Thursday, 1 June 2023

Sweet Peas and Slow Living...

Image shows watercolour pink sweetpeas, next to a vertical hand-lettered June word, with a blue watercolour background.
June Watercolour Sweet Peas, by Clare Walker.

Hello there, and hope this latest post finds you well. 

June finds us/ me still adjusting to recent personal events, but with a powerfully simple idea helping it all along: slow living.

Slow Living

Slow living was an idea that I'd seen talked about many times, and loved the vibe of in various videos. The concept of slowing right down, and just concentrating mindfully on the immediate present has always been beguiling to me.

But previously, I had always then had the thought, "Yeah, but if you just stay in the moment, how do you get everything done ?"

Now that I find myself needing to process extra emotions, and feeling happiest and functioning best living moment to moment, the answer to that question has now become crystal clear...

"You don't have to get everything done, and it doesn't matter."

Or to put it another way, "Slowing down and concentrating on the thing right in front of you now, gets all that really needs to be done, done".

Sweet Peas

If all that sounds a bit weird and abstract, there's a practical side to it, too.

This is a close up work in progress shot of pink watercolour sweet peas.
Sweet peas in MozArt Kuretake watercolours, progress shot 1.

Take these sweet peas, for example. The watercolouring of them in the moment felt good. Uploading them for you to see here, likewise. And writing about them right now, feels like exactly the right thing to do in this moment.

Previously, all of that potential joy would have been lost in my fevered brain, with a thought of, "Oh crumbs, these are so late. I am so late...I have failed to finish these properly and turn them into a card-sheet, or something people might *really* like to see...and I'm still late to post..."

Like the last image, this is a close up work in progress shot of pink watercolour sweet peas..
Sweet peas in MozArt Kuretake watercolours, progress shot 2.

Now, whilst I'm very likely to do something yummy with them in a future moment that feels right,  for now am just enjoying sharing them.


And speaking of sharing, if the June graphic at the top of this post is of use to you, do feel free to share it. (My policy on such things is here).

At the moment though, am still having issues with all the images on the site having been made smaller, (not by me!) and so online sharing would probably be their best use.

And yes, sorting out a new home for my images that means I can share them with you at full size is something that I know I need to do...when the moment is right, and I've found a new home for these projects that really feels like the best fit.

Thanks for reading down this far, and enjoy your day, however that looks for you.

More soon.

Thursday, 18 May 2023

Mimosa Painting and Thanks...

Digital Watercolour painting of a yellow mimosa flowers with frondy green leaves
"Mimosa Flowers" by Clare Walker

Hello again

This is just a quick visit, made for so many reasons. As you can imagine from the details shared in my previous post, am not anywhere near back to work yet. But did want to pop in and say....

1) Thank you to every single person who has, in all their various ways, shown so much care (to both Jim and me) during the past few difficult weeks. It's made, and is making, a *huge* difference. And if I haven't thanked you in person yet, I will, but please consider yourself soooooo thanked right this second, also.

2) Quite a few people commented that their own creativity had suffered during experiences of grief.  It became very easy to appreciate just how this happens, so the mimosa flowers in this post (and yes, they are different in style to "before," and who knows where this will all go yet?) represent my first postable effort in that direction.

If the info helps you or someone you know, am also repeating right here that this is the first effort in the direction of creativity that am posting. The first was a doodle. In the second, the next day, the colours were off. In the third, the colours were brighter, but just "off". Several tries later, (and I forget how many days elapsed in total) this suddenly emerged.

It all felt (and feels) like having to run dirty water out of a pipe until the water runs clear again of it's own accord. And am not fooling myself that am yet anywhere near continuous "clear water days," yet.

It's just that creativity brings me joy, and was the road back to joy that inspired the start of this blog in the first place. So my motivation to keep creating is and was, *very high*.

3) The inspiration for this digital watercolour painting was our neighbour's mimosa tree (in the photo below, it's behind the white elderflower, and stretching into four adjacent gardens...).

