This is my 101st blog post, so by rights it should include some dalmatians, but it doesn’t. It’s more about rabbits.
When I get that rare luxury called ‘free time’ I love to read, but if I have more free time than time to just read, I do like to make handmade cards, but this is quite rare these days with more commissions and so many other concerns and worries that the world seems to be throwing at us all at the moment!However, putting the world issues to one side, I recently found these handmade cards that my youngest niece, Cora and myself made a few years ago, before my middle sister and her family moved to California. Most Saturdays my sister and my two nieces would come over for a cup of tea and a piece of cake and Cora and I would either play Cluedo (my very favourite board game) or make cards.
Cora has a natural talent for card making and crafts and together we fashioned some cardboard templates and found some nice gingham paper backgrounds and things that would be suitable for Easter cards and we got to work. Quite quickly we could produce a good few cards and then put on the wording and the features of the rabbits’ and chicks’ faces.
Easter is my favourite time of year and although this Easter has been anything but usual or expected, I have still found time to enjoy this special time of year and the odd one or two pieces of chocolate eggs.
There’s nothing like an Easter egg, unless of course you can have two…
One of my friends, Mary Redshaw, has commissioned a great many illustrations from me, but this time it was her niece, Laura Stewart, who approached me to do an illustration for her husband as a Father’s Day gift. Gary and Laura became proud parents of Oliver last year and this picture shows the pride that Gary has in his wonderful son.
I have done numerous portraits in my time, but very few, if any, has given me as much joy to do as this one. I think the fascination for me is that the image has captured a special moment, as Oliver goes to greet his father who has lifted him up. The joy on Oliver’s face and his cute smile were wonderful to create.
As the photograph I was given to work from was black-and-white or mono, the best medium to use, for me, was graphite pencils. I chose a harder pencil, primarily 2H, as I didn’t want any part of the picture to be too dark or black. The picture is tender and emotional and I felt the pencils used to create this should reflect that. So, all the B pencils were banned from this commission!
Thank you, Laura, for allowing me to the share this special moment and to produce it in illustration form. I am very pleased to hear that Gary appreciated his Father’s Day gift and I hope Oliver was suitably impressed with it too 🙂
Since starting to teach again last September, I have been busy. Along with my 12-year-old niece we have been busy trying out craft creations, such as greeting cards and pen tidy pots and things like that, that can be used for practical exercises in the class…
I sketched some pictures on to a sheet of A3 paper (robin, snowman, reindeer etc) to create some templates to make greeting cards and then pasted them on to cardboard to cut them out, so we could draw around them on coloured paper and create the cards. We had a great time and many hours passed before we stopped. I don’t always get the time to ‘test’ things out before my students have a go, but on this occasion it was most beneficial, as it gave me the opportunity to work out what degree of difficulty was involved in making each card. Believe it or not, the Santa Claus was the most difficult. The reindeer was very popular, but my personal favourite was the penguin, but that’s because I love penguins.
We also had a lovely time creating a series of pen tidy pots, that were covered in felt and decorated with felt and cardboard pieces to create reindeers, penguins and snowmen. Most of these were sold at my students’ Christmas craft fair, so that was a good enterprise scheme. We had used coffee cylinders and crisp tubes, so apart from the felt and some glue and a few hours spent doing craft, it was rather a cost effective and enjoyable exercise…
To all of you that read my blog (and there are some that do it…frequently), I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and every best wish for the forthcoming year. I hope 2016 is a good one for us all! x