I've had a brilliant month working on the book. The sheer range of subject matter in each chapter is really firing my imagination and I cannot wait to get up every morning and get cracking! In fact, this whole project has revitalised how I feel about painting and being an artist. I think it's easy to get stuck in a rut, and stepping out of your comfort zone can be a very good thing.
So far I'm up to chapter 27 of 52. Amy - the designer helping me put it all together - brought round the first ten chapters all printed out last week and it was fantastic to be able to hold it in my hands and turn the pages!
If you'd like a sneak preview of the first chapter, click on the image to open up a pdf version. I'll share one or two more chapters as I go on, so watch this space!
Finally I'm working on my book, and it's the most wonderful feeling to be doing something so creative – from working out what to paint, what medium to use and how it is all going to fit together. I love the freedom of doing a project of my own – no deadlines, just total immersion – and the enjoyment of creating something to be proud of.
Here are a few images of Jess (my dog). As my sidekick on the walk, she's a central part of the book and I wanted to do her justice. To start with I couldn't get her face – it was too masculine – but lots and lots of sketches later I got it! The finished watercolour is Jess to a tee and I'm thrilled with it (I bought a lobster to draw from and then ate it for supper - one of the perks of the job)!!
Looking at the images, they're all a bit animal-mad, but then that is what I am interested in so I guess that is what I'm drawn to (excuse the pun)!
I have painted some larger canvases using acrylic, which are more complex, and alongside the simpler watercolours and the odd sketch I hope it will make for an interesting book. I'll post more images and perhaps some text as I progress!
I've returned from my epic seven week walk along the South West Coast Path... and now the hard work begins!
It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, and my plan now is to write an illustrated book of the whole walk. I've started on the manuscript - it's odd writing instead of painting, but I am really enjoying it. I want this book to be a labour of love and so I'm going to take my time and do it right. If I can't find a publisher I may self-publish, but I'll look into that nearer the time...
Next month I'm going to start work on a show inspired by the walk, which will be held in Broadway next summer. So, all in all it's a very busy time!