Friday, 31 January 2014

Last blog for January 2014

I painted over this shortly after as you see below.  I love that orange red with the turquoise dry brushed through it.

These are close ups of my favourite sections.

I feel I am in a fug but it's not all bad! It's fug fun. I really like the close ups.

I am again painting over the painting I painted over the two backgrounds before.

This is a mobile phone picture up to the stage when I decided I'd better sleep on it! Then I had an idea to scan it in as is and extract the painted sections (see below) I particularly like and make a collage. I think these pieces could be useful.

I can't let go of the idea that maybe I could enjoy more abstract work. When I set up a more traditional style life a couple of weeks ago and begun to paint I found myself getting bored quite quickly. That tells me something...

I didn't blog yesterday, every single day becomes too much of a pressure if it's not your sole occupation; but I will be blogging at least every other day throughout February. I am doing two more courses - one business, one illustrative; so there will be plenty to discover alongside earning a crust with Moobaacluck and developing my painting.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Painting again

I painted this while doing Mati Mcdonough's Daring Adventures in Paint. When I do these textural backgrounds I just like them as they are and find it hard to paint over them! After a few days this suggested circus to me - probably as circus tents are usually red inside and the yellow in the middle looked a bit like a bird in flight. I promised myself I'd paint a trapeze artist at some point and then today I started painting on it again. This is unfinished but I don't want to turn it into something too realistic. Softly, softly. I do have an end purpose in mind for this one and if I pull it off I'll come back here to add another image.

I also painted on top of another background I loved  - it's moderately successful but I tried not to worry much and just go with the flow. It's hard for me being abstract.. yet I know that a straight still life might bore me a bit now.. so I am looking for some sort of combination. I really liked the apple I painted last week. These pictures aren't accurate unfortunately - just tablet shots in artifical light!

I really enjoyed the colour play in this. Believe it or not the elephant was just there in the background accidently. Look at the last picture in which I just scribbled paint on the wood. He's just a shape in the paint but the painting I was covering seemed to reveal an eye and ears....

I do love the background.  It feels like being naughty to leave it like that though. Perhaps the answer is to paint much much larger.

Are you a painter? Are you torn between realism or abstraction? Does it matter?

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Using time effectively or not as the case may be


This is a short post, I think I probably said enough yesterday!

Today was one of those days that starts full of promise and sort of peters out because I didn't have a plan really, I just did what I wanted to, plus one order, then ran out of time. I've started looking into sites that sell paintings on line. Specifically Artfinder and - so far.

Interestingly Artfinder has a huge following on Facebook - about 129K but 2000 or so artists whereas has just under 6000K facebook likers but 3500 artists (roughly). I'd heard of Artfinder through my friend Trina Dalziel and through Natalie Rymer who is really successful there and on Facebook in her own right.

Anyway I was all fired up to take photos  - which I did - but due to the gloom and not really having quite enough room in my studio (oh how I wish there were a tidy up fairy to call on) I found that a lot of my images were a bit squeue-wif ( I did try to spell check this word which is real to me, but no joy) plus the taller ones were all too dark at the top.

Possibly a blessing that I couldn't apply somewhere today, I 've got to get on with some new work!! I sold one of my favourite paintings to a client on Etsy shortly before I shut my shop and I have sold work locally but if I can get the photography right then I'd like to sell more on line.

Do you know of any on line selling sites personally that you can recommend? I know there's newblood and Satchi on line too.  Do you ever buy from any?

The next thing of course is deciding on appropriate packaging. That's for another day.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Planning Ahead

This is a mood board I must have done well over a year ago when I took a branding course with Fiona Humberstone from the Flourish design partnership. I came across it again today while I was going through my plans chest sifting through old work.

Making mood boards is such a valuable excersise. When I did this I was thinking about a second range other than Moobaacluck but looking at it now it simply says me and really it sums up what I am working towards.

For the next month or so I am going to be really focused on clarifying my goals and separating what Moobaacluck is from what Gabriella Buckingham is. (Yes, that old chestnut - as anyone who knows me will know, it preoccupies me far too much!) Update

Mainly for my own interest to help me with this process I've put some images of work that never came to anything.. ie unpublished or that I took no further;  that I see things I like in.

