Sunday, 15 December 2013

Happy Place

Things have been a bit quiet here on my blog, mainly because 'life' just seems to get in the way of me making any art at the moment. In an ideal world I would have eight hours (at least) every day to draw, paint and collage.  It really is my happy place.  However, there always seems to be something else that NEEDS to be done before I can get started.
Well not today.  All my duties and jobs have been pushed aside. I have avoided doing anything that didn't involve a paintbrush or glue. Everything has been put on hold so I can paint and collage to my hearts content, and here is the result....Rudolph and Santa out flying, and a very contented me.

 I have had a very lovely day in my happy place. Now, off to iron the school uniforms.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

MATS Blog Tour

Today kicks off a Make Art That Sells blog tour.  I'm one of the first (eek!) along with two other lovely students. The idea is we talk a little bit about our time on Lillas' wonderful course, and link to some of our fellow MATS students' blogs.  It's our little way of helping and promoting each other.  An amazing part of this course is the support and encouragement you get from your fellow students.  They're like a big team.....full of praise, advice, constructive criticism and 'likes', cheering each other on, 24 hours a day (great for us lonely designers who work on our own at home, and stay up working way past our bedtime). So this blog tour is our little way of continuing that support.

Well, first up here are my thoughts about MATS.  I LOVED it, every second of it, every late night and exhausted morning.  I didn't watch ANY telly for 5 weeks I was so into it.  All the beautiful inspiration which I LOVED, interviews,  Lillas' words of advice (especially if I was feeling a bit stuck....Lillas' "get cracking" always did the trick and has now become my mantra). Lilla's teaching is fantastic and inspiring.  You know the saying....A mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. (William Arthur Ward) Well, Lilla is definitely a great teacher.  I loved the mini exercises given on a Monday in preparation for the main assignments Wednesday,  I loved the weekly review. I loved everything!!  Most importantly, I learnt a LOT, which I can't wait to put into my new work.

If you want to read more about my time on MATS, please have a look at my previous blog posts. 

If you're in a rush, here is a little montage of the five weekly pieces I created while on MATS. Top left: Home Decor, bromeliad inspired plates.  Bottom left: Gift market, zipper pouch based on our collections. Middle: Children's Books, Russian folk tale 'The Language of the Birds'.  Top right: Bolt Fabric, Berries and Pyrex.  Bottom right: Wall Art.

Now back to my fellow students, please head on over to and who are both blogging today about their MATS experiences.  Tomorrow it will be the turn of, and so be sure to check them all out.

Friday, 15 November 2013

My little Santa

Out shopping today I popped into WHSmiths and spotted a card I did for Abacus.

Hold on tight Santa!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Make Art that Sells Week 5

Well, it was the final week of Make Art that Sells last week.  So sad it's finishing.  I'm really gonna miss the daily lovely, supportive, talented classmates....and Lilla, our wonderful teacher.  This has been my absolute favourite ever course and I would definitely recommend it.

This week the brief was to design a hyper lush zipper pouch based on our 'collections'.

My first problem was I don't actually collect anything.  My classmates were starting to show their amazing collections of vintage ceramics, jewellery, gorgeous inspiring objects and ephemera and I was starting to get a bit worried.

I looked around my house, on a treasure hunt, and the only thing I found I collect stuff!! I collect kids stuff!!  My children's toys, books, dolls, drawings and paintings....I have a collection!!!

So I painted, drew, scanned and collaged away, using my kids' drawings, hand prints and paintings, alongside my own, and here's what I came up with.

I was quite pleased with this, mainly because it's so different for me, and it was really fun to do in Photoshop. Definitely going to work in this way again, get loads of bits and pieces of imagery, throw them all in, mix them up and see what comes out.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Make Art That Sells Week 4

Week 4 in Lilla Rogers Make Art that Sells was Wall Art.  This week was all about having fun and playing. We started the week with a mini exercise to gather lots of things we could use for collaging...papers, vintage wallpaper, fabric, buttons etc in two colours based on our star sign. Mine were orange and green.  The assignment was to create an abstract collage style wall art in your two colours (plus unlimited neutrals) which had to include some words and floral motifs.

Here is my finished piece.  The quote is "The way to love anything is to realise that it may be lost" by Gilbert K. Chesterton.  We were allowed a bit of flexibility with our colours, my orange definitely turned into a very red orange, and I didn't use much green.

Sooo many layers of paper, paint and glue went into this and it went through a series of transformations...I stuck bits on....sanded them off.....painted back over it....sanded it...painted over it completely in orange at one point....didn't like it....tried to wash it off (which left quite a nice effect) and spent ages on this.  But it was worth it in the end.  I did enjoy it, and Lilla featured it in her review (which is always nice).

