Tag Archives: inspire

Heli-skiing in Russia – Illustrated travel memoir

This post is an illustrated travel feature from my heli-skiing trip to the Caucasus Mountains of Russia. I have illustrated my account in artworks created in watercolour paints.

Heli-Skiing in Russia

By Kimberley Kay

As the Russian ski guide, Jonanin, adjusts my avalanche detector I pray I won’t need to use it. He tightens the straps across my chest and I realise I am not breathing.

Jonanin asks if I am okay – at least that is what I think he asks, I can’t hear him over the deafening roar of the helicopter rotors. I give the required ‘thumbs up’ – although I am sure that my eyes belie the fact that I am far from ‘okay’.

We climb away from the ramshackle village of Kransnaya Polyana. The peeling paint of the houses and the rusty roofs shrink to miniature as I peer through the window. The helicopter has seen better days, the interior is basic and dirty – I wonder whether the helicopter or the ski descents of the Caucasus Mountains pose greatest risk to my existence.

I have skied since I was five years old – but I know that the heli-skiing will be more challenging than any piste or slalom course I have ever encountered. I knew this when I booked the trip last October, I knew it when I boarded the plane in Moscow to fly south – I hope I have the mental strength to overcome the physical challenge.

Nausea set in at breakfast – I ate what I could stomach, knowing I would need the fuel – but recalling the smell of the dill laced fried eggs makes me wince once more.

We soar towards the mountains where Russia borders Georgia, near the Black Sea. I spot the shadow of the helicopter projected onto the snowy canvas. We are flying level with the mountains – it feels close enough to catch a rotary blade on the jagged granite rock – time to get a grip and calm down.

Twenty minutes later the helicopter begins to slow and hover – my heartbeat quickens and my mouth is dry. On the guide’s signal the skiers one by one jump from the doorway disappearing out of sight. I pull my goggles over my eyes, thank my former self from having the foresight to invest in a helmet, then I jump. Jumping in ski boots isn’t easy – they are rigid and can hyper extend your knee. I break through the icy crust into the soft sugary snow beneath. The lead guide’s advice front of mind, “stay low so that you don’t get sucked into the rotors”.  I crawl across the steep slope to the rest of the group, digging my boots in to keep me from falling. The power of the blades whisks up the air. I feel like a commando – it feels hardcore and I like it. What an adventure!

Immediately the guide signals to the pilot, the helicopter rises and banks away – the noise goes with it leaving silence. The isolation of our location sinks in – we are aloft the landscape with peaks around us 360 degrees, the mountain slopes shimmer in the sun – looking like they have been draped in fondant icing.

My consciousness returns to my situation, knelt at the top of a slope – I look down between my boots and the world drops away almost vertically – oh my… I peer forwards to see over the crest of snow in front of me and see a valley that tumbles away as fiercely as the first. I start to feel my body go heavy as the reality sets in. I dig my skis into the snow at 45 degrees – the only way to clip into the bindings on such an incline.

The guide signals the off and drops over a cornice – I point my skis downwards, taking a deep breath. I focus what lies immediately ahead as I don’t want to become overfaced by the scale of the location.

These are the kind of conditions when people die – loosing their grip and ‘rag dolling’ down the slope until hitting the rocks below. I grip the icy incline with the edges of my skis determined that I will not fall.

Narrowly missing a crevasse brings home to me my naivety about the mountain conditions – I conclude that I have a better chance of surviving staying close to our French guide, Marc. I put my faith in him. And with the helicopter nowhere in sight or earshot and Marc and Jonanin holding the radios, the only means of hailing our ride home, who else can I count on.

I follow Marc down the steep slope my skis juddering on the ice as I fight to stay in control and ensure that I am attacking the mountain and not the other way round.

As we continue to descend the icy surface is then snow, and my skis glide on the surface, I relax and take in the view. There are only mountain peaks as far as I can see, that and the blue sky, I feel like I’m literally on top of the world. It feels like I’m a bird, flying.

We encounter the path of an avalanche – which has thundered down the mountain leaving behind a barrage of boulders of snow. I stand contemplating my descent.

My mind is telling me repeatedly that I can’t do this, as I hear the thoughts my body feels heavy and clumsy. I feel fear coursing through my muscles – debilitating and dangerous. I fight to change the thoughts, to believe I can ski this terrain. Before I have chance to think better of it I point my skis downhill.

Picking a route through icy avalanched snow blocks is like skiing through a collapsed building – very different from the perfectly groomed pistes where I normally ski.

I traverse to an area untracked by the avalanche – the snow is suddenly soft and my knees come up to my chest, throwing me forwards unexpectedly – my helmet hits the snow. The momentum, and the smooth surface of my helmet, means my legs flip quickly over – my helmet hits the snow again – once more the momentum ‘flick flacks’ my body over and I land on my skis. I laugh as I brush the snow crystals from my goggles – I had executed a double front somersault and skied out of it – I’m feeling awesome.

