Posted in allthesmallthings, crash course in art history, inspiration, news, process, Uncategorized

Making is Connecting and Creating Community


You know when you stumbled upon a book and there’s that fabulous zinging sensation that pings through you, knowing that you are about to get your hands on something that resonates with what you’re about or the part of the journey that you are on right now? That was this book.

For weeks I have been teaching online classes via zoom.  I have been teaching so many art history and art making lessons that my files are stacked with ideas, images, notes, and even a book proposal based on what I am learning.  Not only is my mind being fed all these gorgeous, inspiring images but it is starting to make connections that I had not fully explored before.

On Saturday, there I was, sitting in front of my computer screen, watching my attendants appear one by one.  The ‘connecting to audio’ and ‘connecting to video’ messages gave way to faces I had not seen before. Some screens remained black so I had no idea who I was speaking to.  This past Saturday I was winding up my Saturday art sessions which have been rattling on for 15 weeks.  During that time we have explored Still Life artworks, the works of Wayne Thiebaud, Helen Frankenthaler, Suzanne Valadon, Jean Michel Basquiat, Landscapes and Abstract Expressionism.  We tried our hands at continuous line drawings, mark making, patterns, and collage.  All of these lessons were of my own making, sometimes using a small nudge from an outside resource.  It’s been fun for me to go ‘okay, I see what that lesson is doing but how can I make it my own and how can I fashion it better for the people in class.’

When the last session was winding down, the people on the screen began to talk.  Seattle calling. Australia calling.  Edinburgh calling.  We were calling from at least three of the four corners of the earth and here we were, all connecting for this session.  I nearly cried with joy.  What was it that was so touching in that moment?

I have been on my own journey of discovery, finding ways that learning about art can connect us to the past to better understand our present.  That is practically word for word what Eventbrite write on their page when they promoted my class to America. For years I have been teaching children and adults about the stories of perseverance seen in the lives of artists.  There are themes of loneliness, love, anger, bravery.  Art can create a bridge between people and help them to cross over to the other side to view life from a different vantage point.  Creativity is connecting to not only what is within yourself but to others.

In David Gauntlett’s book Making is Connecting, Gauntlett states, “…art was never really just ‘product’ – art and creativity have always been about ideas and relationships.” I circled this statement, wrote GOLD next to it, and dog-eared the page.

For the month of July I will continue to write on this subject and give examples from my classes.  In a time when many of us have felt increasingly isolated, making art ‘together,’ can be part of the answer to feeling part of a bigger picture.

Here is C Lavelle’s interpretation of Las Meninas.  I feel like we ended on a high.

Posted in Uncategorized

Embracing the good: Lockdown moments

This week I have been busy completing Lockdown portrait commissions. Some of these have been requested for Father’s Day. The one I really want to show you I can’t as the recipient follows me on social media. It’s super cute so I’ll share after Father’s Day. Some requests have been for birthdays and anniversary.

It has been a joy to make these and it’s even better when I can hand over the work personally. I’m thankful that I can bring a small spark of joy into people’s lives. Just like I am happy to receive the great teaching and creative gifts of others; it’s nice that I can be a part of the creative gifting economy as well.

Posted in allthesmallthings, inspiration, process, Uncategorized

Lockdown Painting Experiments Continue: Finding my groove


£75 each

6cm x 6cm (two on the left)

6cm x 4cm (the allotment on the right)

Whilst in Lockdown I have been going on an adventure with getting down with my painting style.  I like where my drawings are going, I am happy with developments in textile work however now is the time to see where I can take my paintings.  For weeks I have been working my way through a series of hours of frustration, elation (if it can all be pulled together) and curiosity as I try different painting surfaces.  Textured canvas?  I like that for picking up oil pastel marks.  Hard board? I can draw on it with pencil easily and it keeps the line.

These paintings here are my favourite so far.  I have been working with these colours for years and I am glad they have found their way into my paintings.  These were inspired by a feed I follow on Instagram.  The photographer takes high contrast photos of buildings, using interesting angles.  I see the images and mentally break them down into shapes then begin to paint what I am constructing in my mind.  Of course it never translates directly.  Sometimes the accident that happens on canvas is better than what I held in my mind.

