“Winter’s Song” – Robin Finally Finished!

After many a false start and detour, I think I’ve finished my Robin. My experiment with vintage fabrics for the background didn’t work out – I was going to post an image here on 22/4/22 but it looked so bad that I decided not to!

So I scraped the fabrics off, painted the background with white house paint and started again. Now it looks cleaner and more restful to the eye – a Robin against a winter sky.


The bird’s wing tip is the clasp from my late father’s briefcase which he used every day in his teaching career. I found the pieces of wood on the wing and tail whilst out walking. The paler wood of the underbelly arrived in a shoebox from Loren in London!





And now here’s my earlier effort with the fabrics – I loved the colours but there was just too much going on! 

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Playing with Ideas

Robin: breast now more orange than red and I’m much happier!

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Now playing around with ideas for a background using worn fabrics, samples I made for my textile degree, and haberdashery – I love the subtle colours. I was planning to do this on one of the Fabulous Beasts last year but chickened out. Nothing decided yet.

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Robin in Progress

I’m making this Robin for the exhibition to be held at Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, Devon, May 28 – July 23. It’s from a photo taken by my husband whose hobby is bird photography. John’s photos are very sharp, showing every feather and I thought (naively) that I could replicate that detail. However, it’s impossible! And I actually think I prefer the ‘rougher’ areas with larger components on the wing and lower body, to the smaller details in the orange-red breast.

Actually, now I’ve taken the photo, I think the breast needs to be much more orange and less red. Very often, problems become more visible in a photograph because I’ve been looking at the real thing for so long.

The blobs of blue-tac are there because I use it all the time to try positioning things before I glue.

The next dilemma will be what to do with the background … Originally I was planning to fill it with white and sparkly things (as I also intend to use the image for this year’s Christmas card) but now that the sun’s shining warmly, it doesn’t feel quite appropriate for an exhibition in May!

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Essential Tweaking!

It was no use – I couldn’t leave the Hokusai sky as it was. After a little more paint, I’m much happier!

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Hokusai Finished

Here’s the new Great Wave – I’m not terribly happy with the sky behind Mount Fuji but feel if I fiddle any more, I’ll just make it worse.

As usual, I’ve been making lots of tiny changes – I’m terrible for last minute tweaking!    But finally think this one is done. Time to let it go …

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Perfect Timing

I’m feeling so excited about this latest work – very happy with how it’s going. I needed just a few extra white things for the wave and – hey presto – a bag of toys was put outside my door yesterday, including some little white animals which are perfect! (The bag was left anonymously – I do wish people would leave a name so that I can thank them…)

I think I must be an eternal optimist. Am I the only artist who feels that their next work will be the best ever? I’m already planning my next piece and inside my head, it’s looking amazing!

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Who’s in the Boat?

I’m having lots of fun with the characters in the fishing boats of The Great Wave

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The Great Wave off Kanagawa

One of my favourite works to re-interpret is The Great Wave, after Hokusai. I’ve just started work on a new commission of this wonderful image. 

I’ve made two  previous versions of this picture (below). The third will be different again, depending on what materials I can find in my many boxes of ‘stuff’.

The work on the left (2015) includes a double-headed sea monster (royal blue) within the main wave, and alien-like dolls heads representing the Japanese fishermen in the foreground boat. This still makes me smile!

The work on the right (2017) contains many symbols of impending doom: skulls, grasping hands and an unfortunate man being eaten by a great white shark.

So now to version 3 – and the search is now on for little characters and doll’s heads for the boats…

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Work Completed

The finished Afghan Girl, ready for framing and destined for Perth, Australia

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Work in Progress

Alongside the Chameleon (now in his new home), I’ve been working on a new version of The Afghan Girl from a photo by Steve McCurry, made famous on the front cover of National Geographic magazine some years ago. It’s the 5th version of this image I’ve made. It’s such a haunting image and I feel guilty about making money from this woman’s misery. However, I’ve always donated half the commission fee to McCurry’s charity (Afghanistan World Foundation) which takes Afghan girls and boys to educate them beyond the border. (God only knows what’s happening there now the Taliban are back in control?)

This work is destined for Australia for an April birthday. I hope it makes it in time!

Work in progress – needing hair, the filling in of small areas, background and tidying up…

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