Thursday, 5 May 2016


I went for a walk with a friend to blow away some cobwebs. The weather has been sunny and clear all day, and I was looking forward to some lovely golden light over the bluebells before sunset.
Unfortunately it got a little bit hazy, but the smell of the bluebells was amazing.
Even without the rich shafts of golden it was definitely worth it.
Here are a couple

See some more on Flickr

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Billy's Wish

Every news story about a victim of knife crime reminds me of when Billy Dove's life was taken and our whole town was rocked.
I am walking the St Albans half marathon in June to raise money for Billy's Wish and their education programme aimed at protecting children from the dangers of knife crime.

Here is my picture for the Just Giving page, and a LINK - if you would like to make a small donation.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Spring is coming!

In the last couple of months the sun comes and goes taking the temperature up and down with it. Today was no different, luckily I caught the tail end of the nice weather.

I took my 'new to me' DSLR on a short walk - I have some way to go to get used to the differences between my bridge camera and this proper, grown-up one.

Here are a couple of shots and a link to a few more on Flickr HERE.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Frosty dawn

I could stay in bed all day given half a chance, there's nothing better than being wrapped up all snug and warm under my duvet - unless it's a clear and crispy morning, perfect for a photo walk.
So my alarm went off at 5.40am and out of bed I hopped, put on my several layers, scrapped a thick layer of ice from my car and I was off!
I picked up my friend and headed up to Boxmoor Trust at Westbrook Hay to see the sunrise.
Here is a selection of the many I took:

Tuesday, 9 February 2016


Redbubble are running a little competition on instagram, so I thought I'd join in.
I browsed for photos that people were submitting to the challenge with the idea an artist would come along and transform / develop their image.
Here's the original photo and my finished piece as a repeated pattern and as the pattern template - well, most of it. I removed some of the pattern edge to make copying it more tricky.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Bluebell Woods workshop ready for bookings!

Come and paint your very own Bluebell Wood!
Saturday 19th March 2016
2 - 4.30pm
Acorn Wellbeing Centre, Hemel Hempstead Old Town
All materials, including your canvas, are included for £25
The smaller painting is my original and the larger one is a slightly simplified version for us to use as a model in our guided painting sessions. 

The sessions, as always, will be suitable for beginners (and terrified!). I will guide you gently, step by step.

If you have been to other workshops you will be suitably challenged. It's a small step up in terms of skills and there is a great deal of scope for making your own mark with this one.

See the events and workshops page for more details 
Or contact me to book a space - a deposit is necessary to secure your place.
I look forward to seeing you there: and seeing the masterpieces you will create!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Bluebell wood - Acrylics workshop

This is a quick painting I did as preparation for a bluebell wood guided painting.
The painting I use as a guide will have similar colours and composition, but with a few tweaks.
  • This was painted with acrylics  - using process yellow, process cyan, process magenta and titanium white
  • on A3 watercolour paper: in the class we will paint on canvas around A4 size 
  • I'll rationalise the steps, as at the moment it will take too long for a workshop.

Please contact me (see 'contact me' page, in the side bar) 
and I'll keep you posted with when workshops become available
or ask for a quote for a private group / party session.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Exploring repeating patterns - I've been 'guest blogging'!

As a child I was fascinated by repeating patterns on wallpapers, wrapping paper and fabric. I spent hours trying to find where each one started and stopped and trying to workout what sort of weird shape was being used to make the seamless tessellation. I was in awe of the creativity and wizardry that made it happen. 
My curiosity never really abated and being part of the wonderful 52 Week illustration challenge on facebook has spurred me into action. 

I have written a full tutorial for the #illo52weeks challenge website - it's quite long, but I hope will inspire others to get pattern making. 
You can read it here: full tutorial

Here's a walkthrough of my latest pattern: 

The prompt for the challenge was 'swimming'. I  decided that an underwater scene would work well. I dithered about the subject and decided firmly on using Koi. However as you can see, I got distracted by mermaids!
I scrolled through story books and stock images, and made a series of sketches (I also made sketches of fish to swim with the mermaids, but I had a word with myself).
I used them as a basis for my ink - a brush pen. Taking photos of the pencil work meant I felt freer with my brush strokes. If it had all gone pear-shaped I could have used the photos as a guide for digital drawing.
As it goes, I wasn't too unhappy with it, even though the characters of the mermaids changed a little.

Pencil lines were erased and the ink drawings were scanned, cropped, layered, flipped and coloured. Backgrounds came and went. The repeats were swapped around to be checked, tweaked, swapped and checked again.

Finally I committed to a pattern template - which I found fault with straight away. I could endlessly make adjustments and it pains me to see things that aren't quite right - but it is a time pit!

So here is the pattern template and the pattern repeated one and half times:

It is available on t-shirts, large silk scarves, duvet covers and a whole a bunch of other stuff in MY REDBUBBLE STORE