Monday, 9 June 2014

Dream state

I love those magic bedtime moments where you hover with one thought on the logical (I must get my car booked in for its MOT) and the dream (a metal stag chases you through a bluebell wood whilst singing My Way). At this point you either pull yourself back into wakefulness or slip into the Land of Nod.

Just saying...

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Busy as a bee

Hello, hello! What do we have here? I can smell something seriously sweet and delicious but where the wasp is it? Are these actually flowers cause they look a bit like dragons...

Aha! I have located the source of that scent, it sure is intoxicating. The only problem is though, that to get at it appears to involve me opening up and then climbing inside the mouth of this dragon. Probably not wise, but seriously you should smell this stuff. I'm intoxicated!

That's it! I'm in. It's a bit dark in here. Anyone got a light? Eek, the mouth is closing... Help!
Phew! Made it out alive! Ooh, what do we have here? I can smell something seriously sweet and delicious...

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Chaos theory

I'm not entirely sure how I do it, perhaps it's a genetic thing or maybe it just comes down to years of practice; but the truth is that I can can't help but make mess wherever I go.

This time yesterday I had a tidy kitchen table. It was set up perfectly for its intended use - notably: 'eating from'. This morning, as if the fairies had come a-visiting during the hours of darkness, it has turned into this.

Yes, indeed it is the resulting peril that comes from taking an artistic course entitled PaperLove. It means I am allowed to pull out all of my many stashes and scatter them to the wild domestic winds as I breeze through my home on a creative high.

I have been saving many of these scraps of wrapping paper, receipts from foreign retail emporiums, old paper bags and brightly patterned scrapbooking sheets for a 'special occasion' and, dear readers, it appears that very event has arrived. Yet, despite the fact it has sat in a box for years just 'waiting', I am still strangely reluctant to use my precious. I suspect this is why I am sitting here looking at a pile of paper rather than a beautifully hand-crafted book made from the same. I have the rough pressed ragged edge equivalent of stage fright.

Time to take that handmade paper with real flower petals embedded in its glorious texture and make something. Avast me hearties. I'm off!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Merello with a cherry

Inspired by Merello by Lisa Wright

I was in Paris last week soaking up the sun, wine and the inspiration. I adventured around the art galleries with joy in my heart as I peered close up at the brush strokes of my art heroes. What I love most about staring art in the flesh is being able to see each piece exactly as the artist intended. It hasn't been shrunk or smoothed and bound into a book and what is often surprising is how 'rough' the work looks. You always imagine that each stroke has purpose, unlike my own which is often rather slapdash. Then, you peer at a Monet  or Matisse and lo and behold, he paints a bit like me! Wow! It's a reminder that they were actually human too - not some mythical being. The genius of course is how it is all put together - that's something I'm still learning!

Matisse detail

This month has been Jose Manual Merello month for me in my Magical Journal Journey as I worked on Maggie's chosen artist. His art is full of bold colour, pattern and an almost wild energy. You can spot the influences of Matisse and Picasso dancing across his canvas. It's hard to find out much about him, though this site has some of his writing which speaks of his passions. I borrowed a quote to illustrate on my page below.

For Maggie's book I let myself loose with a crazy palette and just let the paintings come. It's always a bit nerve-wracking working on a piece in someone else's journal but once I relaxed into it, I felt I was getting closer to Merello's techniques while still being me. I stopped striving for perfection and just made art. It felt good.

Inspired by Merello by Lisa Wright
Inspired by Merello by Lisa Wright

Friday, 23 May 2014


It's a terrible beast - it pulls me around the house performing tasks that really could wait; it sticks me in front of Facebook reading 7 ways get rid of a mobile phone in a horror movie and finding out what animal I was in a previous life. It makes me cups of coffee and feeds me biscuits and has me watching the wind shake the branches outside and wondering if it's worth hanging the washing outside.

