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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Chameleon Finished

At last, I feel happy with this piece!

For the background, I added scrunched and painted tissue paper for texture. I then scattered on some tiny beads, intending to paint over them for more texture – but I was surprised to like the colours and the overall look so I’ve left it like that.     

The beads were a random mix of colours that had ended up in the same pot by mistake, but somehow match the highlights on the chameleon. They also include a few red beads which echo the burners of the Thunderbird 2 toy, and compliment all the greens. Serendipity! (Fingers crossed that the client will like it too!)

Before                                                                                 After

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Chameleon – work in progress

I’ve been working (on and off) for a month on a commission of a chameleon for a couple who love chameleons, and particularly the shape of their feet! 

The client gave me some personal items to use in the work, with special meaning for his family. These included guitar picks, sewing machine bobbins, gold charms, Carcassonne game pieces, letter beads, a cork and a mussel shell.

Getting the feet right has been very challenging! They started off as in image (left) but I wasn’t totally happy with the shape and the client suggested adding claws – I had three attempts but none was right…






To make the claws fit, I tried changing the shape of the foot to be longer and thinner, and widening the branch – but these no longer looked like the ‘mitten feet’ which the clients love.

So… I scraped off the feet and leg to start again. With differently shaped feet, the thickness and angle of the branch was wrong. Finally, I’ve brightened up the colours in the front leg a little. The client is happy (Phew!) and I feel able to apply the final glue layer and put in the background. I’ll post again when the work is finished… (Getting There!)

















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New Klimt Kiss

So the Klimt Kiss Close-up is finally finished (photo below)

I’ve been making several last minute changes: Substitution of golds for browns in the cloak/mantle around the figures. The flowers in the woman’s hair had been red roses until yesterday when some perfect white daisies arrived in a box in the post! Finally, I added some copper sequins to the background. With every work, there comes a point when I have to say “Enough – it’s finished!”

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Two new works in Progress

The photos on my previous Blog post were close-ups from a new version of The Kiss, after Klimt. Well done to those of you who guessed correctly! I really enjoy recreating Klimt patterns – he had such a wonderfully unique style.

I’m still working on the piece and have been struggling to find the right flesh tones for the man and woman. Also, today I removed and replaced quite a large section of patterning.    I should have taken ‘before and after photos’ but didn’t think of it at the time – the new look is a huge improvement so I’m happier.

At the same time, I’m working on a commission – I can’t say more because it’s to be a surprise birthday present and I have no idea if the recipient follows my Blog. All will be revealed shortly!

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New Work in Progress

A couple of close-ups from my current piece. Can you guess what I’m making??


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Happy New Year!

Here on January 1st, I’m pondering what this new year will bring…  will we finally see an end to the wretched Covid pandemic and a return to socialising and travelling freely? (Fingers and toes crossed!)

Despite the pandemic (or maybe because of it?) 2021 was actually a very positive one for me, art-wise. Having the Fabulous Beasts exhibition as an end goal gave a wonderful focus to my work, rewarded by a totally enjoyable experience and sales. As I write, I have seven new pieces to make, along with the focus of submitting one piece of work for an Open exhibition in May at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton. (The show is called Fresh and is looking for innovative work created in the past 12 months.)

I love what I do, and am grateful for the ability to be lost in creativity. It also helps me cope with the imposed social isolation required to shield my husband from Covid as he has a chronic illness without immunity. 

Here at New Year, I just want to express my gratitude for the support of friends, to everyone who reads my Blog and to those who send me materials. I wish especially to thank Loren whose quest to find me materials has made an incalculable difference in these lockdown months. I cannot express how much this has meant to me.

Happy New Year Everyone!

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