Tag Archives: Family

Sunrises and starry skies

For the last few months, I’ve been starting my week by posting golden sunrises and starry skies on my instagram.

I love being able to be free and loose with my paintings which is something I can’t do when I’m illustrating characters!

lake forest sunset

Through these landscapes I’ve also been looking for inspiration for travel. Me and the boyf are hoping to go on our first holiday in over 4 years (4 YEARS, so long!) next year and we cannot decide where to go.

mountains sunrise

Do we go for a big holiday, one of the ones we’ve always dreamed of? Or is that too much pressure for the first holiday in years? Should we do a warm-up-holiday, that gets us ready for the big holiday a year (or a few years…) later?

ely sunrise

Do we stay in Europe? Do we go further afield? Do we go lazy beach days or cultural exploration? Ahh so many decisions… I think by the time we finally decide, we’ll definitely be in need of a decent holiday, wherever we end up going!

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Mermaid mural

Earlier this month, following the fun of MerMay, I found myself being volunteered to paint a mermaid mural!

I was nervous, to say the least.

Firstly, I’m very much a watercolour artist. A dabble or two with gouache is about as adventurous as my paintings get, and this was going to require never-used-before acrylics!

Secondly, I’m very self conscious about my artwork. You may have noticed a lack of videos or photos of my works in progress, I just know I would mess it up if I have a camera on me, and this was going to be in a hallway with people constantly walking past! On top of that, I would be with my Mum, who taught me everything I know about art and is an amazing artist – no pressure…

Thirdly, my art is all quite small, normally A4 is about as large as it gets, so a wall is a pretty huge canvas!

Fourthly, it was for my lovely Gran, I did not want to mess it up!

So, me and Mum arrived with shiny new brushes and paints on one of the hottest days of the year to paint a little mermaid themed wall mural. We decided that Mum would do a bright, bold and beautiful sun and I would do the mermaid.

As I stood there with my pencil in hand, I had absolutely no idea where to start, not a clue. I was so nervous about getting it wrong, that I couldn’t figure out where to begin.

Luckily, Mum came to the rescue! She sketched out a shape for a rock for the mermaid to sit on and started to outline the mermaid tail. Once Mum had made those first few marks, I could finally see how it would and should look. I put my pencil to the wall and got sketching.

Mum, the fearless artist that she is, went straight in with the acrylics for the sun.

Gran wall 1

As Mum happily added yellows, oranges, reds and whites to the sun, I finished the sketch and finally moved on to the paints.

Honestly, I think it would have been easier to sketch over the whole wall rather than try to wrangle these acrylics into place – my gosh I found them so hard to use! Give me lovely watercolours any day! Then again, it’s not often you can draw and paint on walls without being told off by your Mum.

Gran wall 3

As we carried on painting, passers by stopped to have a look, offer us much-needed ice lollies and I’m happy/relieved to say, they all said nice things while we were in earshot!

By the time Mum had finished the sun and added three cute little white seagull v’s to the right hand side of the sky (which are weirdly, my favourite bit of the mural!), I was still mid-mermaid, so Mum made a start on the final part, our seaweed covered rock.

Gran wall 4

It took Mum as much time to do the rock as it did for me to finish the mermaid, and with that, we were finally done!

Gran wall 2

It was so lovely to spend the afternoon painting with Mum and although the mermaid isn’t perfect, she’s pretty cute! Mum’s sun is so bright and cheerful, and the subtle seagulls really make me smile! It was definitely worth being pushed out of my comfort zone to do it.

Although, I must confess, I made sure the acrylics went home with Mum rather than me!

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May days

May is my favourite month of the year.

Obviously, I am a little bit biased, seeing as it’s my birthday month, and I did have a very lovely birthday!

balloon girl

No parties this year (phew), but I did have two massages in 2 days and along with some lovely presents, I bought myself a super cute pair of sparkly trainers!

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Anyway, May is my favourite month as Spring is in full swing and Summer is on it’s way, and to take full advantage of that, at the start of the month we finally got our garden sorted!

This was the garden on the day we got the keys, 30th September:

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The garden* hadn’t been touched since April, when the house went on the market (*at this point, I think calling it a garden is a bit generous).

