I am thrilled to say that I am on the cover of the September 2022 issue of Artists & Illustrators! My pastel portrait Bonny Miss Bonnie is smiling at passers by from newstands, gracing the computers of digital subscribers and cheering up coffee tables across the UK and overseas.
Inside the magazine there is a six page ‘In the Studio’ feature exploring my artistic inspirations, motivations and methods. Seeing my work in print is always exciting, and to have my drawings in a magazine I have enjoyed for many years is very flattering.
Being an artist can be a pretty isolating job. I am not one of those who spends a lot of time on social media connecting with people, and in-person events are few and far between at the moment due to other commitments, so having an opportunity like this to reach a wider audience than I ever would on my own is something I am very grateful for.
The interview questions I was posed were excellent, they really made me reflect on what I do and why. And when I asked those who follow me online which 10 artworks people felt best represent my work, I received a brilliant response with many considered replies. All of those votes and comments helped inform the selection of pictures I submitted for this feature, so thank you to everyone who contributed and encouraged me.
You can get your copy of Artists & Illustrators in many highstreet retailers, major supermarkets and independent newsagents, or visit the A&I website and buy or subscribe online.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in this article about my feature in Cornwall Life Magazine.
With my latest artwork A Handful of Faith on the drawing board, I have now passed the halfway mark in the journey of creating my series of six hands studies. Each artwork is in pastel, and they are all featuring hands that through their actions tell a story of every day life for these individuals in Vietnam.
A Handful of Faith is the fourth pastel painting, and you can see it’s humble beginnings here in my studio. I typically work across the whole page when I start an artwork, blocking in the basic values of light and shade and getting a sense of the outlines and proportions. Details will then be very gradually introduced and developed, most commonly according to what catches my eye at any given time.
I spend a lot of time sat before this drawing slope in my studio, with natural light thanks to the North facing window and my daylight lamp boosting levels whenever it gets a little dim. This is how I work, with my drawing materials on my right hand side and any reference materials and my pencil sharpener to the left.
Over the years I have developed a system that works well for me. I have three sets of pastel pencils that are laid out, each has slightly different qualities and colours to the next, and the three together make the dream team. The pastel pencils that you see stood up in the cup are those I have used thus far on the picture in progress, and those laying down beside this are the pencil which I am using for the part of the picture I am drawing right now. These will typically be held in my left hand whilst I draw so that I can quickly swap them around, as so much of my work changes in colour every few millimetres.
The first three pastel paintings in this series are A Handful of Chillies, A Handful of Salt and A Handful of Lotus Seeds.
Many thanks go to Réhahn Photography for his inspiring reference images.
To share with you something of the process of creating one of my artworks, I have created this montage of eight stages of A Handful of Lotus Seeds. This is a pastel painting, using pastel pencils on Pastelmat paper. This allows for a lot of detail which is of course important to me, and as the pastel builds and blends on the page it becomes beautifully creamy.
This artwork has already proved very popular with those who have seen it. The rich earthy colours draw people in, and the contrasting blurred background with the highly detailed hands creates an image that invites closer inspection. For me it is these things plus the narrative that is created that excites, I can just imagine someone crouching down before a mass of lotus seeds, scooping them up in her hands, and how they must sound and feel. We are transported to her world, an act that is no doubt immensely familar to her whilst to myself at least, something I have never experienced yet can still relate to.
It is the commonality in difference that is the driving force behind so much of my artwork. We are all completely individual, yet in so many ways fundamentally the same.
Once the full series of hands studies has been completed, I will make available limited edition prints and greetings cards of A Handful of Lotus Seeds, A Handful of Salt, A Handful of Chillies and the others.
Thanks go to Réhahn Photography for his amazing image.