Immediately I know I must use that ''Miss You x"  and get it on a card (or possibly a print) soon. But I also know that isn't Moobaacluck it's Gabriella Buckingham! Ha ha.  So the other thing to decide is how I proceed with my notonthehighstreet shop. It has quite a few designs based on my handwriting like this in it, that do sell for me - I'm loathe to remove them but if I am to make Moobaacluck a strong brand in its own right then maybe it would be better to do that. Increasingly I think it might be sensible to build my own eponymous shop; not only sensible but really FUN actually! What do you think? Is this a good plan?

Update Feb 3rd: reading that paragraph sums up what I seem to go through daily! But it's exhausting. Even since writing all that I think that there isn't actually anything wrong with having calligraphic designs in Moobaacluck - at least in the shop on These things will become clearer as the year goes on. The key things about Moobaacluck are fun, quirkiness and thoughtfulness. Yes it did begin with hand painted things for children but all brands extend don't they?! I don't know quite why I have worried about all this for so long.

 this one is clearly Moobaacluck

I am really glad I signed up for Monica Lee's course 'Smart Creative Style' in February as it's questions like this I want the answer too. I know I'll be doing more mood boards!

Seeing my lovely friend  +Tia Lush this weekend, who is a great designer, was a great help. She always talks clear headed sense and I found myself deciding that really I want Gabriella Buckingham to be the over arching company and Moobaacluck to be an imprint within it. I said I'd be working towards a trade range, something I tried before mainly with wooden designs and it didn't feel like the right thing despite a few lovely clients. So although it scares me I have to pin down what this range will be, I do know it won't be high volume. It might take me a long time because I am exploring my painting and illustration again and once I feel I have several distinctive looks ( I can't be limited to one!) then I'll be looking for work in those fields again.

 an old painting I did of one of my husbands tiny bikes

Twice recently I've come across that saying 'You can do anything, but not everything' which seems to imply that other chestnut - focus. I want my anything to be that I paint, draw, design and sell under my own brands and illustrate to commission for other companies.It's not everything.. I won't be knitting or crocheting ( except for a hobby, need to take up one of those)). There are plenty of people out there who do what I've listed. I think they probably have help though, packers, book keepers, an agent - at least a cleaner! :)

 this is ink - loved doing large abstract shapes - not Moobaacluck!

The key is in what proportions you do it all .Making lists and being organised. Allocating time to all projects quite strictly. Delegating. Hard work - which I have no problem with although delegating is always hard for me. In the spirit of evolution I will now state that delegating would be a relief and actually could be really fun. It would stretch me, challenge me to be more precise and systematic but ultimately freeing. It's a way off but I will welcome it.

How do you run your self employed life? What or who helps you most? How did you go about finding them or changing the way you do things?

not moobaacluck either - probably more subject matter here rather than style
What's your recipe?

I tell you if I suceed in what I want to do I'll write a book about it. Today I read a line from a list written by Austin Kleon : "Write the book you want to read" from his book Steal like an Artist. There's a thought.

I've read a lot of business books but there's no substitute for just doing it.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Valentine Design.. continued

Isn't nature wonderful? I stumbled across this beautiful rock on Cromer beach today walking with friends Tia a.k.a. Whoatemycrayons (graphic designer and website creator to the stars) and Paul and their family.

This evening I finished my alternative Valentine card ready to photograph tomorrow if we have decent light! I'm looking forward to seeing it in the daylight...

What do you think?

I might play around with spacing.. the What a big needs to come down a bit or the pants need to go up... I am really pleased with how my hand lettering looks.  Do you think 'big' should read 'Big'?

Here's the final thing available on 

Friday, 24 January 2014

#100 happydays

I've been taking part in #100HAPPYDAYS since this Monday and chose to share my pictures daily via Instagram. Fun to do and it's a simple way to appreciate your life. Doing it everyday for 100 days should reinforce the habit of noticing the good ).

You can find me on Instagram at

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Valentine's Day Designs

I'm late to Valentine preparation. Both these ideas came to me as I was painting commissions for baby's moon shape door hangers this morning; so I scribbled them down.  The first one is definitely not the usual sentimental Valentine, but I think it appeals to established couples!! The bah-humbug of Valentines.

Perhaps 'I fancy the pants off you' isn't a sentiment that suits Moobaacluck but it could have short term legs ( unlike the pants ). What do you think of this bottom one?

