Friday 14 December 2012

Rocking Robin

He Rocks in the tree tops all day long...

I saw my first Robin Red Breast, two days ago, whilst exploring the beautiful Sherwood Forest with my husband. It was icy cold, all the trees and fallen leaves were white with twinkling frost. Suddenly there he was, chirping away on the fence in front of us. The christmas scene was complete. So here's a rocking Robin to see in this merry month!

Friday 21 September 2012

Lost Cinderella

There have been many books and essays exploring the fairytale realm, including, symbolism in fairytales, the history surrounding the them, the influence society has on fairytales and the influence fairytales have on society, the roles that women play in them, how they have evolved over the years and the many adaptations of classic tales. For my negotiated written study during my Masters, I began by researching into the historical background of the tale of Cinderella. There was no lack of material on this subject. There has been many books and essays written about this beloved tale. Psychologist pick it apart to find its "hidden psychological effects on society". Historians seek to find it's influence on modern day life. But what few of them fail to acknowledge is it's historical routes, and it's cultural relevance.

The first known written version of the well loved fairy tale is that of Yeh-hsien. Tuang Ch’eng-shih recorded Yeh-hsien over one thousand years ago in ninth century China. Critics and scholars appear to overlook the simple historical relevance in the tales details. For instance the tiny shoe, reminiscent of the art of foot binding which was ever popular in the Tang dynasty in China at the time the tale was written.

This piece is a visual representation of my thoughts about the whole thing. The roots of the tale are all tangled up in the roots of the tree, which original acted as a symbol of Yeh - Hesiens dead mother. I've added some close ups of the paintings progress so you get an idea of some of the details.

Monday 30 July 2012

The Incredible Chapore


From July 30th until August 26th you can vote for the illustration that best suits the wonderful tale of "The Incredible Chapore". The story follows a ruthless poacher who is outsmarted by all the animals in the Jungle, as he attempts to hunt and capture the greatest animal of all them all 'The Incredible Chapore'

Please if you have a moment to browse over them and maybe cast a vote, it would be greatly appreciated. The link is at the top of the post!

Thursday 12 July 2012

Goodies Sweet Shop - Lincoln

"What to Choose? What to Choose?"

Chocolate bon bons, humbugs, chocolate orange nibble, dark chocolate coated ginger, cola cubes, sherbet lemons, coconut mushrooms, rum balls, rhubarb and custard, peanut brittle, cinder toffee, chocolate covered peanuts, liquorice, white chocolate mice, milk chocolate mice, the choices go on and on...

It is hard not to have the biggest smile on your face when you're inside the wonderful Goodies Traditional Sweet Shop. The shelves are stacked floor to ceiling with jars full of delicious treats. In-between the traditional beams are rows and rows of candy canes, all different flavours. It is a feast for both the eyes and the belly!

I really wanted to capture the nostalgia of the shop. The window displays chocolate boxes and sweet tins from times gone by. The till and weighing scales would be at home in the Lincolnshire Museum of Life. And the setting of the building itself, with it's low ceiling and thick beams, placed on the beautiful cobbled street that is Steep Hill. I hope that the illustration reflects this successfully! 

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Harding House Gallery - Browser

With the July artists market coming up this Saturday, I've been working like a busy bee trying to finish some new Steep Hill themed paintings. This one is focused on the beautiful 16th century timbered building that is now the Harding House Gallery. It features some beautiful contemporary work from local artists, and artists from around the country. The permanent exhibits feature ceramics, glass, watercolours, textiles, jewellery, metal sculpture, calligraphy, prints, abstract and landscape painting, plus a wonderful array of original greetings cards.

One shopper stops to catch her breath from the challenge that is steep hill,and takes a moment to appreciate the lovely work inside the gallery. One more purchase before that long awaited cup of tea at Lesley's tea shop perhaps?

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Harding House Gallery - Pen & Ink

This is the beginnings of a new painting I've begun work on, it's of the Harding House Gallery on Lincoln's wonderful Steep Hill. It's only in the dip pen and ink stages at the moment, but will soon reflect the other paintings below. I'm just deciding on the colour pallet, then it's time to paint. I want this one to feel vibrant and exciting, reflecting the work in the Gallery itself. It showcases the work of some of Lincoln's most talented contemporary artists, from painters, to glass artists, to ceramic artists, to metal workers. It's a very exciting gallery to be a part of. Hopefully this one will be complete by tomorrow night... hopefully!

Sunday 3 June 2012

The Not-So-Haunted House - colour pallet

This week I've been playing with different colour pallets for my story 'The Not-So-Haunted House'. I'm in the process of re-writing it at the moment, (with a little help from one of my tutors from the MA course, he's really helping sort out the narrative), I just need to decide how the whole thing is going to look and feel. Rosie, the protagonist, is frightened of the appearance of the house at first. But her mother reassures her there is nothing to be frightened of, and begins to point out the charm of the house. So it needs to work both as scary, and charming. 

