Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Blog silence recently, due to surgery on my left knee to reconstruct my ACL ligament with some donor bone, donor ligament, empty toilet roll holders and glue! So, after 2 weeks of severe pain and a whole lot of drugs, I have returned to myself again.

Funny how you can be absent from yourself and your life, even if you are actually there.

So it is time to wish you all a very Happy Christmas, and post a picture of some custom star ornaments, made from poly clay and painted.

I do have a picture from the inside of my knee, but I thought the stars were more appropriate for the time of year!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Ad in Gentry magazine!!

My digital artwork is in November's Gentry magazine (p66-67) in the form of an advert for Corrective BodyworX - who I design for. Hooray!

Here is a copy, if you don't plan on visiting the magazine yourself. It's always fun to see one's artwork in print.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Alice and Andre

Here are the last of the Grammar Town characters. Now it's on to something else!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Polly Pronoun and Cahn the Conjunction

More from the project that never came to pass! Polly and Cahn join the other characters of Grammar Town. Polly has a 'can do' attitude, and Cahn is somewhat of a magician.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A painting of Penny Peach

Things in Blog Land are a little mixed up for me at the moment, which is why I'm posting a painting of my dog Penny, before I even mention that I have a new dog called Penny.

But there it is! I will catch up with things at some point.

I was too excited not to post this though: Kim Santini, the incredibly talented, daily painter (Who's blog I follow) over at paintingadogaday , has painted My Penny, as part of the gratitude series paintings. This is a series of paintings of rescue animals, where part of the proceeds go to the rescue organisation they came from. I suggest you go to her blog to read more about this, and other projects, and you can see the link to the actual painting of Penny here.

I am a great fan of her style, and the painting is a very good likeness of Penny. I will post the picture she painted from, here, so you can see how good she is!

In other news - I have a knee that doesn't work, so needs surgery. And I have been painting, but it's a secret Christmas commission, so may not get to post it until much after, but may sneak in a detail or two in the meantime!

Will be working on more paintings soon, and plan to make some Christmas ornaments when I have my knee surgery (early december) so I have lots of 'sitting down' jobs to do - stop me from going out of my mind.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Victor Verb

Here is another of the characters from the Grammar Town project I mentioned before.

He is Victor Verb - the King of Grammar Town. (think him and Nancy Noun may have a bit of a 'thing' going.)

He was a digital creation. Each character was created differently, to show the writer some different possibilities for medium and style.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The test results are in!

Our beloved Cookie Baxter has always been a bit of a mystery, when it comes to knowing what breed she is. Every time we leave the house, someone asks me - and I usually answer with, "well, my best guess would be..." And the answer usually involves something about poodles and terriers, and reasons why she wasn't a chihuahua etc.

Well - I finally went head and got her DNA checked. I got tests for both Cookie and Heidi (results not back yet) and was really quite surprised to find out that she is, in fact, at least 50% chihuahua, with some tibetan spaniel and canaan dog thrown in! So the chihuahua part does explain the size (a healthy 5 lbs) and maybe the tibetan bit explains her fantastic nature and character, and the fact that she doesn't act like a chihuahua at all.

So, last night when I went to the dog park and was asked the usual questions, I actually had an answer! It will take some getting used to though, actually knowing what she is.

I'll post Heidi's results, when they are in.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pedrini Preposition

Here is another fellow from the project I mentioned. He is called Pedrini Preposition, and is an earnest chap, Just looking for love!

All of the sketches have a slightly different quality to them, as I was wanting to show different approaches to possible illustrations. I think Pedrini is my favorite of them all. He is created with acrylic paint, and tonal pencil.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nancy Noun

A good while back now, I did some illustrations for a friend, who hoped to get a book published. sadly, it never came to anything, but just today I found the folder with lots of sketches in. I thought I should at least share them here, as I realized I hadn't.

So meet Nancy Noun! The text was all about Grammar, so all the characters are names as such.
Next time I'll show another character. I did these when Baby was small enough to be sleeping a great deal still. Now she is stringing words together, and has a thing about 'horsey's'. Oh, where does the time go?

I'm finally finishing up my digital art work, and will soon be painting again. Looking forward to getting back to the real thing! I've got a couple painting projects coming up, so it will be nice to pick up a real brush.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recent work

I think I can now share some of the recent digital artwork I've been doing, since it is near completion. I was asked to create a new logo for Corrective BodyworX, and have also been creating artwork for ads, business cards and postcards etc.

The company specializes in precision massage in both spa and sport recovery, so it was fun coming up with imagery to reflect both sides of the business and also the serious and intensive nature of the work. This is no foo foo massage!!

I can't, of course, take any credit for 'Vitruvian man' who dominates the logo, but for me, he was the perfect representation for the company.

