introducing my inner adult…

All through this month I’ve been prompted and nudged along by Inktober, seeing daily reminders to keep inkdrawing from the good folks of the youtubes & the instagrams. They kept me company as developed this stream of consciousness doodle running through my sketchbook-project-sketchbook, leading from one page to the next…

Y’know about the Sketchbook Project, right? (If not, and you’re intrigued, I wrote a little about it here.)

All through this month I’ve been prompted and nudged along by Inktober, seeing daily reminders to keep inkdrawing from the good folks of the youtubes & the instagrams. They kept me company as developed this stream of consciousness doodle running through my sketchbook-project-sketchbook, leading from one page to the next, a little like this (also like this)


(the shadows and hiccups in continuity show the folds in the book or the turn of the page… this is just 3 pages, it would be too wide to show it all like this, you get the idea tho’)

And now it’s ready to begin coloring. Which I plan to do throughout November.

I’ll give you a moment if you fell off your chair at the news I’ve not added any color yet …………… ok? ………….before I tell you that the coloring won’t begin straight away either.

For three reasons:

  1. This sketchbook is the foundation to a new project I’m developing for launch in 2018. “TWELVTY EXTRA” – a companion course to “TWELVTY – a year full of color” (which you can read all about here).  I’ve got a clear idea of exactly how I’m gonna color my doodle, which colors, even which paints…
  2. As I was nearing the end of my last massive’normous art escapade I planned to reward myself with a little treat in the form of a set of Daniel Smith’s Watercolors. (These aren’t any old watercolors, these are proper fancypants watercolors. The purchase of which was preceded by a full on 2 week dither while they languished in my online shopping cart.) And now the delivery has been delayed!
    But I’m saving this book for these colors!
  3. (this is the biggie) I’m cultivating a bit of self control. Instead of running full pelt at my life and my art with wild abandon and all colors flying aimlessly, I’m experimenting with something new (to me). Planning. …….Interesting, huh?


Now I’ve eked out all the enjoyment, focus and concentration I can from the black and white and inking stage, and I’d like to report back: I kinda like this new strategy. It’s still got an edge of impetuous childlike impatience as a driving force, but my inner adult is developing her voice, taking moments of authority, even making some of the decisions.

How will this play out? check back over the next month and I’ll show you how it’s going.  Or hop aboard my email list for updates direct to your emailbox every month.


I’ll send you a copy of my (newly updated) eBook ‘a year full of color’ as well as exclusive discounts for my ecourses. 

Your email is utterly safe with me. I’ll sing it to sleep and bring it tea when it wakes up.

TWELVTY 2018 launches for pre-registration in November!

TWELVTY 2018: find out more

find out more here

Water in Parallel (part 1)

I’m working on a project over the next 6 months, part of which is to produce a collection of eight works, two at a time through each six week cycle.

So…. 6 weeks, huh?

I’m just into week 2. The logical, ordered part of my mind says ‘so you’re like about 25% done, right?’ Then when I stop laughing, collect myself, I can get on with showing you where it began:

I’ve got a theme: Water. But I’ve got no limits, no plan, and no expectations. Apart from – this is gonna be so much FUN!

Experience tells me straight off:

  1.  Make it Big (I’ve gone A1, cos I have that sized cartridge paper, and post-masive-sort-out, I’ve got that sized working area, both on table and floor)
  2. Make it Strong (I know me; paper gets dog-eared and crumpled just by touching it. If I’m playing with this for more than a few days it’ll get holes in and ripped and all manner of fucked up – unless it’s super-tough) So this substrate’s gonna need layers! That’s where the heap of other papers comes in to play.


Ooooh tearing paper – inner kid – she’s in her element here – construction from destruction (yeh – eventually – but first let’s relish a bit of ripping deconstruction!)


Like day follows night, gluing follows tearing.


Working the two in parallel (here’s the plan) will keep them in sync. It’s now layered two to four thick, much more substantial to hold up over the coming weeks!

