Spell books

When I was an art student, we were encouraged to voraciously fill up sketch books.

At one point, I was filling up a whole sketchbook every week.

The object of the exercise was to teach us to actively see the world the around us - to find new ways of visually interpreting it rather than to just passively observe.

I'm certainly not filling a sketchbook week at the moment, but I still nearly always have a sketchbook or a notebook on my person.

I don't often look back through them though – until this evening.

I found some wonderful visual 'spells' – I'll share them with you at some point.


Life story snapshots

I had an afternoon of people-watching galore yesterday.

I love the city of Brighton.

Despite powerful efforts to make the place more polished and slick, Brighton stubbornly refuses to relinquish its bohemian personality.

I had a couple of meetings, and I also enjoyed some time sitting by windows and watching as amazing characters passed by outside.

Each moment was a snapshot from someone's life story.

I am still working on loosening up my drawings.

I've got a way to go yet – these sketches still look tight to me, so I may need to create a more dedicated project towards achieving what I want.

But I'm sure these 'visual notes' will come in handy, one way or another.


I dream of McQueen


"There is no way back for me now. I'm going to take you on journeys you've never dreamed were possible"

I spotted these words inscribed on a wall at the Victoria & Albert Museum, just as I was exiting the exhibition 'Savage Beauty' - a stunning retrospective on the incredible work of fashion designer Alexander McQueen. I stopped and read the quote again, then pulled out my sketchbook to note it down. The inspiration shivered through me. Thank you, Mr. McQueen.

It’s been just over a month since The Pirate Queen mural went up on the walls of Brighton. I haven’t blogged sooner because I’ve mostly been catching up on boring admin stuff. But it feels good to be organised – yes, even creative types can be organised! The studio has been completely sorted and Feng Shui'd, and all the furniture has been painted white. The whiteness was inspired by painter Claire Fearon, who has moved into the studio next door to me. She has painted her space completely white and I thought, wow - that looks great. I have to say it really does make a difference – as well as reflecting the light, the whiteness does help to clear the mind and keep you to focussed on your work.

I've also been taking a bit of time to recharge with some inspiration. Working at Glyndebourne opera house certainly helps - not just because of the amazing stage sets and costumes, the incredible music and the glorious gardens, but also because of the wonderful army of people who work there. I feel very lucky to be able to spend time there. 

'Carmen' - photo by Robert Workman. 

'Carmen' - photo by Robert Workman. 

I’ve always been an Alexander McQueen fan, so I really couldn’t wait to go and see Savage Beauty. The exhibition was a very immersive experience – each room had its own distinct feel, charting the developing stages of McQueen’s career. For me, his work is more than just fashion – it charts the point where dressing blurs into art. And by ‘art’, I think I mean something that has a spiritual weight to it – something that brings you out in goose bumps, sets your heart racing – perhaps induces a feeling of dread or of euphoria. I never thought that looking at a dress would be something that could bring me to the brink of tears… but there we have it!

For those of you that couldn’t make it to the show, here is a two-minute smorgasbord of McQueen fabulousness:

Here are some drawings that I feel might have a touch of the McQueen about them…

Till next time...