At first, she may just see the shadows that the house creates, but when her mother reveals what the objects are that are creating the shadows (little birds on the roof, squirrels in the trees, a delightful postbox), she begins too rest at ease. Well, until she enters the house that is...

So, I need the pallet to work well as a shadow effect as there's going to be a lot of them.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Little Teacup Girl

Everyday in the studio, my little muse sits quietly by the window minding her own business. I think with her always present, I've begun thinking about my MA project 'The Toymaker and The Toy'. There were a few pages that I was not entirely happy with. After putting all the pages together, I could see which ones worked and which ones didn't. So now I have the opportunity to revisit the project, I can go back to the pages I'm unhappy with and begin to make them work. Yesterday, I stretched my watercolour paper in anticipation of beginning one of the illustrations today. I can't wait to get started!

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Greyfriars Artist Studio (GAS)

Finally all settled into the studio space, and I was able to do a little work there yesterday. 
The lights incredible, all those big beautiful windows allow the daylight to flood the space. I just need to bring a few more things from home so I can be truly settled in. 

Now, I think there's a couple of rogue studio members I have yet to be introduced to. They are of the feathered variety. A couple of very noisy pigeons were playing around in the roof yesterday. But there's no poop anywhere, so I think they know studio rule number 23. No pooping in the studio space. Until then, I'm quiet enjoying the company!

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Moving Day

So today I'm packing up my make shift studio in the spare room of the cottage to move into the beautiful Greyfriars building, and joining GAS (Greyfriars Artist Studio-group), Lincoln's newest studio group. The building is just gorgeous and so rich in history, it's going to be hard not to be creative in such fabulous surroundings. Im most excited about working amongst other artistic souls, hopefully we'll be able to feed of one another's creativity and produce lots of inspiring work... watch this space.

Thursday 10 May 2012

Jubilee Bed Time Fun


I've been a little overwhelmed since we moved into the village. First we get a welcome pack from the local parish councillor, it contained useful numbers and the times the mobile shop and library would be in the village. Everybody says 'hello' to one another, this is very foreign to me. I'm a working class girl, from an industrial town. I was brought up in a terraced house, were we only knew a handful of our neighbours, even though we were living but a few steps away from one another. So moving to the village has taken some getting used to, I feel I'm smiling at strangers much more than before (as a cyclist I also smile at other cyclists. It's just something we do). 

Then a week a go, we get an invitation to take part in all the village activities for the Queens Jubilee. There's a garden competition, a hat competition, a quiz and treasure hunt, and a bbq on the common. I just can't seem to get my head around all of this. It's just too cute! So I decided to join the cute and paint the queen as I imagine her when she's alone, away from the public eye, and just having some good old fashioned bed bouncing fun. Come on, we all still have a go from time to time!

Sunday 6 May 2012


Yesterday I was tending my stall at the Lincoln artist market, apart from the freezing cold temperatures (in may!) it was a real success. But after standing for such a long time in the cold, I couldn't wait to get snuggled on the sofa with a cup of tea, digestive biscuits, and my sketch book. I've been developing the main character for my Haunted House book 'Rosie'. So far I've really struggled to capture the vulnerability, innocence and sweetness that I wanted her to portray. This is what i did last night... what do you think? Feedback would be most welcome if you have time!

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Just a little bit of sketchbook work...

the first picture is a concept for a short story I've written called 'The Not-So Haunted House'. I've been trying to develop a house that looked a little scary, but still had charm. The mice above are from one of the verses.

'But what the noise was in this case,
was a bunch of mice all in a race.
Running in the pipes they were,
with track suits on and sweaty fur.'

The second picture is where the little baby fairy from a few of my paintings was born, his sisters were yet to be created. I didn't want to paint anything else on the page, I thought there was something lovely about his little wondering face and unsure posture, 'where is everybody?'

Sunday 22 April 2012

Fairies First Flight

A little scarred of Heights, the baby fairies tip toe closer to the edge of the tree in hope to spread their wings and take their first flight. A passing butterfly flutters around in support, and a little pink bird looks on in anticipation...

Friday 20 April 2012

Fairy Puzzled???

It's that exciting time of year again, when all the veggies that the garden fairy worked so hard to grow are ready for picking. Her harvest basket begins to fill with lovely big, colourful, juicy carrots when all over a sudden... what is this? She doesn't remember sewing this back in march. But how on earth did it get there????

