About

This blog is …

An artistic exploration.

I can’t promise to be prolific or an expert – but I hope to show progression and I hope to illustrate a personal creative journey.

So I’m an artist with ME/CFS …

Half and HalfIn January 2007 I was diagnosed with ME/CFS – sometimes called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS) and in the US called Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS).

I had to leave employment through my illness and I am unable to work in any conventional sense.

Through my art I can work for myself within my means for a modest income.

I am chronically ill, am housebound for much of the time and have battles with all sorts of unpleasant, demoralising symptoms and health problems due to my ME/CFS.  This illness has put the brakes on just about everything in my life including my progression as an artist.

I have a wonderful supportive husband, family and friends, and I still have some creative juices left.

I just do …

I do what I can towards my art – it’s a welcome escape from the day to day ache, fog and lets face it – bore of a chronic illness.

My blog gives me a focus and impetus for that little artist within.

Due to my illness I have certain limitations (which shift and change) so I focus on what I can do and then, umm, doing it.

So a lot of the time you will see drawings (doodles), pop-ups, paintings of animals, people and characters plus photographs because these are possible.

I sell my work online through my web site and Folksy. I also do commissions but need a few months lead time due to my health constraints.

I am …

I am Rachel Groves, I’m 39 and live in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, UK (in the Midlands). I’ve worked in I.T. (e-learning) as well as many administrative jobs in the private, public and voluntary sector.  Posting a drawing on this blog is so much more rewarding.

I love to laugh.

If you need to contact me leave a comment or email rachelcreative [at] yahoo.co.uk

Artist Tools

Sketch Tools 21 Feb 2007I use an A6 sketchbook (Surrey) for my day to day drawings with a Faber-Castell PITT black artist pen. I use a basic 12 colour palette of watercolours with half pans designed for artists on the move.  I use a medium Pentel Aquabrush for adding colour to my drawings as it uses minimal mess/effort, and makes working very portable and accessible.

20081108 setting up new scanner by you.I scan my drawings and small paintings with an Epson Photo Perfection 4490 scanner. I crop on Photoshop and tweak the balance to get as close to the original as possible.

Watercolour doesn’t always show as good as the original. I have been known to correct drawings which went only a little bit wrong using Photoshop to patch in drawn corrections in order to salvage them but I try to show you the drawings as they are in my sketchbook.

My paintings are on canvas in acrylics using glaze medium.

  rex robot - painting by rachelcreative horse with no name - painting by rachelcreative

For day to day photography I now use a digital SLR (a Nikon D40) or a sometimes still a digital point & shoot (Canon Ixus I Zoom).  I occasionally use Photoshop to crop digital photos and adjust balance.

I also use a Holga FN with 120 film, a Vivitar Ultra Slim and Wide with 35mm and have other “toy” cameras – a Splitcam and an Action Sampler.

I have a small collection of vintage cameras (620 and 120) which I use film in and have done some TTV (Through The Viewfinder).

My Cameras Running Wild - June 2008

For digital art I use Photoshop and sometimes an A4 wireless graphics tablet.

Spam poems come from spam in my main personal email account.

firstsculpture1The sculpture (which I’d like to do more of) is papier mache using a fine paper paste (I make myself) with polystyrene (and sometimes wire) armatures.

Me on the web …

1nov2007_response_to_anonymousAs well as my art blog you might like to see:

My Flickr photos

My Twitter

My homepage & more about me

This Page Last Updated  15 October 2012

20 comments on “About
  1. Alfonso says:

    Hi!

    I have realized a spam-feeded blog. A small net-art piece.

    I’ve loved your “spam poems”, and I would very very happy if you post on it some of them. Mixed with true spam the effect will be great.

    Publishing is automatic, just send them to ottocid@tiscali.it and wait a pair of minutes…

    Thank you and congratulations for the good work!

    Alfonso / bug01

  2. Austin says:

    Now here’s a blog I really like. I wonder if hospitals would be interested in your “doodles.”
    I particularly like the one about your box and label.

    I never thought chronic pain would be an issue with my attitude or the way I react to others but I find chronic pain sometimes makes me a bit testy. It can change a person, chronic pain can. I hope in the long run it doesn’t change me poorly.