We must have covered 3 kilometres already. The snow is heavy now – it’s April after all. I pull on my strength, my resolve and my determination to ski the run of my life.

And then I am down, joining the guide as one by one the group arrive and gather for the helicopter pick up. To fly us another mountain to ski.

I peel my helmet from my head and survey the slope I have conquered. As the pain in my legs subsides my breath slows and I feel an overwhelming sense of achievement. I look up at the mountain so silent and still, yet so dangerous – an unpredictable opponent.

We all stand at the foot of a deep gorge waiting for our pick up. There is tranquillity in being so far from the busyness of the world. The only other sign of life are bear tracks. I scan the slopes to ensure that there aren’t any bears planning to bound down for an easy lunch. We wouldn’t stand a chance the snow here is too heavy to run or ski on.

The helicopter is now heading straight for us. Although we have to stay squatted down my instinct is to bolt.

Three more heli drops later I savour a bottle of cool water – such exertion in spring temperatures makes me feel like I have had a sauna with my ski gear on.

As we leave the snowy wilderness behind the foliage seems greener than before. It feels like we are flying through the seasons – from winter to spring. The day is warm so I choose to walk the two miles back to hotel. The houses I pass indicate the simple lifestyle of the residents which contrasts uneasily with the extravagance of our morning’s pursuit.

Back at the hotel I relax in the sunshine, my exerted muscles soothed by the sun’s warmth. My perfect day – a great morning skiing and then being able to get my bikini on and enjoy the sun in the hotel garden. I wear a smile inwardly and on my face – I have pitted myself against nature and survived – with some quite fun acrobatics.

Krasnaya Pollyana, Russia.

Ski Kit

Related work…

Ski Illustrations

Christmas Commercial Illustrations

Brushed Blooms

Tennis Club Promotional Work Highlights

Thanks so much for being here. This post is a departure from my usual posts which are about my art process. If you’ve enjoyed the post please comment and/ or Like it. If there is someone that springs to mind who would enjoy it please share it with them, it’s my goal to reach people through my work.

I regularly post new work, but not so frequently as to bother you. To see more you can follow this blog. To see more regular updates you are welcome to follow me on Instagram @Inspire by Kim

Thanks all.

Kim

Reflecting on a creative August

I’ve really enjoyed creating in August. The month started off with the Helen Dardik workshop in Rotterdam which was beautiful and inspiring. The month and art has flourished from there.

I created an illustrated map, an instructional illustration for #PortfolioClub, an illustrated Recipe prompted by Flow Magazine’s book 50 Ways To Draw Your Beautiful Ordinary Life. I also created a party invitation book cover and stitched/painted self portrait.

I added new items to my Folksy shop as we start to get ready for the busy festive period.

To learn more about this latest work follow these links❤️

Illustrated Recipe – Buns

Brushed Blooms

How to plant a tree – Instructional Illustration

How to plant a tree – Instructional Illustration

Visit my Folksy shop here to own and enjoy an original inspiring piece of art.

Thanks

Kim

Illustrated Recipe – Buns

Instagram Post: Prompted by @flow_magazine #50waystodrawyourbeautifulordinarylife using the techniques from @tutorbill ’s course #drawpaintclickillustration

With #inktober in mind, and the instructional illustration prompt for #portfolioclub for August, I drew the elements of the recipe whilst travelling to Wembley Stadium and back by train.

One of my favourite books at the moment is, Flow Magazine’s 50 Ways To Draw Your Beautiful Ordinary Life, which set a task of an illustrated recipe, as a family heirloom. I thought it would be sweet to use French for this for my neice.

After adding some colour in Inktense pencils I added water to activate the ink pigment.
These pretty buns made with my niece, who so carefully and beautifully decorated them, were the inspiration for this recipe illustration.

I assembled my drawings in Pixelmator app using a vertical flow for the instructions., I wanted the colour to be subtle and to keep the recipe more drawings than words.

Here is the final outcome,

This is a favourite recipe from family baking as a child, if you bake it do enjoy and it would be lovely to see what you’ve made and hear about it,

This work related to these projects,,,

Portfolio Club – Circus Illustration

How to plant a tree – Instructional Illustration

Tennis Club Promotion Part Two

Illustrated Map

Please feel free to have a look at these and the content on my blog and website.

If you’d like an illustration or bespoke artwork please message or email me inspirebykim@outlook.com

You might want to take a look at Flow Magazine, 50 Ways To Draw Your Beautiful Ordinary Life

I highly recommend Bill Wright’s Draw Paint Click Illustration course and the techniques taught.

