I have loads of memories from when I was young – the wooden wendy houses in the playground at school and the bottles of warm milk with holes poked through the foil on top for little paper straws, the huge lavender bushes in the garden at home and the hedgehog who used to nest under the shed in autumn. I remember the shape of the garden, the colours, my favourite clothes, the beaches we went to as kids. Having this strong visual memory has always been an important part of my being able to draw and write. Also, the desire to create an ‘other’ world, to put on to paper the world inside me, has always been strong. Added to this was the fact that I wasn’t much good at science or maths or anything else that involved concentrated thought, but I loved escaping into the fantasy world I could create in my head. I wasn’t a big reader as child – I found it hard going, but I devoured comics, spending hours drawing the characters in them. I loved the Asterix books, the Book of the Flower Fairies by Cicely M. Barker, and Butterfly Ball. The pictures brought the stories to life for me and were part of the magic, which I guess is partly why my initial writing interests lay in picture books.
In 2006, I had my first two picture books published – no-one could have been more surprised than me. A few years later, The Ruby and Grub series was published by Piccadilly Press. Some of this series has been translated into Dutch and Slovenian and in 2015 the first two books came out in the USA (yippee!) Buttercup Magic: A Mystery for Megan, also published by Piccadilly Press, came out in 2012. I have also had a couple of poems published and still find time to write the odd poem or two.
Back to the painting – as a child and into my teens, I really struggled with using paint – it appeared as unsightly splodges and dried too quickly or ran all over the place. Over the years, I have managed to tame these splodges, shape and control them. I particularly love working with acrylics – the colours are so vivid and acrylics are very versatile – they can be fine and delicate or edgy and textured. I also love oils and watercolours, although watercolours are very unforgiving (these splodges are much more difficult to tame!)
If you’d like to contact me concerning a commission, purchase of an original painting, signed limited edition print or greetings card, please contact me via the CONTACT tab of this website. I am also available to do artwork for websites, illustrations, book covers – just ask and I’ll let you know if it’s something I can work on for you. Here are a couple of examples of completed commissions – acrylic paintings on canvas:
When I’m not teaching, drawing or painting, I love to read (particularly graphic novels), mooch around antique shops and listen to music. I like to walk my rescue greyhound, who is adorable but hates cats with a passion. She loves playing with her cuddly tigger and snuggling up on her quilt (yes, she has a quilt – two actually). She also loves ear rubs and paw rubs… and she loves tuna and toast!
- I have a passion for cheesecake.
- When I was little, I wanted to be a ballet dancer.
- I have a whole drawer full of warm, fluffy socks.
- I once fell in a canal and caught fish in my life-jacket.
- My favourite book as a child was ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’.
- If I could be a food I would be a crisp… mature cheddar!
- If I could be an animal I would be an owl.
- Green and purple together
- Brie and mushroom panini
- The smell of new carpet
- Sea, sand, sun, stones, shells and pebbles
- Mature cheddar Kettle Chips
- Silver birch trees
- Bats flying at dusk
- Blackbirds singing
- Graphic novels
- Bare feet and sandals
- A good book
- Painting bright and happy things
- French films
- Antique shops
There are so many books I love, but here are just a few:
- ‘The Winter Tree’, Georgina Lewis
- ‘Oscar and Lucinda’, Peter Carey
- ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’, Audrey Niffenegger
- ‘The Book Thief’, Markus Zusak
- ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’, John Irving
- ‘Proper Go Well High’, Oliver East
- ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’, Jonathan Safran Foer
- ‘The Miniaturist’, Jessie Burton
- ‘The House that Groaned’ Karrie Fransman
- ‘Calling Dr Laura’, Nicole J Georges
- ‘A Man called Ove’, Fredrik Backman
- ‘The Property’, Rutu Modan
There are so many, but here are some of my faves: Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Paul Gauguin, Eric Ravilious, Gusav Klimt, Annora Spence, Rosina Wachtmeister, Frida Kahlo.