Tag Archives: French Alps

2020 Review

I had a wonderful start to 2020 with skiing in France and Bulgaria, and little did I know when watching Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall in March that it would be the last theatre visit of the year. Since we first went into lockdown in March my creative work has been enjoyable distraction and focus. As a result it’s been a productive year for my art and illustration work.

I have explored editorial illustration, children’s picture book work, and the themes of food and travel. Enjoyed the wonderful Make Art That Sells global community, and also the UK/US illustrator group that I’m blessed to be part of.

Ski Illustrations

After a day skiing in Les 3 Vallees, France I relaxed by painting ski related equipment.

This initiated the Ski A-Z book project which I have worked on throughout the year and will be in book form in early 2021.

Sharing these ski illustrations on social media led to an exciting client commission, which I will be able to reveal in the coming weeks – watch this space.

Here are my favourite ski illustrations of 2020 (that aren’t embargoed). I find that often the favourite pieces are breakthroughs in terms of the detail, materials, and/or techniques.

My intention with the project has been to demonstrate the joy and emotions of skiing and related activities in a way that is often less apparent in photographic images.

There are people who are at their happiest when skiing, unfortunately many of them aren’t able to ski at present, I hope they can feel some comfort by seeing the work and vicariously having some ski escapism.

More about this work at this link Night Skiing and TOP 9

Ski Prints

I’ve had a number of people requests prints of the ski work, so I’m pleased to reveal that I’ll be producing limited edition prints in 2021. Follow my blog for more details when they’re available. If there are ski illustrations that you’d like to be included in the selection made into prints please email me inspirebykim@outlook.com

Top 9 of 2020

Here are my overall favourite 9 pieces of 2020 across ski, travel, food and character design…

I worked hard on the first to show an expression of joy in this freestyle skiing pose. The second was a children’s book character I created for the Make Art That Sells Illustrating Children’s Books briefs. The third was a painting of juxtaposed elements of our biking holiday in Flamborough, the stunning scenery and incredible bird life.

The fourth was for an illustrated travel memoir of heli-skiing in Russia. The fifth is a conceptual illustration for Apres-Ski fun, my entry for the AOI World Illustration Awards. Sixth was my favourite piece from a number of dessert illustrations.

Seventh – the delightful feeling of calm and seclusion when enjoying some quiet time after skiing, warm and snuggly as the temperatures drop outside. I contacted Eddie (the Eagle) Edwards for a quote about the feeling of flying, and created this illustration from images that at Eddie provided. The ninth was a festive illustration/animation of steel deliveries at Santa’s Metal Workshop, commissioned by steel stockholder K Steels for their social media channels.

A particular highlight of lockdown, and since, were regular ‘Art Chats’ with my friend. We simultaneously worked on our individual creative projects on video calls. Being able to see the development of each other’s work, and to get ‘work in progress’ feedback, was helpful, I have found that chatting can help to divert the conscious mind and allow the subconscious to create in flow; the art nirvana that one can experience in particular circumstances and creative activities.

In the course of the chats my friend created an entire 2021 calendar of bird watercolours. You can see his work at

@dgrealise

For me personally good has to come out if a challenging situation, and thus I’ve made it a productive year with development of my skills and evolution of my illustration work. Here’s to a good 2021. Enjoy this short illustrated gif…

Thank you for each view, like, comment and all the support in 2020. Sharing my work gives me the impetus to continue to create, and to push myself to be able to more and more effectively express concepts visually.

It is always my mission to spread joy and inspiration so I hope that it contributes to the positive vibes going out into the world consciousness.

Read more about the key 2020 projects

Apres-Ski Illustration

Christmas 2020 Steel Illustrations

Pretty Pudding Paintings

Love After Lockdown – Graphic Novel

Bob The Balloon – Children’s Book Illustrations

Thanks so much for being here. Feel free to ‘Like’ the post if you do; and if you’ve friends who’d also be interested please share it with them.

Here’s to a great 2021. Hoping you have freedom to enjoy everything you wish for.

Find your joy

Love and luck

Kim x

Here’s are my latest posts:

Brand New Ski Illustrations – Ski A-Z

Here are the latest illustrations for my Ski A-Z book project.

This collage shows all the ski related illustrations that I created in October 2020.

X Jump

New ski illustration for the letter ‘X’ in the Ski A-Z. I reached out to the Facebook Ski Club for ideas for this tricky letter and this jump position was a popular suggestion.

Rescues

We never want to need rescuing from the slopes or the off-piste mountain areas, but if we do then we’re grateful for the care and skills of the ski patrollers.

They may go by different names in different parts of the world, but they are the ones who help us down the mountains when injury means we aren’t able to get down unassisted.

This illustration is dedicated to those individuals, these heroes on our worst ski day.

