Suddenly sociable

My friends often complain of the difficulty they have in enticing me from my sofa, but recently I seem to have been going out, socialising, and not suffering any ill effects at all!

kimpartyKim had a crazy party for her retirement,



My family had a slightly more sedate one for Easter (!) My Pa and Sister did have a good time, honest.


This gig was great, I love West African music, and this had a good jazz vibe too. Drawing in the dark was good fun.




I went out for lunches,



and observed people in pubs. I wonder what they were all talking about?


Spring is in the air

I love the changing of the seasons, and Springtime in particular makes me happy, fluffy white clouds in blue skies and blossoms and buds everywhere.


It takes 45mins to drive to work, but I don’t mind as I get to see the glorious Worcestershire countryside changing day by day.


My absolute favourite flowers! Quick splashes of watercolour followed by slightly more careful pen lines.

spring-blossomHmmm. Gouache. I need to play with this more to get the hang of it.


err… now how did that sneak into my post about springtime? Another burst of pleasure perhaps.

New job, new people to draw

I started a new phase in my life in September, teaching art to kids with Social Emotional and Mental Health issues (SEMH)

I absolutely love it. The staff are a brilliant and committed bunch and the students are delightfully funny and very challenging. One of my colleagues calls them the ‘little cherubs’ and whilst they are anything but, I shall too!

There are meetings and training sessions to attend and of course my sketchbook goes wherever I go…


Here is a great way to talk to young children about personal safety using a song. The jolly animated video is on the NSPCC website, or you can watch it  here



Some training is more fun than others, but it is all necessary and most of it is useful.


Sometimes I catch a likeness really well (above) more often than not there is only a passing resemblance (below) I just turn the page. It’s only my sketchbook. It’s only practice.


Well now I’ve told you what I’m doing 3 days a week- having a great time working out how to make art accessible and engaging for students with complex emotional needs. But whilst I have been getting to grips with this, several months have gone by! I still have to tell you about my cruise around the med…

Until next time  xx



Portrait practice

I seem to be more interested in drawing people than architecture and landscapes in my sketchbook. This does not mean that I have any particular skill, my attempts at getting a likeness seem often out of my control. The results vary wildly from appalling to surprisingly pleasing, as can be seen below!


Quick scribbles at school and in waiting rooms. Teenaged boys that I have contact with are going through a worrying phase of having short back and sides with a permed top that makes them look like poodles…




This is a rather good likeness of our friend Amanda. I am happy with this one.



I messed up the mouth on this portrait of my friend John so much that I gave up in disgust.



My dear Ma is ever tolerant of my attempts to capture a likeness. I haven’t managed it yet, which I put down to her having a square head. Nothing to do with me. Oh no.squarehead2



With a sketchbook, one is never bored. Waiting is just another opportunity to do a character study.

Where has the time gone? Summer is over!!

The best of Summer is certainly past, any day of sunshine now is to be appreciated as the delightful treat that it is. My summer ended in a rush of activity. I looked after  friends’ garden whilst they were away:




I didn’t have to look after the livestock thankfully, though I did enjoy my daily chat with the chickens. Beautiful creatures, as long as you don’t look at their horrible pre-historic dinosaur talons…





My own garden ( a profusion of pots on my roof garden) has given me much joy and delight this summer:


Each griddled courgette has been delicious, each magically grown tomato a burst of acid sweetness on the tongue.



The poppy seeds harvested from Chepstow have been surprisingly fruitful – pots of tiny pretty poppies and blue seed heads .



Gerberas are so jolly, and such good value! This plant has flowered repeatedly for 3 months, looking lovely every day. I will most certainly have more of them next year.

I have enjoyed my summer garden immensely, and might even get my act together to plant up spring bulbs. I do love a beautiful tulip… Watch this garden diary/sketchbook!

Next post : a few get togethers and jaunts before beginning the serious business of GOING BACK TO SCHOOL… 🙂 🙂 🙂




You do the eyes too big!

The very talented Vin Ganapathy introduced me to the app Sktchy which is available on iphone and ipad. People upload photographs of themselves and in so doing give permission for anyone to draw them. I love it because when you scroll through the artworks, you can swipe sideways to see the original source image and compare it with the artistic choices made by the artists! So, if you want to draw people, or want to be drawn….head to Sktchy!

Following are some of the portraits I have done recently.

HannahPI find the ones that are loose and spontaneous are most successful. KieranLNathanMAbbieJMy women are a bit hit or miss. Pleased with the one above, overworked the ones below.

ColleenOaudreyFBeardedWI really like this drawing, but I don’t think the subject was too impressed. I left out his ornate neck tattoo and made him look more scruffy hippy than hipster. But hey, it’s my drawing!lowkeyvibesadStuartYes, there is a bit of a beard thing going on…

ThithiBW2I must admit to quite fancying these two (the drawn versions, not the real ones) but I do have to do something about my tendency to make the eyes enormous. Just because my family all have big limpid eyes doesn’t mean I have to give them to everyone. Mind you, Picasso did…. DaveG


And here is the man responsible for this latest sketching fad, Vin G himself : VinPortrait


Heat and Happiness

I planted up a few pots this year (ahem) and my garden is bringing me much pleasure.


I am now washing the herbs thoroughly since the pigeons have taken to sitting in them…


Some nights it is actually too hot to sleep. This is England, it only happens about 3 days per year, so I won’t worry too much.


I promised Sadaf that I would draw her. Why is it so much harder to catch a likeness when you know the person? Is it just me? Sadaf has a wider kindlier face that this with her eyes spaced further apart. I will have another go soon.


Above is a drawing that in no way captures the charm of my goddaughter, but below is one that captures my friend quite well!


I have been having a #sktchy binge this week, practising portraits, so I will post the results next time. Enjoy the sunshine whilst it lasts!