Thursday, 31 March 2011

blossom tree

apologies for the photo quality, I still haven't worked out how to get the best results on my phone camera, I'm sure they should be better than this... but anyway, at least you get the idea of the new piece I have been working on this week... blossom tree.

It's been a hectic week with lots of stuff going on, house guests, work and nights out, so I'm looking forward to a quieter weekend of chilling out with my family. I have another gallery visit tomorrow, which I'll tell you about after I've been (don't wanty to jinx things!!). For now, I have lots of jobs to do, including taking my very excited dog for a walk and then printing off some more work (yes, the printer cartridges arrived in time.. phew!!) and then packing my bags for a weekend away. Leaving hubby and dog at home and I'm off up North for Mothers Day.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Featuring... Stephanie Ryan

Ok, this blog is not going to be just about boring old me!! I have decided to try and do a regular feature, maybe weekly but more probably monthly about an artist/designer whose work I really like. I found the Etsy Shop of Stephanie Ryan this afternoon while I was having a little browse.She is from Kintnersville, USA, and works in surface pattern design (check out her Kitchen range), watercolours, stationery. I love her colourful watercolours and prints, and really think they remind me that Spring is here!! You can see more of her gorgeous work at her website here or her blog here. She mentions that she has spent the last couple of years searching for her creative spirit, well all I can say is, she has definitely found it. Her use of colour, inspirational quotes and patterns are just divine. And her love her philosophy... 'It is my purpose in this life to help inspire others and then in turn myself, using love and the creative arts as a means to heal our spirit and live our truth one small sweet step at a time.'

Please go and check her out, you never know you might find something you would like for yourself!!

I haven't been on Etsy for a while as I've been concentrating on Folksy but I think I should be spending my time on both...

Monday, 28 March 2011

new discovery...

This is Belton House and it has been there for several hundred years, but we only just discovered it yesterday. It's near Grantham and it's a National Trust property with gardens, parkland, a church, orangery, lakes, tea rooms, stable block and a plant shop. I wasn't feeling brilliant on Saturday so we didn't stay as long as we had wanted but we had time for a quick explore before the cold weather and my sore throat sent us home!! But before we dashed off I did take a few snaps with my Hipstamatic app on my phone and here are the atmospheric, eerie pictures I managed to take. I definitely would like to go back there when it's a bit warmer and sit and do some sketching. Lots of inspiration awaits! And they run a Draw the Garden Day on the last Sunday of every month so I might just do that!!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

the dreaming tree...

Another new piece of mixed media, collage and ink. It was quite nice workingon something other than just plain white paper, but I'm not sure how the finishd article works, I've had some constructive feedback, from my Notts Creative colleagues, and I'm thinking maybe this needs some more work. I want to develop this body of work, bring some colour to it and make it not-just-black-and-white, but I'm not really sure how to do it. I do have another idea which I might try this afternoon inspired by all the gorgeous blossom which is out at the moment.... watch this space... 

Thursday, 24 March 2011

mixed media and a bit of colour

as all of my plans for my day went up the spout this morning (ie had planned to have a printathon in the studio ready for new gallery visits..... and then I ran out of ink) I decided to work on something new. It's a mixed media piece with paint, watercolour paper, acrylics in the background, colour washes etc (ie a bit of an experiment a few weeks ago when I was being creative in the studio but didn't really know what I was creating!!). Well, I knew this background would come in useful for something. I've drawn one of my new style-y trees with a few birds. It's currently unnamed but I'll think of one soon. I've been having plenty of iPod shuffles going on in the background so I'm sure I'll find a suitable song lyric for the title.

And what about everything else... for those of you who aren't from the UK.... we are known to be a bit weather-obssessed. The weather this week, wall to wall sunshine and 18C (unheard of even for summertime never mind the first flushes of spring!!) It's brought everything on so quickly, the daffs are all in flower and the hedges are turning green. I love it!!! Ok, back out to the garden for a while before my new yoga class thisa evening.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

itchy fingers...

We're off on holiday in a few weeks time and I've been researching the area we are off to, and was amazed to discover the village of Thorpeness, which isn't far from where we are going. There are lots of these gorgeous wooden houses, and to be honest, I have itchy fingers already. I CAN'T WAIT to sketch these babies!!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

putting practice into action

So I used the sketches I did last week as the basis for some new work, I'm feeling like my trees could be developed a bit. I'm giving this new structure a try and seeing how they turn out.

I do sometimes think though... considering how much I like colour, I'm often really surprised that my illustration has gone down the 'black and white' route. It seems to be working for the moment so I'm just going to go with the flow.... maybe I could try to mix it with some bright watercolour work?

