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Cover Art and Owls

It been a busy week since my last post, as I have been manically working on pieces for hand in, but also I was brave and put work into the competition for the front page of our Ma graduation catalogue for the London show (I submitted 2 in the end). They were not selected, but the image chosen is beautiful (more on that nearer the time).

So, for this week’s post I thought I would take you through the hundreds of choices I made to get to the final covers.

1a
It started with this little Owl, (made using Daniel Smith Watercolours).
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Some of his details were picked out using machine embroidery.
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I thought he was a little lonely, so added in some parents.
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And a background
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then played with many different layouts
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and added leaves
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then played some more digitally, adding in more leaves and moving the moon
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and adding shadows for more depth
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But it felt too much, so the moon was removed…..
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…..and the leaves. But I didn’t like them all looking so directly out of the image…..
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And so for more narrative, I asked the parents to go to sleep. They said they would happily do so, as it was rather bright for them.
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And then, for my second image, it worked a bit easier – I chose cats! You know by now I love cats. And for the colours I used the “pipette” to choose the colours from the two cats. Oddly I prefer this to the owls, yet it took a tenth of the time.

So there you go….. 2 finished designs, one with more choices than others. The next piece to be created was for my page inside but more on that in the next posts……..

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And now for some Cats…..

 

Mog and Daniel Smith
Mog…. who is guarding my Daniel Smith “dots”

Cats surround me at the moment, from this delicious little chap (Mog’s doppelganger) who sits at my desk keeping me company whilst I work, to the numerous ones that live around me, many of whom were happy to sit on their front lawns in the late Autumn sun whist I sketched them. Now, there is only one little cat that braves the cold,  sitting on the many sheds watching over his territory. I have always loved  drawing cats, and my favourite book is Andy Warhol’s Cats, Cats, Cats – a copy of which I have treasured for many years.

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My copy of Andy Warhol – Cats, Cats, Cats

I myself have no cats, but have several “friends” I meet when out and about, and  do have my Mog – the perks of illustrating children’s books is that I simply have to buy the toys and the books. It’s all research….. honest!

So now to the stars of this post….. the cats themselves:

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follow me

 

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waiting

and some more cats….. (click for them to appear larger)

An inspiring trip to South Wales, and Sketching.

FeaturedAn inspiring trip to South Wales, and Sketching.

The year is marching on apace…..and now winter is certainly upon us. I am writing warmly curled up in my studio, watching the tree outside dance to the wind’s musical howl. But to backtrack a bit – last month we went to Wales for an inspiring break away. Our cottage was down a mile of track and up the side of a deep ravine. Whilst I was anticipating wonderful sketching daytrips, I did not expect our little cottage to be quite so inspirational…..

The view from our dining table, and late afternoon sketching at Whitesands
The view from our dining table, and late afternoon sketching at Whitesands wrapped up in two cardigans, a scarf, a poncho and a pair of fingerless gloves to keep out the cold.

Whitesands features regularly in my life as I follow the life of the delightfully wonderful Jackie Morris in her blog and other writings. Her work is full of the magic of Wales, but also otherworldly places and people. It was a bit of a pilgrimage (sadly she was away on tour) and I was lucky enough to see originals of her work and prints at Solva Woolen Mill. I was so excited and longed to stay forever. Sadly that was not allowed so I satisfied myself with a signed copy of her latest book Wild Swans, and a calendar. Not quite the same as original artwork, but just as beautiful!

Jackie Morris - Wild Swans
Jackie Morris – Wild Swans

On other days we explored the countryside and coastlines, and visited Laugharne, the home of Dylan Thomas for many years, and thanks to a good push up the hill from my husband, we got to see his writing shed (apparently smartened up now, as the walls were too yellow from his smoking). Nonetheless, it was still full of atmosphere, and I could imagine him walking straight in and pondering on another play for voices.

(Top) Dylan Thomas' Boat House, the view. (Middle and Bottom) Sketching materials and more sketches
(Top) Dylan Thomas’ Writing Shed, the view from his shed.
(Middle and Bottom) Sketching materials and more sketches

It was such an inspiring trip and I drew constantly each day…in a way that often the day to day does not allow. I was even so inspired by the new boots I found in St Davids, that I simply had to paint one of them…….

A Watermill, New Boot(s), A man looking for crabs in the river, and imaginative piece. I was certainly inspired.

And Finally…

Thankyou to all my visitors. I noticed some from North and Eastern America and Australia popping up, so “Hello” around the world.

Hello from me!
Hello from me! All wrapped up in the ever accompanying poncho!