And then, when I finally start on my submission, the old enemy makes itself known. It whispers into my ear that I'm not good enough, my story is of no interest and I'm wasting my time. I fight back as best I can but it retaliates with a bombardment of other ideas that might be better.

Will I ever be published in a Stampington magazine? Well, not without submitting something first that's for sure!

I'm thinking of sending a selection of these in. What do you think?

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Camera obscura

Photo by me

Apparently my camera has more computing power than Neil Armstrong and his pals had in their entire spaceship when they flew to the moon ... and back! That's kinda scary when you're trying to learn how a piece of equipment works. What if I got in a cardboard box with a rocket drawn on the outside and pressed one of those buttons I haven't tried yet? I might end up sending a probe out into space or taking flight to another galaxy. Imagine the photos!

Trouble is, if I presented a set of photogenic aliens sitting astride six-legged, hump-back beasts against a backdrop of pink bubblegum mountains, would you believe them to be real?

Only this week, I helped someone grow a plausible beard and put them into a sequined evening dress using nothing but the power of Photoshop. Are we losing our sense of wonder? Does nothing impress us anymore?

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Taking Flight

Fuelling my addiction to art classes, I am picking up my watercolours with Danielle Donaldson and playing in the Land of Light and Shadows.

I've explored what my wings require to lift me off the ground take me to magical places.

A sense of wonder - an ability to marvel at the mundane and find wonder in all things. Spotting the hidden textures of the fungi at the base of a rotting tree trunk, enjoying the

Curiosity - the eternal WHY?

Unfolding your own myth - figuring out my own characterisation and place in the plot of the world.

Standing in my own light - figuring out what it is I'm good at and being brave enough to stand in that spotlight and proclaim it as my own

Creativity - keep on making!

Serendipity - harvesting happy accidents

Spirit of Adventure - where angels fear to tread.

Today I'm playing with magic mushrooms - all on paper!!

Monday, 28 April 2014

You don't have to be mad or suffering from TB to be an artist...

Modigliani has been invading my thoughts and canvas this month. He is the inspiration gifted to me by Priti Lisa in our Magical Journal Journey.

His is such a tragic tale, of illness, addictions, death and broken-hearted suicides. He sold few paintings in his lifetime and was once again only really valued after we had lost him. So tragic to think that his TB could have been cured just years later.

Would his output have suffered though had he been in the fullness of health and free of addiction? Did he have to be tortured to be a genius. I hope not. I will admit to having a few oddments of eccentricity in my own creative basket, but would not want to be standing on a precipice to create my masterpieces.

As always I must thank the Master whose lessons I lapped up this month. Modigliani taught me a refreshing simplicity in portraiture. Painting in his style felt almost like taking aim with a camera. I snapped and captured in a moment a fleeting expression. I don't even know if that is what he intended his portraits to be, but it doesn't really matter. We all take our own lessons.

The nude at the top of the post was quite a departure for me. I rarely stray further down than the neck when it comes to figurative drawing. I thought I would be brave and daring and experimented with a number of sketches before settling on this pose.

I love how these projects push us from our comfort zones and surprise us when we discover that drawing a nude figure isn't quite as tricky as I thought it would be - especially when you're borrowing the loose style of Mr M (I shall call him that from now on as it's too hard to get the spelling right!).

Mr M met my style in this next piece.

I had intended to take it further, but once this layer had dried I rather fell in love with the simplicity so decided to let her be. I wonder what or who she is looking at...

It was hard to force myself to keep the features flatter than I normally would and I know I put far too much detail in this lady's eyes. I painted them too big and I don't think there's enough angle in the nose. We can be so critical once a piece of work has gone in the post!

Monday, 21 April 2014

With the tribe


Add together, a collaborative art project, a pile of journals filled with art, photographs and the written word, a large table surrounded by the creators and what do you get? A lot of talking!

