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Sketching in Gloucester Cathedral

I recently spent an afternoon sketching in Gloucester Cathedral near my home. A monastery has stood on this site since the late 7th century and the cathedral was established in 1541.

There are many things that I love about the cathedral, but having a particular interest in women’s history I am always drawn (no pun intended!) to the exquisite 15th century Lady Chapel. Below is a sketch I made of the tomb of Elizabeth Williams, who sadly died in childbirth aged only 17 years.

Sketch of the tomb of Elizabeth Williams, Gloucester Cathedral (sketching)

The inscription reads:

“Elizabeth speaks: Husband, you carved me in marble here your wife;
Thus you’d ensure her immortality.
But CHRIST my hope and trust was, all my life;
So God forbids that I should mortal be.
July 4th AD 1622. Wife of W.I. Williams,
Youngest daughter of Dr Miles Smith,
Bishop of Gloucester
Aged 17″

Also laid to rest with her was the tiny unfortunate child, who sadly, somewhere over the centuries has lost her nose.

Sketch of child of Elizabeth Williams, Gloucester Cathedral (sketching)

Elizabeth Williams and her baby lie directly opposite the tomb of her sister, who also died in childbirth. So very sad, but I’m grateful that the lives of these two young women were valued enough by those who knew and loved them for them to have been commemorated with these beautiful memorials.

Tomb of Elizabeth Williams and baby, Gloucester Cathedral

The memorial to Elizabeth Williams and child – Photo by Julian P Guffogg

Make a simple sketchbook – Tutorial


Using only folding and cutting, this is possibly the simplest way to make a fantastic sketchbook that slips easily into your pocket. Depending on what you fill it with, it could be the most creative use of a piece of paper ever!




I’d really love to hear how your sketchbook turned out and, more importantly, what you filled it with! So why not share how you got on in the comments below? Many thanks, Erica.


DIY Simple Sketchbook

The Facebook group winners for March

After a short delay, I’m now very pleased to announce the results of this month’s Facebook competitions for both The Watercolour Journals and Exploring Drawing groups. Due to unforeseen circumstances there are three rather than four winners in each group this month.

The winners of The Watercolour Journals Group are Margaret Morgan Watkins, John W Connors and Michele Clamp.

Margaret Morgan

Our first winner is this vibrant landscape by Margaret Morgan Watkins

John W. Connors

This atmospheric water scene is painted by John W Connors

Michele Clamp

The final winner in this group is by Michele Clamp

And the winners of the Exploring Drawing Group competition are Mara Kirby, Eleanor Darling and Ahmed Shokry.

Mara Kirby

An interesting study with great contrast by Mara Kirby

Ahmed Shokry

A stunning portrait by Ahmed Shokry

Eleanor Darling

An unusual subject executed with great technique by Eleanor Darling

Each artist’s work will be featured as the banner art for one week on the respective group’s page.  To enter and be in with a chance of winning this month’s competition simply post your work in the groups on Facebook. Here are the links:

The Watercolour Journals Group

Exploring Drawing Group

If you are now inspired by our winners to improve your drawing skills, why not sign up for my Exploring Drawing course by clicking here.

Below are some links where you can view more work by our featured artists:

Michele Clamp

Margaret Morgan Watkins

Margaret Morgan Watkins Artist

John W Connors 

Has work featured in Mar 2015 edition of PleinAir Magazine

Eleanor Darling

Watercolour demonstration at Hobbycraft

I have been demonstrating with watercolour today at my local Hobbycraft store in Cheltenham.

IMG_20131207_124633The photo above is of the demo table set up with a display of my work. I took a mixture of things along, hoping that there would be something to appeal to everyone. My intention was to inspire people to see the versatility that can be achieved with watercolour.


The two sunsets at the front of the photo are the paintings I was working on, along with the iris painting in the centre by the colour chart. Many thanks to all the friendly people who stopped by to say hello!   I’ll post the finished work as soon as it’s completed……..


Isadora Duncan – completed

Here is the finished portrait of Isadora Duncan.


The dress is made of recycled tissue- I think it came from a shoe box. I’m not quite happy with this portrait, so I’ll probably take what I learned from this one & have another go at it. Something very strange happened with this picture, a couple of people commented that it looks like my mother when she was young. Now that this has been pointed out to me, I can see the resemblance, but wasn’t aware when I was making it………

You can read the first two posts about how I made this portrait by clicking here & here.

Other portraits in the series can be viewed by clicking here.


It was my birthday last week & yesterday a late birthday present my daughter had ordered arrived through the post.

The stamps were amazing enough on their own.

But then I opened the packet & this beauty emerged………..

According to the enclosed details, he’s a Blue Rose Chafer beetle, aka Rhomborrhina Gestroi.

Time for some drawing I think……..

Isadora Duncan – beginning a portrait

I have had little time recently for making art. My real life art teaching at college began last week & I have also been working hard on preparing & launching my new website & e-course.

Today, the heavens opened in Gloucestershire & finally, I had time to retreat into the sanctuary of my studio. I already had plans to continue the series of portraits I had begun making, drawing inspiration from early photographs of creative people & others within their circles. I love this portrait of Isadora Duncan, her beautiful almond shaped eyes & long white neck. My process is always to begin by making a number of preliminary sketches to help me understand the pose, the dimensions of the face & the expression of the subject.

I usually make my preliminary sketches on scrap paper & will often use recycled paper in the finished piece. This drawing was made using a roller ball ink pen.
I then used Conté crayon to add tone & was pleased with the way the dark background lifted the face forward. I’m sure there’ll be many more sketches before I move on to making the final piece, but feel that I have begun to become acquainted with Isadora.

The new website & e-course info can be viewed here. I’d love any feedback on the new site!

Other portraits in this series can be seen by clicking here.

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