More developments in due course…………….!

The Art of Letting Go

The things we learn at art school, that aren’t really art…

I’ve learnt how to let go.

I started out with very fixed thinking mentality. I made myself decide what the finished result would look like as a starting point. Then trying to find a path to get from point A (nothing) to point Z (end product). It was hugely frustrating. Not just for me –  I could see it in the face of my tutors too. But I didn’t understand why.

I spent so many years drifty doodling about aimlessly, I had no idea I could choose my direction and just go off n see where I got to.

Stubbornly resistant to the organic process – sketching, researching, dabbling, documenting and recording, experimenting, trial and error, figuring out – I wanted to race to the finish line and then jump into the next thing. Inner kid was at the wheel, and she travels at one speed only – giddyingly fast! Although she brings the very necessary vitality and exuberance, she doesn’t do planning or calm. And in order to get the best results I (we) could, these elements cannot be mutually exclusive.

I look back at early projects and think: what a bizarre way of going about things! (but isn’t that a life thing too?)

I believe we create best within a set of parameters. Told you can only have 3 colours for your painting,  3 notes for your tune, 3 minutes for your idea … set a restriction, and it forces the imagination swell to fill the limits. When you don’t have access to everything in the toy box, you can really set about making the best of what you’ve got.

While I already knew this, my first ‘free choice’ projects at college freaked the bejeebus out of me. The resulting confusion made me panic my own parameters into place. So much so, in the freedom of limitless choicefulness I’d literally hear myself think: Right, so it can be anything??? Ok………<eek> …….. Let’s make it 1.5 metres high, made of fabric, and green. I don’t know what it’s going to be, or why, or anything else. But at least I’ve got some clue what it’s going to look like. And then steadfastly refuse to budge from this plan.

And then reverse engineer my ideas from there.

Top tip, folks: Don’t do it this way!

pin-tail-on-donkeyIn the absence of any solid grounding I had to pin meanings on to the finished article, blindly, like the tail on a donkey.  It didn’t hold up, there was no integrity: just a decorative thing that isn’t an expression of anything.

The whole process was a lot harder than it needed to be, and it didn’t produce good results. I backed myself into a corner and I wasn’t going to let myself out of it for fear of … fear of… fear of the great abyss of everything that’s outside my self imposed boundary,  which is too overwhelming to consider.

So sometimes you gotta follow a route to its ultimate destination before accepting the truth of it, turning round, and going someplace else. Destination disappointment (could’ve done better). And eventually, several disappointments later, I did.

I’ll show you where some of these routes led next…

Boxy Day

As a kid I assumed Boxing Day was a reference to the amount of boxes strewn about the place after ‘unwrapping day’.

Ok, hands up: When you surveyed the goodies Santa brought you, how many of you were also eyeing up the boxes and packaging debris… as a wonderous array of new paper, card and art mmaterials?

Xmas was low key in my world this year – I’m happy with this – but was heartened by IK‘s delight at the fabulous orange gift bag and box I received. Oh yeh, and of course the thing inside it too. It stirred up young memories of hearing my mum on the phone… ‘yes she loved the gift… though TBH she spent more time playing with the box it came in…’

Cosy Snugness, in the making

A little while ago I told you about my plan to make a quilt.

So far I’ve completed 9 5×5 squares……

I started by recycling a quilt I made years ago, stripping it down for usable fabric, but there wasn’t going to be enough to complete the project.

I scoured boot sales, charity shops and my wardrobe for possible cut-up-able clothing, and finally the shop-that-sells-everything came up trumps with 2 large offcuts of pink cotton velvet.

Although pink isn’t a color I plan to use, but I chose it for it’s 2 very easy options: + yellow = orange, and + blue = purple.

These arrived at the end of last week, so the weekend was dying time!

It has a certain wonky appeal, which I put down to IK‘s aversion to ironing.