Luckily, knowing our lack of garden skills, my mum and stepdad helped tackle all of the bushes and the lawn* (again, I think using the word lawn is a bit generous), and so this was our glorious garden in April, after 6months of doing nothing:

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(bonus points if you can spot both cats)

A few highlights to note:

1. The falling down fence on the righthand side, 2. The hideous pale brown mess that used to be a lawn, 3. The weird central flowerbed, 4. The ugly and slippery sleepers, 5. The tiny, weirdly shaped patio, with equally tiny, pointless wall, 6.The strange piles of rubble dotted around the garden

Me and the boyf had spent an entire weekend on just that silly, central flowerbed by this point and we realised that we would need a bit of help if we wanted to use the garden this year.

Cue a very green fingered and patient gardener and two quick and skilled carpenters and in just over two weeks, it became:

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A real garden!

Look! It’s green! It’s healthy! It’s stripy!

It’s now 3 weeks later, and it’s still green and healthy, no plant deaths yet and the sun has come out in force! We can’t wait to finally be able to have people round to enjoy the Summer in our cute (and importantly, easy to maintain!) garden.

Right, the sun is still shining, so if you need me, I’ll be in the garden.

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Good weather for ducks

No matter how strongly the sun is shining, you know it’s only a matter of time before it starts raining again. After all, it is the Great British Summer!

Even as I write this, I’ve just had to dash outside to bring the sun lounger in. What started out as a glorious August morning has turned into an unpredictable day swinging between toasty sunshine and spots of rain. Oh well, it started brightly!

When I used to visit my Gran in the summer holidays, we’d look out on rainy days to see ducks merrily gliding along the river at the end of the garden. They’d be swimming along in the rain, diving in, in search of food or an unlucky holiday maker handing out bread under cover of a large umbrella. I’d huff and slouch my shoulders at another day wasted and my Gran would cheerfully say ‘well, it’s good weather for ducks.’

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So maybe, it’s time to stop frowning at the rain clouds and embrace the British weather.

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And perhaps, it’s also time to invest in a good anorak and wellies!

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What a difference a day makes…

So we’ve made it to 2016! All the wonders and woes of 2015 are officially behind us and it’s a brand new year ahead of us.

What better way to start than by wishing you all a happy new year!

happy new year 2

You may have noticed I’ve also started the year with a new Facebook page header:

cheetah

We went to Banham Zoo back in October to visit the Boyf’s sponsored snow leopard, and I came away in love with the two cheetahs in the neighbouring enclosure. They are gorgeous and have such cheeky personalities, I think they’ll be next on the sponsor list!

For Christmas this year I scaled up two of my Gran’s photos as 50cm canvases for my Mum. My favourite is the photo of my grandparents shelling peas in the garden. They would have been in their late teens/early twenties and it’s one of the only ones where they’ve been caught unaware, rather than posing for the camera!

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As I’d been looking at this photo so much over the last few weeks, I couldn’t help but try my own version.

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Seeing these side by side, it’s easier to spot what I still need to improve on, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction!

This week I treated myself to a couple of late Christmas presents in the shape of a couple of art books. I had done a little illustration before nipping to the shops, and after reading the books that evening, I wanted to try again the next day.

bubbles

Hopefully, it’s obvious that the before is on the left and the after is on the right! The improvement was, in part, what inspired the title of the post, as I was humming the song to myself as I painted on the second day, pleased with the change in just 24 little hours!

So I hope this is a sign of the year to come, filled with improvement and of course, bubbles!

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The little bits and pieces post

I’m now fully embracing the start of the festive season, so while I busy myself away with snowflakes, christmas trees and holly, here are some unrelated bits and pieces that have flowed from my paintbrush.

rosie

I decided I wanted to update my attempted self-portrait for my about page and Facebook, but every attempt looked the same… and none of them looked like me!

Before you worry I’ve gone a little bit crazy, this obviously isn’t a self-portrait, in fact, in my head, she’s called Rosie, I think it suits her. But I did want to try drawing in a slightly different style, and this was my first attempt at a more caricaturised approach and it really helped me to be more adventurous and create the new self-portrait you can now see on those pages! (Confession – I’ve given self-portrait me much more fabulous hair than real-life me)

paris

Admittedly, I painted this a few years ago, and it’s one I was planning on redoing before sharing, but after the recent events in Paris I wanted to share it to show my support.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been an isolated incident, with further threats since and the bomb attacks the day earlier in Beirut, but in the face of this, it’s great to see so much unity shown across social media by so many.

dream big

Social media sometimes seems flooded with feel good sayings and quotes, and amongst this sea of inspirational buzz words this is the one that’s really stuck out for me.

