July saw the beginning of a new, different kind of project. It is that time of year when I start preparing for Eco-create exhibition; and this year the theme is 'masquerade'. Eco-create is an organisation that prides itself on promoting Eco-friendly products/art through recycling and up-cycling which adds a whole new dimension and challenge to the piece I am to create. I settled on the idea of up-cycling an old jewellery box (with it's key missing) into a music box decorated with my illustrations. The first thing I thought of when I heard the word masquerade was Pierrot, an old obsession of mine from my younger days. I love the melancholy of Pierrot and the story of unrequited love surrounding him and Columbine, with the interference of Harlequin! I have a list of illustrations that I am currently working on and so far I am extremely pleased with them. I have other ideas that I want to develop them into too . . .
May - June has been a busy old time. I foolishly announced on social media that I will be debuting my 'finished' Medusa at the Six Streets art trail in Derby . . . No pressure! But yes I did manage to not only prepare for the art trail but to have the completed piece finished and ready to exhibit. The response was amazing and I was so pleased that I gave myself the deadline to work to. I even had magnifying glasses at the ready so people could lose themselves in all the minute details - this went down very well. For a fully detailed version of the image please refer to the portfolio section.
It was a fantastic event and, as always, it is a pleasure to hear all the positive feedback and comments from people. It really does spur you on as artist! It was also brilliant to see my new work altogether at somewhere different than my studio and to see it's development. Since changing and evolving into this more esoteric approach it has been difficult to gauge if my style actually can hold it's on both separately and collectively.
This was proof to me that it most certainly does and seems stronger than ever . . . makes me want to hold another solo exhibition!
Keep watching this space.
Getting there, slowly but surely. I knew that this project was going to be a slow burner but it will be well worth it in the end. I like to invest a lot of detail in my work as this is my style; there is no getting away from that! Even the armour on the snakes has snakes on it . . . where will it end???
The main section is just about complete now, then on to the wings and background landscape. I have a basic idea of the composition of the remaining elements but no true plan to stick to. I prefer to work this way. Letting piece evolve as I go a long.
Here is a sneaky video to see where I am up to . . .
I have been wanting to develop some repeat patterns of my work for a while now; encompassing hand drawn and painted imagery together into a digital montage via Photoshop. I used to use Photoshop A LOT in a previous life as a mac operator/art worker in my graphic design days and love to use it as a creative tool layering up images and textures to form a piece of art in it's own right. The first of the series I want to explore, as a theme, is 'The Raven', the famous poem by Edgar Allen Poe. This has always been a great favourite of mine and offers boundless visuals and inspiration. I am hoping to develop and merge a collection of illustrations (from Ravens, skulls, roses etc) into a flowing repeat which I can then use on various products.
Busy, busy, busy; replenishing the Etsy shop with new screen printed tees and working on new t-shirt designs for later this year. This new design is a re-hash of my Kraken illustration which seems appropriate for this Valentines month. Keep a watch out on my social media links on Valentines day for a special promo code to use on my Etsy Shop.
Each year Eco Create hold an open exhibition to promote awareness environmental issues and to showcase artists and crafts people who use low impact methods or recycled/reclaimed materials. This year the theme was 'Time and Tide Waits for No Man' and my entry was 'The Siren's Song'. The original illustration drawn over summer was printed via a laser printer and then transferred onto a piece of driftwood using a solution made from orange peel which gently transfers the toner onto the wood. I used lyrics from the Radiohead song 'There There' to compliment the illustration. I was really pleased with how this piece looked and so were the judges as I won Silver!!! The exhibition is running the entirety of January in the foyer at Banks Mill Studios in Derby.
Itching to get back to drawing and ready to start a new project which has been floating around in my head for a few months. Medusa!!! Interested to see how this one develops. This one is also going to have personal angle/theme for a special exhibition that is going to take place in 2018. I will explain more as I progress with this project but I am already thinking it is my most ambitious piece to date; even next to Hecate. I am going all out on the detailing; which is kind of dangerous for me?!
Open Studios time again!!! I transformed the studio into a mini boutique filled with the finest plethora of products (of course) ready for the lovely general public to peruse. Perfect opportunity for me to share my Hecate installation which is still in place in studio 4.11.
It also let me introduce my new jewellery range including my Eagle Owl eye earrings and my Heart's Desire Lockets which proved to be really popular (I think the complimentary sprinkle of fairy dust was a deal clincher) .
It is always an amazing event and one I look forward to all year. So good hearing all the positive feedback. I will be back next year - best start planning now.
