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.
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….
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.
I wasn’t sure as to whether there is relevance to continuing on with my ski A-Z project in the present global climate. But time is spent in lockdown should be time made better by finding the joy, and I get a lot of joy from making this work, and so I found that it felt best to continue. There’s a lot of people who enjoy skiing and mountain sports and so maybe share in the work can share some joy too.
If you’ve not seen my artworks for the letters from A to D then check out the links at the bottom of this blog post to catch up there.
Next up is the letter ‘E’ there are a lot of words that came to mind for E and I have incorporated this into a large artwork which illustrates some of my favourite ski feelings.
Enjoyment of the soaring peaks and stunning views of the mountain environment.
Exhilaration of skiing strong and fast, putting myself against the challenge of the mountain slopes. I always enjoyed giant slalom, over slalom courses, when we were ski racing.
Experiences – Skiing is a great switch off as it’s so engrossing physically and mentally that it’s hard to think of anything else meaning it’s a magic kind of mountain meditation.
One of the ways I love to experience and soak up the mountain atmosphere is to get off the piste and find somewhere to just sit, and be in an entirely natural environment, ideally with a semmel sandwich and a refreshing drink. To sit awhile and take it all in. For the non skiers, if you can get your skis into the snow you can use your ski poles between them to make a seat. Alternatively you can sit on the snow, ideally on a rucksack or plastic bag to avoid getting a soggy ski pants.
Extreme skiing needs you to have your wits about you and is so satisfying when you look back up a slope that you’ve achieved. Often having experienced a range of emotions on the way from doubt and fear to joy and euphoria.
My most extreme ski experience was Heli-skiing in the Caucasus mountains of Russia and Georgia. I illustrated an account of this trip which you can read and see at this link.
Here are the links to the Ski A-Z work already created…
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.
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.
I created this graphic novel page for ‘Make Art That Sells’ June Bootcamp Assignment. As Lockdown restrictions are easing wedding planning can recommence for the couple’s big day. This opening image sets the context for the story. I painted all of the elements in the story in Kuretaki watercolour paints and brought them together digitally … Continue reading Love After Lockdown – Graphic Novel→
I decided to paint this Horse in Tulips after @mchorpash asked last week what was the hardest thing to draw, to which I said ‘Horses’. Seeing this majestic horse on our walk this past weekend made it the perfect opportunity. A weekend also filled with bountiful tulips for our wedding anniversary encouraged this composition painted … Continue reading Horse in Tulips→
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.