Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Unfortunately, just before Christmas, several of my household items decided to form a suicide pact. They included my telly (which actually ended up being tied up with string at one point), my mobile phone and most distressingly, my computer. Joe was doing something with i-tunes one minute, and the next, tons of messages popped up saying it had 38 viruses and it felt there was really no point carrying on. So I sent a message (very slowly on my borrowed phone) asking my friendly local geek for help, and my computer has been in intensive care ever since. I have to hand in an essay and reflection on my work on 6th Jan. (You can add your own "hysterical, manic laughter" sound effect at this point).
Anyway, I just wanted to explain that I can't post any images at the moment. But stick with me...normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Then it was yet more Christmas shopping in the hellish dome of torture that is Churchill Square. At one point I had so many carrier bags hanging from me it was like a sick, twisted game of Buckaroo. I was also dressed a bit like the woman in the above picture, (with very similar posture too I might add), forgetting that Churchill Square is heated to the point just before everyone bursts into flames. In fact I think I've got a tropical disease.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Anyway Martin suggested I add some more printing to my work and/or some work from memory, so I didn't feel guilty about spending the morning in my studio listening to Radio 4 drinking peppermint tea instead of traipsing round a freezing town centre looking for couples to draw! As much as I have come to love sketching it is a bit draining having to commit to doing it for long periods every week.
So I did this little monoprint and also started something in colour which I'll post when it's done. Got a really busy few days ahead starting with a 12 hour working day tomorrow (it's late night shopping...yawn...).
Oh, and we got our Christmas tree! Usually it takes hours and involves shortlists and standing back and twirling them to check for bald bits. But this one was chosen randomly, without even opening the net - how daring am I!? It's smaller than usual because I get fed up with clearing up the needles after dragging them through my narrow hall. And it's lovely! I'd actually feel Christmassy if I had time.
Saturday, 5 December 2009
"This is the latest," said Crake.
What they were looking at was a large bulblike object that seemed to be covered with stippled whitish-yellow skin. Out of it came twenty thick fleshy tubes, and at the end of each tube another bulb was growing.
"What the hell is it?" said Jimmy.
"Those are chickens," said Crake. "Chicken parts. Just the breasts, on this one. They've got ones that specialize in drumsticks too, twelve to a growth unit.
"But there aren't any heads..."
"That's the head in the middle," said the woman. "There's a mouth opening at the top, they dump nutrients in there. No eyes or beak or anything, they don't need those."
Now, if you dare, read this article from the Times. Is it just me, or is that hideous and terrifying? I mean, I know the ethical points against eating meat, I don't eat meat. But I survive, can't we just ...go without it? Why do we have to make it? Ooh I feel sick.
Sorry to anyone who has come here hoping to see some nice children's book illustration, by the way. I won't talk about Chickienobs anymore. Here's a hilarious knitting pattern to take your minds off it.
Isn't it great? I'm thinking of knitting it actually, and wearing it to university. I need to get with the groove, and knitting is officially the new Rock'n'Roll. In my uni class there's much clicking of needles and flashing around of swanky woollens - it's great! Look here and here for more hot knitting action.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
And here it is on my bookcase so you can see the scale of it.
I know it's irrelevant to everything I should be working on but sometimes I just feel like making things just for the hell of it.
This evening I was supposed to go and see Woodrow Phoenix talking about his book, but for various reasons I just couldn't make it to Brighton in time. Too scared to go in once it had started, I just went Christmas shopping, marvelling at the notion that we are all broke, yet once a year we suddenly have to spend loads of money buying things for people. Strange, isn't it?
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
It was an absolute nightmare getting home today. It took 5 hours. Loads of trains were delayed or cancelled, and those that did run seemed to travel at walking pace. Still, I did get time to do a drawing on the Cambridge- Kings Cross...
Sorry about the crappy scan - I had to try and do it in two halves, which I'm not very good at! I am still quite scared about using tone, although I am enjoying it.
