I have just finished my M.A in Children's Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art and thoroughly enjoyed it. I consider myself an illustrator with a four days a week job and I have an unhealthy addiction to sugar which I am trying to curb. The following entries are my drawings and musings. All images are copyright of Kerina Strevens. Please contact me on my website kerinastrevens.co.uk.
Another sketch book drawing here. I'm still trying to draw children. I should hopefully have more time to do it, probably in the new year, now. Life continues at an extremely fast pace, when I'm not trying to sort out bits of the new business, I'm at work, working off my notice and usually rushed off my feet. Most of the customers say they're sorry to see me go. I've worked in that building now for nearly fifteen years, so it's a fair amount of water under the bridge and high time I was moving on and trying something else. When I first started working there I was paying off debts that had built up. Once they were paid off, I enjoyed having a little bit of money and being able to relax a bit financially and have little luxuries. The time has come to try something new though as I've felt unhappy for some time and I've had very itchy feet. Another three weeks and life changes and I start a new adventure again. Monday is a big day and Wednesday probably will be too. I'll let you know next week!
It's been a tedious week but it's gone now and I'm glad. It feels good to be moving on and I already feel that little breath of freedom. I handed my notice in this week, with more than a little relief. I go on into some instability but I prefer that to being stuck. I'm happy to step out and give this venture a good go. It will hopefully be different, interesting and critically, less stressful.
The drawings are a couple of pages from my sketchbook of my youngest niece as she was playing when they came to stay this weekend. I want to be drawing more like this and practising this sort of thing. I will have to manage my time a little better and organise myself. That should be possible in the near future. There is no let up in the pace however and it looks to be hectically busy well into October at the moment. I just have to hold on with it and then gradually the pace should slow and I'll be able to start relaxing and enjoying things a bit more. Really looking forward to it.
The photo above, is a photo of the fields we have behind our house and the drawing I did a little while ago and have somehow added snow to, though I can't remember doing it or even why I attempted it. I've not had time this week to sit down and draw for various reasons. It's just been a mad week and I've chased my tail a bit. Work has been just as mad as my personal life and trying to take breaks is nigh impossible when I'm working by myself. If I do manage to get away for a break, I end up with whingeing people when I get back and I'm never gone longer than half an hour. We're not even anywhere near Christmas yet either. I'm dreading that already. We'll have to see what happens. At the moment I really feel like I could do with a week off as my stress levels are quite high. For those of you not on Facebook, I got a DNA test done to determine my ethnicity. It's absolutely fascinating. I'm 46% of Great British genes, 39% of Western European genes (so French/German/Swiss), 7% Irish, 5% Scandinavian genes and I have traces of around the Spanish area, around Italy and Greece and around Finland and North West Russia. My family are English as far back as anyone wants to go so it's nice to know all these other cultures have a part in my make up and that my ancestors travelled a bit, though admittedly, not as much as they could have. I don't think many of them could have been a big fan of the warmer climates. It explains my fair skin. With genes like that there's not really much of a chance of getting a tan. Fascinating stuff.