Photo of a sprawling mimosa tree, with white elderflower blossom in front as well.
My own mimosa reference photo

If you're a regular reader here, you'll know that my own reference photos, like the one above, have a track record of being-less-than-stellar :-). 
But hope that even from this, you can get the idea about just how fulsome and bright this was when we got back from the event to mark my Dad's passing...And it has only got even brighter since.

The odd thing...

Which is odd, considering that this plant is native to tropical and sub-tropical places, and the weather in London for most of this spring can best be described as having been "really cold and wet".

In previous, warmer springs, the flowers have been nothing like this bright and beautiful.

But one of my first associations with mimosa was and is, seeing it on many, many childhood holidays in Portugal, one of the most beloved places of, you've guessed recently-departed Dad.

Coincidence? Maybe. Magical thinking? Gotta be in the mix somewhere. (Though now I come to ponder it, what the heck is wrong with some extra "magical thinking," in a world in desperate need of it anyway?).

And on that note, I'll leave you to ponder the beauties and the mystery of it all. Not sure when am posting next, but will post again.

More soon(ish)

Update 19th May: It has been (gently) pointed  out to me that this plant could in fact be a labernum, which would blossom easily here. So have been busily looking at various pictures...And am still not sure, until I can actually ask my neighbour, who owns the tree. But in a way, whether an especially frondy-leafed and  bobbly-flowered labernum, or a very "waterfalling" mimosa, this plant has done its job.

I've had some lovely memories to enjoy, and a fun art afternoon. You have (am hoping) something you've enjoyed looking at. And at the end of the day, perhaps that's what art is all about.

Enjoy your weekend xx

Thursday, 4 May 2023

Digital Art Journaling... and News

Hi everyone.

Not such a cheery post as usual this week-so sorry.

My Dad died last weekend, and so many, many things will now be completely up-in-the-air for a while.

He had however, had an excellent life, visiting more than 40 countries, and having the good fortune to die in such a way that absolutely everything that needed to be said and done, absolutely was.

One of the things he said to me often in the last few months (and indeed, in our very last conversation) was "Enjoy your life."

This seemed and seems to me like such a fabulous and inspiring message/ epitaph, that I really want to remember it, live it, and share it with others.

So, for starters, here is a piece of digital art journaling (in Rebelle 5) that I did the very first time he said that, back in December. It emerged when I was following a physical art journaling tutorial called "Blessings of a Feather", by Tamara Laporte. The mixed-media techniques in that video translated very easily into digital watercolour. Thanks so much Tam, for a lesson that has turned out to be so very important...

Image shows a line and wsh feather, in vibrant shades of purple pink and gold digital splatters, and the words "enjoy your life", in handwritten script.

I was never intending to post this, but it seemed so perfectly designed for the moment, that I had to do so.

The future

I'm going to be taking some time to figure things out (including how best to take forward that instruction to enjoy my life!).

So, I'll be taking a break from here for a while, whilst we all say "Happy Travels" to my Dad, and to speculate about all the ways in which he is probably already enjoying his afterlife.

Please bear with me. There will be more of something, but quite what or when, am not sure yet.

And whatever comes or goes,  please, keep enjoying your life in every possible way.

Thursday, 20 April 2023

A Spring Dandelion Sketch

Digital pen and wash sketch of a bright yellow dandelion flower and its green leaves, with watercolour splashes
Dandelion Sketch, by Clare Walker

Hello there. Am just popping in quickly this week, to let you know about a new sketch of this week's dandelions. They just seem so extra-bright this year, and so beloved by bees, that I wanted to share and celebrate them.

Though am hoping they will also be part of a design in my Craftsuprint shop soon, as well :-).

Update: sale has now ended, but the dandelions are now on available here.

Speaking of which...

It's sale time!

Yes, there will be a  20% discount on everything in my Craftsuprint shop, for four days only. The sale will run  from Friday April 21st-Monday April 24th 2023. So if there's anything you've had your eye on, click or tap here to visit and stock up.

That's all for now. But hope all is going really well with you. (and that you find some craft sheets you like in that sale. ;-) )

Have a great weekend when it comes, and more soon.

