Today we have more illustrations from the telly! We’ve got more Celebrity Bake Off drawings and also dogs!!! For the Love of Dogs is one of my favourite shows because really what’s not to like; you see dogs saved from sad situations and then paired up with loving new families! I especially enjoyed drawing Milly, a Shitzu who had a LOT of fun little costumes.
By the way, I apologise for the slightly dodge looking editing on these images. It’s tricky to get the background bright enough without losing the yellow pencil!
This was a big brief I worked on recently for the Suffolk EU Alliance. The piece is about encouraging people from all works of life and political alliances to work together to protest Brexit. It was done using Windsor and Newton watercolours on lovely thick, smooth watercolour paper.
There was quite a lot of tweaking in Photoshop afterwards, too, as the client had a lot of new requests for the painting.
Here are some close ups:
And these are two of the preparation sketches. The first is an earlier one, and the second is the final before I began painting.
The drawing was on A4 paper, but I wanted to paint it on A3 paper so I could get loads of detail in! So I printed it out at twice the size on two A4 sheets (I only have an A4 printer), and then used a light box to redraw it onto the nice watercolour paper!
(Try playing spot the difference between the final sketch and the final illustration!)
I’ve been dreaming of going to Belgium for a while now. In all honesty, I fell in love with the idea of Belgium because I fell in love with its art; all it took was seeing the Arnolfini Portrait in real life and I was obsessed. I wrote my BA dissertation on the art of the Low Countries and I thought that would be the end of my love (how much can you love something when you’ve written 10,000 words about it?!) but instead, I learned that 10,000 words weren’t enough.
Two weeks ago today I was in Ghent. The weather was awful, foggy and rainy and the wind was like a punch in the face… but I was delightfully happy. The city is beautiful and old and it felt as though it was bursting at the seams with history. I got to see the Lamb of God by Jan van Eyck, which I couldn’t stare at enough. I think if I lived in Ghent (and believe me, that is a tempting prospect) I would go and see it every other day. The lower panels on the interior side are currently replaced with replicas, as the real panels are being restored at the Museum voor Schone Kunsten in the city. Being able to see the restoration process was also a highlight for me.
My art pilgrimage also lead to Bruges, which houses another van Eyck masterpiece as well as many other pieces of beautiful art from the Low Countries. I still find it tricky to put my finger on what exactly makes the paintings of this region so fascinating. Perhaps it’s something about the people; they so often seem to be holding onto a secret, and the calculated poise of the wealthy classes gives so little away; the total opposite to the far more popular art of the Italian Renaissance. I suppose this is the earliest European art which makes a convincing attempt to depict reality; suddenly there’s a sense of space created with the use of perspective instead of flat or even plain gold backgrounds. It’s also the first time we see real people; nobles and merchants, rather than purely religious scenes. It’s a window into a time which is entirely unfamiliar to us.
We stayed in Brussels, which is beautiful and interesting, but honestly was less exciting for me than Bruges and Ghent. In part this was because the city was destroyed in c. 1700 and therefore was entirely rebuilt since then, unlike Ghent which has barely been touched since the middle ages.
Unfortunately, the trip is also important to me as it marked the end of a relationship. The reality is that taking this trip together, after being long distance for a while, confirmed for us that we no longer worked as a couple. While it’s for the best, it really sucks. We were great together for a while, and I really hate that it didn’t last; but when you know it’s wrong you have no choice but to accept it.
These paintings were actually quite hard to paint, as they forced me to confront feelings which I would prefer to suppress. Looking at them now, however, I see them as full of hope for the future, and a willingness to focus on the very best of things.
It’s only been two weeks since I was in Ghent, and a lot has changed. Back home, the sun has come out today after the rain, and I feel the same. I hope you do, too.
I painted these scenes inspired by some of the photos I took in summer.
Nothing beats turquoise and orange/yellow as a colour combo!! Such vibrant, happy colours.
(Yellow is my fave colour in case you haven’t noticed yet!!)
These are some of my favourite pieces that I’ve produced in a while. I’ve finally had the courage to loosen up in the way I work, and I think the personality shines out so much more! My next goal is to keep finding ways to incorporate patterns into my paintings, I just love to use pattern.
It does seem a bit ironic that I came up with this design slap-bang in the middle of a cold British winter!! But this many smiley faces and this much lively yellow can only be an antidote the darkness, and a nice reminder that spring is not really so far away.
In truth, I came up with this design because I was thinking back (again) on what was probably the first time my artwork was ever criticised. I was four or five, in my first year of school. I was painting a landscape at the easel and I gave the sunshine a cute smiley face, when my teacher came up behind me and told me that the sun shouldn’t have a face!! Well, even at that age I knew VERY well that the sun didn’t have a face, duh!! I was pretty precocious about my art at that age so I was seething, and clearly I haven’t gotten over it yet (I turn 23 next year so it’s almost 20 years since it happened…. which is nuts).
And so I decided that perhaps a bit of art therapy would help me to get over this tragic, harrowing experience from my youth – ha!
I went back up to Lincoln for the Christmas market this year, to offer support and live drawing at the stall of my publisher! It’s that one called ‘Growing up in Babylon’ which I don’t share really anymore, it’s not really my style now!
I absolutely loved drawing and getting to know the people at the market. I had such a fun couple of days there!
I’ve got a set of really fun watercolour based illustrations to show you. I’d like to do one illustration per day now, I feel as though I’ve figured out how to create in a way which I love and really enjoy. I don’t think I’ll ever have one ‘style,’ I would just get so bored of never trying anything new!! But I think that I have finally relaxed enough to listen to myself and create art in whichever way I choose! So far they’re all watercolour based because… Well, because before I was only comfortable working digitally. I felt that it was less risky, that any mistakes were fixable, and I thought that my traditional media work was too messy and rough. I thought my work needed to look perfect.
Now I see the joy in having imperfections and I can finally actually enjoy the bleeds and textures created by watercolour! Watercolour has always been my favourite type of paint but I’ve just been too shy to use it as much as I like.
Anyway, here are some of the paintings, I hope you like them because I sure do!!