Painting the Dream Machine
The Shed Calendar 2023, finding everyday inspiration with words and pictures
Introducing a collaboration between internationally best selling author Joanne Harris and freelance artist, illustrator and friend BH Hawkins.
Those of you that are familiar with the author Joanne Harris will already know that each day on her Twitter feed Joanne posts a description of her writing shed. It's not an actual description of the physical shed but instead a flight of fantasy to carry us all away at the start of each day. The shed tweets are written to inspire, cheer and illuminate the day ahead.
Joanne describes them as an exercise in the imagination.
Since Joanne and Bonnie started to work together in 2017, fans of Bonnie's imaginative and highly detailed art have often called "loudly" for illustrations to accompany the shed tweets.
Well at last we are excited to announce a collaboration to finally bring words and pictures together in a full colour calendar and you are invited to be part of the creative process.
On the 1st of each month Bonnie and Joanne will be posting a new tweet, a newsletter and a painting, all building towards a kickstarter campaign to fund the printing of the calendar ready for use in 2023. Followers and subscribers will be amongst the first to receive information about the calendar, an opportunity to support the kickstarter campaign and receive lots of exclusive artwork as well as an opportunely to contribute to the design of the calendar.
A percent of any profiles raised by this collaboration will be donated to the charity Shelter for all those people who do not have their own sheds.
Enjoy the words and pictures.
Tweet for 1st April
"And this morning the shed is skimming the waves of a warm luminous ocean where dolphins play and mermaids sing their songs of joy and freedom."
As this calendar project develop's I find to my dismay that I am indulging my own fantasies as much as illustrating Joanna's tweets.
As a little girl I was constantly painting mermaids and admit I actually wanted to grow up to be a mermaid. To this day I swim in the sea as often as I can, the last time on Christmas Day in Bude - although the water there was much colder and greyer than in my painting.
Those of you following my twitter account will of course realise by now that I created two mermaid illustrations for April, but in the end decided to use this one. However the other painting, just below, will be included in the Kickstart campaign as one of the rewards. So for your chance to own either painting just sign up to the newsletter to be amongst the first to receive further information.
My first attempt at a mermaid painting. I wanted it to be full of colour and detail and it is exactly as I planned, but after hours and hours of work I just felt it was not right (I don't know why, its just a feeling that I can't explain).
Anyway when finished, I've just got a little bit of the hair to do, I will add it as a reward in the Kickstart campaign so you could have the opportunity to own this original painting.
Tweet for the 1st March
"And this morning the Shed is a Mad March Hare all tangled up in the promise of spring....."
A long time ago my family and I lived in Wiltshire. We were surrounded by fields, trees and wildlife. Foxes, badgers and deer were common sights, but the animals that were the most intriguing, the most charismatic, almost magical in the way they appeared and disappeared were the hares.
Although the hares lived around us all year, we only ever really saw them in the spring. Unlike the other wildlife, the hares were bold, often standing up on their back legs to stare us out. Boxing and racing around the fields they became a symbol of the awakening year. So when March came around I just knew I had to paint a hare as part of the shed tweet calendar. But, and this is a big but, I wasn't sure what the painting would look like as Joanne had not yet written the tweet! So I started to think about what spring means to me and this is the result; colour, magic and divine energy. This painting is my personification of the never-ending flow cosmic energy.
I was also inspired by the tweets of @silverpebble, Emma Mitchell. Emma is an author who writes about mental health and the benefits of spending time outdoors. I agree with Emma about the importance of being outdoors, for me it regenerates my mental and emotional batteries. Emma often tweets pictures of the wild flowers in her garden, pointing out what to look for and what to expect in the coming weeks. She often photographs flowers arranged in colour waves. It was looking at one of these photos that inspired the colour and spring blossom in my painting. If you have a chance look her up, her tweets are often uplifting and always inspiring.
Joanne has done a fantastic job at writing a shed tweet to fit around my painting, I'm really proud of this and hope you like it. Secret to share with all you writers out there, I really hope to do a lot more wildlife illustration in the future and want both hares and foxes to appear in more of my artwork - bucket list book about magic wildlife animals.
Tweet for the 1st February
"And this morning the shed is a faded tattoo of a shed on the arm of a circus strong-man; caught between a death's head moth and the knowing wink of a pin-up girl."
This is a surprise. This is the actual tweet that first inspired the Shed Calendar.
As soon as I read this tweet I just had to illustrate it. In fact the picture, almost exactly as you see it here popped into my head fully formed. And of course who better to be a slightly evil circus strongman but a notorious Hollywood star. Not mentioning any names but hopefully you can recognise my inspiration. But please don't think I have tried to slavishly copy the great actor's face. No instead I've made a few subtle changes.
Can you see that I've lowered the hairline a bit giving him much more hair than usual. I've also shaved off a little bit of jawline and removed some wrinkles from around the eyes. Of course I don't think that in any of his acting roles, he ever got the opportunity sport an over the top Victorian moustache, but I might be wrong. I absolutely loved painting this and I hope you can see the love in every brush stroke.
Joanne has done a brilliant job at introducing this film so I hope you like it.
Tweet for the 1st January
"And this morning the Shed is borne on the wings of a bright new sunrise; fresh and filled with the promise of a thousand new adventures..."
My only problem as an illustrator is that I did two similar paintings for the month of January.
I was busy dreaming about flying away to somewhere warm, trying to escape the dark nights of winter and this is what popped itself on to my paper.
But I didn't think the first painting was quite right so I did it again! and now can't decide which painting I prefer.
Help me make my mind up.
Later in the year, those people that sign up to the newsletter will be invited to vote on which painting they think should appear in the calendar.