Thursday, 13 April 2023

A Cute Teapot, and a Welcome Return...

Hello there, and I hope life's treating you well.

Picture shows a digital watercolour line and wash painting sketch of corral-pink roses, growing out of a cream teapot, against a pale green background.
"Teapot and Roses" by Clare Walker

This week, as you can see from these cute flowers coming out of a teapot, am sharing the latest in my  "Flowers and Containers," series. 

In the meantime, by the time this gets to you as a newsletter, there's a strong chance that this particular design will already be for sale as a teapot-shaped card sheet in my Craftsuprint shop, and this will be a live link to that if so. (Update: the link is now live).

A warm welcome back

In any event, it's definitely time to give a warm welcome back to the blog to Marion Kimberley-Scott, who has already been busy making and crafting cards from the sheets featuring previous paintings and designs in this series.

Here's her take on the Lavender Cascade:

Image is a photo of a handcrafted card, featuring many layers, decoupage, and a watercolour cascade of lavender.
Photo by Marion Kimberley-Scott, and used with her permission
Click or tap here to see it on Craftsuprint.Com

And "Wellies and Flowers"...

The image is a photo of a multi-layered and crafted pink and white square floral card, featuring a watercolour drawing of pink flowers growing out of green wellies in the centre.
Photo by Marion Kimberley-Scott, and used with her permission
Click or tap here to see it on Craftsuprint.Com

Not forgetting the  "Purple Planter":

Image is a photo of a multi-layered hand-crafted card, featuring a watercolour drawing of a formal stone garden planter, festooned with small purple flowers.
Photo by Marion Kimberley-Scott, and used with her permission
Click or tap here to see it on Craftsuprint.Com

Thank you so very much Marion. I really appreciate both you *and* your awesome crafting skills.

That's all for now from me, but thanks ever so much for reading down this far, and have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Free Bouncing Bunny Animated Gif for Spring

Animated gif, showing a watercolor line and wash rabbit jumping up and down on a patch of grass.
Tap (or right or left click,
depending on your device)
and save this image to
 download it.

Hello there

As ever, I hope life is treating you well.

Today, as promised (and now that it finally actually feels like spring here) am back with a gift for you.

 In celebration of all things spring-like, happy and fun (including any flavour of festival into which you might be at this time of year), this bouncing bunny animated gif is yours to download if you wish. (The image is already deliberately small and optimised for phone screens/the web).

Just right-click and save (or tap and save, or left-click and save, depending upon your device).

As ever, credit is *always* appreciated, but never required.

And if you'd like more rabbity goodness...

And if one rabbit simply isn't enough for you, you might also like:

The new easy-to-make rabbit-shaped card in my Craftsuprint shop...

Image shows a multi-directional pattern o cute watercolour rabbits on a pale green background.
Rabbit-Patterned Background,
 available at Craftsuprint

Or if you just want to grab something funny and go, my Easter-Rabbits funny cartoon card is ever-popular on Zazzle (and downloadable for the first time, this year, so it's not too late to grab it).

Card shows two cartoon rabbits having conversation. Onme advises the other never to get an Easter Rabbitjob, as "the humans are crazy, and think we lay eggs".
Funny Cartoon Rabbits Printable Card

*More* freebies...

If that's still not enough (and/or you'd like more freebies), you can also check out some springtime gifts from previous years, such as:

That's all for now, and I'm going to wish you a happy few days, whatever you're up to. I'm taking a short break from the blog for a week or so. But, as ever, there will be...

More soon.

Thursday, 30 March 2023

Bits, Bobs and Two Unexpected Visitors...

Hello there, and as ever, hope that life is treating you well.

Now, this is the time when you get to peep behind the curtain, and see how creativity really works, instead of the, "yes, one-neat-product-appears-every-week," version of events into which this blog might (accidentally) have lulled you before now.

line and wash digital watercolour sketch of a sunny park garden bench with wisteria around it.
"Wisteria Bench" Work in Progress
Digital Watercolour Sketch
in Rebelle 5,
by Clare Walker

First up, there's a park/garden  bench sketch. I drew it mostly to celebrate humble-but-wonderful  benches in the sun, and a vague idea that, when finished,  it might one day join what I might (in a grandiose moment) call the "garden art series,"...The start of which is in my Society6 shop, at least for now.

