This time my drawing of the week is of a very happy yellow budgie.
I do tend to anthropomorphise the subjects of my drawings particularly my bird portraits as I do find a very deep connection with the animals in my illustrations. I suppose I can’t help but be sentimental about this guy in particular as my sister had budgies as pets.
But it’s true of all of my creature illos; when you spend the time with them that I do studying and scrutinising every feature, you can’t help but feel closer to your subjects. I admit that after many sessions with my watercolour and ink to create each drawing I probably imbue my animals with qualities they don’t really have.
For example I think this yellow fella is smiling at us – he just looks so cheekily delighted with himself.
An everlasting display is a lovely thing plus a cheap and easy home hack to boot.
Regular visitors to Ella’s place know how much I love creating floral displays – they are a lovely way to give the place a refresh without costing you a fortune. Plus I think it’s important to bring elements of nature into your home.
Eucalyptus and thistles are great to buy fresh and then let them dry in the house. The make a lovely permanent arrangement as they fade into silvery tones and provide a lovely structured display.Last summer I also gathered spent allium and poppy heads from the garden to decorate our spaces. Again, the faded hues and structured shape look really effective all year round.
Today’s Monday Moodboard is dedicated to cherry blossom for no other reason than I love it and gives me a sense of a little bit of magic at this time of year.
When you are busy and going about your business you can forget to look up, but it’s so important to do so as so much wonder can reveal itself, especially at springtime. Whether you are in the country or the city chances are you’ll see a tree that’s frothy with flowers. It is such a joy, particularly for me when it contrasts with a dark grey or stunning blue sky (you know me, always looking for colour combo inspiration).
This is my first of four monthly posts for The Contemporary Home. When I worked on magazines, me and the team were for ever trying to get TCH products into our shoots as they always hit the spot in terms of trends and the photography is just delightful as you can see.
I thought I’d kick these posts off with my favourite buys for spring.
As regular readers of this blog will know I am very fond of displaying fresh flowers; some as big arrangements, others in little posies. So the jade vase above and set of clear glass receptacles are ideal for me. That jade colour is a lovely neutral, one I can see on my dining room in fact (hmmm). I’m also a big fan of those little bud containers in the very top image – they look so lovely when grouped together.
Dear friends of Ella’s Place will also be aware of my obsession with natural forms and a cheeky tea light. This artichoke tea light holder combines both – isn’t it cute? And it ties in with the Pantone Colour of the Year Greenery.
Now I don’t normally decorate the place for Easter but I couldn’t resist highlighting the image below. This daisy garland is really pretty and would make an adorable centre piece for a stylish egg-themed party.
This sounds terrible but I am rubbish at Mother’s Day. I love my mum but the day always lands between my birthday and my dad’s so it always gets a bit lost – not good considering. If you’re like me and always leave it to the last minute to sort something out then here are two quick and easy handmade craft solutions that you can whip up to suit your mum’s style in time for the day. For my upcycled jewellery dishes, I found a set of plain ceramic hearts and got to work on them three ways. You could do these on any ceramic surface, in fact these designs would all look lovely on a plain white saucer or little bowl. The first one is a simple black on white floral drawing using a thin black posca pen. This will really suit my mum. Like me, she is a very keen drawer, she also loves simple, elegant lines and an expressive touch, so this is perfect for her. I then used some paints to create a more contemporary version for the modern mater. I’m a bit in love with this combination of soft peach with dark grey. I masked off the areas I wanted to paint with very think strips of masking tape then filled in the edges once the large areas were dry. I then added white outlines for further contrast. I tried marbling with nail varnish on the last two. I like this combination of mauve and pink. It almost makes the white ceramic look a bit creamy, which I love. Mind you this was a messy process. You tip the varnish in a tub of water and muddle it with a skewer, you then dip your ceramics in. It smells and gets everywhere so I suggest a big tub and clear area to work in and some rubber gloves! My second make is really easy, mess free and is the ultimate easy upcycle. As you may have noticed the shops and style guides are full of botanical motifs. So I grabed a plain white pot, little black perspex off-cut (they are bloody handy little things and make great coasters) and a green posca pen and got drawing. This tropical leaf design is so easy to do; you just draw a thin curved line then create thicker curved shapes along it. Simple but effective. Again this design can work on any shaped mug, coaster or plate and makes a nice little on-trend gift for a green-fingered mum.
This is essentially a sneak peek into some of the bird portraits I’ll be exhibiting in my local book indie bookshop, Wivenhoe Books. It’s an intimate little space and is perfect for giving some of my smaller illustrations a gentle showcase. The size of this piece is A5 so it will work well in a more compact hanging area.
Peacocks are becoming my new favourite thing to draw. I’ve been doing lots of sketches of peacock feathers but I thought for the show I’d give a ‘head and shoulders’ watercolour and ink portrait a go. I’m rather pleased with the result and am particularly taken with the plumage.
To state the blindingly obvious, the peacock is the male bird; the female is known as a peahen and she doesn’t have the snazzy tail. The reason I say this is that I once (this is a while back mind) searched for hours for female peacock and obviously came up with zilch.
This Monday’s Moodboard introduces you to my new obsession… Insects!
Just as with the shells last week, this moodboard shows you that my drawing interests are moving towards more organic, smaller forms, exploring their structure and beauty.
As you can see I’m not the first artist to be inspired by these creatures. These vintage anatomical illustrations will inspire my own work and I hope to capture the iconic shapes of these little critters as well as their intricate detail.
I’m very excited to announce the launch of my new personalised wedding stationery collections on Not On The High Street. Inspired by botanical and avian vintage illustration, I hope my collections offer something special for every couple wanting to make their celebration sing.
The intricately drawn illustrations in these collections are created with vibrant washes of watercolour and ink. All are printed in the UK on high-quality FSC-certificated textured gesso card. Every piece of stationery can be personalised to the client’s specification.
Pink Flamingo Collection
Bold, bright and beautiful, this pair of cheeky, loved-up pink flamingos are sure to put a smile on people’s faces. The Flamingo range is perfect for fun loving couples and those who are aiming to bring a tropical flavour to their day.
Elegant and soft, my graceful watercolour eucalyptus motif gives this range a timeless, tasteful quality. It is the ideal collection for those looking to create a gentle, relaxed feel to their nuptials.
Fresh and delicate, the Fern collection hopes to recall the style of vintage botanical illustrations while still giving the stationery a contemporary twist. Great for the pair who want a strong, yet simple theme for their big event.
For those who want something really romantic and trad, here’s my Swan range. Swans mate for life so this is ideal…
Want a really effective flower display? Try an arrangement of one colour blooms.
I personally love my simple posy of cream gerberas, ranunculus and mini pom-pom blossoms with gorgeous green foliage. The simple overall look appears effortless (it was really) but stylish, especially when combined with my retro charity shop jug
In honour of this week’s Crufts 2017, my drawing of the week is of an American Cocker Spaniel.
This quick little doggie sketch was created in watercolour and brown ink. It didn’t take very long to do but I am quite pleased with the illustration. I think this animal has a certain stoic, noble quality.
I will not lie to you, I love a Cocker Spaniel – they could be my favourite breed. I love the character of a spaniel – so friendly, energetic and full of life.
I am a massive fan of all shaggy haired dogs generally. This my friends is because I was/am an indie kid of the early nineties variety and have a great affection for long-haired, scruffy herberts.
Just look my dog’s refined face. It takes me back to 1993 when Richard Ashcroft was not Richard Ashcroft as he is now but was instead known as “Mad Richard” and The Verve was known as just Verve. Ah those heady days of youth… long haired boys in terrible jeans – it was a tremendous amount of fun.