Yoga lesson

Adrienne

This is of Youtube yoga teacher Adriene! I’ve been practising along with her videos for years now (and you can too if you click here!)

Yoga is a valuable part of my life; after a long day hunching over my desk (I sit in some seriously awkward positions) I love having something that gets me moving, increases my strength and gives me a wonderful stretch out!

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Shoreditch Paintings

Emmy

The image above is of my good friend Emmy. We went on a trip to Shoreditch in London when it was FREEZING cold near the start of this year. I really love to work from photos I’ve taken, I think the memories associated with the photograph come through in the painting (or perhaps that’s just me!)

The illustration below is from the same trip, of the Gherkin taken on a misty morning.

London

Figure 22: Laxmi Agarwal

Laxmi.pngLaxmi was fifteen when she was attacked with acid on the way to a music lesson. She had rejected a marriage proposal, and the 32 year old man stalked her and attacked her for this decision. This is a similar story to many other victims of acid attacks in India, where acid was readily available and cheaper than milk.

But Laxmi doesn’t want you to call her a victim. Laxmi is an individual, who knows that her worth is not just skin deep.

“Today I love my face because I realized your face is not the only important thing. I didn’t give importance to my face. I gave importance to my work.”
In 2013, Laxmi brought a petition with 27,000 signatures to the Supreme Court, protesting how readily available acid was. This led to legislation which restricted the sale of acid, as well as providing help and compensation to survivors. She received the International Woman of Courage Award from Michelle Obama, delivered a Ted Talk, and is now a TV host. This is all in addition to her campaigning for Stop Acid Attacks.
Laxmi crop
Acid attacks are often rooted in sexism, with 80% of victims being female, often attacked, like Laxmi, by rejected suitors or abusive fathers or partners.
Today, Laxmi is raising a daughter with her partner and fellow activist Alok Dixit. They decided not to marry, which I think is pretty cool, when the fixation with marriage is what resulted in her attack in the first place!
There is so much that could be said about the rising number of acid attacks, not only in India but across the globe. I could comment on the sexist nature of it, the desire to make a woman undesirable, but it’s such a complicated subject and one I can’t pretend to be an expert in. The most amazing thing is the ways in which many women choose to fight against the stigma and push for improvement in legislation. I am inspired by Laxmi’s courage to campaign for change, legally and socially, and her determination to be happy no matter what judgement she faces.
I recommend this article from the BBC and this CNN article, which also has a short video.
Unfortunately I can’t find a translation or subtitles for her Ted Talk – if anyone does, please let me know, I would love to know what she says in it!

 

Sketchbook Pages 1

people sketchbook

people sketchbook2

Hello there!

I’ve been a lot slower with work recently. I finally got my routine perfected when… well, life happened a bit! I’ve been pretty busy with family stuff and a couple of great new design jobs, and my personal work has taken a bit of a back seat! But the other day I got the ball rolling again by having a little sketching session in the evening, watching TV and mostly drawing what I saw. So, some of these faces you may recognise from Celebrity Bake Off, while the people with coffee and books are thoughts for an upcoming project. I hope you like them! There will be another set up here soon.

Lots of Love!

Sketchbook Pages: London

trees
Playing with tree shapes on the train

sketchbook-portrait1.jpg

I went to London last week. It’s only about an hour away on the train from Leicester which is such a treat! London always feels buzzy, like something important is happening and people are achieving big things. This is layered with a thousand years of history all around you, knowing how much has happened there in the past too makes it really exciting for me! It’s an atmosphere I absolutely love soaking up.

This is without mentioning the museums!! The National Gallery is my favourite, of course, as it inspired my deep love of the Netherlandish Primitive style, and houses so many famous paintings that you see often in art history books.

Speaking of museums, the second image is a sketch I did in the National Portrait Gallery based on a painting of The Family of Sir Robert Vyner. I wanted to live in this painting when I was little! I think that the people look so real, it almost feels as though if you look closely enough at the painting you could get to know them. Apart from their clothing, can’t you picture walking past them in the street?

Trafalgar

I finished up by sitting in the Waterstones across from the Gallery, reading and sketching the outside. This didn’t take long but I really like it!!

 

 

Getaway Back to the EU

eu small.jpg

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:

zoom eu.jpg

eu final crop

And these are two of the preparation sketches. The first is an earlier one, and the second is the final before I began painting.

truck sketch 2EU sketch

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!)

 

Figure 21: Wai Wai Nu

Wai WaiWai Wai Nu (1987 – ) Was studying for a law degree when, in 2005, she was sentenced to 17 years in prison along with her family. Their supposed crimes were that her father had spoken out against the brutal military regime that ruled Myanmar from 1962-2011.

Wai Wai was shocked to be imprisoned, as she had been taught that only criminals went to jail; she questioned her families’ behaviour, wondering if they really had done something wrong.

However, in prison, meeting the other women she was incarcerated with, she saw that many of them were as young as her, whose crimes were either non-existant, or were committed due to poverty, coercion, or both.

After the collapse of the regime in 2011, when she was 25, Wai Wai and her family were freed. She completed her law degree and immediately began working as an agent of change.

Wai Wai is a Rohingya. This is a Muslim minority living in a Buddhist country who have been the victims of what the UN have called a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing.’

Wai Wai closeUnlike many of her people, Wai Wai’s family were somewhat middle class, and she has access to a passport, something denied to many other Rohingya people. She uses her comparatively privileged position, which is backed up by her seven years in prison and her understanding of the treatment of the Rohingya people, to give talks and interviews around the world, advocating for understanding and kindness between people of all walks of life.

She set up two NGOs; Women’s Peace Network-Arakan has since spread to include men and different regions of Myanmar, and uses workshops and training to promote understanding between different groups. The other, Justice for Women, she organises workshops to educate women about their rights, and offers legal council.

The plight of the Rohingya people is a terrible one, and I feel that it was discussed for perhaps a week on the news here in the UK before disappearing again. But the crisis is real, and tolerance in Myanmar seems to be a real issue between religious and cultural groups. By avoiding using potentially divisive terms (The Pope, during a recent visit, was warned to avoid it, as it could cause violence to break out) and spreading a message of love, kindness and tolerance, Wai Wai Nu is helping her country to move past hatred and fear, and towards a better future.

For more info, read this!