This is another drawing I did for 'The Showing Journal', a little while back. I haven't done much drawing this week I'm ashamed to say. I went to Guildford on Sunday for training and brought back more art stuff than I ever thought I'd be able to manage carrying. I was nearly right. It was quite an adventure. I managed to get onto the Waterloo train at Guildford and sat on my art stuff in the cooridoor as I knew I'd never fit into a seat without blocking up the aisles. We started well. Until we made an unscheduled stop at Surbiton. This was because there was a fire at Waterloo and all the trains had been stopped from going into the station. At this point the train filled up with passengers trying to get to Waterloo but having been stopped from catching other trains there. There was about half an hour of people getting on and getting off until everything was so jammed packed no other movement was possible. The train eventually started moving again and two men at either end of the next carriage decided to have an altercation about who could move where and who wasn't going to move at all. A man behind me commented that the more he was around people the more he loved his dog. Everyone in our area laughed and agreed. When we stopped at Waterloo, I threw everything from the train onto the platform in a heap so others could get out quick. The man who made the dog comment offered to help me. We tried several ways of making thing easier to carry but it was futile. I couldn't face the stairs at Waterloo into the underground so he helped me to find a taxi and I caught the underground from Tower Hill again. A lovely man helped me to get everything down the stairs that were there and put me in the right area on the right platform to catch my train. I successfully managed to get on my next train but then got off at the wrong stop and delayed the train by getting everything stuck in the door, then I had to wait for the next train to get me to where I wanted to go. At Stratford (because Liverpool Street was shut for engineering works) another lovely, kind man helped me with loads of stairs and got me onto the right platform and then another lovely man actually put everything onto the train for me, across what looked like a massive canyon of a gap by that point. I think it can only be my stubborn streak that managed to get me that far, that and the very gratefully received help from the lovely men I came across. In Ipswich I went to catch a taxi because I couldn't face walking half a mile down the road to where I'd parked my car. The queue was so long I thought that I'd try and endure it. It took half an hour of stopping and starting to get to my car. Everything was slung unceramoniously into the back of the car and I drove home and couldn't even face getting it out of the car that night. I've ached now for three days and have numerous bruises that have come out on my arms and legs. It could have been so much worse though if I'd not had the help that I did. Next day I was incapable of even holding a pencil as I had the beginnings of blisters on my fingers. What a palava.
This is a drawing I did recently for the July edition of 'The Showing Journal'. I've been doing drawings for the magazine for a year now, I'm pleased to say. I'm not going to complain about the lovely weather, or the fact that it's been too hot, as we're not going to have this weather for too much longer, I'm sure. I was in Guildford last Sunday and the taxi driver dropped me in the wrong place, just as a body was being brought out into a private ambulance. Thankfully, I'm not too phased by things like that, I just felt a bit sad that someone's time had come to an end. I ended up wandering round pondering google maps on my phone. Turns out the estate is not that old and is a bit of a rabbit warren. In the end the man giving the course came and found me. I'd walked past where I was supposed to be. Google maps didn't tell me that, did it? I have to go again this week but I know where I should be now! Not looking forward to lots of travelling on a bank holiday though. I shall let you know how I get on. I'm hoping it won't be too hot Sunday.
Another busy week. Back to work and my brother and his family have been visiting, so it's been all go. Lots of nice days out and sunny weather to accompany them and lots of naughty food, which I will have to work off in following weeks. I've had a few cream tea and lots of ice creams and I have thoroughly enjoyed myself! It's been brilliant. I managed to do a little sketching on Southwold beach,(see above), I need to do more of this. I need to refine my line as well but I think it's just a matter of just keeping on doing it. I just need to keep practising. I continue to juggle life around, I'm off to Guildford early tomorrow morning and I'll be back there again next week too. I'm hoping at some point life will become less frenetic and settle down a bit. I do like a bit of a shake up now and again as I get bored pretty quickly but at some point I like to settle into a safe routine for a little while and let life float by.
I had to give Flo cat a big cuddle this morning as we've been missing out on a few of our cuddles. I think both the cats are hoping for a quieter life soon as well. RJ has been a little bit upset.
In other news I've sent my DNA off for testing to see where my ancestors come from. I can't wait to find out. I'm going to be so disappointed if it comes back entirely English as I can't think of anything more boring. I'll let you know when it's done and what the results come back as. I think they should make it compulsory as everyone on this planet is made up of differing ethnic types from all the travelling our ancestors did. Pure races are a complete myth.
This is another drawing from my imagination. I'm trying to have fun and loosen up, use colour, challenge myself. I've always liked Alice in Wonderland and the fantastic images that artists all over the world have come up with. It's nice to mess around with it without putting myself under any pressure. It's been a busy week. I went down to Fleet in Hants on Tuesday and it looks like a nice place from my flying visit. I sat in on an art session for the elderly and also helped with it a little and I really enjoyed it. I went to Aldburgh and had fish and chips one pleasant evening and yesterday I visited Manningtree to see two friends from Cambridge. I crossed the bridge into Essex. We visited Munnings house and exhibition and I was rather taken. He did so many different things and was really pretty prolific. If you're interested in art or artists, particularly artists local to the area then you would very much enjoy a visit. I'm not really looking forward to going back to work but I am very glad I have a job. You have to look on the bright side.