Wednesday, 29 December 2010

One Eye Open

Watercolour and Coloured pencil

You never know what's going to happen, so it's best to keep one eye open at all times!
A little birthday card (ssshhh don't tell).

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Slow Motion

Something in Motion was the challenge for Edm 302 and this tiny snail was moving I promise,  but he was a little slow.  I found him in amongst some broccoli I was preparing.  I love the way his shell is the same colour as the broccoli, a really good camouflage?  I left him in with the discarded leaves and forgot he was there until I found him making a dash (?) for freedom across the kitchen floor.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends around the world, I hope it's a happy one!
Thank you to you all for your company in 2010, it has been much appreciated.

This  'online' Christmas card was inspired by a photograph by my friend Anne on her blog Frayed at the Edge up in cold and snowy Scotland.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


I wanted to make a few little gifts for Christmas so I decided to paint some bookmarks.  The hole at the bottom is where I will thread coloured ribbon through.

I used mainly watercolours then added a few details with coloured pencil.  I really liked the tall thin format, I'd like to try something slightly bigger using the same shape.
My favourite is the tree because of the way the colours flowed into each other, entirely accidental, it's all hit and miss when I use watercolour, but then that's one of watercolour's endearing qualities(?)

Friday, 17 December 2010

Christmas Cards

It's that time of year and  I've been busy making Christmas cards, I'm all behind as usual!  This is my design for this year, although I had to turn it into black and white then colour them slightly by hand as there wasn't time to get coloured prints done.  But I think they turned out ok and certainly a lot nicer and cheaper than bought ones.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Sketchbook Cover (Sketchbook Project)

Here's the final product, complete with cover.  I used an acrylic pen to draw in the shapes then I coloured over that with coloured pencils. 

They look almost like transfers as the faces are shiny compared to the softer feel of the cover material.

In the end it turned out quite thick, I think if I was doing it again,  I might just glue every other page together to get a thicker type of paper and use pen directly on that.

But all in all I'm satisfied with the end results and pleased that I managed to finish this quite big project.
Now it's time to post it off to New York to start it's new life.  Buon Viaggio!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

County Clare

Coloured pencil and pen

Lisheenfurror, Co. Clare, Ireland  -  Virtual Paintout December 2010

You have to imagine that I was sitting in the road drawing this old farm...the Virtual Paintout visits a different location every month using Google Street maps and artists from all over the world pick somewhere or something to paint or draw.
County Clare is full of wide open spaces, with big skies and beautiful coastlines, but I chose the farm because it reminds me of what I imagine Ireland used to be like.  A lot of the buildings I saw in this area seemed to be fairly new and many places were advertising holiday homes, the price of 'progress'?
See other virtual sketches and paintings from the Virtual Paintout here

Friday, 10 December 2010

Soaking up the Morning Sun

Everyday Matters 300!  Something bright...this is my little girl cat lying in the bright morning sun.
This is how I find all my cats in the morning after the school run, stretched out soaking up the warmth.  They wake up when I arrive and after a long yawn, the morning wash and grooming starts.
My apologies to my little cat, I've drawn her a little bit fatter than she actually is!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A Happy Ending

Here are the last pages of my sketchbook for the Arthouse Sketchbook Project.  The one above is Mr 'X' who started this sketchbook (see here),  but here he is cloned over and over again.
So who is the 'face in the crowd?
We are all faces in the crowd, each face is different and has it's own character, but in the end we are all part of a crazy mixed up world of faces.  Mr 'X' is anonymous, a clone and a copy, he doesn't exist!

Finally the very last page and all my characters, real and imagined wander off into the sunset, just like in all good books and films.  I do like a happy ending!

Now all I need to do is complete the cover and send it off.  Pheewww!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Frozen Faces (Arthouse Sketchbook Project)

These little chaps look so cold, dedicated to all my friends freezing under the snow in the UK!

Looking at some photo's from the film 'The March of the Penguins' I found some lovely little faces in amongst the crowds of penguins.  I just couldn't leave them out!  Thank you again to Martine Pittet for her suggestion.

I've started to think about  what to do with the cover of my sketchbook.  It's red and cardboardy so I need something that won't disappear into the paper and it also needs to be fairly hardwearing as the book (hopefully) will be handled quite a lot.  I  was thinking about using acrylic paint and pens but I wish I had something to practice on first!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Choose Your Mask (Arthouse sketchbook project)

A beautiful mask from Venice for Carnevale.  I enjoyed drawing the dress on this one, it reminded me of when I was at school and I used to draw 'princesses' in class instead of studying.  My school reports  were always the same...'Cathy would do well if she would just stop dreaming'.  Story of my life!

