A Portrait of Kindness

In recent my recent history, I was scrolling through Twitter and wondering why it’s even a thing when I came across a thread that peaked my interest. A lady of advancing years was asking the community at large if she was too old to dye her hair crazy colors. I thought it was a brave post in a world where women are told what they should and shouldn’t wear from quite a young age. Half expecting the usual trolling I ventured into the thread. It was wonderful! Reply after reply telling her that hair can be any color and age is not a barrier. Kindness upon kindness. It was refreshing. Some of the replies were accompanied by selfies, which I thought was quite charming but one stood out to me. The Bear, from the duo @Bear_n_kitten posted a selfie with his lovely white hair and beard colored a playful turquoise done with cool aid no less! I had to paint his portrait. I left the thread, deciding it was a passing thought but no, I really wanted to paint this kind human. I contacted him and asked permission and was able to gift him a digital version of my painting. Thankfully he liked it. He inspired me to do something kind because he did something kind. In today’s climate we all need to “be the kindest humans we can possibly be.” [Alice Driver]

Commissions are currently open, if you like this style or any of the other styles I use, drop me a note and lets chat about what I might be able to create for you. Contact form is below the photo below. My studio pixie will not be involved in actual commissioned work.

My studio pixie very kindly helped with this portrait.

Portable Palette MICRO review and demo.

This last Spring I came across the Portable Palette MICRO on Indigogo. I have never participated in a crowd fund purchase before but felt pretty confident about this tiny palette and since it was only $16 for my bonus I really felt there was nothing much to loose. I wasn’t disappointed. The palette delivered on all promises.

Here is my video review on Youtube.

In the UK, this is now available at Jackson’s for just under £20. In the US I expect to see them at Dick Blicks in the near future since they stock the Portable Painter. You can also pre-order at https://www.portablepainter.com

I am in no way associated with Portable Painter or it’s creator. This is an unpaid and honest review, all opinions are my own. I don’t get any commissions from sales of this neat little product.

Urban Sketching and Social Distancing.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of sketching in one of the US’s oldest neighborhoods just outside Fort Monroe. Phoebus has many beautiful examples of Queen Anne, Victorian, and Craftsmen style structures. We were lucky enough to have the Neighborhood Commissioner work with us to make sure we knew where to find the best examples. We had a good turn out and managed to maintain social distancing while enjoying mature shade trees. The people of Phoebus were cordial hosts and seemed as happy to see us and we were to sketch their homes. Thank you for making us feel so welcome.

This is one of the finest restorations in the area and the owner, a lovely lady, offered to give me a grand tour once the pandemic is behind us.

Not going to lie, the social distancing part was truly difficult. There were new faces and old friends and I wanted to hug them all. Sadly our local numbers are shooting up, over 90 new cases yesterday alone for my city. I feel like it may be a while before we can reunite for another sketch walk but this was a welcome interlude. Maybe we need to find new ways to sketch together that sticks to the Urban Sketchers manifesto. In the meantime, we will keep doing our thing and posting online and hoping this will pass sooner rather than later.

Phoebus, we will be back!

It feels like an age.

It’s hard to blog when you don’t really go anywhere. That said I have been quite busy taking care of my procrastinated to do list. This list is more of a goals wish list of actionable items. The only habit I broke was blogging. Thankfully there is always the re-start button. So, this is my bazillionth attempt at restarting my blog. I am going to be updating the look and customizing it a little more in the hopes of inspiring myself. Is anyone else out there struggling with continuing established habits? Have you started anything new in the last four month that is outside of your regular routine? Have you added any strings to your bow? Let me know if there is something you want to share with the world.

I did, after a record procrastination effort of 2.5 years, open a Redbubble shop. I have sketchbooks full of drawings and paintings just sitting there. It’s time to share them and maybe let them earn their keep. I’m dropping the link below, it will open to my shop front. I do intend having a dedicated tab for me store but this is as close as it will get today.


Some of the designs available in my Redbubble store.

Stay safe and well,


Simply watercolour.

I had thought, with the current status quo, that I would maintain blogging as at least a weekly thing. Yet here we are, over two weeks since my last post. I have, however, managed to increase my daily sketching habit, so that’s good. The w.i.p. I shared in my last post also finish a painting I am happy with. I will be getting Giclee prints made as soon as I am able to get my work to the printer. This painting is very unusual for me since I tend to lean more towards mixed media. Anything that gets the job done could be one of my mottos, if I used mottos. This is simply watercolor. Done the way I have seen others do it. Probably my best simply watercolor painting so far.

It’s seems not enough time is not the issue.

Timekeeping has never been a strong point. In fact, and I’m not sure why I am confessing this, but I didn’t believe learning to tell the time was relevant when I was a child so I didn’t bother. Let me qualify that idea. I lived with timekeepers who got me where I needed to be. I was herded class to class when the time came and I was not responsible for making any of those things happen on time! Some may call it lazy but I prefer to think of it as relevancy efficient. Just in case you were wondering, I did learn to tell the time as an older teen because suddenly, and rather unceremoniously, I had to get myself to work.

