Thursday, 27 January 2011

Sexy Club Girls

Thanks to Geninne I have found a new toy that I am now officially addicted to. She posted THIS amazing digital drawing tool on her Facebook Fan Page today and I have been having so much fun playing with it.
I can predict that lots of work is going to get neglected tomorrow...oh dear...another distraction. *sigh*

These are my first three, posted in the order that I did them. Thanks Mr. Doob for Harmony!

Why don't you have a go at it...and then let me know how you got on. I'd love to see what you come up with.


Monday, 24 January 2011

Garden Birds Behaving Badly

This is a new series of drawings I am working on inspired by what I think the creatures in my garden get up to when I'm not looking. More to come...stay tuned.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Illustration: The Gallery B&B

This is an illustration I did of the dining room at The Gallery Bed and Breakfast in Blackpool. We stayed there in August and I have to say it was one of the nicest B&Bs we have ever stayed in. Blackpool, understandably, has a bit of a bad reputation for presenting some of Briton's worst B&Bs but we were soooo lucky to find this one. It's clean, the guys that run it are nice, warm, welcoming and best of all...they are well travelled and arty...and it's the same price (£50 a night for two peeps) as all the other B&Bs in the area! Their B&B is full of art and antiques they have collected over their years of travels. The best thing about it for me though was how inspiring the decor was there. We were there for Rebellion Punk Festival...but I was like "screw the gigs...I'm gonna stay in and do some drawings of this place"...which is what I did...saving myself lots of money and a hangover!


Thursday, 6 January 2011

I Heart Vintage Coats, For Better/For Worse

It has been a long time coming but my beloved vintage, hot pink, 1960s mohair coat finally bit the dust. The entire day yesterday and part of today was spent lovingly taking her apart and putting her back together again. She is now a new woman. Thank goodness I still have my industrial flat machine in my studio because I don't think my little domestic one would have been able to cope with the weight of the fabric.

She had been falling apart slowly and in small bits here and there for ages and every winter I would take her out of her 'sleeping bag' and fix little things by hand. The good thing is that the original material is in very good condition. It was only the threads in the seams that were deteriorating making it pretty easy to fix. Well, sadly (for me) this winter I decided to wear her to an important meeting thinking all would be OK but all the threads (bar a few) decided to give up the ghost on that day. By the time I got to the tube station, both arm holes in the back had split open. I knew because I could feel the cold, damp breeze blowing in. By the time I actually got on the train someone brought it to my attention that the entire side seam was flapping open. Gee I'm totally embarrassed. By the time I got off the bus at my destination, the collar started to come away at the back and the other side seam started to pop open. Every time I moved, something more would rip open. by the time I walked into the building where the meeting was, one sleeve had come off completely leaving only the lining there, the other sleeve hanging on by a few threads and both side seams wide open.

By now I was so self-conscious thinking that everyone must be thinking..."go out and get a real coat you freak"...or knowing that I was an artist they must be thinking "eccentric freak". one noticed. This is London after could run around stark naked with 20 ferrets wearing tutus on your head and no one would notice. Needless to say, I put my coat in bag and froze my buns off on the way home.

I felt tremendous compassion for my poor coat. She has a lot of sentimental value to me. She was the very first 'proper' coat I ever bought in my whole life. See, I'm from Los Angeles and it rarely ever gets cold enough there to warrant a big I never had one. Shortly before I moved to England in 1999, I went shopping for a coat. There were NO coats in California...unless you went to a ski shop...but I don't do ski way. It was on a random trip to a Salvation Army thrift store that I found her...for only $15.00...and in such good condition. I mean often do you find a vintage coat in a size 18, in mint condition, in super hot pink, made from mohair, with a stripey lining for only a song?
Her and me...we were meant to be!

Here is a picture of me wearing her shortly after I moved to London in 2000. I had just cut my very long hair to this short little poofy do. I thought I looked so smart, with my LuLu Guinness handbag...I kinda cringe now...I look so conservative!

I do love her so...even though she stinks to high heaven when she gets wet and even though people need to put on their sunglasses when they see me wearing her. Her cute Peter Pan collar, snug little raglan sleeves and tulip shape is so divinely vintage...such a gem!


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

My Illustrated Travel Journal in Selvedge Magazine Issue #38

I am very pleased to announce that Selvedge Magazine has featured my little illustrated travel journal/book on Ganseys from North East Yorkshire in the Jan/Feb 2011 Issue #38. I love Selvedge Magazine. It is so full of eye candy, which makes it one of those decadent treats that you hanker over until it finally arrives on your doorstep, every other month or so, full of goodies, waiting to be devoured in private with some good music and a cup of tea. I feel very grateful indeed that they have chosen me to publish in this special issue. Thanks Polly and gals rock!

In short, Ganseys are the hand knitted jumpers (sweaters) made by the wives and womenfolk of fisherman in the UK. Traditionally, the wool used was unprocessed in order to keep as many of the natural oils found in the wool intact. This helped to keep the jumpers relatively water resistant and the fisherman warm. The necks and sleeve cuffs of Ganseys were knitted very tight as to not let wind and rain much so they were virtually impossible to remove without injuring ears! Each fishing village has it's own knitted (Aran) pattern which served to represent the family who knitted it as well as to identify any fisherman who may have perished at sea. As an artist, I find the romance in fishing folklore too hard to resist. I lose myself in the mystery and the stories and the memories...and I'm absolutely mesmerized by how hard they worked and how devoted they were to God and family. There are countless superstitions and myths that go way back...and some are still practiced to this day!

I love British fishing history and maritime folklore. I always have. Being American, I never really got to experience it first hand until I moved to England. My first taste of it was when I visited Tintagel, Cornwall in 2000. The rugged landscape and minimalist architecture there blew me away. There was a sea shanty (or rather a very small wood cottage, but I just love the word 'sea shanty') right on the cliff side, covered in nets, and glass floats and had an old brass diving bell in the garden. At night, you could see into the little house and there was a wood burning stove, beamed ceiling and an old man sitting inside reading the paper. I so wanted to knock on the door and invite myself in for tea and chat...about old stories...some songs perhaps. Of course, I didn't, but seeing that house will always stay with me and fuel my imagination of what it could be, could have been, was...etc.

Since then I have tried to visit as many old fishing villages in England as possible. I am particularly drawn to the domestic life of fishing families. I'm sure it didn't seem so at the time, but there is a certain romance in the way they lived their lives, so totally dependent on the sea and at the mercy of her moods. Fishing was extremely dangerous and many, many fisherman never made it back home. It was common for fathers, sons and grandsons to all go out fishing and if tragedy struck, it could wipe out a whole family. This precarious, teetering on a wire way of living fascinates me. A strong connection to God, faith and superstitions was woven into all aspects of domestic life...including food, crafts and even how and when the women did their chores. All of which is fertile ground to create some great imagery. I have been researching maritime folklore, on and off, for a couple years now and I never seem to grow tired of it. Not a day goes by that I don't think about some of the amazing little villages I have seen and I keep the 'wish fires' burning that perhaps some day I will be in a position to buy my own little sea shanty (in Cornwall for sure) with a fantastic view and a wood burning stove.

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