Skull and Flower

sheep, skull, barbed wire, flower, still life, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration, tribute, death

I have a collection of bones at home, a few of which are on display, including this sheep skull with its barbed wire crown.

I’ve been meaning to draw it for a while and this was the week…

The text translates as “…your poetic essence is still in the neighbourhood…” and is dedicated to a lovely chap from Vejer who lived just round the corner from me and who recently died.

I didn’t know he was ill. 

If I had known that his presence was not a ‘for granted’ thing I would have made time to stop and chat over a coffee more often.

His observations were cheery, wise and gentle…his poetry is timelessly mysterious and beautiful.

Encantada de haberte conocido José Luis.

View from a Cliff Top

barbate, atlantera, atlantic, ocean, andalusia, cliff, sea, landscape, la brena, national park, morocco, marruecos, blue, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, travel, illustration

This is a tale of a wild goose chase!

Sadly all the prickly pears are in Andalusia are dying because of an infestation of insects but someone told me that there was one still alive on the coastal path which runs through the natural park known locally as La Breña, a pine forrest which covers the area between Barbate, San Ambrosio and Los Caños de Meca in the province of Cádiz.

So I set off to find it and draw it…

It was a needle in a haystack situation!

I did however enjoy the spectacular views from the cliff top and sat up there in a howling wind for an hour or so to sketch this view out over the Atlantic to Atlantera. That´s Morocco in the background.

I have a new tip off for a live prickly pear which is closer to home…fingers crossed!

Horse Dress

horse, sketelon, carousel, roundabout, merry-go-round, cotton, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, bias binding, dress making, shift, dress, sewing, homemade

I’m jolly pleased with my horse dress; the result of my latest adventure in home sewing. It’s a variation of the first dress I ever made (a shift style sewn from my dragonfly fabric) and since I mastered the use of bias binding on that project I decided to make an external feature of it this time; embellishing it with contrasting stitching. 

horse, sketelon, carousel, roundabout, merry-go-round, cotton, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, bias binding, dress making, shift, dress, sewing, homemade

horse, sketelon, carousel, roundabout, merry-go-round, cotton, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, bias binding, dress making, shift, dress, sewing, homemade, skeleton, day of the dead, halloween, horse, carousel, fair ground, roundabout, pencil drawingThe horse motif was inspired by the extraordinarily beautiful hand painted artwork I saw when Carter’s Steam Fair visited Maldon in Essex.

I made a pencil drawing (left) using my photos for reference, taking a morbid turn by adding the skeleton of the horse as part of the decoration.skeleton, horse, halloween, day of the dead, roundabout, repeat pattern, illustration, surface design, horse, sketelon, carousel, roundabout, merry-go-round, cotton, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, bias binding, dress making, shift, dress, sewing, homemade

I vectorised the drawing in Illustrator, used Photoshop to colour it and make the repeat pattern, which I then had printed onto a light cotton by the lovely folk at Woven Monkey.

horse, sketelon, carousel, roundabout, merry-go-round, cotton, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, bias binding, dress making, shift, dress, sewing, homemadehorse, sketelon, carousel, roundabout, merry-go-round, cotton, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, bias binding, dress making, shift, dress, sewing, homemade

 

 

The dress feels lovely on, here’s me posing about in it on my 50th birthday.

 

 

Could it possibly be said that I’m flogging a dead horse? You bet!

Tajo de Ronda

ronda, tajo de ronda, malaga, andalucia, catalonia reina victoria, hotel, spa, view, valley, tajo valley, landscape, pen and watercolour, sketch, watercolor, watercolour, sketchbook, travel, illustration, paisaje, acuarela

To celebrate my 50th birthday on the 5th June I traveled to beautiful Andalusian town of Ronda in the province of Málaga.

I booked into the lovely Catalonia Reina Victoria Hotel and spa for a bit of luxury pampering…

….and it was lush. I think the anti-aging facial was a bit too little too late but it felt delightful!!

I painted this view of the Tajo de Ronda from the balcony of my room while I was sunbathing.

 

Dead Bird

I found this poor deceased little fella on the roof terrace yesterday morning and was struck by his dynamic pose so I decided to paint him.

dead bird, baby bird, still life, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, sketchbook, illustration

Dragonfly Dress

I just made myself this dress with fabric printed with a version of the dragonfly design I made back in 2014.

I uploaded my design to the Woven Monkey website and they printed it onto a lightweight cotton.

dragonfly, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, dress making, dress, sewing, homemade

It’s the first dress I’ve ever made; patterns give me the heebeegeebees so I cut round one of my favourite dresses and made the rest up as I went along.

dragonfly, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, dress making, dress, sewing, homemade

It was also the first time I’ve used bias binding as I’d previously imagined it to be a right faff but there really is no other way to neatly finish neck and armholes. I watched a couple of tutorials on YouTube and bit the bias binding bullet; it’s actually quite straightforward and I’ll definitely be using it more in the future.

dragonfly, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, dress making, dress, sewing, homemade

dragonfly, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, dress making, dress, sewing, homemade dragonfly, fabric, surface design, illustration, textile design, woven monkey, dress making, dress, sewing, homemade

 

 

Here’s me doing ‘catalogue’ poses in Cádiz this week, during the dress’s first outing.

 

 

 

 

Vichy Catalan

vichy catalan, agua con gas, sparkling water, vicen, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration

My friend Vicen, who lived in Catalunya for many years inspired this pen and watercolour sketch. He, like me, loves a glass of Vichy Catalan a delicious mineral water with a sweetish salty taste and gentle bubbles.

The bottle is made of gorgeously textured turquoise glass and as I was looking at the label one day it occurred to me that I could dedicate the sketch to Vicen by slightly rejigging the text.

I called the sketch ‘agua con guasa’ which means water with humour, it’s a play on the words ‘agua con gas’ which means sparkling water in Spanish.

Detail below:

vichy catalan, agua con gas, sparkling water, vicen, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration

vichy catalan, agua con gas, sparkling water, vicen, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration

 

Morocco Sketches

casa perleta, laundry, washing lline, chefchaouen, chaouen, chouen, morocco, marruecos, blue, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, travel, illustration

I was lucky enough to take a trip to Morocco recently, my fourth time in the country, but my first time in Chefchaouen which is a glorious blue washed gem of a place. Friendly, beautiful, full of delicious food and beautiful handmade items, I highly recommend it!

To be honest I was a bit overwhelmed by the spectacle of Chefchaouen in terms of committing to sketch it so I chose to depict a simple scene from the roof of our delightful guest house, Casa Perleta.

I met friends in Tangiers (I painted the mosque below in the time between my ferry arriving from Tarifa in Spain and their plane arriving from London) and we drove down to Chefchaouen together. It’s usually a two hour drive but the traffic that evening was ‘lively’, to put it mildly!

morocco, marruecos, mosque, tanger, tangiers, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, travel, illustration

Asparagus

I love spring. The first proper heat of the sun after the winter with a side dish of the most tender vegetables. What could be sweeter?

As soon as I bought this bunch of locally grown asparagus I was struck by that yummy combination of zingy green and mauve, it was a test of will to not eat it before I’d painted it.

I had half in a Thai inspired soup and the other in an omelette…delicious!

asparagus, esparrago, spring, vegetables, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, food, illustration

Dulce de Belén

dulce de belen, cake, custard tart, ceres, vejer, vejer de la frontera,, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, food, illustration

This is a ‘Dulce de Belén’, a delicious custard tart which originates from Portugal, made by  Ceres, Vejer’s very best baker! 

Always nice to have a sweet treat at the end of a sketching session!