Sarah – Girl’s Birth Picture

This month I received a commission for a birth illustration from my youngest-ever customer, Sarah. Only twelve-years-old, Sarah has used her birthday money to commission from me a bespoke illustration. I was delighted to receive this work, as I have known Sarah for many years. I had asked Sarah to think about what elements she would like included in the picture and if she had a particular colour scheme that she wanted me to work to. Having had her bedroom freshly decorated, Sarah provided me with a piece of the colourful wallpaper that she wanted to match her illustration with. Elements that were required were, “lots of pugs and girly things”. That was a good brief…I knew exactly where I was going.Sarah complete(lighter)forblog
I sketched out the illustration last week and set to colouring it this week. I have enjoyed drawing the pugs, which are a breed of dog that I have not drawn before. I wanted to have these little canines in various positions and doing what dogs do if left unattended for too long! So, the picture includes chewed shoes, tampered with make-up and a string of sausages that are being wolfed down in haste. I also wanted to do the pugs various sizes, so they looked like a family unit.
Wallpaper
Matching the coloured-pencils to the wallpaper (above) was interesting, as I had to blend some of the colours to get the required hues. I had to write down the combinations of these colours, and I also gave them imaginative names such as ‘Acapulco Sunset’ (orange), ‘Mushy Peas’ (green), ‘Pretty Polly’ (pink).

At the time of uploading this blog post, Sarah hasn’t seen the final piece of artwork, but I do hope that she will be happy with the commissioned artwork and that it will go admirably in her new and fashionable bedroom. Thank you, Sarah.

Thoughts On – Thomas Lake

On my Facebook profile, I include a quote at the beginning of every week.  This week’s quote was inspired by a war quotation that I saw in Waterstones’ bookshop window in Newcastle upon Tyne.  The window had an array of books and items to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.  The quote struck me by it’s simple but profound message.  It was so thought-provoking that I scribbled it down in my notebook.  The writer’s wisdom speaks for itself in that, we, as humankind, need to remember our mistakes so we don’t repeat them.  It made me think that we have all been living on planet Earth for over two-thousand-years and there are still wars raging, people dying, orphans crying…
Remembrance week quote 11 - 16 November
The quote also made me think of one of my own brave relatives, Thomas Lake, who gave his life in the fight for freedom in the First World War.  I discovered this unknown relative when my friend, Jennifer A. Stephenson, began my Family Tree. As time wound on, I delved into the initial research that she had uncovered.  One of the strangest ‘finds’ Jennifer discovered was that our relatives had fought cheek-by-cheek on the blood-drenched battlefields of Ypres.  Both perished on the fields, where the poppies prospered, with Thomas being pronounced dead on the 2nd of December 1917.  His name is recorded at the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 108 to 111) and closer to home on the Burnopfield War Memorial in Tyne and Wear.  I was lucky to receive a photograph of Thomas from some Lake relatives, whom I had contacted whilst researching my family history.  There was also another photograph of Thomas standing with his widowed mother, Harriet, holding a British Star medal for bravery.  Unfortunately, someone has cut Thomas’ head off the photograph (possibly for a locket or a smaller picture frame), so the image was not worthy of being shown.

I am very proud of Thomas and his heroism and feel that he, and the men that fought alongside him, are very worthy of all of the recognition that they can be given.

It would be nice to think, that sometime in the future, that Edward Burke’s wise words were adopted and adhered to by all the people who inhabit and live upon this planet we share…
Thomas Lake for blogBurnopfield War Memorial December 2009for blogTLakenameonmemorialforblogThomas Lake medals received sheet
Picture 1: Lance Corporal Thomas Lake, with fellow soldiers.  Thomas is on the back row, in the centre.
Picture 2: The War Memorial at Burnopfield, Tyne and Wear.
Picture 3: Detail of Thomas Lake’s name on the memorial.
Picture 4: Details of the medals Thomas Lake received.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the opening day…                Words by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

I would like to thank Jennifer A. Stephenson and Marie L. Smyth, for supplying me with the above information on my relative, Thomas Lake.

