Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Beyond the View

30 min pencil on cartridge paper - view from the summerhouse.

Home is where the heart is, but what if the heart is no longer there?

Now it's time to put the past behind us and look forward to the future. Time to take courage and step forward, move beyond the pain - move beyond the view into unknown territory.

There is no home in halls of pride,
They are too high, and cold, and wide (Josias Conder)

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Irresistible Inks

40 min ink sketch

Just playing around with the inks - no preliminary drawing as this was not a serious study, just went straight in wet-in-wet building up layers as it dried.

I really enjoy using inks, but in the past have mostly used just one colour (primarily black). This was interesting, using several different colours.

Most people adore flowers, but I particularly love roses. They are such beautiful flowers, don't you think?

That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet (Shakespeare)

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Tudor Rose

20 min study using watersoluble pencils in sketchbook.

Ancient buildings are so beautiful and it is very sad to see so many lost in the name of progress. Here in a small Norfolk town an old Tudor building has been preserved and many others in this town are still in use. I love the cobbled streets and winding paths, feels like I am stepping back in time whenever I go there.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Take A Leaf Out of His Book

15 min watersoluble pencil sketch on sketchpaper.

I have discovered that I rather like sketching open books. I like these quick sketches, they are opening my eyes to the things I like and the things I don't like.

When you think of taking a leaf out of someone else's book it's because you think they have got things right, so you want to emulate it. Trouble with me is I am very independent and stubborn which means I cannot take a leaf out of anybody else's book, because I'm too busy writing my own! I like the saying all the same.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Pinning on a Smile

15 min watersoluble pencil on sketchpaper.

This is something of a self portrait really... Pinning on a smile.

The British are particularly good at it and I am a past master.

I don't show my true feelings easily, always making out things are fine even when they are not. I would rather hear them laugh than see them sad and I don't want to make others unhappy by unburdening myself, what use is that. How are you they ask... I'm fine. Pin on the smile.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Life is an Open Book

10 min watersoluble pencil on sketch paper.

Letters and appointments... all part of life.

Always exciting when the post arrives though slightly disappointing if it happens to be bills - still we live in hope and feel excitement rising whenever we hear the letterbox.

Appointments are similar... some good, some bad... we hope for the best but expect the worst. It's nice when something we are dreading turns out to be much better than expected - not disappointing after all, but instead a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Pinch of Salt

30 min Watersoluble pencil on sketch paper.

Take it with a pinch of salt. In other words do not believe everything you are told, quite often it is wildly exaggerated.

The salt cellar was on the table and so became my next subject. All the curves were pleasing but difficult to make the cellar look straight... I am coming to the conclusion that I must have a wonky eye.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Discarded Bouquet

Not a good 15 min sketch, but I loved the story that the image told... a discarded bouquet in a rubbish bin in the park.

Makes you think, doesn't it? Who would discard a bouquet in such a way and why? Ah, it's the storyteller in me that was captured by this scene.

And at springtide, when the apple-blossoms brush the burnished bosom of the dove,
Two young lovers lying in an orchard would have read the story of our love;
Would have read the legend of my passion, known the bitter secret of my heart,
Kissed as we have kissed, but never parted as we two are fated now to part. (Oscar Wilde)

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Teddy Hopper

12" x 9" watersoluble pencils 50 min

Teddy Hopper sits upon my desk and begs to be the subject of my quick sketch.

Strictly speaking, this was done over two sessions, one yesterday and one today but in all still within my 60 minute deadline being 50 minutes in all!

Edward Hopper is one of my favourite artists and Teddy is of course named after him. I was so sad to miss out on the exhibition in London a few years ago and bought the book as solace for my sadness... not quite the same, but still I live in hope of one day getting to see a Hopper in real life.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Poor Poinsettia

15 min study watersoluble pencils on 12" x 9" watercolour paper.

As it's leaves fall on an almost daily basis the poor poinsettia begins to look rather sparse, but even so, the crimson bracts retain their beauty and lift my spirits.

I am not the best person to own a houseplant, it's very rare that they survive. I often forget to water them and when I remember I overdo it... killing them with kindness.

Anyway, it's interesting artistically because they are constantly changing (shape & colour, as they die).

Friday, 19 December 2008

One Rainy Night

Waiting in the rain at night I used the 10 mins that I was there to do this quick sketch in watersoluble pencil.

The town that I love was lit up by Christmas decorations that sparkled in the rain, but I had no time to do this justice. However, I was pleased with my small effort.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

First 60 minutes

Watercolours and ink experiment.

