Saturday, 31 March 2012

Red Flowers

Jennifer, the lovely lady that encouraged me to start this in the first place, is taking a photo a day for a year. Her pictures are stunning and she took one the other day that really inspired me. This is a drawing based on that photo (Yes, I have permission). 

My drawing doesn't do it justice...I think the plants need to take up more of the page and I think I need to use a finer pen to give it a bit more detail...I shall have another bash at it tomorrow. In the meantime, if your curious, you can go visit her blog and see the photo that inspired this drawing

Friday, 30 March 2012

Group Dynamic # 2 (Storming)

This is what a group looks like (well, to me anyway) that is still in its storming phase. There is an inner circle and an outer circle of people and no-one seems to know what direction they should be turning. Anyone who has ever been involved in the set up of a new group or have come to a group that is expanding will know how horrible this stage is. Its full of uncertainty, confusion, conflicts of interest and people trying to establish their roles. All that needs to be ironed out before the group can start to function as it should.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Group Dynamic

About a week or so ago I met up with my friend Michelle for a coffee. She was having a flick through my 'head' pictures when she looked at me and said 'You know what would be cool? Doing a picture with a whole load of heads in a circle. You could call it Group Dynamic' and an idea was born! I was right in the middle of my weird 'mouth' drawings so thought I would park it and return to it when I had time.

Today I had time so this is my version of 'Group Dynamic'. This is when the group has gone through their forming, storming, norming and are now at their performing stage (If your interested in group interactions check out Bruce Tuckman's four stages of group dynamics). The heads are all moving in the same direction...they are working together and by doing so they have come up with something rather wonderful...something which one head alone would not have been able to do.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

BCD - Flowers

Yesterdays drawing reminded me just how much I love doing blind contour drawing so this morning before heading off to London (I know! Dedication or what!) I decided to have a go at drawing the flower pattern on our curtains. I don't actually like our curtains (We rent our house and they belong to the owners) but I thought they might be interesting to draw. I was right...they were interesting to draw.

(You know what? I think I would like the curtains waay more if they looked more like my BCD of them!)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Thai Fishing Boat

Yesterday, over at my Not Only In Thailand blog, I did a post entitled 'Six Senses'. The idea is that you stop what you are doing and really pay attention to where you are and what is going on around you. You list what you can see, hear, feel, touch, smell and taste...its almost like trying to capture a moment in time. Anyway, I wrote the post and one of the things I could see was the hand carved Thai fishing boat that was made for me when I visted the village of Ban Talae Nok off the Andaman Coast. I kind of liked the idea of doing a drawing that would link both blogs so couldn't resist doing a BCD of the boat.

(I was tempted to move it to an angle that would be easier to draw but then thought 'What the hell. I'm never going to get better if I always take the easy road')

Monday, 26 March 2012

Syria # 2

Just when you thought it was safe...I go and add Syria # 2. I think this works much better than the other one. The mouth is more pronounced so has a bigger impact. I promise this is the last one of my 'darker' pics...I have some new ideas that I am going to explore and I'm still planning to do a colour version of 'Oak Tree At The End Of The World'. Watch this space...

Six Senses - Today at 3.36pm.

So there I was...planning on writing a post that would probably start with something along the lines of 'Sorry, I've not blogged for ages' when I realised something...I am blogging. I'm blogging every bloomin day...just not here! It sounds stupid to say but I honestly had no idea that doing a drawing a day would take up so much of my time (Yeah, I don't know why that hadn't occurred to me either *slaps self on forehead*). I think part of the problem is that I am writing about what I'm thinking and what I'm doing as a background to each picture so to then come here and write about what I'm thinking and what I'm doing seems a bit...well...repetitive which would be fine if I was, I don't know, a circus performer (no, I don't know why that popped into my head but I'm going with it) who travels all over the world meeting interesting people but I'm not...I'm a community engagement manager who travels to Tower Hamlets! I do, however, have a plan (be very afraid).

