Monday, June 29, 2020

Black lives matter

To amplify and promote voices of people from Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities, here are some creatives you might like to follow, who produce inspiring and beautiful work in each of their own fields. Links are to their Instagram accounts and all images copyright of the artists.

Samira Addo




Adebayo Bolaji




Enam Gbewonyo

Textile and performance artist



Wesley Baker

Photographer and artist



Atia Azmi

Design and colour inspiration



Tarunima Sinha


Food photography and baking


Allison Sadler

Fashion and interiors



Medina Grillo

DIY and home improvement author and blogger



Diana Phiri-Witty

Illustrator and designer


Adebanji Alade

Artist, author and presenter



Michelle Marshall




Yinka Ilori

Artist and designer



Jay Blades

Designer and presenter



Juliet Uzor

All things sewing



Beth Collier

Nature and wellbeing



Lucy Peltier

Photography and embroidery






Harold Offeh



Friday, May 1, 2020

That time I went to Spain - personal project update

At the beginning of the year, I set myself a challenge, to complete an application for the French sketchbook festival, Rendez-vous du Carnetde Voyage 2020. I have visited the event in the city of Clermont-Ferrand twice in the last few years and really enjoyed looking at the work of the exhibitors. My application was sent this week and the 20 illustrated pages which I have completed so far are below. I have written a little about it on a previous blogpost and shown the initial roughs. Even if I am not selected, I think I will continue with the project. Publishing it would be great but even having it as a digital book may be an option too.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Back garden drawing

Plenty of opportunity to draw in my back garden at the moment with the weather being so good. I drew each of the plant detail spreads over several days, trying to find different leaf shapes and tones of green. With the plant pages I just used direct watercolour but I put down some pencil lines first on the one with the backs of the houses.

 Drawn in a Stillman and Birn 10 x 8 inch Zeta sketchbook

Monday, April 6, 2020

Sketches from Kew

I was lucky to make two drawing trips to Kew Gardens earlier this year, before the recent closure due to the Covid-19 virus. Most drawings were made in the glasshouses, but I did manage a couple outside although the weather was pretty chilly!

Drawn in a Stillman & Birn Zeta Series sketchbook using Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolours. The greens used were mainly Oxide of Chromium and Perylene Green, mixed with some yellows and purples.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Towers in Seville - continuing my personal project

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I am progressing with my personal project, albeit slowly! This is the first completed layout, the original rough, plus each of the individual drawings .

La Giralda
A decorative building at the end of one of the streets

One of the Towers at Plaza de Espana

Torre del Oro

Monday, March 9, 2020

A winter break in Versailles

I love visiting France so when Versailles was suggested for a short winter break, it seemed a good idea. Of course, the chateau and gardens are on everyone’s ‘to do’ list when visiting Paris but I was interested to find out what the rest of the town is like.  

We travelled on a Monday morning by Eurostar from St. Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord, then took the metro to Gare Austerlitz where we caught a RER train to Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche.

The hotel I’d booked - L’hotel Angleterre - was at the budget end of places to stay and although the room was small it was clean, the staff were very welcoming and it was a great location being only a short five minute walk to the gates of the palace.

After settling in, we went for a walk around the palace gardens (The chateau is closed on a Monday) and had something to eat in La Flottille, by the Grand Canal.

I’d bought two-day passports (25euros per person in winter) to the Chateau online prior to travelling and we arrived early on the Tuesday and Wednesday where a small but not off-putting queue had already formed.

As well as going inside the chateau and seeing the exhibition being held there, we also did lots and lots of walking in the grounds and looking at trees. Wondering how everything had been constructed at that time in history. Pondering about the logistics, and cost, of all the construction.

Opposite the entrance of the palace grounds there is a museum housing the historic coaches (free entry) and further into the town, the king’s veggie patch, the ‘Potager du roi’ (6 euros per person). Of course, it wasn’t the best time to visit the vegetable garden as it was almost completely bare of produce with just a few hardy greens growing. Still, it was interesting to see the skeletons of the fruit trees lined up neatly in rows ready for their work later in the year.

The town is split into two halves by the palace and there are two self-guided walking trails you can follow to discover more about the history of the rest of the area. We picked up a map from the Tourist Office and searched out the history boards which have English as one of the featured languages. It was nice to explore the quiet parts of the town.

Returning home on the Friday, we took some time to walk around the Marais area of Paris, following a map in a guidebook I’d taken with me. Then a whistle-stop tour of the famous sights – the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame, currently shielded by hoardings as the fire repairs get underway, before heading back to Gare du Nord for the Eurostar home.

It was a really nice trip, quite relaxing and not too expensive. Lots of inspiration from the palace grounds and all things French. Wrought iron, decoration, fabrics and over the top grandeur.