Saturday was the first meet up of eight of the 22 participants of the Intervention art journal project. With each book having its own theme, we spend a few weeks with each before passing onto the next in the circle. Around a year has rolled by since we began and the books are fattening up nicely, bursting with colour and collage, dreamscapes, surrealism, poetry, prose and err... phallic mushrooms!
Photo by Lucy Sharpe
We each brought the book we were working on - there was much excitement when I spotted my own (titled Words of Wisdom) in the pile. I am so in love with the work already inside of it.
I adore hanging out with other creatives - folk just like me who love to paint, write, take photographs and make mess. Even though I had never met any of these seven other ladies before, and only exchanged a few Facebook messages with a couple of them, I knew we would never be stuck for conversation!  Even if the rest arrived with sealed lips, I knew I could keep talking on my own on the subject for hours - but that wasn't necessary!
I don't get to meet with members of my tribe very often, so when I do...
Photo by Lucy Sharpe

We shared our thoughts and experiences from the project and our own personal stories of why we signed up to the project and how it has helped us develop as artists.

Photo by Lucy Sharpe
Crimbo (above) brought us all together, dreaming of a collaborative project that would push our creative direction and bring together a tribe. As we draw close to the final rounds of the books, we are making plans to share these mini-works of art with the world. I for one, can't wait to see all 22!

Photo by Lucy Sharpe

 The journal below is called Isolation. That's why it's on its own ;)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Creativity, The Muse & Me Part 2

Following on somewhat logically from Part 1 yesterday, I present Part 2 in my Creative Interview (still no call from Graham or Oprah though...)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I struggled to answer this one. For a start, I am not sure I have one. I do like to try so many different techniques - perhaps that is my differentiator. I am not afraid to try anything new. I freely sample flavours, taking a dip into this, a dab of that and seeing what comes out of the pot when I mix them all together.

I paint when I write too. Words are such beautiful creatures and they love to play together on the page. I just give them free rein.

Why do I create what I do?

I simply have to!

I can't just write for example. It has to be something requiring a thought process, a creative act.

I believe in the power of our Muse. She is a fickle creature though and gets frightfully cross when I don't bring something to life, yet will quite happily disappear off somewhere entirely on her own agenda whenever she feels like it.

She was only a sporadic visitor for a time. I think she got fed up with me pursuing other interests - boys, bars and soap operas mainly...

Then, around five years ago, we were reunited and swore never to desert each other again. It was a special moment!

In my professional life, I mould words into articles, newsletters, scripts, videos. I create for others. I am always firing up my imagination and can't fathom a role where I didn't. In fact, from past experience I know what this does to my soul and it aint pretty!

How does my writing & creating process work?
"It just happens" is perhaps something of a lame answer; and when I pause to think in depth of course, it isn't true.
A useful trick is to just START! Yes, sometimes it is indeed as simple as that! Put you pen to paper and let the words flow, get the colour onto the page.
When I'm painting I'll often start with an abstract background using layers of paint and collage - old book pages being a particular favourite. You can go from blank page to the opening chapters of your 'visual story' very quickly. I find that drawing or painting on this new surface is very forgiving removing a need or desire for perfection. It opens up a gateway to be BOLD. Go on, give it a try!
Writing is a layers game too. Don't feel you have to start at the beginning... cut and paste ... Just show up and let it happen!
Next week, showing up on this little blog hop we have...
Kat of Wright Story - Kat is a I'm a Mum, writer, artist & generally creative person with health problems - primarily dealing with a chronic illness (multiple sclerosis).
She explores creativity and story through art, writing, music, photos and journaling and is discovering how creative activity can benefit health and wellbeing.
Alexandra of Blue Chair Diary is a simple girl turning life's difficulties into something beautiful through writing and art. As a self-taught illustrator she is currently finishing my studies for entrance to Law School.  She LOVEs perfect hot cuppas, cozy blankets, hot water bottles, her adorable puppy and amazing guy!
Tracey Fletcher King the wittiest artist I know who paints the everyday and makes life oh so much prettier!

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