I'd love to wear something like this, but I can't say the same about the next mask.....

A rather frightening idea that we might all have to wear surgical masks one day.  Suggested by blogger friend Debra Morris, she sees a lot of people wearing them in Hong Kong and it seemed to fit in well with my ' face in a crowd' theme.
There are masks and there are masks, I know which I'd rather have.
Both of these drawings are for my sketchbook project, just a few more pages to go!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Very fashionable (Arthouse Sketchbook Project)

Thank you to everyone who came up with some great ideas for my sketchbook, it gave me that extra little push to complete it.  Martine sent me some ideas for shop window dummies, something I had been pondering for a while.  So these are the first ones I did in slightly muted tones (the sort of colours I often end up buying).  But what is really needed is a bit of full on colour...sooooo

I thought these wigs would be just the thing and less than 30 euros!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Lots of Faces

More sketchbook project pages and I'm running as fast as I can towards the end.  There are still at least 8 - 10 double page spreads left to do, although I do know what the last page will be.
After the faces made of stone here is one made of metal.  (I know... I'm getting desperate here!)

This gorilla is my monkey face, although the green scanned a bit bright, it should be more of an olive colour.

These people are queuing up to be included in my sketchbook ;-)

The sketchbooks have to returned by January, but I'd like to get mine done before Christmas, so I will concentrating on this  as much as possible, any ideas on 'a face in the crowd' theme welcome!

Saturday, 20 November 2010


I did this mint and wrapper for Katherine Thomas's new blog.
'The Little Art Club,  a place for those who love to draw and paint'.

Katherine started up this blog after enjoying working to a theme for the Arthouse Sketchbook Project  and finding different way to interpret themes.  On The Little Art Club blog there will be a different theme every two months or so and people are invited to show their ideas and work.  The current theme is Candy and Sweets. 
Working to a theme seems to push you to find new ideas and to perhaps try subjects you wouldn't have thought about doing before.  I wouldn't have drawn the mints or even thought about sweets, but now I have a few more ideas  taking shape for future drawings!
Have a look at The Little Art Club site and maybe have a go yourself?

 The Little Art Club

Have a look at Katherine's own blog too.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Hidden in the Corner

Here's a corner of my garden/terrace.  This is where I grow my herbs, as well as basil, chives, thyme and there is a chilli pepper plant at the back.   I also grow mint, oregano, sage and rosemary, it's nice to have something fresh from the garden to add flavour to your cooking? 
Especially useful to throw on some pasta if you're in a hurry...all you need  to add is some olive oil, a spot of garlic and a good sprinkle of parmesan cheese!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Stony Face

My latest pages for the Arthouse Sketchbook Project..... faces made of stone.

Don't ask me why this fella is here amongst these stones because I don't know either!

Friday, 12 November 2010

A wall with a View

The Virtual Paintout is in Rio de Janeiro for the month of November.
I had a good look round and ended up finally with the view I first saw right at the beginning.   But never mind I had a  virtual tour of Rio de Janeiro!  I noticed there was quite a lot of graffiti, but you have to be careful with this as it could say something rude or have a hidden meaning that isn't obvious at first.

For those not familiar the Virtual Paintout is a monthly get together for sketchers and painters  somewhere in the world via Google Street view.  Work is submitted to the site run by Bill Guffey and can be seen here

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Very strange Indeed!

Everyday Matters - draw something strange.
I saw this large seed pod on a tree at the Botanical gardens, I don't remember what it was called but it's leaves were large and shiny.  It has been re-named the 'smartie tree' for now, but I wouldn't recommend eating any of it!  I did sneakily pocket a few of these seeds and have planted them in pots.  I don't know if they will grow or not.... maybe they will grow into large man- eating flowers!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Famous Faces

I wanted to sketch some famous faces for my Sketchbook Project, then I thought whose face could be more famous than the Mona lisa?

Then of course  the most famous of self-portraits had to be included!

Sketching these two famous paintings was really enjoyable and interesting.  Instead of just 'looking', you notice different details and colours and you really see how the artists used their paintbrushes and created their strokes.   They look quite good in my sketchbook too!

