Sunday, 31 January 2010

je ne regret rien....

Wow, i have just had an amazing weekend in Paris with my husband and two friends. It really was everything I expected and more, the amazing architecture, old fashioned signage, grand buildings, galleries, and or course the Tower. I wasn't brave enough to go up the tower, but we just stood and stared at the enormity of it. I didn't have any time to sketch (shame on me!!) but have taken many pictures as inspiration for future work....

ok maybe I do have one regret, it was that we weren't there for long enough. I got the feeling that even though we saw lots of the sights, we had barely scratched the surface of this beautiful city. This is a good excuse to visit again!!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

woohoo wednesday

woohoo because it's the last day of my working week and i can have a lie-in tomorrow.... I think this time of year it's really difficult to get out of bed.... or is it just me? But I have something exciting to look forward to this weekend, which i will definitely be getting out of bed for, the clue is in the photo!! The sketchbook will be coming with me so I will have plenty of things to sow you next week.

Not very happy with my perfume bottles, I tried to capture the distortions in the glass, but this was done during my lunch break yesterday and was a bit rushed..

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

please can i go back to bed?

a christmas gift tag thingy, next to a picture of a magazine cover (which i bought for steve as a present). I'm finding it difficult to stay motivated this week, feeling very tired and fighting off another cold (don't know why but i seem to have picked up everything thats been going around in the last year). Need to sleep!!

Monday, 25 January 2010

washed bowls

speedily taken this morning, can you spot my little helper?

I used a wash with the ink on the bowls to try and get some different way of expressing light and shade, I think I was a little too hesitant and not bold enough.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

been away...

in my caravan... to Castleton, and it's been great. We have been looking forward to getting away in our new caravan for a while now, and this weekend we enjoyed it for all of the reasons we bought it for... ie. being able to go camping in the cold weather and rain and to be warm, dry and comfy. We walked up Mam Tor and got some amazing views from the top, the clouds cleared and we watched some paragliders (if thats what they are called??), flinging themselves off the top of the mountain and riding the currents.

Mac enjoyed the weekend too, and he settled amazingly well, no pacing, barking or silly behaviour (well, apart from sneaking onto the bed BOTH nights!!), he did us proud, and will definitely be joining us on our future camping weekends!!

Sketchbook posts have been a bit scarce this last couple of days but here is my latest offering, the view from our window over the weekend. Not brilliant, but it will do. More sketching this afternoon, a cosy Sunday in front of the fire.... ahhhhhh!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Todays offerings!! i'm working on the face thing, and have also decided i like my pages to be fuller!! looking back all of the rest of them seem so empty, it's like i'm scared to fill them in case something goes wrong, so my task for this week, not as many empty white spaces, and more faces! Ha, that rhymes!! Busy tonight with dog-training and a visit from my parents on their way back from Italy (to see my new nephew, I'm an Auntie again!!), hence the early pre-dawn post!!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


are really difficult!! (nearly as difficult as animals!!) But I thought I should give them a try, I'm going to do some more tonight. You really have to 'look and see' because your brain is telling what what they 'should' look like, but in reality they look a lot different!! Wish me luck!!

Monday, 18 January 2010

furry frustrations

lunchtime, quick five min sketches, just from a magazine I had on my desk, feeling a little frustrated.... wish i had more time today to draw, and feeling like my sketchbook is becoming vey monotone, with lots of white space. I suppose this is natural, maybe i need to add some colour sometime soon. i hope this isn't getting too boring for you. If anyone wants to post me a challenge, please feel free!!

It's now two weeks in to my new sketchbook and on the whole I am liking how it's turning out. I feel as though I need to spread my wings a little this week, maybe work on some collage, or with some other media....?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

two sisters, two sketchbooks, a Ford Ka, and a coin!!

So, I had a great time with my sister and you are probably wondering what on earth the title of this post means!! Well, we went out yesterday for a good old girlie day, just me and my sister, and had a look around Corbridge (beautiful village in the Tyne Valley not far from where my sis lives and where we are going for a weeks hol very soon) and then we went off to Newcastle to have a look around a few galleries, Northern Print and The Biscuit Factory.

Then we came to a standstill, we were out to have a day sketching and didn't know where to start.... so we ended up playing a little game!! We didn't really want to venture out of the car for too long as it was sooo cold, so we played 'heads go right, tails go left' and drove around town for a couple of hours, stopping in random places and drawing what you see out of the window. We even set ourselves a different task for each stop, three and five min drawings, three pics from three different windows of the car (which was quite funny, as I got stuck between drivers seat and back seat - ok, have you seen how big a Ford Ka is???), swapping pens, continous line drawings, etc etc etc. You might think it all sounds a bit mad/sad but it was a right old laugh. We ended up at the Quayside in Newcastle, where we probably stayed a bit longer than we should have, in a parking spot we probably shouldn't have been in, but the views down there are something else!! And people watching was good fun too. I need more practice at drawing people, esp moving ones!! Will save that task for next time.