Thursday 12 April 2012

Vanity Fairy

What to wear? What to wear? The little fairy flutters from wardrobe to mirror, unable to decide which lovely dress she should choose for the following day. Don't even get her started on the accessories! My little sister Gemma adores her clothes, and loves planning her outfit each day. Every detail is given lots of thought and care.  She always looks beautiful, so this little fairy is modeled on her.

Last year during my masters, I read a lot of material critisizing the fairytale genre. The texts focused on the weak portrayal of female characters in fairytale books, the likes of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Red Riding Hood. But these stories were written many years ago, and today must be read with their historical and social context in mind. Fairytales are meant to be simply enjoyed, and not psycologically pulled apart. I feel the same about the modern fairy books of today. So what if the characters enjoy beautiful things, it doesnt make them weak, it's just one of there many character traits. They could also enjoy digging in the dirt to discover hidden treasures, or reading old texts to discover their ancestors secrets... This particular fairy, as she is modelled on my little sister, has a Masters in Renaissance Literature. I just used her love of clothes to experiment using different patterns and textures in the material.

I've begun a little series of Fairy paintings this week so WTS for more like this.

Thursday 5 April 2012

A few sketches from a land downunder

So on our trip to Oz, we payed a visit Australia Zoo. Some of the biggest crocodiles I'd ever scene inhabited several enclosures, but it was the tree hugging Koala that caught my eye. Shaded from the sun, all soft and cozy enjoying his mid afternoon nap. Then directly behind his enclosure I noticed the funniest looking bird. It looked like a cross between a turkey and a dinosaur, his waddle dangling under his long neck and his big flat horn on the top of his head. I couldn't stop laughing at the awkward way he moved, he looked so funny, well, he was funny until I was told that they are pretty aggressive and can cause quite a bit of damage. So I crept over to the pen full of echidna, just as funny, yet much less intimidating!

Wednesday 4 April 2012

"On The Rooftops Of London, Coo What A Sight..."

One afternoon, watching Mary Poppins. Dozens of nimble chimney sweeps are singing and dancing when suddenly, Dick Va Dyke pauses, “On the rooftops of London, Coo what a sight!”. Today, you can truly see a multi layered London. Old church spires mingle with modern structures. Airplanes flying peacefully past. There’s something romantic about escaping to such peacefulness, when there’s so much chaos just below your feet.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Accidental Colour Pallets

When I working on an illustration, I'm not careful about contaminating my colours. Blue in the yellow, brown in the red, orange in the green. Sometimes if I pick up a colour by mistake, I actually enjoy these little accidents, they can create colour pallets I wouldn't of considered before. I don't like to use too many colours, I like to mix them myself

Sunday 4 March 2012

The Lincoln Artists' Market

It was the Lincoln Artists' Market yesterday, and although it was freezing temperatures (I had to make a call for emergency thermal socks, or I'd be at risk of losing a toe), and the English drizzle was threatening to ruin our work, it was actually a pretty good turn out. The Hill and the rain didn't stop those keen to snap up a treasure, coming to browse all the beautifully stocked stalls, located at the Castle Gate in Lincoln. If you missed the market this time, the next one will be on the 7th of April. I won't be there again until May the 5th (hopefully the sun will be shining, and there won't be a need for emergency thermal socks). So there's more opportunity to purchase original artwork, or beautifully crafted items. hope to see you there!

Friday 2 March 2012

Bird Bath

Shaking her pretty blue tail feathers, and singing her morning song during a refreshing bath; she's unaware of a growing audience. The flock of admirers push to get to the front, in hope to get a better peek of this bird of paradise. She's like the Marilyn Monroe of the feathered world,  a complete enigma.

This is one of the designs featured on cards that will be sold at the Lincoln Artists Market. I thought they would be lovely for Mothers day.

Wednesday 29 February 2012

Jews Court - Steep Hill.

Wandering up Steep Hill during an early morning sunrise, the birds begin to wake from their slumber, and fill the streets with their morning song. Signs enticing passers by into shops and restaurants begin to emerge, and the beautiful Lincolnshire sky takes centre stage. As you approach the top, and turn to see the magnificent display, it is hard not to have your breath taken away. The effect the golden sky has on the buildings rich in history, is an image worth an early rise. It inspired this next painting in my 'Lincoln' collection. I wanted to capture the warmth the street emulates, at the beginning of a sunny spring day. Spot the little birdies, there's five to be found.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Jews Court

Another one of Lincoln's gorgeous, Steep Hill. This one is of the eldest building in Lincoln; the Jews Court. It's now a beautiful restaurant (I've eaten there and would highly recommend), and a cute little second hand book store. I've just finished painting this one and I'm waiting for it to dry; it should be done by tomorrow.

