... If not in the weather. If spring is going to be slow arriving this year I decided just to bring it on with flowery paintings this week. I like this kind of work to suggest tapestry or embroidery, so I used a heavy impasto consisting of acrylic gesso primer bulked out with whiting alongside gouache to create texture. I have tested it for stability and adherence as much as I can and it seems to be fine, it even has flexibility and will bend with the heavy Fabriano print paper I favour without cracking.
Adding some dots details finished this piece by the end of the day, when it looked lovely in the low sun.
The weather took another turn for the Baltic this week forcing me to move into a warmer room to work - it was productive, though, and very comfortable as my temporary HQs are on a lovely old brass bed. Very handy for hanging work in progress, it began to resemble the railings at Bayswater Road in London on a Sunday!
I was saddened to hear yesterday's news of the death of Prince Philip. He was 99 years old, a national institution. Farewell and rest in peace, our Duke of Edinburgh.
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
We always made drawings of Easter eggs in primary school which were proudly mounted on sugar paper to display on the classroom walls before being taken home for the holidays and presented to doting parents.
I used to make so many Easter cards when I was a young girl for my parents, grandparents, my godmother and a couple of other special aunties. They have all passed on now and Easter cards aren't so much of a thing in my life any more, which is rather sad. So this year I decided to recreate those primary school gems from memory and post them on Instagram as Easter cards for everyone! I made three in total to post on Holy Saturday, Easter Day, and Easter Monday. I even made one with a dark brown background in memory of the sugar-paper - whenever it came to my turn for mounting my drawing at school, only the dark brown colour was left.
I have been studying and drawing my collection of gypsy purses from time to time since the mid 1990s, perhaps to try and work out why I love them so much. The gouache paintings pictured here pasted into a scrapbook were made back then (long before the days of iPad and Procreate).
I painted details of Indian bags and a black papier mâché bowl also from India, bought in the same shop in Cirencester as some of the gypsy purses; and the crackle glaze decoration on a flask which looks Greek - a thrift-shop find in North London, possibly brought to England by a holiday maker, which makes me think of red wine from sun-soaked country vineyards served in a bistro alongside all the colourful, fragrant foods of the Mediterranean.
The paintings are fun to use for throwback-Thursday posts on Instagram, and the comparison with today’s digital versions is interesting; rich colours and a fascination with tiny stitched details live on.
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
A succession of hot, sunny days, watering the garden daily and witnessing the exuberance of peony roses, poppies, lily of the valley and all the other joy going on around me proved irresistible. I got out my pop-up tent and set up studio in the garden, the tent covered with a blanket for shade, and painted in the afternoons. These are 4 pages from my sketchbook, the same one as my Easter weekend work in April, when I made a change to my work method and wrote about how, at first, changing the approach to my work made me uncomfortable. I really didn't like it to start with, but now I am loving it.
I trained as a painter at art school in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Chelsea School of Art, London, where I took my MFA in painting. I was represented by a gallery in Covent Garden, and also showed my work regularly in London galleries and at times in Europe. After graduating I had to find work, and it just so happened I ended up in design and applied arts, so drawing became my main focus. It wasn't hard because I love drawing and used to work in my Dad's architectural business during my school holidays; at school we were taught to draw in the William Morris and Aubrey Beardsley tradition. I also enjoyed the purpose of design.
Drawing is, of course, the backbone of my Heather Eliza work. The duality in my work methods was what prompted me several years ago to make a clear division and illustrate under the name of Binky McKee, with license to be as decorative as I wanted. At first I didn't really understand what I was doing and there were, naturally, a few crossovers between my Heather Eliza drawings and Binky work; but over time the divide widened. My Easter weekend work experiment of not filling in a drawn outline has widened the divide further as my instincts as a painter come into play.
It is a strange fact that the work I was making digitally last year in Procreate first reawakened my old painterly instincts. I was thrilled by what I could do when I got the app on my iPad, and it is still invaluable to me. I don't use line at all when I work digitally, but build illustrations in exactly the same way as I used to paint. I am still working on a children's book in this way, often incorporating hand painted images. Now my painterly instincts are wide awake once more - I might even make a whole painting on paper one day, rather than just design elements!
Thanks for dropping by, see you next week!
If you would like to see my drawings you are welcome to visit my website at Heather Eliza Walker.
Welcome to my illustration blog, where I share what I have been up to during the week.
I illustrate under the pen-name of Binky McKee, McKee being my mother's maiden name. Binky was the name of every single cat my great-grandmother kept - about 40 of them during her 94 years of life. Given that, I have no idea how Doggie with his dead-pan expression became my avatar instead of a cat - something to do with popularity on Instagram and lots of jokes with him!
Currently I am working on illustrating a children's book, pattern making, and of course I can't resist a good Instagram challenge such as Folktale Week or Inktober.
I hope you enjoy your visit!
I keep lots of scrapbooks and sketchbooks where I develop ideas and design little creatures. Here's a peek inside one ...
As you may know, I am also known as Heather Eliza Walker.
Click the image if you would like to find out more and visit my other website.
This time, take a peek into my ceramic design sketchbook. I actually made some of the mugs, but I kind of prefer the drawings! The plate designs are painted on paper plates, a most liberating process.
These watercolours are from my pattern sketchbook. I used coloured wax crayons to resist the washes of watercolour, also home-made rubber stamps dipped in bleach then printed on crêpe paper - the bleach takes out the paper dyes.
A sketchbook I used for mark-making with unusual objects - corks, seed-heads, feathers, home-made rubber stamps, my fingers and lots of flicky things ...