The grand unveiling of Hecate happened quite appropriately tonight, Halloween, on the 4th floor at Banks Mill Studios. I planned an installation art piece to summon up the general feel of the artwork and was kindly offered usage of the studio next to mine to display it in. The image was displayed in its entirety on a long voile panel with colour changing LED lights, and the sacred objects underneath completed the shrine. I used an audio track from the singer/songwriter Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes) whose poem, 'The Widow's Peak', provided the finishing touch to the installation.
I transformed the communal area on the top floor into my very own exhibition giving members of the public the opportunity to see the original drawings that made up the piece and giving me a chance to explain the symbolism behind it too.
It was a fantastic night. We all got to wear gothic tiara's too!
New illustration complete and ready for a Citra-Solv image transfer treatment to a piece of driftwood (which I am currently trying to source). This is going to be my entry for the Eco-Create 'Time and Tide Waits for no man' exhibition that will be taking place in late December - January 2017 at Banks Mill. Eco-Create promotes eco-friendly, upcycling and low environmental impact methods of art and craft. My Siren represents the force of nature and however powerful man thinks he is he is always at her mercy.
9 months in the making! She is now complete. Edited and pieced together in Photoshop this is my largest and most complex piece to date. Dripping in symbolism and mysticism I want this work to hail a new direction in my own illustrative style. I feel like this is more the illustrator I want to be and am excited to see where it takes me. I am brimming with ideas!
I have always wanted to play with the idea of using my images set in jewellery so I am having a bit of an experiment using jewellery tray blanks, resin and glass cabochons. I am enjoying it so far and think that the decorative nature of my art really does suit the idea of jewellery. Will hopefully have some finished pieces ready for Open Studios later in November.
Yes, I am now on Etsy! The shop has been built and I am just in the process of relisting items from my shop on here to there. I used to have a shop on Etsy many moons ago with another line of giftware and it is interesting to see how things have changed and improved. So far I am impressed and also excited to be unleashing my artwork on the Etsy community.
Derbyshire Open Arts was a great success this year at Banks Mill over the Bank Holiday weekend. I met some lovely people and received some really positive and complimentary comments from the general public.
People seemed to be really interested in my work and the narratives and symbolism behind my pieces. Throughout the event I was working on the Hecate project and people were genuinely impressed with the idea and couldn't wait to see it complete; I found this very encouraging. I always enjoy these open studio events at Banks Mill and enjoy seeing peoples reactions to my work. One thing that I have noticed is that I have no target audience which I think is a good thing; young and not so young, male/female, people from all walks of life seem to mostly understand an appreciate my work. I like the idea of my work being accessible to any and everyone.
As the Hecate project that I have been working on since new year is still a work in progress, and, because a lot of time has been spent upon it leaving me no spare time to start new work I decided to finish/colourize my original Lohengrin illustration so at least I will have something new to show my loyal visitors during the Derbyshire Open Arts weekend at the end of May. I decided to make it into more of a mixed piece and added an extra section at the bottom using antique music paper featuring 'Elsa's song - Alone in Days of Sorrow' and further illustrations. I kept the colours muted by using watercolours and by adding tea to give more of a sepia effect and an aged feel to the piece. I also decided to finish the head section of the Hecate image as a finished piece in its own right as it seemed a shame to leave it tucked away in my folder during Open Arts. Gold leaf and text was added as a continuation of the art nouveau theme/influence and she is intending to be displayed in a very elaborate gilt frame. I am quite excited to see people reactions to this piece during Derbyshire Open Arts next month.
In order to raise funds for the University of Derby Fine Art Degree show a number of artists were invited to create a postcard that would be sold in a charity auction. My design, 'The Ascension of the Swan King', sold! (phew! - it can always be a bit worrying at these events). The lucky bidder was 'the lady with the blue hair'; great taste!
This year my resolution is to go back to my illustration roots and to revisit themes where I feel my artistic direction needs to go. From an early age I have always been deeply fascinated and interested in myth and fantasy; it is a constant reoccurring source of inspiration for me. I have explored many areas of illustration and even though my obsession with detail has never stopped my style does change and sometimes quite dramatically. I have decided in order to progress in my artistic development I need to commit to one style but bringing in elements from other areas which I have found have been successful, as in wildlife illustration and art nouveau inspired pen work. My new piece, 'Hecate', is an exploration of this idea and it is turning out to be quite an epic drawing - one of the largest I have yet to complete. So far, so good . . .