Sunday 24 July 2022

Esteemed-Augmented-Pollenapis-Device - Turner Contemporary

 Psst...One of my little clockwork bugs may have infiltrated the Turner Contemporary...

Disproportionately excited to have hung on the same wall as a Tracey Emin for a while.

And even more pleased that sold within the first few days.


Thursday 24 December 2020

May we all see our fair share of rabbits


This time two years ago I had just returned home after a short break in Paris and was feeling a magnificent and overwhelming combination of grief and gratitude.  On the train home that day, I wrote a short piece about how I felt but it never made it on to my blog until now. 

This year has either been a year to remember...or one to forget depending upon your outlook.  
This Christmas I am, once again feeling a powerful mix of grief and gratitude.
This Christmas I have fewer presents to buy.
This year my wrapping paper has rabbits on it.


Christmas Eve 2018

"The little carved rabbit on the left used to sit on the top of the fridge at my Nan and Grandad's house in Sheffield.

When my young Nan first caught my Granddad's eye, he asked her if she would like to accompany him on a picnic the following week. Nan agreed but (rather coquettishly if you ask me) only on the condition that they would get to see rabbits. Granddad assured her that there would indeed be rabbits. 

They met the next week as agreed & spent a sunny afternoon walking the country lanes and talking about nothing in particular before finding a suitable spot to stop and have their picnic.

As the sun set & my Granddad delivered my Nan back to her front door he told her that he had had a wonderful time and that he hoped that she had too. My Nan answered in feigned disappointment that the day had been "OK" she supposed but sadly she hadn't seen any of the promised rabbits. Granddad pressed this little wooden rabbit into my Nan's hand, carved from a secretly selected branch that afternoon with the penknife from his pocket when she wasn't looking and explained (rather smoothly if you ask me) that he ALWAYS kept his promises.

Nan told me that it was at that point she knew she was in trouble.

I bought the little blue rabbit in the middle the week I found out I was first expecting a baby. Daz & I had decided we were ready to try for a baby just 4 weeks before and frankly I had expected a little more time spent trying before we succeeded. One Lunch break, still reeling from how quickly it had all happened and not yet quite understanding quite how my life was about to change, I idly imagined an inquisitive little blonde-haired boy with a blue rabbit under one arm calling me "Mummy". When Eloise arrived 8 months later, she was not who I had been expecting but was equally & breath-takingly brilliant.

The little toy rabbit on the right is Blue Bun. He has been Isaac's main cuddly companion from the moment he was born. Blue Bun is a little bit naughty and has been known to hide under beds and behind cushions whilst on holiday so he can be posted back to us from exotic locations returning with elaborate tales of imagined adventures.

My Daz & I are currently travelling home to our babies with elaborate tales of real adventures after a brilliant long weekend in Paris. We have walked over 40 km exploring Parisian streets, visiting galleries, seeing the sights, feeling incredibly fortunate, remembering My Nan who died this week, and looking out for rabbits...We saw 3.

 Nan was 98 and one of my absolute favourites. I shall miss her terribly.

May we all see our fair share of rabbits."

Friday 1 February 2013

Wish Stones

I was asked yesterday, how I would feel if I woke up one morning to find that everything I owned had disappeared and what one thing of little or no value would I choose to retain.
...Here's my response:

There he is, out in the garden, fork in hand, digging for potatoes.  Here he comes,  great earthy hands outstretched, offering red jewelled berries from the redcurrant bush by the gate; chuckling at my face as I wince from their sharpness and reach for another.  I can still hear him, clearing his throat, paper on his lap, the sound of cricket and static coming from the portable radio.  My Grandad, sitting, eyes closed, face to the sun, on an old dining chair outside his shed with his tea going cold.  I remember.

Clearing his shed, years later, we found a bootlace strung with stones.  Ancient talismans with water-worn holes from the relentless caress of streams and currents.  Tiny monuments to the passing of time, unearthed and kept as trinkets. Grandad called them "Wish-Stones".  

There I am, alone on the beach, grey sea, grey sky, grey stone in hand, feeling the weight of the past.  I hold it up to the horizon, put my eye to the hole, frame the future and make my wish.

Here it is.  My bootlace, strung with talismans of my own.  "Find me a wish stone!" I call.  My children run to me, bright eyed, tiny hands outstretched offering sea-worn treasure ready to string; chuckling as I hold them up to the horizon and we make our wishes.  Here I sit, eyes closed, face to the sun. The sound of my husband and children playing by the shore washes over me; our past and futures strung together, wish-stones in the palm of my hand.

...and I remember.

Scenario's Project - Arthouse Co-op

Monday 28 May 2012

The Art House Co-op Mystery Project.

I miss my Art House Co-op Sketchbook...

It's currently in Los Angeles touring with the rest of the Sketchbook Project 2012 World Tour and I miss it.  Not the having it particularly, but the doing when I saw that Art House Co-op were recruiting for a little mini project I just couldn't resist.

This is what they sent me with instructions to create something
and install it in a public place for a stranger to discover.
It's a light blue Prismacolor Pen (which I'm now a little bit smitten by) and a card saying:

"Help! Robots are taking over the 
local elementary school"

So here's what I drew...

