"PG was thrilled with the birthday present artwork and he was actually quite emotional when he first saw it. Everyone that contributed to his gift were also very impressed. Thank you for all your input and understanding from us what was required." - Karen O.
"This is to tell you that Caroline absolutely loves the painting you created. There were tears and everything and it's taken pride of place in our living room."
- Adam W.
"Brilliant, Michi, thank you so much. We have had a few puzzled faces when we've described the concept. We want to say thank you so much, 'cause you've completely understood. It's exactly what we want, can't tell you how happy we are."
- Yangalang Theatre
A comic-style "day-in-the-life" 60th birthday present
A lovely job to do: a surprise present organised by the birthday boy's friends. I was given a very helpful brief showing each element, and lots of needed photos.
All the little details and in-jokes were of course very important and meaningful - type of wine, record artist, vegetables grown, journals, telly programme, board game... drafting emails went back and forth. We had it framed in oak, and the result was a great success!
Two infographics: environmental campaign, and academic conference
Ever since I was a kid, people have said I'm good at explaining stuff so it feels like this kind of information work is ideal.
Below: I had a detailed brief including desired mood and style and main messages. Chose limited colours to fit with the Zero Waste Europe website main colours.
Right: I attended and took pages of notes at this conference at Sussex University, then after numerous drafts back and forth with my client, just managed to fit it onto one page.
A shop window display
A slightly 3-D hanging display for a gallery in Kendal as part of a comic arts festival windows art trail, with cartoon characters commenting on a painting and adding their "improvements".
I drafted some figures to see how they might be positioned on a copy of the painting, trying different relative sizes and making sure the hands holding the brushes and pens could reach the right places, and with enough overlap to support their weight when fixed to the painting.
Speech bubbles were carefully positioned to add strength and support to the more precarious figures.
I glued everything onto the boards and then cut them out with an exacto knife, not easy given all the little fingers and pens and brushes...
After gluing the figures onto the 'painting', I drew in their amendments with a Sharpie. I found the centre of balance (not in the centre!) and put loops on the back for hanging.
A re-making of a treasured bookcover painting
Recreating this much-loved image from a photo of the very old and damaged original for a surprise present felt a big responsibility. I was told it didn't have to be exactly the same, I could do it in my style, but the more I looked at it the more I thought it should be as close as I could make it.
I experimented with different combinations of coloured inks and pencils and paints for the right effect, and used ink and watercolour in the end.
A pair of hand-painted magnetic signs for an organic farm
Ashurst Organics no longer had their original van and had been making do with a series of short-lived replacements and hire vans to deliver vegetables, so a moveable sign was the ideal temporary solution. And being a small farm, an imperfect hand-lettered sign would be okay...
This is the first time I'd tried working with 3mm magnetic sheet. The surface is slick, shiny vinyl which won't even take a pencil mark, and it was trial and error to find a paint that would adhere and withstand weather long-term.
I drew the letters on sturdy paper and cut them out with a craft knife to make a stencil, laid this on the vinyl and traced inside the 77 shapes with a fine-point Sharpie. Then brushed on the Hammerite, quite thick and hard to work, inside the lines.
Feathery carrot tops were impossible to pre-prepare with a stencil, so had to be simply painted straight on with the same unwieldy Hammerite, hoping for the best!