Your Cat Is A Landmine EP

I’m very behind on my art-related updates. Partly, this is due to the distracting joys of summer, but mostly it’s due to a brief lapse in concentration in which I got a new job and moved to London. So anyway, time to catch up on something I made months ago, and am a little bit proud of. I combined my love of doodling shadow wolves with some Photoshop layering techniques I picked up on a short course at Central St Martins. The result: an EP cover for Lincoln-based band, Your Cat Is A Landmine.

Gift Horse front cover
Gift Horse EP cover
Gift horse T-shirt and CD box

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Variety Is The Spice of Life, ‘n All That

My creative output has been quite varied lately. In May I painted a set of five chalkboards for an Oxford pub, the Royal Blenheim, as well as exhibiting in the Portraits exhibition at the Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot as part of Artweeks. The chalkboards were physically quite hard work, with my wrist really feeling the strain, but it was definitely more nerve-wracking to display two of my more personal creations alongside other Oxfordshire artists’ work.



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An Exciting Arrival

Today’s blog post is taking a little detour from my arty undertakings, as a couple of rather special books have arrived on my doorstep. They are special to me, at least, as they are two of the titles I acquired while I was working at Curious Fox. The journey from manuscript to printed book is a long one, filled with much editing, designing, and a considerable amount of marketing, so it’s quite a thrill to finally hold the books in my hot little hands. It’s probably a about 0.1 percent of the excitement and trepidation that the authors feel.

The Serpent House by Bea Davenport will be published next month and is a great story that entwines history with magic as it flits between the end of the 19th Century and a Medieval leper hospital. Alex As Well was released last week and the author, Alyssa Brugman, has also written a piece in The Guardian for their LGBT week. I hear Curious Fox has even brought her over for an author tour from her native Australia. I think this book is a really captivating read, and an important one to go on any YA shelf, so I do hope it makes a splash. Alyssa wrote her own post on the Curious Fox blog, and you can read the first chapter for free here.




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The Marsh Harrier Mural

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’m getting behind on blogging about what I’ve been up to. Hence, this one is mostly pictures. I was asked by my lovely local pub, the Marsh Harrier, to paint a mural to go on the wooden doors along the side of the pub. In keeping with the pub’s name and the imagery on the flyers I’d previously designed, I came up with a silhouetted scene – a little wilderness of flora and fauna. It took two days to complete, not counting the design, and it was a very cold and very public painting job, but it felt great when I finally stepped backed and decided it was finished. If you’re in Oxford, come past and have a look!

Marsh Harrier mural in stages

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Sketching my way around Paris

I’m back to my cluttered desk and wheezing laptop after a marvellous week visiting my friend Helen in Berlin and exploring Paris for the first time. One of the pleasures of exploring a city on your own is that you can let your feet stroll and your mind wander wherever they want to go. I walked across Paris for mile upon mile, hours upon days, visiting the classic tourist traps and also trying to discover some of the more subtle, under-exposed elements of Paris. I soon found that when my camera was visible, I was pestered as a tourist weighed down by an aura of euro signs (“Where are you from? What is your name?”), but with my camera hidden I was asked for directions and proffered election propaganda, so brilliant and effortless my disguise as a Parisian. Ah, the joys of going incognito!
As troublesome as taking photos was, I was never beleaguered when I took out my sketchbook and watercolours to try to capture a little piece of Paris on paper. The results are nothing special, but each painting transports me back to those few moments of stillness and contemplation when I took the weight off my tired, tourist feet and splashed some colour on the page. Together, they make up my pictorial diary of my time in Paris.

Tour de Eiffel Rodin's Garden Notre Dame Cimetiere du Montparnasse Outside the Pompidou Jardin du Palais Royal

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Hello Firry Gallery

Sunday saw the creation of the Firry Gallery at the Fir Tree on Iffley Road. Together with several other ‘resident artists’ at the pub’s weekly open mic night, we populated one wall of the pub with a selection of our paintings (very reasonably priced, I might add). Thanks to Toby, who runs the Firry Mic, for organizing the gallery and using his extreme hanging skills to get my pictures up on the wall. If you’re in Oxford, come by and have a look. The pub has some great real ales and a juke box.

Here are my paintings and some action shots of the hanging:

fir_tree_hanging_sequence fir tree gallery artworks lo-res

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Old Objects, New Drawings

A few weeks ago, I took part in a couple of drawing sessions at the Pitt Rivers Museum, as part of their Need, Make, Use programme. We were privileged with being allowed to draw objects from the original collection that are not otherwise on show. In one of the sessions, we were even treated to a haunting audio recording of the Haida people from British Columbia, whose ancestors made the object – a carved wooden helmet in the shape of an octopus. The combination of studying the helmet at close quarters and listening to the Haida voices wash over me, led me to accompany my drawing with a ‘conversation’ with the helmet. Don’t worry, I didn’t talk out loud… that might have freaked out the other artists. The second object I drew was also a helmet. This time, one made from the skin of a porcupine fish, made by the native people of the Gilbert Islands, Micronesia.


People who sketched in these sessions were invited to submit their work to the Old Fire Station, to be shown in an exhibition featuring 2D art during their Makers Month in April. Happily, my octopus helmet drawing was picked to be part of it. Maybe I should start conducting interviews with other inanimate objects.

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