Saturday, 5 September 2015

Shelley Ashkowski (Shelley SupernovaArts)

Hi Guys,

Hope the week has gone well for you.

I wanted to introduce you to Shelley, I first saw her art on Deviant Art when I did the feature on Peony art.  This is the Peony that Shelley had drawn in red biro.  I love how Shelley's art is so realistic.

One of the main points that attracted me to a lot of Shelley's work is that it's done with biro, sometimes simple is best (although, we all love art supplies!)

Shelley has a few different styles of art in her galleries (i'll include all her links within the article as well as at the bottom of the post.

I love flowers, peonies are one of my favourites, if not the favourite hence having used them in an article previous based on where to find artists work (you can find that article HERE), Shelley has drawn a few different flowers, here are a couple more. The first is titled 'Dad' and is dedicated to her Father (drawn with black biro) and the second is 'Garden Party' again all drawn with various colour biro pens.

Shelley also does some very intricate artwork in her Cities range, this artwork is incredible.  I love art created with abandon but straight lines and precise art is also a passion of mine.  I love architecture and the following artwork just screams at me.  The first is Big Ben and the other is Paddington station both in London.  How intricate are these two pieces of art! They look like photographs, amazing!

The next couple of pictures come from Shelley's 'Still Life' album, the first again with biro and is a still life composition of some vintage sweets from England, when Snickers were better known as Marathon (some of these brought back memories for me from when I was younger, particularly the Cabana bar!)

The second still life is a piece of work that Shelley did for a gift for a colleague, I love the reflections in the silver platters and the transparency of the wine glasses.  Shelley created this one with coloured pencils, so pretty, exactly as afternoon tea should be.

There is nothing I love more on a quiet afternoon than looking through a talented artist's gallery.  Shelley also has some animals that she has drawn on her Facebook page, you can find that HERE.
I love her depiction of a Lion and Tiger, it's just beautiful.

Shelley also likes to do art inspired by Aboriginal styles, here are a couple of examples.  This piece was created for and donated to breast cancer awareness, it's an acrylic painting on canvas.

This 'Aboriginal Fish' was the first picture that Shelley did in this style.

Aboriginal art is one of the oldest types of art in the world and consists of lots of little symbols that had a meaning.  Shelley has captured that style beautifully I think.

So let's meet Shelley, as with all the featured artists that I have on my blog she has been kind enough to answer some questions.

Please tell us a little about you Shelley...

My name is Shelley Ashkowski from Wiltshire. I am 30 something (I’m so old I forget exactly how old!)

Tell us about your art – what you do now and have done in the past?

I have always loved art from a young age. I went on to study it at college and university and decided to become an art teacher so I could share my knowledge and passion for the subject. I have been a full time art teacher (and head of faculty in recent years) for over 15 years. 

Most of my art has been specifically aimed at developing my knowledge and skills for my teaching role. 

However, when I took maternity leave a few years ago I decided to use my ‘spare’ time to developing my art skills purely for my own enjoyment. 

This is the point where I discovered my passion for photorealist drawing and ever since then I have continued to improve my skills in this field. 

I started with portraiture but I have since explored themes including nature, cityscapes and still life. 

Although I began my photorealist exploration using pencil I quickly ventured into biro as this is a medium I have always loved. I continue to explore other drawing media but the biro will always be my favourite.

What is your earliest creative memory?

I was inspired by my father as a young child. He was a talented artist and was particularly good at cartoons and caricatures (something I am rubbish at). He used to draw caricatures of family members and I remember seeing them around the house.

Do you ever suffer from a creative block and if so how do you get yourself out of it?

I do sometimes but not very often. I usually have the opposite problem of too many ideas but not enough hours in the day to act upon them. 

If I do have creative block I simply don’t draw for a while (possibly a week or two) and come back to my visual resources with fresh eyes. 

I quite often start pieces that I lose enthusiasm for though and my portfolio is full of half-finished work. One day I vow to go back and complete them all!

Who inspires you?

As a young child my father inspired me. In fact both of my parents were very creative and very much encouraged me to pursue my artistic career. In recent years I take my inspiration from the many great (and often underrated) biro artists including: Samuel Silva, Allan Barbeau, Mark Powell, Juan Francisco Casas and many more.

What is your favourite piece of work that you've created?