This is Abek
The gauge on his chest indicates how interested he is in your conversation...he wishes it didn't.

This is Binak
He thinks he can dance like a human.


This is Modran
He likes to amuse people by rolling slowly sideways on his foot-tracks whilst pretending not to notice.

This is Phara
Her glass head casing steams up when she gets angry.


This is Bosk
He wishes he had a separate head component like the other robots.

and here's where I left them...

About half a mile down the road I paused and glanced back over my shoulder before I turned up the road which leads to my house.  Under my robots' tree stood a woman, shopping bags in hand, gazing upward, and I realised at that moment that Abek, Binak, Modran, Phara and Bosk are probably not the last robots I'll be leaving for strangers to find.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Aleena - My latest project

I think it's finished...

I have to confess I know very little about the LARPing community but allow me to introduce you to

  Lady Aleena Tepes
 Lord Regent of Teutonia

Her parents call her Charlotte, her friends call her Luggage and, when dressed in her finery and surrounded by Live Action Role Players, this lovely lady is the current leader of the Viper Faction  and has been for about 10 years...she is also my sister-in-law.   My mission was to create some kind of lasting celebration of a character which has been in existence and a huge part of my sister-in-law's life for over a decade.

As always, there are bits I'm not completely happy with (but the moment I create a piece of artwork I'm completely  satisfied with will probably be the day I lay down my paintbrush and walk away without looking back).  I am confident however that I've captured a decent likeness and that Luggage is going to love it.  What do you think?

It's not been easy...
I've not painted a portrait for rather a long time and you know what's harder to paint than black velvet?  Black wait...white wait...leather stud wait... snake skin...Oh what lovely fun!  I love painting textures and this has been a real challenge.
I've agreed to paint a portrait of my brother to make the Aleena portrait part of a pair.  (Sigh) I just know he's going to be wearing chain mail...and fur...probably fur.

If you would like to have your portrait painted, please contact 
and I will be happy to discuss your ideas and requirements.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

A challenge for you.

"Oh, you drew a poem!" 

That was what a friend of mine commented as he flicked through the pages of the sketchbook I recently completed for the Arthouse Co-op's 2012 Sketchbook Project.

 I had started the project as a kind of enforced brainstorming endeavour.  I planned to fill the crisp white pages of my new sketchbook with as many scrawled and messy ideas as I could think of, but then a red ribbon emerged and it coiled and writhed in my head.  I had to follow it.

So, I drew a poem...Apparently.

I like it.  I like its wordlessness, but I have found myself wondering what it would sound like if it could speak.  I imagine it with not one, but a hum of many distant voices, intertwined, all whispering different stories.  Which is where you come in.

Your challenge is to be one of those voices.  It's not a competition, there's no definitively correct interpretation, no particular plans for commercial publication and, although I may post my favourites here, or on my website, your words will remain just that.  It is simply an interesting thing to do and purely just for fun.

So, take a look at the slide show below or follow this link where you will find all my illustrations:  Write your poem (nothing too explicit please) and leave it at the bottom of this post.  Feel free to leave your name and details or post anonymously, It's completely up to you. 

My brother says there's a reason why people don't illustrate poems until after they are written and that my challenge is impossible...I reckon he's nearly right...but not quite.

#drewapoem challenge

Thursday 29 December 2011

My Art House Co-op Sketchbook Project 2012 Sketchbook it is:  My Art House Co-op Sketchbook Project Sketchbook so far.  It's called "A Path Through the Trees".  Those of you who follow me on facebook or have strayed onto my Flickr account will have already seen most of these but here they are again for the rest of you..."A Path Through the Trees".

I had no intention of it being a series of pen and ink sketches.  It was supposed to be a collection of multicoloured textural studies but, as always, things didn't turn out as I expected...I'm rather pleased.

For those of you who have asked, I'm not sure what the red path represents...other than a journey.  It's one of those symbols which appears in various forms in the art of so many cultures, meaning different but often very similar things...perhaps I'm referring to one of them, or perhaps all of them and maybe some others I've not pinned down yet too.  As for where it is going and where it will end up...I've about five double pages before the journey is complete and I'm afraid that at the moment I've no idea.  It does have a narrative of sorts but I'm not sure there's a punch line.

So, take what meaning you want from my sketches and may your own path through the trees of 2012 lead you somewhere beautiful and interesting.

Happy New Year!

To view my images in greater detail, and to be the first to see the final few pages as I finish them go to
or like my facebook page

Monday 28 November 2011

A path through the trees

I thought it was about time I started on my Sketchbook Project sketchbook (rather than thinking about it, talking about it or blogging about it.)

So, these are my trees...I dream about them...or at least an increasing number of my dreams are set amongst them.  They are sometimes peacefully bathed in afternoon sun, sometimes moon-drenched and menacing.  Sometimes I know my way between the trees instictively and sometimes I am utterly lost or trapped.  They can protect and obscure me from the monsters at my heels or they can trip me and get in my way depending on the mood of the dream...and they sneak out into my art from time to time, especially when I'm given a blank sketchbook entitled "A path through the trees".

