A few months ago, I came up with the brilliant idea that I should paint my walls in the style of Alisa Burke, the woman that is, to me, the definition of artistic bravery. Hand painted walls have always appealed to me. Ask my parents, they were rather perplexed when I used water paints to draw what was (in hindsight) a rather dreadful flower on my bright yellow bedroom wall. I loved it at the time, my dad did not when, years later, he had to do use three to four coats to cover it up.

As I’ve mentioned before, I like to do trial runs aka I am not as brave as Alisa Burke. If I’m honest, I’m not convinced I’m ever going to get around to completing this project. I hope I do! In the meantime, it was a useful motivational tool to get me to practice drawing flowers.

This one (the long picture above) was drawn on the back of a cereal box (I am nothing if not resourceful!). I used permanent marker simply because it was on hand. I also had to do it in stages because, actually, those fumes are lethal!

 This one I did with paints as I spoke to The Canadian about his day. This one is on the back of a pizza box. I didn’t enjoy how it soaked up the paint colours but I did enjoy how messy it was.

 I have been on such a recycling kick at the moment too! My friend bought be a gift in a pretty orange paper bag and now that paper bag has a painting of flowers on it. I discovered pretty quickly that I should draw more than I think I’ll need because once you fill in the background the foreground quickly becomes sparse.

 This final one was never completed. I got tired of breathing in sharpie marker fumes. It’s amusing to me how quickly I jump from one medium to another. One week it’s paint, the next it’s sharpies. Oh, my flighty mind!

After all of this I got a little brave and painted directly on the basement wall…I was really into it as well until I realised there was a grumpy spider watching me. That quickly put an end to any big aspirations I had.

Would you ever consider painting directly onto a wall? With the price of wallpapers it seems to be the only affordable option to having pretty walls.

 At the day job, a colleague of mine is going be starting a little family shortly. It’s likely that it’ll happen before this is even published.

A baby shower was thrown and donations were collected. We are, as always, a little strapped for cash, so I thought about the best way to donate in a meaningful way. In the end, I settled for designing a little congratulations card for my colleague. They don’t know the sex of the baby so I kept it as neutral as possible.

I sketched it out with my micron pens (of course!), cleaned it up on the computer, created vectors and then used photoshop to colour it in.

I love the colours and the end result.

At first, I  wasn’t sure whether it was ‘too messy’ to be considered anything other than a doodle but cleaning it up and smoothing out the lines really made a big difference. I think it looks a lot better than it initially did.

I’m still not sure about the final colour choices. Would you have chosen a different colour palette?

I did a whole degree in Psychology. I did lots of postgraduate hours discussing the ins and outs of mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression. I clocked up some clinical hours and then moved abroad and spent more time working with people who had a whole host of more intense illnesses and more varied manifestations.

Since I can remember, I have always wanted to know more about the brain, how it works and why it can help or hinder entire lives and livelihoods.

As most people are aware, mental illness has been in the news a lot recently. I didn’t want to talk about Robin Williams at all. It’s not that I have nothing to say or that I am not saddened by the news of his passing and the distressing experiences that led to him ending his life. My reluctance came from the fact that I had nothing that I wanted to share publicly.

There have been many people who have written excellent posts on depression and their experiences with the dementors of their minds.

I didn’t want to write much. After hearing so many peoples’ experiences though, I did want to illustrate how isolating and dark depression (and anxiety) can be (if you click on it you can view a close up image).

If you want to read more about depression, anxiety and stress, I recommend this website. I also recommend these leaflets and talking to your family doctor. There is nothing as good as medical guidance from a trusted professional. Fact!

 I recently bought some Micron pens and I am in love! I didn’t think they would be as exciting as they actually are. I went ahead and bought the multi-pack of Micron pens. I love that I now have super fine and super thick pens that are waterproof and make my handwriting the best it will ever be. It’s like expensive, luxury make up. It does the same thing as other make ups, it’s still about having the right technique but somehow it all just looks better in the end.