Happy days.

Make Art That Sells Week 3

Week 3 at Lilla school was all about Children's Picture Books, a week I was really looking forward to. Since having my three little kids and reading them hundreds of picture books over the last few years, I've got SO into them and I love buying gorgeous books for my kids (for me).  Last year I did an Illustrating Children's Book course with the London Art College which I loved.  (Here's a little pic of a drawing I did on the course of a border for a spooky poem).

Back to MATS, Mondays mini was to draw a bird character and letter the words 'The Language of the Birds'.  Lots of trends and inspiration were given, tips on creating appealing characters, as well as information on getting work in this market.

The assignment was to illustrate the front cover, or a double page spread for an old Russian folk tale 'The Language of the Birds'.  I loved doing this brief.  The idea, colour scheme and character came together really quickly and I had so much fun painting and collaging the final artwork.  To top it off Lilla reviewed my piece and said so many lovely positive things about it!

I'm definitely going to be illustrating some more fairytales and folktales for my it!

Make Art That Sells Week 2

Time for a catch up!  I think I'll do it over a few posts or this one will go on forever.

So, this month I've been busy on the wonderful Make Art That Sells ecourse, as well as doing some Christmas card artworks for the lovely people over at Abacus Cards.  I can't post anything about my card designs (Christmas 2014 so top secret) but I can post about the amazing MATS course.

Week 2 was all about Home Decor.  Lilla started the week by showing some gorgeous products to get us all inspired, and setting us a mini exercise to draw Bromeliads (never heard of them).  Turns out they're a type of plant related to the pineapple...lots of spikes...tropical looking...really not my thing, but I drew and painted them anyway, and produced a collection of the most ugly drawings I've done in a long time.

The assignment given on Wednesday was to design 2-4 floral ceramic plates based on our drawings of bromeliads, suitable for a retailer like Anthropolgie or Crate & Barrel.

Cue many hours of painfully trying to get my (ugly) drawings into some kind of design I liked in Photoshop, nearly having nothing to submit for the weekly review by Lilla, and then at the last minute ditching everything I'd done and starting again.......but.......FINALLY....I got there, and here is my submission.

I didn't use any of my drawings in the end, and opted instead to go down the paper cut and collage route, adding a little bird, crowns and butterflies.  Such a stressful week, but worth it as Lilla reviewed my work and said everything about my design was happy (if only she knew) and light and successful.

I learnt a lot this week about not giving up!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Loving Lilla School

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I am loving online courses at the moment.  I have just completed my first week doing Lilla Rogers amazing Make Art That Sells course.  It is so inspiring.  Our first assignment was to design a Bolt fabric with a vintage kitchen theme, using Berries and Pyrex style casserole dishes as icons.  Here is my finished design which I had great fun doing.

The week has been packed full of tips, style inspiration for layouts and media, interviews, and a very useful looking time management system which I desperately need and will try out next week.  Can't wait!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

A First...

Today is a first for me.  It's the first time I've ever entered my designs into a competition.  Here are my entries for the Tigerprint 'Shapes as Pattern' competition. They're based on my other giftwrap designs which I posted a few weeks ago.  I've changed the background to smarten it up a bit, brightened the colour palette to make it a bit more cheerful, and I've also done a star design for kids.

Judging by some of the other entries I don't stand a chance of winning goes anyway!

Friday, 27 September 2013

A Collection

Today I thought I'd post some of the designs I've created while on Module 2 of The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design ecourse.  This is the first collection I have ever done and I really enjoyed it.  The motifs are painted or collaged, then manipulated in Photoshop.  Learning so much on this course, it's brilliant!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Daring Adventures

I'm starting to get a bit addicted to art eCourses.  I'd already signed up for the brilliant Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, but couldn't resist Mati Rose McDonough's 'Daring Adventures in Paint' (bargain price.)

Unfortunately, they're running at the same time and I haven't been giving Mati's course my full attention.  I watch the videos, read all the posts, look at everybody else's work, but that's as far as it goes, I haven't actually done any painting....until today.  I made some time to get stuck in, so I thought I'd share the results.

We've been learning about making 'lush backgrounds' using various paint techniques and collage.

The pictures above and below are works in progress, just backgrounds, lots more layers to go on yet, but I kinda like them the way they are.


Monday, 16 September 2013


Hello and welcome to my brand new blog.
I'll post a little picture of a recent design I did for giftwrap while I figure out how all this works!

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