Wednesday, 28 October 2009

all change

I've been busy streamlining and reworking my illustration website. A long way still to go but I think it reflects me a bit more now and will be much simpler to navigate around - it had become a bit of a labyrinth!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Can you keep a secret? I'd like to keep it all very hush, hush until it's absolutely confirmed and the agreements are signed, but it looks as though I may have myself an agent...

Thursday, 22 October 2009


Update: Isaiah complete (above).

" if he were shielding himself from the little spotlight shining on him, is if the snow were
a window through which he has caught sight of something deep inside the earth."

from Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow

Two posts in one day! It's because it is so dark, too dark to work. The rain has been falling in a steady torrent since yesterday, shows no sign of stopping, and has kindly let me know that I have a leaky roof too...

This is the first stage of Isaiah, done with watercolour, pencil and a little salt ;-)

As soon as day breaks, I will start to work over this. It still looks like night outside, even though it's noon.

i colori del sacro

By a strange coincidence, I have just found out that the The Jumis Tree (the original painting of the print in my giveaway) has not been selected for the Italian exhibition. I have to say I'm a little disappointed, mainly because my last selected work was well-received (and in fact was bought at the exhibition) and I liked this new work far more! But also because, having been personally invited to submit work, it was rejected with a generic 'Dear illustrator' letter. It would have been nice to receive some feedback at least...

I recently read a quote from artist Chris Cyprus on changing his style from landscape watercolours to a far more personal illustrative depiction of allotments. He said, quite gleefully "when I started the project I knew I was on to something, because no one wanted to buy them". I guess that's a little how I feel today!

So, if you'd still like to win the first print of this painting, which now has the non-distinction of not being selected (!), make the artist happy and enter here!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

isaiah II

I think I'm ready to start the final illustration. Flipping the child's figure has given him more movement, you can start to feel the sense of rushing air. Reducing the size of the figure in the composition gives him space to 'fall' into and emphasises his smallness and vulnerability.

Also, flipping the image makes me look at it again afresh and tends to show up all the proportions that are not quite right. I often hold my artwork up to a mirror for this very reason. Accordingly, I've made a few tweaks when drawing out the final artwork, which I'll post soon.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

isaiah roughs

In sombre mood as I'm playing around with roughs for a personal illustration. An idea that's been in my head since I first read Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, but is only finally manifesting itself now as I recently read it again. I have a very specific image in my head as to how I want this to look but can't decide yet on the best way to achieve it. Sometimes the personal work is much harder than the commissioned work - it feels more like a child or something precious.

Friday, 16 October 2009

one day your print will come - a giveaway

I have finished all my current pet portaits, completed the Juno illustrations and don't have to meet with the puppet people until next week. Some usually very elusive time working on my own illustrations and playing my harp beckons... Plus, I have tickets for Crooked Still on Sunday night (a mini celebration in itself - the cellist is amazing!!!).
So, to celebrate this short-lived and most unusual artistic freedom (and the fact that I won the puppet design pitch for 2010), I have decided to have a fabulous print giveaway!

The prize:
The very first print of The Jumis Tree painting, inspired by my trip to Latvia in May, numbered and signed.

Want to enter?
Post a comment with your name AND your favourite item on either my illustration site or the Painted Forest.

Want some extra credit?
You can do either of the following, just make sure you leave me another comment for each one!

1) Follow my blog.
2) Blog about this giveaway, and leave a link to my blog.

Contest ends 05 November 2009 at midnight! Good luck!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

oscar II

Almost finished....
(this one is closer in colour than the one below - that pic was taken in artificial light while the one above was taken in daylight)

Saturday, 10 October 2009

woody wilson

I'm still working on Oscar's pet portrait. Oscar passed away recently, and the photo that best captures him unfortunately has next to no detail. Instead I'm concentrating on rendering the light and shadow. I think it makes for a poignant portrait but of course it also makes it just that little bit trickier...

Meanwhile, new arrival Woody Wilson is settling in and is determined to be friends with Rufus the fat cat (whether he likes it or not!). And, after a week of studiously ignoring all attempts to speak to him or pet him, Rufus seems to have finally come round and is speaking to me again! It will be interesting to see Wilson grow - Rufus is not a small cat so I'm desperate to know how big this Maine Coon kitten is going to be when he grows up! I will post updates.

These are Jack's lego Roman legionnaires. They are wearing cloaks and armour cunningly fashioned from my masking tape before I retrieved it!

Wilson again, just because he's cute!!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


I've been winding down the pet portraits lately but I still get the occasional commission. This is the initial sketch for a portrait of Oscar, a chocolate lab.