I'll post the final designs here once I've finished. My husband needs the computer this evening so I'm banned.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


I can't remember what this painting was of. I erased it with the paints I had on my palette just to make a new background for painting something new. I like it like this.. what is it about me that I love unfinished things? They always seem so much more exciting because they have potential and somewhere interesting they could go.

January is always a reflective month and increasingly I feel that when I get to the end of it I feel a slight panic. That a twelfth of the year has elapsed and what have I done or achieved!?( A fair amount if I list it I suspect) My moods have been up and down - we always want each year to be a clean slate ... so any hang overs of awkward situations can make us sad.

How should we deal with these things? When it is impossible to make things right because we rarely see the person concerned or the thing that's bothering us is really an aspect of our own behaviour that makes us cringe and it's probably too late anyway?A blog I read recently talked about imagining eating the sun (it'd be nice if there was some around Norfolk just now!) to fill all the dark spaces. Another good practice is to catch yourself thinking negatively and literally distract yourself by - if you can do it - doing nothing - just sitting, listening to sounds around you, or deliberately being grateful for your health and the people who DO love you. Counting your blessings I suppose. Or meditating. Much harder if you are genuinely depressed I know. Another thing that I try to do - an ex boyfriend told me to try it - is to imagine the person you have difficulty with surrounded by white light and send them love. Practice that and even though there's no proof of it, at the very least any ill feeling on your part tends to ebb away. Like a lot of this and in fact anything worth having or doing 'practice' is the key.

It's so hard to forgive oneself for mistakes - I find and if I am really, really honest other people when they hurt you - but we do eventually; it's essential if we aren't to go on punishing ourselves and them. We handicap ourselves by worrying about what others think of us. It may not even be as bad as we imagine!
I want with all my heart to move to a joyful place where if I'm on the receiving end of bad feeling I can let it wash over me - instead of bouncing it back. And to let go of the patterns of the past.  I said this year was about personal evolution so that's what I'm aiming for. Not easy is it?  Actually it's as easy as you make it for yourself.

If you have any tips about letting go please share!

Oh and I want to remember that when I boil the kettle to go and make a cup of tea!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Mother's Day Designs

When you are buying cards on line - if you ever do - do you prefer to see images of the card standing up or do you take it as given that the card will stand up? Apparently card sales of any particular design on tend to be better when designs are displayed standing up; shot from eye level I imagine. Like the one below.

I can see why a card like this really should be shown standing up!

I am uploading this card tonight so I'll add the link later...

Monday, 20 January 2014

Illustrators Meet Up

A bit fuzzy ... we'd nabbed a passing technologically-minded looking young man to take this :)

These are a few of the very talented illustrators I'd met virtually over the last year during the Make art that Sells course with Lilla Rogers. We finally met up on Friday the 17th Jan at the Royal Festival Hall and spent hours chatting shop and getting to know each other a bit better.

From the left : Ann John; me (not sure why link for me is different colour? - alert to self publicist possibly; Amanda Enright, Lucy Banaji, Emma Burnett, Trina Dalziel and Monika Fosberg. Click on those links to see their beautiful work! Where there are none available that just means wonderful work is being created and sites being built.

Thank you all for making the effort to come - really lovely to meet you all.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

New products for Moobaacluck

I've enjoyed this last week, investigating some new ways of working and a couple of new products ideas too. It remains to be seen what sells but the beauty of having an on line shop and products you physically make yourself is that you can sometimes experiment without huge cost to 'suck it and see'. Sourcing that pink in the right size envelope was a problem but the paler pink will look good - just not as dramatic as I wanted.  Both these new postcard designs that will be available later in the week. I'll be selling them as single postcards so customers can have as many or as few as they like. I'm also  offering to personalise the Romantic Rose design with a line of type across the bottom.

I tried my hand at decoupage on the wooden heart above, happily what I was concerned about didn't happen - ie it worked! So this raises possibilities for continuing to offer wooden illustrative products.

All sorts of ideas are springing up, which I love ... but I can't do it all quickly so I'm aiming at enjoying the process and most of all writing things down. Unfortunately I must do my accounts and tax return this week so patience will be the word for the week. Groan.