What do you think of these cards? What colours would you use? Recently my line drawings stop at just line drawings, I seem to have developed and aversion to colour.  Sometimes less is more, right?

mendhi inspired patterns and line drawing on the lemon hive

A while ago a friend requested I draw up a wedding card for her neice’s ‘fusion’ wedding. She gave me a copy of a thank you card her niece had sent her and told me the colours that she would be wearing as Aunt-of-the-bride.

turquoise, yellow and purple mendhi inspired painted patterns on the lemon hive

For most of my teens I was obsessed with the middle eastern, Indian and Pakistani design. I loved watching friends write Arabic and if the opportunity for Mendhi came up then I was there. The intricate designs and time consuming pattern appealed to me. I even spent the vast majority of my time absorbing as much as I could about the religious and cultural aspects of the countries, including the histories. Needless to say, I was really honoured and excited to be asked to design this piece of work.

These designs are all rough sketches and experiments with colours and patterns, but I am pleased with the results. Most of all, I’ve enjoyed the pleasure that comes from re-visiting topics, cultures and art that reignites passion and drive.

What do you think of these?

Over winter I was unwell and feeling very sorry for myself. I spent an embarrassing amount of time over that weekend watching Pretty Little Liars (don’t judge me!). I spent time thinking about how I’ve moved around so often and I’ve made friends and then lost touch because of distance.

I was thinking of developing a few greetings card/postcards to send to friends reminding them that even if we aren’t physically close, I miss them, I wish we could do coffee (or tea) and that I’d love a catch up/skype date. Skype dates are where it’s at don’t cha know?

I then realised that there are never any ‘tea’ dates. Coffee dates are rubbish because I really dislike coffee. I also incorporated some fun Yorkshire-/British-ism because I’m amazing like that.

I know that I previously spoke about Micron pens and how amazing they are but these were done with a ballpoint Bic and I love the fluidity of it. Scribble, scribble, scribble.

Tea or coffee? What’s your poison?

A few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep. Hello Insomnia. What do you do when you can’t sleep? You write a blog post! Here it is:

It was one of those nights where it wasn’t cool enough and then it was too cold. It was a night of throwing blankets off in frustration followed by grumpy flailing to find something to warm me up.

My mind was loud. It’s rare that worries keep me awake at night. It’s happened before but never when things have felt so firmly sound in my life.

My tossing and turning ended up with The Canadian leaving the bedroom to find sleep with better bed mates (i.e. the kitties in the spare bedroom). My mind was loud and very very boring.

At 4 a.m., I surrended to the lack-of-sleep monster and rolled out of bed. Insomnia is usually the worst thing ever but, surprisingly, I’m feeling the most refreshed. Somehow, all that tossing and turning, all those loud thoughts and warmth seem to have burnt out any worry that I had. I am now wide awake, listening to creative business podcasts. I am feeling inspired and creative.

Sometimes insomnia is really positive. Except for that time the word ‘insomnia’ started pounding around my head to the rhythm of Rihanna’s “disturbia”. Awesome.

What do you do when you can’t sleep?

When I was in England, I found all of my old art journals and school work. I made the decision to lug them all back to Canada (paying surcharges for overweight luggage and all, I’m nothing if not dedicated!).

Over the years, I stopped drawing and painting and my ability suffered for it. It’s great to look back on these samples because if my name weren’t attached to them, I’m not convinced that I would believe them to be mine. Especially remembering how I used to rush through these projects because I saw them as a waste of time, funny how things change.

This project was kinda fun to do, there are a few others that I will share and some that I probably won’t. Do you have any idea what it is like to see what your 14 year old self  thought you looked like? Bizarre, that’s what.

 

The best part of reviewing these comes from reading my teacher’s comments. She used to write over a lot of my work and, quite often, the comments were far from encouraging. Yet, when I look through these sketchbooks I am entertained by my positive reaction to what I see. This alone has taught me that creating things is incredibly subjective. So long as I enjoy it, that’s really all that matters. I shall never be good at producing photograph like images but accepting that art allows for things to be ‘not perfect’ is part of the enjoyment, this calms the perfectionist in me. Good thing too, because that perfectionist is bloody annoying.

 

Looking through these pieces is great for reminding me of mediums and styles that I haven’t thought of in a long time. What do you think? Do you ever  look through old school books and projects to use as a measure of growth?