Nordic Skiing

Nordic skiing’ encompasses a number of disciplines but has roots spanning thousands of years.

Whether classic or skating style, cross country skiing is a great way to explore alpine environments without the need for uplifts, allowing the skier to get close to nature. It is an energetic workout so has lighter weight clothing ranges than downhill skiing.

The lightweight skis, fixed only at the toe require precise balance which I find makes downward slopes exhilarating.

Thanks to the Facebook Ski Club members for this suggestion for the letter ‘N’.

Telemarking is also a Nordic ski discipline, something I wish I’d tried whilst younger, watch this space for a telemark illustration.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the mountain and spot wildlife. We like to pack a picnic and find a place to perch, ideally with a view across the mountain range, blue sky and sunshine.

Snowshoeing is a good alternative activity for those new to skiing, as learning to ski is very physical. Skiing is a sport that becomes easier as one progresses. A brisk walk or snowshoeing is a good way to stretch the legs muscles.

The ski illustrations on my previous post are also featured in the October collage, you can see them here…

Thanks so much for stopping by to see my work. I’m working on a mock-up of the Ski A-Z book, so it’s really starting to come together,

My most recent posts follow.

May all your ski days be blue sky and powder.

Kim

REACHING FOR THE STARS – CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATION

Children’s book illustration for the culmination of Jelena’s journey through a winter wonderland, to reach the stars.

“Grandma said Mummy is polishing the stars, so that they shine on me.”

My character Jelena (meaning Bright) is helped by the mountain animals to go closer to the stars, where she believes her late mother to be.

I’m delighted with this latest work. I can feel the progress, enjoyed painting it and am pleasantly surprised with the final piece. It’s already framed and on our wall.

Illustrated children's book page. Little girl Jelena lifted up by alpine wildlife.

Having lived with the next generation effects of childhood bereavement I wanted to create a work that speaks to children, and the child inside the adult, who lost their parent.

Jelena realises through the narrative that she is not alone, and is reassured by the support and kindness from her new animal friends.

The stars are so bright and you can see multitudes of them above the mountains, as there isn’t the light pollution. It can be breathtaking to walk at midnight in the snow and gaze up in wonder.

I created this painting for the Make Art That Sells #matsprep assignment. The inspiration for the mountain setting is from the Ski A-Z book that I am presently working on.

How This Piece Was Created…

I painted the alpine wildlife that we see when we visit the French Alps, and the Vanoise National Park.

I have often seen deer, foxes and wild boar whilst driving the mountain roads at night. The marmots we see emerging from hibernation in the spring, enjoying eating crocus as the snow melts away. I once encountered an imposing bouquetin at high altitude by the glacier near Val Thorens. We would also see herds of bouquetin grazing and fighting on the slopes of Champagny Le Haut. Mountain hare tracks can be seen from the chairlifts indicating their nocturnal presence. Whilst driving by Lake Annecy a family of five wild boar crossed the road ahead of us, parent and their young, so cute.

I also painted a Eurasian brown bear which lives in the Caucasus mountains of Russia, where we skied over bear tracks in the snow. Next to our hotel was a woodcarver’s yard where he whittled life sized bears from huge tree trunks. I chose a small carved bear as a souvenir of the trip. To read about heli-skiing in Russia click here.

Collage of the animal paintings

My first composition (below) felt predatory, I needed a less confrontational arrangement of the elements.

Therefore I chose a tower of animals, united in assistance for the story’s main character, painting them in a less literal style for the final artwork.

A3 Painting in progress, using masking fluid, watercolour paints and acrylic gouache.

I’m determined to keep learning and growing my skills through study of theory and techniques, practical art and colourful exploration. You can follow my blog to see work as it develops and the projects progress.

My intention is editorial illustration work, ideally the cover of Flow magazine, and commercial artwork for ‘change for good’ marketing campaigns. The big dream is an interactive art TV programme.

Here are my latest blog posts…

If you would like artwork to support a positive project please email me at inspirebykim@outlook.com

Thanks so much for being here.

Signup to see new work as it is available. Please ‘Like’ if you do, and if there’s someone who you think would enjoy seeing the art and illustrations please share a link with them…

I think you’d really like to see this illustration. Take a look.

Many thanks

Kim

H in the Ski A-Z Book

Here’s the latest instalment in the Ski A-Z Glossary book I am presently working on…

H is for Hot Chocolate, a delicious comfort for snow lovers if all ages on a cold day, Warming up with a cup of hot chocolate in a mountain hut, with a log fire crackling, is a treat that revives the spirit for the skiing ahead.

H is also for Hot Tub. Warming the muscles at the end of the day in a hot tub is a soothing way to relax. These can often be found in a hotel spa, but a warm bath with salts can be as effective, although less sociable.

I’ve combined the two to create this fun Hot Choc Hot Tub illustration.

