New Product Launch - My Family Home

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Blog - 'DRUM ROLL PLEASE' *bangs on a big drum*
Carol - 'THAT'S NOT REALLY....'
Blog - *stops drumming* 'What?'
Carol - 'I was just saying that that's not quite how it's supposed to sound'
Blog - 'I have a drum and I'm drumming. What more do you want?' *rolls eyes* 'DRUM ROLL PLEASE' *bangs on the drum again* 'LADIES AND GENTLEMEN I GIVE YOU...' *bangs on the drum a bit more*
Carol - 'GET ON WITH IT'
Carol - 'You think I should explain that a bit more?'
Blog - 'Yeah. That's probably a good idea. Want me to hit the drum again?' *looks hopeful*
Carol - 'Erm, no. You're ok'
Blog - 'Awww' *pouts*
Carol - 'So you can now order your very own family home featuring treasured photo's of your family. I have already created a few so rather than waffle on...'
Blog - 'That's not like you'
Carol - *ignores Blog* 'so rather than waffle on I shall show you. Here are some examples along with what the recipients said about them.'

The Pratt Family:

'What I love most about the family home is that it captures the essence of our family in a much more personal way than an ordinary family tree would. And coupled with Carols excellent art style its just a perfect addition to our home' - Anna Pratt

The Beattie Family:

'It was a beautiful trip down memory lane choosing some photos of us all for Carol to make into our Family Home. And such an emotional moment seeing us all together in our house in the final piece.' - Kaz Beattie

The Worswick Family:

'Arrived today and it is just perfect. A fun picture of my quirky little family. I just sent my photos and left Carol to make the magic happen' - Gayle Worswick 

PRICE: £30 each (around $40) 
SIZE: A4 (8.27 × 11.69 inches) 
(Larger ones can be ordered please contact me for details)

I also offer a complete personalised package where I create a line drawing of your actual home based on photographs that you send me. It would be an additional £20.

If you would like to place an order please click on the 'Contact' tab above. 

August? Already? How did that happen?

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Carol - *opens door to find Blog standing there with his hair in curlers, wearing a flowery pinny and holding a rolling pin which he's waving about in a vaguely threatening manner*
Blog - 'And where do you think YOU'VE been!? Eh. Out all hours, with god knows who, doing god know what! Eh! EH!' *laughs* 'I've been waiting AGES to do that!'
Carol - *laughs* 'You look hilarious! Where on earth did you find that pinny?'
Blog - 'I have my sources' *taps nose knowingly*
Carol - 'Let me guess. If you told me you'd have to kill me'
Blog - 'Exactly!' *laughs* 'How the devil are you?'
Carol - 'I'm good! Been stupidly busy but it's been a good busy'
Blog - 'So what's been keeping you away from my most excellent company?'
Carol - 'Well, I finished the first quarter of the graphic novel'
Blog - 'WOO HOO!!'
Carol - 'I know!' *beams* 'And I have had another exhibition, dropped prints off at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, had a fabulous break up in Scotland with my friend Kristin from Kristin Rawcliffe Artist...
Blog - 'You went on holiday without me?' *shocked face*
Carol - *looks at Blog* 'You know you can't be trusted out in public...just look what happened last time!'
Blog - 'You know I was only borrowing that cow...I was going to take it back. And it wasn't my fault I ended up stranded in the middle of no-where with no shoes or socks...'
Carol - 'Yeah, yeah, yeah!'
Blog - *pouts*
Carol - 'Anyway, I had a lovely time with Kristin in Scotland. We met up with Alison from Pzaz, Ginny from Ginny B, Kaz from The Magic Peacock and Katie from Katie Cooper Art. It was a giddy social whirl'
Blog - *tries to push lips out to an even bigger pout*
Carol - 'You are starting to look constipated!'
Blog - *laughs*
Carol - 'Then my Mum came to stay for a week and we did an abstract painting course together, then lovely husband and I went to WOMAD and then yesterday it was my birthday'
Blog - 'Blimey. You have been busy!'
Carol - 'So do you forgive me for making you wait so long to confront me in that ridiculous outfit?'
Blog - 'Yeah. But only cause it was your birthday yesterday and I'm being nice! Consider it your birthday present'
Carol - *laughs* 'Ok. I will' *pauses* 'Are you not going to go and get changed?'
Blog - 'Naaa. This look is starting to grow on me'
Carol - *Looks at Blog*
Blog - 'What?'
Carol - *shakes head despairingly*

Abstract 1 - 'Exploring The Spaces'

Abstract 2 - 'Cloud Burst'

Abstract 3 - 'Awww, Petal'

Abstract 4 - Not finished yet! (Ran out of time!)