There are many iterations of the new logo, but here are the basic ones for the Spa and Sport sides of the business!

Monday, August 8, 2011

And on it goes!

I know, I know - It's been a shockingly long time, but as is the case with most bloggers, the more crazy you are with work - the less you blog!

And so it is with me. Both the hare and the caterpillar have now been overtaken by Vitruvian man! Who, with his perfect proportions and long legs, was bound to win the race.
(Translation - A work project involving the above mentioned, has taken priority over my others projects, due to imminent deadlines).

Once again, I will post some offerings (artistic) when I can. This time, I am working digitally. Which is different, and somewhat cleaner, than most of my endeavors. Most fun, although it does seems strange to not have a flesh and blood object at the end of all that labor.

Ah well. In the meantime, here are a couple of fun carvings that I noticed on the cliff face of my local beach on a recent visit. Haven't tried poking at the rock myself, but from the look of these, it must be quite soft. I think they are very appealing!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hare passed by caterpillar!

Ugh! So much for bounding hares and their long jumping legs. My hare has been completely overtaken by a caterpillar of all things. And a lady bug:

I'm working on a couple characters called CP and Bug. They are real/digital illustrations to accompany a large 'word' document that supports an online workshop, for the lovely people over at

CP and bug get up to all sorts, and whilst I can't show you specific work sheets at this time, I can show you a collage of assorted goings on!

So, the poor old hare has been left snoozing under a tree, until this more pressing work has been finished, and then I can get back to him.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Running wild in the moonlight.

I've been working on some new ideas for the Poly clay. Something different that I don't think has been done before. I decided I'd like to depict a hare and the moon, and whilst looking for images on the web, found a real blast from the past - pictures from Kit Williams 'Masquerade'.

I think I must have been about seven when the book came out (was it 1979?) and I seem to remember my father bringing it home one day. The treasure aspect was exciting and fun, but what really astounded me was the art work.

I 'd stare at the pictures for hours. Partly to find all the extra little special details, but partly because I couldn't fathom how they could have been created from a blank canvas and paints.

I thought of those painting whilst I scribbled away at my hare. It's tonal pencil on paper, and it has blank, white spaces for good reason. I won't reveal the purpose until I've continued the project - but will show more as it progresses. I've digitally darkened the image a little (for future reasons!) So the original is not quite so dark.

Anyone else remember Masquerade?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heidi dog

Heidi dog is known by that name because she is... umm, a dog.

That might seem obvious really, but to me, she is actually the first dog I think I've had in the house. All of the other furry children we'll loved and owned have been just that - children with lots of body hair that bark.

Pixie and Cookie (commonly referred to as The Buttons) most certainly are not dogs. Pixie - we believe, is actually a guinea pig crossed with a burrito, and Cookie is a widow in her latter years, who has travelled extensively and seen things that some will never get to experience.

Heidi is a dog. She barks and chews stuff, fetches a ball or stick, and eats poop. If she has a more complex and intriguing character in there - I am yet to meet it. She's very good at being a dog though. Almost as if she was born for it.

This is the canvas I have been working on recently. 24 x 30" acrylic on canvas. This one is a little different for me, as I used modeling paste on the canvas before painting it - so it has some real texture to it - I like the textural finish and will use the paste again for future work.

I'll show a picture of Heidi Dog too - so you see what I painted from, and I'll try and show a picture of the texture .

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cookies' frame

Cookie's new frame is here, and I'm really pleased with it. It's a 'floater' frame, so the canvas seems to 'float' inside it. The finish is a perfect look to compliment the style of the portrait.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

War and Peace

This morning, the waters raged. Battering the rocks and shredding the brittle kelp into strange green snow on the beach.

And yet Peace existed nearby, out of reach from the grip of the tides.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Some kind of life.

Life is finally settling into a new groove. The fact that I have some part time daycare for baby, means I can actually plan to get some work done too.

I'm at my most content when I'm working, and have especially been enjoying painting of late. Having finished painting Cookie, I have now started work on painting Heidi Dog. Painting Cookie was easy really, each little hair leapt off the brush onto the canvas, but Heidi Dog is another story. She has this crazy salt and pepper hair, which looks random enough until I try and paint it. It's been a real challenge trying to get her to look just right. This is a much bigger painting also - so naturally more hours will go into completing it.

Today's picture is a captured moment this afternoon. It's the trolley I have next to my drawing board, with my brushes and paint. Yes, thats a whole pot of tea - just for me! I always make a pot, even if it's just for one cup - it's tastes better. In the afternoon though - I do indulge in a whole pot. Yes - I do occasionally dip my brush in my tea instead of the water.