H is for Helmet – an essential piece of ski kit especially for skiing fast and when venturing off the marked pistes. Ski helmets are warm and cosy, sometimes too warm, so those with air vents which can be open or closed are a helpful solution.

H is also for Heli-Skiing, when a helicopter drops you off on a remote peak and you ski on slopes that would otherwise be inaccessible. I previously shared an account of heli-skiing in Russia. This travel memoir will appear in the ‘H’ pages in the Ski A-Z book. Here is the link if you’ve not seen it.

Heli-Skiing Travel Memoir

Editorial Illustration

Next up will be ‘I’ – so watch this space and Follow, if you’re not already doing so to see the new book content as it is created.

Thanks for being here. These are links to the previous ski artworks and content…

Apres-Ski Illustration

Technical Ski Illustrations

A-Z of Ski – E for Exhilaration

Thanks for being here. Please Like and Share so more people can enjoy the work.

If you need bespoke illustrations for your project you can contact my by emailing inspirebykim@outlook.com

Here are my most recent posts…

I hope you enjoy seeing the work. I’m making new art all the time so watch this space.

Bye for now

Letter G in the Ski A-Z

G is for Gloves – an essential piece of ski kit as cold hands cam spoil the day. I love it when fresh snowflakes fall on my gloves and remain there whilst their intricacy can be observed. I’ve noticed this most often when on a chairlift in snowy conditions.

I created these snowflakes using free motion embroidery and secondly with icing sugar.

Mittens are great alternatives to gloves for children, and for extremely cold conditions. Good quality ski mittens have separate fingers spaces inside, to add to their warmth.

Key ski items also starting with the letter G are Gondola, for non skiers, this is not the Venetian boat but one of the popular ski lift types, and also Goggles.

Goggles are as fundamental as gloves for well-being and comfort for cold temperatures and snowy days on the mountains.

This illustration is for Gondola, Goggles and Gloves. There’s also one other thing that starts with a G, to be spotted.

Watch this space for the letter H illustrations and if you’ve not seen them previously you can see the previous illustrations at these links….

Apres-Ski Illustration

F for Flying, Freedom and Flow

Technical Ski Illustrations

and more ski posts are on my blog.

Thanks so much for being here. Letter H will be coming up next…

Have a great weekend.

Kim

Ski A-Z – F for Flying, Freedom and Flow…

The latest instalment of my Ski A-Z for the letter ‘F’

There is flow and freedom in skiing which can feel like you’re flying. I love it when gliding along on skis on the mountain tops can feel like flying. Often birds can be seen flying in the valleys below.

I wanted to capture this feeling in this artwork. A sunny day is a must to conjure this magic feeling.

I feel this sensation of flight most in Les 3 Vallees above St Martin de Belleville and Meribel, when heading in the direction of Val Thorens.

The feeling of flying got me thinking about how Olympian Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards must be the British person who has most experienced a feeling of flying on skis. Unusually Eddie, originally a downhill racer, first ski jumped as an adult. In a feat of courage and resolve he created a new British ski jumping record of 73.5 metres, the equivalent of jumping over 6 double decker buses.

I contacted Eddie (his given name is Michael), now inspiring people as a motivational speaker. I asked him about how skiing can feel like flying.

Eddie Edwards, said, “To fly……. is to be free!!”

I wanted to create an illustration which captured the freedom of flight mentioned in Eddie’s quote, along with the joy he demonstrated to the crowds after his Olympic ski jumps.

I don’t usually have a person in mind when painting faces for the Ski A-Z characters, I’m more trying to demonstrate joy and emotion in the expressions of the skiers.

A big thank you to Eddie for the quote, and the inspiration for the illustration.

Finally here’s a very short animation of the Fly, Freedom, Flow painting with a delicate ethereal stitched wing, to bridge between reality and imagination.

So, next up is the letter ‘G’ watch this space and follow to be sure to see the new work as it’s created.

Many people missed out on skiing this winter or had their seasons cut short. I hope that my artworks can give a positive vibe, to spark feel good memories.

If you’ve not seen the previous ski illustrations I’ve been working on you can see them at these links.

Technical Ski Illustrations

Ski A-Z ‘E’ for Extreme, Enjoy and Exhilaration

My favourite – Apres-Ski Illustration

Heli-Skiing in Russia – Illustrated Travel Memoir

Ski Illustrations

A-Z Ski Glossary

Here are my latest posts…

Thanks so much for being here. Please ‘Like’ if you do, and share with others who’ll also enjoy.

Many thanks

Kim

Technical Ski Illustrations

Last week, before the world shifted on its axis, I worked on further illustrations for my intended A-Z Glossary of Ski. The previous post A-C can be found here.

Apres-Ski in the A-C Post.

