February … the boarder between winter and spring.
In the beginning of February the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer, yet by the end of the month the seasons shift and there is everything to hope for. February is often an uncertain month, neither black nor white but it’s always in the grey areas of life where the most interesting things happen. This has been so true for me this month. It’s astonishing how short a time it can take for wonderful things to happen and once again i’m reminded to trust in what I love, continue to work hard at it and know it will take me to where I need to go.
Given that my heart continually swings back and forth between the need for routine and the urge for variety and excitement, happily February has provided studio success and social fulfilment.
Mother nature threw a curve ball by plunging me into Narnia and a snow globe-esque world. I adore the ‘life pause’ a snow day brings and it’s calming sense of quiet stillness. This year’s first snowfall sadly didn’t permit any time to rest-up so layered in toasty warm cashmere I ploughed through eternal winter, NYLon living and let fashion illustration ignite my (chilly) soul.
In the studio the illustration pace ramped up several notches and the creative schedule has been full on. The walls are currently plastered with multiple fashion-fuelled figurative drawings and i’m continually churning out roughs to present to clients. I don’t think I will ever tire of communicating life and fashion visual. I jolly hope not anyway as life on the creative carousel is fun!
Commissions of original one-off illustrations have varied from Modern ArtBuyer clients to international private art collectors and they’ve all been completed between several major meetings. These round table design discussions have set the wheels in motion for a hugely exciting (still hush-hush) brand project. My career is a balancing at between being creative and commercial and this venture marries the two perfectly. I will share all the details and designs very soon (a Journal post is pending) but for now all I will say is … high-end, luxury, illustrated accessories. Hello fashion, my old friend!
As you might have guess from January’s Illustrated Life when i’m not drawing like a demon in the studio i’m not exactly leading a quiet life. I don’t have a 9-5, I have a ‘from the moment I open my eyes to when I close my eyes’ as it’s vital I seek illustration inspiration from real life. It’s a work life blend rather than a work life balance (blatant self-justification)!
February’s life diary has been full. Hmm, where to start?
Ooh, The Ned (yet again) when I met one of my wonderful American friends for supper at Millie’s Bar. Friendship is one of the greatest treasures of my life so a few hours of good food (the best pakora’s i’ve eaten in a long time), good drink (several gin based cocktails) and good conversation (work, life, love) on a Monday evening was pure life tonic. I am so lucky to have a league of fabulous men and women around me who are there for the joyous moments, the times of struggle and the bits in-between.
I met with my godmother for one of our regular London jaunts which follows a much practiced and perfected formula of a long lunch, endless chatting and a dedicated perusing of high-end and high street shops. This super-chic woman (think Joanna Lumley meets Diane Keaton) has informed a great deal of my own style identity and is an endless source of style advice and inspiration. She’s classic Vogue in every way. Our exceptionally close relationship extends far beyond a shared passion for fashion and it’s from her I am continually given unconditional love, advice, support and guidance. She might not have the ability to wave a magic wand making everything better (how I wish she could) but I am the luckiest girl to have her in my life. As she lives outside the city we begin our escapades at St Pancreas Station where Tracey Emin’s neon artwork of six simple works forever brings a smile to my face. ‘I Want My Time With You’.
I ventured out to the depths of the Hampshire countryside to the market town of Alresford one weekend to catch up with a kind-of new but definitely kind-of wonderful friend. Isn’t it odd how sometimes there is an old intimacy with new friends? Alresford is a Georgian town full of colour-washed houses, independent eateries and specialist shops. It’s a place I visited on a few occasions last year while spending several months half living Hampshire (it’s a long story) so it was lovely to return to a few favourite old haunts such as Caracoli (perfect for a deli style lunch), Roxtons (an emporium of not-seen-everywhere brand labels) and Alresford Linen (a truly beautifully curated and styled lifestyle store – I could happily own everything).
Whether in the city or the country this month i’ve eaten well. In my perennial stomping ground of Marylebone I had a delicious supper at Providores on the High Street which is known for it’s innovative small plate, fusion food. In the Shires i’ve been to The Grocer a couple of times for brunch with country-dwelling friends. The Grocer has a few locations but the one I return to time and time again is their original home, now named The Green Grocer, for it’s excellent menu of flavourful food and small offering of pantry staples and groceries. I will never tire of their wheat free granola with coconut yoghurt, blueberries & pomegranate seeds or their avocado, chilli and lime on sourdough. Wherever one lives it appears quinoa and avocado are the new bread and butter!
A trip to Cliveden was a highlight to final weekend of the month and coincided with the arrival of spring. Well more accurately it coincided with a brief spring interlude at the tail end of winter. While i’m typing this Journal entry it’s grey and gloomy outside. Escaping to this luxury country house, who’s story is one of over 350 years of powerful personalities, debaucherous parties and scandalous affairs, ironically gave me time for relaxation. A two hour walk in warm bright sunshine was a peaceful antidote to a hectic few weeks of compulsive creativity.
One of my favourite days this month was the penultimate one when after a client meeting in central London I spent a blissful afternoon with fellow illustrator Claire Huntley in the financial district of the city. Like me Claire enjoys discovering unexpected corners of London and introduced me to Postman’s Park, a small public garden a short distance north of St Paul’s Cathedral. The park’s history revolves around a memorial to people who gave their lives for heroic self-sacrifice and nowadays is a small oasis of tranquility in the heart of the metropolis. From the park we moved onto a Paternoster Square for a cup of tea and to sit in the sunshine sharing stories of our freelance lives. The afternoon in the square gave me a glimmer of the city summer to come as it was full of suit wearing banking-types skiving off to bask in the warm rays in the shadow of St Paul’s.
Thank you so much for following along!