Darkness suits my mood at the moment - especially as I am reading "Oryx and Crake" by Margaret Atwood. It's one of the few of her books I hadn't read, and I thought I should, as she has now written a sequel. It's so chilling - a kind of post-apocalyptic story in which a disaster has wiped out the people and genetically spliced creatures roam the earth after initially being bred for organ transplants. It goes back and forth pre and post disaster, through the eyes of Jimmy, a survivor - later called "Snowman". I haven't finished it yet but it's brilliant. Can't wait to read the sequel.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Anyway, uni was great as usual although I was tired (as usual). Today I got to try letterpress, which is something I have wanted to do for years! It was such fun, and I am forgetting the fact that it took me four hours to print three words, which I could have done on the computer in three seconds. No, I was learning. Learning I tell you!
The Cheese? I'm glad you asked. I got to see the lovely work and meet the lovely person that is Chloe Cheese. I wanted one of her books. Very much indeed.
Pam advised me to try and use tone in my work, and I started by doing this on the train home. I did it till my pen ran out. It is in my note book though, not my real sketchbook, because it's not a couple. (I'm not precious about my sketchbook, really!)
Monday, 23 November 2009
It really was so utterly boring, and they were the only people in the pub! In my defence, there was a couple in the middle. But they had their backs to me!
Today it was raining really hard and once I had been shopping there wasn't time to go out drawing. I felt the urge to spend an hour at my studio so I did just that, and did a little bit of sewing. I do like my studio. And it was cold enough to get out my trusty heater, which I really like because it looks like a chimney...
But what wasn't so good was that I found a lot of mould there. A postcard had fallen off the wall and was covered in mould. It made me worry about all my fabrics and papers that I leave there. I don't know what to do about mould. I think I will just hope it goes away.
Oh and to my friends who know the situation...the cat poo stand off still continues.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Anyway onto my next, not totally unrelated topic. I read. a lot. I used to read more than I do now, because I tend to be so exhausted that my reading pattern often goes "read one line, fall asleep, drop book," repeat next night (with same line). But the past month or so I have read quite a bit of fiction - particularly some books that everyone else on the planet had read and I hadn't. (The best of these was The Kite Runner. If you can start the Kite Runner and not be totally gripped, and moved, you are seriously weird.)
I try to give a book to charity when I buy a new one (for space reasons) but when it comes to non fiction I can't, because they are research. I had a small overflow bookcase in my dining area, just for the books I had borrowed from my studio or brought downstairs to dip into. This is the state it got into.
So one day recently, responsible parent that I am, I persuaded Joe to jam a far too big bookcase halfway into his car, tie it not-very-securely with a fraying bungee rope and drive dangerously through the town.
And it was worth it.
And by the way, anyone thinking if I didn't read so much I would have more time to keep things tidy - I only read in bed or on the train. So there.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
- Up. Holiday. Prepare to draw!
- Purse. PURSE?
- Automated phone calls.
- Prepare again, drawing AND shopping. Penny jar.
- RAIN AND WIND.
- Shopping heavy. Mood heavy. NO drawing.
- Walk home. Decide big painting from window at home.
- Home. Paints? PAINTS?
- See bullet point 6.
- Dejectedly do drawing below.
- Bad light stops drawing.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Monday, 9 November 2009
I came home to find Charlie sulking because he couldn't find where he had saved something on the computer. I'm now re-downloading it, and have been for over an hour...don't be surprised if I disappear from the web for some time!
I've been really busy since last week, including going to BIP where I prepared a new plate to start etching again...despite being poor, I just can't wait for the etching facilities to be up and running at uni!
Talking of uni, we now have a group blog, Comfort Zone, where we'll be sharing work and info on stuff of interest.
Not much else to report, except that my parenting skills hit a new low this week when I failed to find a single firework to watch with Charlie and then the next day sent him to school on an inset day. Sigh. Now to tackle a kitchen way beneath the levels of safe hygiene standards.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Sunday, 1 November 2009
(Joanna Harris - Lollipop Shoes)
I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween last night. I usually do a proper window display for the local kids to enjoy but I had to downscale it this year because I was at work! But we did have the usual cauldron of trick or treat goodies to give out, and then we went to a party. Here's Charlie in his costume - Rorschach from the Watchmen comic.