Thinking of everyone at this time. We are all existing in a new uncertain era. Whatever brings us joy can be our elixir for hope and positivity so if yours is skiing, or you want some escapism, then read on…

This work seems less relevant with so many ski areas closed, but as I’ve already completed it, here it is. I asked on my Facebook Page and the consensus was to continue to share this work. Follow this blog to see more.

D for Drag Lifts

Next up is D for Drag Lifts. There are the solo kind – button lifts and pomas, and the more challenging t-bar. The t-bar can be romantic but if boot buckles get stuck together or there is a significant height difference it can be a battle to stay on the lift all the way to the top.

One of my closest friends was tiny so the poma lifted her off the snow, and she would be literally sitting, holding on, rotating. We would see her and hope that when she got to the top she’d be facing forwards.

B is also for Bindings

This idea kept popping into my head so I backtracked to letter B, and in addition to the Piste-Basher artwork I created this technical illustration to demonstrate ski bindings.

These vital pieces of ski equipment save your legs, and knees, by releasing in the event of a fall or irregular force.

I used hand drawing and then digital techniques to make this piece on paper and iPad and Apple Pencil. Creating some fun pink and yellow screwdrivers in the process.

Piste Off – Jumping on to S for Signs

This was one of the ideas I had for ‘S’ for Signs for the A-Z of Ski, a play on off-piste, which sadly is internationally appropriate, and how many skiers are saying that they feel online.

I’d next intended to use the letter ‘E’ for Extreme Skiing and maybe eating and adventures when I work on this project. I’m open to suggestions. What’s your favourite extreme skiing memory? Share your memories in the comments, would be great to read them, alternatively email me.

I’ve had a good number of requests for prints of ski illustrations. I’ll be exploring selling these as downloads for print at home, with global logistics in mind. More on this soon.

Regular bright cheery doses of inspiration emerge on my favourite social media Instagram, also on Facebook and my art movies and animation on YouTube.

And finally: Smile

Smiling causes the brain to release endorphins, triggering positive feelings, this lowering stress levels and enhancing your mood.


Follow the arrow directions on the diagram to trigger better feelings.
Even pretend smiling has positive effects. Repeat whenever you feel blue.

If you need creative communications solutions, crisis management support, or visual content, get in contact.

Stay light, stay home, keep finding ways to feel joy.

Bye for now,

Kim

Here are links to my latests posts…

Extreme Skiing Book Illustrations

I’m celebrating my work being published in a brand new book by an Extreme Skier in the United States. I was commissioned to create 24 bespoke illustrations for the book. It is wonderful to see my work in print. Illustrations by Kim for new book 30 Years in A White Haze by Dan Egan and Eric Wilbur #30yearsinawhitehaze

Art Challenge 13 – Paper Cut Pictures

A couple of months ago I created three pictures from cuttings of the lovely patterned including paper by  Simple Stories. The first picture was inspired by a visit to the Lincolnshire coast, Chapel St Leonard’s to be specific, where I was enchanted by a wonderful row of brightly coloured beach huts.

Chapel St Leonards Beach Huts

The second was a ski chalet, inspired by our visits to the resort of Courchevel in Les 3 Vallees in the French Alps. The third was inspired by the allotment sheds that I see on countryside walks near my home in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

I wanted to share these paper cut pictures on the blog as they are art works that I am very proud of and as they grew and developed on the paper were a delight to create. Secondly I wanted to show them as I have been working on an Art Challenge which refers to them.

With each of the pictures I started with no vision of what I would create but built the pictures up piece by piece as I went along. In doing so I was able to layer aspects of the picture, add something, replace it if i liked. I enjoyed the freedom of the medium to be able to change and tweak the pictures and add aspects as they popped into my head. Something that I don’t feel would be possible with painting unless you were using oil paints and they had chance to dry in-between.

Grab Beach Hut 2 Beach Huts. Kim 2014
Chalet Picture copy Ski Chalet. Kim 2014
Allotments. Kim 2014 Allotments. Kim 2014

Each of the designs features a small white dog, sadly our Maltese Terrier Sam died after I had created the first picture so I added him, then featured him in the chalet and allotments pictures as a tribute to him.

Sam Sam

I was delighted with the results and proud to display them, I also had some bags, mugs and t-shirts made with the first design of beach huts which were gifts for friends and family. I also added the designs to products at my  Zazzle Shop – click on the link to go there.

Tote Bag. Kim 2014 Tote Bag. Kim 2014

I will be posting short, (1 minute) animations of each of the pictures. If you would like to see those please revisit the blog next week or subscribe to receive a notification of when they are posted.

I really enjoyed creating the pictures and the nostalgia of the scenes, if others can enjoy seeing them that is wonderful.

Update: If you liked this post you can see animations of these pictures at this link Art Challenge 15 – Animating Paper Pictures.