Both of these sketches are for the Arthouse Sketchbook Project 2011, my book along with thousands of others will be going on tour in the USA and then finally to the Brooklyn Art Library, New York.  Not a bad  journey for a little sketchbook?

Find out more about the Arthouse Sketch Project  here

Friday, 5 November 2010

Bottle of Water

Everyday Matters 297 - Draw a bottle of water
This is a  watercolour, coloured pencil and pen sketch.  I tried to get a bit of colour in the transparent plastic, there were plenty of reflections to use, but the bottle looks slightly squashed to me.  Lets just say someone sat on the bottle!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

More Faces, More Pages (Arthouse sketchbook project)

I'm having a lot of fun with my theme 'a face in the crowd' for the Arthouse sketchbook project, exploring different ways to depict faces and looking for them in the crowd.  I thought about someone looking at their reflection in a mirror and wondering if they were the face.

What about a face you can take apart and put back together?  Why not make it into a jigsaw puzzle?
My little sketchbook is a useful  thing for putting down all the random thoughts that come into my head, I shall be sorry when it's finished I'm sure!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Scary Faces (Arthouse Sketchbook Project)

A couple more pages for the  Arthouse Sketchbook Project.  My theme is 'face in a crowd', so I did some scary faces for Halloween.  You never know what's hanging about in a crowd!?

I hope I didn't frighten you too much?   This bony face actually makes me smile everytime I see him.  I'm sure he's having a good laugh!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Salt Everywhere!

On a beautiful day of endless blue skies we visited the Lagoon of Stagnone, between Trapani and Marsala, an area famous for salt production. The shallow waters of the lagoon and warm winds are ideal for drawing salt from seawater.
We visited an old windmillover 500 years old that has been restored to working order, the Dutch style windmills were used for pumping water and grinding the salt.

You can walk over the  narrow walls that separate the salt flats, they form a chessboard of different colours ranging from green, pink and rust due to the different stages of the drying process.  All around there are little white salt mountains shimmering in the sun.

With the little island  of Motya as a backdrop this area is an artist or photographer's paradise, a great day out if you're in the area...and you can buy some quality salt too!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Something Orange

Everyday matters - Something orange!
To go with the season I painted these lovely leaves.  Normally I only use watercolour as an underpainting for coloured pencils but I enjoy looking at other people's watercolour  paintings and wanted to try something in colourful in this medium.  Definately some room for improvement and more practice needed I think.  Then I just couldn't resist and had to put some coloured pencil on too and a few artistic splatters!

I can't decide which I like best

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Return to the Sketchbook Project

Time to get back to the Sketchbook Project and my theme 'face in a crowd'.   I had a little break as I was well ahead with my pages (I aim to finish by Christmas hopefully!)

I'm still exploring the different types of faces and I've found  so many ideas I'm glad I chose this theme.
I'm also feeling a lot more comfortable about drawing faces, even doing a couple of portraits.
This isn't one of them!

Previous pages can be seen here

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Volcano and Lava

Pen, watercolour and coloured pencil

This is a view of Mount Etna, Europe's highest and most active volcano. (Yes that is smoke coming out the top!)  It took us a long time to drive there as we took the 'scenic' route and got lost a few times....the sign posts and maps here leave a lot to be desired!  We headed for the North/West side of Etna to avoid the coaches and tourists  going up the popular routes, and  climbed slowly up through the foothills to start our walk at Bronte, a lovely little town famous for it's pistachio nuts.
We drove higher and higher through a lava flow from 1843 to reach our starting point, stopping for a picnic on the way.

Pen, water soluble graphite and coloured pencil

The crater landscape and lava give the whole area  a strange eerie feel, like a moonscape.  All around us were old volcanic cones that have been wooded for centuries and Etna (known as the 'old lady')  looming up in front of us.  There was hardly anyone else around, the silence was incredible and the views were amazing, well worth the  long drive.

You can see the lava flow and the path we took in the photo, although Etna's peak is hidden by cloud.
It was impossible to explore the whole area in just one day, but now I know the way I'll be going back!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Pen and coloured pencil

This month we are in Mexico for the Virtual Paintout, San Miguel de Allende to be exact.
I travelled  with Google Street up and down  different streets and country lanes, some quite similar to what you'd find here.
I really liked how some of the houses were painted in bright colours and was tempted to draw some of those, but in the end I was drawn to the yellow and white flags that seemed to be everywhere, possibly for some kind of religious festival?

See here to find out more about the Virtual Paintout


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