In which I talk about the joys of painting, drawing, knitting, cats, music, living in London, and whatever else takes my fancy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Secret Santa

Here are my fabulous Secret Santa gifts : )  Someone has clearly noted well my passion for stationery, and for using water colours!  The little pink cherry blossom notepad has the  palest pink branches printed throughout, while the vibrant sunflower tin contains water colour pencils and will fit neatly into the back pocket of my handbag : ) 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Xmas tree

I've been away from here for a while: I had not allowed at all for the fact that this December marked the tenth anniversary of the death of someone who had been very dear to me, plus what would have been his birthday, and that I would as a consequence find myself grappling ghosts metaphorically and in my dreams for much of the month. 

Anyway, today is the  winter solstice, and I have marked it as usual by decorating my christmas tree : ) I'm looking forward to the days growing longer again, and getting back to my sketchbook and that wacom tablet!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Advent Calendar Day 5

Today's mince pie is still work in progress, even though it is partly eaten!  I'll finish it off tomorrow - the digi painting that is - when I'm less tired, so eye and hand co-0rdination should hopefully be better ; )

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Advent Calendar Day 4

Inspired by the news of heavy snowfalls in the north: ) My snowman is "forever blowing bubbles" ; )

Mainly for my own benefit, I'm going to include notes of how I did these. Today I began to discover special types of water colour layers to play with. Again, this started off with digital 2b pencil on the canvas, some of which I erased later on. It was followed by various layers of digital water colour, including the first which I used "wet entire layer" on. This is the layer with the snow laden sky, and palest pink tinged snow. The Hammers scarf and hat were painted on two separate layers to stop the colours mixing! 'Makes a change for having to wait patiently for paint to dry; )

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Advent Calendar Day 2

A small person has hung their Xmas stocking very early! 

My friend Catherine has made a delightful wish list on her blog:! 'Some of her favourite items on etsy.  This scarf Catherine has made is on my wishlist: rose scarf  : )

Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent Calendar Day 1

For my advent calendar this year I'm going to try something a little different: I've set myself the challenge of making a seasonal image each day using my trusty Wacom pen and tablet and Painter! I've had these tools for quite a while now, but not spent the time really practising to become adept with them, so each time I pick them up it feels to me like starting anew. Anyway, the challenge of producing something new for here everyday in throughout advent seems a good way in : ). Oh, and I am sure I will be posting some "real" watercolours here, too! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sleep Day 5

Finally got flat back into workable order! So, can get back to painting : )

He is sleeping in on a Saturday morning: I'm really envious because I'm unable to stay asleep once it is daylight, unless I'm ill.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Furniture moving

Hi - I am very busy at the moment moving furniture around in my flat to install a plans chest! This is very exciting: I had been looking out for a compact plans chest to store water colour paper, paints, etc, etc for quite a few years, then came across a lovely one 10 days ago. Physically getting it into my flat has been an interesting challenge - not least because the cupboard used as an interim measure for the storage of said water colour paper could not be collected until today, and the plans chest was delivered on Saturday. So the past week has been a saga of moving furniture, contents of cupboard, etc around, and a consequence is that space and time for painting has not been easy to find, not to mention the scanner usually lives on top of cupboard/plans chest, so has also not been usable! Anyway, today should see getting my flat back into good working order.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sleep Day 4

Babies have the wonderful option of being able to sleep anywhere!  I really envy this one, who is all tucked up in the baby stroller, and clutching a favourite toy, possibly even one made or painted by my lovely pal, Gretel:

Friday, November 07, 2008

Shameless plug for Distorted Loop!

Distorted Loop is a fab blog by my pal, Jonny: He always has the latest news about digital media tools (iphone, that type of thing), plus some fab interviews with interesting musicians like Banco Da Gaia, The Charlatans, Peter Gabriel. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sleep Day 3 and something completely different

Fortunately for me, I rarely see the clock in the small hours because I am generally asleep. I feel sorry for folks who suffer from insomnia - very debilitating I understand, and frustrating. Whereas when I do find myself awake in the middle of the night I tend to think of it as bonus reading time!

It's yonks since I have drawn anything of like this! Artpen work today for texture practice for a course I am doing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sleep Day 2

One thing to entice me to bed earlier in winter is furry hot water bottle : ). 

Only the second day of more sleep, and I am definitely feeling benefits, not least that I've had to cut down on my workaholic behaviour so that I have time for life! 