All in all, a great weekend, rounded off by seeing my nephew in his first pair of proper shoes!! And then a long drive home and a Sunday roast, and cuddles from my man and my dog!!

Friday, 15 January 2010

the mad dog sleeps!!

this one was a quickie!! Mac is never still for long enough to draw him when he's awake so after his walk yesterday morning, while he was asleep i captured him!!

Can't believe its the weekend again. This one will be spent in the fab company of my sister, up in Northumberland, where we will be catching up, browsing a few galleries and small indie shop she has discovered, eating amazing food, and maybe doing a spot of drawing. I hope you enjoy yours!!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

the spaces between - part two

no picture this time, just words... the spaces between first post got me thinking as the day has gone on, and a friend of mine who said he would love to sketch but hasn't the time. There is a chapter in the Danny Gregory book, The Creative License, called 'But I Don't Have Time to Draw' where he lists times during the day where you 'could' draw if you really wanted to, such as when you're watching the news, on the phone, in the bath etc, and also things in your daily life you could do without, such as watching tv as much, surfing the net, or staying in bed as long in the morning!!

And that got me thinking (i know I have done a lot of thinking today), about the spaces in between the things we do every day, and how if we just rationalise how we spend our time, minute by minute, we can make a few gaps here and there for the odd sketch. Before I started reading his book, I never thought I would have the time to sketch every day (I think maybe I was just a bit scared I couldn't do it anymore and was making a big fat excuse to myself) but in reality I have. So I hope that I can persuade any closet sketchers out there that even if you think you haven't time, just do a two minute ickle drawing each day, and hopefully this will lead to more!! Go on, I dare you, give it a try!!

the spaces between

this was an exercise in 'negative spaces', (ie drawing what 'is not' the subject!!) and looking at how they relate to each other and the object. This one I found quite relaxing to do as it was just based on the basic shapes of our Kenyan soap stone sculpture, and it was amazing how these shapes changed when viewed from different angles.
I'm a day behind now, as I didn't get any sketching done yesterday as I was so busy at work and then had dog-training class last night. So today I will catch up, once all of my jobs have been done (walking the dog, buying food for dinner, tidying, phone calls for an event I am helping to organise). Plus I have a weekend of drawing planned with my sis, so next week I should have plenty of my 'back to the drawing board' project to show you.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

my bargain shoes

these shoes were an absolute bargain, i went into clarks to buy some 'sensible comfortable' work shoes, as I have one of those jobs where you are on your feet for most of the day. I saw these little gems and thought, 'you are mine'! Then when I got to the cashier I not only found out they were half price, but I could go and buy another pair for a £1!! I now am the proud owner of a brown pair and a red pair! Everyone needs a pair of red shoes!

Ok, as you probably know, I'm trying to draw every day, and this one was done in my lunch hour yesterday. I felt under pressure, rushed and made a bit of a mess of my gorgeous shoes!! Maybe lunchtime would be better spent reading or doing short ten min sketches instead??

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

love these

just get a load of these beautiful valentines hearts made by Helen from Petal Textiles, whose textiles work is just divine!! You can find them in her folksy shop here or Etsy shop here. Just had to tell you about them...


something I rely on more each day, although the beeps sometime annoy me intensely!!

I'm about to be an auntie sometime very soon, so my phone will be beeping overtime today. Have a good one.

Monday, 11 January 2010

its all walnuts to me!!

tricky, but one has to challenge one's self!! These walnuts have been drawn in tribute to Steve's AMAZING walnut bread, he has perfected the recipe and it is delicious!!

Sunday, 10 January 2010


i'm starting to notice a difference in my sketching even in a week, i'm becoming braver, and more adventurous, and I'm thinking less about sketching to make an end product and doing it just to sketch. I'm going to read a bit more of the book today, might even get my coloured pencils or paints out too.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

outside or in?

this is what's outside today, lots of fine powdery white stuff and cold bitter winds blowing drifts across footpaths and fields...

and this is what's inside, a cosy pair of slippers, blazing fire and a hot cup of tea and slice of my mam's amazing Christmas cake. I know where I would rather be!!

Friday, 8 January 2010

new cards and the inside of my cupboard

I have been ahead of the game this year and am printing my Valentine Cards early to put in my Folksy shop and another local outlet where I stock my work. These are two new designs which you probably haven't seen before.

And welcome to the inside of my craft cupboard, this is an exercise from the super Danny Gregory book I bought the other week, The Creative License. It was a simple line drawing of a complicated subject, getting you to look at size/shapes of objects in relation to one another. It was quite enjoyable to do, and had been done with a bog-standard ballpoint pen.