Monday 27 February 2012

Steep Hill (completed painting)

Here's my latest finished piece. I wanted to reflect the 'Englishness' of Steep Hill, so chose a very earthy palette, and contrasted it with the rich colours of the shops painted windows and doors. The cobbled street has so much character, I wanted to emulate this in my painting.

See if you can spot all five little pigeons Hiding in the painting. They're lucky little chaps, having residency on Lincoln's most delightful and famous street!

Sunday 26 February 2012

Illustrating Steep Hill - Lincoln

When I was a wee nipper, I could spend hours a day drawing streets. Streets with butchers, bakers, and shoe shops. Houses filled with people going about their business. I've always been intrigued by the variety of curious buildings, all lined up together, all with different characters, all with a different story to tell.

Steep Hill is just about the prettiest street I've ever seen. It's filled with different shops from secondhand book stores, to delicious chocolatiers, to quirky galleries (which some of my work is in!) to delightful little tea shops. I've decided to paint it's fabulousness. The illustration above is in it's first stages, but by the end of the day it should be completely finished, so watch this space...

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Pink and Spotty

Walking through the city centre today, myself and my sister noticed how grey and dark everything was on this cold, damp day. The sun was hidden behind a thick layer of cloud, everyone was wearing greys, blacks, and browns; colours reflecting the darkness of the day. Everything appeared gloomy... So, I've attempted to brighton things up with this trio of colourful, flamboyant birdies. They're part of my bird collection, which is slowly becoming quite a large flock!

Monday 20 February 2012

Steep Hill Artists' Market - Saturday 3rd March

On the first Saturday of each month there will be a traditional and contemporary arts and crafts market. It will be held at the top of steep hill, outside the castle grounds: a truly beautiful setting. The first one will be held on SATURDAY 3RD OF MARCH. I shall be there with my very own stall, selling prints, originals and cards. There will be a variety of different stalls for you to peek at, selling anything from photography to ceramics. If you know people that would be interested, support your local artists and pass on the word. Or, if you fancy having a browse yourself, COME ALONG! You might find that special mothers day gift or card, or even something for yourself. There's also a variety of delightful shops, quaint little tea shops, and an abundance of award winning restaurants set in gorgeous buildings, rich in history, there for you to have a goosey at too. And don't miss out the chocolatiers, it's scrumdidilyumptious!

Hope to see you there, remember Saturday March the 3rd!

Saturday 18 February 2012

Wrap up warm!

As the temperatures continue to drop, mothers everywhere wrap there little chicks up snuggly and warm to brave the winter cold... This is one of the illustrations from 'little birdies' collection, it's to go on greeting cards, perfect for mothers day and easter. I'll be selling them at the Lincoln Arts Festival on March 3rd along with mounted prints and framed originals of other pieces of work.... hope to see you there!

Friday 17 February 2012

Our New Cottage

So, we've had no internet for 2 weeks as we've moved into the cutest little cottage, in the cutest little village. I feel like we've been living in a Jane Austen book. It was actually quite pleasant being cut off from the rest of the world, but, I have to say, it's very nice to be back.

Until I move into my new studio (the 'HOUSED' project is very nearly underway) here is my new work space, right in front of the glass doors. I can look out onto our little vegetable patch and watch the world go by.

Tuesday 31 January 2012

Pink Plastic Princesses in development

These are the little Pink Plastic Princesses in development. Starting with dip pen and ink, then coloured with water colour. I found it quite hard when it came to adding the colour to this one, I liked the black and white effect, but I'm happy I got the guts in the end. Soon there will be prints of this one on sale at the Harding House gallery on the gorgeous Steep Hill in Lincoln (voted best place last year!). 

Monday 30 January 2012

Josephine's Birds

One of my dearest friends Lills gave birth to the beautiful bouncing baby Josephine on January 15th. This is a little illustration I did just for her, Josephine's Birds... Welcome to the world Josephine, I can't wait to meet you!

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Little Pigs, Little Pigs... Please let me in!

This is a little sneaky peak at my work in development. The top picture is the initial dip pen and ink stage. I love to use an old mapping pen, sometimes it has a mind of it's own, and creates unintentional splats and markings. This is why I enjoy working with it, I like to surprise myself! After the ink has dried, I then begin to add the colour. I prefer to use water-colours. I tend to use too much water at the beginning, so the paint becomes (like the mapping pens unintentional ink splots) uncontrollable. I then rework the painting, adding light, shade and playing with texture and pattern.

Sunday 8 January 2012


This is another addition to my collection of seaside illustrations, only this time from the perspective of the local. I wanted to capture the serene nature of a seaside town in the morning. Soft blue light hanging over the town, the stillness of the water, only a couple of early birds are awake to see it. We can see their fire smoke beginning to emerge from their chimneys. Imagine them warming their hands by the fire, their porridge simmering on the stove, preparing themselves for a long day out at sea.