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sleep Day 1

New month, new blog project: ) In my eternal quest to never again have a migraine, this month I am exploring whether increasing the amount of sleep I do has any effect. This is something I've not considered before, given my natural dormouse tendencies - I have no problem going to sleep, and generally do not wake in the night. Anyway, I thought "sleep" would keep my mind focussed! The first painting is of the household's sleep expert - my lovely cat :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I made this Halloween banner for my Directory of Illustration portfolio!

Autumn gardening 10

The window box looks far better after a spot of painterly gardening! In my mind, it now has a neatly pruned  pink geranium (strictly a pelargonium I believe), which will most probably continue to flower for a while, and some bulbs all neatly tucked up in the potting compost ready for spring. Those of you with good memories will recognise the floral hand trowel from my spring gardening project: )

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Autumn gardening 9

The window box is looking very tatty now, so time to tidy it, and maybe plant a few spring bulbs to grow alongside the geranium.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

autumn gardening 7 and 8

This was the sight that greeted me when I opened the curtains this morning: snow! Unheard of in October in London. What was great was seeing the snow against the lovely yellow and orange autumn leaves for the first time.

I hate being cold, so after a brisk walk to enjoy the snow crisp air, dreaming about spring flowers in my warm living room seemed a good plan!  Pink tulips are a favourite : )

Illustration Friday - "Repair"

Rather late because I was away for the weekend! The illustration is based on repairing a fluffy bright pink beanbag for my niece in September - she was so pleased : )

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Autumn gardening 6

The telephone comes in handy, too: my garden backs onto a railway line, and there is a serious problem with "invasion of the triffids", as a friend so eloquently put it! It is telling that Network Rail's automated call directing system has "vegetation" as an option. Anyway, they have now chopped back the mixture of sycamore tree, brambles, russian vine, and bindweed, etc which was overwhelming my garden.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Autumn gardening 5

A frequent visitor to my garden: a sleek, plump squirrel, who busies herself digging up the spring bulbs, and burying instead peanuts that I guess she has pinched from a bird feeder nearby!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Autumn gardening 4

Here is my third gardening prunings/sweepings bag. My virtual garden is far tidier than the real life version now!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Autumn gardening 3

There is such a lot of clearing to do in autumn that I use all of my garden waste collection receptacles! This one is a pretty, round and floral, and it  folds neatly into it's own cover for storage.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

autumn gardening 2

There are heaps of clippings, prunings, cuttings, etc to do at this time of year. I am so pleased the local council collects the plant matter for turning into compost1

Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumn gardening 1 and the rest of autumn wardrobe

September flowers, or as they used to be known, michaelmas daisies, which very unfairly, I dislike intensely. They are a pretty flower, but to me symbolise the end of summer, which I hate!  I decided that I'd paint the counterpart to "spring gardening" that I did earlier this year  as my October blog project : )
This is the final image in "new autumn wardrobe", and is not so much "new" as newly renovated! It's my fabulous long black wool coat - very Victorian style - and I have had it re-lined this year. The woollen outer part was in fine condition, but the lining had disintegrated to the point that every time I moved, I heard a ripping sound. Luckily, my Dad knows someone who does that type of repair at a most reasonable price : )
Pink cord trousers are an essential staple in my autumn/winter wardrobe, and unfortunately my current pair is wearing threadbare now! I'll have to keep an eye on Per Una, since that is where they came from. Being quite long-legged, I often find difficulty getting trousers that fit.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Autumn wardrobe day 8

I've been a bit slack posting here, although I have done some more paintings. The truth is that living space is undergoing some improvements which mean that the scanner is temporarily quite difficult to get to! Hopefully, this state of affairs will be put right at the weekend. In the meantime, here is the lovely soft woollen beret I'd like to have. Unfortunately, the dreaded moth got my last one.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Autumn wardrobe day - the real thing

Here is the first of the lovely marine blue angora gloves that I am knitting! The painted vision appeared here as Day 3 of "new autumn wardrobe"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Autumn wardrobe day 7

Another lucky find in charity shop: enough creamy white mohair to knit a jumper or cardigan! I just need to decide which, and whether lacey or plainer. 