It has been great to sit and draw without thinking of an end product, it really takes the pressure off and makes drawing a completely enjoyable and relaxing experience. So another lesson learned for me. Sometimes its good to not know where you are going and why, just enjoy the journey there and see where you end up.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

day at home

and i'm going to sketch, print some cards, sketch, have some lunch, sketch, listen to some music, and spend the afternoon sketching and reading and stroking my super new watercolour sketchbooks that my lovely sis bought my for christmas. i may even open them and draw something in them. I also need to have think about my business plan for 2010 and get a list together of things to do tomorrow. Ooh, and my new books to read. I promise to share them with you when i have done all my jobs. I can feel the day slipping away already, better go and get started!!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

snow place like home!

my next little picture in my sketchbook, which was a quickie the other night, of a random lemon and tomato stalk in the kitchen!! I missed yesterdays sketch as I got stuck at work due to the snow, and had to stay over night with one of my colleagues, the consolation being I drank wine and ate curry, and didn't have to get out of bed this morning until 8am, and I still got there early. It's a nightmare on the roads especially when you have an obligation to get somewhere, although the countryside does look beautiful. I'm out and about on foot tomorrow so will take some snaps to show you. It's just been on the news that this is the longest cold spell since 1981, when I was a wee girl on the farm, with snow drifts you could get lost in and icicles as long as your arm!!

But now I am HOME, hence the cheesy title of this post, I'm so pleased to be home, because I can have a look thru my new books, which you can see here.....

I have gone a bit mad with the books I know, ordering four in total to get me onto new tracks and kick-start my creativity. If all of these don't help then I think I'll be despairing, although I'm feeling very positive already. I'm just going to grab my sketchbook now for a few quick 10 min sketches so at least I can say I have done something today...
Ooh, and to add to the good news I got a mention on the lovely blog Indie Quarter, which you can read here, thanks to Jenny for the mention

Monday, 4 January 2010

flowers from my sis

typical pen and ink, 2nd sketch, and i'm liking the way its going. I have had some more books arrive today, another Danny Gregory and a couple of others. Am just off to open them now.... will post more details after an evening of browsing...

Sunday, 3 January 2010

My new creative journal...

Ta Dahhhh.... I started this yesterday and did my first drawing, of my little Canon Sureshot, and I'm pleased (and relieved) to say I can still draw. It just seems so long since I have picked up a pen and sat down and looked at something and drawn it, that I was wondering whether I could still do it, but like they say it's like riding a bike (just without the chafing!!) I'm pleased to say that you could tell what it was by the time I had finished. The book I have chosen is a beautiful square (approx 10x10inch) hardbacked 160gsm cartridge paper book which I bought from the Heaton Cooper Studio Shop in Grasmere. I have had one of these before in a smaller format and loved the paper. Also if any of you are in the vicinity of Grasmere, this is a fab art shop to visit.

It will be interesting to see how my drawings evolve during this journal. I am making a conscious effort to do at least one drawing a day, maybe with some text too. At the moment it all seems bright and shiny and new, and I still feel like I don't want to spoil the pristine pages, but hopefully soon I will feel at home, make a few mistakes, and spread out and make it mine.... Ooh, the endless possibilities....

As you may know I have a bit of a sketchbook obsession, so if you do fancy having a peek into someone elses sketchbook, check out Andrea Josephs Sketchblog, it's AMAZING!! This is something I aspire to!!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Back to basics...

Well, Happy New Year to you all, and I hope it is a very Happy one. Mine has been just perfect so far, and very chilled out, which is just what we both need. The only energetic thing we have done so far has been to walk the dog, yesterday frosty blue skies, deer-spotting in the woods, and today grey and cold, across the fields in a cotton-wool snowfall! Home-made walnut bread to mop up the home-made parsnip, parmesan and sweet potato soup, a big cup of tea, afternoon bath and blazing fire..... yes you could say I am feeling quite content wih life...
I have started reading the Creative License book I mentioned the other day, and read most of it yesterday, before going back thru it and starting to do the exercises that the author recommends today. See below for the results of a slooooooow contour sketch of a mug and a chair, without looking at the paper while you are drawing.... quite difficult not to peek!!
The book is definitely worth a look, it takes you right back to basics, and gets you to slow right down and 'look' at your subject, and also conquering that negative voice in your head which quite often stops you from experimenting with new techniques.
I've also done a few of the other exercises, and it's feeling great to just pick up a pen just because. Being the impatient person that I am, I'm finding myself wanting to rush on, but I'm going to force myself to slow right down and enjoy the process. In the book, you are encouraged to keep a journal and draw as much as you can. This is what I intend to do over the next month or so, make more time for drawing, and looking and noticing things, instead of rushing around with my eyes to the ground thinking about what I have to do next!! So watch this space for some, hopefully half decent sketches and drawings, as I work my way back to feeling creative...
BTW, I think Danny Gregory might be my new hero!! Chck out his website here for q&a, pictures, art, profile etc, its amazing!!