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Drawing of the week: cockatoo

Cockatoo illustration (c) Ella Johnston

I really enjoyed doing this drawing of the week, my sanguine looking cockatoo. I’ve drawn it as part of series of bird portrait works to be exhibited later this year.

Now I know this black cockatoo is rather purple in his hue but I wanted to reflect the luxurious, deep and rich nature of his plumage. Very few dark shades are just black, they almost always have a base of purple, green or blue at their core.

As usual I created the illustration in watercolour and fine pin ink pen but this time I used a posca white pen to create the little dots on my boy’s feathers.

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Monday Moodboard: Luxe Florals

Monday Moodboard Luxe Florals

Luxe florals are just the right thing for this time of year, which is why today they have made my Monday Moodboard.

The freezing, wet weather and grey skies are atmospheric sure but the damp and cold can be a little draining day after day (last nights evening walk was a very muddy affair). So I’m warming myself with, and getting creative inspiration from, rich purples, velvety blacks, deep maroons and cerise tones as seen in beautiful, frilly flowers. I’ll be working on some sketches of these in the coming weeks with a view to working up pretty patterns and evocative illustrations.

 

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New Thornback & Peel Collection; Blackbird and Bramble

Thornback & Peel Blackbird and Bramble Last week Thornback & Peel launched its Blackbird and Bramble collection and I have to say it’s rather lovely.
Thornback & Peel Blackbird and Bramble As regular visitors to this blog will know I am a fan of Thornback & Peel – anything that celebrates illustrated motifs in fashion and homewares is always a big winner for me.
Thornback & Peel Blackbird and BrambleThis collection is great for the end of the year. The beautiful dark purples and warm pink tones would look great on a rustic country kitchen table. However, combined with the delicate nature-inspired illustration, this collection would also warm up a modern, sleek space too.
Thornback & Peel Blackbird and Bramble


Thornback & Peel’s trademark is its delicate line and beautiful vintage-style illustration. I do admire the way these motifs can translate onto a wide range of products and shapes.

Thornback & Peel Blackbird and Bramble

You can see more of the collection at the Thornback & Peel website.
Thornback & Peel Blackbird and Bramble
Thornback & Peel Blackbird and Bramble

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7 Strong AW16 Home Looks

AW16 Looks ellasplace.co.uk
Summer is nearly done (yes, sorry to let you know about that one) and I’m looking forward to refreshing JB towers with some new looks for AW16.

I’m very excited about this season – there are so many looks I love that can be enjoyed and adapted to suit your style. There are seven really strong themes that would work well in any kind of interior, large or small, grand or modest.

Colour pop fun

Colour pop fun AW16 ellasplace.co.uk
From Very

I can’t resist a pop in colour in my rooms. You can go bold with a Memphis-inspired scheme like the one from Very above or you can simply add colour accents to a more restrained room with accessories. How about some bright crockery or a statement lamp or piece of brightly coloured furniture.

Colour pop fun AW16 ellasplace.co.uk
From Very
From Cuckooland
From Cuckooland

Lush and plush

Lush and plush AW16 ellasplace.co.uk
From House of Fraser

We all love a bit of luxe; gorgeous fabrics and textures that are tactile, soft and warm that make us feel warm and snuggly while still retaining a sense of style and opulence. Key colours are navy, purple and turquoise and beautiful metallic touches. Oh, and don’t forget a bit of greenery!

Lush and Plush AW16 ellasplace.co.uk
From Debenhams

Understated luxury

Understated luxury AW16 ellasplace.co.uk
From Sainsbury’s

This look reminds of years ago when, in another life I think, as production editor on Restaurant Magazine I went on my first press trip. It was to the Martel Chateaux in Bordeaux and it was really quite something. Woven carpets and tapestries, distressed wooden panels and floors. Studded sofas, elegant candelabra and pretty chandeliers – the whole place was just divine and now is rather easy to evoke with a few high street buys.

Understated luxury AW16 ellasplace.co.uk
From Sainsburys’
From Marks & Spencer
From Marks & Spencer

Quirky classics

Quirky classic ellasplace.co.uk
From Marks and Spencer

If you’ve had a look at my menagerie pages you’ll know I love a home with a sense of humour and a touch of the unexpected. So I’m pleased to see accessories from so many leading retailers that make you smile this year.  I’m particularly taken with this vase from Marks and Spencer.

From George at ASDA
From George at ASDA

Cool and clean

Simple elegance AW16 ellasplace.co.uk
From Dunelm

A calm colour scheme and  well chosen, minimal accessorising can be a really rather wonderful thing. Its certainly something I like in a bedroom and this was definitely my approach when I lived in a small flat. There are so many collections available in terms of furniture and accessories that you can co-ordinate to get this grown-up look.

Simple elegance AW16 ellasplace.co.uk
From Next
From Debenhams
From Debenhams

Cosy eclectic

Cosy eclectic AW16 ellasplace.co.uk
From Homesense

As a former editor of craft mags I’m always drawn to a mismatched style that showcases knitting, crochet, patchwork, weaving and a nice bit of trimming. Check out this room scene from Homesense – it’s colourful and cosy sure but it also has such a cohesive style, it’s just so inviting.

Woodland wonders

Woodland wonders AW16 ellasplace.co.uk
From George at Asda

No autumn round up would be complete without this season’s take on nordic and woodland. I think these ceramics and ornaments from George are really cool; contemporary and fun.

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Finished plant of the fortnight: Purple Sweetpea

Plant of the fortnight, watercolour purple sweet pea illustration (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

As I mentioned in my last post I was looking forward to being a bit free and easy with my watercolour for this finished sweetpea illustration. And I was;  I applied lots of layers of watery purples, blues and pinks for this colour version so, much so I had to finish it in two sessions as there was no way the black pigment ink would sit on it until the piece was completely dry.

As we’re well into summer I think I’m going to continue with larey looking, brightly coloured blooms for my up-coming plant of the fortnights, so no matter what the actual weather we’ve got something to either amplify the heat or to warm us up.

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Quick Hack: Customise a lamp

Customise a light ellasplace.co.uk

OMG, this is a ridiculously easy up-cycle. It simply involves a lamp-stand, an ornate lampshade frame and a can of spray paint.

I originally did this project for Homemaker Magazine using on-trend metallic paint with a cool matte finish but I wanted something really bright and fun light for my otherwise smart, sleek study/office. I raided my spray paint stash and got this gorgeous cerise/purple shade in gloss from Valspar. Just what I wanted.

Remember to spray in a ventilated area – I do it in my garden. To get an even tone place your object on a box you can swivel around so you’re not missing bits. I hung the shade from inside the top of a deep box so I could get to all the little nooks and crannies. I’m dead please with this update, soon it will take pride of place on the new study shelves.