Another year nearly over.....

I can't beleive we're on the countdown to the end of another year, it really doesn't seem that long ago I was sitting down and doing last years Christmas blog post.
This year has been a jam-packed 12 months, with amongst other things selling our house and making the move to the country, freelance designing, trying to maintain regular blog posts and being a mum to a now 17-month old active toddler.  It doesn't sound much when written like that, but each week I seem to struggle with fitting everything in, and my 'to-do' list never seems to get any shorter!
To all the people who read and comment on my little blog, thank you for taking the time to check in once in a while to see what's going on over here, and apologies if I haven't been able to respond to comments, or regularly comment on your blogs.
This little Santa illustration was for some Christmas ceramic designs I was commissioned to create last year - I wish I could wrap up my Christmas presents as prettily in real life!   
Wishing everyone a fabulous festive season and much peace and happiness for the new year x x

A Year in Provence

A Year in Provence - illustrations by Paul Hogarth

I love how Paul Hogarth paints everyday French people!

          Rumbly tumbly old buildings, local architecture, landscapes and townscapes are
                     captured in quick pencil studies and light washes of watercolour.   

A few weeks ago I posted about a series of old Penguin books I have, which are all illustrated by Paul Hogarth.  Writing the post reminded me of another book I have, A Year in Provence, which again feature illustrations by Paul Hogarth.  It was a lovely excuse to rummage through my bookshelves and leaf through this partially forgotten about book.

'When Peter Mayle fled grey London for Provencial sunshine and bought an ancient farmhouse in the Luberon mountains, pastoral dreams were disrupted by the year's round of icy mistrals, demanding visitors, ruinous floods and absentee builders.  He soon realised that the only thing to be relied on was lunch, with military regularity at midday'.

All painted in watercolour, Paul Hogarth's illustrations perfectly capture the changing seasons and charm of life in Provence.  I'm really drawn to his expressive painterly qualities, and the quick sketches of landscape, people and historic buildings.  They are simply executed in pencil with washes of watercolour and minimum detail, but they are so lively and almost whimsical in feel.

The book is punctuated with these fabulous snippits of visual life in Provence - you hardly need to read the book, but just look at the illustrations to get a sense of the story.  I'm always in awe of people who can paint with such minimal fuss and detail, and I think this is a classic example of less is more.

New illustrations sneak peak.....

I've been working on a project recently which has involved creating some new hand-painted illustrations.  The objects I'm painting all have a slight vintage feel to them, and the artwork itself has all been created using watercolour.  I've loved getting back to doing some drawing and painting and it's been a really fun project to work on.  I'll blog about it again when the work is all completed, but for now, without giving too much away, here is a little sneak peak of what I've been working on including the initial sketches and finished painted versions......