sketch

Lassen National Park

This weekend I visited Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California. It had forests, volcanic rocks, and beautiful lush meadows with wildflowers... There were tiny streams and creeks of clear icy water...and incredible mountain-top lakes, surrounded by snow.We watched the Perseid meteor shower and saw many falling stars.It was like a dream...

London wedding

My brother-in-law got married this weekend in London, and it was a beautiful day.I sketched as much as I could, and loved seeing how my designs were used on the day. For Luke & Amy's wedding stationery, I started with an illustration of the happy couple on a London bus, with pink flowers in the background, which was used for the Save the Dates. I started them off in casual clothes, and added a simple hand-drawn pink border around the card.I developed this motif and drew a more detailed background for the formal invitation, including important places from their life together and secret elements from the wedding reception, like the ice-cream cart, the bowling pin and neon arrow, to hint at what would be in store on the day. I also put them in more traditional wedding attire.For the welcome reception, before the wedding, I created a simpler version of the illustration, with a celebratory bottle of champagne...

....and then for all of the other stationery, another version with just a few of the details from the full invitation illustration.It was used on the menu

for the wedding lunch, which was delicious, and the table where I sat was full of interesting and beautiful people to draw.There was dancing and cocktails...and an awesome sweet bar: check out the sweet bags! I hadn't seen this, but the bride was given a special dressing gown with the illustration embroidered onto the back. Isn't it amazing!I also made a square-bordered version of the illustration (with an added heart detail) to have printed onto a pillow for the bride and groom as a gift.I have more drawings of the day, but this is my favourite of the bride, my new sister-in-law. Welcome to the family!

London week two

This week I spent some time with friends in lovely places, and managed to do a little sketching too: here's a watercolour of a quiet garden inside Regent's Park.I also did a little drawing while I was having a tasty afternoon tea with scones at the Mock Turtle cafe in Brighton,and here's an atmospheric shot of my sketchbook in the window of Kew Palace, the summer home of King George III, inside Kew Gardens, one of my very favourite places in London. I'm loving being here, seeing all the familiar places with new eyes and sketching every day...

London

I'm in the UK for a while, and working hard, while trying to fit in some visits and exhibitions when I can. Here's a sketch I did today watching my niece and her dance group in the little town of Horsham. It was adorable, and sort of like going back in time.Whenever there's a chance, I stroll in the garden, and soak up the green-ness of the Spring. I could sketch plants and flowers forever...I've been inspired by some amazing exhibitions, sketching and making notes as I go. This one was at the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy. I love trying to work out how different prints were made, and what techniques were used... I especially loved the Josef Frank exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum. So many incredible patterns and designs!I was incredibly moved by the Howard Hodgkin exhibition Absent Friends at the National Portrait Museum. I've always loved his work, but this show made me see the paintings in a different way...So much to do while I'm here. More London sketches next week!

Japan Kyushu travels - week 2

After the mountains, we travelled to the coast, in the misty rain, ready to explore another side of Kyushu. We stayed in a hotel in Nango, and watched the changing mood of the sea and the sky...We drove and drove, along winding roads, past smaller and smaller villages, watching the green around us get more tropical, and finally reached the southern-most tip of Japan. There's a little lighthouse and the sea was wild and it was wonderful. We took a ferry across the Sakurajima bay to Ibusuki, and I sketched the misty views of the mountains on both sides.We went to see the little volcano called Kaimondake, jutting out into the sea. It's somehow not as scary as Sakurajima, and both calming and beautiful.

I find rural Japan fascinating and special and worry that people are leaving for the cities, but am hopeful that there is a movement now for people to return and enjoy a slower pace of life. These are rice paddies in Miyazaki after the rains, when we could hear the frogs singing. Just thinking of the beauty there makes me happy.