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Friday, 23 October 2009
I did it with a spoon which after all the cutting is really hard on my hands - I have arthritis in them anyway. That's why I don't do as much lino printing as I would like!
As if things couldn't get any worse I've got to go to the Jobcentre this morning. They have asked for proof of my income for the ooh, about 16 millionth time, and because of the postal strikes I am taking my payslips into our local branch in person instead of sending them to Southampton. I wonder if they will accept this? Oh, I can hardly wait to find out!
Monday, 19 October 2009
Yes! I drew some couples today...are you shocked? To vary things a little, and really bring the scene to life, here's a taster of how the conversation went with my lucky companion Brad as I was drawing.
Anyway...I find it inspirational to look at other people's sketchbooks (one of the many reasons why I enjoy uni so much!) and here are a few of my favourite sketchblogs. Sketch for the Day, Urban Sketchers and Nina Johansson. Go and enjoy more sketches and less complaining!
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Morning - Charlie lacing up his Converse at the speed of a reluctant tortoise without full use of limbs meant yet again late for school despite me screaming til hoarse. Mood - Bad.
Lunchtime - Got on bus to Seaford, found no one to draw, livid, (time wastage is pet hate), got bus back from Seaford to draw in Sainsbury's Newhaven, and messed up sketchbook attempting to use tone. Mood - Dangerously Bad.
Dinnertime - Spent afternoon waiting outside Brad's flat for delivery (he had lost spare key) which was late. Came home to tackle hurried tidying up due to visitor, mountain of washing up and much loathed cooking of dinner. Mood - Understandably Bad.
Night time - having broken record for exhaustion, pushed aside mountains of clothes and books and fell into bed for usual broken sleep and bad dream. Mood - Bad.
Conclusion of Mood Map Experiment - am miserable old bag.
Anyway, here is the least awful of the sketches I did during my day from hell.
Actually I've seen this man around Newhaven quite a lot. He always reminds me of Yoffy from Fingerbobs. Remember Fingerbobs? I always felt a failure because I couldn't make any of the puppets to my satisfaction.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Obviously I couldn't do it in my proper sketchbook, because it's not a couple. Not that I'm obsessive or anything.
Anyway yesterday at uni I had a tutorial and Pam suggested I use more tone to represent the figures, and start to give more of a suggestion of context ( I knew that was coming!). So I'm looking forward to giving both those things a go! Then we had a talk from the wonderful, wonderful John Lawrence. I need this book. You need it. Everyone needs it. Go and get it while it's still in hardback. (But preferably from your local independent bookshop rather than Amazon). And go and see the illustrations when they are shown at The Illustration Cupboard. What are you waiting for? It won't be around forever! Don't say I didn't warn you!
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
I suppose I may have been just slightly irritable when I came in. I suppose it's no-one's fault that the shoulder strap of my lovely vintage leather case snapped at the station and I had to carry it for three hours in the same hand as a heavy carrier bag whose handle had transformed into piano wire, and have under my arm a folder (which never did fit in lovely bloody vintage leather case). I suppose it's not their fault someone sneezed in my face on the Victoria Line and now I feel as if the inside of my head and throat has been sandpapered. But jeez, surely a woman can expect to come home to a sea of welcoming smiles, a perfectly clean and tidy house and a hot dinner ready... can't she? Anyway. Here's my attempt from yesterday at drawing the lovely Pam and Dave spending a happy evening with some pens, some sketchbooks, and Basil Rathbone. And me of course!
Monday, 5 October 2009
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Monday, 28 September 2009
First couple were in Newhaven, the second in Seaford. Both in cafes - I'm going to get fat doing this course! Seaford looked good couples-wise - loads of them about. I'm going to go back tomorrow.