Last year, inspired by the lovely Fire Byrd, I did a post called 'Six Senses'. I really enjoyed writing it and, from the comments I got, you lot really enjoyed reading it. The idea is that you stop for five minutes and really pay attention to your surroundings...what you can see, touch, smell etc. So once a week I'm going to take five minutes to myself. I'm going to concentrate on that exact moment in time and I'm going to try and capture it. It solves the 'what the hell shall I blog about?' thing that has been bothering me, it will force me to stop and pay attention to my surroundings (which is always a good thing) and I think it will help me appreciate where I am right now rather than always thinking of the next thing I need to do (and hopefully it will make interesting reading). So I'm going to start right now

(Today at 3.36pm)

I can see:
my netbook which I have propped up on a cushion
the sun glinting off a hand carved wooden boat that was made for me in Thailand
a carved wooden elephant
a spider plant that is looking surprisingly green considering I keep forgetting to water it
a stack of books sitting on a dust covered table top
blue sky
cat nose smears on the window
dust motes swirling slowly in a shaft of sunlight
Lugs sprawled on his back letting the sun warm his stomach

I can hear:
the whirr of my computer
the rattle of a lorry as it makes its way up the hill
the fridge humming
Gai making his way down the stairs
someone laughing
a car door slam
Lugs yawning
the click of my netbook keys as I type
my breathing
the tick of a clock
Chris moving about in the bedroom

I can feel:
the weight and heat of the netbook on my lap
a slight breeze cooling my toes as it comes in through the window
the soft cashmire rug under my foot
the bottom half of my right leg starting to go numb because of the way I am sitting
the soft cotton of my top
a thread on the frayed bottom of my jeans lightly tickling my ankle
a stray hair touching my cheek

I can touch:
the smoothness of the netbook keys under my finger tips
the warmth of my netbook,
the slightly raised stitching of the cushion my netbook is sitting on
the smooth silk of the green cushion next to me
an ice cold can of Irn Bru next to me
a bead of condensation that is forming on the can

I can smell:
fresh air coming in through the window,
a hint of paint (someone somewhere must be decorating)
cut grass
the Issay Miyaki perfume that I put on this morning.

I can taste:
Irn Bru
a slight honey aftertaste left by my lipbalm

I'm hoping that these will get better the more I do them but I don't think that's too bad a start. Please remember that you can always visit me at Art Is Autobiographical if you want to see how the drawing is going...oh, and if you follow the blog you will automatically be entered into a competition to win an original drawing. I put all the names in a hat and select one at random ever month so you have a chance to win every month.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Storm In A Tea Cup

Continuing with the tea theme I give you 'Storm In A Tea Cup'.

(I also have to give a shout out to Steve and Michelle who were the ones that suggested Mad Hatters Tea Party! They have come up with so many suggestions that I'm worried that they might start charging me!)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Mad Hatters Tea Party

After doing the tea cups yesterday I got to thinking about other 'tea' related things that I could draw. I loved Alice In Wonderland when I was a kid so the Mad Hatters Tea Party lept to mind!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Afternoon Tea

This looks much better in real life than it does in the picture.
(I'm rather pleased with this one)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Three Tea Bags

It was kinda nice playing about with tea yesterday...I think after producing all those angry and frustrated drawings I needed to do something completely different! (Well, it was nice apart from the orange fingers I was left with! If you ever try using tea then I suggest that make sure you have some lemon juice handy...It gets rid of the orange...mostly!). So, here is what happened when I threw a teabag at my bit of paper . I did a few yesterday which I left to dry overnight...they got better as I perfected my throwing technique and I have to say that I am rather looking forward to drawing over the top of them.

(I have done another version of Syria, with the new mouth, which I will put up at some point but for now...well...I've had enough of the doom and gloom!).

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


The Commons passed the Health and Social Care Bill yesterday despite widespread condemnation of it.

It is therefore appropriate to note that as from today the NHS is just a brand. The National Health Service in England is no more. We have No Health Service – the NoHS. We just have a health market.

