A dozen roses in watercolour markers and black pen

I got a B in my O Level art, I painted a magpie in a bird’s nest, I think the prompt I chose was ‘an intruder’ and I remember being mightily pleased with my efforts. I often wish I had taken art further but truth be known, at 17 I didn’t have a clue about what I wanted to do.

Although being creative has never left me, I never really settled down to paint or draw again and always found myself saying, ‘Im no good at art.’ This gave me the perfect excuse to not even try. Plus it seemed, everyone was so much better at it than me, I would just ridicule myself if I tried, I would be uncovered as a dud artist the minute I put pencil to paper.

For years, my desire to draw and paint was squashed and forgotten, stuffed in an unused filing cabinet in the recesses of my mind.

Then a couple of Christmases ago I was given an adult colouring book. I was delighted and treated myself to a lovely set of pencils with a drawstring holder to keep them in. I spent time filling in the intricate designs and confess to still having lots of pages to complete! I quickly realised that I loved colouring in but, halfway through the picture I was getting bored with the repetition and blankness of mind. Although great for thinking time, the only creativity I was getting was choosing colours or blending them to my own choice.

I needed something more.

The following year I bought a copy of The Year Of The Doodle… 365 pages with a daily prompt to doodle. I didn’t get very far. Something was missing and I wasn’t getting much enjoyment from the book.

draw every day draw every way

Whilst surfing the internet for the umpteenth time towards the end of last year in search of novelty stocking fillers, I came across an intriguing book called Draw Every Day Draw Every Way. A book that focused monthly on different areas and gave daily prompts for pictures to draw. What’s more, each month uses different materials so you get to use a lot of different techniques and discover your own art.

I bought two copies, Alice said she didn’t want one, and Bessie and I sat down to have a go at the first section in the book – a month of nature.

To start us off I find some images online and screenshot them to use as a reference for shape and colours. By the time we were halfway through the chapter Alice asked if she could have a book too seeing how much we enjoyed the process.

dragonflies - Bessie

It hasn’t been plain sailing, I have had a couple of prompts I really disliked and Bessie cried a bit over ‘A dozen roses’ … “A dozen?” she yelled at me making clear they were way too many. I told her to just do one and cross out the prompt which she did and she was happier with that, her confidence restored until next time.

I think we may have found something good here, I see others showcasing their work on Instagram and we take a look at them for inspiration too @Joglassjo for example has shown us how to add fabulous backgrounds to our images. Even though we don’t draw every day, this book with its lovely prompts have got us drawing more often and trying things we would never have thought of, like a dozen roses or one…

Watch out for our work on our Instagram channel too.

draw every day draw every way

Turner contemporary art

Turner Contemporary If there’s one thing you do visit whilst in Thanet I would make it the Turner Contemporary Gallery which sits at the beginning of the pier arm in Margate overlooking the long sandy beach. A contemporary white building that shines out over the bay and grabs everyone’s attention. I recently visited to take a look at the Seeing Round Corners exhibition and I wasn’t disappointed. The gallery is free to enter and explore and I am always in awe of the exhibitions and artwork laid out. This time was no exception and my tour started outside the building on my walk up the steps to the entrance where I spotted this fabulous interpretation of the Union Jack. I love how all of the different patterns fall into a perfect Union Jack which is immediately recognisable.

the new union jack

Yinka Shonibare

As I stepped through the entrance I found myself in a library. It was, in fact, Yinka Shonibare’s The British Library. On closer inspection, you could see that each of the books lining the shelves had been covered in brightly coloured fabric, a bit like we used to cover our school books back in the day. When you moved in even closer, names printed in gold could be spotted on the spines of the books, lots of very recognisable names.


Yinka Shonibare’s The British Library celebrates and questions how immigration has contributed to the British culture of today. Shelves and shelves of books covered in colourful wax fabric the spines bearing the names of immigrants who have enriched British society.


Mark Batchelor

There are some steps leading to the upper level and these are never left without any artwork to admire on your way up. In fact this time I was smiling as I spotted the Mini Disco by Mark Batchelor hanging from the ceiling in perfect symmetry.


If you look even closer you will see that each disco ball is made entirely out of colourful plastic sunglasses, but aren’t they effective?

There is a great shop to visit which has so many wonderful things from jewellery to colouring books and I always come away with something no matter how small.

There are also workshops held upstairs for adults and children and I really want to take the twins along one day as I am sure they would gain enormously from being inspired by the work around them and just having a go at something new.

The exhibition is upstairs and includes all sorts of mediums, from art, to sculpture and also video and motion pieces. It’s really interesting and I always wish I could come up with some of these grand ideas that I see displayed.

Back down stairs I popped through the corridors to see what was hanging and was struck by these posters. It saddens me that people amongst us can be so cruel to say such things.


Richard Long

As I exited the gallery and started to make me way over to Dreamland where dad was with the girls I looked back, and thank goodness I did otherwise I would have missed this enormous wall art called The Ebb Tide Circle Richard Long. It is painted on the wall and Richard Long uses his body to get the effect of movement. Fascinating.


Keep up to date with the Turner Contemporary by checking their website (link at the top of the text) and their Facebook page

Alma Thomas Snoopy 1970 recreated It’s been an awful long time coming that I wanted to join in Red Ted Art’s Kid’s Get Crafty but simply never got round to it, so as another New Year’s resolution I decided to do it this month. It’s a bi-monthly project where you take a painting, famous or not and it inspires you to get arty with the children.

