A Figure From The Past

So this is the other monochrome piece I mentioned in the last post: not exactly a portrait, but using the same technique (watered-down black acrylic). I really like using just the one colour. I had it in my mind that this little fella was going to be splattered with black paint and to look really sooty, but once I began and the watery paint started to bleed into itself, I thought it would be more effective for him to remain pale and ghostly. I’m glad I left it alone, because the pools of paint dried to make a kind of ragged patchwork effect on his clothes – and knowing me, I would’ve made a mess anyway, and the white background wouldn’t have been very white!


1950’s Portrait


Dodgy scan!

Having done quite a few sepia portraits, I thought I’d have a go at monochrome – so no tea this time, obviously, but watered-down acrylic paint. For some reason I prefer to do that than use watercolours – I can’t seem to master watercolours!
This scan doesn’t show it (is it just me or are they getting brighter?!), but I hope the original, on cartridge paper, has a bit more shadowing and highlighting going on. Either way, it was a lot of fun to do and I am quite pleased with the result – needless to say I have already done another one! Not another portrait exactly, but a drawing using the same method with no other colours added. I’ll post it up in a few days and see what you think.

Now, how to get these rollers out…

Another Victorian Tea Portrait and Laughing Victorians

SCN_0086-001I have said on here before how much I love looking at old photographs, and how much of an inspiration they are to me in my work (obviously!). Often though, particularly in Victorian photos, where the subjects and sitters often look distant, awkward and a bit stiff (it’s the eyes – they look strangely sharp and far-looking all at the same time), it’s easy to think of the people in them as something ‘other’ – products of their long-ago period, so totally different to us here and now. To me, they are no less evocative for these things, but there is still a distance between them and me.
But every now and then I come across an old picture that breaks the stereotypical mould – a Victorian family messing around together, pulling funny faces for the camera, laughing, joking, even caught mid-sneeze; basically, doing ordinary everyday things and interacting in ways that people have always done and still do today, but which we somehow don’t expect of Victorians when we think of them in their supposedly uptight era. It’s such a joy to see a photo from over a hundred years ago and connect with it, recognise something in it from your own life and feel that maybe that century-plus gap isn’t so wide after all.

A Long-Lived Terror…

Sticking with the animal theme from the last post, here is another awkward girl with too many teeth – and a very mysterious pair of ears. Are they rabbit ears? I’m not sure, but they do put me in mind of that nightmarish scene in Pinnochio when the little boys turn into donkeys…shudder. Still haunted.

Le Dame De Chat

A little while ago fashionable cat lady Le Dame de Chat asked me to draw some stylish kitties for her website. As a self-confessed cat lady myself, I was really excited to do this. Well, now you can see the result here (with some very kind words about the doodly contents of the Jar):

Le Dame de Chat

Be sure to have a look around, there are some great gems to be found for all you cat lovers! I particularly enjoyed Le Dame’s interview with cat-loving illustrator Hello Harriet.

Thanks Le Dame!

Contemporary Tea Portrait

One for my curly-haired kin. Why is it you can only get one side the way you want it? Having said that, after years of straightening my hair (and doing a pretty bad job of it at that), I have come to embrace its natural curliness in all of its waywardness (read: frizz). Asymmetric hair is all the rage, right?

Victorian Tea Portrait: More Bows, Lace…and Ringlets


So I’ve discovered ringlets and I feel a new hair obsession coming on (maybe not enough to push the plaits aside just yet). I’m still loving doing these tea portraits and there are another few lined up ready to upload. In this one I experimented with a touch more colour – I love this mint green and pink together so I wanted to get them in there!

If The Wind Changes…

It’s really grey, wet and gloomy here today so I thought this painting would make an appropriate post. This lady looks very miserable and a little bit resentful too – maybe she’s angry to be finding herself wearing something akin to a Christmas pudding! Yeah, I’m not really sure what happened with the lacy collars here…

Three Sisters (Not Those Ones)

Three Sisters

Three Sisters

Another Victorian tea portrait (but ugh, the scanner makes them so bright!) Although these three Victorian sisters are not intended to stand as a portrait of the three most famous Brontë siblings (who, by the way, I am a teensy bit obsessed with), I can’t deny that they were in my mind as I was working on it. When I finished, I also realised that if I was pressed to choose, I would know which Brontë each lady would be…but like I say, this is not a Brontë portrait – even if I did dare to try and draw them, I wouldn’t furnish their genius faces with such bad teeth. The fan-girl in me would hyperventilate!