did have to work on a Saturday) and it was lovely to meet such a talented bunch of people, Hopefully I will have reason to travel up north and join them again sometime in the future.
August 28th, 2011
While I was on holiday with family in Cornwall this year my youngest niece came back from a day out with this lovely little cuddly pig. It is made out of a really soft plush corduroy with a really interesting texture. I couldn’t resist trying to capture this little character on paper.
This was quite a quick sketch. I started by blocking out the colour of the pig and it’s shadow using watercolours with a large brush. I then added the shade using pencil crayon and finally picked out the highlight colour and texture of the corduroy using a white conte crayon and using the rough grain of the watercolour paper.
August 23rd, 2011
New Item for sale in my Etsy Shop:
I mentioned in a previous post that I was thinking of revisiting the patterns I saw in the clusters of mussels found on the rocks on the north coast of Cornwall. This, in addition to the beautiful colours of the Cornish sea provided the inspiration for my abstract drawing ‘Cluster’.
The original drawing ‘Cluster’ is now for sale in my etsy shop here for £30. It measures 7″x10″ in size, is drawn on rough grain mould made cotton watercolour paper and was created using a fountain pen with Noodlers Bulletproof black ink and coloured using Prismacolour pencils. All materials used are of archival quality and should resist fading or discolouring over time.
August 16th, 2011
It’s been a while since I have done any location sketching and it seems I am a little rusty. When I met up with Drawing London on Location a few weeks ago I spent most of the day struggling with the perspective on Shad Thames. I didn’t manage to complete the drawing but while my friend Jon and I were sat on the floor sketching we did get to learn a little of the history of the area. A young lady passing by stopped to chat to us and asked if we knew anything about the area. We thought she was asking as she wanted to know for herself but it turned out that she has lived in the area all her life and thought that as we were interested enough to sketch the buildings she loved, we would probably like to know more about them.
Shad Thames, completed in the 1870s, was apparently the spice district of London and the warehouse buildings that we were sitting amongst were originally used to store spices shipped in via the Thames. She pointed out that the building we were sitting next to was used to store salt and that the walls were so inpregnated with salt that they would never hold a coat of paint. She also pointed out the spices stored in several of the other buildings and explained that the building opposite us was used to store Cardamom and apparently still smells of Cardamom whenever it rains. Though less so since the area was renovated by Terance Conran and all of the buildings were cleared out and converted into up market housing and restaurants etc. Before this, the area had sat empty and unused for some time but when it was at it’s industrial height and the warehouses in Shad Thames were being built, the area had captured the imagination of Charles Dickens who based the story Oliver Twist around an inlet just a little further down the river. Hopefully I have remembered and recounted what she said faithfully.
I think I have mentioned before how sitting and sketching in public makes you fair game and available for conversation. Even in a place like London where people tend to be anonymous and insular. Sometimes this is a pain especially if you feel self-conscious about drawing in public. But every now and then you meet someone who has something very interesting to say and has obvious passion for their subject matter and I feel very glad that I have this chance to open myself up to Londoners who I would not normally have the chance to speak with.
As the day drew on I realised I was not going to get much further with my drawing of Shad Thames and I was craving putting some colour to paper so I moved on to do a quick 40 min landscape watercolour sketch of Tower Bridge from the Waterfront near the Design Museum. I may go back to finish the Shad Thames sketch but Mat convinced me to scan it as it is. For some reason he really likes it as it is.
August 8th, 2011
Well I have been full of cold and not very productive for the past week or so. I have a few bits ready to scan and put up here but, between work, sleeping and generally feeling grotty I’m afraid I do not have much of my own to say.
So I thought I would use the opportunity to support an appeal from fellow blogger and illustrator Lorrie Whittington – Illusio Creative.
Lorrie is auctioning two of her beautiful original illustrations and all of the proceeds will go to UNICEF.
Falling Leaves – By Lorrie Whittington
“As we are all aware, there is a crisis in Africa; drought, conflict, escalating food prices have created a serious shortage bordering on famine, and it’s getting worse. They need our aid, children are dying, more will die soon. To that end I am auctioning two of my original illustrations never before offered for sale, as I had not intended to part with them. However, I feel that this is an important cause, so there we have it.”
Autumn Leaves – By Lorrie Whittington
It can be very hard to part with something you have created with love and have a particular affection for. Each illustration has a starting bid of £20 but Lorrie would never normally part with an illustration for this little let alone ones that she is attached to in this way so please support this very worthy cause generously so that Lorrie knows that it was worthwhile.
Full details of how to bid etc can be found here: Art Auction for African Famine Appeal
July 26th, 2011
If you aren’t already aware from some of my previous posts, Cornwall is one of my favourite places in the world. After I got back from holiday I just had to try to put some of the brilliant colours and shapes down on paper. The blues in particular you just don’t see often in the UK.
