Posts Tagged ‘major project’

Major Project: ‘True Story’, Exhibtion @ Mettricks Woolston Waterside from 31/7/17

I am very pleased to announce that a solo exhibition of my major project is up at Mettricks Woolston Waterside until the end of September when it will move to Mettricks Guildhall. You can see all the illustrations for the show in the Daff Gallery as well as pictures of the limited edition box sets of prints and posters that are available to purchase now.

Major Project: I have a plan!

I’m off to Copenhagen for a week on Monday for a break before I crack on with my major project final piece.

I wanted to get everything decided upon before I left, including the box which I will contain all the illustrated cards in. I ordered these from The Wooden Box Mill however when they arrived I felt as though they’d be too big and bulky for the prints. I want the packs of prints to be much more compact and look hand made so I ordered some A5 ‘Brown Vintage Card Boxes’ from ebay which I think will work much better. My plans is to make the packaging look like a vintage parcel. I ordered a ‘Daff Illustration’ stamp from Vista Print and have loads of postage stamps from the 1950’s. I may make a belly band or label for the box to give details of what’s inside the box and include the RSPB in aid of logo.

When I get back from holiday I will be concentrating on the illustrations for ‘True Story’ – 10 watercolour and ink pieces for an exhibition at Mettricks Woolston Waterside starting on 31st July 2017 for 6-8 weeks and then moving to Mettricks Guildhall for 6-8 weeks. I will use a similar method to creating work for the ‘Summer of Love’ exhibition: order frames, prep paper and news clippings, design compositions and then make a start on each piece. I’ll have over a month to get everything done which should be plenty of time. I will getting the little limited edition boxes of prints ready for the exhibitions too.

I also like the idea of string tie envelopes which could have something printed on the front or a belly band. My decision between envelopes or boxes rests on whether or not I have time to include anything else with the prints of ‘True Story’, like a bird spotter and stickers etc.

Major Project: I’m back!

It’s been a while since my last blog post as I’ve been trying to sort through my ideas for the next stage of this project by writing ideas on countless pieces of paper and doing some experimentation pieces in sketchbooks to work out the style and format of my new illustrations. I’ve also updated this website with new illustrations (thanks to Grish Art for putting it all together for me).

I’ve slowed things down a little after a couple of hectic months producing a whole new body of work for a solo exhibition at Portsmouth Guildhall called ‘A Summer of Love’. This gave me the opportunity to focus on a theme and produce work that showcased my style. The show is on until 21st June and has been featured on the CCI and Strong Island websites.

So here’s a short description of what my Major Project will be:

A series of watercolour and ink illustrations which celebrate the variety of birds living in The Westwood that, when hung together in any combination, form a ‘birdscape’. Miniature prints of these illustrations on cards will create an ‘ever-changing birdscape’ contained within a box. This project hopes to inspire people to appreciate their nearby nature that so often gets taken for granted. A percentage of sales from products, prints and originals will go towards the RSBP.

The plan (maximum target):

1a) An exhibition of ‘Birds of the Westwood’ at a venue in Southampton in July and an online portfolio

1b) ‘Birds of The Westwood’ box of cards in an edition of 20 – an ‘Everchanging Birdscape’ for sale online and in the café (including ‘in aid of RSPB’ logo)

2) ‘A Summer of Love’ Exhibition @ Portsmouth Guildhall and an online portfolio.

3) ‘Butterflies of The Westwood’ (Large illustrations for Hampshire Open Studios exhibition in August)

I also have a number of commissions to complete over the coming months too, including a large painting for a cafe in Southampton…more information coming soon!


‘Making Nature: How we see animals’

I have lots of reading to get through but I couldn’t resist these (below)…The bottom three I bought at the Wellcome Collection when I visited their exhibition ‘Making Nature: How we see animals’ (left).

The exhibition shows how we have recorded and classified animals throughout recent history and given a hierarchy of importance to certain creatures over others. The methods of hunting animals, stuffing them or using them for their fur, feathers or skin was seen a way to engage with their worlds…but now we know that this has contributed to many animals being on an endangered list!

Putting animals into zoos is one way of learning about them, however, there is still a degree of separation – a belief that we are the most important species and giving attention to those animals we feel are more interesting, exotic and rare. Surely it is better to immerse yourself in animals natural habitats with as little impact as possible? Really looking at every creature with the same awe and curiosity. This way we are able to see ourselves as animals too avoiding the temptation to value one creature over the other just because they are more colourful or scarce.

