Sunday, August 1, 2010

Thank you and Goodnight.

Is it possible that two months have elapsed where my blog has been pervaded by silence? No, that can't be right. Really? (yes). No! (YES). oh. Well for those of you who are still checking in (stat counter tells all!)...thankyou for sticking with me!

Where went the pockets of time used for drawing favourite teacups or an interesting place or a quirky food item? What happened? Who am I? (wife, puppy-mummy, chef, chauffeur, tea drinking, dog walking lady of the house...). Oh...that explains it then! Fair to say that super-multi-tasking is a skill I'm still trying to acquire....
Anyhow, now that my ambitions and intentions are filed neatly into the 'conquer all' section of my brain, I'm more than ready to give the pens a workout once again. 

I have just returned from the most awesome, interesting honeymoon (trans-American Road Trip), from which I am bursting with inspiration and delight in this great country. Lots to see and say and draw. The posting has already commenced over at my newly-named blog.
Due to my change of name, I will no longer be posting at this blog address, but all contents have been moved to pastures new at I do hope you'll come and join me! 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mrs Louise Neumann. That is me, I am she.

We found two matching shells on the beach. Our 'married shells'. The tanned, muscly one resembles Forrest, and the white and weedy one is me, to a tee :)

As of last Thursday, I'm embracing my new status as the wife.
I powered through the giggles (an affliction of mine) to say 'I do' at the appropriate moment and landed one on my new husband's lips with all the grace (not much) and hilarity (plenty) that befits my usual manner. If there wasn't a video as evidence of the event, I'd probably still be asking whether it really did happen.
I should probably feel 'different', but this is simply not the case. I suppose I had already felt secure. I was already making lunches with good wifely enthusiasm ("mystery sandwiches' tomorrow, Dear?'). Forrest and I already bickered like husband and wife. Plus, married or not I will always forget to squeeze the toothpaste from the end of the tube. Nothing has changed.

The wedding was rushed for the sake of my visa requirements, so after my low expectation of the thing, I was ridiculously tickled by the loveliness of it, really. Who knew we would have the sweetest little lady in the whole of Alabama to conduct the ceremony, and who knew there would be surprise wedding cake, and a photographer, celebrations and a weekend at the beach with two of our nearest and dearest. The manta rays even came to play. My memory museum just opened a new archive. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Big Baby.

     The boy is growing up/ The boy is still a baby   

The boy is making friends/ Family photo

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

City drawing. Country living.

Re-doing  a portfolio piece that could use some fine-tuning:

I think I always dreamt about cities. I think I still do. San Francisco holds the key to my heart, and the mere thought of New York awakens ambition like nothing else.
Despite this, life at the moment couldn't be more 'country'- but it's really not that bad because I like the fact that we have our own (small) yard, I like that we can grow tomatoes, I like to run past fields of grazing cows, and I definitely like watching the little furry one sprinting in circles on his miniature garden racetrack. I even like cowboy shirts and freckled noses. 

Speaking of the four-legged one, I'm fairly sure he ate a toad last night. I was treated to an audio and visual production that nobody would welcome at 3.30am. It's lucky I love that little Stinker...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

work and play.

For the first time in many months I have a little time to throw around and decide what to do with. It is far too easy to dedicate all my minutes to the dear little Sharkface who is growing at the most ridiculous of rates. However, even the furry one sleeps occasionally, and it's high time my website had a bit of an overhaul. 
Give me a month and it'll have to change all over again, when I find myself answering to a different name. Out with the Egger, in with the Neumann. But it's a matter of the baby steps for now. And speaking of babies, I think I can hear the thump of little (actually frighteningly large) puppy paws marching up the stairs. At 13 weeks, both of his ears have popped up, and he's less Sharkface, more Vampire Bat. The look on my face says it all.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sweet home Alabama.

The camellia is the state flower in my sweet new home, Alabama.
I've experienced the requisite spell of homesickness, now it's time to embrace the new life. My moment of clarity occurred at precisely 6.35 am as I jogged along the road- loving the sunrise, cursing the heat, waving at the cows, watching my knees turn pink. 'Well, this is life now' I said to myself. At 6.30 in the morning, I am not one for complex thought.

Adjustments are taking place. Growing up (more? yes, more!) must be done because I'm Mummy now. Mummy to the softest pair of ears in the neighbourhood. Walking, feeding, learning, playing, discipline and cuddles. Always the cuddles. I was prepared yet unprepared, but I've got so much time for this unco-ordinated, long-legged puppy who makes me smile every time I look at him. Pretty little Sharkface, the boy is a champ.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

4297 miles west.

Thanks to the combined effects of jet lag and a puppy, I've spent a lot of time in the company of my coffee mug just lately....

It is not without tremendous relief and cheer that I can say I finally made it back to the USA (pre-volcanic ash debacle!). 
There is a puppy chewing on my toe and he is ours. The boy is at work 20 minutes away which definitely beats the distance of an ocean and a 9 hour plane journey.
It is everything I was hoping for, yet now that I'm here I hardly know what to do with myself. As anticipated I'm just a little homesick. My parents, my friends and always that naughty little Ellie-the-dog.

