On a Train, Chased by a Storm

I scribbled down the composition of this piece while travelling from Huddersfield to Leeds one evening that the north of England saw some spectacular stormy weather. I have come back to it hoping to recreate the dramatic feeling of movement and height.


It was nice to work whilst knowing I was aiming for the Tilda style, but I’ve got into the place where you’ve been staring at your work too long and no longer know what you think of it!

I do plan to try more like this, and refine how I work skies.

On a personal note, as this blog is about wellbeing and creativity; we have just moved into a larger flat where I have more light and room to spread out. I’ve been sewing a lot, sorting through old notes and sketching/painting more. The most important thing to me though is still missing due to medication: my writing. I feel like I’m getting closer, and I’ll post here as soon as I’m in my flow again. Having a comfortable living space is helping. I know that I can get too precious about my poetry and what I share, so I’ll try to refrain because it can inhibit my creativity. Any tips about getting back into a writing routine would be welcome!


Style 3 – Tilda

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Similar to an illustrative style, these pieces are outlined and accented in pen, within controlled compositions of nature. I want them to feel relaxed, simple and almost childlike.

It’s taking some practice, and I don’t feel I’m quite there yet to produce the quality I’m aiming for in this style, but I hope it will be worth it when I get there. Your thoughts? Too simple?

An Update on Paintings

I’ve been away for over a week so have been unable to post anything here. (I have been active on my Twitter! @SukyWhettam) Here are some small square practice pieces I’ve been making on my week away.

I was using Khadi paper here, a very absorbent, textured cotton paper that took a while to get used to. It did however make way for lovely soft blending since the paper stayed wet for so long. I’m happy with the effect produced on the Tree Trunk, and also enjoyed using pen to provide a children’s illustration feel against the matt gouache in the Smoke and Garden pieces.

A big risk with this paper was overworking it, so these were worked quickly and kept as simple as possible. I’m happy to work like that because it keeps it fresh, even if it does mean I’m not perfectly pleased with all these pieces produced. I can always come back to the original idea again and redo it. It was great practice and nice to work in a different setting for the week.

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Let me know what you think!

Happy February: Paintings

February is upon us. I’m thinking of it as the ‘true’ start to the year, January was a trial period for me. In other news, I’ve been playing with more silhouetted foregrounds in my painting. My favourite is the first one with the pen over the graduated sky colours. I’m trying to not let my ‘landscapes’ become static and lifeless, so I’ve chosen slightly more vibrant colours and a rough-and-ready approach to the finish of the pieces (read: not perfect!)


I really like the effect, and it’s pleasing to watch come together. I should have some writing product of my poetry class to show you by the end of the week. That’s my prioritised occupation, really, so watch this space!


Poem: Unlike the Clouds

My husband and I are on our way to Portsmouth for my Grandma’s funeral tomorrow. (Although right now we’re stuck in Guildford waiting for a coach without broken de-misters to take us the rest of the way.)

We set off really early this morning and I saw the sunrise as Joe slept. I think I got about 5 poems out of a few hours in silence and growing light.

Unlike The Clouds


From the top down, pupils squint to see,
blue-to –yellow, the pink-striped sky,
preaching a new mercies, new morning gospel
over the cold ground
soaking in dew,
grateful like it’s manna, and greener
for the waking of the rich hues
of the striped lines, parallel lines
in square sections.

A world away from the messy organisation
of A-roads and off streets,
roundabouts and junctions,
with people in vehicles
working too early
like the clouds,
but not appreciating
the light
thankfully here
again today.

The Worst Poem (to date)

Clouds are heavy but sink slowly
risen from somewhere I can’t see in the city.
My head rises from the pillow
when the light is coming through the window

I sink as the day goes on, slow and softly,
gravity wins me and the clouds.
I close the blinds when the light is gone.

Don’t believe anyone when they say less-than-perfect mental health is conducive to creativity. During the past week or so I experienced a stressful event, which I avoided fixing, naturally, and my writing has been almost non-existent. My painting has been technically focussed rather than creative – I used it as a way of spinning my avoidance for something productive and positive.

I can’t create much good (art, conversation.. anything!) when I’m trying to ignore myself. (I’m also bad at answering the phone.) The problem was soon resolved by other people and I still wasn’t okay, for a while later, to the point where it’s disturbed my sleep and day to day activities.

It has triggered a small low (read: weepy) period for me.

But Tuesday happened, and Tuesdays demand a poem, no matter how poor and unworked. I think if I worked at this one it’d get worse, and possibly more pretentious.

Now go check in on someone you care for. If that’s you, that’s good too.
Hope you have a happy tomorrow.