What next?

For my next series of illustrations I came to the conclusion that I would need to put a limit on the number of birds I draw because I have seen so many in the Westwood in the past 5 months. I also don’t want to give any importance to certain species over others. I want this to be a true account of the birds that I saw on one walk through the woods. Taking inspiration from my previous ‘creative un-block’ challenge, ‘Blockvember’ I will set myself a few limitations in order to help me come to decisions:

– One day, one walk, 10 birds, 10 wild flowers.

– One magazine from the 1950’s called ‘True Story’. 10 clippings. 10 adverts for products. I enjoyed using adverts and stories from the old newspaper in my work for ‘A Summer of Love’ so have decided to continue this style.

– A more stylised way of working, this experiment below shows the kind of illustrations I’d like to create and use a bit of 50’s typography too.

The idea behind using these adverts for products related to the fact that the land next to The Westwood, which is now part of the nature reserve, used to be a landfill site in the 50’s – 80’s. This juxtaposition of consumerism and nature is present to challenge the audience: ‘If animals don’t need these products to be happy or healthy why should we?’ Still to this day companies tell us that we need this make up, cleaning product or hair spray to be a happy, successful and loved human.I believe that the closer the relationship we have with nature, the less we feel we need to be happy. Nature can inspire us to be more creative and satisfied with less. Since the closure of the landfill site in the 80’s nature has reclaimed the area and masked what lies beneath. If we stop interfering with wildlife and their habits the world would eventually heal itself…but we still have a long way to go when most of the world still buys into consumerism and capitalism.




Major Project: ‘A Summer of Love’ at Portsmouth Guildhall, 20/3/17 – 21/6/17

‘A Summer of Love’

You can see all the illustrations here in the Daff Gallery

An exhibition of illustrations by Caroline Misselbrook, celebrating generations of her family’s love of nature and creativity.

To mark the 50th birthday of the Summer of Love in San Francisco, the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) at the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Cultural Trust (PCT) invited CCI students to submit a proposal to showcase new creative work as part of our ongoing exhibition programme to enrich the visual and cultural experience of visitors to the Guildhall.

The aim is to offer students and alumni an opportunity to showcase their work to a broad public audience, developing their professional creative practice. For this exhibition students submitted proposals responding to the theme: ‘Summer of Love’.

The selected student was Caroline Misselbrook, an MA Illustration student at the School of Art and Design, who was awarded £250 towards materials and display. This show will be part of a series of Summer of Love celebrations in Portsmouth. Talks, exhibitions, performances, film screenings, live music and other events will shine a spotlight on the history and legacy of the sixties counterculture.

The selection panel looked for creative excellence, originality in response to the theme and clear method of display. The judges were Simon Brooks (Interim Dean of CCI Faculty), Andy Grays (CEO of Portsmouth Cultural Trust), Eva Balogh and Oliver Gruner (Art & Design Visual Culture), Tony Spencer (Aspex Gallery Manager) and Denise Callender (CCI Faculty Promotions Manager).

In this series of 10 illustrations, Caroline gives a new lease of life to the birds from her father’s egg collection, which he started as a child in the 1950’s during walks in the Westwood Local Nature Reserve and along Weston Shore in Southampton.

While organising the box Caroline found a complete copy of the Daily Express from 1961 underneath the sawdust. Adverts and articles form part of the watercolour and ink illustrations and highlight the juxtaposition of animals that continued to live happily around us while we focused on our materialistic lifestyles and had unhealthy expectations of men and women. It was this post war culture in the U.S, Canada and Europe that eventually lead to hippies or ‘flower children’ during the Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967, rejecting these consumerist values and turning to art, religious or meditative practice and politics.

Caroline accentuates the expressions and characteristics of each bird to create satirical and humorous illustrations. These artworks challenge the audience to ask whether values reflected in a newspaper from over 50 years ago have really evolved, or have they just become more deeply ingrained in everything we read and watch?

Richard Louv’s book ‘The Nature Principle’ in which he discusses his theory of ‘nature deficit disorder’ has been a key source of inspiration for this project. He believes that stepping away from screens to discover and appreciate the wonders of our ‘nearby nature’ can improve wellbeing and creativity. This exhibition is a celebration of the variety of birds within the haven of the Westwood and Weston Shore, which is less than 4 miles from the bustle of Southampton city center.

