Thursday, 27 August 2015

DOGS ON THE SHORE

Hello, I hope you've had a good week! This week I've been away visiting some of my friends from uni round the country which was pretty fun. It's only when you go away that you really appreciate the things that you love from your home town, which is why when I got back I went dog walking with my friends Ciara and Gareth.

To be honest with you, my travelling around the country - well, mainly the midlands, I don't want to pretend that I'm some avid explorer/adventurer - was somewhat challenging for me. I find trains themselves very stressful (who doesn't?) but taking them three times in one week was a bit much for me, especially when they dragged up a load of weird-ish memories that I didn't appreciate reliving when I was dragging a suitcase around on my own. However, I managed to get where I wanted to be in one piece; I may have lost my phone and a little bit of my sanity on the way but I'm okay. Needless to say I was relieved to pull into Carlisle station on Sunday.

Anyway, I wanted to talk a little about a lovely lady called Linda that I met this summer and how her dogs make me very happy indeed. Linda has nine dogs, all of whom are either rescued or taken on by her if their owners can't look after them anymore. The dogs are all happy, healthy and love playing together and keeping each other company, this is why I love walking them along the shore and watching them run and explore and just generally have the time of their lives, it's lovely to be a part of. I think because the dogs are always so happy to see you and excited about everything it rubs off on you and has a sort of calming effect, I love it.

Each dog has their own character, and trying to capture that on camera was very difficult as they all went wild on the sand, I must have had to delete so many blurry photographs! However, I hope from the photos here you'll be able to get an idea and that they make you smile as much as they make me smile.








Emily x

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

RECENT DRAWINGS


Hello! Here's a sneak peek into my sketchbook again of what I've been sketching over the past few weeks. In my last post I mentioned about my creative block that's been plaguing my life recently, the last recent drawings post I did (read it here) includes the drawings I had been making during the block, so today I'm going to show you the drawings I've been making as I was coming out of it. I don't know about you but I can notice a big difference between them!

Stop rambling Emily, show them the drawings...

Okay here goes:
The first drawing is actually a drawing of Aaron Johnson, don't ask me why. The second is the outcome of taking my sketchbook out on a night out with me, I can't actually read half of it or remember writing it al all, but there it is.

I know this isn't a drawing, but I just love pressing flowers! I was given a huge bunch of flowers for helping out with an exhibition a few weeks ago and I couldn't resist pressing some.

The first one is space-related things in fineliner, and the second is a ceiling fan in biro from when I was sitting in a pub. As far as fans go that one was pretty useless.

Fucking feminist. Just because. And that's a rather rushed self portrait.

This is my thought process when researching and coming up with ideas for my drawings for Neon Moon last week. It was fun creating a drawing that I wanted to be both inspirational and empowering at the same time. See the post and the finished drawings here.
There you go, my visual diary for the month. I'll be heading out on a little tour visiting some of my uni pals this week so I hope to have a few more interesting drawings to show for next time. I hate trains with a passion but I have to admit they're good for sneakily drawing unsuspecting travellers. Until you get caught staring at someone that is, it's pretty awkward after that...

Emily x

Saturday, 15 August 2015

PHOTO DIARY

Over the summer I seem to have uncovered a new-found love for photography, something which I have always had an interest in but never had the time for. If there's one thing I've learnt at uni this year it's been the ability to find beauty and interest in unconventional places or things. In fact, one of the most important things I've learnt in my artistic education is that a good artist can make anything look beautiful, and the way you capture it makes all the difference. This summer has been filled with some rather breathtaking views, lovely walks, painfully boring days and one crippling creative block all mixed together, and these photographs are the result.

Carousel in the Lakes

Maryport Dock at night

The train track

Maryport Aquarium

Maryport Aquarium

Old Farmhouse

Muddy Puddle

The view from Dodd Wood (Derwent Water)




 It's difficult to take a bad photograph when you're stood on top of a mountain overlooking miles of picturesque little towns and countryside, and I suppose that's what my creative block felt like. I've never had one before and it took me a while to work out what was happening to me, I was still making art, still drawing and generating new ideas and such but all my work seemed rather stale and flat, like what I wanted to make wasn't coming out onto the page. It was extremely frustrating to have all these ideas running through my head and not being able to make anything that amounted to anything; everything felt like a humongous waste of time. Yes it was pretty but it wasn't what I wanted.