Line and wash digital watercolour sketch of a ball of pink roses on top of a be-ribboned pole.
"Roses on a Pole"
Digital Watercolour sketch
 in Rebelle 5, by Clare Walker

Next there's these roses-on-a-pole. The start of a wedding design? Maybe. Something for May Day? It could happen. But they got created because they were fun and reminded me of summer on a rainy day. Which is much more in line with how creativity really works than the "uploading-on-a-schedule," online world might suggest.

And then there's this post itself. For a perfect Easter post, in a world of productivity-over-creativity, there should be bouncing bunnies or similar. (And yes,  it's with some relief that I can announce that there'll be a more "correctly" seasonal post (if you want to call it that) *next* week.

Those Two Unexpected Visitors...

But if I had gone along with that particular script this week, then some real life inspiration which landed in the window box,  three feet away from my keyboard, wouldn't have got a look-in, almost literally.

Let me introduce you to the first of them. Both these photos were taken by my husband, so massive thanks to him (a.k.a. often on this blog  as, "The Computer Man").

Photo of a very round robin on a window box.
Round Robin-Photo by Jim Fernbank

Yes, it's a robin. That most famous of Christmas birds (in the UK, anyway), gracing us with his presence (like the snow of  a couple of weeks ago) much closer to Easter.

I had a vague memory from childhood that robins like to eat tiny pieces of cheese.

That turned out to be the understatement of the century. He clearly *adored* cheese. And soon had us trained to leave out cheese for him in response to loud and disappointed squeaks each morning.

But the cheese kept disappearing *so* quickly, that we became suspicious. And sure enough, a second, sleeker robin is also dining at the window-box buffet.

Photo of a more svelte robin bird on a window box.
Sleek Robin- Photo by Jim Fernbank

Which, combined with the fairly recent memory of snow, now meant that a snowy Christmas design just had to be begun, at least, even though you might not see a final, end result,  "on" something, for months.

Line and wash digital watercolour work in progress sketch, featuring a red robin in the snow.
Red Robin Sketch
Work in progress digital watercolour
by Clare Walker

(And yes, I know that my robin sketch features a red bird, and these robins are distinctly orange. But I'll save that debate (and the huge, bizarre, difference in popularity between robin designs in each colour) for a post nearer Christmas.

It's *all* OK...

Thanks for reading down this far. This post has rather wandered and wound its way round, a bit like how creativity itself seems to work. Am hoping that it's been fun to read, and that it might explain why things don't or can't always seem to appear, "When they *should*". 

Most of all, I hope that it may have inspired you to follow through on creative ideas, whenever and however they appear for you. It's all *OK,* and you, I, or anyone else, all have permission to follow those inner-and outer-promptings, as they happen.

 Even if that does mean that you draw robins at Easter :-) .

That's all for now. But my current plan is to be back a little sooner next week, with some genuinely spring-like or Eastery treats.

More soon.


Thursday, 23 March 2023

Poppies...In April?

Hello there, and hope you're thriving out there.

The image shows a line-and wash watercolour red poppy poster, with the (editable) text Stand Tall and Be Proud
Click or tap here to get this as a printed or printable poster at Zazzle
(and change the wording, if you wish).

The reason for today's title will be clear if you're in the still-chilly-where-is-the-Spring-we-were-promised UK, anyway (and maybe other places in the Northern Hemisphere).

In the Southern Hemisphere, I guess poppy season is at hand, or just finishing.

Anyway, am guessing that you weren't expecting poppies today, so I'd better explain how come they're here.

Basically, I've been taking time to do Karen Abend's, "Sketchbook Revival," challenge this year. No, not every one of the 26 sessions. But there are some great ones, especially if you're looking to establish (or re-establish, like me) a daily sketching practice that actually feels *fun*.

Close up of a line and wash sketched watercolour red poppy.
Close-up of these poppies in their original sketch...