Hong Kong

I'm in Hong Kong at the moment, working on all sorts of projects, and loving being back after far too long. I had breakfast at the retro Hoi On Cafe with a friend and did a quick sketch..hoi-on-cafeI adored the glossy red booths! I visited my favourite sort of hardware store...hardware...and wandered the evening streets, admiring the old and fast disappearing Hong Kong.street

Nathan's wedding

My friend Nathan asked me to create some illustrations for his wedding invitations, and I came up with several ideas for the three different event cards. Each card had a slightly different level of formality, so I tried to accommodate that.invitesI also drew a little vignette of their names for the cards, that could be used on various stationery. I was asked for 'rustic but stylish', as the wedding was in Yosemite National Park, so I thought about the time I'd been there, and concentrated on the sweeping views and sequoia trees. The first event was on the lawn at the Wawona hotel, where I drew the lovely floral arrangements in the glowing early evening light.flowersThe wedding ceremony took place on the lawn of the Ahwahnee hotel, with the glorious mountains as a backdrop, on a perfect summer day.wedding 2As a wedding favour each guest was given a waterbottle with my illustration of Half Dome on, but as a special thank you, Nathan and Strawn gave me a set of glasses as well, and I couldn't resist taking this picture. IMG_8275Congratulations to the happy couple!speech colour

Yosemite

We went to Yosemite National Park at the weekend to attend a wedding, and I loved being surrounded by the trees in the wonderful clear air.wawonaWe stayed at the historic Wawona hotel (now renamed the Big Trees Lodge), and completely relaxed.wawona copyWe went up to Glacier Point twice, the first time at midnight to watch the Perseid shower, and the second time during the day. The meteor shower was one of the most magical things I've ever seen: the night was totally dark and all the stars in the milky way were visible. And then the stars fell, some brightly, some quickly, and some leaving a trail of sparkles. sketch and domeDuring the day the view was spectacular, with blue mountains and valleys all around as far as the eye can see. Truly a marvel of the world...

Las Vegas

We went very old-school on a recent trip to Las Vegas, and tried to rediscover that classic vibe from the movies. We went to see the Showstoppers musical at the Wynn (where I sketched in the dark)...showstoppers 2...and sat drinking cocktails while an old-timey lounge singer crooned. loungeWe gorged ourselves on the traditional (but indeed excellent) hotel buffet...

dessertsand wandered in the weirdly beautiful outrageous shopping malls...

lvI really like Las Vegas, it's like discovering a mirage in the desert...

Wiltshire weekend

I just got back from a lovely weekend on the Wiltshire/Somerset border in England. We stayed in a bed & breakfast place surrounded by rolling green hills,cley hilland I did a few sketches, and took a few photographs, and just took it easy. This is a watercolour of Cley Hill. There is a fantastic legend about the hill (read about it here) and it's also a famous UFO hotspot! Woo!

New York trip

I just got back from a quick trip to New York, where I worked on a lovely project for Dr Oz The Good Life magazine. I can't show you what it was yet, but here's a sketch I drew on the photoshoot day. photo shoot with yellow wall copyI also drew the model several times, in various of her outfits...model 2The view from the studio was gorgeous, so New York!NYI had a fantastic dinner one evening at the Brooklyn Diner, and sketched while I was waiting. The waitress was so happy with the sketch that she gave me a bag of delicious pastries to take home with me! brookloyn dinerI love New York, I really do. I'll be back soon, just you wait and see...

Marc's wedding

We attended our friends Marc & Liz's wedding at the weekend, which was a beautiful, sparkly, glamourous event in downtown Los Angeles.wedding copyI sat to one side, and had a wonderful view of all the pretty bridesmaids, and loved the way they all had the same dress, and yet managed to look individual.bridesmaids copyMy favourite sketch of the evening is this one of the bride and groom cutting the cake, it really makes me happy!cutting the cake copyWe sat at a table full of wonderful people, surrounded by glittering glass and soft lights in the trees.wedding dinner colour copyCongratulations Marc & Liz! Happy days to follow...