So what have I not had time to keep up with? Blogging! I love blogging, I have actually drafted several posts but none of them made the publish stage. One was a technical issue, another is the realization that my blog is actually a mess and needs streamlining. I don’t want to work it. I have other, bigger things to do. The sun is shining and my shed calls to me like some slutty siren. So I’m painting. I’m painting all the things on my to paint list. I’m also videoing the painting so that needs editing and posting on YouTube. Because I’m a YouTuber now. That was my response to the strange new world we all now share. In games of, what would you do in a zombie apocalypse? YouTube was never the plan. I didn’t see it coming but I plan on keeping it going. It’s fun and distracting and right now distraction is what we all need in one form or another.

What are you doing to distract yourself during this time of isolation? Are you staying creative? Are you managing to keep the dementors at bay? I hope so.

Work in progress

Travel Sketching from home.

As some of you are aware, I love travel sketching. I prefer it to taking photographs. When I look back over my travel journals, those sketches are somehow a more tangible reminder of where I was, who I was with, the atmosphere of the place and how I felt about being there. There’s just something nuanced about keeping a traveling sketch book.

Can I tell you how great full I am for technology during these last few weeks of isolation? Well I am. So very grateful. I have had my mother-in-law over for a virtual dinner, I can FaceTime my family and friends. I learned to use Zoom and organized a sketch walk at home for my local Urban Sketch group and, more pertaining to this blog entry, I can use it to travel the world.

I used Google Earth to re-visit a favorite place from my earlier life back in the UK. I was lucky enough to live in the Wales. It’s a hidden jewel and I still miss it, well over a decade after leaving for N. America. My niece, Chloe suggested I visit and paint Castle Coch. This place is special to my family and I for many reasons. The castle sits perched up high on the side of a mountain, almost hidden from the busy motorway. It’s conical towers poke through the branches of the trees and signal that the journey to my old home is almost over since it is located at the mouth of the Rhondda Valley’s. It also has a more romantic meaning for me since this is where my Texan husband proposed.

The actual painting took about two hours but since this is a demo for YouTube I shortened it to just under eighteen minutes. If you like my video, please give it a thumbs up; and consider subscribing to my channel. Spoilers: If you listen carefully you can hear my cat purring although I accused her of snoring! Which she does. A lot!

Procrastination with a purpose.

I don’t know about you but my busy being busy way of coping with the current status quo has taken a funny turn.  I am finding things to do when in reality my to do list would really benefit from me sticking to it and working on already existing projects. This was one of those projects.

I love my old desk. It’s over sized, it’s adjustable in that I can raise and lower the height plus I can also tilt the top in I need a ridiculously large drafting table. It’s never happened but it could! My desk is loved so very much that it’s become warn with use. it has the scars of a thousand puddles of water and bears the marks of forgotten paint splatters that will never let go. The table top is from IKEA so it’s cheap and light and not going to last forever. That said I’m not ready to let it go. I thought with a little work and some spare time, it could become something that feels new. If I can give it a layer of protection with wipeable, sticky backed wallpaper who knows? Maybe it will live another decade or so.

The first thing I did was decide the orientation of the “wooden planks” and then cut to length the pieces I would need. To cut the paper I used an Exacto knife on a cutting mat with a steel ruler as a guide. Once I had my first piece cut I used bulldog clips to hold the pieces together. I am lazy and love a short cut so I was using the top piece to determine the length of the bottom piece cut line. I do suggest you measure it to make sure if you go down this route. I am not a perfectionist and good enough is fine for my needs.

Once I had all my pieces cut to length I carefully, bit by bit, unstuck the short edge of the roll and stuck it in place. I then slowly released the backing paper, inch by inch while smoothing down the free contact paper. It was surprisingly easy and because I took my time I didn’t get air bubbles. I then lined up the next piece and did the same process. I was really pleased with the match up. I can nearly see the join. I used a Barron, from my printing tool kit, to press down and smooth everything and really make sure it was stuck down firmly. You could use your hand or a brayer and get the same results.

I really like the end result and would encourage you to upcycle where you can. Breathing life into something old and worn is time well spent.

#StayHome and paint #WithMe

How is it Thursday already? I was so sure it was Wednesday. Thank goodness my dear hubby tracks this stuff.

I made another video, I think, since I am seriously lacking in the day tracking department my goal of two videos this week may be pie in the sky dreams.

In this video I am using forgotten paints and an elegant marker is a less than conventional way. It’s a bit longer than I was aiming for and it’s been a good project for learning to edit. Hopefully it will help pass the time if it inspires others to blow the dust off old art supplies and just play.