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 and I work for a company called 'Creative Minds' who take art and craft sessions to older adults and adults with learning disabilities. The following entries are my drawings and musings. All images are copyright of Kerina Strevens. Please contact me on my website kerinastrevens.co.uk.
I've been reading about St Edmunds this week. The one who was killed by the Danes and then buried at Bury St Edmunds some time later, which was previously called something different. Very little is known about St Edmunds as the Danes destroyed most of the records. So that's where the doodle sprang from. It's been a slightly better week this week but the weather is getting more autumnal by the day. You're able to see spider's webs in the mornings now. We've had some problems with the bungalow recently, which we hope are in the process of being sorted out but are presently at the stage of people coming in and looking at the problems, making phone calls and getting someone else in to look at it. We'll have to see how it all works out.
I can't lie, I've had a crap week and I'm glad it's over. It was one of those weeks where you feel like you're failing at life. Then the weather gets colder and rainy and you really want to just retire with a good book and some chocolate. For about the next eight months. My sister paid a flying visit this weekend and that made things a little better but generally it's been a week to forget. So I will. Here's another variation on the crooked houses theme. I'm off to cuddle the cats.
I've been having some stress dreams this week. In one, I was made homeless and was living out of my car. I wasn't actually aware that I was stressed but it would seem I am. I've been playing with versions of old houses again this week. I'm quite enjoying myself and want to explore a few avenues with them, maybe photoshop them as well. I'll just see how it goes as I have a meeting this week and I'm not entirely sure what that is going to throw out my way. I had a letter forwarded to me from 'Private Eye', someone likes one of my cartoons so much he wants to put it on stationery. I'll have to look at my options I think. All good though. It was lovely to see my brother and his family this week end. I haven't felt so good today though.
I love the wonky old Tudor houses. They're really lovely in my opinion. I like the way they're not symmetrical. They're unexpected inside and out and I like the way time has made the floors dip one side and the houses lean as they've settled. This drawing is a generalised drawing. I just happen to be drawing them at the moment as it interests me. Mum and I visited Christchurch park in Ipswich yesterday and went to Christchurch mansion. It's full of beautiful and odd rooms. I love the little panelled rooms and the leaded windows and the heavy wooden furniture. I also visited the Constable and Gainsborough exhibition that they have on there at the moment. Some of those were very nice and I found a painting that Constable had done of Holywells Park in Ipswich, particularly fascinating. I was very annoyed with my Flo cat this week after finding a dead wren on our patio. We had words. We've made up again now.
I've had grumpy cats this week, mostly because I kept forgetting to feed them and tea would frequently be an hour late for them, after I'd been wondering why they were shouting at me. They had worming stuff put on the back of their necks too, which didn't help. Flo is presently not speaking to me for betraying her trust and pouncing on her while she slept. Mum appears to be on the mend and is trying to do too much too soon. I am trying to work out whether I have hay fever or a cold. It could be hayfever, as they've been cutting the fields to the side of us for the past three days. Coming back to the Cheshire cat, it's something I am currently thinking about and experimenting with. It's the first of a few I think. This one was done in Brusho water colours on scrunched up tissue paper.
This doodle was done quickly in biro this week. It's been a busy week as I had care homes at the start of the week and then my Mum went into hospital to have an operation on her spine. It was very worrying as there are lots of things that can go wrong but thankfully, all seems to have gone well and she seems to be healing. Even while she's putting up with my cooking. I nearly forgot to feed the cats the other night. I don't think one of them has forgiven me yet. All seems to be well though at present so I am happy enough. I've been getting on with paper work which has been neglected recently. Hopefully, my Mum will have a lot less pain now and be able to walk a little bit more easily. We will have to wait and see though and she's not a good patient. She wants to be up and doing things and trying to get her to sit down and take it easy can be really difficult. It may get to the stage when I wait for her to have a snooze and then tie her to the chair. I may have to give her a little bit of slack as she has to keep moving around, resting and walking and moving. Just not too much. That'll keep her out of mischief.
I thought at the start of last week, that I would have a lovely week to plan things and do some work and generally be all nice and relaxed. Somehow, it didn't work out that way and it all seemed to go up in smoke. I did manage this little doodle at the start of the week. Mid week, Mum and I had a bit of a break and wandered around the gardens at Ickworth near Bury St Edmunds. It was lovely and is a very striking house. We plan to go again but I was happy to see a green woodpecker while we were there and a nuthatch too. The nuthatch is a pretty bird and it was bigger than I actually thought they were. I thought they were about sparrow size. We plan to go again as there is quite a lot to get round there and we only did a fraction of it. They had a nice little garden shop there too. Well worth a visit. The cats paw appears to be ok. We stopped him going out at night and had a little feel of his paw when we could and just checked there was nothing obviously wrong. He's walking fine again now, so we'll keep an eye on it for now.