Sunday Sketches – Love is in the air

Sunday Sketches Header - transparent background larger version pngIt’s Sunday which means Sunday Sketches.  And I have consistently posted 3 weeks on the trot….I think that deserves a cup of tea!

I have been experimenting this week with no clear direction and it didn’t feel right. I needed something a bit more structured. Some assistance. And then I remembered Creative Tuesdays.

I have never posted on there before but I have been aware of it, so I thought I would look up the blog (I hoped it was still going and it was) and see if there was a theme which might inspire me. And there it was. Love. Well more specifically the brief was to draw a heart in the air or floating in the air. So this is it. This is what I came up with.  I toyed with a hot air balloon covered with hearts but it wasn’t happening. The idea left me as soon as it arrived.  Then a plane carrying a banner entered my head which I then replaced with a heart.



I also used my new Kuretake watercolours which I must say have a wonderful intensity to them, so double the fun this week.

Thank you Creative Tuesdays for the inspiration and I may just pop back to see what your next theme is. And the romantic in me not only loves the theme of the week but also loves the fact that Sunday Sketches and Creative Tuesdays are run by Alexandra and Michael – husband and wife. Wonderful!

Happy Sunday to you all and I wish you a week full of love.  Whenever you can, do tell those you love, that you love them….as love conquers all.

Please do head on over to Blue Chair Diary Illustrations to see the other entries.

Helen x

Sunday Sketches – Experimenting

Sunday Sketches Header - transparent background larger version pngThis week has been quite busy, what with getting back in the swing of things after Christmas and normal day to day activities that swallow up our time. But I have made sure that I found time to be creative.

We still have some nuts left over from Christmas and I decided to do a quick sketch of these. There are lots of things not quite right with the sketch, but regardless of that, I am posting it here as part of my art journey.


I also played about with some small sheets of oil paper, oil pastels,  Neocolor II watersoluable wax pastels and ink. Just playing about really, no exact plan but just seeing where it took me.


I love this paper which I believe came from Seawhites, as although it says oil paper on the pad, it takes water quite well. So I just experimented and had some fun whilst I watched TV after a long day working.



I hope you had a good week and please head over to see the other Sunday Sketches – I love seeing what everyone has done!

Helen x


Intentional word - transparent background larger version pngLast year I set myself a word to live the year by. Creativity. It didn’t quite work out.

This year I decided to do it again, mainly as I like the idea of doing so and also because it is one of the thought provoking questions Leonie Dawson asks you to think about in her workbooks.

My word for this year is Intentional. I was waiting until a word resonated with me and it came about as I was texting a good friend of mine…..I told her I was being intentional with the things that I was doing. And wham – there it was. It felt right.

It’s helping me make all sorts of decisions in the very short period so far this year. It’s helping me plan more so that I can achieve the goals I want to reach and say no things that aren’t the best fit for me. I feel more focused and therefore intentional.

It really is early days yet (I mean it’s only 6 days in to the year) however having a planner/diary (the good old fashioned paper variety) has enabled me to be more structured with how I plan my week and my activities, so I am hopeful.

Leonie is running a free webinar on goal setting on Friday 8th January which unfortunately is at 3am UK time, but 7pm in the US if you live there.  If you are interested you can click here for more details. I don’t think I can stay up until that time so hopefully she will have a recording of it as I am sure if will be worthwhile.

Anyway, enough of me….I am about to watch the very first series of Luther on Netflix (yes I am always late to the party).

Have a lovely evening.

Helen x

Sunday Sketches – Kew Gardens

Sunday Sketches Header - transparent background larger version pngI delve in and out of Sunday Sketches hosted by Alexandra frequently. From when I first joined back in 2011, I have been consistent, then inconsistent. I now tell myself to chill out and what will be will be. So here I am again – new year, new goals.

Jim and I went to Kew Gardens during the week which is one of our favourite places. We have an annual pass so we frequently pop in there for the afternoon (luckily we are only a few miles away from it). Whilst Jim wandered around with his cameras I sat on a bench and sketched a tree which was calling to me. I rarely sketch outside, mainly due to being a fair weather artist and also because I find it a tad intimidating. However if I want to improve my skills then sketching, wherever and whenever I can is a must!  Here are a few pictures from our visit – it really was a beautiful, sunny, wintry afternoon.





And I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Even my cold hands didn’t put me off and although it’s not the best sketch in the world, it reminds me of a beautiful crisp, sunny day and spending some time with my soulmate.



Which reminds me, another lesson I have learned is to stop comparing myself to other artists and just be me. Create art from my heart and learn from everything I produce.

Please do visit the other artists in Sunday Sketches and I wish you all a lovely Sunday and have a fabulous week!

Helen x

New Year, New Goals

FullSizeRender (19)I am just a bit excited right now – if I was a dog my tail would consistently be wagging! Usually I am not much of a New Year person – as in, I feel it’s just another day and if you really wish to change something in your life, then why wait for 1st January.

However, right now I am definitely caught up in the excitement of the possibilities a New Year can bring. That fresh, clean sheet of paper where we can write our goals and have aspirations that make our heart flutter, our skin tingle and our fear show up. It’s exciting and invigorating and I am grasping it with both hands.

I purchased Leonie Dawson’s life and biz workbooks in December and set myself the goal to have them both fully completed by 31st December 2015 which to my amazement I have achieved. I can only put it down to the fact that when you want to make life changes you are spurred on to make them happen.

