A Vision of June

Despite the unpredictable weather, my ‘minds eye’ view of this glorious month is resolute.

June is…a glowing fireball of orange sunsets, sailing boat on the lake, the summer solstice, brighly lit lanterns hanging in the forest, al fresco gatherings, the scent of freshly cut grass, long lazy afternoons in the park, the circus coming to town, dragonflies hovering in the sunlight, a hammock swinging gently in the breeze, open-air music festivals gone wild, a country garden in full bloom, strawberries & cream, walking barefoot, a warm wind rustling through the overgrown reeds, sipping fruity cocktails with friends.

It’s the first hazy glimpse of summertime…

A quote beset with typographic jewels

It was an immense pleasure to design a set of materials for a client workshop. One element of the design brief was to create an A6 postcard depicting a quote from fashion & style icon, Coco Chanel.

In homage to the ‘Little Black Dress’, (highly associated with Chanel), it deemed only natural to start with a black canvas. The exploration of typographic language led me to select a serif typeface for the quote,┬áto which l reversed out in white, giving a strong contrast to the solid background.

With a vision of traditional elegance taking shape, further dialogue took place, and the idea of adding a splash of colour was born.

My thoughts soon turned back to Chanel, as l pondered on another quote from the iconic 20th century fashion designer, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory“.

Symbolised by orange quotation marks, l visualise the quote as being beset with a pair of jeweled earrings. l wonder if Coco Chanel would view this as wearing just the right amount of accessory?

l’d like to think so.

Safari reflections

It’s astonishing how quickly time passes by, as it feels like only yesterday that l took flight and explored the vast wilderness grasslands of Kenya.

Wayfaring Art journal certainly proved to be my perfect pocket companion…a blank canvas wrapped in leather, waiting to be filled with visuals and story-telling recreated by gaslight…

The above extract taken from my journal, reflects the area that l was most fortunate to experience – the breathtaking Tsavo National Park.

On the right-hand page, is a winding path, which leads to a circular campfire place. It was here, that we were told African stories late into the night. And by day, the majestic beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro could be admired in all its glory!

Following the campfire evening, our local guide graciously gave me a hand-crafted gift, which in English is known as the Toothbrush Tree. 

Karithca kindly wrote down the different names directly onto the dental tool. The Maasi name is Oremit, in Swahli it means Mswaki, and the botantical name is Salvadora perscia.  l’ve placed this heart-warming gift in the middle of my journal montage, as a symbol of the culture embraced, and the friendships made throughout my travel.

Observing wildlife in their natural habitat was simply a dream come true – generating treasured memories that remain close to my heart and have become part of my Safari reflections.

Creating a visual voice = playtime

My love for making “visual ideas” sketchbooks began during my student days, and it is an activity that continues to nurture my playful and creative spirit.

l tend to start visual thinking in my minds eye, which then leads to carving out my visions onto paper via my A5/A6 sketchbooks. l have started to see my sketchbooks as a journey – a space that evolves over time with the development of ideas – capturing a colourful reflection of a “moment in time”, documenting various moments of my creative path.

It’s always exciting to start a new fresh book with bare crisp white pages, as l never quite know the direction l may go in, and the vibrant forms that start to take shape never ceases to give joy in my quest to quench my creative thirst.

Whether it be a textured piece of paper, a tactile cut of fabric, a charming illustration that perfectly fits a visual that l am creating, or the written word that matches the mood, for a vision that is taking form in my mind…l have fun playing around with concepts, giving them a visual voice that l eagerly seek as an artist/designer – generating a long-lasting piece of “pictorial happiness” for the intended recipient.

Such sketchbook playtime makes my soul sing.

Looking Glass milestone

On 1st September 2020, Looking Glass celebrated its 10th anniversary. This celebratory milestone prompted me to look back to the first sketch that l originally created for my online sketchbook. l happily remember drawing up my first visual, jotting down all the thoughts that were swimming around in my head, and sharing the concept with dear friends and family…

Looking Glass has come a long way since this initial drawing, and l’m delighted with the direction that it has taken – reflecting the many diverse forms of creative inspiration, that l have had the fortunate to discover, thus far on my journey.

The shape is a constant sea of change, but the authentic “sharing of inspiration and creative forms” remains firmly rooted in its origins, and for this l thank the many talented artists that have kindly accepted my invitation, and subsequently graced the Looking Glass stage.

l also wish to take this anniversary celebration to thank all the many readers that have supported, encouraged and inspired me to share the wonder, and beauty which can be found in creativity.

Perhaps you may just catch a glimpse of your creative self, as l continue this Looking Glass journey…

Playing with mixed media

Last week’s post inspired me to think about the time spent, studying for my BA in Visual Communication (graphic design) at the innovative Edinburgh College of Art. This set of stamps that l designed as part of an ECA brief, reminds me just how much fun it is to play around with mixed media.

We were able to choose our own subject matter for the “Celebrating the Millennium” four stamp project, and l chose to explore the history of writing. Happily for me, how humanity communicated via drawings, and the written word, opened up a plethora of technique.

The beginning of my journey found me screen-printing hieroglyphs onto linen. l was then most fortunate to commission a calligraphy talent (called David Nash), to take the words from the well-known ‘Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffery Chaucer, who in turn gave them a flourishing twist. l lovingly recall how exciting it was to receive the hand-written piece in the post, which l then later sealed with a dash of candle-wax.

Next port of call, was the much-beloved traditional Letter-press. This was lots of fun, and the final result achieved, was worth the challenge of setting the type by hand!

With the final stamp, it appeared natural to complete the circle. And so by hand-cutting a hieroglyph from tissue paper, which was then layered onto a lino print of blue colour, l then scanned the graphic piece onto my computer to finally implement the “futuristic” based typefaces. It was integral at this point to mix the media as part of the story-telling.

Looking back on this piece of work, l realise once again, how precious it is to nurture traditional techniques, and yet l feel re-juvenated with the realisation, that the past and future can go hand-hand rather beautifully!