Wrapped up for Winter

Yesterday was the first day that it felt truly like winter.

The air was crisp and fresh, I could see my breath trail behind me as I walked and the breeze was brisk on my cheeks.

My scarf was wrapped close, my hands shoved deep into my pockets and I stomped my way to the station in warm fur lined boots. It was the first time this Winter that it had felt remotely Christmassy, but there was not a Christmas tree, sparkly light nor bauble in sight.

It reminded me of the walk to school in the build up to the Christmas holidays, when the mist would lie low over the village green and the paths would crunch underfoot from the frozen dew.

I can’t believe it’s just over 2 weeks until Christmas… I still have so much to prepare, send and wrap and I feel like I’m knee deep in half finished Christmas Cards! I’m sending out much more than usual this year, to friends I haven’t seen in so long that are scattered around the country. I’m so excited to get in touch with them again… but I’m very quickly running out of Christmassy ideas for the cover!

Below is a girl I drew last summer, wrapped up for the snow (I started my Christmas countdown a lot earlier last year!). I’m looking forward to having another attempt at this for one of my cards and hoping that my sense of scale improves if nothing else!

 wrapped up warm

x

Lesson 1: don’t forget the water

Last summer I was lucky to be able to ‘borrow’ a set of watercolours and brushes from my mum to get started. I say borrowed, but over a year later and they are still in my artbox… Sorry mum.

I started out full of confidence that not only would I be able to recreate beautiful photos with my sketching but also be able to bring them to life with my new paints.
As you can see from the below attempts, years of sparse doodling had taken its toll! My pencil couldn’t quite create what my eyes could see and I seemed to forget one very vital ingredient of watercolours, the water!

first attempt

My second attempt was a little better, but it really hit home that you can’t just pick up a pencil or brush and expect it to come flooding back. Disheartening to say the least!

second attempt

As with everything I draw, I sent it through to my mum to ask what she thought; ‘good use of shadows’. Even with these she found something nice to say 🙂 and more importantly gave me the encouragement and confidence to persevere.

x

Festive times

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go…

I love Christmas, it’s my absolute favourite time of year!

All the sparkly lights, the hope of snow, the evenings by the fire or snuggled in a blanket, the present hunting, the jolly Christmas tunes, the whisky and cookies by the fireplace (our Father Christmas wasn’t a big fan of milk – how’s that meant to keep him warm in his sleigh?), the carrots and polish for Rudolf (gotta keep his nose bright and shiny) and then the day itself: family time and an epic feast.

Yesterday we got Christmas preparations underway; starting with Love, Actually to set the scene, followed by some Christmas tunes while we dug out the decs. As I assembled our little tree we realised one fatal flaw… we’d left most of our decs at Mum’s as we had no room to store it! So now, we have a little tree with no lights, no star, just the few ornaments we could fit in our little cupboard. Poor little tree.

Luckily (unluckily) for us, kitten has taken it upon herself to be the only decoration we need. I’ve spent all morning chasing her out of the tree, where she has been hitting the few decorations we have on her way to the top and trying to eat the branches – not ideal but at least she’s in the spirit.

Happily, I’ve still got another couple of Christmassy films left over for when I track down the rest of our decs and I’m always happy to break out the Christmas tunes.

I’ve just made a start on my Christmas cards, so I can spread the Christmas mode throughout the festive season. Below are the cards I did last year, so I’m going to have to start thinking of some new designs… Pinterest here I come!

christmas cards 2012

x

Birthday treasure hunt

treasure hunt

 

Today the boyf turns 27. Don’t be fooled by his boyish face, he really is that old. Luckily no signs yet of extra wrinkles and apparently any grey hairs are as a direct result of living with me: I highly doubt this.

For his present, I normally try to think outside the box, I’ve taken him to some musical theatre (Rock of Ages – it was awesome), to a garage that does lots of drifty stuff (he got a free sticker) and before that he got snowboarding lessons (he’s a natural, I got bruises on my bottom). You get the picture, it’s always something fun and a really long drive away!

This year I bought him a drifting experience at a really cold, drizzly and miserable airfield in the middle of nowhere, just off a traffic jam prone part of the M25 – he had a blast, I think I got a cold. However, he did this back in August, 4 months before his actual bday.

So now I was stuck: after already getting his present at the completely wrong time of year, what do I do for his actual birthday? A birthday just isn’t a birthday without something special.

So today… he’s getting a treasure hunt!

Strategically placed around our tiny flat are these clue cards with questionable rhymes sending him to his little presents and more clues – genius! Inexpensive to do, but still a bit special. He’s due home in around an hour, where he’ll find the first clue on the door… fingers crossed he enjoys it as much as I would!

x

Starting again

suitcases

After roughly 18months of life as a (very well looked after) nomad, I finally got a place of my own in May 2012. The year and a half leading up to this point had me living in five locations (one twice) as a house guest in various locations to various degrees of success.

Each time I moved I would pack my little Peugeot (RIP) to the brim with most of my worldly belongings and trundle along the motorways to the next stop. Each weekend, no matter the location, I would try to get back to East Anglia to see the boyf and every few months I would travel to a far flung exotic location for work (ok, mainly to Birmingham).

In short, my life was dominated by suitcases and unfortunately none of them looked as stylish as the above.

The glorious and amazing day that we finally got our little flat and I was able to put away those ever-present cases was just perfect; no more weekend bags, no more Friday/Sunday night traffic, no more weekend rail replacements, no more cold Sunday evenings on the platform and no more wondering where and when I would next be moving.

Like I said, amazing! In the grand scheme of things, I know these are trivial issues, but it was huge for me.

And the whole point of telling you this is that finally settled, I had time again to think about what I wanted to do with all this new found freedom and the answer was art.

Painting, sketching, cutting and sticking, glittering, colouring and creating: starting again.

x

Taking the leap

leap

I’ve finally done it.

After over a year of umming and ahhing I’ve finally taken the leap into the (relatively) unknown by starting my own website/blog.

I must admit launching the site is both freeing and super terrifying, much like I would imagine really leaping off a cliff into the ocean would be – not that I would ever have the guts to do that!

I want this site to reflect my illustration journey, from restarting with watercolours last year, to where I am now and hopefully seeing wherever this could take me. I want to push myself to create beautiful things that mean something personal or capture a special moment.

It’s an ambitious goal, but I may as well aim high!

I’d love for you to join me on this journey, and any guidance along the way would be greatly appreciated. One day, hopefully, you’ll be here to ask me if I could be the one to illustrate something that means a lot to you!

Wish me luck!

x

clover