A tough question! I think my mind changes month upon month but I would say that I am particularly proud of my biro piece called ‘Paddington’. It’s an A2 drawing and took me several months to finish. It’s a study of a photo I took which I am also really pleased with so it ticks all of the boxes. 

The image has just the right level of architectural structures and the contrast of dark and light was (in my opinion) perfect. Perhaps a less technical piece that I hold dear to my heart is my biro flower study ‘For Dad’. I had started drawing it when my dad was very ill and sadly he passed away. I completed the drawing for him so it is very special to me.

I love that you work a lot with just a biro – what made you choose that medium?

I have always loved biro. I’m not sure exactly what it is that I love so much but I think it is probably a combination of things including: the cross-hatching method is very repetitive but also somewhat therapeutic; the richness of the tone and colour far surpasses pencils (and I really like high contrast images); and the medium requires a high level of precision and the control freak in me enjoys this challenge.

What are your creative ambitions for the future?

I am passionate about drawing so I would like one day to become as good as the best in the field. 

I would also love to become a good painter but I really need a studio space to be able to work on my skills..I have shown my work in some local establishments but it would be a dream come true to have my work shown in a larger gallery. 

I do have grand ideas of one day returning to university to complete a masters degree; although I’m not sure how realistic that is with my parenting and teaching responsibilities!

How do you silence your inner critic?

I don’t feel I need to. I am an absolute realist so I don’t have grand ideas that I am better than everyone else but equally if I have done something good then I will be honest about how proud I am. My husband is also a very analytical person so he is good at helping me keep things in perspective.

What do you do when you're not being creative?

My life consists of being: a parent, a wife, a teacher and an artist. 

When I’m not doing all of these things I love food so cooking and eating out make up a lot of my social time. I also love reading, photography and going on holiday to sunny destinations (although not as often as I would like).

Tell us where we can find your work and your social media sites.

I've been inspired by Shelley's work, I love that something so realistic can be created with a biro .. I'm not very good at drawing, I can doodle and draw little cartoon figures but that's about it..... seeing your work has inspired me to give it a go (whatever the outcome!). 

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions especially with how busy you are and for being completely open regarding some personal stories linked to your work.

Thank you for reading, please go and visit Shelley's sites and see some more of her beautiful work.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Things found by the Sea

Hi, hope you're well.  It's Bank Holiday here in the UK and at the risk of falling into the Brit/weather stereotype, the weather is true to form for a bank holiday weekend (very wet!).

I decided today's post would be about upcycling and making something from nothing. I wanted it to be about on thing specifically - Driftwood.

There is something about driftwood, gets me thinking and there is nothing I like more than seeing something pretty or functional or functionally pretty made from it.

It is more than just a lump of wood, that piece of wood has a story.  Whether it's from a broken pier, jetty or boat and then to make it into something else is what upcycling is all about.

So let's have a look at what I found..

First up is a shop on Etsy called ShoreThingsNE the owner is a lady called Lynda who lives in the UK.  She has some lovely things in her shop like: Pebble Art & items made from driftwood and sea glass.

I love this canvas of Three Men in a Boat and the driftwood plaque below.

Next up is Julia's Driftwood, again on Etsy, this driftwood chandelier is beautiful ... 

All of these Etsy shops so far are in the UK including the next one.  It's a shop called Driftwood into Dreams some of the items in this shop are stunning, I can't feature them all (I will share a couple) but head over to Maureen's shop and check it out.

Up first is a beautiful Kingfisher and then the second is a unique piece of art titled 'Safe in the Harbour' which reminds me of a coastal town, somewhere like Cornwall.

This next Etsy shop is giving a real feel for the Cornish coast.  Incase you're not in the UK and don't know Cornwall.  It is a beautiful area of England in the most south-west tip.  Some of the places in Cornwall are so idealic, right by the sea, plenty to explore and so pretty.

The shop is HSDesignsCornwall and the shop owner is Jen.  I'll share a couple of her creations with you because they just scream Cornwall and the beach and when I look at them I can hear the seagulls and smell the sea air.

The first is of 'Padstow Cottages' Padstow is on the north Cornwall coast..I love the detail in this piece right down to the bunting, flag, trees by the door and the life-ring.

and the second piece from Jen is the Beach Huts on the Harbour.  I love them they are quintessentially British seaside (even though they're found around the world) dating back to the Victorian times when everyone was so much more modest.  I love to see them painted in their bright colours.. I'd love one in my garden, not sure what for (except to house spiders) but it'd look pretty.