Arty Goings On

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Carol - 'I can't stop long. I just popped in to say hello'
Blog - *looks at Carol* 'Have you not been here in a while? I didn't notice. I've been playing Skyrim...'
Carol - 'Oh I love Skyrim'
Blog - 'Did you know that you can create zombie chickens?'
Carol - *laughs* 'You can create zombie chickens?'
Blog - 'Yeah. They don't last long but they are entertaining'
Carol - 'When we lived in Thailand our Thai friend, Moon, couldn't pronounce the word zombie' *laughs* 'She called them sobeeps...which is now what we call them.'
Blog - 'I created a sobeep chicken!' *laughs* 'Actually, if you said it the other way round, chicken sobeep, you could market it as an exciting new chicken dish'
Carol - 'Chicken in a zombie sauce...hmmm...sounds delicious' *laughs*
Blog - 'Yeah. It's making my stomach rumble' *is laughing too*
Carol - 'Anyway, I thought you might like to see what I've been working on. This is one of the commissioned pieces I've not long finished. It's a Tree Of Life which celebrates 50 years of marriage...'

Blog - 'I knew you did these but this is the first one I've seen. I love the fact that it's completely personal!'
Carol - 'Yeah. One of my clients said it was like having a portrait of her life on the wall. I rather liked that description!'
Blog - 'So what else have you been working on? You've called this post Arty Goings On so I'm guessing you have more than one thing to show me?'
Carol - 'Yup, two different logos! This one is for a client who is launching a new business creating kids clothing and toys called Happy Face....
and this one is for a client who's starting up their own counselling practice'

Blog - 'I really like them both. They are quite different aren't they'
Carol - 'It's good to be versatile I think. Oh, and I have one other bit of exciting news....'
Blog - 'Well go on then...don't keep me in suspenders...'
Carol - *laughs* 'One of my illustrations is being used in a film'
Blog - 'What? An actual film? With real actors and everything?'
Carol - 'Yup! It's an actual film...with real actors and everything! I don't know much about's an Indie film set in New York and it's got something to do with cyborgs! The main character is going to be pretending to actually draw one of my illustrations'
Blog - 'That is very very cool. Which one?'
Carol - 'This one'

Blog - 'You'll have to let me know what happens with that!'
Carol - 'I will.' *pauses* 'Right, I am off to work on the next page of the graphic novel. I'll leave you to your sobeep chickens'

*Blog is no longer listening as he makes his Skyrim character go running off down a hillside chasing a chicken*

Carol - *rolls eyes*

Take a seat...

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Blog - 'What up doe?' *sniggers*
Carol - 'Eh?'
Blog - 'I'm trying to boost my street cred. This is how they say 'What's up?' in Detroit' *does funny hand gesture*
Carol - *looks at blog in a slightly horrified manner* 'What the hell was that?'
Blog - 'That was me being 'Street''
Carol - *falls off chair laughing*
Blog - 'Maybe I need a bit more practice?'
Carol - *snorts*
Blog - 'Meh' *pauses* 'So how are you anyway?'
Carol - *wipes tears of laughter from her eyes* 'I'm good. Been very busy designing a logo, three clothing labels and a business card for a start up company and working on a Tree of Life commission for a 50th wedding anniversary'
Blog - 'Cool. Good to hear you're busy'
Carol - 'I've still got the graphic novel and a huge list of commissions to get through but I would much rather be busy than bored! Anyway, I realised that I hadn't seen you in a few days so thought I would pop in and show you the oil painting that I started when I was on my course since I hadn't got round to doing that'
Blog - 'Oh yeah, I had forgotten all about it. Have you finished?'
Carol - 'Ha! No. It's not even close to being finished but I thought you might like to see what I've done so far.'

Blog - 'Well that's a bit different for you isn't it! It looks quite big.'
Carol - 'It's the largest canvass I've ever worked on! It's 80cm by 80cm' *whispers* 'And I might be a bit intimidated by it! But at least it's not the 100cm by 100cm that Caroline was trying to persuade me to paint!'
Blog - 'Blimey'
Carol - *looks at Blog* 'See, you will never be 'Street' when you say things like 'blimey'' *laughs*
Blog - *Ignores Carol* 'I'm really liking the chair on the left'
Carol - 'I am ridiculously pleased with how that has turned out. I'm not sold on the orange chair...I think that still needs quite a bit of work and I'm not really sure where I'm going with it...but I'm really pleased with the chair on the left. It's loosely based on this illustration...'