It's quite a stressful time at home at the moment, for various reasons, and sketching is a really enjoyable, absorbing activity. I don't feel guilty either, because it's for my course! I have noticed, though, that the vast majority of people look stressed or tired or both! I am going to make it my goal to draw some happy couples tomorrow!
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Thursday, 24 September 2009
I feel a bit daunted work-wise seeing all that talent and experience but I'm trying not to look too far ahead. Our first module is observational drawing - sketching, basically, and we have to pick a theme. Themes people mentioned included; queues, deer, collections, light and dark, dancing...the list goes on. Anyway I thought I'd like to do couples. It's interesting to see how they behave - their body language, their conversations. And I can do old people, teenagers, posh people, chavs - I think it's got loads of possibilities.
So that's my idea...if you see a strange woman lurking around with a sketchbook while you're out with your partner, do me a favour and snog for at least ten minutes. Or have an argument - the sort of argument where you don't move for ten minutes (we all have those, right?).
I was lucky enough to sit opposite this couple on the train home.
It took me a while to work out if they actually were a couple. They didn't speak to one another at all (a clue that they were a couple?) The woman seemed relaxed enough with him to have her legs out (although it was a cold day). They also had matching glasses on and very similar noses. Brother and sister maybe? But then they obliged...very briefly...
The journey turned into a nightmare from Kings Cross onwards. So crowded, hot and smelly. Why anyone would choose to commute to and from London every day I'll never know. I was actually quite angry with them all for making such a ridiculous decision.
My family didn't quite go to pieces in my absence - there was a dog bite to the nose (Pele to Charlie) before I had even left Sussex, and Charlie was late for school, but other than that they seemed to survive. I think I will switch my phone off next week rather than ask for progress reports all the time...it's too stressful!
Right - I'm off to stalk some couples...
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
He's been my house guest for the last few days, since his owner - my ex-husband - has been in hospital. Isn't he utterly sweet? (Apart from the bumhole business of course). I'm really going to miss him when he goes.
Anyway I have been ultra-organised today. I made a list of things to do and I have done them! They included making a presentation for uni tomorrow and making a flyer for work.
I'm off to Cambridge tonight!
Thursday, 17 September 2009
What made my day more than anything was that the printmaking facilities are brilliant! Three etching presses, three! One of which is HUGE! An aquatinting box, and acid baths (I have everything crossed that I'll be able to work on steel. If not I will just have to get to like zinc!)And loads of relief presses too plus screenprinting...and a chance to learn Letterpress, something I have wanted to do for ages!
It was so lovely to see Pam, I can't wait to be staying every week! Hurrah!
Not much opportunity to sketch on the train - it was packed both ways. Here's what I did manage anyway!
Next week I have to give a presentation about my work. Blimey. That shouldn't take long...
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Anyway I sketched this with my brush pen while sneaking a five minute sit down this evening. I know it's a bit poo - but hey, it's the thought that counts.
PS - I am officially off to Cambridge tomorrow to start my university life...Eek, eek eek and hurrah!
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
But saying that, I've been re-reading my old notebooks lately (I have kept them since studying Creative writing at uni when we had to write down every random thought). A couple of themes have been recurring, strongly, over the years. One is that I want to support my family with my creative pursuits. The other is that I WANT A HOUSE. I just need a house, all I want is a secure house, please God help me get a house, please please please everything would be alright if I just had a ....you get the picture. Anyway I have been hoping that my subconscious will provide me with the means to make this dream a reality.
On holiday, amazingly, inspiration struck. In all honesty it was a joint invention of mine and Charlie's, with input from Tony and Malcom, possibly fuelled by Banana Bread Beer, which we discovered and loved and will forever be my campfire side drink of choice. Anyway - here it is, and I've done it in a new post so you can click and enlarge.
Get ready Dragon's Den, Alan Sugar, and other..well known entrepreneur types. Here it is, my new invention! (And for the record, a flat, bungalow, caravan or boat would be acceptable).