Anyway, how I got out of it was simple. I kept myself busy doing and experiencing things other than my art, having a laugh and surrounding myself with the people who make me the best version of me that I can be. Although I was still sketching daily (something I try to do no matter how successful the drawing is) surrounding myself with the people, places and experiences that inspire me began to have an impact on my drawings, and I began to be able to communicate visually again.

I hope you enjoy the photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them. Have you ever experienced a creative block? If I ever have one again I know how to deal with it that's for sure!

Emily x

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

WHAT I'VE BEEN LISTENING TO


Today I want to talk about music. It's one of my favourite things in the world - after art of course - and I've had a constant love affair with it since I was very young. I have my parents to thank for introducing me to some classics that form the base of my music taste. My Dad for the likes of Led Zeppelin and Hendrix, and my Mam for Fleetwood Mac, ELO and Foo Fighters. I've recently expanded my music taste and found loads of new artists that I've never listened to before (I have my Spotify subscription to thank for this one); there's no greater feeling than finding a band, instantly falling in love with them and listening to their full discography non stop for the rest of the week. So here's a playlist of new and old favourites that have filled my ears this summer:
I've been loving Florence + the Machine after watching her set at Glastonbury. How can you not love an artist that shows so much passion and excitement when performing? She was so overwhelmed and thankful to be there and I can't help but respond to that with equal enthusiasm for her music. Also, Kiss with a Fist is such an empowering song and makes me walk down the street with an attitude!

I had to get Bombay Bicycle Club in there somewhere, they're my 'go-to' band that I always return to if I don't know who to listen to. Their So Long, See You Tomorrow album is utter genius and one I like to listen to as a whole, there's not many albums out there that I won't skip a single song while listening to it all the way through.

Arctic Monkeys don't need an explination because they're an old favourite and Alex Turner is a lyrical genius.

The Vaccines, Ella Eyre and Lucy Rose were all artists I got to see at Kendal Calling last week and they were all amazing so they had to get onto the playlist. Comeback (Stripped) by Ella Eyre is a beautiful song; it's just her voice and a piano and because her voice is so pure and raw it really draws you in. The same to Lucy Rose who has such a beautiful, haunting voice that sounds exactly the same live (her cover of Taylor Swift's Bad Blood is better than the original, soz!). The Vaccines were undescribable.

The Stone Roses are definitely a very summery band that never fails to make me bob my head like a maniac and smile my head off! I will never got bored of the song Waterfall, which reminds me of being at uni actually.

Everyone else on the playlist is well worth a listen if you're looking for some new music to listen to, I know when you get stuck in a rut and can't find any new artists to listen to it can be quite frustrating so hopefully here's some ideas for you. What've you been listening to this month?

Emily x


Sunday, 9 August 2015

I LOVE COCONUT OIL

I know I'm a bit late to the party with this one (as with most things) as coconut oil and it's benefits has been floating around the internet for a while now, but I just couldn't not mention it on here because I think it's amazing! I'm going to tell you what I use it for and how it's helped me in my beauty regime.

Coconut oil is multipurpose and cheap, so I've replaced a lot of my usual beauty and skincare products with it. It's great not having that massive bundle of products to carry with you when you're travelling or to clutter up a bathroom with.

The first and most obvious use for coconut oil is as a moisturiser. Now, be careful with this one, because depending on your skin type, coconut oil might not be compatible to use every day with your skin. I have oily skin at times, so I use it after shaving or if my skin is feeling particularly dry. Another useful tip is to use it only at night time before going to sleep. It's quite oily (duh!) on the skin for a while, so if you use it at night then it'll give it time to soak in over night and leave you with luscious soft skin in the morning. Likewise, don't apply it just before doing your makeup, out of experience the makeup will just slide right off your face...