Here’s a link to Inktense pencils that I used. You can check out #portfolioclub on Instagram.

I’m looking forward to #inktober which is an ink drawing a day for the month of October. Here’s my work from when I joined Inktober.

https://52artchallenges.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/inktober-highlights/

May you have a sweet day.

Kim 😊

Sublimation Samples – Workshop Soon

With just a month to my lovely Heat Press workshop (10-12:30 9th March Sheffield) here are some examples and samples of what you could choose to make.

Of course there really aren’t any limits, the possibilities are infinite.

Whether you want to paint, print, cut paper pieces, make patterns or pictures – it’s your workshop and time to indulge in play with colour and fabrics.

Click here when you’re ready to book

 

Here are the workshop details…

 

Book your place now at http://www.stitchedupandfleeced.com/workshop

So excited to show and share these techniques and see what everyone makes.

Sublime Sublimation Stories

Miniature Cheese Plant

Bird and Flower Cushion

Designing a Dog Coat

Textile Passion Flowers

Hope you can join us for a fun workshop.

All the fine detail is at this link…

Heat Press Workshop – All you need to know.

To book click here😊🌠🎉

Kim x

Inspiration On Your Wrist – Design Concept

Wearable tech could improve positivity – make a huge difference to a person’s mindset, rippling throughout their life and relationships for fulfilling outcomes.

I developed a smart watch concept that will monitor pulse, body temperature and motion in order to prompt timely delivery of motivating images and inspiring messages.

For example; elevated heart rate, without physical movement, could be an indicator of anxiety – in this instance the device would alert the wearer, through tone, music track, vibration and/or screen lighting up, to inspiring content, tailored for them through preferences selected in an app.

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Sketchbook illustration of the concept.
The smart watch design prototype
The watch console would slip into a stretchy elastic strap that can be changed and easily replaced. Comfort, own choice of design, washable, changeable and inexpensive.

 

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The strap idea came from my custom designed and printed hair and wrist bands.
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There could be the option for the wearer to print their own strap design at home – making their product unique.

 

The idea is developing and I wonder whether this could be an app in itself. Will explore that idea.

Posts related to this are:

Exhibition – Sheffield 13th – 15th June.

Inspired Bags

The Inspire Bear

Well that’s all for now, thanks for being here 🙂 you can see more at my Facebook page and Instagram feed.

Media Coverage 

I’m delighted that the Sheffield Star newspaper have covered my exhibition on page 12 of today’s paper.

Here’s the press release issued about the project:

Designed to Inspire – Art Exhibition 

Kimberley Kay, working as ‘Inspire by Kim’, has developed a range of ‘Everyday Inspiration’ products – exhibited at The Workstation Gallery in Sheffield this week. 

Kim explained, “I create to inspire and uplift people, with bright designs and delightful fabrics that add colour to everyday routines.” 

“At Sheffield College I’ve explored creative ways to communicate, studied textile techniques and developed pattern designs. I honed manufacturing skills to make a delightful product range of bags, clothing and accessories. The products come together in a catalogue to engage retailers and customers. 

“I share my work in progress through my website, Facebook page and Instagram feed, which provides feedback for the development of my products. The digital world means its possible to reach out to people globally, if people can feel a little happier from seeing my work that’s a wonderful thing.” 

“My goal is to have a successful art business of commissioned work, illustration, products, and inspiring, creative workshops for local people. I’m determined so it’s a matter of keeping going forwards, step by step.” 

Kim has been studying with Design & Visual Arts Department at the Hillsborough Campus of Sheffield College. The end of year exhibition covers Art & Design, Games Design, Graphic Design and Photography and takes place at The Workstation, until 8pm on Thursday 15th June. 

Kim’s cheesegrater Sheffield souvenir idea received acclaim from Sheffield Design Week in November 2016. 

***Ends***

Bye for now, thanks for being here. 

Kim x

2016 in Pictures

2016 has been a year of colour, creation and challenges for me. Here are the highlights of the year in pictures. (You can click on the pictures for the full story on the different elements).

First Art Exhibition in March

First Solo Art Exhibition
First Self-Portrait

First Painted Self Portrait

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Self Portrait – Acrylics – Copyright Kim
First Oil Painting

Underwater Calm Lady – Copyright Kim
First Retail Placements


First Art Projection – this link directs to the Exhibition which featured this artwork.

 

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The Light of Inspiration – Copyright Kim

Ice-Cream Paper-Cut Picture Completed

Hot Days Eating Cool Ice Cream – Copyright Kim
First Jigsaw

 

First Art and Design Competition Win and Media Coverage

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Article from The Star newspaper, Sheffield.

