Christmas 2020

Chatty, Step-by-Step, watercolour

That came round fast didn’t it?

I had bigger plans, as ever, to post more and complete more projects. But overall I think I’ve done well this year. I finished the Beardies in Need Christmas cards (I swear I will post about each one soon), finished some pieces in lockdown and even had a stall at a craft fair. It could be worse.

I have one more day at work and then out of office is going on. I think everyone really needs a break this year.

So, let’s ignore the Tier 4 stuff and the fact that so many of us can’t see friends and family. Instead, I’m going to think about what I can have this Christmas.

One thing is, I hope, plenty of time to just do nothing. Maybe Mario kart, maybe a board game, maybe just ditto watching the with a glass of wine and a fire.

Today after work I finished a long overdue Christmas card. It’s going to my parent’s grandparents and includes their two favourite kinds of dogs. It’s been a while since I did a good old fashioned step-by-step post.

As always, starting with the pencil drawing.
I hadn’t done any blurred backgrounds in a while (you know that Nigella Lawson effect? So it was fun to try something a bit different.
Finally I added in the white highlights and filled in the text.

If I don’t post again before, I hope that you have wonderful break. It’s been a tough year but, we’ll make it through.

Stay safe everyone.

Watercolour Terracotta Pots

pen, Step-by-Step, watercolour

terracotta plat pot pen

A few weeks ago, we had particularly nice weather. Whenever possible, drawing from real life is great practice to understand proportion, light and create realistic colours. You learn so much more, but it does have its challenges.

Watercolour and Pen Suffolk Garden #2

pen, Step-by-Step, watercolour

funn scene in frame

In my last post I mentioned that I wanted to create a series of my mum’s garden. I’ve followed the same steps but tried to spend even more time at the sketch stage. I’ve really enjoyed trying to challenge myself with different perspectives. I have my old art teacher’s voice in my head telling me to draw what I see not what I think I see.

Watercolour and Pen Suffolk Garden

pen, Step-by-Step, watercolour
full garden

During lockdown I’ve been taking inspiration from what’s around me, namely the garden since that’s the only thing I can see. The weather has also been so nice that sitting outside over the Easter weekend felt like such a treat. The garden was a big part of why we left our London flat before the lockdown (I was self-isolating beforehand with suspected Covid-19 – very mild symptoms though!) I honestly feel so grateful that we have this. I feel for those without green spaces and in confined spaces. Just under 2 weeks in our small London flat was plenty.

Hanging Keys

Chatty, Step-by-Step

Well, quite a lot has happened hasn’t it? Lockdown, pandemic, global crisis…quite a lot really.

My partner and I left London before the lockdown as we were self-isolating and finding it far too difficult to both work from home in our tiny flat. We’re at my parent’s home in Suffolk with my brother and his girlfriend. We miss our little flat and our world together, but I’ve been so grateful to have a garden and outside space.

Truth be told, I’m finding the transition difficult. I worry about work and have been generally feeling quite anxious, which is resulting in over-working and finding it hard to set clear boundaries in the day-to-day.

Abstract Mount Fuji Landscape

Acrylic, Step-by-Step

Abstract Mount Fui landscape

Mount Fuji painting using acrylic and pen

My partner and I love Japan. We went for the first time last March and it was the best trip I’ve ever been on. So much so that we’re planning on going back for our honeymoon. We’ve got a bit of a Japan-inspired interior design theme in our flat (wallpaper, a screen) and it’s something that we both truly love.

Bearded Collie Engagement Party Invite

Drawing, Painting, pen, Step-by-Step

I mentioned before that I’m recently engaged. My partner (fiance? woah) and I are really keen to not get overwhelmed with wedding prep or saving every penny before we’ve properly celebrated with friends and family. We therefore decided, let’s have a party!

I’ve also mentioned that we have a family friend who does a lot of work with Bearded Collie charities. We wanted to invite her but also wanted to make it a bit special, so here’s a quick little invite.

I found a picture on Pinterest to use as a reference and did a quick sketch.

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Once I had a sketch I used gouache to build up some colour in the right shape. Between layers I needed to wait for it to dry. There’s always a risk when relying on colour bleeding but, other than the hat, I think it worked out ok. I know I got a bit impatient before introducing the darkest colours so it’s my own fault really.

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Once I had the basic shapes put in I went back in with some smaller brush strokes.
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And finally I went in with some pens to add teeny details. I’m very aware that that is definitely my safety zone, but I’m kinda glad that I’ve got a go-to option that means I know I can quickly produce some art, however twee.

I think it’s tempting to feel like art always has to be highly thoughtful, detailed and showcasing your skills, but sometimes it’s fun to just do it for the love of doing it and sharing something fun.

Hope you’re all well!

Project and Life Update

Acrylic, Chatty, Step-by-Step

Hello friends,

It feels like an age since I updated on here, and boy do I have a life update for you.

Last month I proposed to my boyfriend and he said yes! We’re not planning anything for a couple of years but we’ve started looking at venue options. I can already see why it’s so stressful for couples, but also so many opportunities to create fun things.

I’m sure I’ll update when any fun wedding things start happening, but in the mean time here’s an update to the projects I was working on in my last post. Some of you might remember me mentioning that I’d been doing some embroidery with my friend, so this was one of the first attempts to mix thread with paint.

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I quite like it so far, but I think it’ll be one where “more is more” will pay off. I’d like to really add as much detail as possible to the flowers and leave the blue space. I’d also love to incorporate tulle somehow but we shall see. Something I’m exploring more is texture in art. I’ve never really been a mixed media artist but it’s fun to try out some new ideas.

Usually April-June is prime art-time for me (no major life events, usually saving money etc.) but this year between working, personal events and completing an online data science course I’m finding it hard to fit in time. But that’s ok, no point feeling guilty.

Have a great day everyone!

New Year Projects

Acrylic, Chatty, Step-by-Step

Despite my lack of posts, I’m pleased to say I’ve actually been doing a lot of painting.

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to create pieces with my friend to eventually sell. We’ve got the ball rolling (though nothing finished quite yet) and are finding our feet in terms of style and materials.

Here’s a couple of progress shots from. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to show you a finished piece!

As you can see I’m taking inspiration from previous projects and trying to really master creating an art nouveau style. I want to restrict the colour palette And stop it looking so, well, primary. I’m also trying out an acrylic base and following up with oil paints, which so far I really like! It feels like there’s more scope to make changes as you go but with a gloss finish.

When I was younger I hated the idea of having multiple projects on the go. Maybe it’s something to do with my reduced attention span, or just the realisation that I have a lot less free time now to actually finish a project, but now I find I’m much more motivated and actually likely to finish a piece if I have the chance to step away from it and work on something else.

I’d like to be at the stage where I can make these compositions quickly, so that’s what I’ll be practising most of for the next little while.

I want to try mixed media a little more (which is another thing I never thought I’d say!) so before we add the embroidery I also want to create a textured surface using paint. For now I’m using very cheap acrylic paint. In the past I’ve used a plaster mix but that’s on MDF board, not watercolour paper.

I’ve been really enjoying working on these! I love when you seem to stumble upon a style that suits what you’re looking for.

I’m going to try to catch up with everyone else’s posts tonight and tomorrow.

P.S: it actually felt like Spring today! Such a lovely change!