I have a new Linocut available in my shop from today - a Limited Edition of 20. It's called The Unit, and each is unique as I hand print and press them one at a time.
Every Single Day. There's a lot to love about the small wonders of the every day. The ever present availability of warmth, food and freedom. The roaming hens and sleeping cats. The pleasure of seeing your loved ones over and again. The same in and out breath.
Here's a little wallpaper for you to download and put on your phone as a daily reminder :)
You can download it here.
I've resumed pottery classes on Tuesdays, and I'm currently pre-occupied with earthenware red clay. In a bid to go to class with some idea of what I want to do before I get there, I thought I would do a bit of sketching to try out colours that I'd like to aim for. I had this neat idea that I could replicate some of my 'opacities' in 3D when the time comes, getting close to the same colour palette I use for illustration.
A bit of lettering on my own photo from a recent trip.
Wednesday sketching and emerging.
Today I've been preparing a selection of roughs for a couple of commission briefs. I used to find it a really slow process, but recently my pace has picked up and I'm getting a good sense of direction on the page without spending too much time on a look that could be considered Final. In between, I drew an Alpaca because, well, why not? I haven't had much time to draw 'for myself' these last few weeks (though of course, it's really all for myself in the wider sense) but I do find it useful for loosening up and reconnecting with the shapes and forms that come naturally and ask to be drawn.
Getting back into the flow today after an absorbing and unforgettable holiday.
Simple line work to get things going, before I plough head on into outstanding editorial commissions.
Just for a bit of fun....
Chicken people. That's what my sister-in-law calls her family of 60+.
Today I've been experimenting - using acrylic as watercolour, and then penciling over the top to create a nice rich texture, before uploading and combining with digitally coloured background and plant detailing.
Having spent hours this morning trying to create the idea in my head I've decided to step away for a day and two and leave the idea to ferment a little longer. At the moment I'm not sure how to create the effect I'm after for a full size piece, but I have at least test run the 'analogue' chickens on a digital canvas.
Sometimes the brain fires in strange and unexpected ways. A couple of years ago I traveled to Estonia on a solo-adventure for a week in the spring to watch the bird migration. I landed at night and when I arrived in Tallinn the streets were already dark, save for a few shops. This florist caught my eye and seems to have stayed with me over time.
The photo doesn't show any human presence, which was the story I was interested in developing for myself. I took the opportunity to try different mixed media elements this time, working with pencils to create the flowers, as well as linen fabric for the apron.
For me there was something unsettling about this shop - why was it open so late? the contrast of the bright flowers in the dark street - hopefully I have captured something of the surreal in the faraway dream-state of my florist girl.
Over the last few days I have been seeking ways to get new textures into my work to reduce some of the matte in the colour. I have been using watercolours as background texture for a while, but wanting to seek new ways to lift the detail in a way that I was happy with. I've tried this a lot in the past, but for some reason have never been happy with the outcome.
Whilst doing so I experimented with digital colour overlays and was very happy with this indigo version, which creates a 'delft blue' sort of effect. As soon as I saw it I knew it was the effect I needed to create a picture that's been in my head for a while. So that will be my next job.
I wholly dislike preparing my work for the shop, and today was no exception. The main problem is that I'm not a photographer and it takes a lot of effort to get the lighting and composition right, but I also find it difficult to decide how to show my work. Do I frame it? Do I hang it? Do I lay it flat? Which props shall I use? These are questions that never get any easier with each new print release.
After several false starts with photographing the prints framed up, I changed course and opted for a more casual look. I really like this rough chipboard and it's accidental fun texture works well with my style I think. I find formal framing can look a bit stiff and doesn't complement the fun spirit in my work.
I assume I'm not the only one who finds this side of things difficult?
Slow blue morning between rooms // It's raining today and I've been up early gathering inspiration from the house to save the trip outside. Textures, shapes, light patterns, composition.
I tend to spend quite a lot of mornings like this: mooching and taking photos. It's an easier creativity than simply sitting down and drawing without preparation. I find that thinking about photographic composition helps me put the day's work together more fluidly.
Today I've been painting backgrounds for an illustration that will bring together one of my girls and some new black work sketches. I'm returning to a sleeping figure for this piece. I'm not sure why I'm drawn to dream scenes so much given that I find sleep to be a huge inconvenience to the business of living, but there is something perennially alluring about deep and naked relaxation.
It was good to put paint to paper again, which I hadn't done for a while, and without the pressure of it being a piece of art in its own right. Using it as a background also means I can justify using all sorts of paints from decent acrylic to craft-grade. I was mainly concerned with capturing a bit of gentle movement, fresh colours, and the feel of a blurry dream-scape, knowing that I would upload it, adjust it and change it around before using it in the final piece.
You can see my final illustration 'In the Fields' on my home page here, as well as some of the black work sketches :)
A gathering sort of day; of textures and patterns for mixed media work and collage.
I particularly love the top left photo taken from the backwater of a canal lock near home this morning. I seem to be having a love affair with tangly water weeds at the moment and the way that light falls gently on moving water. I've realised recently how much I am drawn to interesting light settings, as well as movement.
Playing around with some of those textures to create a little portrait. I'm really happy with how the clash of patterns sit, and the development of a second Heal edition.
How most things start. Sketches. Sorting through piles of these today, firstly to clear space, secondly because I think some are as yet unused.....