Friday, July 25, 2008

"Love-in-a-mist" and Petra Borner

Tiny Dancer drawing
This was originally intended as a greetings card design
A tale in the telling
The love-in-a-mist flowers I grew from seed.

The following images are all Petra Borner's. The final one is one of her embroideries.

I am sitting typing this blog at 00.30 am. Far too late but I have got behind with everything and I did want to do it today...well actually it is tomorrow now but never mind. I have been browsing the internet and found the revamped website of one of my favourite illustrators (yes I know I say that about all illustrators I come across but this one is right at the top.) Her name is Petra Borner and she is a Swedish illustrator living in the UK. I came across her work quite a while ago but she has become much more popular now and her work is popping up everywhere. I recognise her style easily these days. I suppose her style is very contemporary with lots of wonderful up to the minute colour combinations and wonderfully clean lines and great design. Yes, you can tell I am a fan. I have illustrated this blog with a few of her works but you must visit her website here to see it all and there is a lot there to see. Oh and I love the way she draws hands too. You can see from my tiny dancer that I haven't worried too much about realistic looking hands with this one. Oh and I forgot to mention that she is a blogger too so check it out.

Since last year since I came across some beautiful photos of "love-in-a-mist" or nigella as it is otherwise known on Flickr, I have wanted my own crop to take some photos of. I just love these flowers completely. They are beautiful blues and creamy whites and quite complicated flower heads. The little buds are secreted away in a cocoon of ferny fronds and burst forth to give the loveliest blooms. They look pretty good in photos too. The flowers are also surrounded by these fronds, hence the name "love-in-a-mist" which I think is beautifully romantic. See what you think of my pictures of them anyway.

Just a short blog today as it really is sooooo late - night night.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oxford Churches And Books, Glorious Books

I love drawing this simple black cat shape with crazy coloured backgrounds. I have used this image quite a few times for various pieces of artwork and it still has a lot of mileage left. I love the posture of this cat and the position of the tail.

A pointillist ink portrait of a young woman with a megalithic stone structure in the foreground. This took many weeks of work.

Pen and ink sketch of Art Deco bird and flowers

A selection of clay figures from my newly purchased book. There are another 495 like this. Click on the image to enlarge.

Eye candy for the artist - my purchases from Oxford

View of the beautiful box pews in St. Mary the Virgin at Oxford

I decided to make a visit to Oxford on Thursday. It is somewhere I haven't been for a long time but I decided I needed some me time, so off I went. It turned out to be a cross between retail therapy and church visiting. I love looking round ancient churches and Oxford has some lovely ones. The first one I visited was in a spot where a church had stood for over a thousand years. I love the feeling of sanctity of space in these places which has nothing to do with formal religion. The spaces which churches now occupy were sacred long before Christianity, but I think the worshipping of hundreds of thousands of people has increased the feeling. The second church I visited had some amazing old box pews still insitu. The majority of our parish churches have lost their box pews to conventional pews or chairs. I loved the feeling of cosiness tucked into my little box with the door shut. I should image the congregations of old could snuggle down to some sleep when the sermons got too lengthy.

My retail therapy consisted mainly of bookshops. Oxford has some great bookshops due mostly to the presence of the Universities. I have included a picture of my purchases which include a wonderful book called 500 Figures In Clay and another book which features lovely ceramics and shows step-by-step photos of how they were made. My third book was a Directory of Printmakers which details over a hundred printmakers with their work in full, glorious colour. I am neither a ceramicist or a printmaker but I love to look at the work of other disciplines and gain inspiration from them. I found some lovely greetings cards from another bookshop, but this time in Thame. They had a fantastic display of more designer-type cards and not just the mass produced ones. I could have bought lots more cards, but when I added up the cost of the books I didn't dare. Oh and I forgot to mention the two new pens and the "long" A5 sketchbook for doing my landscape sketches in. I think that just about covers everything. No clothes shopping - I didn't have time!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Keiko Minami's etchings and ladies with trees

Pen and ink stylised rook drawing for greetings card

Digitally coloured bird sketch
Digitally coloured pen and ink sketches

The lovely etchings of Japanese artist Keiko Minami. (Click to enlarge them)

I did intend writing this blog last night but my favourite Criminal Minds was on and I couldn't possibly miss that, could I? I should have done it after it finished but then there was another CM repeat on and I couldn't miss that either. By the time I got to bed it was gone 1pm and my head was full of all sorts of goriness...LOL

I thought I would show a few etchings of my favouritist favourite illustrator Keiko Minami. She was a Japanese artist/printmaker who died in 2004 in her 90's. Her book of etchings is shown on the right hand side of my blog and is well worth buying in my opinion. I think her work is so delicate, fairy like and delicious. She was very restrained in using colour but even her uncoloured work is beautiful because of the lovely delicate lines and cross-hatching. Her work is very stylised and usually involves two sweet little sisters who spend time with animals, trees and lovely buildings. Talking of her trees: they are very stylised and the book features over 36 trees and every one is different. I cannot pick up this book without wanting to draw and although my old rapidograph is a poor relation of her wonderful etchings, I can get a very similar effect with cross-hatching and dotting. I have gained oodles of inspiration from this book and as you can see....I LOVE IT! I hope you enjoy her etchings anyway.

