Sketchbook Sunday

I don’t think there is ever a week that goes by that I don’t do some work in my sketchbooks. They are a valuable resource to me – as long as I have these beginnings of ideas worked out on paper, I will never be short of inspiration for larger pieces.

journal page

I aim to paint a journal page a week – just giving myself permission to paint what comes, no planning, it doesn’t have to look nice or be neat and tidy – just playing around with images, shapes and ideas. The above page was inspired by some old photos I have of fishing communities and whilst the perspective is all wrong, I enjoyed painting it nonetheless.

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I am back to making a drawing a day (more or less) in my small moleskine – over the last 2 years or so I have dipped in and out of this habit which can last months and always reveals surprises and the odd wee gem – sometimes inspired by images I have seen, sometimes just out of the muddle of my thoughts.

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I often flick through these pages before starting to paint, waiting for a particular image to inspire me in some way – and they usually do. When I am sketching daily, it is often alongside a period of change and development in my work – it helps me pass around the corners of uncertainty and means I very rarely suffer from the dreaded ‘artists block’.

sketchbook pages

So – at first glance – just a book of random images – in reality, the key to a happy studio!

Try it and see!

PS – just in case you are wondering – the larger painted book is my A3 watercolour moleskine (beautiful paper for painting, takes any amount of paint) and the smaller is the smallest moleskine sketchbook with beautifully smooth pages for pencil or pen. I would not be without these.

x x x

Sketchbook Sunday

Painted moleskine

Sundays were made for working in sketchbooks right? I think so. I have several on the go at all times but probably my favourite one is my large A3 watercolour Moleskine.

I have taken it to the last few shows I have exhibited at and it gets as much attention (if not more, dammit) as my framed work. People love flicking through the pages, running their hands over them (I don’t mind really) or holding the edges of each page with a kind of reverence, surprised that I allow anyone to look through. I do because I love seeing that expression on someone’s face who gets it. Who feels the way that I do. That paint is magical and to have that medium to express yourself is truly a treasure.

I paint in this book in the way that I would like to paint on canvas. With complete freedom to make lines and put down colours with no thought or worry about it having to be perfect. An idea for a painting or just a face that is waiting to be put on paper. Whatever I feel at that moment in time.

This was today’s and I kind of like ‘him’. I am pretty sure it is a Him.

x x x

Always learning….. colour painting

Colour mixing bible

So many new and upcoming exciting things to share but whilst I get my blog posting sorted here is a latest obsession of mine.

I have always painted by instinct really, just doing as I feel and getting to know what works by trial and error. But now that I am taking my painting a lot more seriously I am realising how much I have to learn.

One of the main things I am curious about is colour mixing – how different colours work, tinting strength, opacity, unusual and unexpected mixes, finding the best way of reaching a certain colour out of any number of paths.

So a few weeks ago I began this colour mixing bible – a moleskine (can’t think I would ever use anything else now) and every colour paint I have, mixing them in varying strengths with various tints just to see what happens. It is fascinating and I am learning so much! Two new pages everyday that I am in my studio – it is going to take a long time but I am having fun making new discoveries.

Gathered at the shore

The weeks fly by and I pootle along oblivious. Just working away as usual in my own wee world.

I have a few projects on the go at the moment and am changing some of my work habits and plans – part of which is continuing to make the best of my studio time, continuing to persevere with oil painting, making plans for future work and keeping painting the days away when I can and learning as I go along… always learning.

Above is another amateur video of a journal page in progress. (Learning… always learning)


x x x

Waiting – painting in motion



Before Christmas I purchased a long awaited video camera with to begin recording some of my works and progress. This is the first video I made back in January and have only just been able to start learning how to edit etc. I have alot to learn and a long way to go!!

But here it is – click here to be taken to the video and remember I am very much a beginner!

Painted journal ….

Painted journal ....

There is something so freeing about painting in a journal or sketchbook…letting go of the pressure that this painting must be good enough to exhibit or sell. It is just for me. There are no expectations. I can take my time or work quickly and intuitively. It might inspire future work, or it might remain hidden, only to be seen on those occassions when I flick through those thick, rumpled pages. But sometimes it is also nice to share it and show another side of my work. But always with that melancholy nature and the attempt at creating atmosphere and emotion

I admit to an addiction. Moleskines… with their perfectly black covers and the paper inside that in the sketchbooks is smooth and takes pencil so well… or the watercolour books that take any amount of paint and water and mixed media and are so forgiving of the layers and layers that you can keep applying.

Another studio day today and I can’t wait to get started!

x x x

New Year, New Start

journal page

Tis a bit later than I intended but I have been meaning to get back to blogging for a while now (September being the last time I posted) but of course the longer the absence goes on the harder it is to get back to. I am not even going to attempt to catch up on the last few months, suffice to say it has been a busy old time and a time of changes, both work-wise and personally. Last year was all about finding a new ‘normal’ and adapting to changes that were outwith our control and are ongoing but we are getting there little by little and whilst some things fell by the wayside (the blog) other things slotted into place just when and where they needed to.

But life is still good and I am working on a new schedule to fit around my increase in hours at my part time job which has been a necessary development. Ultimately last year I had been hoping to decrease my hours to dedicate more time to my artwork but life doesn’t always follow a plan and the result is that now I have less time in the studio but I am working on being even more focussed in the hours that I am there.

So the beginning of this year has already been about creating a new balance and a new structure and I am over the moon with how it is working out so far (please may it continue). This year will be mostly about painting and creating artwork that expands and develops my aesthetic and skills. I am excited about seeing how it develops. I have been beavering away in my large moleskine watercolour sketchbook, creating pages of imagery and writing and the ideas are coming together for a cohesive body or work. It’s all looking rather good!

So I hope I am back, back to writing and updating this space with my artwork and goings on.

So I am here to wish you a very very happy new year and I hope that 2013 is a good year for us all, full of hope, productivity, creativity and happiness.

x x x