Orela Vokes

Happy New…Zealand!

A few days ago I returned to Sweden from New Zealand, where I spent three weeks visiting my sister and her family. I watched breathtaking sunsets, felt a storm howling around me, gazed in wonder at the night sky, was bitten by a hedgehog, pecked by an ostrich, saw giraffes and monkeys, petted alpacas and goats, was entertained by my niece’s tall tales and dances, and charmed by my nephew’s smiles. I  swam in the sea on Christmas day, found masses of beautiful shells, drank loads of coffee and red wine, and ate the most delicious seafood.

Here’s hoping that 2015 brings even more joyful times. Happy New Year!

Waiheke from plane window


Last Box of Sparklers album cover

Time for another Last Box of Sparklers cover! Erik wanted a gun this time, something I was less than enthusiastic about. I like trees and birds and the sea and nice things like that. So I compromised and drew one of those joke guns – the ones that have a flag with the word ‘Bang’ that pops out when the trigger is pulled. I went about it in my usual fashion: sketching first with pencil then drawing over with fine-liner. I used watercolour pencils next and was intending to paint afterwards but I liked the texture and so left it at that. After scanning it was time for lettering on Photoshop, the most time-consuming part of the process. Below is the work in progress and the final result. You can listen to the album here: Last Box of Sparklers – Put a Gun To My Head But Don’t Scare Me!


LBoS album cover

“Before the Breakdown”

A little while ago I posted that I was up to something exciting. That thing was an EP cover for the Swedish band Sun & The Rain Men, which I made with a mixture of painting and Photoshop. Here it is! (Sun & The Rain Men – Before The Breakdown)

Before the Breakdown - Sun + the Rain Men

Trick or Treat?

I tend to be a bit cynical when it comes to Halloween; I can’t stand the mass-produced (or just plain stupid) costumes, and the concept of trick-or-treating seems a bit mean to me. But there’s a lot I do like, not least the strange mix of fear and fun. Today has got me thinking about the fact that (many) humans actually like being frightened and I’ve been reading all about the science and psychology behind it. Now I’m going to snuggle down in bed and scare myself silly with a horror movie!


A Flying Visit

Last week I managed to squeeze in a short trip to England for some much-needed family time. I had the good fortune of being in Banbury at the same time as the fair, something I went to every year until I moved away. Nothing had changed in the ten years that had passed since I was there last; it was still the same grotesque, dizzying, exciting experience. I ‘hooked-a-duck’, ate candyfloss, and even went on a ride called Star Flyer (twice, because I enjoyed it so much!) And I’ll be doing lots more flying soon, as I’m going to New Zealand in December!

Fair - Galloping Horses

Fair - Hook A Duck

Fair - Star Flyer

Fair - Star Flyer 2

Fair - Desperate Dan's

Fair - Wilson's Fast Foods

Fair - Nightmare Express

Alces Alces

Today I’ve been feeling a bit too Autumn-y so I decided to chill out with some lovely music and my art stuff. I finished painting this solitary creature; one as exotic to me as a lion or tiger, but unlike those, one that I’ve actually seen in the wild. I thought I’d share this passage from Wikipedia as it’s the kind of thing I’ve been learning in my English language history course:

Alces alces, is always called a “moose” in American English but sometimes called an “elk” in British English. That same word “elk,” as used by a North American, means a completely different and only somewhat related animal, Cervus canadensis (wapiti).The word “elk” originated from Proto-Germanic languages, from which Old English evolved. The British English word “elk” has cognates in other Indo-European languages, for example elg in Danish/Norwegian; älg in Swedish; Elch in German; and łoś in Polish (Latin alcēalcē or alcēs and Greek ἅλκη álkē are probably Germanic loanwords). In the continental-European languages, these forms of the word “elk” almost always refer to the animal called moose.”

Fascinating stuff!

Alces Alces

Shepherd’s Delight

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, mostly because I’m still getting used to juggling my job and my course. But this weekend I took a few days off to work on a super exciting project – one that combines some of my favourite things. I can’t say much more at the moment but if all goes as planned I should be able to share some good news soon!

Shepherd's Delight

Time Flies

I really love this time of year – even though it heralds the end of summer and the descent into the cold, dark months, it’s also the beginning of a new school semester. I’ve been back at uni for two weeks already and my mind is quickly filling up with lovely words and facts and ideas and arguments. The longer nights mean there are lots of excuses for snuggling up and I can already hear my paints and sketchbooks calling, even though it’s still quite faint. Hopefully, there’ll be some time for arty-stuff in-between classes and work (and jam-making and bunny-snuggling and all the other little things that make life good).

Flying Birds

Flash, bang!

It’s only half past five but it’s already dark as night here. There’s thunder and lightning, strong winds and rain lashing down: a really dramatic end to a smashing week! I worked so much and so hard that my body hurt all over come Saturday. But I also made it to two big gigs at Liseberg, the theme park in the middle of Gothenburg. On Wednesday I saw Patti Smith and yesterday (Saturday) I watched Snoop Dogg. I feel a little guilty that I’m not spending more time drawing and painting but I know it’s there for me when I feel like it, so for now I’m just enjoying stocking up on inspiring sights and sounds.


Summer – Swedish style

I haven’t posted for a whole month so I thought it was high time for an update! I have been spending the Summer working hard and playing hard. My job as a cleaner is far from glamourous but I’m really enjoying it. I travel all over Gothenburg and the neighbouring counties and get to see all sorts of interesting things. It’s very physical work which feels great after months of sitting at a desk studying. As for the playing hard…well, I’m fully embracing the Swedish outdoorsy-culture; with weather this fantastic it would be crazy not to! I’ve cycled to the sea, swam in lakes, walked in forests, picked wild raspberries, and tried to befriend almost every animal I’ve come into contact with, from wild hares to affection-hungry cats (okay, that last one might be a me-thing rather than a Swedish thing).

Summer '14 1

Summer '14 2

Summer '14 3

Summer '14 4

Summer '14 5

Summer '14 6