Archive | January, 2011

On to the next project

31 Jan

Here are a few more pages from my most recent Sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Library Tour. I have been having a little look about on the Art House Co-op site at the other projects and there are some interesting things running right now. I’m thinking about ideas for their current ‘Fiction Project’. For anyone who missed the Sketchbook project last time round this might be just the thing for you. Its open to  anyone who would like to have an opportunity to tell stories by fusing text and visual art. So writers, zine makers, diarists, sketchers, poets and storytellers, this might be just what you need to get your creativity flowing.
Please let me know if you sign up!

Have you seen…

29 Jan

Harmony by Mr.Doob?

Its this excellent online sketching tool with all sorts of different textured brushes and a colour wheel. There is a video of its features in action here but I highly recommend that you head straight over there and get doodling. I must warn you though, its addictive enough to while away a good proportion of this cold weekend!

Remember to come back and share your masterpieces with us!

“Little boxes, little boxes, all made out of ticky tacky”

26 Jan


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Something to start the week with…

24 Jan


I wanted to share some inspirational words with you to start this week on a positive note.

This is my first Pinterest board that I put together over the weekend and I’m hooked! Its so great to finally have a place to collect all the wonderful and inspiring images on the web and share them.

Hope you find something here that makes you smile 🙂

To Brooklyn with love

21 Jan

Do you recall last year I signed up for the Sketchbook project?
Well just four short months later, one international relocation, a boxed up art studio and a full time toddler on my hands I finally got to work on my moleskin in the last couple of weeks. For all that the look of it isn’t what I had planned for I’m pleased with its vibe, very happy with the process of having worked on it and extremely pleased to have the first whole project of the new year under my belt.

I’ve been following a few other folk’s experiences with their books (see below for my favourites) and have noted lots of complaints that the paper just isn’t up to the job for most mixed media artists. I didn’t think this would be too much of an issue for me as the paper would happily withstand a few minimalist strokes of pen and ink and watercolour paint but I just wasn’t prepared for how many pages. I confess, there was just no way I was going to get to complete 60+ drawings so I  gutted the original book, retaining  the cover with the barcode on it and rebound it with heavy watercolour paper and a few original pages for authenticity. I stitched it all up and started off by colouring every page in a greeny, blue hue just so the stark white wasn’t so intimidated.

I chose the theme “If you lived here’ which considering recent events you can understand is a relevant and quite touchy subject for me. In my suitcase I had my watercolour pan, two brushes, a pen and a bottle of ink and this is what happened…

‘Moving East’ is a visual  journal of my migration from my adopted home in Santa Cruz, California, USA back to my native England in 2010. I hoped to achieve a feeling of movement, travel, identity and ultimately a sense of belonging to the natural world, of living in the here and now, and of home.

Thanks to my husband for giving up so much time to scanning these images for me. We aren’t sure why the colours have come out a bit overexposed but think it must be the over excitable scanner at the his office. If you want to see the real thing you’ll just have to catch up with it on tour starting in March.

Here are a few other artists’ books that will be joining mine on the road trip…

Elizabeth Caldwell over at On The Surface chose the theme ‘A day in the life’ and filled her sketchbook with beautiful simple fluid ink drawings and typography. And on things not always turning out the way you envisage she writes,
“It doesn’t really bother me though. I like the imperfectness of it all. The spontaneity. That is my life, after all. Nothing planned, fly by the seat of my pants, constantly experimenting.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Kim at Art Equals Happy writes such a brilliant blog. She is a student of illustration at Camberwell School of Art in London and I just love her style. She bakes, she knits, she takes too many photos and then doesn’t edit them for months and she dreams of having a house elf to do the chores while she knits him cute socks, I mean really,  you gotta love her!
Oh, and her sketchbook on the theme ‘You’d be home by now’ is a joy!

Creative Lenna Young Andrews’ ‘This is not a sketchbook’ book is a
ll about collage, vibrant colour and texture. Its evocative of a dream sequence and there is so much to look at in all the different techniques she has used. You can really feel the time and love that has gone into every detailed page.

Bridget Farmer has a self confessed obsession with birds and has recently migrated from Australia back to Northern Ireland. The few drawings she has shared in her ‘5 minutes’ themed book are ink line drawings that are simple and thoughtful. There is one done from a train window that is just a nice scene, its a line drawing that looks like a print. Here’s hoping she updates us with more soon.

K over at A Place To Dwell chose the theme ‘In Flight’ and produced a fantastic looking Charlie Harper-esque series of birds in her sketchbook alongside positive affirmative words. One page simply says change and grow. Also, the artist refers to the book as ‘her’ and hopes she’ll have an exciting time whilst on tour. Love.