Secondly, I use coconut oil as a hair mask occasionally. Just before washing my hair I apply it all over my hair and leave it for maybe 10 minutes. I then wash it out with shampoo to get the greasiness out of my hair, use my conditioner as normal and it leaves my hair nice and soft! If my hair is feeling a bit dead and dry between washes I usually stick a little bit on the ends and leave it to disguise my split ends.

Another key use for coconut oil - and this is my favourite - is a makeup remover. I mentioned before how it makes your makeup slide off your face, this is what you want from a makeup remover right? I take a small piece (about the size of a pea) allow it to melt in my hand, then gently rub it over my face - but don't scrub! Try not to get too much in your eyes, it won't hurt them, it just makes your vision a bit cloudy when it gets on your eyeball. Moving it around my face breaks up the makeup so when I get a cotton pad and wipe the oil away the makeup comes with it. After this I usually wash my face with my cleanser to remove the oil completely and I find my face is moisturised already so I don't have to use moisturiser! You'll find that not only is this method better for moisturising your skin (better than makeup wipes anyway), it also helps strengthen your eyelashes.

I use it on my lips if they're feeling particularly dry at times. I often put a small amount on my lips and apply some lipstick over the top to create a tinted lipbalm when I don't want a really dark lip. Sometimes I find lipsticks clump on my lips when they're dry anyway so this really helps to prevent that.

Okay, I've finished kissing coconut oil's arse now (although it can kiss mine as much as it likes). I'm sure there's loads of other uses for it that I haven't discovered, so please let me know if you have any other tips.

Emily x

Friday, 7 August 2015

NEON MOON FEMINIST LINGERIE

Hello! Recently I've been working with Neon Moon, a British lingerie company that makes underwear with feminist ideals. I love what they stand for and wanted to join them in their fight for body positivity, so I made some work for them.

Neon Moon's lingerie - a one-woman operation run by Hayat Rachi - stands out from the rest because not only does their underwear support all body types, but it moulds itself around your natural curves so that your body dictates the shape of the underwear, not the other way around; therefore it's your body that makes the underwear beautiful. With no uncomfortable underwire or tight fitting garments to shape the body, this underwear is designed for comfort instead of looks. What a radical and revolutionary idea in a world that thrives off low self-esteem to market their products, even more so in the fashion and lingerie industries.

Another thing about Neon Moon that I love is their unretouched models on their website. They show the models' 'imperfections' like stretchmarks, freckles, body hair and cellulite - all naturally accuring features on women - and celebrate them instead of hiding them, which in my opinion is a huge step towards body positivity in society. By showing their models in relaxed situations with their bodies sitting in a natural way they're showing what their underwear really looks like on a woman, and not sexualising the model in the process. Brilliant!


To celebrate Neon Moon's work towards body positivity and empowering women I decided to create some illustrations for them. The first piece is Practice Aggressive Self Love, which depicts an unshaven leg. This one celebrates being unapologetic about your body and embracing things about youself that other people don't appreciate as much as you. The second one shows a drawing of one of the Neon Moon models looking very natural and happy. I wanted to cover the drawing with pattern, it surrounds the model and moulds around her curves, just like the underwear does.

If you want to visit the Neon Moon website and check out their underwear for yourself you can find it here. Finally, a big thanks goes out to Hayat at Neon Moon for featuring my work on her platforms!

Emily x

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

BECOMING VEGETARIAN


I thought I'd talk a little today about when I became a vegetarian and my experience in 'transitioning' into not eating meat anymore. First of all I'd like to say that I'm absolutely not an expert and have only been veggie since March this year, and if it wasn't for my friend Ciara who's been veggie for nine years giving me advice and help I would have found it harder.

So I would say that becoming vegetarian is easily one of the best decisions I've made, and I found it so much easier than I thought I would. I think because I'm doing it for a reason, that I genuinely care about animal welfare, any time I found it difficult I just thought back to my initial reasons for becoming veggie and that made me stick to it. I decided that I didn't want to support the meat industry anymore because I find it needlessly cruel and I hated the fact that every time I sat down to eat a meal an animal had to die in order for me to eat it, it just wasn't something I was comfortable with anymore. That being said, I don't have a problem with anyone else eating meat, I ate it myself for 19 years so I'd be a bit of a hypocrite if I did!

