Action man and his canoeing partner, chose the worst ever Easter weekend to attempt the 135 mile non-stop Devizes to Westminster canoe race. So, with temperatures below zero and the snow falling down around them, they set off at nine at night. Unfortunately a couple of tumbles into the water later and a severe attack of cramp meant that they had to abandon the venture. So now I’m looking up banana recipes, to use up the 40 or so uneaten bananas. These are a few sketches of Flo – as usual they bear no resemblance to the lovely original. Pencil in sketch book
A cold windy day, so the best part of the zoo to visit was where they kept the small mammals, reptiles and insects inside. I hadn’t realised how much mongooses liked snuggling and cuddling up to each other – maybe the cold was getting to them as well. Pencil in sketchbook
What kind of a mother am I? I’m sure I let my children watch far too much television, because they become such good models when they are completely engrossed in that box in the corner of the room. Pencil in sketchbook 290mm x 200mm
I do apologise for pictures and mastheads disappearing from time to time. My IT expert has changed my ISP but for some reason I now seem to have a fluctuating service. Also some of my incoming e-mail has disappeared into a pit of irrecoverable nothingness, so if you’ve e-mailed me and I haven’t replied, it is probably that I haven’t received it, so please try again. Pencil in sketchbook
This was my first attempt at painting with real oil paint. I don’t really know what to make of it as a medium. I didn’t use any good paintbrushes as the only good ones I have are watercolour brushes, so slapping the paint on with the children’s brushes might have made the experience less satisfactory. But I found the whole thing of working with paint that had the texture of butter and which would definitely ruin my floor/clothes/desk if I dropped the tiniest bit all a bit tiresome. And then how long is it going to take before the damn thing dries? With watercolour paintings I can put everything away when I’ve finished but now I’m stuck with an easel up in my office until the painting chooses to be touch dry. The jury is out as to whether I’m going to attempt this medium again. 40cm x 30cm oil paint on canvas board
I’m having a go at oil painting for the first time in my life so no sketches for today, but a photo of one of Xavier’s creations instead. He made this decorated biscuit (using a template of his own hand) as a present for me for mother’s day. We brought it home from school and as I prepared supper for the family Xavier sat at the breakfast bar looking longingly at his creation. Out of the corner of my eye I could see him surreptitiously peeling off bits of chocolate and hundreds and thousands in the hope that I wouldn’t notice the difference. He was trying so hard to be good, so he was enormously relieved when I said, ‘I tell you what, let’s share the biscuit now’. The one finger I managed to taste was delicious!
This is a pretty big illustration by my standards (30 x 22 inches) so I’ve included a close-up of part of it. The venue for the monthly life drawing session is a very interesting place. This is the old John Dickinson paper mill, a notable place in the history of papermaking. It was here that the Fourdrinier brothers developed a continuous paper making machine to make the huge rolls of paper needed for web offset litho.
And it was here that the John Dickinson company made Basildon Bond stationery – which was the staple letter-writing material of my childhood. They still make paper here but it’s now a working museum which is being developed into an educational and community resource.
Pencil and watercolour on imperial sheet of handmade watercolour paper.
A wonderful four hour life-drawing session. A very well equipped studio and – the icing on the cake – Jim, who organises the monthly sessions laid on proper fresh coffee (unlike the filthy instant muck that most of us expect to drink). I must take this opportunity to apologise to the numerous people who’ve contacted me through this blog recently, that I haven’t replied to or acknowledged. I’m finding life is getting in the way and I just can’t manage my time to be as courteous as I would like to be. Oh gosh, it is so difficult trying to fit in the million and one things that you want to. Anyway, please excuse me but there are tooo many demands on my time at the moment. Anyway this one took about 20 minutes and is pencil and watercolour on a half imperial sheet of handmade watercolour paper.
It’s been ages since my last self-portrait, so I grabbed the opportunity to peer into the car vanity mirror and quickly sketch while action man went into the camping shop to look for supplies for his latest venture. Pen and ink in small sketchbook
This is a place where I regularly post personal artwork, good, bad or indifferent.
The characters that crop up regularly in this blog are husband – Robin, eldest teenager and only daughter – Flo, next teenager and eldest son – Tom, teenager second son – Hugo, five year old third son – Xavier, and red Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Rufus.
I'll try to reply wherever you comment but if I don't it's only because I'm overwhelmed with running a family and earning a living.
My two eldest have started a business venture selling artwork (mainly my paintings) to raise money for university. Please visit their site, Oakley Gallery to see what they are selling now.
If you want to buy prints of anything you see here or have any requests please send an email to flo at oakleygallery dot com