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 – 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.
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.
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.
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!
Mr T curled up and asleep in his favourite spot – oil on canvas
I thought it might be a good idea to introduce you to one of my cats this week. Mr T is a big part of this family and hasn’t really been himself. He went to get some teeth out not long after a nasty cut down his tongue. Life feels good and normal when he is sitting on the sofa in his place, biting my bottom to wake me up in the morning, but this week he hasn’t been there which was worrying. After an operation earlier this week he has been very wobbly and has been hallucinating. Goodness knows what he has been seeing but there have definitely been times when I thought he was laughing his head off!
I’m pleased to say though that things are now back to normal and he is now back again sitting in his favourite spot and he bit my bottom to get me up this morning. Phew!
The twins playing in the park – oil on canvas.
It has warmed up here and it feels like the summer has truly arrived. We have been spending huge amounts of time outside after school. The parks near where I live are large open spaces with a few trees. We have been playing amongst these trees which reminded me of this portrait I did earlier this year. These girls are great and I love the gappy teeth look 😉
This picture is not for sale as it was a commission. If you are interested in a commission please do get in touch. Thanks.