We've got our own baby now though. The furry Shepherd who rounds us up when we are in different rooms. Who bites our elbows, toes and wrists. Who follows me everywhere I go with his expression of concern. That's Rudy, my little love.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fairy Fingers, what else?

Work, rain and thumb-twiddling. I may never have felt this impatient in all my life. Time has stopped, I'm sure of it. Waiting isn't something I do well.

Watching the rain fall outside, it seems like things need brightening up a bit. Flowers always help. Foxgloves- though poisonous- go by other amusing names that make me smile. 'Fairy Fingers, Witch's Glove and Deadman's Bells'. The stuff of fairytales. Today it suits my mood perfectly.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Name, Address, Date of Birth.

I'm drowning in paperwork this week. See you on the other side, I hope.

It's not all bad though. I have procured some minutes from my non-existent stash of time and made some sketchbooks. It's been on the list for an eternity, there really was no more ignoring it. The fruits of my labour are, I must admit quite pleasing. There is nothing like a handmade sketchbook. Nothing in the world. The fabric spines are my old pyjamas, a long-suffering bookbag, and a square of mystery fabric that I have no recollection of ever acquiring. Perfecto-mundo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A visit to The Smoke.

I like London. Really I do. Y'know- the busy streets and secret alleyways and the coffee shops and the landmarks. That big city feeling- you know the one.
I didn't notice any of that last Thursday though. I woke up at 3am. Showered at 5. Tried to swallow some breakfast at 6. Gave up and got on the Tube at 7. Took a deep breath in front of the US Embassy at 9. The rest is a blur. More so than you'd imagine.
The last 7 months have panned out well and I have much to be grateful for. But life has been in limbo and I'm more than ready to be back in the States with the boy. The weight of that had my stomach in a tangle on Thursday morning, to say the very least.

After three hours of watching a screen for my number to appear, I managed to exchange afew pleasantries with the immigration officer before my body said 'nope' and well... I fainted. Right in the middle. of. the. embassy.
I don't remember much other than opening my eyes wondering why I was lying star-shaped on the floor. Almost a week later, I can giggle with the best of them about how it all played out. At the time, I was seeing stars, being offered cookies and saying 'I feel a bit silly' while having my blood pressure taken and being assessed as looking 'very grey'. oh good. This was not how I'd planned it.

Replaying this incident in my mind makes me want to stick my fingers in my ears and hum loudly. It's hard to look that memory in the face. But on the upside, despite missing a form which will delay my departure, my application was approved! I get to marry the boy. 
I should express my gratitude to the people at the Embassy who were very sweet to me during this little drama. They will never read this, but they deserve a mention, as kindness must be recognised, I think. Thanks also to my Mum and sister who both took days off work to jolly me along (...thanks also to my dog, and my lucky socks and....). Ok, that is all :)
This was a big deal for me, I'm excited for the future.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tea and Travel

After four magnificent months, my current job (illustrating Christmas books for Philo Trust) is almost wrapped up. Like all roller coasters it has to finish, and like all roller coasters, I wish it didn't. I'm a glutton for the fever of it.

So it's time to tread that promotional trail once more. Cards and emails and "look at me, I'm over here"....(hi!).
I must prod the noodle into gear. How can I present my work simply, but with impact? How do I adequately communicate my love and energy for what I do? How should I show who I am, what inspires me, what I do best, what I can do for you (oh gracious art director, editor, publisher...). So many questions, too many answers, so lets start where I always start: tea and travel. The Cutty Sark; human form (but don't rely on my sea legs)!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

When one is a Worrywart.

Life is not without it's concerns. Did I fill out all 5 million forms correctly? Will my prayers be answered? Is it too soon to start stockpiling English tea?
Once upon a Christmas time, my Auntie gave me a little box of Guatemalan Worry Dolls. I thought they were marvelous. I'd sleep with them under my pillow and Mum would laugh when she'd find them in the washing, on the stairs, in the garden. 'How did this get inside Dad's shoe?!' etc.
Tonight I'll put my favourite doll inside my pillow case. The girl wearing the pink onesy. I know she'll help me out. In a month, I sincerely hope I will feel silly and be able to laugh. In a month I hope to be with Forrest and our little puppy, missing my family, but becoming a new one.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Illustration Freitags: Perspective (or lack of it...)

The noticed absence of something proves it's existence, right? I think this applies for perspective where Las Vegas is concerned. A loss of perspective. Love that place, hate that place.Yes, Pina Colada, NO frozen Margherita. Cowboys and Pirates and too much skin and don't give me that card please and Celine Dion and sweets and gifts when we get upgraded to VIP by accident. I lost my perspective and wanted it back, but I'd probably do it again.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Where are you, Spring? (I'm cold...)