Monday, 21 March 2011

sketchbook peek

I always love to have a peep into other peoples sketchbooks, as I'm a bit nosey like that. In my last blog, and when I was a member of the Nottingham Craft Mafia, I used to do a regular blog post about different artists and their sketchbooks (hmm, note-to-self... might resurrect this for current blog as maybe it's too much all-about-me) as I had a real interest in other peoples' creative processes and how they use their sketchbooks. Also last January I bought a new sketchbook and tried to sketch every day, just after I'd read the Creative License by Danny Gregory (a very inspiring book btw). It's a great habit to get into and unfortunatley one which I didn't keep up!! I have a huge pile of sketchbooks in the huge cupboard in the studio and sometimes like to get them out, searching for new ideas, or unfinished old ideas. I used to have one sketchbook per project when I was at college and found that I liked  to work this way. As a result a lot of my sketchbooks are unfinished with reams of empty pages just waiting to be used. So as part of my 'breaking the silly rules I have made up about how I work' I have decided to use these unfinished sketchbooks, to be a bit more haphazard and less structured in the way I work, and basically just pick one up, whichever size and shape I feel like, when I go out and fill the pages with new stuff.

To cut a long waffly story short, this is what I did on Friday and here are the pages.... lots of trees!!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

a bird in a tree...

And another tree picture, part of a new body of work I have started this week! Very exciting to finally get into something new and being able to feel that this is something I can develop and build on! I have come to the end of five days off my day job and the thought of having to go to work tomorrow when I'd rather be working for myself is, how can I say it, a tad frustrating!! It's been great to have a chunk of time to acutally get some proper work done and this week has seen some good results, a new stockist and some more interest from other galleries, and a more confident and proactive approach to my art work which has really paid off. I feel like I'm getting somewhere!! I keep having to remind myself that I'm only working two days a week on my creative work so I can't expect the earth immediately, but as they say Rome wasn't built in a day...

Saturday, 19 March 2011


This week I have started some new work, moving on to some new tree designs. I went out sketching yesterday near where I live. The sun was shining and it really felt as though spring was in the air. It was great to get out and about with a sketch book again, it's been too long!!

I have two new galleries interested in seeing my work, which is great news, I'm very excited about that. Watch this space for details!! This week I used some of my admin time to send out a few emails and it has proved to me that being proactive is what gets the results.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Introducing Created Gallery

This week, apart from the two days when I had to go to work for someone else, has been a good week!
I've started working with a new gallery, Created Gallery, in Chesterfield, who are stocking a range of my originals, some prints and some cards, which is fantastic. I think since I have rebranded and got myself organised I feel a lot more confident with my work, it's a lot more coherent and works well as a range. The feedback from Deirdre and Clare at the Gallery was very encourgaing so I look forward to a new working relationship. You can find more information about this lovely new space at (for some reason I can't hyperlink today??).

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

back to normal!

ok, computer nightmares are nearly over, so I have managed to download my holiday snaps, and here is the amazing Bamburgh Castle and beach, one of my favourite places in the world.. and its hard to believe we were there only this time last week.
Things back to normal, post-holiday, I have an extra day off work this week, so have been trying to finish all my admin jobs today, contacting a few galleries, getting a bit more organised and tying up loose ends before new work begins. I have also placed my tea towel order so may have some exciting new products to show you very soon!!

Monday, 14 March 2011

anyone miss me??

blimey, I haven't posted since February, and here we are half way thru March... very slack indeed... but I do have an excuse, and it isn' that I have turned into a black and white Border Collie.... but I've been away on holiday up to Northumberland, my favourite haunt, staying in a wonderful cottage with my husband and this guy above (I know, I bet you're thinking I'm such a saddo for taking photos of my dog on holiday, but hey, needs must, we have no kids so the dog gets photographed instead!!), plus I haven't downloaded my photos yet so this will have to do. We have had a great time, lots of walking in the 'unseasonably' good weather, and lots of relaxing. No sketching, apart from a teensy bit of watercolour painting, trying (and failing) to capture the gorgeous view out of the window and some reading. I finally finished the new Kate Morton book I got for Christmas,'The Distant Hours' (and it was good, I'd recommend it highly!)

So now, what to do? I have to make some plans for 2011 really and decide how I want to take my business forward. It seems I have been suffering from a bit of lack of direction over the past month or so, so I really need to get my thinking cap on and decide what I want to do next. I broke my computer yesterday so have had to break into the piggy bank and buy a new one, which might scupper my plans for world domination a wee bit longer!! I want some firm plans made very soon and I want to decide what I'm doing for the rest of the year so I know where I'm at. Enough of this messing around, I need to take action....!

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