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.
I am delighted to say that my coloured pencil drawing An Apprentice of Indigo is a finalist in the SAA Artists of the Year 2021 competition. From thousands of entries it is one of 43 pictures in the Portrait or Figure category.
This little girl stole my heart the moment I first saw her, the combination of her innate confidence in her mischief, that smile and her wonky fringe meant I knew I had to draw her portrait. An Apprentice of Indigo is part of a pairing with my other portrait An Age of Indigo, such joy at both ends of the age spectrum from these women in their Vietnamese community.
Alongside various prizes which will be awarded by the Artists of the Year judges, there is also a People’s Choice vote, so if you want to check out the entries and place your vote for your favourite, you have till the 9th September 2021 to do so here (no registration is required).
I have been fortunate enough to have two of my pencil portrait submissions – Amur Leopard and A Lifetime of Laughter – highly commended in previous SAA Artists of the Year competitions, so to be recognised again and amongst so much talent is a huge compliment.
My most recent coloured pencil portrait, An Age of Indigo, has been doing me proud in the current Pastel Society exhibition. She has captured peoples imagination with her most expressive face, and has led to a number of enquiries. One woman in particular has fallen in love with her and has given her a new home in London as a gift to herself on her retirement. I am delighted that she speaks to others as much as she does me, and that she has started her new life in the city.
If you too would like some Indigo joy in your life, beautiful limited edition giclée prints and greetings cards are available, just drop me a line for more information.
And if you would like to learn more about the creation of this portrait, you can do with my blog post An Age of Indigo in the Making.
The February edition of the US publication COLOR Magazine features my most recent coloured pencil artwork, An Age of Indigo. I was asked if I would like to be included, which was of course a yes from me, and so I wrote a short piece about this portrait which you can read on the COLOR blog.
COLOR Magazine is a creation of the American artist Ann Kullberg, the first artist I became aware of who worked in coloured pencil, back when I was a teenager. Her realistic portraits were a huge inspiration to me, and I would pore over the book of hers that I borrowed from my local library, in awe of her skill and these seemingly impossible artworks.
This is the second time I have been featured in COLOR, you can read more about the first time I was the cover artist and published in its pages with my post about my step by step guide to drawing A Violet Veil.
Looking back at 2020 in pictures, this is my year in art. Amongst all the other things that life has required, and the particular and unexpected challenges of 2020, making art has remained a constant source of joy for me. There is a certain peace that comes with putting your attention on one task, and the distraction it offers from the regular thoughts when that task is challenging. Being creative, in whichever way it manifests for you, can be a form of meditation. For me it is an opportunity to disappear into something else for a while, to challenge my abilities as well as my preconceptions, and to really focus my attention on what is.
I will never tire of the magic of watching a drawing unfold in front of me. Despite knowing the techniques that I employ the visual illusions of shadows and highlights creating a sense of form work every time, and this never ceases to delight. I love the tangible nature of art, that I have something to show for my efforts, and appreciate the time I get to spend really getting to know the individuality of my subjects in this way.
Top row, left to right: Bonny Miss Bonnie (pastel), Billy the Kid (pastel), Jay (pastel), Pepsi (pastel), Melissa (pastel)
Bottom row, left to right: An Apprentice of Indigo (coloured pencil), An Age of Indigo (coloured pencil), Lisa and Danny (graphite pencil), Barn Owl (pastel), What a Hoot! (pastel)
I first saw the photograph which inspired this portrait a few years ago, an instantly fell in love with this little girl. There is something so engaging about her joyful smile and the innocence she conveys as she proudly shows the blue of the indigo plant on her hands. Perhaps she has been doing something mischievous, or perhaps she has been helping as others hand dye fabric according to traditional methods. Either way, the simple pleasure of her actions is a universal experience, and is delightfully captured in this portrait.
I have wanted to draw her ever since I first saw her, and then when I discovered the image which inspired my drawing An Age of Indigo, I knew that they would be a perfect pair. At opposite ends of the generational spectrum, they both exude joy, and both make me smile as I look back at them.