‘Creative Block’ by Danielle Krysa helped to inspire a daily challenge called ‘Blockvember’, leading to the development of a more distinctive and expressive style. Caroline describes her choice of media as a natural progression towards materials that forced her away from a safety net of precision and perfectionism. Ink and watercolours are difficult to control and embracing mistakes, drips and splashes gives the composition a more dynamic quality.

The series closes with a photograph of the artist’s father and his mother. Caroline’s grandmother raised a family centered on creativity and a love of nature. She continued to watch the birds outside her window until she passed away in January.


Major Project: Picture Books, Animation and Experience

On Tuesday 7th February Joel Lardner and Paul Roberts visited the University to talk about their project ‘Queen of Spades’; a animation, virtual reality, game experience based on a picture book by Lardner. I’m drawn to the idea of offering a new way of experiencing the picture book to the audience.


Picture Books

Emily Rand ‘In The Garden’ – “I like to create picture books inspired by my surroundings and I take pleasure in noticing the tiny details in daily life. I am interested in playing with the format of the book, creating unusual and experimental artists publications.”


Interaction and participation – meaning is formed from our memory. How we have interacted with books as children. A story telling device. Moving away from a sense of reality.

Metaphor – new ways of seeing things

Creating a space where the audience can experience something new: fairy tale, uncanny valley, style, visual symbolism, idiosyncratic, rekindle the passion for exploration and experimentation.

Boxes, mechanism, ‘toyness’.

Mood, atmosphere: the story is the catalyst

‘Creating imaginary worlds and inviting people to try them.’ – Brian Eno

Look/Book Report – Blog


Here are thoughts about a picture book based on my relationship with nature, contained in a box. Inspired by the box that my Dad kept wild bird’s eggs in when he was a young boy and that fascinated me as a child. These eggs were found in the same place that I am basing my project on – The Westwood. I could create a limited edition set of smaller boxes that contain a picture book that not only showcases my skills as a multidisciplinary artist but also my relationship with nature. This book would represent how my father’s relationship with nature has inspired my own and bring to life the birds which would have hatched from these eggs. I could think about including a narrative too.

The box as a metaphor, a new way of seeing things, a story telling device, a space where the audience can experience something new.

This contents of this box represents the variety of species within the woods but also the life that could have been. My artistic response will hopefully breath new life into these animals in the only way possible – imagination. I could also animate the birds, giving the audience a new experience – unique and totally different to just looking at images of my work or the box. This would allow a wider audience the chance to see my project online through social media platforms. This could be a medium through which to promote my workshops. Each page of the picture book using a different technique/material.

Major Project: Advanced Techniques Presentation

This morning Carla and I gave an ‘Advanced Techniques’ presentation to our group about dip pen and ink drawing and watercolour painting. We both use these materials in our work and thought it would be interesting to create some collaborative drawings to showcase our individual techniques. Carla drew the figures and I super imposed some watercolour paintings of butterfly wings on top. Our aim was to create a sort of fashion illustration. We both felt this was a successful experiment and really enjoyed the process.


Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Major Project: Roe Deer Stag Drawings

After unleashing my dip pen and ink at a cafe in Portsmouth train station (top) I came home and drew this Roe Deer Stag (bottom), based upon an image from the British Deer Society website. These aren’t quite the diamond encrusted antlers from the description in a previous blog post but I had an overwhelming urge to draw this deer. I think he looks like a little prince decorated with the colours and patterns of a woodland summer. I’d love to draw more of the wild life from the Westwood Local Nature Reserve in this style.

A Roe Deer Prince with his loyal Robin who sings to him every morning…

Images from top to bottom: pen and ink sketch of antlers and branches, colour pencil and pen drawing of stag + the same image with the robin on his back (created in photoshop), final watercolour and ink painting of the Roe Deer Prince with his Robin.

Major Project Roe Deer in the Westwood Local Nature Reserve

Since my walk to the Westwood on Wednesday morning I found out that these droppings (left) are from a Roe deer. I mentioned this to my Dad who reminded me of these Roe deer stag antlers we’ve had on our kitchen wall since I was a child.

“They are small and elegant with a summer coat of reddish brown turning to grey, pale brown or (occasionally) black in winter. They have a black nose, white chin and white rump patch with a short tush in females. Roe deer exhibit a bounding gait when alarmed. Antlers are rugose (rough or ridged surface), short (less than 30cm) and have three tines (points) on each.”