If you look closely, you can just see Heidi Dog's paws on the canvas in the background!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Cookie

I've been meaning to paint my dearest Cookie for a long time now, but there are always more pressing things to do. So, having just moved, I thought I'd snook in some time to paint her, before other jobs and work take over. I'm glad I did. I finished her yesterday, and suddenly there are several other projects demanding time and attention. She is not framed yet - I just ordered a 'floating frame' for her, so will wait for it's arrival.

To me, Cookie's character is one of an older lady. Someone who has seen many things, and experienced a great deal in life. Because of that, I decided to paint her 'portrait'. Just her head, with rich detailed 'Morris' style wallpaper behind, and a necklace instead of a collar. I think the image captures her character well. Cookie and I worked together to design our own wallpaper, and she oversaw the entire project, of course!

The painting is an 8 x 8 inch canvas, painted with acrylics, and she is presented actual size!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lost month

April got lost at the bottom of the Magic Bag, and rummage as I might - I couldn't find it.

But what I found instead was May! All moved now: packed and un-packed, wrapped and un-wrapped. Pictures down and up again, and new locations found for teapots and ornaments. Baby faired well, and her bedroom has been virtually duplicated, so in her 22 month old world - life goes on.

Dogs faired fine really, except for Cookie who seemed to think the sky might fall on her head, so took to standing on my toes at all times. That way, I guess, she decided it would fall on mine first? All better since everything settled in one place only, and not in two.

After boxes and sorting came baby arrangements and husband needs, and when everything and everyone else has found a grove, it's time to find mine. So, back to work for me, starting with this poly clay heart (another custom order) destined for the UK.

The brief: Cats, ballet and motorbikes! Which seemed a tricky mix, but I think I pulled it off ok. There are also dates and names, and special song words.
Cookie wanted to sit with the heart when I took it's picture, so here's one of her too.

Talking of Cookie - a portrait of her is coming next! Already started, I'll post when it's done. I like to try and document our dogs with a painting, but don't often get time. Now I have catching up to do, as I haven't painted any of the current family!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Poly clay birdhouse

Another resin/poly clay adventure: this time a little birdhouse. I love birdhouses - so many possibilities, and somehow I find comfort in the 'home' thing.

Speaking of houses, I am soon to be changing mine. We've wanted to sell for a few years now, but the timing has been so bad with the economy and all. We decided to try again a few weeks ago, and much to my surprise the house sold within six days. I'd like to say it's all been wonderful and we are now moving to the house of our dreams, but that wouldn't be quite right. I take some comfort from knowing that most of the world is currently experiencing economic turmoil, and as such, we have been swept along with most people on that tide. I think this is one of those experiences that I will just be glad to put behind me - no point dwelling on it.

For now we will live like birds, and find a pleasant garden with an empty birdhouse to nest in, and I shall take pleasure finding twigs and fluff to line it with.

I am optimistic about the future and it's possibilities. And there is always the magic bag for new adventures!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Another custom order

I have just had the pleasure of another custom poly-clay heart order, this time to celebrate a wedding!
So the heart is now wrapped safely and making it's way to the UK, hopefully in good time for the wedding in April. So good luck to 'L and R' on the 15/16th April (the big days)
The heart is bigger than the usual ones, and allows a bit more space for patterns and words which is nice. Painted ochre and cream - the theme being nature and natural.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Custom order

I have been rather busy lately with a logo design for a website - not work I usually do, and with a custom order of the bee hearts I made. The bee hearts all have wording on them, and a different name on each one, so each had to be made individually - no mass production here! The bead on the ribbon has my 'makers mark' on it. This is the mark I put on all my work, it's a 'J' and a 'D' for my name.

They are made of poly-clay,which I am still really enjoying working with, and painted with acrylics, which seem to stick just fine, which is nice after the difficulties I had with the resin. You may be seeing more of the poly-clay, it's so fun to work with, and so 'do-able' on the dining room table when baby naps, or I have a moment.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines!

I have finally resolved the problems with the resin casts, and got them all painted and finished, so I thought I'd post a couple of pictures. I also made some tiny pumpkins, which I will call 'Fairy fruit'. The name is inspired by Cassia, of who commented on my Pixie pumpkins, and is the perfect names for these, as they are way smaller than the Pixies, at a whopping 3" or so!

Happy Valentines!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Natures Cathedral

I can't remember if I've mentioned The Grove before or not? Behind Holy City is a lot of mountain acreage. Not far from the studio is an amazing natural redwood cathedral, that has been turned into a quiet place of meditation and thought over the years. Some people come to celebrate the solstice, others to pray or meditate, and some just come to see.

The trees form a ring, inside of which is a large deep floor. At one end is a kind of Altar. I'm not sure how the Altar started, but little trinkets and charms appear and disappear, flowers are laid, and photos of deceased loved ones are carefully placed.

