Diane Young a bit more of…..

Previous Life Counting £££’s!

A long time ago in another life I was an accountant. Not in a firm but in commercial enterprises working in open offices with teams and departments and deadlines. I traded in my career for family life and became a jack of all trades from managing two children to wiring the telephone in, fixing broken things, redecorating, cleaning drains, doing stuff to save paying anyone else and building lego.  Remember this…


Creative Backdrop

My children grew up, my husband had a radical job change and it transpired that the vision we had as yuppies in the 1990’s would not come to pass. However I feel blessed to have been driven to be creative as it has sustained me throughout years where I have not been academically challenged. Along the way I have learned many new things in connection with my craft and gained an Illustration Degree. Having a creative interest I have found that there are always too many ideas and too little time. I finally found my feet this year after what felt like a long evolution to a technique of making images that I am really happy with. I hope it shows in my animal characters and other paintings that I am so fond of creating.

2005 show

End of Year Degree show 2005 Conningsbury Gallery London


We have always had pets, we now have two black rescue cats. ..this is Simba he has massive canine teeth and he used to walk around with a ping pong ball in his mouth when he was a kitten!

Simba fang cat


Exeter Inspirations – Cathedral, Museum and Art Galleries

I visited Exeter earlier in the week and visited the local museum (RAMM -Royal Albert Memorial Museum).  I love the variety  to be inspired by in places full of collections such as Museums.  It is a different sort of inspiration than that of visiting art galleries and looking at other artists. Different senses, memories, and interests are triggered by the range of objects from clothing, to fossils, and fragments of different eras.  The image of Exeter Cathedral features Richard Hooker a 16C theologian and priest, the other items are in the RAMM. More details on individual images.  Look out for the art galleries in Exeter town centre, especially the Gloss Gallery, open Wednesday to Saturdays.

Sculpture at Fresh Air Quenington


A sculpture exhibition is currently showing in the village of Quenington Gloucestershire in the fantastic setting of the Quenginton Old Rectory and gardens.  This annual show is called Fresh Air and features many different exciting, exotic, traditional and contemporary sculptures, something for everyone including  children with refreshments served under cover.  The gardens are huge, beautifully stocked with a stream running through.

Light and Dark

It is interesting to  note the flock of gulls sculpture where in  one instance the photo shows dark against light and the other light against dark. They were taken one after the other and show the choice one can have if using for example a light coloured bird such as a seagull flying in a painting. Against the sky it would be silhouetted or a darker hue than the sky, and against a background such as foliage or cliffs the bird would be brightly highlighted.  It is a good example to show the  choice that one might have in placement of elements such as a flying seagull for drama, effect, or composition.

There is an online catalogue for the Fresh Air exhibition if you want a preview, but don’t look if you want to be surprised!

UWE Bristol Creative Degree Show

Rose Tinted Spectacles?

Yesterday I paid a visit to UWE (University of the West Of England) in Bristol (UK).  Every year I go to see the degree show held by the creative department  since studying there as a mature student for my own Illustration degree 8 years ago.    Recent years have been a little disappointing for me probably because  there appears to be less traditional mediums such as painting or printmaking being used to produce images in my favourite illustration genre Picture Book Illustration….or is it something to do with my rose tinted specs?

Sample work from the show,  my favourite  medium included of course….

Time to Learn

Are young people drawn (no pun intended) to more versatile and eclectic methods of producing artwork such as collage and graphic design moreso than us (slightly) more mature folk?   Does the ease at which one can more or less instantly move into the area of digital media and photography mean that younger students are less likely to pick up the skills required to use a paintbrush successfully?   Why buy up costly paints, paper, brushes and so on when most of us have access to pcs, laptops, scanners and cameras all ready to get creative with.

After deliberating on this it has dawned on me that my artistic skills and especially those using  paint have been acquired over many years.  In fact I have a drawer full of different bits of  equipment to evidence dabblings in all sorts from oils to inks, pencils and printing.  All  said and done it took me quite some time to achieve a level of satisfaction and consistency,  and there will be no admission to exactly how long it took!


