Bubbletastic Blooms!

Bubbletastic Blooms

A sunny day not so long ago myself and the littlest member of the family decided to get into the garden and throw some paint around!

Inspired by all the beautiful blooms springing up in the wonderfully warm weather we decided to create some of our own.

We got paint & washing up liquid and mixed them together.

We then got a straw and blew some bubbles into our painty mixtures. (Remember to blow NOT suck!!)

Bubbletastic Blooms
Bubbletastic Blowing!
Bubbletastic Blooms
Blooms or Brains?!

We used a couple of different colours and layered them on the paper.

We did think that our bubble art resembled a brain, but decided to focus on creating some flowers instead!

We found some leaves. We looked at the different shapes, felt the textures and talked about the patterns. We then drew some on our flower.

Bubbletastic Blooms
Really concentrating on drawing leaves.

After a little bit of snippin’ an’ stickin’ our beautiful bubbletastic blooms were complete!

Bubbletastic Blooms
Ta-Dah! Beautiful Bubbletastic Blooms!


Bringing Books Alive!

Dragon Finale

The other weekend we took a trip to the Children’s Book Festival 2018 at Quarry Bank to enjoy a day of superb storytelling!


We joined author and illustrator, David Litchfield, as he read his award-winning book – ‘The Bear and the Piano’, with special musical accompaniment from a piano playing bear (naturally!)

After listening to the story we were then set the brief of designing our very own bears, which would form part of The Big Bear Band! After pondering ideas and with paper and pencils galore we set to the task in hand.

The Final Designs!

Ol’ Red with piercin’ blue eyes and a song to warm the coldest of hearts! Designed, drawn and coloured by Heath aged 6. Please note that MUCH arm ache was endured to achieve the VERY realistic fur with a rather blunt crayon and NO pencil sharpener in sight! But, as I told my eldest son, sometimes you just gotta suffer for your art!

Ol' Red playing his guitar!The Blue Masked Bear. Designed, drawn and coloured by Rowan aged 3&3/4. Blue is a part-time performer, part-time superhero. He has to be ready, at any given moment, to spring into action and thwart the bad guys – hence the mask!

The Blue Masked Bear.Both, I think you’ll agree, quite complex characters!

With completed artwork in hand we joined The Big Bear Band in a rousing finale of The Bare Necessities (go on have a sing-song!). The perfect end to the session!

With vocal chords suitably loosened we went in search of David Litchfield to say hello and get our copy of ‘The Bear and the Piano’ signed.

In the aftermath of all excitement we decided to take a gentle stroll around Quarry Bank, ice cream in hand, to have a look at all the other activities on offer.

A great time was had by all and we’ll definitely be back for more next year!

Feeling inspired I dug out some illustrations that I have been working on for a couple of picture book ideas. I’ve been busily scribbling away over the last year, but, as there are many other things competing for my attention it often feels like a slow process. However, sitting back and taking the time to look through all of my drawings I realised just how much I have developed them. Most of the story and initial roughs are complete and even some colour and character experimentations. A long way to go, but not a bad start!

One story is about a girl and a dragon dress-up competition.

The other features a giraffe lovin’ boy as the main character.

Now, just to crack on and get them finished before my little boys are too old to read them!

Lovely Liverpool!

Gay Is OK

The other day my little sidekick and I hopped on a train and headed to Liverpool.

First stop The Walker Art Gallery and, as always, the obligatory sampling of the treats in the cafe took place straight away!

Feeling replenished we made our way around the gallery, looking at the artwork on display and came across the bold and bright activist signs and slogans by Lois Tierney.  Using her wonderfully vibrant artwork as inspiration we coloured a mini LGBT+ placard of our own to take home.

We then headed to Big Art for Little Artists, which is a section of the gallery that is dedicated to children – lots of fun to be had here! We snipped, we stuck and made……….a Zebra snake!

After letting our creative juices flow we made the short walk down the road to The World Museum, where beasts, bugs and bones were the order of the afternoon! (We particularly like the Clore Natural History Centre area, as you get your paws on all sorts of fascinating objects – from an elephant’s skull to a snakeskin (after moulting!).)

Then there was just enough time to nip to the Central Library (which is sandwiched between the gallery and museum), cosy up and leaf through a good couple of picture books before heading back to the train station and home.

Oh, and of course, a day trip isn’t complete without fleecing mum in the gift shop!



Female Artists Can’t Have Kids!!

Back in October 2014 Tracey Emin said that female artists can’t have kids, stating that it isn’t easy for women to juggle the demands of an artistic career and parenthood. You can read more here
This interview took place around the time that I had my second child. Having children does change your life, there is no question about that. Suddenly your own priorities come second to this little creature who is completely and utterly dependent upon you!
I do think that Emin has a point. It is definitely harder to do things for yourself when you have young children.
Harder, but not impossible. 
It’s quite ironic really, but I have produced more artwork since having my first child in 2012 than I did in the previous ten years when I was child-free! Crazy, when I think of all that time I had – what was I doing??!! I guess I sort of dabbled, not really being serious, letting myself get distracted.
Now I am a lot more focused.

If I have a free hour I get working instead of watching the television. If I get a day (which is a huge luxury & very rare!) I head straight down to the studio, lock the door and create. I am only human & there are of course times when I need to do nothing and relax, but I have found that since having less time I actually get a lot more done!
Arthur Ashe pretty much sums up what I am trying to do when he says ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’ 
However, sometimes my good intentions are disrupted & things don’t always go to plan! 

One particular night I put the kids to bed. Husband out, house to myself – great! Race downstairs to get on with some artwork. Just get started when I hear a cry from upstairs. I rush back up. Toddler stood on landing crying, covered in sick and I mean covered! Initiate clean up mission – bath, dress, soothe toddler. Change bedding, clean floor, spray lots of Fabreeze about!

Just about to start work again when there is another cry, only this time it’s the other one! I go back up. He also has been sick. So I start the whole process all over again! The small window of opportunity I had vanished before my eyes – highly frustrating!

However, I have learned not to fight it. The children come first. There will be ups and downs. There will be many, many nights like this! I just have to accept it, laugh (and cry!) and move on.
The children are part of my life – a huge part of it. I love them, but I also love my art. So, the two often merge. I enjoy capturing their antics on paper as a reminder of their funny, quirky, heartwarming ways. Many of these scribbled drawings are on scraps of paper or in old sketchbooks – basically whatever I can get my hands on at the time.  I am in the proces of collating all these drawings – I have an idea to put them all together to create a book. The idea being that I create a library of these books over the years, something to show the boys as they grow and for me to flick through in my old age!

Emin may feel that she could never compromise her art for children, but I feel that my children often enhance my artwork and provide new ideas that I’d never thought of previously.