Skip navigation

Category Archives: Inspiration

Images or artifacts which inspire my work

Looking over my childrens’ books, seeking inspiration for my Reception Class, I realise that I LOVE these children’s books. Love them more than any adult book. The collection we have amassed through gifts and regular trips to book havens: the Owl Bookshop in Kentish town and Daunt Books in Belsize Park, is a wonder to behold. Shelves of charm from Ed Vere to the intricate details of Satoshi Kitamura. Of course they are all tied up with parenthood and nurture. Each has a memory: a birthday gift, a reward for achievements. These glorious books have carried us through from burbling baby to essay writing eleven year old. Helen Ward’s The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse is just exquisite, & Naughty Nina from Anna-Laura Cantone is perfectly bonkers! I have completely fallen for these illustrated books.

So it took me a while to settle on which book to work with in the Reception Class, I plumped for a combination of old favourites John Burningham and Eric Carle and relative new comer to us Catherine Rayner, whose beautiful ‘Augustus and his Smile’ will form the basis of our exploration into illustration.

Last weekend in preparation I made these mark making tools from scraps I found in our field. Tools to scratch and scape, to push and trail, to splash and flick. I think they enjoyed using them. I certainly did.

20150119-190423.jpg

20150119-190508.jpg

So it’s half term and I changed the habit of a life time and let the children in the studio. It has been really lovely actually, as they are all of an age to enjoy it too. Little LB made a coil pot and a mug on the wheel. C made a mug and a vase, and P made a jug and a mug.
A little family of pots now sit in the studio drying. And we are all quite tired!

DSC01088 DSC01091 DSC01096 DSC01097 DSC01098 DSC01099 DSC01101 DSC01107 DSC01113 DSC01115 DSC01116 DSC01119 DSC01121 DSC01123 DSC01124 DSC01125 DSC01126 DSC01128 DSC01129  DSC01133 DSC01135 DSC01136 DSC01137 DSC01138 DSC01139 DSC01144 DSC01148DSC01158

Sorry been off radar for so long! I heard a radio programme recently (BBC world service), the lady (very clever business women) told me never to start with an apology. But there you go, I am regretful as much for myself as for you!

So my studio ladies are back. Today’s lesson; Jugs. And finishing techniques slips and glazes. Next week we shall attach handles and paint these with slip. I managed to find some ball clay here and can get going on a few slip recipes tomorrow.

20140924-174354.jpg

Jugs for the ladies, and my new tools.

In other news I have a lovely bunch of bananas which I wanted to draw whilst green. Too late already!

20140924-174429.jpg

My Lovely Bunch of Bananas. Already turning from green to yellow

And lastly I am volunteering at school, with year 8. Cubism. So much fun. Trying to pack it all in…..the machine age, Freud, Einstein’s theory of relativity (I struggle with), painters and their motivation. They set up this still life to draw. Next week we get all cubist.

20140924-175528.jpg

Still Life in Blue and Red. Yr8 Hillcrest

chocolate

Broken Chocolate, Drawing, Pencil on paper, detail

Chocolate was surprisingly hard to draw. It is mostly geometry and so easy to get wrong. Perspective skewed. I was drawing it whilst fasting, the smell of chocolate so strong in the room, it was hard to concentrate. Tortuous almost, wanting something you can’t have, today at least. It is no bad thing, certainly no big deal, to not have today. Especially here, where so many are going without, all the time, no choice. I have been going without drawing for a while too, fun though they were the Easter Holidays got in the way, then getting everyone back into the rhythm of school seems to take an age. This drawing is rather ‘school’ like. Perhaps that is appropriate, a childish image.
So here I am back from the chocolate holidays.
Phew.

20140314-165248.jpg

Still life, Coloured Pencil on Paper

20140314-165400.jpg

Still Life, Drawing Coloured Pencil on Paper, full page

DSC00507

A larger pic so you can see the detail…hopefully

I worked longer on this one than I have on any thus far. My cousin asked for more so I got very enthusiastic at the fruit stall. And why not! Here is the most colour filled beautiful fruit I have seen. Apart from in paintings by Frida Kahlo and others of that ilk.
So here you go Cuz this one’s for you!

20140311-192107.jpg

Bananas, Coloured Pencil on Paper

I love these little bananas. So sweet and perfumed. Much more fruity than the starchy giants back in London.
I find them oddly touching. Huddled together like suckling pups. When drawing them I hoped to convey the tenderness. I felt almost sorry for them, the butt of so many jokes.
So here they are my sweet little family of bananas. Don’t laugh.

20140311-192431.jpg

Bananas, Detail, Coloured Pencil on Paper, unfinished.

I was never one for staying within the lines. My enthusiasm would spill colour over the diktats of the black printed lines. Dot to dot instructions were similarly ignored and spidery forms would trail around the page unable to make any sense of form or purpose.
The children had left their colouring pens lying around my drawing area, so I thought I might try them as the colours here seemed to deserve the bold irreversible stroke of a felt tip. My goodness it is hard to draw with felt tips! Of course it is an entire skill set in its own right! (Which I clearly don’t have!) Illustrators and animators hats off to you.

20140216-120330.jpg

Photograph; Garden flower with fruit pods

20140216-120339.jpg

Drawing on Paper, Colour Pen, detail.

20140128-133346.jpg

Leaves of a Pineapple, Line drawing, Detail

So inevitably about a third of the way into a drawing, the crisis hits you. Oh no, this is going to be such rubbish! At that point the urge is to quit, why bother, this is too hard, this is no good. Who was I kidding thinking I can draw!
Sometimes if you press on regardless with energy and commitment the drawing comes good. Sometimes it doesn’t…. Either way better to press on.

20140123-190203.jpg

Pineapple, early stage drawing on Paper.

20140123-190215.jpg

Pineapple, detail, colour pencil on paper.

20140123-190227.jpg

Pineapple,Drawing Detail

Who knew that a pineapple was so exciting, close up? I had no idea. Its twist and turns, multiple colours: greens and reds, oranges. Perfect subject. First drawing of 2014. Good to be back.

20140115-120514.jpg
Dealing with distractions is a tricky one. There have been visitors and Christmas and kids back to school. Here we are it’s January 15th and I have not so much as picked up a pencil. Tut tut.
My distractions have recently expanded to include being made a governor of the children’s school (as well Vice chair of the Parents Association). They are making various improvements that they think I can help with. I hope I can.
I feel I really must make the most of all these opportunities.
Discipline is required, that, and saying no occasionally.
In this picture you can see a white spider lying on its back with arms akimbo. Waiting for incoming food. An opportunist, an optimist, waiting to grab hold.