The final driftwood work that I wanted to share is not found on Etsy.  The lady is in the UK though and her name is Heather Jansch, you may have seen her driftwood/mixed media sculptures before because they are world renowned.  Heather has a passion for horses as you'll see, check out her website HERE to find out more about Heather and her work, it is truly incredible.  These horses are incredible!

Please check out all of the featured artists beautiful work.

Thank you for reading, please share and enjoy the rest of your day.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Hedley Wiggan

Hi, welcome, I hope you're well and you enjoy this post.

I'm not sure what I did before Pinterest.. I love it, you can find so many artists and their work on there.

Hedley Wiggan is one of those artists. I first saw his work quite a while ago before I was doing this blog. I was watching James Corden's Late Late Show recently when One Direction were on there and they showcased a piece of his work so I decided to check it out again. Hedley is the micro sculptor who sculpted the Harry Styles pencil lead.  Below is a picture of Harry on the Late Late Show meeting his graphite self..

Pencil lead is not the only thing that Hedley sculpts nor is it the only art that he does. We'll have a look at a variety of his work and then meet him as he was kind enough to answer some questions for me.

We'll have a look at a few of the lead sculptures first though seeing as I've mentioned them. I find it incredible when people do things like this, I can just about sharpen a pencil let alone sculpt one! The patience that Hedley must have!

So the next five (technically 8) sculptures are: The Beatles (the John Lennon is particularly brilliant), Venus De Milo (white pencil), cupid, a mouse with a diamond flower and the Hulk! They are just incredible.


The detail in all of those pencil sculptures is just amazing.

As I mentioned it isn't just pencils that Hedley sculpts, he was commissioned by Heathrow Airport to sculpt some of the world's most famous landmarks out of lipstick which were then displayed at the airport.  The sculptures included: Burj Khalifa, Big Ben, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower and Shanghai Tower.

In this video by Heathrow, Hedley is discussing the lipstick sculptures and beginning work on one of the intricate pieces of art.

Hedley comes from the north of England and is one of a very creative family, so it's hardly surprising he's so talented. His other talents include sculpting the tips of cocktail sticks, engraving glass and painting.  Here are a couple of his stunning glass engravings..

Aside from all of his work being brilliant my very favourite pieces are two paintings that he has done, one is on a circular saw and the other is on a normal handsaw.  I love upcycling, altering and mixed media in art so these two pieces are right up my street.

Hedley also paint canvases and even murals.  This is a beautiful mixed media piece on canvas.

Right, let's meet Hedley before I get carried away and show you every single piece of artwork he's ever done, I'll share his facebook and website link below so that you can go and explore.

Hi Hedley, tell us a little about you and what you do please.

My name is Hedley Wiggan. I live in Manchester in the UK aged 49. I love to paint things from my imagination, I also create  sculptures from graphite pencils.

What was your earliest creative memory?

My earliest memory, I entered a drawing competition at the age of 8 the prize was a box of chocolates, i entered purely to win the hand of a fair maiden, I was disqualified as the teacher believed I traced my entry, I suppose in its own way it was a compliment. 

Must be easier to see that as a compliment now but not so much when you were 8!  I hope the fair maiden wasn't put off!

Do you ever suffer from creative block and if so how do you deal with it?

I do sometimes have a creative block I tend to just go with it, I find going for a walk with nature as I love all wildlife and anything creepy crawly.

Who inspires you?

My inspirations: I love Dali, Monet and I love Renaissance also.

Do you have a favourite piece that you've created?

It's hard to choose a favourite but when I get a new idea I'm always excited.

What are your creative ambitions?
My creative ambitions for the future would be to inspire others.
How do you silence your inner critic?
I never silence the inner critic I feel it's a motivational thing.
What do you when you're not being creative?
When I'm not creating I love visiting friends and family, I also love watching insects in there own environment fascinates me.
If you were stranded on a desert island what three items would you want with you?
My craft art items would be a paint brush, knife and a big tube of paint. 
Where can we find your artwork?   
I do have a website for people just to see what sort of things I do its: 


Please take some time to check out Hedley's website and pages, there is a lot to see!

Thank you for answering my questions Hedley.  Here are just a couple more pieces of Hedley's work before I go.
The first is Mohammad Ali and the second is Spiderman - brilliant.

Thank you to you for reading my blogpost.  Have a great week.