The photos don't quite do it justice, but I thought you might like to see.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

On a roll

What? Four blog posts this week already? It's almost like the old days! It won't last.

True, but who cares. I suppose it has been a rather creative time. I am officially 'without' commission work at the moment, so these are the times I need to play, experiment and try and make things that might sell! Mostly it has all been 'hearty' endeavors, but on a Valentines pink /red theme, I decided to make a couple Pixie Pumpkins/gourds too, as I know some people like the pink ones.

Not a great picture, but taken (once again) with my Iphone, and it's a case of 'bad picture - or no picture', as I am often to busy to think about taking my camera to the studio to document work.
At least this way I have a record of all the things I do!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Technical difficulties.

Well, I blog about the successful art - I should blog about the troubles too, right?

I would have liked to have the resin hearts I've been working on all finished by now, and posted with pretty pictures etc. But be honest, I've been having a major learning curve! I've had many problems with failed painting, and failed primers, and have still not figured it all out. Today I went to purchase yet another primer and sealer - and really hope this is the one that will work, but can't paint on it for twenty four hours, so will have to wait and see.

I think one of my major frustrations with this learning curve is that I really don't have time for it. Once upon a time (before baby) I could mess about until I got it right, and it didn't really matter. But now - with such limited working opportunity - I need things to go right straight away, or problem solving can leak into weeks of lost time. I am trying to be patient about it all, given that I have been learning a completely new skill, but it's really hard! Especially when at each stage there is an associated cost involved, which all means it's not making money yet.

Watch this space though. In spite of my frustrations, I find with each step I can still find a little hope that 'this time' it might work, and that drives me forward each day.

Todays picture has nothing to do with work, and everything to do with continuing along a chosen path. Baby, Heidi and my dear Cookie, taking a springtime walk at a local tree farm.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More glass hearts

Here are some of the hot glass hearts I got to make. They contain pink and red frit, stringers, dichroic glass and a few well placed bubbles for fun!

I often have special orders for these, and they sell quickly, so if anyone wants one - let me know!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Glass hearts

So, some of the glass cast hearts are out of the kiln now, and a comment from Rosie (thanks Rosie!) made me realize that I hadn't taken photos, so I did so right away. Otherwise they would be sold, and I wouldn't have a record.

The first batch came out well - but not excellent. I have a pretty good idea why: I cast RTV 'positives' out of the plaster negatives, so when I went to kiln wash the molds (to stop the glass from sticking) there was a residue in the mold, and the kiln wash wasn't keen to adhere to the plaster. Tomorrow I will make more plasters - to cast more, and these should be nice and clean.
The effect on the glass is that is is not as crystal clear as I would like it, so we'll see what the next batch looks like.

On friday and saturday I got to blow some glass, so next time I'll show you what I made.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Making hearts 2

The hearts are progressing. Today I started to cast resin into the RTV molds I cast yesterday. Quite amazing really, how many processes are involved before you actually get the item you are trying to make - I'm only realizing this as I document it here!
I took a couple pictures with my Iphone, so here they are. Some of them are positives, and some are negatives - thats because some are destined for glass, and some for painted resin.

Next time, hopefully, it will be the finished product.
Meanwhile, I've gone a bit Poly clay crazy. I find myself with a little ball of it in my hands, if I have a spare moment, and out pops a bird or a flower, as if by magic - quite addictive!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Making hearts

Happy new year!

Work is currently quiet, after finishing several projects before Christmas. So I am currently thinking ahead - just a little - to Valentines. I decided I would like to cast some glass hearts, so set about making 'positives' as usual. This time, I thought I'd try a different clay, and got some poly clay. I have to say, I already like working with it. It's far less messy than regular clay, and doesn't dry out, which is so useful.

My husband saw some lying around, and asked why I felt the need to turn them into glass, when they are interesting enough by themselves. My answer wasn't a very good one - I said it's because I work in glass, and thats how I think. But it did get my thinking, and I have decided to make a few poly clay ones, and even cast some resin hearts too. It's certainly far less work than making glass ones, and I'm enjoying the level of detail I can create, without worrying it will be lost in translation to glass.

I will, of course, still make some glass ones to. But it will be interesting to see how they all turn out, and what response I get to them.

The pictures: The painted heart with ribbon and bead is for a friends birthday this weekend, and is kind of a first attempt.
The other two pictures show un-painted poly clay hearts, that I will try and cast resin (having made latex molds first) I will post them again after they are painted.

It's all a bit of an experiment, but very enjoyable, and so easy! I fired the clay in my little oven at home in 30 minutes! So it will be interesting to see how it all works out.

If the resin casts work out, I'll probably try and sell some, if anyone is interested!!
Will try and post more working pictures as I go along.