Sunday, 28 November 2010


I would be feeling more festive today, what with the snow and a roaring fire and all, if only I didn't have to come up with an idea for my Christmas card - like smartish. After spending an age lovingly painting a robin last year only to swap it in favour of something scrawled on the back of an envelope in 10 minutes, I've decided not to spend too much time on it this year. Well, that's one reason, the other being it needs to go to print on Wednesday! So far I only know sprouts may feature... post to follow I guess. Until it's done though, for the purpose of this blog I'm rehashing the above (how lazy!); the owl is a detail from an old illustration for 'At Night' (I can't believe I didn't even notice I had a thing for drawing birds until recently. Duh).

I've also got a minor alteration to do to the whistling santa illustration for my publisher (as they're using it for their Christmas card this year) and I need to write some not-too-cringy text about myself for a feature in the next issue of Juno (they're also using an illustration of mine on a card notifying all their contacts of the magazine's change of ownership - so lots of free publicity coming my way, which is very cool). But oh my gosh it is sooooo cold (I am typing this wearing fingerless mitts like an extra from A Christmas Carol).

Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment on the Monochromatic post if you want the chance to win a mounted bat print.

Monday, 22 November 2010


"On the 3rd of December 2010, Aberdeen City Council will meet to discuss proposals which will see music tuition in Aberdeen either privatised or terminated. Both options would be hugely damaging to music education in the city. Pupils who have Council instruments will be forced to return them and those wishing to carry on learning an instrument will have to pay for private tuition and the costs of purchasing their own instrument – an option not available to many. In addition the bands and orchestras run in schools and by the Council Music Centre will cease to exist."

And so it begins. The truly scary part is the philistines at Aberdeen City Council are not alone. They're not the first local authority to view the arts as a soft target nor will they be the last. Neither are the cuts to the arts restricted to tuition in schools (despite the fact that my guess is that while these cuts might save a ridiculously paltry amount of money in the short term, long term they'll cost - unemployed teachers, the widening gap in educational attainment between those from different economic backgrounds and all that comes along with it for starters), these come on top of the cuts to culture in general. Yup, let's ignore the fact the cultural industries are of enormous value to the economy and play a vital role in regenerating communities, while wholeheartedly rejecting the importance of culture in a civilised society.

I sketched my wee boy the other day as he drew a complex picture 'game' of pirates, complete with treasure map - totally lost in concentration as he added details of palm trees, sharks, treasure chests, erupting volcanoes and men overboard. His imagination is amazing and I'd like to think that's a positive talent his school would love to be able to recognise, nurture and encourage. But depressingly it appears we're now living in a society that not only doesn't value creativity and the arts, but in fact actively sabotages them and/or is intent on retaining culture only for the elite, so perhaps not. As someone fabulously said - the arts add colour to our lives. It really is that black and white and that's why these cuts are so totally, utterly tragic.

But enough with the enforced drabness, leave me a comment with your views, sign the petition or protest any other way you see fit.
And purely as an exercise in adding colour I'll be putting all posters' names in a hat and giving away a mounted Echo the Bat print come the festivities/revolution.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

blue blood, white nights

I'm gradually making the switch from my trusty old watercolours (which I've had for oh, ever) to my shiny new White Nights watercolours.... and loving them. Very intense. The brief was simply for a king and a queen, I'm not sure why he's doing his staring into the middle distance thing or what her facial expression is all about.... that's just how it came out!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

a very rough rough

In amongst the chaos I have managed to snatch a tiny bit of time to start on the poetry book - rough indeed, but now that the first ideas are out and down on paper the whole process becomes so much easier. I hope.