I enjoyed colouring my pen and ink sketches in digitally so much that I did some more over the week. A bird features (doesn't it always...LOL) and a couple of my pen and ink ladies with trees in the background. Like KM I love stylising trees. I am interested in getting a slightly acrylic, weathered effect on the backgrounds of my pictures at the moment and although these sketches are very roughly coloured, I like them. I do have acrylic paints but haven't broken into them yet. I don't know what I am saving them for though. One of these days....

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lapwings and Digital Colours

A pointillism lapwing drawing which I used for a Christmas card design a few years ago. These runner ducks are one of my favourite motifs and I have used them in lots of drawings and paintings. I think they are just a lovely little composition.

A digitally coloured sketch of a tree which started out as a pen and ink drawing until I played around with colours.
Digitally coloured sketch of a very colourful, stylised tree

Two versions of "Flower of Friendship" - not sure which one I prefer.

I have been doing a bit of doodling with digital drawing this week. I have to be in the mood for drawing on the computer. It is very time consuming as everything has to be so large and can take hours to produce anything. The white runner ducks on blue drawing is a proper artwork but the others are just playing around with shapes and colours. I do like the matt effect of pantone colours and enjoy looking at work other people have produced digitally.

The pointillist picture of lapwings is one I did for Christmas cards a few years ago. I have always been fascinated by lapwings with their little feathery headpieces. I was lucky enough to see some in real life a few weeks ago whilst out with friends in Oxfordshire. It took my brother to point them out though, but once I knew what they were I recognised them...if that makes any sense. They were quite annoyed with us for walking in the vicinity of their nests.

The flower of friendship drawings were ones I did sometime ago which never quite got off the ground. I am sure everyone has some of these tucked away somewhere. I still like the design and will probably eventually complete it but I am not sure which colourway I prefer....decisions, decisions.

I also noticed today that my "love in a mist" flowers are about to bloom. I love these flowers and hope to get a few nice photos of them when they are in bloom. I have nurtured them from seedlings and they have done very well. The garden is very wet at the moment due to all the rain we have had today. Summer seems to have deserted us for the moment. I daresay it will return one of these days.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bird Ladies and Cressida Bell


In The Garden Of AlliumsCressida Bell Decorative Art

I visited a local textile artist last Sunday as part of the Bucks Open Studio event, whereby artists and craftspeople open up their studios to display their works and show how they are made. The lady was Mary Gamester and her home studio was a revelation of colour and texture and form. I really enjoyed my time with her which extended to about an hour and a half. We had a great deal in common in artistic terms and also in our interest in churches, stained glass windows etc. She has a wonderful collection of beautiful sketch books with wonderful drawings from her visits to India and other countries. Her work in textiles is very varied and included wall hangings, boxes, bags, covered books and clothes. A veritable treasure trove. This very talented lady also teaches her subjects to others. I left her studio inspired to create.

One of my favourite decorative artists is the well-known Cressida Bell. She is related to both Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell of Bloomsbury fame. She applies her designs to all sorts of items and also to interiors etc. I love her bright, graphic style and stylised patterns. I found one of her books at a charity shop some years ago and I have included some photos of her work. Her website here is beautiful and well worth a visit. Another very talented lady.

I finished my drawing of "the girl with a bird on her head" called "In The Garden Of The Alliums". I found the alliums extremely hard to draw and make them realistic looking so I have just made them stylised instead. Have a look and see what you think. I quite enjoyed drawing ladies with birds so I have just completed another one called "Martha". This one is much simpler and an altogether better design I think. I have also included in the picture the photo in You magazine which sparked the idea off and a picture of a wonderful old outfit in a fashion book which I got from the library the other day. I wanted Martha to look a bit old fashioned and be simply dressed. Don't ask me where the bird comes in though? I am on a bit of a roll now and I will probably do a couple more lady and bird pictures. The two just seem to go

I have also posted a sketch of a bird and a group of stylised trees. I like this sketch and will probably draw it as a finished piece of artwork.