I first decided to try the vegetarian lifestyle after watching a video by one of my favourite YouTubers Anastasjia Louise who talks a lot on her channel about her experiences and it just made me want to try it. I started off by slowly cutting out the meat from my diet, and for about a month I only ate meat once a week, this was to ease my body away from eating meat and to check to see if the veggie lifestyle was suitable and healthy for my body. After speaking to Ciara about replacing the meat with other things in my diet, I started to eat Quorn, a popular meat substitute that's high in protein (the 'chicken' is fantastic!). I thought these soya and Quorn substitute foods would be awful and have little taste but they're actually lovely and I love the sausages more than meat ones. After five months without meat I can honestly say that I don't miss it one bit, and I've stopped craving meat products now. I don't have to take any vitamin tablets of any kind because I replaced the meat with other things in my diet like Quorn and nuts and I'm just as healthy as I was before (maybe even more so). Some of my favourite things to eat are: jacket potatoes, omelette, cashew nuts and veggie curry (usually made with chickpeas and sweet potato).

I hope this post isn't preachy in any way, and I suppose the point that I'm trying to make is that becoming vegetarian isn't as hard as you might think, and there's plenty of stuff you can still eat. I'm still learning all the time so if you have any advice or stuff for me to try I'd love to hear from you! If you're considering being veggie give it a go, even for a week, because I promise you you'll love it!

Emily x

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

JULY FAVOURITES

 Hello! August is here, and the festival season is well and truly on the way which is very exciting. A few of the items here came in very handy during my trip to Kendal Calling last weekend. It was my first trip to Kendal Calling and I loved it, especially The Vaccines and Kaiser Chiefs. I've also been painting a lot more this month. Painting isn't something I really get to do on my course because it's very fast-paced and I like to take time over my paintings, so it's nice to use the time off to brush up on my painting skills. Anyway, on with the favourites...

First up is this Boohoo dress with quite a 70s vibe I would say. It's also very festival-esque as it's easy to throw on over some leggings or with knee high socks or something. I love the embroidery detail on the front and the hem.

Next I'm delighted to show these new Doc Martens, they're beautiful! I've had a pair of the black, 8 hole Docs for about 5 years now and they're absolutely trashed the poor things! To be fair to them, they've been to countless festivals, covered in mud, and on various nights out covered in alcohol, they've certainly put in a good shift. So my Dad got me these from the Made In England range, they're made from a different kind of leather than the normal Docs, and he hopes these will be more sturdy and last me longer than the others. I'm in the process of breaking these in, if you've ever had a pair of docs you'll know the pain of breaking a new pair in, it's hard work but so worth it.

The next two items came in very handy at Kendal: a bum bag from River Island and this money wallet that I got from eBay. If you're attending a festival this summer I would really recommend you getting yourself a decent bum bag as you dont have to worry about all your stuff, it's securely around your body making it harder for people to pick pocket you. I also kept all of my money in this money wallet under all of my clothes. I kept all of my money for the whole weekend on me at all times at the festival as you get a lot of tent thiefs that go into people's tents looking for their money, I've even heard of people getting it stolen when it's been wrapped up in socks in their bags and everything! I didn't want to risk it.



Finally, I want to give this artist a mention in my favourites as I love his portraits. Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo is an illustrator from Chile. His work features a lot of overlapping and layering of different images over the top of each other, usually several different views of the same person's face with abstract shapes and colours encorporated into the face. A running theme in Hidalgo's work is how he depicts the eyes very circular and staring, I find this effect very eerie, but it draws the viewers eyes into the portrait and sets the mood for the piece quite well. Visit his website here.

Anyway, there's all my favourites for July. Sorry it was a bit rambly, I'm still very excited about Kendal Calling! Hope you've had a good month, especially if you've been to any festivals.

Emily x