Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sharing the settee

This is probably the longest break I’ve had from blogging apart from summer holiday breaks. I have had flu and a cold and swollen glands and as soon as I’ve recovered from one horrible cold another has started. I am heartily sick of feeling achey and not being able to breathe or sleep properly. Luckily for the entire Christmas period we have been guests of friends and family and so the most challenging task I’ve had was to cook a few vegetables. I hope I’ll be back on form soon.

Flo is reading Ian McEwan’s book ‘Atonement’ in this drawing. She’s been desperate to indulge in reading a novel, but immediately prior to her Oxford interview she felt she could only allow herself to read books like Fermat’s Last Theorem or to revise mathematical concepts. Thank you everyone who has shared in our delight at Flo’s provisional university offer, I really appreciate your support.

Brushpen in sketchbook

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Robin in festive mood

Brushpen in sketchbook

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Woo Hoo!!!

The letter arrived on Saturday. Flo was right about the first interview – she read the first line of the letter from the college she applied to and looking brave and resigned she said ‘Oh never mind, I didn’t get in’, to which I responded that she had an offer from another really great university and she was going to have a wonderful time there, so she had lots to look forward to. And then she said ‘Wait a minute, there’s something else in the letter…’ and as she read on she discovered that she was going to be getting an offer from the second Oxford college that interviewed her. As you can imagine she was cock-a-hoop, ecstatic and shocked. She really liked the tutors at Mansfield so she’s really excited at the thought of having tutorials with them. All she has to do now is work very hard to get the grades she needs to get in. So not much social life for the next six months.

I am so happy for her, she’s worked so hard and thank goodness the Mansfield tutors could see her potential. So the very best Christmas present for all of the family.

Pen and ink in sketchbook

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Two minute Hugo

Pen and ink in sketchbook

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tom drawing

Too tired and ill to write. Pen and ink in sketchbook.

Hugo sprawled

Pen and ink in sketchbook

Tom laughing

Pen and ink in sketchbook

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wishing she was still there

Flo had a wonderful three days in Oxford – a taste of the freedom, companionship and joy of student life. Sadly, she’s convinced that she didn’t get in – and she’s not the kind of person who over-dramatises how badly an interview/exam went, so it’s probably best to anticipate the worst and just be glad to have had the experience. Anyway whatever happens my prayer is that she gets into the university that is the right place for her, so if she doesn’t get an offer from Oxford then I’m sure that one of her other choices will be the place that was intended for her.

And by the way I know this wittering on about this is boring for most people and I know that some people would think I’m just another middle-class, pushy, ambitious mother. But for me it is just a spilling over of my love of my daughter, of caring just as much as she does because I can’t bear for her to feel disappointment. And to think I have three more children to enjoy this experience with!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tom’s new look

Xavier hadn’t seen Tom’s new haircut or his new uber-geek glasses, so when he saw Tom first thing this morning he just giggled at this transformation of his brother from yellow-haired hippy to nerd. Me? I’m loving watching Tom’s fashion and style experiments. I have been feeling so unwell for over a week but I had to draw this before Tom’s hair grew into any semblance of normality.
Pen and ink in sketchbook. Styling by Tom Oakley

Monday, December 10, 2007

How I’ve been feeling this week

It’s been a bit up and down this week. And in addition to my own ups and downs I’ve been roller-coastering with my darling Flo who is staying at Oxford University for a few days and had the worst interview in the world this morning followed by a comparatively good one this evening. Of course she can’t help making friends with her fellow comp… candidates and her ‘crew’ at the moment include a boy who co-incidentally she met while sailing on TS Royalist and another boy who rather amusingly she calls ‘Britain’s fourth brainiest child’ as in ‘I had breakfast this morning with Royalist boy and Britain’s fourth brainiest child.’ By the way there is a justification for this, as he really did come fourth in this competition).

Monday, December 03, 2007

Journey home from Dorset

I’m guessing that’s what he was thinking as he drove. Unfortunately his kayaking buddy Hugo couldn't face the weir a second time.
Pen and ink in sketchbook

Sitting in Shulay’s Chair

Pen and ink in sketchbook

Writing at the coffee table

Pen and ink in sketchbook

Hugo at the Blas restaurant

If you ever go to Glasgow and visit the Kelvingrove museum, do eat at this wonderful Scottish restaurant – I really recommend it.

Pen and watercolour in sketchbook

Portrait party at Shulay’s

Portrait by Shulay
I was away for the weekend again. This time visiting my dear friend Shulay. I’m getting more and more enthused about portrait swaps since participating in Rama Hughes' excellent portrait party blog. Believe it or not, Shulay hasn’t picked up a pencil for 23 years so a pretty amazing drawing don’t you think? Before we started we set out the only ground rule – neither of us was going to be distracted by trying to flatter the other. It is the great minefield of portraiture – the worry of upsetting the sitter. So it was a great relief to draw in the same way as I draw my family – just concerning myself with trying to do the best I could without having to think about bruising an ego. I look forward to doing more portraits of Shulay – she has such an interesting face and long lean limbs and hands – none of which I did justice to this time. And I hope Shulay doesn’t leave it so long before she picks up a pencil again.
Shulay by Julie 210mm x 285mm pen and watercolour
Julie by Shulay 270mm x 300mm pencil