Botanical Illustration

•April 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’ve always loved drawing plants and flowers. But I’m in awe of proper, scientific, botanical illustration. Which is odd, because I found Biology really dull, but I digress. I’ve finally booked myself onto a couple of workshops in May and September and I couldn’t be more excited and motivated right now. It’s specifically for botanical illustration in watercolour (very rusty at the moment) so I ordered the equipment list straight away to get a few hours in first.

Here’s my first painting using the rough principles from the Kew book of botanical illustration by Cristabel King.

Not so happy with the bulb as I think I’ve been a bit lazy, but the flower came out well. Next!


Catching up

•October 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a while since I posted anything on here, and even longer since I posted regularly. I’m going to make a new home page, but in the meantime I’ve added some new and old content to the category pages.

Here are a couple of recent pieces.

Seed head

Seed head – ink and pencil

We can do hard things

“We can do hard things” – Dandelion seed and glue

Babies – distraction or inspiration?

•August 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

In April 1977, my dad grabbed some nearby felt tip pens and sketched this picture of his almost-3-year-old standing on a sewing machine box, looking out of the window.

Rachel, April 1977

Rachel, April 1977

Nearly 40 years later, the almost-3-year-old popped her toddler onto the very same sewing machine box for a nosey out of the very same window, and took a photo.  With the luxury of more time and some nice coloured pencils, she drew this.

E, July 2014

E, July 2014

Those curtains are still looking pretty good, considering…


R x

Happy May…

•May 9, 2010 • 2 Comments

Well once every 5 months is better than once every six months isn’t it?

OK well I’m here because I’ve started going to life drawing classes again, which is brilliant. I thought perhaps I could post some stuff in case you’re interested.

We did 4 pictures in 2 hours with a decent break in the middle, so none of them were longer than 20 mins.

These classes are very tightly guided, which is totally unlike the ones I used to go to in Lincoln, but I’m really pleased because it’s going to be very good for me, given the lack of practice recently.

This week it was charcoal, chalk and (until the last picture) one colour. It was like being back at college – ace!

Week 2, picture 1
So the first one was just launching everyone into the medium, because not everyone had used charcoal or chalk before. We were encouraged to use the colour as a midtone, which is interesting and not something I’d do naturally.

Week 2, picture 2
More of the same but a trickier pose. It’s ended up looking a bit like a girl for some reason. It wasn’t. I think the thigh’s ended up looking a bit fleshy and some of the rubbing out looks like long hair.
Week 2, picture 3
This one didn’t go very well at all – I was having terrible trouble with the shoulder. He has very prominent shoulder blades, and I just wasn’t getting the proportions right, plus the twist in the torso added another tricky element, and we could have done with a lot longer to nail it. Anyway, it wasn’t about proportional pickiness, it was about mark making – technique was white chalk on black paper, then start off the drawing by eroding into it – rubbing out the white. I like anything that gets rid of blank paper, and it’s easier than the similar thing we did at college with a pencil. We must have been there for half an hour covering the paper…

Week 2, picture 4
Same technique but starting off by covering the paper with a colour, and I ran off to grab a contrasting colour at this point. I love the effect it’s had. It was also on purple paper, so it’s a riot of colourblindness nightmare.

More soon – watch this space. But not all the time because that’d be very boring.

Happy New Year!

•January 2, 2010 • 1 Comment

Woo! I’ve done it – first picture finished since May 2009.

It’s been a bit of a prolonged absence but hopefully I can start to get back into things now. The new place has birds everywhere and there’s a very persistent and surprisingly brave little robin hanging about most of the time. This isn’t him – my camera just isn’t that good – but this is an ode to the ballsy little chubby guy in the tree. And the robin. Must talk to the police about that guy in the tree.


Fridge poem

•May 12, 2009 • 3 Comments

Hello everyone…anyone…  How are you all?  It’s been a while.  Sorry.

House-selling things are still happening and taking priority over everything else.  I don’t feel able to be artist if I’m being a tidy person, the two don’t really work together for me.  Plus cleaning is exhausting.

I’m taking a short break from de-frosting the fridge freezer and I got the urge to tell you about my fridge poem.  I’ve got one of those magnetic word things, and it just occurred to me that I probably ought to take it off now as it’s a bit messy.  I was horrified to discover that it’s actually left feint stripes where the paint has yellowed less under the magnets without the ‘glare’ of what little sun we have here.  Good God, I didn’t expect screen burn from fridge magnet writing.

I don’t suppose you can get screen savers for your fridge can you?

It’s a sad sort of time – getting rady to make the house not mine any more, but good things await.

Anyway, here’s the last fridge poem I’ll ever do in this house, in all its random glory.  The other half takes credit for line 2 and part of line 1 (Des).  There’s something very relaxing about arranging words on a fridge together.

Des kept euphoria beans.  Needs milk, no cookies.

He keeps doing Christmas cartoons

Our happiness is full of dinner.

Big new rainbows will always be quiet together (that’s my favourite line)

Weekend breakfast being pizza

Baking doughnuts (we don’t actually do that)

Making splits as if by magic.

I don’t desire good jeans or chocolate

Did they ever let my puppies home?

Sunshine in that spring gentle breeze.

There on Sunday children playing have a good day laughing

Kindly we all smile    Wonder at old movies

with blue memories     A nothing moon

You would parade secret parties

Grandpa never hearing from the other room

Grandma is afternoon shopping for birthday presents

Singing her mousse song

Buying flowers cake ice cream

Dad says bears can’t have your best favourite jelly.

Who knows?

Cheer up love.

Feeling sleepy

•March 30, 2009 • 4 Comments

I’m conscious that things have ground to a halt again. Things are very busy at the moment, both at home and at work, so I’ve not posted anything for ages.

In the meantime, I’m posting an old picture that pretty much describes what I’d really like to be doing right now.


Pastel on grey pastel paper.