The Lady in the Aquarium

Yellow paint is the answer.

I mean, possibly not to everything, but it's certainly cheered up my studio. I've been channelling the Lady in the Van; I now have a rather lumpy, mustardy wall and it does feel more like home. Which is, I suppose, why Miss Shepherd always painted her van the same shade of custard... I mean, my Dulux is Madeira cake-free and I opted for the traditional roller, rather than a washing-up brush, but I defy you to wield a bright yellow paintbrush with anything other than sheer GLEE.

It's taken a LONG time (a good seven months, in fact) but I think I might finally have settled into this new studio - I know it's ridiculous, but it's true. I've actually been working and everything! Although obviously it will never compare to my beloved Apple Room, on the plus side it's very big, very light, the floorboards aren't disintegrating beneath the wheels of my swivel chair and I don't need a bucket of grit to make it safe to venture forth in frosty weather. 

A happy combination of paint left over from Top Drawer, a couple of plants (offshoots from a giant peace lily called Cedric, gifted to my mum by a patient of the same name about 20 years ago) and some of my old YSP birds have made it look quite nice. I also made myself a desk/den against one wall, having discovered that subject to whatever kind of Feng Shui-style forces operate in this ex-double garage, I do NOT like to have my back to the door.

In the desk-den no one can see what I'm scribbling and I've pinned the banner my sister made when I ran the marathon to the back of the bookcase. You can keep your tasteful motivational quotes, the best affirmations come emblazoned on neon pink felt.

On the downside, while no one can peer over my shoulder, they are now able to spy me snoozing with bits of paper stuck to my face because the windows are ENORMOUS and face the road. I think this, really, has been the weirdest thing of all; going from working at the top of a steep staircase where I could hear visitors/tea-bearers/nuisances coming about five minutes before they arrived, to being in a little bit of a fish tank, albeit one facing a sleepy lane in a tiny village. A bit like a Damien Hirst without the formaldehyde (and without me being dead).

Birds 2.jpg

SO tidy. Too tidy, really, but happily it will not last. For now, I have all my different coloured baker's twine on this special dowel reel thing I made for the back of my desk! I am a DIY queen. I am the gazelle. (I am also sitting here in my leggings because I've been meaning to go for a run ALL afternoon and haven't. Yet.)

Desk 1.jpg

Making The Birthday Crown

As today's the Queen's official birthday I thought I'd share a few more progress photos from when I was in the midst of illustrating The Birthday Crown! You can find my original blog about illustrating the book here and see more illustrations in my portfolio, here.

And here's a very short (and very bad video) I made of the set a while ago...

Collage Workshops on the Farm

I'm really excited to announce that from July I'll be hosting regular collage workshops here on the farm in Newborough, Staffordshire, where my studio is based.

Whether you’re a keen crafter or a complete novice, you can spend a few peaceful hours in a beautiful countryside setting and indulge your inner artist! Workshops take place in the farmhouse but you're very welcome to have a behind-the-scenes peek at my studio too.

For more information, to book and to see lots more photos from my first workshop click here.

The beautiful photography is by Holly Booth, who, as always, did a brilliant job of capturing the day!