Thursday

Square Meal Magazine




Here's a new illustration created for Square Meal Magazine about the variety and quality of gin currently trending across the UK. I always love to draw packaging, and focused on the botanical ingredients of gin so this was a really fun commission for me.

I'm having quite a crazy week, juggling commissions for The Chelsea Physic Garden, Bentalls, Imbibe Magazine and Holland & Barrett. On Tuesday I was very lucky to spend the morning at Coworth Park, it's the country branch of the Dorchester in London and is known for it's iconic nine acre wildflower meadow. Head Gardener Terri Crow was kind enough to give me tour and help me identify all the flowers. I brought (and filled) a HUGE flower press and so I'm looking forward to being able to open that in six weeks time. Here's some images from my trip to Coworth Park (with huge thanks to Coworth Park and the funders of my Residency Project Ted Baker)...




I'm currently drawing very cute baby rabbits (all will be revealed soon!) until then enjoy the rest of your week and I'll be back soon x



Wednesday

Holland & Barrett



Hiya, just a quick post to share these new drawings from Holland & Barrett of Moringa (I have such a backlog of these to share at the moment - this is from March!)

I hope that you're having a great week, mine has been so inspiring, I've spent some of it in Norwich at The John Innes Centre learning all about Turing's reaction-diffusion model as part of my Artist Residency activity (funded by the delightful Ted Baker). I've also been doing lots of drawing in the studio for new commissions and tomorrow will see me buzzing all over London for client meetings (lots of them top secret and very exciting!) before dinner with fantastic friends.

Have a wonderful week, and I hope that the sun is shining where you are x

Friday

David Austin Roses



I've had a wonderful week working in the studio on my illustration commission for The Chelsea Physic Garden but I can't share that with you yet, so I just HAD to share these shots from my visit to David Austin Roses in Wolverhampton last Friday. I was invited to visit Michael Marriott (their rose expert) as part of my Residency Project, and he was incredibly generous in sharing his time and knowledge of roses. 

I learnt a huge amount about the history of roses, the possibilities for modification and the vast differences that are now available after centuries of breeding. I was completely overwhelmed by the gardens, I knew it was going to look incredible, but I hadn't prepared for how wonderful it would smell. I thought I understood the rose fragrance, but Michael introduced me to the huge range of options. I encountered roses of every shape and colour smelling of cloves, lemons, resin, almonds, and musk, and a special rose whose leaves smell of green apples!

David Austin are the worlds leading rose breeders, and each year they create 250,000 new seedlings by crossing prospective parents. Only very few of these experiments will become new rose breeds and it takes 8-10 years from creating the seedling to a new rose being introduced. I was lucky enough to see behind the scenes for a demonstration of how they create the new breeds, and the vast greenhouses where all their new roses are being grown. I HIGHLY recommend a visit to their beautiful gardens if you're able to go. It really is the most beautiful place I have ever been and there's lots more images on my Instagram feed here.

Next week I'm starting on a new project in Kingston, and I'm also off to the John Innes Centre in Norwich, (an international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology). I've been invited to spend the day at their conference and I am really excited to attend as the focus is on Turing patterns in plants and this what I am currently exploring on my Residency (funded by the lovely folk at Ted Baker). 

Have a fantastic weekend, mine will be spent at BBQ's and picnics (and studying Turing patterns ready for next week!) x 

Thursday

Yo Illo Talk



Hiya, as promised here's some photos of me giving a talk last week for Yo Illo at UsTwo in Shoreditch. The lovely Vic Lee and me were asked to speak about our large scale installation work, and it was a great night full of new and old friends and lots of free beer and giant pizzas from Voodoo Rays! I'm always looking for more opportunities like this, so do shout out if you're after someone to witter on about illustration! Huge thanks to Rob Cartwright for taking this shot, he really is the most relaxed and lovely guy and I HIGHLY recommend him if you need to document any of your work or events.

I'm off to The Chelsea Physic Garden later today, it's the most beautiful and peaceful oasis in the centre of London, and I'm going for a meeting about a new illustration project I'm working on with them. Tomorrow I'm heading off to Wolverhampton to visit David Austin Roses to discuss my residency project with their team. I am so excited about the colours and scents of the roses on mass, and so I am massively overdosing on my hayfever stuff today so that I will be able to see them!

Have a great weekend, mine will be spent with friends in London on Saturday and Cardiff on Sunday, so I'm hoping this gorgeous weather stays for a few more days! x

Friday

Holland & Barrett


Morning, I've had THE MOST AMAZING week,, there's so much to share with you! Last weekend I went to Oxford for the day to meet up with the lovely Rachel Coopey and Jeni Hewlett two fantastic women that I met at Squam USA earlier this month. We went to the Oxford Botanic Garden which I HIGHLY recommend, it looks REALY beautiful at this time of year, and then popped into Modern Art Oxford and The Ashmolean.

