Book launch in the big city

I received an invitation to the Migrations book launch at the Amnesty International Headquarters in London, and was so excited to accept.

Travelling to London Paddington from Paignton was quite an adventure in itself, with a small backpack and a trepidatious heart, I felt a little like Paddington Bear himself arriving in a strange land! The Paddington Bear sculpture still eludes me every time visit London, so if anyone can shed some light on the location in the station, that would be great?. Honestly though, the tube was very easy to navigate, even for a country mouse, I soon got the hang of it, especially now that there is an Oystercard or even contactless ticketing…

The panel and collaborators smiling for the camera

The panel and collaborators smiling for the camera

The whole event was chaired by Tobias from #ICBCS, with panel members including Jane Ray, Mohammad Barring and live drawing by Chris Riddell. After a series of discussions about the book, the illustrators and the power of these bird images and words of hope for refugees, I was asked to go on stage for a group photo (that’s me in the bright orange second from right!). We viewed all the postcards which were displayed on wires in the atrium of Amnesty International, met all the other illustrators that were attending, had a celebratory glass of wine and even signed books for people! Many business cards were passed around, because you just never know who really really would like to commission an illustration…

What a fabulously inspiring evening. One to remember.

Wonderful to have had my work included in this superb publication.

#migrations #makethisbookfly #IBBY #otterbarrybooks #amnesty #ICBCS

Migrations

In 2017, enroute to my puffin adventure on Skomer, I stayed with my friend Jackie Morris. She was working on her illustrations for The Lost Words, and I was lucky enough to see some of the gorgeous artworks in creation! Jackie told me there was a call out to illustrators... to contribute a bird postcard, as a metaphor for human migration, with a message attached. The project was to highlight the perilous journeys of refugees.

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The postcards had to be stamped and posted from the artist’s home town, so that they had travelled a journey themselves. Over 300 postcards were received from all over the world.

They were displayed at the Bratislavia Biennal (the furthest my work has been exhibited to date!), where the postcards were hung on vertical wires, like a great flock of birds swooping across the room. If one card was touched, the whole would quiver, ‘replicating the precarious nature of flight’. Amazingly I could actually see mine in the display (above the solid red one) posted on Twitter by iBbY.

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Last year I heard that Otter-Barry Books was going to publish a book with a selection of the postcards, and that mine was one of fifty chosen from the exhibition. I was over the moon delighted! 

The book entitled Migrations: Open Hearts, Open Borders is postcard sized and available now. 

So strange that this opportunity originated during a trip to see migratory puffins in Wales and has ended up with me sharing book pages with my fabulously talented friend, and many big name illustrators!

Yippee! 

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The day the film crew came...

film crew and jane in my studio!

 

It all began with an email from Jane Blanchard at the end of June 2017, wondering if I would be interested in working with her on a tourism project for #EnglishRiviera and #SeafoodCoast. She had been researching possible local artists, had found my website, loved my story and my illustrations, in particular, the maps and fish... exactly what they needed!

I would be filmed working in the studio and walking on the beach, being inspired by the fabulous coastline. So flattered to be asked, little old me, but equally as terrified, as anyone would be to have a camera crew in their home! Cue furious studio tidy up, made even more frantic by a phone call saying they were bringing it forward by a day, as the weather looked promising... eek.

Wednesday arrived with absolutely glorious sunshine (they obviously have superior weather forecasting skills) and then they were here!

By this time I was a nervous wreck... but Jane and the crew from Sound View Media assured me it was completely normal, and after calming mugs of tea, it began. Firstly, still photography in the studio, me trying to look artistic and all, at the easel. Then some actual video of me colouring in, close-ups of materials and, no pressure, stamping the words on a crab illustration (they left the camera rolling for that bit!). Some voice recording followed, which I’m sure came out as a load of blather, several blank moments, but hope they managed to get something useful? Then I walked down to the nearest beach at Goodrington with Badger, where we met up with the crew again, and down onto the rock pools for more stills and sketching shots, and live action strolling along with the dog. Not sure what the locals made of it all, this film crew following me down the beach and back! To be fair, the weather was the best ever, the blue cloudless sky, the sparkling sea dotted with a brightly coloured group of kayaks in the waves, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

They have taken all the film and voice over and gone back to put it all together into a short film, hopefully entice artists and food lovers to choose Torbay as a holiday destination. Other films for the project include wild swimmers, fishermen, restaurants, chefs...

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my 15 seconds of fame. Looking forward to seeing the finished film in the Autumn, and maybe sharing it on my page.

Thank you to Jane Blanchard, Gareth and the crew at Sound View Media Ltd and Photographer Tom. You were all fab!

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Shades of Black and White

Another fabulous opportunity to exhibit at Artizan in Torquay. This was a real challenge, working in black and white when my work is more usually very colourful, but I'm pleased with the end results… a zebra (I know, I know) and a badger (with hidden message in it's fur).

Hopefully will get some interest, as this is on for three weeks.

Words and Pictures

Another fabulous open exhibition at Artizan Gallery, Torquay, the theme this time, poetry inspired by art and art inspired by poetry!

Two pieces submitted, an owl with a very old rhyme and a tiger with a limerick… I had a lot of fun with these, as you might imagine! Julie has also given me wall space in the Artizan Cafe for a few of my other illustrations, they look really great against the blue.. thank you so much Julie!

There is a huge variety of art displayed, very striking, and the opportunity to pen some poetry if you feel so inclined!

Open until the 21 March if you get the chance to pop in?

French Vrai Amis

I have been collaborating with another 30 Day Challenger, Nadine Chadier, who has been developing an exciting new way to learn French pronounciation. 

I used French dictionary pages to illustrate five cognantes, words which are the same in French as in English, or Vrai Amis as Nadine calls them...real friends!

It has been a fun project and who knows where it might lead?

You will see the video clip here ( yes it is my own voice for the English!)

Here it is : 

http://www.accentlanguages.co.uk/vraisamis.mp4

 

 

I'm live!

Well, here I am!

I never believed it would happen... I have my own website and domain and I am live!

Power to the stubborn determination of the middle aged menopausal woman on a mission 'do what you love', while you still can! When I hit 50, quite happily, I realised that life is too damn short to stay in a job that is not fulfilling or enjoyable... my eyes and mind were opened by John Williams' book Screw Work, Let's Play. Thanks to John, Judith and other 30 Day Challengers, I have been encouraged and supported in this exciting new venture!!

I feel brave and I feel able.

Let's do this!