Monday, 28 September 2009

Another cafe, another couple!

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

More couples

I went out for an hour in Newhaven last night expecting to find tired middle aged or old heterosexual couples and found these two instead!

I know the scan is rubbish and I'm sorry. My sketchbook doesn't fit in it either - maybe I should have stuck to the Moleskine, but I was seduced by this one being square and chunky and most of all having Cambridge School of Art printed on it!

I didn't have a very good day at work yesterday - Saturday afternoons are quite stressful because the town is usually deserted except for people who have been drinking in the pubs all day and gangs of kids. At least in the week we get people going to and from work and school. It's sad really - even I remember when it was a really busy little town with lots of independent there's not even anywhere to buy a CD or a ball of string!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

First Day!

As many of you will be entirely sick of hearing, yesterday was my first proper day at Cambridge. As a sort of introduction/sick torture, we had to give a short presentation on ourselves and our work. I was lucky enough to go second, so afterwards I was able to really relax and enjoy everyone else's! There was some amazing stuff I must say, and an extremely diverse bunch of people, from experienced illustrators with 15 years in the industry, to architects who've only drawn buildings - there was even an opera singer and a veterinary nurse. I liked everyone - they seemed a really supportive lot.

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's too stressful!

Right - I'm off to stalk some couples...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Presentation preparation and cuteness

This is Pele. He likes: toast, hunting and killing clothes pegs and nibbling his bumhole. He dislikes: Dog food, seagulls and the dark.

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

I'm a Student!

Yippee! I had my first day at uni yesterday - it was talks by the tutors, a chance to meet the other (amazingly unscary) students, and a tour of our building. I cannot wait to get started! I feel so lucky!!

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...

Just a few

...very scrappy sketches from North Devon. The one at the bottom was done during a Bingo game and I very much regretted not taking my sketchbook. I had to draw on a menu. You can click to enlarge it. Today the computer has said yes.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

Poor old Patrick Swayze. He was one of those people you just never heard a single bad thing about. It's so sad.
Dirty Dancing is one of my favourite films...cheesy and feelgood - a perfect "night in" film. (Great soundtrack too). And he was good in Donnie Darko - another favourite of mine.

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!

Summer is Over.

I am back from a gorgeous weekend in Devon and my view has changed from this...

to this.

I don't think Summer has ever ended so abruptly, and it hasn't done my spirits much good. Just as well I am off to uni tomorrow.
It's not really the end of Summer that's got to me - I love Autumn, it's my favourite season - it's just post holiday blues!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Quick collage

Could only spare an hour in the studio this morning - I was making some fabric bags for my mum to make into lavender bags. Just before I left I knocked this together to put on the wall at home. I like the way Sewing Susan's friends are looking on in awe at the way Susan threaded a needle with such ease. That bitch just has it all goin' on.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

This Time Next Year Rodders!

Today I couldn't go and do some etching as I'd planned. My membership needs renewing and I just couldn't afford to do it what with my weekend away. I really miss it! Anyway, I went to my studio and carried on with the embroidery I started the other day.
I'll show you when it's finished. I feel really at home at my studio now. I felt weird and silly there at first and it smelt strange. But I like it now! I mean, look at my pincushion...

How could that not make you happy? (I'm easily pleased!)

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 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).

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Happy Day!

You know when you get up in the morning with a dull, mediocre day ahead of you, and then unexpectedly the postman delivers a beautiful retro pinny and gorgeous letter from a friend and it totally uplifts you and makes your whole day? No? It must just be me then!

Isn't it just fab?! Thanks so much Fiona if you're reading! The apron is up on the wall at the moment. I will wear it, I promise - I'm just not finished looking at it yet! (And it's totally going to go with my 1970's hooks in my kitchen...)

Anyway, buoyed up by my lovely surprise I went to my studio and actually did a bit of embroidery. I think it was a backlash from yesterday's Photoshop attempt - I wanted to go back to my roots! I based it on an etching I did a few weeks back (I would put in a link but Blogger doesn't like me today and I don't want to have to try and load these images again if it mucks up!)

It's not really finished yet andI don't know how I am going to mount it. Also it's scanned terribly - the colours aren't quite as dull as they look here! But for anyone who's interested I did the background by layering fabrics together and machining randomly over the top. Then I appliqued the moon, tree, figure and bird and did some machine and hand stitching on top. Aren't I the busy one?
Well it took coming up for a zillion attempts to get this image to upload, so I'm off to bed now. Goodnight!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Illustration Friday - "Magnify"

For some reason Blogger won't let me add an image so I'll just hang around here until it decides to. I did this this afternoon trying to teach myself to use Photoshop. Now my spine is crumpled and I have a headache. And I could have collaged or painted it in about two minutes...

So anyway it's Bob the Bug - magnified of course - who we met camping at the weekend (it was us who were camping, not Bob. He definitely didn't have a tent with him). Bob let two-year-old Rebby hold him for ages. When I got home I looked him up and found out he's a Shield, or "Stink" bug, and he could have left a really stinky fluid on her hand. But he didn't! What a gentleman. Thanks Bob!


Well, we survived - and actually had a great time!

I realised on the first night how ill-prepared I was and had to go and buy some warmer stuff...from the second night I slept in all my clothes plus a hat scarf and gloves.
Some of the regular site users were hilariously hostile towards us, but by the end of the weekend we'd become quite fond of Grumpy Man and Organic Man. (But not Fat Miserable Woman. We hated her.)
The last picture is of Tony, Val and Rebby doing the "Goodbye dance" - a family tradition. I didn't want to leave! Hopefully we will make it an annual event.