These bookmarks are a hit with my children but I didn't manage to photograph them earlier in the week so hastily shot them in the gloom near a light box - terrible!  I will re photograph them again at some point this week. I designed a rabbit bookmark over a year ago and kept moving the sample about from notebook to notebook or pile of papers to piles of papers. With Christmas orders complete I can breathe and tackle all those dreams. This one happened to be a small, manageable one! You can find them in my shop Moobaacluck on

Hope you had a good week too :)

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Painting on Saturday afternoon

Today I was determined to do some painting... the children are out for the day and apart from the fact that the house is a tip and I need to face my accounts there is no excuse! I feel very tired, probably the Gin Fizz cocktail and 2 glasses of wine with friends in London yesterday.

My painting is quite rusty.. I need to build up my confidence; so instead of continuing with the large painting I did last week I decided to do little sketchy paintings and am trying not to mind that these aren't my best work. The only way to get better at something is to do it a lot. So I will. I know it will be tough to paint every day for 4 weeks but I'm going to attempt it - even if it's just one small thing or part of a large painting across a few days.

How to pick subject matter? I always start with what's around me. I'm just going to see what appeals each day. There's enough pressure in life without being rigid about approach from the start. Have you ever done something like this?

Friday, 17 January 2014

Trip to London

Wonderful day. 

Bought an incredible skirt from Anthropologie before dashing to Polpo at 41 Beak Street for a delicious lunch with best friend, (arranged on train journey to London)! 

Then met 6 fun and very talented fellow Make Art That Sells artists at the Royal Festival Hall; I'll put a picture with links to their work where available in another post soon.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Easter Card

I finally decided on cream card stock for this one, it's not very cream  - just not bright whitest white which was the alternative. When you see them in reality I think the white just looked a bit cold for this particular design. At some point you just have to make a decision!

What do you think?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Birthday card for a boy

I had a better day today. Yesterday's bear wasn't quite right; worth doing as I will redo it in a different way with a lot more to it. It won't be quick though.

Last night I painted these elements on wood, I love vintage toys and have wanted to paint some of them for a long time. After scanning the images in I really enjoyed placing them across the card. I like it and my son does - woops. He saw it. It's his birthday in early February! The only draw back with this one is that it's going to use a hell of a lot of ink!! Hmm.

I should be able to print it shortly and photograph it tomorrow; which incidentally is my birthday!

My husband has just returned home so I am about to be kicked off. Until tomorrow :)

Monday, 13 January 2014

Sailor Bear Card Design

After printing and packing 10 card orders this morning I had a little vision of a strong man - sailor bear. As you do. Originally I thought it would be a Mother's Day design and perhaps it will but it could equally be a Happy Birthday Mum card or a Valentine card perfect for a macho type with a sense of humour to send to the object of his desire.

I wouldn't say it's finished but I need to do my blog don't I ;)

What do you think? What's the best sending occasion for this image?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Weekends and a recipe

This is me on a local walk with the family during the Christmas holidays recently. We walked as far until the path ran out.

We all need downtime. I find it hard. I don't want to give the impression that I am always working, that's not the case but I do feel that I am always thinking about it. Partly that is because I work at home. The ups are I can usually do something when I am inspired to, unless - as at the moment most of my things are outside and it's dark and wet and I can be bothered to slip and slide across the garden to bring everything in. Plus I am not keen on painting in artificial light. Possibly why I love Spring so much. The days start to lengthen and I can work for longer. I am worrying about which direction to go in with my work - not across the garden. I thought I would just not do any today and see how that goes :)

It has been a domestic day. Our double oven is broken - both heating elements have gone, we've managed with one oven for a couple of years - no hardship at all having come from a flat with a very cronky little one! So I pulled out our little slow cooker and put together a beef casserole for me and the children tonight, then scraped the ice of the car to go to Sainsbury's - other supermarkets are available - spent about 45 minutes walking about making sure that I didn't buy anything that couldn't be cooked on the hob or grilled.

I'd plonked some prawns in a bowl of cold water before I left so bought one of those small trays of 'ingredients for a fish pie' - basically a couple of bits of salmon, cod and smoked haddock. Once home I put some white Basmati rice on to cook for 10 mins then I set to work finely chopping red and green chillies, coloured peppers, half an onion, fennel, coriander stallks, half a courgette, and  grated carrot. I gently fried most of this in 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil and grated pepper; after a while I threw in some basil leaves and lots more coriander. Then I chopped a fish stock cube up , popped it in the wok and poured on some preboiled water, not sure how much but enough to be about 2-3 fingers deep. I let that bubble away slightly - at this point I added the grated carrot - for about 5 minutes. The rice done I simply left the lid on and turned the heat off. I fetched the creme fraiche from the fridge and added two heaped dessert spoons of it to the brew and tipped in the fish and prawns. I watched it, stirred, laid the table, stirred a couple of times until I could see all the prawns had turned pink. It smelled heavenly. A sweet, smoky, Asian soup of a stew.