    Austin

  3. noureddine says:

    Bonjour,
    travail riche et original. Le site est agréable aussi. Bonne continuation.

  4. Jennie says:

    This blog is great. Thank you so much. I too suffer from chronic illness and think more people need awareness on it.

    Jennie

  5. mudspice says:

    I just read your “About me” page and I really love how honest and open you are. It takes a lot of courage to be so comfortable sharing your pain. But that openness is what is so inspiring and helps the rest of us feel encouraged.

    Since you passed on some good books to me, I thought I’d do the same here. These are some books that have literally changed my life and my health since I’ve had a chronic health issue for the last 3 years as well (Candida). “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hays I go back to and read a least a few times a week. It has changed me so much I can’t even begin to explain! And two other great ones: “When the Body Says No” by Gabor Mate, which is about the effects of stress on our body and “A Pace of Grace” by Linda Kavelin Popov which describes emotional and physical healing steps to recover your life and energy when you’re suffering a chronic illness or just plain tired and stressed out.

    I’m really happy I found your blog! I love reading it and feel like I’m making a ‘virtual’ friend!

  6. Ina says:

    I am also very happy, that I found this blog. I like the way you cope with illness and limitations:
    “Due to my illness I have certain limitations (which shift and change) so I focus on what I can do and then, umm, doing it. ”
    Many Greetings from Berlin!

  7. Christian says:

    Hi
    I have a split camera just like your pictures
    And I’ve lost my directions
    I was wondering if you could give me a few pointers with it

  8. tomdurkin1 says:

    Rachel, Durkin Here from Go Holga. I was wondering if you would like to both shoot on the same roll of film with holga camears? I think it would be a nice way of promoting each others blogs on our blogs and would also be fun. What do you say?

    If you are interested please drop me an e-mail on tom.durkin1[at]gmail.com

    thanks!

  9. Heather says:

    Hi Rachel

    Have just shown this to mum and dad. Very impressed!! (Especially since they’re silver surfers now!)

    Dad especially likes your photographs!

    Your pictures look great.

    Good luck with the fundraising!!

    Heather

  10. Amanda says:

    Hi Rachel –

    Just found your blog and was reading your “about” section. So sorry to hear about the CFS issues. My sister has that, as well as Fibromyalgia and a host of other things. Anyway – just wanted to say that your artwork is lovely, very lovely. So fun and sweet. I was wondering if you had ever heard of SCBWI – The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators? I haven’t perused through enough of your blog to know if you are already a member, but I think your artwork would lend itself perfectly to children’s books, if you haven’t gone that route already. And while SCBWI has its main headquarters in America, there are extensions of it in Europe and, I’m sure, Great Britian. I hope you’ll check it out if you haven’t already – it’s a great community for writers.

    Take good care – glad you have a blog to showcase your great art!
    –Amanda

  11. Amanda says:

    Hi Rachel –

    Oops! I realize I forgot to send you the link for SCBWI in case you want to check it out. It is http://www.scbwi.org. Sorry about that! :)

    –Amanda

  12. Chris says:

    Rachel

    god knows how I came across your website, but I did. And I really liked what I saw! Keep this creative spirit going!!!

    Chris

  13. Goldenpear says:

    This is a great blog! I’ve loved everything you’ve made and posted here! Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. PJ says:

    Beautiful photographs but I really like your paintings. I just learned about you via @JonathanLSeagul on twitter. I will be adding you to my blogroll as well.

  15. James says:

    Cool camera collection! Did you have to modify the box camera to use modern sized film? What size do you use for it?

  16. seasidelover says:

    Hi Rachel
    I just want to say that I find your blog inspiring! I am a fellow ME/Cfs sufferer, just beginning to explore arts and crafts (very much as a beginner) now that I am struggling to keep my job going. I still have a lot to look at on the blog – you are very prolific and have some lovely artwork here to see!
    Thank you – keep going!
    Jacqui

  17. ilkergoksen says:

    Rachel,

    I just came across your blog and I love your work, especially black and white photos from toy cameras. I think they are fantastic! Keep up the good work and I wish you tons of luck with your health for the future!!!

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RachelCreative

Rachel Groves, Artist
Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK

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