The above pieces are for sale for the Artist Support Pledge.  After I sell £2000 of work I then buy a piece from another artists.  It’s artists supporting artists and many of my artist pals are a part of this.  I would be so delighted to support one of them and of course, own a gorgeous piece of art that will bring me happiness for years to come.


You can see a portfolio of my illustration, commission and painting work here.  If you like the ones featured here please get in touch.

Posted in inspiration, news, process, Uncategorized

Interview with an Artist: Edinburgh Sketcher

The other day I caught up with Mark Kirkham (EdinburghSketcher) and had a great talk about how the Lockdown has been a time to create and explore new things.  Not all things are bad during this weird time in which we find ourselves. There are glimmers of hope and sunshine and I think the best in people has been brought to the surface.

In June Mark and I will be teaching Urban Sketching sessions online.  For more information and to book your spot, please visit the info and ticket page at Eventbrite

Posted in inspiration, news, process

Interview with an Artist: Kenris Macleod (She is sew fabulous)

Well, this is a pretty intense still however I do not have the skills to edit this bit or jump 30 seconds to the right or left.

Last week I caught up with Kenris Macleod about Lockdown, making art and her exhibition that opened just before everything became closed to business.  I hadn’t spoken to Kenris in weeks so this was great to see what she had been up to in the last month and a bit.

Posted in Uncategorized

Lockdown painting experiments continue. The green corridor.

The Meadows. The Links. We live close to this glorious strip of green that weaves its way in between tenements and streets. To be in lockdown in Edinburgh feels somewhat lucky as we have these generous green spaces to escape to. These grassy knolls and treelined walkways connect one neighbourhood to the next. Get yourself on a bike and you’ll find you can connect all the way to Holyrood Park.

I’m pleased with how this one is turning out. A few more details here and there and that’s me done.

I’m starting to populate my website with these interesting treasures. They’re treasures to me as they show me the gift of time I’ve been given to make them. To find out more please hop along to see my brilliantly colourful Paintings.

Posted in galleries and shops, inspiration, news, process

Interview with an Artist – Keith Paton

Yesterday I caught up with Keith Paton.  Talking with Keith is always such a wonderful experience.  He has so many great ideas about his work, supporting other artists and has even helped me set up my website.  Here we talk about what happened in Bloc Gallery right before life on Earth completely changed (aliens might as well land now, such is the extent of the weirdness).

This is also part of the Girl Interrupting Series.  Stay tuned and find out more…

Posted in Uncategorized

Spring tenements . Lockdown painting experiments continue…

Edinburgh tenements on an overcast Spring day

I’m not quite finished with this one. Tomorrow I’ll revisit it when the light is strong and I can see the true colours.

My painting professor at art college told me I was good at pulling things out of the fire. I don’t feel as if I’ve done this yet with any of my little paintings. They’re all huddled in my art room waiting their turn to be put on the wall and deemed worthy of that space. I’m still finding my way with painting. It’s been years since I’ve pursued this type of art making so am trying to be gentle with myself.

Posted in a little bit country, allthesmallthings, inspiration, news

Interview with an Artist – Jenni Douglas

A couple of weeks ago I decided to start interviewing artists who I have been following on Instagram.  I have seen how their work and their lives have been effected by Lockdown.  These videos were created with the intention of sharing the creative process, how people have had to swerve with their careers to keep on keepin on, and to also give positive steps that can be taken to turn a day around if it’s not quite going your way.

My first interview was with Jenni Douglas.  I’m such a fan girl.  Please check out this video and then go see her work

Posted in Uncategorized

Lockdown painting experiments continue

Morningside, Edinburgh

My Lockdown painting experiments continue. I had an unhealthy relationship with this one until I decided it was finished. Done. Walk away from the mini canvas, Cassandra. Walk away.

Everything here has been at least five different colours. If you conducted a forensic study, you’d find shades of red, purple, neon pink under what you see here.

It bothered me that the top of the building on the left mimics the hedge on the right. Now I have decided I like that quirk. A repetition in an unexpected place.

So what am I going to do with all of these paintings when I’m finished? Probably will never be finished as I’m having a lot of fun with this.

Stay tuned!