Whilst drawing this portrait I scanned the picture at regular intervals to document the drawing process. This record is a visual diary for me, and a way to share how I work and what goes into creating an artwork like this. I posted the steps of this and many other artworks on my Facebook page in the Works in Progress album, so that my followers can join me on the journey. I love this opportunity to connect the solo work of an artist in her studio in Cornwall with a worldwide audience, sharing my thoughts at each point along the way.
This little girl has been a delight to have on my drawing board, and I am glad to have had this time getting to know her.
The original artwork, limited edition prints and greetings cards featuring An Apprentice of Indigo are available to purchase, please contact me directly for more information.
A great many thanks go to Réhahn Photography for his generosity in allowing me to reference his incredible photograph.
I am delighted to announce that my coloured pencil drawing An Age of Indigo has been selected to be a part of the upcoming Pastel Society exhibition. This show will be held at London’s Mall Galleries in April 2021. It was due to open in January but due to national restrictions the decision was made to postpone the physical exhibition till the Spring.
All selected works in this exhibition are able to be viewed and purchased at the Mall Galleries website.
This news is a wonderful way to round off the year for me. After being selected to exhibit in both the Society of Women Artists and the ING Discerning Eye virtual shows this year, news that my artwork will be seen in a physical exhibition in a matter of weeks is very exciting. I make art primarily for my own pleasure, and to know that others enjoy it too is always a delight. Though to have this recognition of my skill, and in turn all the years of hard work that have allowed me to draw like this, is really encouraging and appreciated.
Many thanks go to Réhahn Photography for his most inspiring reference image.
An Age of Indigo is my most recent portrait, drawn solely with coloured pencils. The woman we find ourselves smiling back at has such a presence, she seems to have the ability to connect with all who see her through the universal language of a smile.
In Vietnam covering your mouth when smiling is a sign of modesty. And although we cannot see her mouth at all, there is no doubt as to her expression thanks to the way her eyes are lit up with joy, and the lines carved into her skin speak of the thousands of moments of laughter and joy through her life. This fact speaks strongly to me, as whilst we can readily admire the physical legacy of emotion in the form of wrinkles on her face, we are all too often condemning anything other than a youthful complexion on our own. I choose to embrace the privilege that is aging, and to welcome the lines on my skin which will speak for me of all the emotions I have felt during my lifetime. I think there are few things more beautiful than a broad smile with the traces of thousands of smiles shining with it.
The blue of her fingers is thanks to decades of hand dyeing cloth with the leaves of the indigo plant, tucked away in the hills above Sapa.
Whilst drawing this portrait I scanned the picture at eight stages along the way. This documentation of the process is a visual diary for me, and a way to share how I work and what goes into creating an artwork like this. I post the steps on my Facebook page in the Works in Progress album so my followers can join me on the journey. I love this opportunity to connect the solo work of an artist in her studio in Cornwall with a worldwide audience, sharing my thoughts at each point along the way.
This wonderful woman has been such good company on my drawing board, and I am glad to have had this time getting to know her. I will be looking to exhibit this portrait at the next opportunity, and have already begun work on another coloured pencil drawing which will join her to make a pair of portraits.
The original artwork, limited edition prints and greetings cards featuring An Age of Indigo are available to purchase, please contact me directly for more information.
A great many thanks go to Rehahn Photography for his generosity in allowing me to reference his incredible photograph.
One of the most common questions posed by people who view my art is ‘where do you start?’ This prompted me to start documenting my process so I can go some way to sharing how a portrait is developed.
Currently on my drawing board is this coloured pencil portrait, titled An Age of Indigo. It features a Vietnamese woman who for decades has hand dyed fabric with indigo, and the legacy of her work is her beautifully stained blue fingers.
These six stages take me to approximately half way in completing her portrait. You can see the layers are initially laid down very gently as I build base tones and identify shadows and highlights. This allows me to gradually create depth, then over time I include an increasing level of detail.
The other most frequent inquiry is ‘how long does it take you to draw a picture like that?’ I am yet to keep track of the time spent on any given portrait, preferring to immerse myself in the process and spend as long as each picture requires. I can say though that it is a great many hours of focused and gradual shading, and that by the end of such an intense relationship I feel as if I really know the subject personally.
You can view an album of works in progress on my Facebook page.
Thanks go to Réhahn Photography for the reference image.