Some lovely new navy blue cotton socks, now the days are growing cooler.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Autumn wardrobe day 6

A lovely soft, warm woven wool scarf, to go with most of my clothes (not the jacket of many colours ; )). So far, I have not seen anything at all like this in my travels, although I have noted that Catherine Hayward is now making some gorgeous scarves: and

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Autumn wardrobe day 5

Here is another charity shop bargain: 10 p this time, for a very pretty blue rose hair tie. It reminds me a fairy story I vaguely recall from years ago about a quest to find a blue rose: something which does not yet exist in nature.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Autumn wardrobe day 4

New-to-me Mandarina Duck: a £1.00 bargain from a Traidcraft shop, which was easy to clean up. It is a great bag, with lots of compartments and room for sketchbook, etc.

I also like to have new gloves every year and as money is tight, I have loads of wool and can knit well, I decided to knit some in the round this autumn! The big plus is I can make them exactly how I want, from the lovely, dark marine blue angora.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumn wardrobe day 3

Some lovely summery-coloured, soft loose trousers to keep me warm when I do my yoga practice over the autumn and winter months to come : )

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn wardrobe day 2

The "jacket of many colours" as shown previously in a photo of me wearing it! It is a wonderful jacket - stylish, warm and goes with lots of my existing clothes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The animation did not work - back to the drawing board

Somehow or other in making the animation - which did work - I've not succeeded in "saving" it! So it is back to the digital drawing board for me: all good practice.

I've been away in Yorkshire, staying with a sister and her family, which was delightful. Tomorrow, I will be back to my usual painting routine, and adding more "new autumn wardrobe" illustrations.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New Autumn Wardrobe day 1

I've decided to paint the counterpart to "new spring wardrobe" as my blog project for September! 'Starting with my gorgeous new blue suede shoes, which I love to look at, but have not yet taken to wearing as that will mean putting away my beloved Mephisto sandals for the year, and admitting that summer really has departed for 2008.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

New storage

As mentioned in the Illustration Friday "clutter" post, I am having a blitz on improving storage in my flat, and was helped on Sunday by finding this chest of drawers in the street! The first photo shows pretty much how it looked when I spotted it. The second one is the result of some elbow grease and polish. I could make a new drawer front for the top drawer, but I quite like the symmetry of the open shelf at top and bottom. My plan is to use these drawers to store the knitting, and needlepoint kit.

More money + more fave food

A "lucky penny" is the one you find in the street! I've found money in the street so frequently that one year I logged it all: in 2006 I found a total of £8.61. When I find a coin, I often think of the phrase "London's streets are paved with gold".

Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel = comfort food on the go for me!

Illustration Friday - "Clutter"

This week's Illustration Friday topic of "clutter" rang bells for me. It's quite tricky to visually differentiate between untidy mess, and the feeling of oppression from being surrounded by stuff and materials, etc for projects being worked on!  In fact, I am having an autumn cleaning and re-arranging of storage blitz.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday evening

I've sadly neglected my blog for the past week or so, although I do have some new paintings to post! Fact is, I was ill for a good week with virus, etc, so not had much energy for doing basic stuff like scanning. Fortunately, I am almost completely recovered now : ) 
I have also bought a fab new jacket for the autumn!
Then today I found a pine chest of drawers on the street, so I am going to be doing some minor repairs and cleaning, then using it for storing my knitting and sewing kit and projects.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Music Festival day 15, and another money image

At festivals, I mostly drink water and fruit juice so that I don't become de-hydrated and headachey, but it is nice to have a hot drink from time to time. Freshly ground black coffee is my favourite of what is on offer. One of the first things I do at a festie is scout out the stall which makes the best coffee! The cakes look delicious too, for later on.

"The king is in his counting house,
Counting out his money" from the nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence": this particular image has always sounded very lonely and sad to me, so that is what I have tried to show here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

favourite foods encore

I've never been able to decide between peaches and raspberries for my ultimate favourite fruit! I love to eat both, so this would be my ideal summer dessert: beautiful, sun-ripened peach from the south of France with juicy, sweet deep red raspberries from Kent : )

Monday, August 18, 2008

Music Festival day 14, and another money image

This is singer Aayjemaal painted from a sketch I made of her at Womad 2004.  Aayjemaal and her band were performing traditional music from Turkmenistan. It is the opportunity to see performers like Aayjemaal which makes Womad such a special music festival. : )

Another "money" image: my Dad is treasurer for a local organisation.  One of Dad's colleagues regularly presents him with an old (clean) sock full of loose change as a donation to the charitable fund!