Dishing up over the now very fluffy, white rice, I thought we'd probably all like to have spoons to scoop up the golden creamy sauce - I was right. It was delicious. Wish I'd thought to take a picture! doh!

My daughter was the only one of us not to like it but I expected that; she ate bits of it. I resolved not to mind ;) beforehand.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Discovering your personal style with Monica Lee of

For over a year now I've been watching Monica Lee interview successful creative women and I've found it helpful and inspiring. One day I'd like to be one of them..;) I might have white hair by then...albeit sprinkled with blonde streaks. I know I don't suit black or white so I certainly won't suit blue white hair!!!! I digress.

I am seriously considering taking her course which starts on February 11th and goes in depth into your own personal style and the motivation behind your creative business and aims to make the two cohesive, showing you how to be authentically you; rather than just telling you to be. There are some great testimonials for the very first course which ran last Autumn.

Take a look at the course details here and on Monica's other site you can hear numerous interviews with creative women and the occasional male who all run their own businesses all over the world or in some instances head up large creative businesses in the US.  Monica is very approachable and friendly and gives a lot of herself too.

As some of you know I'll be blogging daily throughout January so I will let you know when and if I take the leap. I know it can only help as I've been agonising for years about my direction, things have gradually become clearer but there's still a way to go to design a career path for myself that encompasses all the things I want to do. I think this would help be clearer about what those really are too!

Note: I signed up and was lucky enough to be one of the first fifteen to do so and won a coaching session ! SO happy about that.

Painting beginnings


This morning I simply had to pack up two orders and post them, so I walked into town and then dived into the charity shops. I bought these gems for £1.75 and 50p respectively. I am not sure that I like the vase style but the colour is like sunset with irridescent lilacs on amber, just gorgeous to look at close up. With my painting head on I think that the cup will be fun to use in a still life.

I tried setting one up after lunch and painting a bit before the light ran out. It's not great but I'm glad I just did something! I'll see if I want to carry on tomorrow. This is the under painting so it's pretty murky, mind you so was the light.

To do it I painted over another painting that I wasn't too pleased with; this one below I won't paint over. I really like what I did but somehow ran out of steam. I wonder how many artists have paintings like that hanging about?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Meet My Pig

This is my Italian pig. I keep him in my bedroom and try to deposit loose change in him in the hope that if I leave him alone long enough he will have a lovely surprise for me at the end of the year.

I've been finishing off the wooden personalised orders I had outstanding today, I've just one to do tonight to post to a customer who wanted me to paint a soldier bear for her.

So I've had cute characters in my mind. When I started Moobaacluck the range - such as it was, it was all about sweet faces on canvas and wood.

This was definitely my best selling card over Christmas and I'm keen to do far more cute imagery in the future .. :)

Which has me wondering which animals this style would suit? It'll be fun finding out. One thing I know, I need reference to paint a monkey ;

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Planning Ahead

I've never been one for planning very far ahead but there comes a point when you have to work out what you want before you go too far down the wrong road. My sales before Christmas were great and I was in the lucky position - although it's always a bit frustrating - to have to turn down work. Things are much quieter now. Fortunately as I am used to living fairly frugally most of the time I shall be able to afford to take some time out to design new things for Moobaacluck and my eponymous range aswell as experimenting with my first love of painting.  It remains to be seen how much I can create but I wanted to give myself this gift of time, which probably the best aspect of being your own boss, the flexibility - even if normally you work for over 12 hours a day.

I shall be fantasizing, drawing, painting and investigating a few new ideas next 3 weeks. With that in mind I've started to suspend almost all my wooden pieces from my shop to re-evaluate sales and which items I really want to keep in the range. All printed items will be available in the meantime and I'll be expanding my stationery and greeting card offering. To do that I need uninterrupted time. Unless you do the sort of work I do it's probably hard to imagine how time consuming it can be- literally watching paint dry sometimes! Obviously my income is going to drop quite a bit but I think it's worth it for range development and there's only one of me.

I am so looking forward to the next 3 weeks. Normal service should be resumed in early February but I'll be blogging daily until then.