First Book

 

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Sam – The Dog Who Wanted To Fly – Copyright Kim

Here’s the 58 seconds movie of my First Art Exhibition.

My largest artwork in 2016 is a commissioned artwork which I’ll be revealing here very soon.

I’m astounded that my blog has been viewed in 82 countries in 2016, I love the idea of my art reaching out across the globe. Thanks to everyone who followed, Liked, commented, bought and visited my art in 2016. I appreciate everything.

I dedicate this post to my dear Grandad who left us this year. 

The next post will be looking forwards to 2017. Follow my blog to see that post when it is live.

And finally…

My Story

About Inspire

Dementia Competition – Art Challenge 

South Yorkshire Dementia Creative Arts Exhibition 2017 (@SYDCAE) ran a competition as they required a poster image for shows in Sheffield and Detroit. 

I worked in range of media with metaphors for lost parts of self including feathers, jigsaw pieces, petals, coils, threads. 

Here are my favourite pieces from this explorative work. All images are subject to Copyright. 

Iron Wire Feather
Iron Wire Feather
Saw this little fish in one of the feather images. Copyright Kim
Saw this little fish in one of the feather images. Copyright Kim
Dementia Hanging Over - Creeping gently over until it cages the sufferer
Dementia Hanging Over – Creeping gently over until it cages the sufferer
Heat pressed feather design. Feathers are lost parts of the self which may drift away unnoticed.
Heat pressed feather design. Feathers are lost parts of the self which may drift away unnoticed.
Where the fish was waiting to be found
Where the fish was waiting to be found
Fenced in by dementia
Fenced in by dementia
A tight coil unravelling
A tight coil unravelling – Rollered copper
My favourite copper feather
My favourite copper feather
In the grip of Dementia - Copyright  Kim
In the grip of Dementia – Copyright Kim
The rolling wave of Dementia - my first laser cuts
The rolling wave of Dementia – my first laser cuts

Dementia Daisy - Loss Over Time. Competition entry. Copyright Kim
Dementia Daisy – Loss Over Time. Competition entry. Copyright Kim
Dementia pressing in  - Competition Entry - Copyright Kim
Dementia pressing in – Competition Entry – Copyright Kim
My favorite outcome , machine embroidered heat pressed feather.  Love it. Copyright Kim
My favorite outcome , machine embroidered heat pressed feather. Love it. Copyright Kim
Related posts to enjoy next:

Dichronic Glass Workshop

https://52artchallenges.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/glass-making-workshop/
Drawing with Metal

https://52artchallenges.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/drawing-in-metal-art-challenge-54/

https://52artchallenges.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/emerging-from-injury-to-produce-art-exhibition/
My Story – From Injury To Art

Life Drawings https://52artchallenges.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/new-life-drawings/

Art Challenge 21 – Custom Charger Bag

I was asked for a small phone charger bag featuring my beach huts paper cut design.

See how the pictures were created at this previous Art Challenge blog post https://52artchallenges.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/art-challenge-13-paper-cut-pictures/

I looked around to see which companies were offering photo printed soap bags and chose a company that I could see and feel the quality.

I decided to get a number of the bags printed to gift and sell.

I created two different models of bag, both featuring the beach huts picture on one side and then on the other either the allotments sheds picture of the ski chalet. The different bags will appeal to different people.

I was disappointed that there was a delay with the order which took the shine and excitement away. When I collected the bags I felt that they needed a little more detail to finish them off. I decided that adding a zip pull would give the product more finesse and better overall effect.

I tried a few different ways of creating the zip pull and had a bit of a shock that my eyes aren’t as good for sewing as they used to be. Oh those cross stitches I used to create with just my naked eyes. This time, even with glasses on, I was struggling too see clearly enough.

I searched through my sewing box and found some ribbon I bought a few years ago and had never used. One worked well with the chalet picture, one less so but that worked well with the allotments and beach huts pictures.

I experimented with how to stop the ribbon from fraying, sewing, burning with candle and then with hair straighteners. I settled on burning with matches as the most effective option, but too long and the ribbon would turn black.

At first I sewed the zip pulls on all sides, then tried just sewing a line across, then finally found that I could do it more neatly by just doing stitches at the end of the zip and then secondly through the furthest whole of the zip. This final option was also quickest, although each bag took longer than I expected, as I was eyesight challenged.

So having completed the sewing I felt that the bags needed some kind of label or branding to finalise the designs and overall first impression.

My husband bought me some scissors with different shaped cutting blades, I added a vertical wraparound strip then tried watercolour painting small labels to add a final presentation detail.

2015/01/img_1767.jpgIMG_1787Please with the final results and they have been met with delight from loved ones.

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Of you like the pictures you can watch the animations of the pictures at https://52artchallenges.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/art-challenge-15-animating-paper-pictures/