The opponents of this bill are written around the sides of this picture. They read:
The Faculty of Public Health
The Royal College of Nurses
The Royal College of Midwives
The Royal College of GPs
The British Medical Association
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
The Royal College of Anaesthetists
The Royal College of Opthalmologists
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
The Royal College of Pathologists
The Royal College of Physicians
The Royal College of Psychiatrists
The Royal College of Radiologists
The Royal College of Occupational Therapists
The British Dietetic Association
The Institute for Healthcare Management
GMB Union
The Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association
The Financial Times
The Labour Party
Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group
500,000 Members of the Public.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Democracy In Name Only # 3

I think I have finally got there!
(I have protested more than four times but this works for me)

Monday, 19 March 2012

Democracy In Name Only # 2

I think this works better...the mouth has much more impact. I also decided to cut out the middle of the page and then attach the mouth to the sides of the paper using the threads to try and extend that idea. When it's up against the wall you not only get the threads but you get the shadows of the thread too which makes it look like there are more holding it in place. Its still not quite there yet...I think it needs more mouths to convey just how many times I have tried to protest against the bill.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Democracy In Name Only

I'm feeling very frustrated at the moment. As most of you know, I work within the health sector...I have read the Governments Health and Social Care Bill...I know what's coming and let me tell you that it's not good! I am not alone in my view. Over 200,000 people have signed petitions calling for it to be scrapped, pretty much every 'body' that represents health professionals has called for it to be scrapped even Tower Hamlets CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) who were chosen to pilot the reforms are calling for it to be scrapped. I have marched more than once in protest, I have written to my (Tory) MP (Fat lot of good that did the most patronising letters back) more than once and I have e-mailed my local Lord. We were told that the NHS would be 'Safe' in Tory hands, we were told that there would be no top down re-organisation, we were told that they wouldn't privatise it....THEY LIED! This was not on any election manifesto...I have not voted for this. When this goes through, cause its going to, we will no longer live in a democracy.

I read today that 250 GPs, Consultants and Professors have formed their own Coalition and they are going to target the seats of all the MPs that have supported this Bill as well as those Tory and Lib Dem seats that are marginal. They are going to do it on the issue of the NHS and are not going to be affiliated to any political party. I will be voting for them and I will be offering my support to their Coalition. I don't see any other way of having my voice heard.

(On a more art related note: The last two pictures are very personal. The mouths featured here are mine...using my lipstick. It was an interesting idea but I don't think it really works...the lips element doesn't stand out enough for me. I'm going to draw a pair of lips instead and play about with them till I have an image I'm happy with. I don't think I'll necessarily like the end result but hopefully I'll end up with something that represents how I'm feeling)

Saturday, 17 March 2012


I don't really think I need to say anything else!

Friday, 16 March 2012

We Are Watching And We Are Getting Angry # 2

Works much better when the background is black. Perhaps this would be better called 'We Are Watching And There Is A Storm Coming'?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

We Are Watching And We Are Getting Angry

I find that I am getting more and more angry these days. I watch the news and see atrocities being committed by small cowardly men because they want more power/money/prestige and it disgusts me. It also disgusts me that the leaders (and I use the term very loosely) of other countries stand by and let it happen.

Decent human beings across the world are watching and we are getting angry. At some point you, the cowards and so called leaders, WILL be held accountable for your actions by us, the people, remember us right? We are the ones your supposed to be representing!

(I don't think this image quite works yet. I'm going to have a go at doing it again with a black background because I think it will have more impact. The lightening representing the anger will definitely be easier to see)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Collaboration # 2

Yup, as you can probably tell I'm still quite interested in the idea of collaboration and how ideas change and grow. In this picture the first head has taken on the idea generated by the second in yesterdays drawing....a bit like you would in a conversation when you hear something and think 'Oh that's a good idea'. The second head is more focused on the idea that was generated between them in that conversation. Some futher discussion and the end result, that has been created as a result of their collaboration, looks completely different from the starting point of the idea in 'Connecting The Dots'.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Collaboration, when it works well, is a fabulous thing to be part of! Talon mentioned in an e-mail that it must be fun collaborating with Helen on her book and that got me thinking about how collaborating on ideas can change and alter them with one idea sparking another. Here the heads are communicating their ideas on how the dots could be joined and by doing that have created a new image between them.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Connecting The Dots Differently

When you connect the dots differently the idea changes and grows.
The same basic swirl is there but doesn't it look different!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Connecting The Dots

I've been thinking at lot about ideas recently...where they come from, how they start and how they can develop and change into something else. When I looked at 'Pain' today I didn't see the pain swirls that I felt yesterday (probably cause my back feels loads better today!) I saw the seeds of an idea. I simplified it...this idea is a simple swirl...a series of dots...not very exciting at the moment but what will happen when those dots are connected in a different way? That's really how ideas develop isn't it...they grow and change. How those dots are connected will determine how the idea develops.