I meant for it to be the start of a collection of nursery illustrations, but once it was finished, I couldn’t quite bring myself to give it away! My mum has always told me you can be anything you want to be, so it felt destined to stay with me as a little reminder.

gran

This was meant to be a quick sketch based on a photo of my Gran, but I couldn’t help but add some colour to bring it to life. However, my Gran is far more fashionable than I have ever been, so I doubt that the dress and jacket were actually a rosy pink!

There are endless, beautiful photos of my Gran in her late teens/early twenties in glamourous poses with her hair perfectly styled, a beautiful smile on her face and gorgeous fifties clothing. My Grandad was an avid photographer and it’s obvious my Gran loved having her photo taken, so I feel incredibly lucky to have so many photos of her.

grecian alphonse

This was inspired by the Alphonse Mucha art nouveau paintings, but as I started painting, it seemed to take on a life of it’s own, so it’s only really the halo that shows the original inspiration.

Despite not at all matching my expectations, the more I look at it, I think this might actually be one of my favourite paintings! I hope you like her too.

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Summer painting update

Over the last few months I haven’t been painting very much due to a mixture of working hard and lack of inspiration. But now that the sun is out and I’m managing to sneak more days at home, I’m trying to track down some inspiration and rediscover my pencils and paints.

So here are a few things that I’ve been painting recently:

bakery dog

This is based on an instagram pic of a cheeky little labrador at a bakery window. I’m still going through a painting cute animals phase, so this popped onto my feed at just the right time! I update my instagram more often than the blog or Facebook, so follow me on instagram for more frequent updates!

Talking of cute animals, I went to see Jurassic World at the cinema last weekend, which inspired a little birthday card that I did for my cousin’s little boy.

dino cardPersonally, I think little dinosaurs are adorable, but that might just be me! I’m thinking of doing a few more of these to make a cute little group as my go to for young age cards.

Another card I did this month was for my friend who recently moved in with her boyfriend:

congrats card

I’ve only met her boyfriend once so far (I know, I’m a terrible friend), but they seem very happy together, so I’m really excited for them!

The final painting I’m going to share is a quick sneak peak…

sneak peek

I’ve been working on a name illustration for a different cousin’s little boy (I have a lot of cousins), with a riverside theme, so this is a little snippet of the final thing.

This is the fifth name illustration I’ve done (I’ve previously shared Hattie’s on my Facebook page and Ella’s here) and it is definitely my favourite thing to paint! I’ll share them all in my next post, once I’ve given this one to it’s new owner.

I’m always open to requests, so if you know anyone who’s nursery or child’s room is missing that something special, please get in touch!

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Happy Egg Hunting Day!

Happy Easter everyone!

happy easter

We had an early Easter gift yesterday when my mum and step-dad came over wielding an arsenal of garden tools to help us tackle our jungle of a garden!

The boyf pointed out we should have taken a before picture, as it was truly a huge mess, but now we have proper borders, healthy plants, a tidy little lawn and cute hedge ball things! Weeds have been scared away, wild honeysuckle has been tamed and we actually used our outdoors tap for the first time (turns out it wasn’t covered in as many spider webs as we thought)!

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So although it isn’t quite egg-hunt ready yet, by summer it will be the perfect sunbathing and barbecuing spot!

I hope you all have a day filled with egg hunting, chocolate and bunnies 🙂 and I’ll leave you with this little close up as he’s just so cute!

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365 days pain free

It’s now been a year since my Grandad passed away.

So to mark the day, I want to celebrate his 365 days pain free.

I’m not sure if there is a heaven, but if there is, he’s had 365 days up there enjoying what he loves best and rubbing shoulders with the best of them.

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He encouraged us to aim high and not settle for less than we deserve, so hopefully we’ve all taken that to heart.

He had over 78 years full of life and I can only hope that I can match him with as many good stories to tell in my lifetime.

grandad montage

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