Anita Davis is the caffeine addicted artist at Art By Anita. She has uploaded all her sketchbook pages to Flickr so you can see all her lovely graphic pen drawings with splashes of colour work. Like me she decided to rebind new paper for her work except that she did it before the book ever even arrived! Look out of my favourites ‘Sketch A Holic’ and ‘Black Coffee’ which just about sum her up I think.

If you took part this year we want to see what you did with that little 5 x 8″ book, please leave a comment and a link for us to follow.

Delivery day is here!

20 Jan

I had a feeling it was going to be a good day when I saw this stunning sunrise over the back garden the other morning…


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Have you seen…

17 Jan

Pinterest yet?


If you are a self titled guru of good taste and style like me (and I know that you are) then you will find this wonderfully exciting!

I often find myself suffocating under an iphoto library of thousands of poorly organised photos, not to mention the bookmarks of favourite blogs, design websites and folders full of links to all the wonderful inspirations I’ve found along the way – always trying to figure out the best way of organising them so as to put them all to good use in my own design work.

Pinterest is here at last! Its a brand spanking new virtual corkboard to collect the things you love most and follow other style guru’s ensemble of inspirations. Its like a beautiful social network visual inspiration mash up!

Right now only special invitees are using the site, Oh how I long to join them and receive my invitation, I’ve requested mine and you can too, by heading to the homepage and joining the queue. In the meantime though they do have a blog and I’d love to know how you keep track of all the visual bits and pieces you want to keep and use as inspiration, any tips would be great.

Left my apartment in San Francisco

15 Jan

I’m counting down to the glorious day when all our things are delivered next week and I thought it might be fun to do a little retrospective of the different homes we have lived in over the last few years.

When we first moved out to California we started out in a one bedroom (ever so slightly more spacious than a studio) at Pine and Mason on Nob Hill in San Francisco. Moving on such short notice and not long out of college we really didn’t have any stuff so we flew out with nothing more than two backpacks full of clothes – we really were starting from scratch. As I say, being recent students of course we headed straight for Ikea but it didn’t take us long to discover the wonders of shopping in San Francisco. The thrift stores, Crate and Barrel, Restoration hardware, Pottery Barn and my personal favourite, picking up one of a kind bargains on Craigslist.

The kitchen has to be my favourite room in any house and this one, not so discreetly hidden behind louvered doors was no exception. I’m pretty sure no one who had ever rented the flat before us had used the kitchen, you really didn’t need to as the apartment is right on the borders of downtown and within easy walking distance of some of the best restaurants in one of the foodiest cities I have ever been to. But this is me we are talking about and my kitchen is my sanctuary. Its where I retreat when I’m stressed and where I head when I’m relaxed and looking for a new project. Happy or sad, you can always find me in the kitchen. So the mission to turn this cupboard with its three electric burners and  small cave like oven in to a family style kitchen became my mini obseesion for a while.
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Putting down new roots

6 Jan

There isn’t much I can be getting on with in the new house because we are still waiting (increasingly impatiently) for our things to arrive on the slow boat. This week I have been getting on with planting a little garden so that it feels a little more like home. I know its a bit late in the season for gardening in the English countryside but its better late than never and the activity has provided me with sanctuary from the business the new year has brought about. A garden is such a wonderful place to escape to and the uncomplicated work of planting up all those pretty glazed pots of earth with bulbs so soothing. Each bulb buried deep in the the dark earth promises the end of this cold winter and the start of new life in the warm yellow days of spring. Just the thought of all those snowdrops, crocuses, tulips and daffodils makes each January day feel a little longer.

Its very dormant out there but I did find a few signs of life to share with you.


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Happy New Year

2 Jan

“Old friends pass away, new friends  appear. Just like the days, an old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful; a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”

The Dalai Lama

The first of January is an arbitrary point in time. Different cultures celebrate their new year at different times of year. Even the traditional western 1/1/…. has moved at least once*.

One thing all cultures agree on is that the birth of a new child is a cause for celebration, and so, as we settle into our new lives in our new home, it was a real gift to celebrate the New Year with the newest member of our family and Henry’s youngest cousin, the beautiful Lyra Bluebell.

There’s a lot to do, starting a new life in another country. Lyra’s presence reminds me that, while we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, we’re hardly starting our lives from scratch. Then again, neither is she. An astronomer called Carl Sagan once said, “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe.”

Happy New Year.


* Don’t worry. You didn’t miss out on any time off. They did it in 1582 after somebody worked out that leap years were 43 minutes too short and we’d got ten days ahead of ourselves.