More precisely, IK’s aversion to clearing space to set up the ironing board. Coupled with the memory of a sewing time many years ago when I let IK iron on the carpet instead of the ironing board. It didn’t end well for the carpet.

We ironed some pieces today (properly), they look much better for it. We agreed the ironing board should be left up while construction stage is still in progress! 😉


The range of colors, the colors themselves, all add up to a mood or visual sensation. By changing the hues, we change much more.

Restricting colors (I find this a BIG challenge!) is a technique I am striving towards.

When space limits me to work on just one project at time, the Inner Kid won’t listen to me. “More Colors!” is the constant command.

If I had a few pieces on the go and space to dip between them this would be much more simple

But for now, working within the parameters of my living/painting space, I have to exercise a little more self discipline to make these more subtle images happen

Initially this page was to be just 2 colors: Olive green and burnt orange.

So the fact that I only allowed in some different shades of orange, I consider a victory!

And the results have (for now at least) left Inner Kid in slightly hushed awe: Maybe less is more!

Quilty Time

See what I did there? *snigger*

September’s just round the corner and me and the Inner Kid are looking forward to some cosiness. We reeeeeally want a velvet quilt in which to snuggle.

Now, something like 15 years ago we made one. It was a patchwork of scavanged velvet from car boot sales and charity shops, excuses, impatience and scant attention to detail. I didn’t have such a balanced relationship with IK back then, so handed over almost all the decision making, which culminated in a lovely colorful quilt, full of hurried inaccuracies, apology and shonky stitching. It began to develop holes almost straight away.

Fast forward another 10 years or so: We decide to re-incarnate/up-cycle said quilt into covers for floor cushions. Some long while after this they ended up in that limbo of ‘waiting for next idea’ space. The ragbag. The months of scavanging fabric, sorting and choosing, cutting into squares, sneezing from the fluff were so long past, but still fresh enough that we couldn’t totally let go.

Fast forward again to yesterday: I left IK sleeping off the excitement of the previous day and snuck upstairs with scissors and freshly washed quilt/cushion cover remnants.

Sssssshhhhh…. don’t tell, but I actually began trimming down the pieces to the same size (yes, measured not guessed)…. layed them out on the (ironed) backing fabric and pinned them. Just like a proper grown up would do!!!

I’ll post up some picks as we go along – meanwhile IK is yelling in the background: I have to paint the dream I just woke from. QUICK before it escapes!

a day in a page, part last.

The disparate parts of today’s page are beginning to merge and sit comforatbly in each other’s company.

The only things we need now are the doodles

Light and Dark – Black and White – We Need To Doodle!!

…………………….and now to bed! G’night all X

a day in a page, part 3b

Sorry folks, unkind to leave you dangling.


Yes! Here – on the brink of painted catastrophe!

….daubing and splashing… still no idea where this is going now…. it’s just so busy, so freeform jazz, so focus-less.

Enough! cries IK. I need new and I need different! I need solid edges and flat color! I need Spots!

If only the page weren’t so darned soaking wet…..

…aided by dabbing with a scrap of dyed paper drying time elapses…. (time to type to you) …we wait

still not what you’d call dry, but enough to stick stickers, and a bit more paint…

Time for the papery things we made earlier. They want some more blending in… but that’ll be after some more drying time. Til then…. 😉

a day in a page, part 3

Here’s kinda where we left off earlier, the coffee has soaked in and the general consistency of the page is still damp and squodgy.

Time for paint! Inner Kid is impatient with all this waiting, drying, waiting, so we press on:

Paint and drippy ink. And more purple again!

More splatter! More messy!


In a bid to tame the splattering we meditate a moment on the yellow ink and coffee-ness of tomorrow’s page. I love this a lot. Even if nothing else comes of this weekend, the ink + coffee thing is going to be replayed!

But it doesn’t do the trick, the splattering amps up…

…………………..can this page be saved??? It’s looking kinda out of control to me……………..