On Monday I went to Cambridge University to the Haseloff Lab which explores synthetic biology with a focus on plants. I was visiting as part of my Artist in Residence activities (more info on that  here) and the team were incredibly helpful in helping me to understand the current research related to my activities. I squeezed in a quick visit to ARU where I studied illustration with the lovely Martin Salisbury, a zip around the Cambridge Botanic Gardens and a lovely meal with Mandy (a wonderful illustrator and friend from my days at ARU)

On Tuesday I was off to the Olympic Park, and then vegan afternoon tea at The Secret Tea Room in Soho. Wednesday saw me speaking about my large scale installation work at an event organised by Yo Illo and hosted by Ustwo. (The talented Rob Cartwright was taking photos so I'll show you some images from the event soon!) Yesterday I was back in the studio working on a new commission for The Chelsea Physic Garden and today Ted Baker (the funder for my residency project) are coming to film me in my studio (hence last nights manic tidy up session!) 

Next week has lots more exciting things on the way, I'm spending Wednesday at the Chelsea Physic Garden learning about the old technique of Nature Printing, and on Friday I'm going to visit David Austin Roses in Wolverhampton to learn more about their breeding programmes. I think the sight and smell of their BEAUTIFUL roses on mass will be completely intoxicating!

Image above is of the Baobab fruit for Holland & Barrett, I've got really behind in sharing all my work for them so expect a deluge over the next few weeks!

Have a great weekend xxx

Thursday

Warehaus lift panel

Hello! I've spent this week gradually getting over my jet lag from teaching at Squam, and creating lots of food and nature illustrations for Holland & Barrett and Square Meal (= a great week of drawing + naps!) I also managed to squeeze in visits to The RA Summer Show (glorious) and Carsten Höller at The Haywood (brilliant fun - go with a group of friends). I'm spending tomorrow preparing for a talk about my installation work for Yo Illo more info here - (this event is fully booked, but I know that they're planning future talks, so get on their mailing list to be kept informed.)

Today I'm excited to share the artwork for the lift panel at Warehaus (a new mixed use retail and residential development in East London.) So far I've shared the 18x6m wall piece here, and the 30 doors created for each of the flats here. I have devised and created all the artwork for the development, and I was inspired by the rooftop swimming pool and wildflower garden at the top of the building. All the artwork is created in brass, and illustrates UK botanicals which are found in natural water sources. For the lift panel I created a frieze of water lilies, to reflect the door and wall designs, and this piece is engraved onto the brass. The development is VERY nearly finished and as soon as it is I'll be able to share you the photos of the real thing. For now here's the lift artwork...


... and a detail so you can really get a sense of what it will look like at a larger scale...


Have a lovely week and I'll be back next time to share new drawings for Holland & Barrett x

Tuesday

Squam 2015

Back home after THE BEST week teaching at Squam Art Workshops in America where I'm feeling very happy and jet-lagged. Too tired to really focus on work and still keen to cling on to my time there, so here's the blogpost all about my adventure...

Squam is a creative retreat set on Squam lake in New Hampshire. We stay in wooden cabins with porches, private docks and huge open fires - here's the view from our dock...




and this was the view from my bedroom...


This is our cabin (called Eldorado)...



Our classrooms are also wooden cabins with giant open fires and magical views over the lake (here's mine!)...



My class was called 'Drawn Together' and was a collaborative workshop exploring colour, mark making and a wide range of materials. Each person was given a concertina A5 sketchbook, and there were 12 colours and 12 participants. The colours and sketchbooks were passed on after each exercise, so by the time each person received their original book back to embellish and complete, each person in the class had contributed to it. Lots of the exercises we did were taken from my book Fearless Drawing and we used a range of techniques including oil pastel monoprinting, collage, watercolour and wax resist. Working in this way allowed the class to become less precious about the final piece and to focus on the process of creating. 

I had THE BEST students and THE BEST time teaching the class, here's some of their sketchbooks at the end of the day...


And here's some of their work in progress...






When not teaching there's so much to do, you can hike, kayak, swim (and my favourites, hang out on the dock eating snacks!)


It's such a peaceful and inspiring place and you get to make so many new friends from all over the world...


Squam is the land of chipmunks, bears, red squirrels and fireflies and this year I was DESPERATE to see a raccoon. Everyone I met warned me that they're not very nice and can be vicious, but in the UK I used to watch a cartoon about them and I REALLY wanted to see a real one. By the last night I still hadn't seen one, but Elizabeth Duvivier (Squam Founder and Director) made my wish come true by giving me this beautiful cushion with 2 raccoons, she really is the nicest person on earth...


So now I'm back home in my studio, tired, happy and so pleased I went to Squam again. I think it might just be my favourite place on earth. Here's my name tag now hung proudly in my studio ready to remind me of new and old friends and a huge amount of creativity and fun.


Back to work properly tomorrow cooking up new projects for The Chelsea Physic Garden, Holland & Barrett and Square Meal Magazine, until then sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz x