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A3 sketchbook update

 I was going to show you the last sketchbook as a video, but realized as I was doing it that there were things I wanted to add! So here's another A3 sized sketchbook that I'm gradually filling. It's only half done really but was in the studio waiting for some monoprinting to dry and I thought I'd share some old and some new work.

I got rid of the moth

This page originally featured a moth but I didn't like it so painted over it and added trees. I like this version a lot more now. I've had a couple of weeks break as I've been a little unwell, but this afternoon I grabbed a couple of metres of pumpkin coloured Jersey to make one of my favourite patterns.

Nothing like a bit of sewing to bring instant cheer!! 

Sketchbook Challenge, workshop 3

This week Laura took us through stencils, rubbings, focal points and lots of other things too. It's difficult not to get carried away and resolve each page as you go by filling them up! There are 8 workshops in the course so plenty of space needs to be left to add upcoming ideas to the pages.

A series of pages bringing the blue across for balance. Rubbings and stencils.

A couple of slices of photos had welded themselves to a piece of paper that was a bit pritt-sticky, so I left them and coloured around them before sticking the sheet into the left hand side of my book.

Quink on gesso

Acrylic paint.

At crack of dawn earlier in the week we had this lovely sunrise, which I photographed and stuck into my book. I added washes and colour using acrylics and glazing medium. Not sure I've left enough to do here but will come back to it later I expect to see what can be added/taken away.

This is the photo taken at dawn.

The long dark night with a cry of the wild

Here's a few pages from the sketchbook that I've put a bit of paint on. I'm about half way through the book but won't bore you with all of it! I'll do a video or two when I finish the course.

I was up at 3 am doing a spot of painting as I'd given up on sleeping and thought I may as well do something productive. The nights can seem long and dark, but yesterday they weren't quiet as I had a fox and an owl to keep me company. Their cries have welded themselves into the pages and created an atmosphere in red and blues. 

The long thin pages are proving to be an inspiration not a hindrance - I've no idea what they'll become of course as there are many layers to add on top of these, but can see lots of potential.

Adding paint to the sketchbook - workshop 2

This is turning out to be a cracking little course!! I've just watched the second video which is about adding paint to the sketchbook pages.

The explanations are lovely and clear with lots of fab details and examples as well as demonstrations. If you were a beginner, or experienced but wanted to try something new, or just to do something different in lockdown, I'd recommend this. It's a step by step process, so the picture below is not the finished article - it will have very many more layers added I've no doubt! The section on the left was a printed paper I'd stuck into the sketchbook; I then added watery acrylic paints allowing them to flow and drip. The right hand page has been torn to be shorter than the other pages, and I've let the paint run over to give a splash on the underlying page.

Other pages are more vibrant as I ladle on the colour in spades!

At the moment I'm following Laura closely on the painting thing, using similar colours in a limited palette. But, lucky old me was given this lovely box of acrylic paints and mediums as a birthday present and it has everything I need in it including a shot of shocking pink. Perfect!

Choosing and prep of the sketchbook

I've chosen an existing sketchbook in a format I've not used before. I've always found the shape slightly awkward - A5 landscape - as when the double pages are open they are very long and thin. 

Following Laura's 1st video I've made a start on prepping the book with some printed papers from my stash. There's not a huge lot to see at this stage! It's going to be very eclectic.

OK so what am I like?!


Having just said that it's not possible to do much creatively at the moment, I am going to try a new sketchbook project being run on DMTV.  

I might not be able to do a great deal but it's important to try especially as the next few weeks might otherwise be cheerless!! I will of course post here.

There are worse places to be in lockdown.


Above: Taking a walk through Warwick.

I have been a little crook lately and haven't been able to do much except mope around feeling sorry for myself! It's impossible to do much for now, but thought I'd just share this lovely photo of Mill Street in Warwick - the castle towers over the houses at the end of this street. 

It looks as if we're going to go into lockdown again at the end of this week which is sad, but at least there are some lovely places to walk around in my neck of the woods.

Take care everyone, and stay safe xx

The Tip Field


Many years ago I had an idea for some work based on the life of a field throughout the year. I called it the Tip Field because its a small piece of open land next to the Tip and the sewage works. Sounds delightful doesn't it? The other sides are bordered by river and the railway line to Birmingham. It doesn't really have a name and is just known for the footpath that goes through the middle of it.

If you think about it, the inspiration and possibilities are huge. Think of all that flora and fauna in the field and river and the endless possibility for design from the shapes of buildings and transport infrastructure. 

I began but didn't finish and put the idea on hold as you do. I've been a bit crook lately with a bad back and have been keeping myself occupied as it helps enormously to do arts and crafts as a diversion and therapy. Takes your mind off things. I came across these little books a couple of days ago which were to be part of the project and which were going to be displayed as a "library" in the finished 3D piece. 

So, why not take up where I left off and see how I get on? I'm going to start filling out the books and will add more books too if I manage to fill these 4. I thought some of those atc ones might be cool! 
I'll leave the rest of my ideas for another day. Pace yourself Mrs R!

A larger version done ages ago A1 size on paper - much better than the tiny one above but you can't get the same detail in miniature.

And a bee!


Atc's or artists trading cards are 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. 

I recently made a couple of small books using them as hard covers and wanted to make some more for friends but I need to research how you make a hard covered book with a spine. These are all acrylic - subtraction pears and acrylic pours.

In case you were wondering how you do tiny acrylic pours, you use a tiny disposable shot glass! I found I didn't get many cells this time which was a shame - I think the paint was too thick. 

Subtractive pear


The heavy machine stitch and washes behind these crosses make this feel very much like the textile equivalent of subtractive painting.

Subtractive painting is just taking away paint to show the underneath colours. 

I whipped up a quick subtractive pear this morning as there's a lot of gorgeous fruit around to draw and paint as we go into autumn.

A base layer of vibrant pink!

A layer of iridescent bright gold

A very thick layer of Phthalo blue. 

I used a palette knife, kitchen towel, paintbrush and cotton buds to draw into the wet paint. I would have liked more of the pink to show through - I obviously put the gold layer on too thickly.


The Quilt as a Canvas #4 finished.

Well, almost, it still has to have a binding. It's in the series The Quilt as a Canvas and is an experimental piece. It's not for exhibition or anything, just made for the fun of it. It will probably be added to the stash in the garage, but if anyone out there likes it, it is available for a donation to a bowel cancer charity. Email me on bellabow.studio@gmail.com if you want to know more. I thought about £100?? but open to offers.

It comes directly from a sketchbook page from the course that I'm on run by Linda and Laura Kemshall (link at top of this posting) and owes much to them, especially Laura's crosses! I don't normally sell quilts much but thought this might be a way of raising a tiny bit for a charity that I know is close to Laura's heart.

110cms x 90cms 
Cotton own dyed fabrics, heavy machine stitching, paint.

The quilt has now sold. Thank you very much!!! 

This quilt is slightly experimental. It's a translation of a sketchbook page into a quilt.

Here's the sketchbook page:

Here's some detailed shots.