'... I told Caroline that I really wanted to figure out a way of turning my drawings into paintings so this was my starting point.'
Blog - 'I'm liking it!'
Carol - 'I've still got to add another layer of white behind the wonky chair's chains..'
Blog - *laughs* 'Wonky Chair? Is that the technical term?'
Carol - 'Absolutely!' *grins* '...and then I'm going to tackle the orange chair. I think I'm going to change the shape of it and maybe try the wet on wet technique I learned on my oil course in January. I want it to look more like a painting in a frame....I think'
Blog - 'Wet on Wet technique that you learned in January? I don't think we'd started our journey together at that point'
Carol - 'No. I don't think we had.' *goes and checks* 'No, we definitely hadn't. I went on a wet on wet oil painting class in January which was run by the same artist that I did the figures in collage course with. You paint wet on top of wet so you get interesting marks and colour blends. I did these...'

Blog - 'Yeah, that might be worth trying'
Carol - 'I think so. And if it all goes horribly wrong I'll just wait for it to dry and then I'll paint over it!'
Blog - 'Or you could tonk it off' *winks*
Carol - *looks at Blog* 'I was hoping you had forgotten about that!'
Blog - 'Never!' *beams*

I am a Tonker!

Friday, 6 May 2016

Blog - 'You're a what now?'
Carol - 'A Tonker'
Blog - 'You do know that sounds rude don't you?' *pauses* 'So go on then, what's a Tonker?... If you don't tell me soon I'm going to start making up my own definitions...'
Carol - 'I don't think ANYONE wants to hear those!' *laughs* 'Tonking is a technique where you put oil paint onto a canvas and then rub it off leaving only the pigment. It is named after Sir Arthur Tonks who discovered the technique and it means that you can paint over an area of colour without picking up any of the underneath ones. Given how slowly oil paint drys? That is incredibly useful!'
Blog - 'Yup, I can see how that would be helpful. If you have yellow in your sunset and you want to add blue to create clouds you don't want them ending up green!'
Carol - 'Exactly! And if you make a mistake you can just Tonk off the paint' *looks at Blog* 'Stop sniggering'
Blog - 'I can't help it!'
Carol - *rolls eyes* 'We were asked to create a forest landscape and the background was created using the Tonking technique. I Tonked therefore I am a Tonker' *laughs*
Blog - 'You're not funny you know!'
Carol - *looks at Blog* 'You can be really miserable sometimes'
Blog - 'It's part of my charm!'
Carol - 'You keep telling yourself that!'
Blog - 'Oh I don't need to tell myself...I know!' *winks at Carol*
Carol - 'Moving swiftly on....' *grins* 'Here is my first ever attempt at Tonking'

Carol - 'It's also my first ever attempt at trees using oils and at using a pallet knife!'
Blog - 'I rather like the Tonking effect'
Carol - 'I did too...once I stopped rubbing ALL the paint off! It's actually not as easy to do as it sounds'
Blog - 'What's the brown bit?'
Carol - 'That would be where I ran out of time and didn't get it finished'
Blog - 'That's the best bit!' *laughs*
Carol - *looks at Blog and seriously considers beating him about the head with her paintbrush*
Blog - 'So what else did you do on your course? I'm assuming this is the stuff you did on your course?'
Carol - 'Yes it is. Honestly, I learned sooo much over the two days it's going to take a while to process it all! The Tonking pic was actually the second one we worked on. The first was a seascape using a technique called 'From the darkness into the light'. We painted a very dark sky, added quite thick white paint to create clouds and then used a clean brush to kind of take it back off again. I don't really know how else to describe it! It was very counterintuitive...well, for me anyway...but I was really pleased with how they turned out. Again, it was about learning the technique rather than producing a completed painting so it's not finished. I'm going to attempt to do more work on it later today...hopefully I won't ruin it in the process!'
Blog - 'You can always Tonk off the paint if you don't like it!' *beams at Carol* 'That will NEVER get old'

Blog - 'They actually look like clouds!'
Carol - 'You don't have to sound quite so surprised you know' *laughs*
Blog - 'Have you ever painted clouds before?'
Carol - 'Nope. I've illustrated clouds but never painted them'
Blog - 'Let's see the illustration?'

