Festive Foods


I love the traditions of food around the Christmas season. My friend Katy always gives these delicious biscuits and I can’t wait for the Turkey soup – my favourite…



Panto time!


It’s only Britain that has this tradition of Pantomime during the winter months. I love it! The mix of fairy story, song and dance, jokes and innuendo, contemporary references and mahem, all wrapped up in sparkly costumes is just magical and means Christmas is here.


Work hard, play hard.

Term has ended for the Christmas holidays, but for those children hoping to win scholarships to their senior schools the workload is heavy and studies will continue over the holiday period. examinvigilation

We did have some great festivities during the last week, the Christmas plays, the fabulous whole school Christmas lunch with the Twelve Days of Christmas sung (and acted out) table by table, and the Christmas Fayre, where Father Christmas almost caused a riot by arriving by helicopter. I’m not really into cars, but goodness, I fell in love with this very pretty helicopter –  just the thing for my commute to work. Now, if Santa could bring me one for being a very good girl this year…



I used to keep a dream diary many years ago, but had to stop as I was in danger of remembering so much and then spending most of the day transcribing and interpreting them. I do still remember them fairly often and the ones that stick with me get scribbled into my journal. Amusing, nonsensical, occasionally scary or just hilarious. My subconscious.





Pa’s new knee.

My Father delayed and delayed getting a new knee until he could hardly move about without leaning on things and couldn’t walk more than a few steps without great pain. He had understandable qualms about possible heart trouble, but eventually bit the bullet and had it done. Eight weeks later he was able to walk 3 miles down hill to see Petra with my mother whilst on a cruise. Pa-knee-op

I like drawing in hospitals, there is always a lot of waiting around to be done, drawing is soothing to the nerves and there are always captives  models sat around or interesting machines to draw. I think you can tell that my attention has wandered to the blood pressure monitor in this one…


It is so lovely to see him standing tall and straight again, 10 years seem to have dropped away and all the pain and stress has been smoothed from his kindly affable face.



But there’s nothing interesting to draw!

It took me a long time, WAY after I had left art college to realise that drawing for the sake of practising looking was a good enough reason to draw. One of many different reasons. I think I used to struggle with the misconception that if I didn’t have a pineapple, a bust of a Greek god or an artfully draped nude, then there was no point. I am glad it dawned on me that if I was to improve my levels of skill then I had do regular training, and 20 or 30 minutes several times a week are always better than an hour every fortnight. There is always something to draw. ( I can hear my English teacher correcting my double negative from here)



This spread is a textbook example of several lessons I have learnt over time.  My drawings tend to expand and burst out of the page if I don’t do a bit of quick pencil planning first, just a few marks to get proportions correct, and useful landmarks indicated. Lesson 1: If it goes out of the page, let it.Don’t distort proportions to get it all in. My boots (hopefully) just look like an ‘arty ‘crop now, the viewer’s imagination can make up the rest, they don’t have to know it was a mistake…

Lesson 2: Halfway through this I hated it. The shapes were ok, but I thought the washes were muddy and lacking in definition. I was close to giving up, but I KNOW from experience, that when I reach that point, if I push on for another while, it will all of a sudden come together into something more successful and pleasing. The brilliant Tommy Kane, one of the teachers in Sketchbook Skool reinforced this lesson in his insane kitchen drawings…http://tommykane.blogspot.co.uk/

No glowing glossy still life here, but an exercise in observation all the same!  I hate the way the personal radio station in my head plays terrible, terrible hooks from the worst songs ever. Over and over. My inner DJ has appalling taste.