It’s a happy coincidence that in my previous post I’d written, ‘cluster of trees, it’s branches looked like diamond encrusted antlers from a mythical stag, standing tall and noble like a king at his coronation’ that these droppings were found just by these trees! I’m looking forward to drawing these antlers and would like to create an illustration to accompany this description of the trees.

I have also carried out some research on the Westwood and found some useful information on the Hampshire County Council website.

Westwood Local Nature Reserve

Experience a taste of the countryside at Westwood Local Nature Reserve. Not far from the bustle of Southampton’s city centre, Westwood is a tranquil green open space offering fresh air, natural delights and a surprising history.An enchanting blend of ancient woodlands and rolling grasslands covers 150 acres next to the captivating Netley Abbey. Discover a flourishing wildlife in the rich mix of natural habitats; explore a fascinating local heritage; and enjoy some beautiful views across Southampton Water towards the lush New Forest.

Events and Walks

Westwood’s rangers run a fun programme of guided walks, events and school activities throughout the year. From exploring native wildflowers on a woodland walk to building your own camp fire on a bushcraft session, Westwood’s events are great for all the family.You can also explore Westwood simply strolling through the woodland paths. There are two way marked trails for walkers, and a designated cycle route. Picnic sites offer a tranquil resting place, and from atop the Mound and the Grange Fields you can enjoy sensational views across Southern Hampshire.

History at Westwood

The tranquil site you see today hides a surprising history of human activity.Westwood was formerly part of a large estate in the ownership of the Cistercian monastery of Netley Abbey. The site joined the Abbey via four conduits; large banked ditches designed to carry water which fed the fishponds, filled the wells, and ‘flushed’ the toilets of the Abbey. The remains of these conduits can still be seen through the site today and one is a scheduled ancient monument.Westwood then went into the management of local farmers who used the site as coppice woodland, cutting hazel stems from the woods each winter to make hurdles and charcoal. By the late 18th century much of Westwood belonged to Mr Cleverly, who also owned nearby Grange Farm, now the site of Netley’s popular Mill House pub.During the Victorian era houses were erected along the southern edge of the site; Marina View, Hilton House and the now demolished Lake House which took its name from the ornamental lake that stood in its grounds. That lake is now Westwood’s main pond and the Bamboo and Greater Periwinkle plants that surround it date back to the Victorian period. Until the Second World War the rest of the woodland was managed by a gamekeeper on behalf of the Chamberlayne estate, and was most probably used for shooting.When the war reached Britain the spitfire factory at Woolston needed protection from enemy bombing and Westwood was an ideal site for an artillery emplacement. The natural cover of the woodland edge was perfect for concealing this Z-battery and looking through the undergrowth you can still spot the largely intact bases of this emplacement.From the end of the 19th century gravel extraction took place until part of the site became an area for refuse disposal. Following the restoration of this landfill Hampshire County Council and Southampton City Council took management of Westwood in 1986 and the ancient woodland and restored grasslands were opened as a public space.The site is now a flourishing Local Nature Reserve, rich in wildlife and popular with visitors, but take a stroll through the woodlands and across the fields and you can still discover the pieces of history that have made Westwood what it is today.

Westwood Wildlife

Westwood comprises a rich blend of natural habitats. Ancient woodlands including hazel coppice and oak pasture; streams and ponds; marshes and grassland all provide haven for a diversity of plants and animals.


Rare native plants still thrive in Westwood. Wood Anemones, Primroses, Violets and Wild Strawberry have all been recorded through the woodland, and each spring you can enjoy stunning carpets of Bluebells. The grasslands are home to Cowslips, Yellow Bartsia and Toothed Medick, and a diversity of lower plants such as the rare Alder-Silk moss are also present across the Reserve.


The grasslands of the Grange Fields support many species of bird. Barn Owls hunt through the twilight hours and Skylarks, Linnets and Meadow Pipits have all been seen breeding in the grasses. In the woodland you may see a Nightingale, Songthrush, Bullfinch or Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and both Dartford and Grasshopper Warblers have also been spotted across the Reserve.


The rare Hazel Dormouse is resident in Westwood’s coppice woodland. It is thought to be the only surviving Dormouse colony in Southampton, and even this small population is fragile due to the small amount of woodland available and its isolation from larger wooded areas.


Several rare beetles live in Westwood’s Bluebell Woods, all of which appear in the ‘Red Book’ of Britain’s most threatened invertebrate species. Butterflies flourish across the site; Marbled Whites and Clouded Yellows are prominent and White Admiral, Brown Argus and Silver-Washed Fritillary can all be spotted.