(Sheesh! I think I've been thinking too much...its time for bed!)

Saturday, 10 March 2012


I slipped going down the stairs last night (Oi! I was sober at the time I'll have you know!).
I guess that is what I get for attempting to go round the cat rather than just shoving his fat furry butt out of the way! They say that pain is all in the mind...all in the mind my arse!!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Personal Identity

I've had a lovely day today! I opened my e-mail to find a message from Helen to say that she loved my illustration for Chapter One of her book , I then transferred a whole load of drawings into my Sketchbook for New York (only 8 more to do!), read Chapter Two and started playing about with ideas (Helen, they need some fermenting time...) and then I had a lovely visit from Steve, Michelle and their beautiful daughter Sofia. It is them that you have to thank for todays drawing! They had been chatting about my 'heads' and Steve had mentioned that he thought a head filled with fingerprints would be cool...Michelle then said 'Oh. You could call it Personal Identity'. Ladies and Gentleman...I give you 'Personal Identity' :-D.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Kitchen Window

Last year, when the weather was good, Malmesbury Art Society organised an outdoor drawing/painting day at one of our local farms. I started this drawing on the day but never found the time to finish it. I decided that today was the day I would finish it.

(I have a book to illustrate and I have been despirate to make a start on it which is what I am working on today. Unfortunately, becuase it will be published, I won't be able to share my work for the next few weeks I am going to be attempting to do two drawings a day! Yikes!)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Oak Tree At The Top Of The World

I don't remember ever climbing a mountain before Sunday...hills yes but mountains no. One of the things I loved about it was standing at the top and looking out over the really did make you feel like you were standing at the top of the world. There were not any trees at the sumit (not that surprising really!) but there was a beautiful wood of oak trees at the bottom. The branches were bare but there was so much life on the mountain that I couldn't resist showing it in full...erm...whatever the tree version of bloom is! I'm quite pleased with this. I actually used the shape of Sugar Loaf Mountain to form the shape of the tree and that idea has meant it turned out quite different to how I noramlly draw them. I might have a go at doing this in colour!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Did you know that some lichens can hold up to 60% of their body weight in water?
Nope, neither did I...well, until Sunday that is!

Monday, 5 March 2012

So, what is it?

An Amoeba? A Tree stump?

(Steve, take a look and tell me if you know what it is *winks*)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

An Idea Scanned

After I did the Networks # 2, I started thinking about what an idea would look like when scanned. I've been working on this for a couple of days and finally finished it tonight.
Don't say I don't use colour!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

BCD Vase

I love this vase! It was one of the first things I bought for my first ever flat...I had no furniture, no cutlery, no anything really but I had a vase :-) (You have got to have priorities you know!). It's probably a silly thing to love. It's full of dried flowers and wooden curly things which I have added to over the years. When I look at it I see my flat in Glasgow, I see Columbia Road Flower Market in Bethnal Green, I see shopping in Camden with Tom, I see moving to Manchester to be with Chris, I see Thailand and now, when I look at it, I see Malmesbury. It currenly sits on top of the writing desk that houses all my art stuff and when I look at it I smile.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Newspaper Rack

Sitting in Costa Coffee...wondering what I could draw... my meandering gaze came to rest on the newspaper rack. That will do nicely were my thoughts!
So here it is...a BCD of the newspaper rack in Costa Coffee.

And February's Winner Is....

Congratulations lovely lady :-D.
Please have a look through February's pictures and select the one you would like.

Commiserations to the rest of you but hey...there is always next month!

(Oh, many of you have asked if/where you can buy my drawings.
I am working on this and will update you soon)

Thursday, 1 March 2012

My Mind Is Blank

We're going out tonight and this was the first time I have felt really under pressure to create what did I do? I drew something that was intricate and took forever!
I really am an eejit sometimes!