Blog - 'Yeah...that really couldn't be more different could it!'
Carol - *laughs* 'Nope'.
Blog - 'So did you do anything else?'
Carol - 'Yeah, on day one we did one last painting. We mixed one colour of paint to create a light, medium and dark tone and then had to blend them keeping the different tones but showing no brush strokes. We started by painting a flower with MASSIVE petals and then had to do the blending thing on each one. I kinda lost the will to live half way through it...our tutor Caroline did warn us we would...boy was she right!'
Blog - 'Can I see it?'
Carol - 'It got smudged in the car on the way home'
Blog - 'That's a shame'
Carol - 'I'm not heartbroken about it...I'm going to wait till it's dry and paint over it!'
Blog - 'Hang did three paintings and we're only on day 1 of your course?'
Carol - 'Yup. I'll tell you all about day two later. I'm off to get a coffee...want one?'
Blog - 'Ooooh yes please!'

Shit Committee

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Blog - *looks at the title of this entry* 'Shit Committee?' *looks at Carol*
Carol - 'Yeah. That's what I call the nasty little voices that live in my know, the ones who tell me that I'm not good enough, that what I create won't be good enough and that what I have created is not good enough.'
Blog - '?'
Carol - 'I think anyone who does anything creative has their own version of a shit committee. It is something we don't have as children but that definitely comes with age and it is made up of a combination of our own fears and doubts as well as things that others have said to us. Sitting round the conference table in my head are: Chair of the Board - Mr 'You're not talented enough to get into Art School'. He opened the doors to the meeting room and made himself at home when I was about 15. He then invited Mrs 'Yeah, it's ok but not as good as...' who became Vice Chair and she was joined by Director of Operations Mrs 'You won't be able to do that so you might as well not even try'.'
Blog - 'Blimey'
Carol - 'Indeed! All I ever wanted to do was to go to Art School. I won a big prize for my art when I was 5, wrote and illustrated my first book when I was about really was all I wanted to do. I asked my teacher to help me prepare a portfolio and he told me that he didn't think I was talented enough to go to art school. I spent a year trying to put together a portfolio with no guidance what-so-ever and unsurprisingly, I didn't get in. I was told that I had been badly let down by my school who had done nothing to develop my talent but I didn't hear that fact I didn't even remember them saying Mum had to remind me of it a couple of years ago! What I heard was 'You're not good enough to get into Art School' which cemented what I already 'knew'. I went on to do a degree in Fashion Design and Business which wasn't what I wanted to do and I hated it.'
Blog - 'It's amazing the impact and actions one person can have on another isn't it'
Carol - 'Yeah it really is! I believed that I was rubbish...and I didn't draw or paint anything for years afterwards. I was lucky though because I found something else I loved and was good at. Mrs 'Not as good as' still flourished but Mrs 'You won't be able to do that so you might as well not even try' shortened her name to 'You won't be able to do that' which was quite a big victory for me.  I managed to get a 1st Class Masters Degree in Organising for Social and Community Development despite fact, I even wrote about them for one of my classes...although not quite in those terms' *laughs*
Blog - 'So how come you are now working as an artist and illustrator? How did you get from social research to what your doing now?'
Carol - 'You know we lived in Bangkok for two and a half years don't you?' *blog shakes his head*  'No? Well we did. Lovely husband was offered a job over there and it was such a wonderful opportunity that we had to go for it! It was a no brainer really! But it also meant that I wasn't working so wasn't earning any money. Lovely husband's birthday was coming up and, rather than buy him something with his own money, I decided to draw something for him. I can't begin to describe the joy I felt to be drawing again...and once those floodgates had opened there was no way of shutting them again'
Blog - 'I know I tease you about your arty farty ways but I am really glad that your passion for creating returned'
Carol - 'Me too. The only problem was that those floodgates didn't just open up my creativity...they also opened up new places in the Board Room. Mrs 'You can't change how we do it...we've always done it this way' decided to come on board as joint Chair and she was joined by Mrs 'But that's not really a proper job',  Mr 'You charge HOW much?', Mrs 'My kid likes drawing and painting too and it looks just like yours' and last but not least Mr 'I'm going to stand here and tell you what I don't like about it and even though I am no expert you should listen to my opinion and change what you do'.'
Blog - *looks shocked* 'Do people actually say these things to you?'
Carol - 'Oh yes. ALL the time. Some of the committee you can kind of block out...they are the ones that have signed up but don't always attend the meetings...others are a lot harder. Mr 'Your not good enough to get into Art School' is always there but I am getting a lot better at challenging Mrs 'You can't change how you do it' and Mrs 'Not as good as' doesn't hold nearly as much power as she did.
Blog - 'And you think all creative people have a version of this that lives in their heads?'
Carol - 'Everyone I have ever spoken to about this has their own version. There are some of my committee that sit on others too, Mr 'You charge HOW much?' and Mrs 'But that's not really a proper job' for example, but others are unique to that person. If you are creative and don't have a Shit Committee then you are very very very lucky!'
Blog - 'So what made you decide to talk about this subject today? When you sat down I thought you were going to tell me about the oil painting course you were just on'
Carol - 'I decided to talk about this because the tutor of my course burst through the doors of my Shit Committee's Board Room, marched up to the table, looked straight into the eyes of Mr 'Not good enough to go to Art School' and said 'She is very talented'. She scowled at Joint Chair Mrs 'You can't change how we do it' and told her that I was to keep going because she had never seen anyone use the oil paint the way I did and then she glowered at Mrs 'You won't be able to do that' and said 'I think she might have discovered a new technique'.'
Blog - 'She sounds awesome'
Carol - 'She is! She studied at the Slade School Of Fine Art, has worked as an artist all her life and really knows her stuff. She not only kicked my Shit Committee's backside but she's given me the confidence to turn off the heating in their board room, replace their comfortable chairs with old rickety ones, get rid of the biscuits and give them crap coffee. They may have won many battles over the years but I'm still fighting and I WILL win the war!' *looks at Blog* 'Where did you get that suit of armour? And will you please stop waving that sword about!'
Blog - *looks a bit sheepish* 'Sorry, I got a bit excited by the whole war analogy'
Carol - *rolls eyes*

