I’ve always been thrilled to find little shards of china buried in the garden or on digs along land that used to be near housing. I love the ornate decorations. I want to know the story of the cup or plate or bowl – how did it come to be exactly there under my feet? I have quite a collection and I am drawn to people who like to pick up and collect the things I do. 
This little as yet unfinished drawing, done in fine pen on quite rough water colour paper features pieces from my own treasure trove and a couple of spectacular pieces borrowed from a dear friend.The beauty of undertaking to draw something with lot of fine details is that you get to know it very well. The way the leaves intertwine, the shading to add depth to the decoration, the placement of petals just so, a temple here, a blossom there. I’ll never look at a teacup in the same way. 
Drawing the fragments has also been an exercise in faith – the faith in my ability to represent the art already inherent in those small remnants of something useful. At times I found myself struggling with confidence – I could actually almost hear the doubting voice when I was about to tackle a particularly complex decoration. I’m practicing quietening that voice and learning to continue working in spite of it. It’s a nice feeling to make it to the other side of that doubting time and settle to work or in this case settle to play.

PS – If I was doing this again I probably wouldn’t start on really rough paper – every time a .005 pen tip hits a bump it’s like driving into the side of a mountain!

Shades of Grey and Green and Taupe

Inspired by the shape of the bones and the broad nibs of these vintage Pantone marker pens (I’ve had these around thirty years!) I had a lovely time covering lots of surfaces with this simple shape. The transparency of the markers makes for interesting layers and depth – I added a little Copic marker – I’m a bit fixated on grey at the moment. And yes, I do get a little obsessed with a theme or process until I feel like I can pretty much explore it no more :).

Always With The Birds

A few weeks ago I had a bit of a play with reproducing on the printer a small ink picture I’d done  a while back – painting (colouring in!) has been great fun and an opportunity to play. Having plenty of copies to muck around with takes the pressure off having to stick with one colour scheme.

Big Leaves – Little Birds

Last week’s wild, windy weather brought me an unexpected gift in the shape of a big, fallen nest. It’s the most fabulous structure and there’s no way my photography can do justice to the intricacy and sheer ingenious use of materials in this nest. I admire the perseverance it must take to gather and fashion this motley collection of both natural and man made materials into a home for infant birds. A strong bird built this one – heavy gauge wire, both new and rusted, small pieces of chicken wire (oh, the irony!) cotton, string, branchlets and hundreds of strands of varied fibres are built into this lovely sturdy nest. I’m in awe.

Birds have been on my mind. This weekend I spent a quiet hour or two playing around with disassembling photographs of things I’ve made previously and reassembling them with new components. The big, leathery leaves of Ficus macrophylla are particularly wonderful, changing colour from yellow to ochre and deeper brown on my desk as the days pass and I like the way copied driftwood from this piece remind me of seabird bones. Lots of connections – just like in the natural world.