A Gift

It’s no secret that I like to write. These days, it’s my main creative outlet and likely to remain so, as I explore my ‘voice’ on paper.

I do, however, have other creative interests. Both my grandmother and grandfather were talented amateur artists, and I can remember sitting in the Sunday School room with my grandmother before class started, watching her draw an illustration for the lesson on the big blackboard, amazed by how she would use the limited palette of chalks to create a world of colour. Later, in the quiet warm space between Sunday lunch and high tea, she and I would sometimes sit in the big living room at the Vicarage, tick of clock on the mantel as she would draw something and then get me to copy it, my small hand struggling to repeat the lines that came so easily from her pencil.

Several years after my grandfather passed away, she gave me a tin containing the drawing pencils he was using on his last work, a keen painter up until his untimely death. We have some of his work framed, stone cottages on a jetty under a lowering sky, a canal boat dappled with light and shade, and of course his beloved church, snowbound. I’ve never used the pencils but keep them as a talisman of sorts, a small piece of memory.

I painted for many years, even pursuing a degree in the creative arts, sure my artistic calling lay down that path. But the twists and turns of employment and life meant I ended up working in advertising instead, swapping the joys of painting and drawing for producing and casting – still creative in its own way, but not quite as fulfilling. Painting was reserved for my downtime and, while I did produce some work that made me happy, I never had the time to pursue it as I wished.

I haven’t done much painting since moving back to the UK, simply because I was concentrating on my writing instead, capturing the world of Ambeth as it poured out onto the page. However, I recently picked up my brushes again to create a painting for my husband on his birthday. And here it is, just for fun (don’t worry, I’ve already given it to him):


What about you? Do you have any other creative strings to your bow?

Oh and yay! This is my 100th blog post – can’t believe it really 🙂 Thanks to everyone for reading along.

10 thoughts on “A Gift

  1. Congratulations on your 100th post! It’s wonderful to get back to other ways of creating, isn’t it? For me, it’s singing, writing music, and for a little while I started learning the harp and would like to start up again soon. 🙂

    • Thanks Eilis! I hope you’re well and that you enjoyed your trip – I’m looking forward to hearing more about it. And I love that you make music – I like to sing though only by myself, too shy to share it with others. And the harp sounds lovely, I always think they sound so otherworldly xx

    • Well, the Sword illustration on the cover of Oak and Mist is mine, but I haven’t yet drawn Ambeth, other than a small sketch of Alma standing between the two trees, which didn’t end up making it into the finished book. So there’s something for me to think about – you’ve inspired me! I can see it so clearly in my mind, I wonder if I could get close to it when painting?

      • Hey Helen! You are inspiring! Yes it’s tricky capturing in colour or in 2d what we see and can describe in different ways! Sometimes a photograph can! Words describe and it’s open to interpretation on the reader to visualize the scene! A painting can depict and then be open to interpretation as to what, how where and why it is painted! Creativity comes in many forms! Long may we all be creative in thoughts and actions!

  2. Wow! You are seriously talented. Girlfriend!!! That painting is amazing! Artist AND writer, how wonderful, and lucky you are to be doubly blessed!

    • Thanks Louise, that’s so nice of you to say 🙂 And now I’ve started painting again I have to say I’m feeling inspired to maybe tackle some Ambeth scenes. Hope the writing process is going okay with you, have you left things to rest for a while?

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