This is my impression of one of the most memorable views of my holiday. It was a pretty rainy week for our Cornish holiday this year but we were lucky enough to get a couple of lovely days and on one of them we took a walk over the cliff tops to Wheal Coates. We then walked back along the beach and finished with a pint over a view of the sea. This image is my interpretation of the view back up towards Chapel Porth and Wheal Coates up on the cliff.
The patterns made by the crowded clusters of glistening mussels on the rocks fascinate me. I’m very pleased with how this pattern transfers to paper. I think I may play around with this some more in some abstract pieces.
I will be selling the original of this painting in addition to limited edition giclee prints in 2 sizes. Please see my Etsy Shop for more details.
The original was created using Windsor & Newton Artists Watercolours and gouache on 14″x10″ Arches Hot Pressed (Smooth texture) watercolour paper.
For those of you who have already had a look at my Etsy shop, please note that as I have now had time to do some more homework I have reduced the postage costs for most of the products in my shop.
July 19th, 2011
I am very pleased to announce that my Etsy shop is now open! :) To celebrate I am offering the users of my website an introductory 10% discount off all products. Just use the coupon code ASLAUNCH10 at the checkout.
Right… I have been spending the past week or so wrangling with various shop plugins for WordPress with the aim of selling prints and drawings directly from my website. I haven’t given up on the idea but none of the plugins I have tried work quite as I would like and I think it will take a little longer to launch them. In the mean time I was too excited to wait and decided Etsy was the way to go.
I would also like to introduce you to Tallulah, my glamourous pink haired angel. Tallulah was drawn for a friend of mine and named after her alter ego Tallulah (The demanding princess with high standards ;)
She was drawn using Zig Millenium fine line pens and then coloured using Windsor and Newton Watercolours and gouache and then finished with Prisma Colour Pencils.
I am now selling limited edition archival prints of Talullah in two sizes 6″x8″ and 10″x12″ in my Etsy Shop. Perfect as a gift for all little princesses and angels and even the odd grown up impossible princess too ;)
Don’t forget to use the coupon code ASLAUNCH10 to claim your 10% introductory discount and if you enjoy looking at my work as much as I enjoy creating it I would be really grateful for any feedback, facebook likes or shared links to any of my homes on the web.
July 5th, 2011
I am very excited to say that I recently ordered some Giclee prints of some of my drawings and they arrived in the mail today :) I have also been working hard on finding ways to sell these prints online and hopefully in the next few days I will be launching a new shop section on this website where people will be able to buy my prints and original art work as I produce it.
To begin with I will be selling limited edition individually signed and numbered prints in various sizes, of 6 of my drawings, 3 of which will be pieces I have previously posted on this blog and 3 are new pieces.
Fierce Floral is the first of my new drawings. I produced the original artwork for a friend of mine, Erwin, who gave me the detailed brief of ‘I’d like something, about this size, in red and green’! Luckily for me once it was complete he loved the original. I’m hoping that you all love it too!
For anyone unfamiliar with Giclee prints, these are high quality reproductions of original artwork, printed using archival quality pigment inks and papers so that they can stand the test of time and resist fading or discolouring. In some cases they can last longer than the original work depending on the materials used.
June 26th, 2011
I have just returned from a very relaxing week in Cornwall. Away from all mobile signal and although I did have access to the web and a TV I pretty much ended up avoiding both. I hadn’t planned to do this but I must admit it was nice to take a break and good to be back online again now :)
I haven’t been completely idle while I was away. I have recently finished a couple of larger pieces that I had been asked to produce for friends. These are larger detailed pieces and I will soon be selling prints of these and a few of my older pieces through this website and Etsy. I have been talking about doing this for a while but I have finally got around to doing my homework and I’m nearly there, so watch this space.
A while before we went away I checked to see if there would be any gigs at the Eden Project while we were in Cornwall and for once there was, so I got Mat and I a pair of tickets to see Primal Scream perform Screamadelica.
We decided to head down early and make a day of it as we hadn’t been around the gardens and biomes for a few years, plus it would give me the chance to get at least one location sketch done during the holiday. I set myself up on a bench with a good view of the valley for an hour or so to sketch. While I was there Primal Scream themselves turned up on the stage to sound test and played a few of their best known tracks.
I had to stop before I was finished, to go and see Robin Ince doing a short gig in the Mediterranean Biome. I was planning to finish the sketch from photos but on second thoughts I decided I quite like it unfinished.
I have wanted to catch a gig there since I found out that they use it as a concert venue some years ago on a previous holiday. It is such a beautiful peaceful place and the Biomes and gardens make for a dramatic backdrop especially after the sun sets and they start to light the place up. Check out my snaps below.
Apart from the main gig and warm up acts across three stages, a couple of other highlights of the day were drinking a baobab smoothy and when a lady in the rainforest Biome decided to complain to me about the noise of the sound tests and warm up acts and asked me if I agreed, ‘doesn’t it spoil the peace?’ I replied apologetically that as I had paid to see the concert, I couldn’t really comment. She then apologised to me, not sure why.