Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Wow!  This is really worth having a peek at, BEAUTIFUL!

I'm going to add some photos from Paint.Print.Page soon, the exhibition was a huge success, with lots of sales and Edinburgh College of Art buying several books from each artist for their collection.  One being my Two Weeks of Mandalas, my most recent book.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Paint.Print.Page: An Artist Book Group Exhibition

As part of the Artist Book Group I am showing handmade books and drawings at our exhibition at McNaughtan's Bookshop (Haddington Place, top of Leith Walk by Gayfield Square), starting on Tues 22nd November till Saturday 3rd December.  There will be a range of different book structures, from concertinas to round books to magic money books...also painting, prints and photography.  There are eight of us in the group, all from a range of disciplines, and we all make artist books alongside other work.

I'm also running a workshop on Sat 3rd December from 1130-1230pm at the bookshop, so you can learn how to make a japanese binding and a round flower book structure.  Only £5 including all materials, book via email:

The recent work I've been doing follows on from my ideas about energy, spirituality and relationships.  In one book I drew a mandala every day representing my thoughts and feelings, in layers and I experimented with making those things that are pretty much invisible into marks on the page.  Whether or not they mean the same thing to me as they do to another doesn't necessarily matter.  What do you think?  And despite the difficult nature of some of the emotions I think the mandalas are quite beautiful.

I'm also making a drawing for Concert For Trees, at the Usher Hall on 26th November.  This is to tie in with the UN Year of Forests 2011, celebrating all that forests mean to us, and looking at sustainability, forest management and conservation.  There will be music, dance and poetry alongside a little art - my drawing along with prints by another artist will be on display as you go in.  The Conan Doyle Quartet, made from a sycamore tree in Arthur Conan Doyle's childhood garden, will be premiering.

My drawing will be on BFK Rives paper, which is gorgeous and made from 100% cotton rag in France, so no trees were sacrificed.  I'm considering the relationship between us and trees, our interdependence (they give out oxygen for us to breathe, and we give out carbon dioxide for them to breathe) and our emotional and spiritual connection.  I'm considering tree and human mandalas interlaced.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Fresh new books!

I wanted to make a book about the garden.  It's a shared garden and at some point someone has planted loads of beautiful plants, so when summer comes it's full of flowers.  It's also really quiet and looks onto the Churchill Theatre, and I feel like many tenement gardens it has an element of secrecy to it as you can't see it from the street.
I had stumbled upon a technique of monoprinting directly from plants a while ago and wanted to use that and keep it really simple.
I also wanted to experiment with editioning so made about 8 books, all slightly different.  It's a good process to use for editioning as you can print several at the same time.
These will be on sale at MacNaughtan's bookshop in November when we have our Artist Book Group exhibition.
Garden Book

Garden Book (detail)
Garden Book (detail)

Holy Corner Mandala Book

Holy Corner Mandala Book (detail)

I'm currently exploring mandalas as a way of making drawings and books.  Mandalas are traditionally circles with often complex patterns within them and are used in spiritual practices such as meditation as tools for raising consciousness.  In Tibetan Buddhism they are considered sacred.  I want to use the format of a mandala to make interesting and experimental drawings that may also have a spiritual aspect to them and may contain reiki or deeksha energy.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

New Drawings

I've been thinking for a while that I would love to bridge the gap between my spiritual practice and my art practice.  I'm doing the coaching programme with Cultural Enterprise (amazing organisation) and it's becoming evident that this is the area that really excites me.  If I could make interesting drawings that also describe my ideas and experiences of meditation, reiki and deeksha (oneness blessing) that would make me really happy.

So I have to start somewhere, beginning with these drawings.  I love horses and have been thinking recently about how animals are great companions as they are just exactly who they are.  By that I mean they don't hide how they feel or try to be something else (unlike people.)  In that way they let you be who you are too.

My friend gives horses reiki treatments and I wanted to play around with describing chakra colours and reiki energy in a drawing, I also wanted to show the connection that can exist between a horse and a person.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Harry Potter Illustration

My illustration for baby Mairi's bedroom.  Finished today and at Ann's getting framed.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Recent creations...

Since around Feb/March I've had lots of commissions and presents to make for friends and relatives.  Here are some pics of them to prove that I've not been skiving but have in fact been working away.

Okay, so I was on holiday last week up north (with gorgeous weather!) but am now ready to get back to my studio, and after I finish my current present-project (for beautiful baby Mairi) I'll get stuck into making work for the McNaughtan's bookshop exhibition in November.  

Possible subjects include dance, spirituality, ancestry, and I'm still not finished with my vet school drawings!  So that lot should keep me out of mischief for a while anyway.

Baby Memory Book for Graham and Lily

Baby Memory Book for Graham and Lily, it's a concertina with pockets and envelopes for them to collect things for their new baby

Detail of baby book.  I like the idea that something as mundane as a bus ticket or shopping receipt will be interesting in 20/30/40 years time.  Or is it only me who would like to see how much a loaf of bread cost on the day they were born?!

Copy of Jill Barklem's illustration: 'Bramley Hedge, Spring story', for baby Mairi's nursery

Paula and Donna's honeymoon memory book

Honeymoon memory book detail

Afternoon tea! I was very proud of this particular creation

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Sketchbook pages

I'm still working with the images and information I gathered from the vet school, I want to make some finished pieces and have so many ideas.  It's a case of deciding which to follow! 

At the Artist Book Group last time, Linda made an interesting point; when she was working as an architect it was easier because you were given a problem and you solved it.  As an artist you have to make up your own problems, which is much harder.  She also pointed out that I had lots of problems!  It's the selection and realisation process I find challenging.

Here are some pics from my sketchbook.

specimens; charcoal and pastel

ribcage; graphite, charcoal

horse skull; graphite, acrylic

Old lecture theatre; oil bar

ink, oil bar, graphite

Calf in dissection room; collage, graphite, watercolour, thread

I'm wanting to push my drawing as far as possible by using different materials and finding ways of freeing up my lines without losing detail or precision.  Maybe some of these pages would look good blown up really big, if I can retain the sharpness and fineness of the lines?

I'm also exploring drawing over old veterinary textbooks that my dad gave me.

Monday, 31 January 2011

The dark side of ballet....

Saw Black Swan with Natalie Portman on Friday; an intense few hours but well worth watching!   I found the themes fascinating especially around control and perfection, which is true for dance, visual art, writing, poetry; any art form.  Perfect technique only takes you so far.  At some point I think you have to let go and that's when the magic happens.  Easier said than done, but its that tension between control and spontaneity that makes a piece of work stand out.

The dark side of any art is often hidden from view.  Nina's toes are swollen and bloody and her psychological well being coming apart, yet on stage she appears graceful, sparkling and powerful.