Saturday, November 29, 2008

Post-dentist treat lunch at Wagamama's

Could be any place, but this was the best I could manage in between stopping the five year old break up all the chopsticks, and mopping up the pools of water and soy sauce that the five year old spilled. My favourite son today, Hugo, had had yet another horrible dentist trip as a result of a bang to his front teeth four years ago, so I thought he deserved a treat.

Happy Robin

What could it be? A good meal in his stomach, watching a comedy on television or the prospect of a child-free canoeing weekend?
Pen in sketchbook

Friday, November 28, 2008

Watching Harry

Hugo and Robin watching Harry Hill’s TV Burp. One of those rare things – a TV programme that everyone in the family from five to fifty can enjoy. I do love watching my family weep with laughter.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My first Urban Sketchers post

St Albans Abbey
This is my first picture posted in the Urban Sketchers' blog. This is the view of St Albans as you approach from the north. The Abbey of St Albans dominates the town which is named after St Alban the first English martyr. He was reputedly beheaded for his faith by the Romans on the hill where the Abbey was subsequently built.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hugo relaxing

Another sketch of Hugo
Pen and ink in sketchbook

Friday, November 21, 2008

Urban sketcher at Kashu restaurant

Kashu restaurant, St Albans
I’m thrilled to have been invited to join the Urban Sketchers blog as the St Albans correspondent. The weather here is freezing at the moment and the thought of standing out in the cold to capture something that’s iconic of St Albans for my first post fills me with dread. I’ve obviously turned into a bit of a softie since I finished my ‘One Mile from Home’ project, so this is just the spur I need. Either that or we’re going to have spend a lot of money eating out so that all my sketches can be from the comfort of warm restaurants.
Pen and watercolour in sketchbook

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cindy Woods

Cindy Woods has lost her battle with cancer and has moved into a hospice. I don’t want to be writing this after she’s gone – I just wish I’d written this before she became so ill.
I first started blogging in May 2005 and dear Cin left a comment on my very first post. I tracked back to her blog and was captivated by her beautiful work and the person that shone through her writing.
She is the most inspirational of artists. Her blog has been a joy to follow over the last three and half years. She has inspired me in so many ways. More than anything her tender portrayals of her friends have made me appreciate the beauty of going back again and again to drawing the same person. Like so many online friends Cindy is someone I’ll never meet in real life, but I’m so grateful to have been acquainted with her. I’m sure that most of my readers will know Cindy’s blog but if you don’t, you must go and see the work of a really great artist and a beautiful person.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It’s Monday so it’s swimming

A quickie of the swimming pool. Not great, so if you really want to be amused go and have a look at Xavier’s latest blog entry here.

Hugo recumbent in colour

Watercolour added to existing drawing

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hugo, two poses

Pen and ink in sketchbook

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hugo recumbent again

Pen and ink in sketchbook

Friday, November 14, 2008

Waiting in the rain

Wheatfields school in the rain
A five minute scribble as the rain dripped on me and my sketchbook as I waited for Xavier to be let out of school.
Pen, ink and rain

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hugo watching TV

This was drawn after a thoroughly enjoyable game of Scrabble. We laughingly decided that I was a bit like the 'competitive Dad' character in the Fast Show as I quite happily do not hold back from thrashing my dyslexic son at this game. However to be fair Hugo did get some rotten letters and we've both agreed that the next time we play I have to start with a handicap that is the same as the number of points I beat him by this evening, so it should make future games more interesting.
Pen drawing in sketch book

Recent book cover

Recent book cover design. The illustration was watercolour which was subsequently photoshopped.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More life drawing

Another large drawing on A2ish paper – watercolour and graphitint pencils

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The swimming lesson

Swimming lesson
If you’ve been asleep for the past couple of weeks you’ll have missed the start of a wonderful new blog – Urban Sketchers – started by Seattle based artist Gabi Campanario. So I’ve been uploading any of my new sketches that fit the guidelines to their urban sketches Flickr group. As a mother, generally speaking not for me the delights of the coffee shop or restaurant. Urban sketches for me mean the dentist, the swimming lesson, the supermarket.
Sandringham school swimming pool, St Albans.

Pen and ink and digital colouring

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day in Oxford

Robin dropped me off with Xavier as he went off to a canoeing event in Stratford on Avon. Of course 9:30 is hideously early for a student so we had a few minutes to kill waiting for Flo to emerge and let us in. Later on Xavier allowed me to sketch for a few minutes on the staircase in the Ashmolean museum before the staff moved us on for being a fire hazard.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Artists at the paper mill

24" x 36" watercolour and pencil

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The art student

Wednesday evening life drawing. Emmanuella has just enrolled on an art course. If it’s at the University of Hertfordshire her life models may not be quite as easy on the eye if my experience previously is anything to go by.
Watercolour and graphitint pencils on A3ish watercolour paper

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ruth sleeping


28" x 18" watercolour and graphitint pencils

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sketches from the Arkwright presentation


Pen in sketchbook

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What I’d give to be in America today

Here in England the day that Labour came into power after nearly 20 years of Conservative rule, we all walked round with smiles on our faces – including the most hardened Tories. It must be like that, but ten times better. Good on you America, I think the whole world is smiling with you.

*Edited to add this lovely intimate photo of the Obama family on election night. More pics can be seen on Barack Obama's Flickr account here.

And another one from Saturday

Graphitint pencils, graphite and watercolour on A2 watercolour paper

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Monthly life drawing at the paper mill

This was the warm-up exercise for the long life drawing session at the paper mill. Three five minute sketches. And it was so nice to bring along my young companion Freya – who produced some marvellous charcoal sketches. I can’t manage charcoal – I seem to get black all over me and not on the page – but I love the results from those who can manage it.

Lunch with Flo

I bravely practiced the drive to Oxford on Sunday. Yes, it’s official, I am pathetic. I don’t do motorways and I need several practice runs on a new route (all on minor roads) with a competent driver next to me before I’ll even consider it to be an area I’m prepared to drive to. I think it’s all down to leaving learning to drive ’til I was in my thirties and don’t get me on to how my first driving instructor died the day before my first test, how somebody crashed into and wrote off my second instructor’s car (while I was driving it) the day before my second test, and on and on…

Monday, November 03, 2008

Oh dear!

Please feel free to download, print or copy this picture.

But you know you don’t want to. However handsome he is, what on earth would you do with a low resolution picture of my husband? I seem to have upset a few people by suggesting that it is unattractive and appears presumptious to plaster a great big watermark and or copyright symbol all over artwork on a blog or website, when so many really great artists don’t do that. In my view if you don’t want people to copy your pictures then don’t put them on the internet – just keep them at home and enjoy them by yourself. If you do want to share them, then share them properly so that people can enjoy them. If you’re bothered about earning money from your pictures (as I am) make sure that they are fairly small, then they will be of little or no commercial value and most people copying them won't be making a bean from your work but will be copying them for their own personal pleasure. Of course there are a few idiots who try to pass off other people’s work as their own but is it really worth presenting defaced versions of your own pictures to prevent that?