This began as an ink wash using just black ink. Then I wondered if it were possible to paint watercolour over the top. This is the first 60 minutes of my little experiment. I will do more later.

Golden Ornament

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Playing with Texture

15 min watercolour on paper

Hard to put a time on this as it just took a matter of minutes, less than 15 mins anyway, but quite a bit of drying time between layers.

Painted one colour, allowed to dry and then different colours poured over allowing to bleed into each other. Used clingfilm to create the textural quality. I love this technique! It's such fun.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Oh Christmas Tree!

15 min quick sketch(using watersoluble pencils) of a small Christmas Tree in my office.

Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree
Oh tree of green unchanging
Thy leaves so green in summertime
Do brave the snow of wintertime
Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree
Oh tree of green unchanging.

Christmas is a time for family, when all gather together and we try to recreate the wonderful times we have experienced in the past. It's kind of hard because it reminds us how much things are constantly changing. Children grown and leaving home when all we want is to have them small and safe at home with us.

Next best thing is having them all home for Christmas and making it a Christmas to remember with all our own traditions to remind them of their childhood.

Monday, 15 December 2008


25 min study using Graphitint watersoluble pencils on 12” x 9” paper.

My dog Ralfi with his comfort blanket… a comforter for my comforter!

What wonderful friends dogs are to us humans and what comfort they give in times of sadness as well as times of joy. They are loyal and loving no matter how they are treated. It makes me sad when I hear of a dog that has been neglected or abused. How can anyone be cruel to such adorable creatures?

When my last dog died I made the decision not to have another because my heart was broken at losing her. However, the months seemed so empty and lonely without my dog and walking just didn't seem the same alone. So I went to the RSPCA rescue centre and Ralfi picked me. He has such adorable chocolate brown eyes and once I had gazed into them I was smitten. He is a wonderful character and a joy to have in my home.

He also makes a good subject for my artwork.
Puppy 1

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Cool Cat

15 min study using Watersoluble pencil on 12” x 9” watercolour paper.

Cats move with such grace and elegance. In this pose Fidget my cat seems to be in contemplative mood. Just couldn’t resist capturing that.

There is something to be said for emulating cats, they are so laid back and when they wake they stretch leisurely and take their time getting ready for the day ahead. As humans it seems it's just rush, rush, rush with no time for contemplation.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Waiting for the Call

40 min Inktense watersoluble pencil 12" x 9" wc paper

Today is a good day.

The engineer came to set up a new phone in my office. Lots of buttons and lights and I can see when anyone in the building is engaged... how lovely!

Now I just have to learn to use it


Friday, 12 December 2008

Dead Roses

40 min Graphitint watersoluble pencils on 12" x 9" wc paper.

Wake up and smell the roses. Even as they die they still retain their beauty. The subdued colours and burnt edges add character and attract my artist's eye.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Talking of Teddy

15 min charcoal on A4 copy paper.

Teddy... Never the cold shoulder nor criticism, but always there with a warm hug at the end of a hard day.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Rough Roof

Watersoluble pencils (Graphitint) on 9" x 6" cold pressed watercolour paper
Rooftop study 15 mins.

Not much time today, but a wonderful view across the street.

Old and ancient buildings are so full of character - I love their rooftops especially with their slightly uneven tiles and mossy edges. They fill me with warmth and nostalgia... so many memories, such stories to tell.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Leaf Me Alone

9" x 6" Watercolour on wc paper - 15 min

A lone Poinsettia leaf.

Feeling rather lonesome when others do not move in the same direction, take comfort for with independence comes strength and clarity of purpose.

A difficult day but the beauty of the Poinsettia lifted my heart.

Monday, 8 December 2008

The Bookshop

30 min watersoluble pencil on cold pressed watercolour paper.

On reading a book you step into another world and take on a new life.

The best books are like good friends, I visit them time and again and feel reluctant to leave.

The bookshop is the place to visit to begin a new life.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Dying Rose

40 mins watersoluble pencil on 140lb cold pressed watercolour paper 12" x 9".

The Dying Rose

Even as she dies she presents a vision of beauty and only one part of the plant perishes... soon another sweet fragranced head will awaken to brighten our tomorrow.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Wine for the Whine

To begin...

15 mins watersoluble pencil on cartridge paper.

Wine to ease the whine?

No point in whining… doesn’t change anything. Just a waste of energy really.

Much better to accept that things aren’t quite the way you would like them to be - after all, tomorrow’s another day and certain to be much better.

In the meantime… a nice glass of wine to help me un-whined!