Her books are colourful and full of drawings so ideal for creative people, however if you took all of that away and just looked at the bare bones of the workbooks, the questions are powerful and thoughtful and soul searching.  Perfect for me right now.

I couldn’t wait for physical books as I wanted to get started straight away, so I ordered the downloadable version and had them printed and bound. And in order to make sure my goals didn’t get forgotten I treated myself to a Snoopy Moleskine as I realised that if I wanted to use a diary then I had to make it one I would actually want to pick up.


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Around the moleskine was a band that you could make into a Snoopy house – so it had to be done!

I feel this will be an exciting year for me and I would like to wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!

Helen x

A Weekend Away


Last weekend I went away with my husband to the Cambridgeshire/Norfolk borders. It was a last minute plan mainly due to an opportunity for him to photograph a very talented Blue’s singer record his third studio album. An opportunity not to be missed, for him and for me.

I grabbed the chance of spending a few days in another part of the country, in either rain or sunshine, and some needed time away from the stresses and pressures of life. A chance to stop. To stop working 12 hour days. To stop running myself ragged and having some me time.

Seeing as it was a Bank Holiday weekend I was prepared for rain, but the first day was lovely. We both sat on the quieter end of Hunstanton beach with the sun shining down on us, breathing in the sea air and just relaxing. Feeling at peace. It was wonderful. I pulled out my sketchbook and sketched the beach whilst my husband photographed clouds and watched the world go by. We both left there feeling refreshed and all our cobwebs blown away.


The rest of the time was a mixture of sunshine and rain, museums and windmills, lighthouses and countryside, sketches and photographs. And of course guitars and music.

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And when it was too wet to go outside, I sketched in the hotel room – nothing was going to stop me!

A great way to spend the weekend. I hope your Bank Holiday weekend was fun too!

Sketching continues


With the Blue Vase sitting in the corner of my studio waiting to be finished I decided to ignore it once again and continue in my sketchbook.  I had drawn this sketch some time ago from a card I had received and as I was flicking through my sketchbook it kind of called out to be finished so I grabbed my paints and opted to splash some colour on it.

I remember at the time of drawing the picture that I wanted it to be perfect and be the best thing I could produce. Hmnn now that does sound like a familiar pattern I have. However this time I told myself to take no more than half an hour and I managed to splosh the colour on in 20 minutes. When it was dry the next day I added in the pen line.

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A bit free-er and not as I wanted it to turn out, but the practice is so important.

Have a lovely weekend and I hope the sun shines.

Trying something new

After my Collage Workshop in June I have had an idea brewing. Just sitting there at the back of my mind waiting for the right time.

And that is what I love about being an artist. Being able to try new colour combinations or a different way of painting and new techniques. It’s all about looking at how I can evolve as an artist and have fun exploring in my art journey.

After the recent workshop I decided to try painting in a completely different style/way. And the real fun was that for the first time in a long time I didn’t mind if it didn’t pan out or if the colours didn’t work. I just had fun!

I dug out my gouache paints and on watercolour paper drew a picture I had created from my sketchbook and just let the paint flow. Whatever happened, happened. Good or bad it all ended up on the paper. And even though this isn’t my normal style/process, it was a freeing experience and one that I really enjoyed.

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I think I need to do this more often.

Have you done anything similar? Would love to hear how you got on.

Shrinkles fun!

Before going in the oven

Before going in the oven

Yesterday the kiddies and I had such fun experimenting with Shrinkles. It was the first time I had used them, although I bought the packet back in 2007!!! (I knew I had the packet a long time but inside there was a brochure saying ‘coming soon in 2007′)!  I couldn’t believe I had stashed these away for so long and not used them – well probably more like forgotten I had them. Still, that’s the great thing about having a bit of a de-clutter, you find such wonderful things. On a side note I do hope my de-cluttering helps me find my Winsor & Newton Water Colour Markers as I am so annoyed at myself for putting them somewhere I will ‘remember’. Clearly that isn’t the case!

Anyway, we had a ball yesterday afternoon making dinosaur, cupcake and pizza fridge magnets and keyrings. I did learn that it’s not as straight forward as putting them on a baking sheet (especially as the first one got stuck to it!), and that baking parchment under and over the shrinkle before it goes in the oven helps it stay flat. Fortunately my heat gun helped me straighten out a dinosaur’s neck and tail.

I decided to make a heart fridge magnet and I am very pleased at how well it came out. Took me a while to draw and colour in all those hearts but very therapeutic.

After Baking

After Baking

Hope you all have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sunshine!

Still experimenting


I’ve not yet touched the painting I am working on but instead have been playing around with my paints.

On sorting through my art supplies recently I found a small pad of paper I had been given as a gift – it’s a very small square pad from Seawhites and according to the pad it was oil paper. So I thought why not try some watercolours on it.

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I drew and masked out some cow parsley and then played around with the colours Indigo and Aureolin, added some salt and let it dry.  After rubbing off the masking tape and salt I added some shadows.  Just a very small sketch which didn’t take long but I like the way the watercolour works on this paper. It has a canvas like texture to it but doesn’t appear to have the gesso over the paper like some oil papers and therefore the watercolours sink in a bit rather than just sitting on the paper.

I then had some fun with more sheets by dropping colours on the paper to see how it responded. I will incorporate these in some future collage work

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Nice to have a bit of fun and see what happens.