Friday, 21 August 2015

Dorote Zaukaite

Dorote's Dolls are an incredible work of art.  I spent ages going through her Facebook page.  Dorote's imagination is amazing and you can clearly see why she's an award winning artist.

This first doll is called The Fortune Teller, her features are just exquisite and I love her dress and her tattooed arm.

Dorote is from Lithuania.  She studied at Kaunas collegium Art faculty and for over 7 years her background was in Interior and Graphic Design before becoming a full time artist and her dolls have become her speciality.

"You can't be an artist on weekends or just 8 hours a day 
and stop when you go on vacation.  Being an artist
is being born with a strange state of mind and living 
with this never-ending need to create"

Dorothe Zaukaite

With the level of detail in these dolls you can clearly see that each work is one of love.  Every little tiny detail is taken care of from the doll itself, to the clothing and the accessories.  The doll above is called 'Each Bird Needs Freedom'  I love how that's depicted in the underside of her dress.

In Denmark there is an institue called DABIDA, which is the Dutch and Belgian Institute of Doll Artists.  They hold exhibitions to showcase dolls and their website is a showcase for some beautiful dolls.  Their whole website if fascinating!  You can look at all the award winning dolls from previous and current years.  For example the most current (2014) theme was 'Nostalgia'  I love all 3 dolls but 2nd and 3rd for me are just so expressive of the theme, for me anyway.

Back to Dorote one of her dolls was entered into the awards and won first place in the Hannie Sarris AWARD 2013.  It's a beautiful doll called 'Joy' and it's understandable why she won, it is a beautiful piece of art.
The detail is just incredible.  A thoroughly deserved first place, I'm sure you'll agree it's stunning.

Here is a picture of Dorote hard at work, she's painting some eyes here.  Below that are a couple of pictures of the beginning stages of some of her dolls.

I'm going to show you some more of her dolls and then Dorote was kind enough to answer some of my questions so we'll meet her.

Victoria and Albert

Dorote has a range called ' Tiny Tender Demons ' they live up to their name, each doll is around 21cm tall.  They are made of white resin and have about 20 articulation points making them very posable.  No matter how small they are Dorote still has a huge amount of detail in each doll as you can see from the two dolls below. 

Aren't all these dolls just beautiful.  There are lots more to see on Dorote's Facebook page and her website (links below).
So now let's meet Dorote....

Hello Dorote...

Tell us about your art and what you are doing right now..

I am a Doll Artist, creating unique dolls

What is your earliest creative memory?

Unless drawing on my family wall tapestry in my Grandfather's room counts, I have been drawing since I can remember.

Do you ever suffer from creative block and if so how do you get yourself out of it?

If I am working on something and I am stuck at some point and don't know how to solve it, I make myself go and do some boring mechanical work.  That way while the hands are busy my mind can be working on a solution.

Who inspires you?

I do not have particular people that inspire me.  I often stumble across artists on the internet and when I read their story I think 'wow, I am not alone there are people going down a similar path who are successful'  Such moments are a relief and inspire me to move forward, but it's not one particular artist.
Generally my inspiration comes from the world around me, nature, humanity, my own emotions and personal perception of the world.

What is your most favourite piece of artwork that you have created?

I have two dolls which are anthropomorphic that I love, one is called 'Sovereign' and the other is called 'Dream Seller' 
Dream Seller is a fox like creature travelling the world selling dreams and Sovereign is a cat like animal who is beautiful and full of character.  

Dream Seller


What are your creative ambitions?

It is hard to talk about ambitions really, I just want to implement my creativity in all the ways that come into my head and to live happily ever after.

How do you silence your inner critic?

I never silence it, I listen to it carefully and follow it's advice.  I am very self demanding and my inner critic helps me grow.

What do you do when you're not being creative?

I'm always being creative whether I am cooking, doing chores or walking the dog creativity is not something you can turn off for a couple of hours and then turn back on again, it's always there.

If you were on a deserted island, what 3 art/craft items would you like?

A knife, an axe and something to cut stone so I can sharpen the knife, I have stone age tools then.

Thank you Dorote, please tell us where we can find your work?

Dorote's: Facebook
Dorote's Website:

Thank you for spending the time to answer my questions Dorote, I've really enjoyed getting to know you and your work.  Your dolls are incredible and I will look forward to keeping up to date with what you are creating.

Please check out Dorote's FB and website, she is an incredible art