Life in Harmony

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Blog - 'That's not the easiest image I've ever looked at!'
Carol - 'It wasn't the easiest image I've ever produced! I am an artist AND illustrator...know what the dictionary definition of Illustrate is?'  *looks at Blog who shakes his head*  'It is 'to light up or to illuminate' and sometimes that's exactly what my work is called upon to do. Sometimes I'm approached to work on illustrations that need to convey a difficult idea, emotion or scenario...shine a light on them if you will...and they are challenging and difficult and I put an incredible amount of thought into every element because it's so important that I get them right!'  *looks at illustration*  'This particular one was for a Charity called Home Truths which is an independent, community based organisation that provides specialist services to anyone 16 and over who is, or has, experienced domestic violence and abuse from partners, ex-partners or family members. They cover Swindon and Wiltshire. I created this for a project they are running for pregnant woman and mums with children under 18 months old called Life in Harmony.'  *pauses*  'Did you know that pregnant women are 3 times more likely to experience the start or escalation of domestic abuse?'
Blog - 'No. I didn't know that'
Carol - 'Me neither. Heartbreaking isn't it!'
Blog - 'It certainly is!'


Carol - 'I was invited to speak at the launch of their project last week. The image was projected up on a screen behind me and I had to talk through some of the main elements'
Blog - 'I would quite like to hear some of that'
Carol - 'You would? Ok, well...with the mother and daughter I tried to keep the colours warm and fairly neutral. I wanted to make the characters real rather than cartoonish because the issue is, unfortunately, very real. I thought a lot about their faces, particularly with the mother, and decided to create them using simple lines in black and white so they looked drawn and had neutral expressions. I did my research before putting this image together and I wanted to try and convey a feeling of living in two realities...the public one and the private one. I chose to include elements of digital collage in the creation of the characters and used that method for the hair and dresses in order to provide that contrast.'  *pauses*   'The Jack-In-The-Box felt like the right toy to use to depict the man in this scenario. I wanted the box to represent the idea that you can't tell what someone is like just by looking at them so the outside is plain white and I used a sort of rusty texture on the inside to try and reinforce that idea of the outside vs inside self and the two different realities that those perpetrating this also live in. I chose to use collage elements for his face because he is real and the danger he represents is real. Finally, I added the hat. Partly because most Jack-In-The-Boxes have hats but also because I wanted to ridicule him, not to treat his behaviour as a joke because that is no joke, but to try and remove his power by making him into a figure to be ridiculed and therefore make him feel ridiculous. There were lots of other design decisions made for various reasons but those are the main ones.'
Blog - 'How was it received?'
Carol - 'I got good feedback from survivors on the day and that meant the world to me. Out of everyone that saw it and was their opinion that mattered most.'
Blog - 'There were survivors there?'
Carol - 'Yes. There were quite a few speakers all highlighting the issue from different angles. It was wonderful to hear about how the different agencies were coming together but it was the survivors words that had the most impact. They spoke of their ordeals with honesty and bravery and I was in awe...and in tears.'
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