What do you think?

I don't dream of the red path...perhaps it's there so I can find my way back.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Sketchbook inspiration

Following my last blog entry all about my love of notebooks, I decided to take part in the 2012 Art House Co-op Sketchbook Project.  (For those of you who haven't heard of it, you'll find a link to it at the bottom of the page.)  Oh, I'm under no illusion that my sketchbook will be seen by thousands of people, I just like the project's inclusivity, I love the notion of all those thousands of pages, lovingly made, unique and tactile,  lining the shelves of one exhibition and I adore the idea of hundreds of people clutching library cards and actively engaging with the surprises each sketchbook might contain.   Being a part of it will bring me joy even in the anonymity of joining the thousands of other creative souls submitting their offerings alongside my own.  But I'm still a bit stuck on exactly what to do with mine so I've been looking for inspiration.

I love books: I love finding them, giving them, having them, keeping them, reading them, but my husband has recently bought himself an e-reader and I have to say that it is hard to see why you would choose to read a conventional novel any other way these days.  There'll always be the traditionalists who insist that there is nothing quite like the feel of the pages between your fingers and the smell of the print but, if I'm honest, I can't think of a more convenient and efficient way of owning and reading a vast library than to store them and read them electronically...which makes me wonder about the future of the book...and get really excited.

Now that the e-readers are arguably beginning to take the place of the traditional book perhaps  it will free the medium to explore what it has to offer that modern technology has not.  Oh I love a fabulously woven tale full of mystery and adventure but I am in no way attached to paper on which it is written.  The books I covet and treasure are far more than a place for the printed word; they are the beautiful ones,  illustrated objects of beauty and imagination and there are artists out there doing wonderfully imaginative things between the pages of some beautifully crafted books.  

 So, with this in mind and inspired by the books I've been looking at recently, I'm going to try to do something tactile & textural.  Something which is not confined solely to a flat sheet of paper.  Something which is only possible in a sketchbook of this nature and which celebrates what makes a book a truly unique medium.  I'm not sure how it will turn out but here I go.  I'll post images of the finished sketchbook on here but with a bit of luck, you won't get the whole picture unless you see it with your own eyes and feel it with your own hands when the exhibition arrives in Britain later next year.

If you would like more information about the Sketchbook Project 2012 or you would like to take part, please follow this link: Sketchbook Project 2012

Friday 22 July 2011

My notebook of loveliness


Here it is.  I have other note books: There’s one filled with to-do lists which tells me I should vacuum more often, there’s one filled with shopping lists which tells me I should buy more fresh fruit and there’s even one in which I’m supposed to keep a record of my finances...which tells me that I am rubbish at keeping a record of my finances and that even without all the figures available it is clear that I should spend less.  These are objects of necessity which stop my life disintegrating into chaos and which lecture me at regular intervals from their pages about how I should do better, be better...
But this little beauty is different.  

This little book is where I put my ideas as soon they introduce themselves to me.   (If I don’t jot them down immediately, they can wander off and get lost).  I tend to have it with me most of the time ready to make a quick note of a good exhibition, an artist I’ve not heard of before or a fluttering butterfly of an idea for a painting I’d like to explore.  It’s not all about artwork, but since it’s a record of joyful things I’d like to do at some point, it does often seem to be art related.  It is a bit tatty, rather disorganised, sometimes unreadable but it makes me smile every time I look through it’s pages at all the possibilities and potential it contains.

So today, I would like to thoroughly recommend the practice of keeping a little joyful notebook.   It is a wonderful thing and a perfect antidote for those of you who suffer, like me, from the occasional bout of task-list-burnout.  It doesn’t have to look like mine (sometimes it’s easier for me to draw rather than write my ideas down) but whatever it is that makes you happy, a list of things you’d like to do when you get the time could give you a never-ending source of inspiration.  Then, if you find yourself with a free hour, afternoon or week-end, you’ll be able to fish out your little book of loveliness and find something lovely to do.

Today is the last day of the school term.  My little boy goes to nursery a few afternoons a week, my big girl is at school all day and the time they spend eagerly learning and playing at their respective places of education, I have spent eagerly learning and playing in my studio ever since it was completed...but all that’s going to have to change.  I’ve now got 6 whole wonderful weeks to spend with my beautiful children uninterrupted by school runs, after school clubs...and without the opportunity to pop down to my studio with a cup of tea and a promising idea.

Instead, we’ll visit some galleries, wander around a few museums, take a couple of excursions and go inspiration hunting.  Eloise and Isaac are a constant source of joy to me so I think that I shall harness their unlimited interest in everything around them in order to make this summer break a time of ideas rather than a period of actual creation.  Oh, the chance to spend such quality time with my children who seem determined to grow and change and learn relentlessly is one I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time but it does mean less time in the studio...and I’m going to have to rely on this lovely notebook of mine to keep track everything.

So, when the school term begins again in September, having been inspired by my amazing children and our escapades, I shall wave them off with a smile on my face, my notebook in my back pocket and a long list of new and exciting projects to embark upon.    

So, what shall we talk about?

Previous Posts