Saturday, 29 January 2011

Owl good is that?!

I noticed the other day that this blog has been a tad devoid of illustration work recently, mainly because I let myself have a long break over Christmas to wind down and get my mojo back. I don't know about you lot but I'm starting to understand why adults sometimes dread Christmas; the pressure of finding appropriate gifts for everyone and making the big day 'special' can be exhausting.

The last couple of weeks I have been getting myself back into gear with a really lovely project - a painting for a couple I know, who wanted a pair of beautiful owls to christen their first proper home together. We've gone through the stages of roughs and developed sketches so this week I've been able to gather some fresh materials, stretch the paper and start work on the final picture at last! There's still some work to do, but the owls are starting to take shape nicely and I'm really excited to see the finished painting.



Start of final piece

Monday, 24 January 2011

A big soup cookathon

Today I have been mostly... cooking! Just lately I've gotten bored of sandwiches for lunch, and finding a shop bought one to eat on my break at work is surprisingly tricky if you want to find something a) not too expensive b) without loads of fat c) preferably vegetarian (I'm not a veggie, but I try to avoid eating meat every day... call me a part-timer). I want to make a special effort in the new year to eat well, and decided that the best way for a busy person to make sure that they have something lovely for lunch is to cook it up yourself at home and freeze in batches to have when you want. I trialed it last week and found that it was pretty tasty, and kept me full until dinner time. And the best thing about soup is that you can endlessly vary the flavours! The varieties I made today were: courgette, green lentil, celery, pea and lettuce (with herbs and lemon zest thrown in for good measure); and the second was mushroom, leek, parsley and borlotti beans. I like my soup smooth so unfortunately it looks like greenish sludge when I'm done but still tastes good.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A gorgeous underwater garden

I had a look through the photos on my camera after getting back from leicester last week and realised that I had forgotten all about these beauties! My brother is a big animal fan like me, with a particular penchant for fish (he studied marine biology for his degree) and still has a tank with a few fishes in that, for the time being, still live at mum and dad's place. He wanted a replacement catfish for the tank after the last one died, so we headed out to track one down. I'm a pet shop owners worst nightmare really, I don't have the space to keep any animals so I'm not going to buy anything, but I'm damn well going to stay there and enjoy looking for as long as possible! The owners of the shop we visited were kind enough to let me take some photos - though without flash on so apologies for the quality (I had it turned off so the fish weren't startled - I don't really think you can call yourself an animal fan unless you're willing to show them some consideration, even at a detriment to yourself). I've never seen so many unusual sea creatures in a shop before, and was particularly stunned at how the sea anemones and corals make gorgeous, ghostly underwater gardens.

Pictures taken at Ocean Commotion, Leicester, with thanks to the staff.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Feature on Creature Mag blog

Hi everyone!

Just a very quick post to share a lovely bit of news with you all. Creature Mag has been doing a series of articles lately about illustrators who use twitter and other social media, and I was fortunate to be one of the featured artists! The series has included some fabulous talent thus far so I am very pleased to be alongside them. You can check out the blog post here.

Not a bad start to the new year methinks! Thanks for reading, I hope 2011 is going well for all of you too :)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Happy new year with markets and barn owls

Hello and welcome to 2011! I can hardly believe how quickly the last year has flown by. 2010 taught me many valuable lessons, and I thank that this year is the time to start putting all the things I've learned into practice. Nonetheless, I am beginning the new year by having a well-earned rest and some quality time with the family out of London. Here are a few photos of my (relaxed) exploits so far.

We also popped by Leicester pub The Old Horse for a convivial pint (as well as our first - and probably last - sampling of pork scratchings). Down in the beer garden there was a surprise - an enclosure with a pair of barn owls! I've drawn and painted barn owls many times but always from photographs because they are such elusive animals. So seeing them up close and in person was a real treat.

Thanks for reading, let's hope 2011 is a great year for all of us!