Christmas has come early

wreath left web

This week Christmas has come early.  Its August and I have been continuing with my styling but this time on a Christmas theme.  Its often the hottest time of year that I do the Christmas shoots for magazines which always feels a little daft.  Yet again I was in a London house and this was the wreath that I did for the door.

The house was in some beautiful greys and so I wanted to compliment it using eucalyptus as the greenery with some classic roses and the soft pinks and greens of hydrangea.  I really enjoy unusual wreaths and often like the use of vegetables or fruit in them.  Artichoke can often be a good choice as the purple and the spikey leaves can compliment the softness of the flowers.  Also pomegranate is a good idea as they are very much a Christmas fruit with a really lovely red colour and wonderful shape.

whole wreath web

Be bold this Christmas and do something crazy.  Its a fun time of year so its nice to reflect this in your wreath.  Don’t be scared!

Look out for my styling and paintings in January’s issue of Homes and Garden (UK).

Calm Collective Bedroom

bedroom web

I have been sharing a room with my son for many years.  There just didn’t seem to be much space.  Thanks to a great bunk bed I have managed to move him out and so now have my own room – hooray!  Time to re-decorate….

Kea wouldn’t let me get rid of his megaladon (shark) which he painting above the radiator so I had to find something that would work with it. I really liked the idea of wallpaper for something a little different.  Once I had researched it all I was amazed at how expensive it was.  I really wanted a fresh new look to my room which was also calming.  I really liked the idea of mountains or a woodland scene and came to realise that I could easily paint one on my wall which would cost me next to nothing. People can be so scared of painting murals on walls but actually they are fun and can be easy to do as well as effective.  I just used left over paint that I used in other rooms ages ago and either added some more white or some more black.  I think the effect really works and I am chuffed with my new room which feels so calm.  I have a way to go with the rest of it now but it feels like I am breathing in much fresher air.

 

 

The Art Box

paint box

The schools have broken up and so its time for holidays which means getting out of London – hooray!  Most of the summer we usually spend with family and go camping in our camper van called Boris.  I decided it was time to get myself organised for some outdoor painting. It was time to invest in something that is small and easy to carry around.  I found this gem on the internet and it came filled with old paint which was a great bonus.  The idea is that it is really easy to carry.  You find your spot to sit, open the box and then you are ready to paint.  There are brilliant places to put your paints, brushes and mediums which are then covered by a palette.  You rest the box on your knee, open it up, place your canvas/board on the lid, which can be set to any angle, and off you go!  Afterwards the canvas can sit nicely in the lid wet, you close the lid and carry it all home.  I’m so chuffed with this box which only cost me £20! I definitely recommend getting one of these.

I can’t wait to get out there and paint some more now – I just wish it would stop raining!

My Backyard

My backyard web

My Backyard – oil on canvas board – 10’x12′ – £80

This week I have mainly been at home as poor Kea has been ill with tonsillitis.  He has been feeling dreadful but is now on the mend.  This has meant that I haven’t been out of the house.

I love the view from the back of my house from up in the loft and so I decided to have a go at painting it.  Its the first time I’ve tried painting houses but I rather like the result.  Its a little naive but I think it has some charm.  I love the backs of the houses in London and all the different fun gardens you can look into. Luckily unlike most other houses in London my neighbours are quite far away.  I love the colour of the bricks and the way the houses are higgledy piggledy.  Its very easy to imagine Mary Poppins flying in for a cup of tea.

The Lady in Blue

 

lady portrait web

For the last couple of weeks I have been painting a portrait of this women in blue.  I thought that it might be a fun thing to show how the process works.  It’s often fun to take photos along the way so you can see the all the mistakes you have made and the progression – hopefully!

It’s important to put a wash on your canvas/board first to knock the white away as it can be distracting.  Then take your time to draw your portrait in a dark colour making sure you double check your proportions.  Then find the shadow shapes and draw them and fill them in thinly.  To get the likeness of someone concentrate on the 5 essential darks which are under the eyebrows, eyes, under the nose, top lip and under the bottom lip. Now add skin tone.  Start painting in the colour that features the most which would be the middle tone.  At this point avoid the shadow shapes as you have already blocked those in.  As you go along its alway good to tweak the lines and shapes making sure that all the way along the process you are getting proportions right.  Start to add in the highlights and make sure you leave all the details to the last sitting.

Good Luck!

Singing for Sharks

Kea busking web

Let me introduce you to another member of my household.  This is my son, and this week for my blog I wanted show just how proud I am of this great little character.  He is seven years old and for the last two weekends he decided to busk in the park with his ukulele to raise money to stop the horrendously cruel killing of sharks for shark fin soup.  He is utterly passionate about sharks and knows anything and everything about them.  He sang and played 7 songs (which he repeated a few times!) and managed to raise £300. His dedication and thought for others and the planet’s welfare is astonishingly humbling.  The world needs people like him.

Animal House

rabbits web

I was styling this week for a big UK magazine in London.  It was my first experience of a beautiful interior with just so many animals around.  The family had two dogs, a cat and two rabbits that all got on with each other extremely well.  The house was incredibly well designed with some wonderful touches.  There were angles everywhere to photograph with fabulous textures and colours to add to it.  One of the surprises I found was that the rabbits were let out around the sitting room.  My first reaction was NO – what a mess!  After a bit of time I realised just how much they added to the room.  Cuteness, warmth and something a little different.  I’m not sure I’d ever thought about adding a rabbit to interiors, but I think it works!