Habitat Management

Management at Westwood aims to conserve habitats and enhance wildlife. Woodland areas are coppiced to benefit wildflowers and resident Dormice; shrub clearance maintains the open nature of the pasture woodland; invasive plant species are removed to preserve our native plants; and grazing and hay cutting improves the diversity of the grassland for flowers and invertebrates.

They also have a section about Westwood Volunteers – this would be a good opportunity to find out lots more information about the wood including the plants and animals within it.

Volunteering at Westwood is a rewarding and valuable experience. Our volunteers help us to expand the scope of work we undertake, to keep the park in prime condition for visitors and for wildlife. It is also a fantastic opportunity for the community to help their local environment, whilst gaining useful hands-on training and experience in countryside skills.You can be involved in all aspects of park life; from practical conservation work, to biological studies, to events and education. You can become involved as much as you like; on a casual basis, weekly, monthly, or even as a full-time volunteer training for a career in conservation. For more details on volunteering opportunities, tel 02380 402534.

The Friends of Westwood

Our Friends Group is a dedicated team of local volunteers who give up their time to help us look after the Reserve. They keep an eye on the park, informing us of any problems and making sure the site is in good condition. They also assist on practical tasks, events, wildlife surveys, and are instrumental in large funded projects to improve Westwood. If you would like more information about the Friends of Westwood, or are interested in becoming a member, tel 02380 402534.


There’s also an unofficial facebook page for the Westwood which has lots of interesting photographs of people’s experiences there. Including evidence of some mysterious little wooden sculptures in trees. No one seems to know who put them there!

Major Project: Stories #2

Documenting my relationship with nature day by day:

18th January 2017

I woke early this morning because Jayne was leaving for work at half past seven. I made a start on the washing up once she’d left as I gazed in a half sleep state outside at the frost covered garden steaming in the sun.

I could have gone back to bed for another hour…”Or I could take Freddie for a walk to the West woods,” I thought. I decided the latter was the more sensible option, considering that I would no doubt be spending most of the day sitting inside drawing. Coat, gloves, boots, lead, dog.

I’m always nervous about taking Freddie for walks on my own because he can be very unpredictable on the lead around other dogs. I wanted to test whether this fear aggression was caused by being held back, pulled taught on a leash, sensing my anxiety. So I crouched down and took off his collar as soon as we reached the entrance to the woods. “Here we go, let’s see if this works and behave yourself!” I whispered to him.

There was some graffiti sprayed on to the gate and in my imagination I saw this as some ancient or secret language meaning, ‘Do not enter…or, enter at your own peril.’ The kissing gate to the right is always a challenge for Freddie. He approaches with caution, remembering that he must wait for me to open it and let him go through first.

We continued on the path for a few minutes before coming to a tree that had fallen down, blocking our way. We had to squelch our way through thick mud, underneath branches, snagged by twigs as they bent back, whipping arms and ankles.

The ground was frozen, crunchy underfoot. The silence made way for the sounds of birds cheeping and singing, rustling and whistling all around me. Every so often I would hear a “crack” and “splash” when Freddie walked over a icy puddle…his feet must have been so cold! His little head was covered in frost too where he’d been sniffing for rabbits the tall grass.

Every leaf, twig, branch and blade of grass had a dusting of frost and sparkled in the sun light. We neared a cluster of trees, it’s branches looked like diamond encrusted antlers from a mythical stag, standing tall and noble like a king at his coronation.

The red winterberries and yellow gorse flowers were the only vivid colours amongst the muted browns and greens of the landscape. However, as I looked up between the trees, the blue sky was so fresh and lively that the branches and twigs above looked like veins and capillaries stretching out in every direction. Blue tits and finches danced through the sea of colour as the robin sung to me.

The frost on a green bench, tucked secretly away revealed lots of tiny foot prints from a cat…evidence of their wanderings, adventures away from a domesticated life of tinned food and litter trays to the thrill of catching a mouse or an unsuspecting bird.

On my way out I happened across some wooden steps, reclaimed by nature, covered with leaves, moss, mud and ivy. They looked as if they could have been an entrance to some other enchanted realm where everything is covered in soft, lush mosses and lichen. Each cluster a microscopic ecosystem in itself, home to even more animals and

Posted by Daff Illustration on Wednesday, 18 January 2017