Springtime

We moved house at the beginning of this year, and I have not settled in completely until recently.  My attempts to make our new house a home have included gathering house plants on various window sills, adding little funny rugs to the ends of beds, and putting up paintings and pictures on all the hooks and nails scattered all over the walls.  It is feeling more and more cosy especially now as spring is here, and the sun is flooding through the curtains.  

Belle and Arlo are happy here now, but it took some getting used to for them.  They are such home bodies and loved their old home, so Belle had me draw a plan of the old house so we don't forget it, and then one day we can build our very own home just as it was.  

She lost her first tooth recently, and the tooth fairy sent her $2 for her tooth, and she was so excited in the morning, and gave me the $2 saying "Mummy! Now we can buy our own house in Sydney!"  I love the gorgeous minds of children, and their generous and sometimes naive thoughts.  She need not know how much houses cost yet!

So a little while later...

It has been a while hasn't it?  Okay, too long, and I am pretty sure there is a lot to catch up on, so I will attempt that here, now. 

I have been working consistently this year on various freelance projects, and in the spaces between have been carving out a bit of time for some personal projects too.  

I was recently interviewed by the wonderful Emily Orpin for an article in the May edition of Extra Curricular Magazine, which was accompanied by my cover illustration for the issue, as well as some photographs of my studio space and other artwork inside.  In the interview, we talk about my love of plants and gardens, as well as balancing motherhood and my fine art/freelance illustration practice.  I am so thrilled to have been included in this issue, as I have enjoyed reading Extra Curricular Magazine since I first came across it in 2013.

Extra Curricular Magazine 2015

For a while now, thick frost has covered the garden every morning, and the cold winds have been blowing off the mountains, making for a very cold house and frozen toes.  Every morning I get up and run to turn the heaters on, and put warm socks, slippers and jumpers on Belle and Arlo, and I end up running on tippy-toes because I am the last one to get my slippers on and my feet feel like they are walking on ice.  I realise that in an emergency you are told to put your own oxygen mask before you tend to your children, but I go in reverse in the morning so that I know they are cosy and warm, before I set myself up with a big cup of tea slippers...     

Anyway, perhaps because of the coming colder months, I have been experimenting with a paired back palette of black and white, using a mixture of Payne's Grey and Noir Black Windsor Newton watercolour pigments.  It has been a lot of fun to focus more on the patterning and textures - I love the results I have been getting playing around with various surface patterns as well as the way the pigment settles and forms it's own textures on the paper surface.  It has definitely been an interesting process, and one I think I will continue in the coming months. 

Return to Nature, 2015, watercolour on paper.

Return to Nature, 2015, watercolour on paper.

Linen Lady, 2015, watercolour on paper.

Linen Lady, 2015, watercolour on paper.

I promise to be here more regularly from now on, so look forward to more updates in the coming weeks.   

Sending so much love to you all, H x

Painting a jungle

For a little while now I have been planning a series of watercolour illustrations, and today I have finished one such work - a little lady in the jungle.  I will post more as they are completed, but it is here that the series begins.  

I am sending you all so much love as I write today, because I am feeling vital and alive, and I want everything and everyone to grow strong and bright, xxxx.

ajungle2015helenaleslie
ajungle2


Happy New Year!

Welcome 2015! After a busy end of year and so much celebrating, I am thrilled to enter the New Year and all the wonderful possibilities it affords. 

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who came out to see my stall at the Finders Keepers Market in Sydney before Christmas.  I had an amazing time across the weekend and met some very lovely people, and all the comments and support I received - Thank you!  To all my lovely customers, you are wonderful and I hope you are super happy with your wares, and a big shout out to Jade Suine and Laura Samperi for helping me bump in on Friday, hanging with me at the stall and packing up on Saturday evening - I love you both heaps!

Finders Keepers 2014
Finders Keepers 2014 Detail

On a more personal note, this year will see my daughter Belle head off to her first year of school, which is completely overwhelming and wonderful.  I am excited for her as she seems very ready for this new adventure, and I think she will transition smoothly to her kindergarten class.  Last year she attend pre-school lessons at the same school two days each week, so she is familiar with the school and the children in her class - the most exciting thing for her I think, is the school uniform - Purple!

With her big leaps forward, I think dear Arlo will be challenged as his big sister leaves to go to school.  I keep reminding myself that he will be learning to build friendships of his own at his daycare, away from Belle, and becoming a bit more independent is a necessary part of growing up, but it is hard to see him yearning to be with his big sister.  He wants so badly to grow up quickly!  I even measured them both on the wall the other day and he was so disappointed that he was not as tall as Belle, he cried and cried about it.  It is going to be an interesting February!

Professionally, I have some exciting projects that I am working on in the first few months of this year, and I feel renewed with energy for these.  I am working on a new series of illustrations in the studio at the moment, as well as a few projects under wraps that I can't wait to see to fruition.  My work will be a part of the upcoming Salon at Supergraph: Australia’s contemporary graphic art fair that celebrates design, print and illustration.   You will be able to buy signed A3 prints of my work at the fair in Melbourne across the 13th, 14th & 15th of February - I am sure it will be a fantastic event!  And I hope to see everyone in Sydney again for the autumn Finder Keepers Market in May.   

I really hope this year is your most wonderful yet - it has all the potential for greatness!  xx h

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Arlo 2014