My conclusion is that we have all got to start somewhere but as individuals there is still plenty of time for traditional skilled methods of creating images to emerge.  Eight years ago the style described as naive was fashionable whereas today a  retro 1960/70’s look with subdued and limited tones is current. No doubt there will come a time when painting will become popular again,  get to the show next year or one local to you, and see the images up close and personal.  Sketch books are also on show giving insight into the preparation towards the final artwork.

Balls of wall suspended - part of the Degree Show at UWE

Balls of wall suspended – part of the Degree Show at UWE

Yesterday was the last day of UWE’s show but here is a link to the online gallery.

All images of artwork attributed to the talented creative  students of UWE 2013.

Accessing your Creativity by Watching TV?

Chewing the Pencil or More Washing Up?

Wash up?Sometimes it feels hard to be creative and other times it comes quite easily. The barometer for this may be the number of teeth marks in the pencil end as you sit there chomping away with not very much else happening. I recently saw a program by the BBC where it was surmised that mundane tasks or doing something that requires minimal thinking like taking a shower,  or washing up allows the brain to be more creative.  Whilst solving a creative problem or trying to come up with new ideas or solutions a mundane task allows the brain to meander around the thousands of kilometres of connections.  Under pressure to be on task  to do a job in hand, whilst sitting chewing the pencil in an attempt to be creative, forces the brain to concentrate and fast forward on the most direct route to the supposed answer, without paying attention to any other possible junctions along the way.  In this instance if no solution comes to mind  this presumably is the equivalent of writers block.  In its simplest form less brain  efficiency  means more creativity.

Barely Legible……but A Good Reason to Watch TV


I subscribe to this theory as ideas come more readily to me when I am watching TV in the evenings and I will just scribble them down for another time.  Of course I do not mean whilst watching a film where it is critical to pay attention, and definitely not where subtitles are concerned!  Even if the ideas are hardly legible, they at least have been captured and logged ready to work on properly in the morning.  In the morning the need for that elusive idea forming creativity gives way to a more strategic approach and putting the idea to good use.  Here the brain can concentrate fully and hopefully without too much distraction (except for the odd blog write up of course!).

BBC Article – Five Ways To Be More Creative

Purest Green

green #3Green Fingers

I once told an illustrator friend of mine that “green was best left to nature” I think she thought I was serious at the time,  but for me it was probably true. The reason I said it was because I did not enjoy using green, or rather using green was not easy.   On the other hand she uses green alot.  Being a landscape artist using fine detail down to the smallest blade of grass she is a green expert.  She is also good at growing plants so maybe the green fingers help.


Green #4

There seems to be so many variations of green, is there any more shades of green than that of any other colour?  I cannot imagine how one might find this out, I mean what is defined as a shade, I guess it must be more about spectrums?  Information welcome,  drop me an email.

Suits You (sir)

Green #2

Some people may believe that a certain colour does not suit them, but really what it is is they have not discovered the shade of that colour which will suit them.  The problem with the usual clothes shops is that the colours on offer is limited to what is economic for them to produce.  Settling for the nearest thing to the colour we would really like as a sometimes works for us, and sometimes it doesn’t, but don’t worry I wont say anything if you don’t!


Green #1

Nowadays I have found the shades of green that I like. The strategy that works for me is to use colour mixing books such as The Art of Colour Mixing  (John Lidzey etc) and identify the shades that I like and use them.  This avoids the hazards of the subtleties of mixing an individual green and saves on alot of time with a fairly certain result.  There are probably other books out there which have more variety on shades of a colour but this one suffices for me.

Purest Green or is it Gold?

All those green pics I have included all from my garden just now, all outside, no part of my house interior is green so I stick to my original statement, that for me  (if there is a choice) green is best left to nature!

And finally, brighten your day with a couple of minutes of BlackAdder’s Purest Green a favourite funny moment of mine where Lord Percy Percy discovers “a nugget of purest Green”.