Sunday 26 February 2012


Enjoying myself is one of the most important parts of any creative activity I do, whether it's art or pastry-making.

Art journalling provides a great deal of pleasure, and has helped me to free up my drawing and painting styles.  I don't see it as separate from the way I worked before I discovered journalling, but something that now integrates and informs it.

The only thing I have difficulty with is writing on my canvas or paper.  Some people write a lot, some just a little.  I now manage to incorporate a few words, but it's a hurdle to get over.  It probably stems from being told from childhood not to draw in books because they are precious.  When I've painted something I'm pleased with I have to fight the fear that I will SPOIL my lovely picture.

This art journal page started with a drawing in my sketchbook.  I had given myself the challenge of drawing 100 faces in a month, inspired by the suggestion in a lovely book I got for Christmas called 'Drawing Lab - for Mixed Media Artists' by Carla Sonheim.   It gives '52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun', with the aim of 'freeing you up' and using different drawing and painting mediums.

This was drawing 99 out of 100, but I did go a couple of days over the month to get there.  I really enjoyed creating this face and painted the hair with kiddies' sparkly gel pens - just £2.99 for 20 pens!

So I decided to try a journal page with a version of the lady with the colourful hair, and even make myself write on the page, and I also added a collage bird cut from a failed painting.

She looked rather wistful so I imagined that she was thinking about the past and added the words 'One thing we can never change is the past - but we can change the way we think about it'.

Friday 24 February 2012


Sometimes it's easy to get what I've seen called AADD - artist's attention deficit disorder, and it's difficult to settle to anything serious - so the best thing to do is relax and have a bit of fun.  Collage is ideal for this, particularly if it is done quickly without too much thought or planning.

So the challenge here was to create faces using collage, and then to make sketches from the strange faces that created themselves.  Here's an example from my sketchbook.

I particularly like the lady with the Cyrano de Bergerac nose.  I hope, when her wedding pictures are taken, that the photographer is a whizz with Photoshop!

A couple more:

The results are always a surprise.  This exercise always makes me think of Truman in the film 'The Truman Show' when he is trying to reproduce an old girlfriend's face, but he's far too serious about it!

Thursday 23 February 2012


There are three immutable laws that apply when I'm trying to sketch people in somewhere like a café.
1.  They change their position
2.  Someone stands in front of them
3.  They get up and walk away.

This man sat opposite me in a crowded hospital waiting area a week or so ago.  I was struck by his lovely face, and covert drawing was not an option, so I asked if I could draw him.  He was quite chuffed, but before I had finished even this quick sketch he was called away by the nurse!

On a recent gallery visit I was fascinated by this man's hairstyle.  He kindly let me photograph him - apparently a regular occurrence for him - and at home I made this quick sketch in my sketchbook.

As a contrast in style for a quick life sketch I like scribbling, which takes away the pressure to get a likeness.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

I  LOVE .......

I love old postboxes, especially ones set into a house wall or on a post, with layers and layers of old paint fighting a  battle with rust.

This poor old Victorian box, set into the wall of an old country cottage, had been closed up forever.  Even sadder it was later painted black by the house owner.

I like to use my photos in photo-collages like this one, showing the box after it had been painted.