Flowers are not my usual choice of illustrated subject. For some reason I find them intimidating. Still, I looked fear in the face and lassoed afew minutes to draw this 'Gladiolus' for my Opa. They are his favourite. In his younger days Opa was a magnificent gardener, with green-fingered abilities that makes me hope it's a late-developing gene that I will have inherited. I'm still waiting for it to reveal itself!
Opa won county awards for his gardens, and I won the family award for most unsuccessful attempt to grow a sunflower when I was about 10. Let's just say, there is room for improvement...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

1000 words?

I think I could draw a typewriter every single day, and find life enjoyable for ever more. Are they not beautiful? Still, I said something similar after my first pancake on Tuesday, and by the time I'd struggled through my third, I was losing the will to live.
I still like pancakes. I never learn my lessons. Tomorrow I will draw another typewriter, perhaps.

Monday, February 8, 2010

This little piggy (stayed at home?)

A 'Berkshire Pig' commission I completed recently. An especially hairy breed, yet unfathomably appealing.
Amid talks of Dachshunds, and Labradors and German Shepherds and Coldstone cakes (an inexplicable aside), I have been thinking about piglets. Call me misguided, but I'd really like one. I was raised on 'The Sheep-Pig' and 'Charlottes Web', so truly I am blameless in my preferences.
I should talk to the boy about this. I think I'm on to something.

I hadn't realised farmyard animals had become such a theme, but browsing through my portfolio....uh-oh, is that a pattern I see emerging?!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

City, city, countryside.

Those country days made everything okay again. More than ok.
After fleeting visits to London and Liverpool for events dreaded and sad (respectively), we rocked up at that rural sanctuary known as my Auntie Mary's house. From then on it was all about freezing canal walks, coal fires, my Auntie's legendary cooking. Chestnut, mushroom and stilton pie that could have made me weep.

The mercury did it's winter thing and temps were such that the canal froze over. The mallards were looking especially pretty. Oh I cannot get enough of those glossy green heads. No, indeed. The dear dog tried so hard to behave herself. But squirrels and ducks, I mean what can you do? The swan squawked at her. I'm not sure who won afterall.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back to where the colour lives! It's brighter here.

I've been beavering away on my current illustration job for what seems like many moons now ( is actually about two and a half months). I remember the first day I was given the brief whereupon emotions and events proceeded in this manner:
Excitement! Terror. Research. Bad drawing. Horror. A cup of tea. More drawing. Doubt. Better Drawing. Relief. A glass of wine. Storyboards. Characters. Dummy books. Exhaustion.
Exhaustion was yesterday, which brings me to the present moment. I am on the precipice of starting the colour images. This is brilliant- it is what I live for. It may be my holy grail.

As I await the 'go ahead' from the client, I thought I'd give my marker pens a stroll around the page (and check I remember how to use them....). A selection of my much-loved art materials and of course; a cup of tea :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chin up, feet up.

My heart aches. That much is true. But at least I haven't had hip replacement surgery a big get well soon to my future Father-in-law. I've never seen him sit still for more than two seconds. He is probably entering a one-legged race (whilst eating a morning bun) at this very moment. And aren't crutches brilliant? Oh, fun! So, feel better, Eb. HOP, two three four xx

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Heart My Hat.

Firstly, belated thanks to those who congratulated me on my newly minted engagement to the boy. Forrest also perused your comments and was equally heart-warmed. You are really too kind. Thank you :)

So I am not the first to say it, but we have snow here in England. Oh yes. It's the kind that is unheard of- that is blanket-like and powdery rather than slushy and sleety and grey and muddy. It is amazing and I am amazed. The dog thinks it's heaven, and her attitude is contagious. I have never been more grateful for my hat.
I hear it is everywhere- a worldwide settling of snow. I hope you are all enjoying it as much as I am!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy, sad, happier in 2010.

it is a sad day indeed. The day when somebody reminds you that all good things must come to an end, and you tell them 'go away please' because you don't want to hear it. I tried to make myself feel better, but it turned out that eating half a Christmas pudding was perhaps not the answer. 
This morning, I peeled myself out of bed at 2.30am, showered with my eyes closed, dressed in the dark, scowled at my coffee and cursed the fact that it was time to take my better half to Heathrow airport (next time dear heart- book a later flight...).
Events have progressed to the point where I find myself engaged, to a very delightful individual indeed. Betrothed, committed, due to be married. As badly as I accepted Forrest's proposal -I am emotionally ill equipped for such moments- I am quietly overjoyed at the prospect of my future with the boy. He's the type to get excited about puppies, and tickle my hair, and tolerate tofu because I'm vegetarian and plant rose bushes and play football and hold hands and make coffee and work hard and take all my crap with a smile on his face. He also has a sticking out ear which is very, very endearing. 
Now he is on a flight to Atlanta while I keep one eye on the post and hope to be not so far behind him.
2010, how bold you are. 3rd January, how sad you are.

Three years ago- shortly after I first met Forrest- he 'proposed' to me in Germany with this plastic ring from a Christmas cracker. Guess I should have known how this would eventually end!