I have a few ideas on what I’d like to do but I wanted to include a few things this month: glittery chocolate wrappers from the Christmas stash that I have been saving for a project, scissor practise for the girls and to reflect something they are studying at school to take it one step further.

So I decided on shapes and looked through my massive World Art book for a few ideas. The Modern Era is full of squares and arcs and abstract art that children looking at it can find shapes in but the one that took our eye was an Alma Thomas; Snoopy – Early Sun Display on Earth 1970.

Alma thomas Snoopy 1970

It’s perfect for our work, a beautiful circle that depicts the sun that has been coloured in with bright rainbow colours and we do love a rainbow in this house.

I found the largest pizza plate I possess and the girls drew round it for the circle shape.

Alma thomas Snoopy 1970

We then took the brightly coloured chocolate wrappers and cut them into smaller pieces keeping the colours separated.

alma thomas snoopy making 2

We then stuck the small squares over in straight lines up and down to reflect Alma Thomas’ design

alma thomas snoopy making 3

And to finish we coloured the surrounding square frame with green crayons

It now is hanging on the girl’s bedroom wall

Alma thomas Snoopy 1970

For more Kids Get Crafty post nip over to Red Ted Art


Rice Krispies colour me inCereal starts our days – every day, the girls have a few favourites and among them is Rice Krispies as they love to ‘listen’ to the Snap Crackle and Pop.

When we were in the supermarket the other day a huge end of aisle unit was covered top to toe in Rice Krispie boxes that needed colouring in and they caught the girls eyes immediately. Brilliant rainy day project I thought and popped two into my trolley. Summer holidays anyone?

Then I saw everyone talking about it on Twitter, #ColourMeInRK Pinterest and Brit Mums too, they have a Rice Krispies Linky going on. I realised I could be in with the chance of winning some fabulous prizes just by getting the girls to colour in the boxes (which we were going to do anyway!) I mean, the top prize is £500 cash!

Now I don’t want to get too excited here as my little treasures aren’t quite the Da Vinci’s they will be given a little time and patience, in fact I think they’re going through an abstract stage and would call this a more Jackson Pollock style.

So allow me run you through our colouring in session

Rice Krispies

That’s Bessie making a start using her brand new Disney Princess colouring case, a fabulous birthday present

Rice Krispies

That’s Alice making a start on hers using her brand new Disney Rapunzel colouring case, a fabulous birthday present

Rice Krispies

Ah, that’s Bessie, who’s just found her scissors and started trying to cut up the Rice Krispie box so I swapped it for a piece of paper – phew! Can’t have her cutting up a masterpiece that could be worth a fortune one day!

Rice Krispies

And that is Alice copying her sister having found her scissors too – we’re only minutes into this brand new task and it’s not going quite as planned. I’m certainly not going to get an afternoon’s playtime out of it…

Rice Krispies

Coming along nicely! Look at the care and attention to stay within the lines! I will say the girls did get bored and I had to sit down with them and colour with them so the really good bits are mine, this did however coax them into completing the project which led us on to photo time.. right smile girls
Rice Krispies
No, now come on, give mummy a nice smile please
Rice Krispies
Alice! Bessie, can I have just one nice smile please?
Rice Krispies

Oh come on girls….look at your pictures then
Rice Krispies

What can I say? Here, this is the end product, the opera d’arte that came forth
Rice Krispies

ideal city piero della francesca

One of my favourite paintings that I had the great fortune to see on a trip to Urbino, Italy in 1999 is The Ideal City by Piero della Francesca.

Entering the Sala degli Angeli of the Galleria Nazionale di Urbino, the painting was hanging above a beautifully sculpted fireplace and quite literally took my breath away. I stood mesmerised by it and wished I could hang the masterpiece in my front room! I could never tire of looking at the simplicity and beauty of Piero’s Ideal City and dreaming I was there.

I love the feeling of eternity it gives and the peaceful, intelligent air surrounding the buildings that is so reassuring.

My visit to Urbino was only two years after the earthquake in the region that had had such a disastrous affect on the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi destroying the famous Giotto murals. Fortunately, the Italians care so much about their history that a lot of time and money was spent on the restoration to try and save as much as they could for future generations.

If you are ever in this part of the world you must also try the local food and wine which is out-of-this-world delicious. Truffle plays an enormous part in the local ‘cucina’ along with the national dish, pasta and their red wines that are so soft and rich they’re like an elixir of the Gods, possibly direct from the Ideal City itself!

I went on a truffle hunt that same year with a local farmer and his dogs who in actual fact looked quite scraggly and not the kind of dogs I had expected for such an expensive ingredient. However, they were extremely obedient and following the farmer’s orders smelt out some truffles for us in no time, the farmer would bark an order and the dog would stop his digging instantly salivating over the spot but leaving the truffle intact. On collection, the farmer would nip a bit off with a knife and give it to the dog to thank him.

One tip the farmer gave us for fresh truffles in order to prolong their life was to keep them in uncooked rice in a clean jar with a tightly closed lid. Once the truffle has been eaten, use the rice for a truffle risotto mmmm