Thoughts On – Musical Inspiration

Over the last two-months I got to see two of my favourite singers – Mary Chapin Carpenter and Kiki Dee, along with her amazing musical partner and guitarist, Carmelo Luggeri.
Mary Chapin Carpenter ticket - 30 September 2014 (Q8)forblog      Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri ticket
It was great seeing these ladies (and a gentleman) ‘live’ as I have often produced illustration after illustration (often working until the early hours of the morning) whilst listening to them. Some music has gone-the-journey with me, as I have been a fan of Kiki Dee since I was a teenager (which was more years now than I care to reflect on). I remember buying the LP of ‘Perfect Timing’ in the early ‘80s, after saving what seemed like a considerable amount of pocket-money. It was well worth it and even now I still love this Kiki Dee album (although the LP has long since gone and been replaced with a CD).  I’m also a big fan of the new albums , which Kiki and Carmelo have worked on together – ‘Almost Naked’, ‘The Walk Of Faith’, ‘A Place Where I Can Go’

Music really inspires me, and if I am listening to Simon and Garfunkel, Nanci Griffith, Carrie Newcomer, Miriam Stockley, Eva Cassidy and the two ladies above (the list could go on), I know that I will be inspired. Sometimes it’s just a certain song that gets right to your heart. I tend to have favourite songs by nearly all of my favourite singers, but ‘This Shirt’ is one of my favourites by Mary Chapin Carpenter. I love the way that the story unwinds about this much-loved and well-worn piece of clothing. Mary Chapin Carpenter has got a fantastic voice to tell the story.

A newcomer to my musical collection (pardon the pun) is Carrie Newcomer. I am smitten with her songs too. Can anybody listen to ‘Betty’s Diner’ without getting tears in their eyes? It’s great hearing the lyrics about people, from all walks of life, all congregating in the same place and being looked after by a caring and wise waitress, called Melinda.  I will have to do a post on favourite songs on another occasion…

Just want to say a big thank you (out there) to the musical artists that have inspired me over the years… Kiki, Crystal, Belinda, Wanda, Nanci, Trisha, Mary, Emmylou, Eva, Carrie…I salute you!

Songs that I would recommend (to anyone!):

Kiki Dee: ‘How Glad I Am’ (put your dancing shoes on beforehand), ‘Loving and Free’, ‘Song For Adam’, ‘One And Only Love’‘Into Eternity’, ‘There’s A Need’ and all of her hits: ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, ‘Star’…  I would run out of (cyber)space if I listed them all!
Emmylou Harris: ‘Boulder to Birmingham’, ‘If I Could Only Win Your Love’‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’. Great songs!
Mary Chapin Carpenter: This Shirt’, ‘Down In Mary’s Land’, ‘Quittin’ Time’ (I am listening to that right now!)
Carrie Newcomer: Before And After’, ‘Betty’s Diner’, ‘There Is A Tree’
Eva Cassidy: ‘Fields Of Gold’, ‘I Know You By Heart’, ‘True Colours’…  Wonderful singer!
Miriam Stockley: ‘Arcadia’ and so many more… This lady has a fantastic voice.
Nanci Griffith: ‘Once In A Very Blue Moon’ and ‘Late Night Grande Hotel’ and many more
Belinda Carlisle: ‘Summer Rain‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’
Simon and Garfunkel: ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘April Come She Will’
Tracy Grammer: ‘April Come She Will’, ‘Gypsy Rose’ and so many others…
Wanda Jackson: ‘I May Never Get To Heaven’, ‘Silver Threads And Golden Needles’ and many more…
Trisha Yearwood: ‘On A Bus To St. Cloud’ (one of my favourites!)
The Carpenters: ‘Top Of The World’…(you should hear me sing it!)

Doris Day       A childhood favourite actress/singer of mine (and worthy of her own post)