For example, these poppies were inspired by a Jeanne Oliver video, in which she championed both contour botanical drawing (ie drawing first without taking the pencil off the paper if possible) *and* sketching in odd periods of time that crop up during the day, instead of a longer (but potentially more pressurising "session".

And so, the first sketch for these poppies was done in a stray 20 minutes before heading out, rather than a specially-allotted time. That felt incredibly liberating.

Yes, there was scanning and some extra digital work to get the final result, but joyful and easy production were definitely the name of the game with this one.

If Sketchbook Revival sounds like something you'd enjoy, then, as I type this, I think you can still sign-up. (That's not an affiliate link or anything, I'm just enjoying the sessions).

Photo of Red Poppies Watercolour line-andwash sketch by Clare Walker, BoundingSquirrel.Com
Yes, these poppies were originally in my sketchbook...

The sessions are free, and going out at the rate of two a day until the beginning of April. After which there's a decent interval in which to watch anything else you missed before it disappears. So as I type, it's still very much worth checking it out if you want to.

As far as I can tell, this runs most years. So if you're reading this later on and Sketchbook Revival has closed for now, have a look and see if you can sign-up for any kind of reminder next year. On the basis of that which have experienced so far, I can definitely recommend it.

On that note, it's time just to wish you a great week.

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Pretty Pink Tulips for Mother's Day (and Beyond)...

Hello there

Do hope the week's been treating you well.

Picture shows a line and wash digital watercolour sketch of pretty pink tulips
"Tulips," by Clare Walker

The news from here is that my obsession with "garden flowers in interesting containers," seems to continuing, as you can see from these pretty pink tulips. (They are digital watercolours in Rebelle 5, but painted stroke by stroke with a graphics pen, as ever).

Could it be that this little run of paintings and drawings is turning into the very thing I once swore I'd never do...a series of related drawings and paintings :-) ? Watch this space...

Mother's Day is Coming...

If you're reading this soon after I type it, UK Mother's Day is this Sunday (March 19th 2023).

But fear not, because (whenever and to whomever you actually want to send it) you can still personalise and download this card on Zazzle.Com.

Picture shows pink tulip design on a physical card and its digital alternative on a phone
Click or tap here to see the card on Zazzle

And if you're reading this in March and feeling puzzled (because you live somewhere else), then know that this will also be available for when it's Mother's Day with you, later in the year.

Come to that, if you like the design, but want to send it for another reason, that's fine at any time, because both the physical and downloadable versions of the card can be changed to say whatever you want.

Finally, last but *not* least, the craft-kit version of this and all the "garden series" designs will also be up in my Craftsuprint shop, hopefully by the time you read this (a lot of painting also means a lot of uploading too :-) ).

Hope all of this helps, and have a lovely weekend, whether it's Mother's Day with you or not.

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Escape Into a Secret Garden...

Hello there

This week's post is an invitation, to step into the imaginary world of a whimsical secret garden, full of cascading lavender,

Image shows a line and wash watercolour of a garden border, in which the focal point is purple lavender, cascading out of a large terracotta pot. The pot is laying on its side, which allows the lavender within it to cascade over a pale yellow garden gravel path.
"Lavender Cascade" by Clare Walker

quirky plant holders,

Image shows a digital watercolour line and wash sketch of a pair of green wellies (rainboots) filled with small pink flowers.
"Wellies and Flowers," by Clare Walker

and flower-filled planters...

Image shows a digital line and wash watercolour of a stone planter against the summer sky. The planter is full of small purple flowers and green leaves, some of which trail down the central column of the planter.
"Purple Floral Planter," by Clare Walker

In part, this images were a lovely way to escape from the really-very-cold-for-the-time-of-year weather here. And on a practical level, yes, they are likely to make an appearance in some downloadable craft sheets soon.

But they were also fun, relaxing, a homage to lovely parks and gardens everywhere...and something am feeling I might like to draw more often. Escaping to an imaginary secret garden, it turns out, isn't only for children...

For now though, hope you've enjoyed this, and that you have a great weekend.

More soon.