Whilst sitting on a bus in the summer, I got an idea for a Christmas card. I am not sure why such an unseasonal image would ‘pop’ into my mind on one of the hottest days of the year, but I wonder if it’s because I was secretly wishing for cooler weather. I am definitely not a hot-house orchid, I am much more akin to a polar bear.
I imagined doing a Christmas card on the theme of the number 18, which I could personalise and send out to my closest friends (unless they are called Peter Masscharis, who actually got a polar bear card 😉 )
I scribbled a quick scamp into a little drawing pad that my good friend, Cherry Balme, had lovingly made me in 2013 and pondered on the idea until an opportunity came to create it on the computer. I managed to do a good few of these cards (maybe about a dozen), before I realised that it wasn’t possible to do many more, being busy at work and planning on returning to teaching in the autumn. There’s only so much a graphic designer/illustrator/teacher can do…
I received some lovely comments on the Christmas card and I think people are expecting me now to do it every year… Well, I am not so sure about that…but who knows…watch this space.
I would like to wish all my readers all over the world and here at home (in Great Britain) a very Merry Christmas and every best wish for 2019 x
I always love this time of year, when you know spring is ‘just around the corner’. The days start to lengthen and the mornings are much lighter (so not quite as difficult to get out of bed at 7 o’clock) and one’s heart is gladdened.
It’s at this time of year, that I always notice a large clump of snowdrops, which grow on a bank in Burnopfield, not far from my parents’ home. They have cheered my heart on many a winter day.
My longtime friend and former colleague, Mildred, has a great love of snowdrops and they have a very special meaning for her. I think she was the inspiration behind this drawing, which also featured a beautiful white bear. My friend, Jennifer A. Stephenson created a beautiful jade-green cape or cloak, for the bear, which I named ‘Sophie’.
I photographed the bear in situ but was very careful not to crush the delicate white blooms on the drooping flowers. As usual, I waited until the road was quiet of traffic and set up the scene. Then, as usual, a fleet of buses or a group of cyclists go by and all stop and stare at me, as I do some sketching and take some hasty photographs. The same thing happened on this occasion, which is always very embarrassing for me. I wouldn’t put myself through these torturous ordeals if it is not for the fact that I want to get the effects of shadow and light correct on the bear etc.
This illustration, like many of them, was time consuming, as the amount of snowdrops could not be rushed. I felt I was well on my way to breaking the record of how many snowdrops could be drawn in the one picture.
‘Sophie in Snowdrops’ appeared in my 2006 Bear-a-thought calendar and the finishing touches on this illustration were completed whilst I was watching a repeat of the original ‘Dad’s Army’ movie on television. It’s strange the memories of doing these illustrations recall…