Monday, 30 November 2009
Sunday, 29 November 2009
A Sunday Scribble on the subject of 'Game'.
Friday, 27 November 2009
I was so incredibly excited by this creative challenge - it had such possibilité. Create a piece inspired by France... But where do you start? Paris seems as good a place as any, but that's rather cliched so I clambered down from the Eiffel Tower, ignored the Mona Lisa's gaze and boarded le metro to the nearest Gare. I travelled the length and breadth of the country, the TGV speeding me through the wintering countryside. How could I possibly encapsulate all that was French in one simple creation?
I returned home scented with the fruits of the vine (that's right I spilled a Merlot down me) and rummaged through my art supplies. Taking canvas and paint I began to create le drapeau tricolore. I transferred some images using gel medium onto the canvas. It didn't work too well, but there was a kind of vintage appeal. Next I planned on painting on top... but I thought I'd first experiment with what it might look like by scanning it into Photoshop then 'painting' in a wine bottle. Naturally, this looked far better than anything I could achieve... and I was tempted to 'paint' some more in this medium. I added a few more snapshots of my whistle-stop tour and threw in a little present for Luthien (that has absolutely nothing to do with France, but I know she'll love it when she spots it!). Toulouse Lautrec rose from the grave to pen a quick sketch of some romantic lovers (merci mon ami). The whole thing was softened and made subtle before a poster filter returned a little clarity. Que pensez-vous?
I always I feel I've cheated a bit though when I 'go digital' so my guilt got paper out, squeezed some acrylics on the palette and then borrowed a bit of inspiration from Monet et al to create a provencal lavender field bathed in golden sunlight. I can't decide which version I prefer - my original (above) or the same with a poster filter applied. It was a very quick sketch and lacks much detail but it was fun to paint which is surely the point. My cat liked it. She sat on my lap for some time studying in depth!
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Something happened though. Forces beyond my control pulled me deeper into the pages until I was sunk in chapters completely mesmerised by a hypnotic gaze, eyes that swing from bronze to darkest black, brooding looks... I'm not going to be doing any more blog hopping or painting this evening... I must read....
I've forgotten the name of the book now but it's about a young woman called Bella and the most incredibly sexy guy called Edward... Perhaps you've heard of it?
This week and next I’m working with a communications agency helping them with a project for a High Street bank. It’s literally throw yourself in at the deep end drama but it’s OK. I’ve had lots of practice at swimming and my little lifejacket of knowledge is keeping my head above water. In fact, I’m rather enjoying it. Naturally, the pressure is on and it really is a case of sink or swim – I’m rather expendable, not tied to any employer contract. One mistake and I could be out… but then I always did thrive under a bit of pressure, there’s nothing better to sharpen the focus than an impending deadline or that VIP to impress.
I’ve no doubt there’ll be moments of calm and catch up too when my focus will shift to marketing myself, networking and hunting out the elusive paying opportunities. Also expect to see some serious paint slopping about during these ‘stand down’ days.
There’s a down side naturally. I do get a bit lonely – I miss the colleague sitting beside me to bump ideas around with – it’s not quite the same when you have to call someone and the cats don’t have much of an opinion. It also gets a bit cold here in November and it seems an extravagance to heat the whole house when I’m spending all day sitting at a desk in one tiny (and very untidy) corner. Ah yes, untidiness. My natural predilection toward having all my work spread out around me in a seemingly chaotic mess has meant an even more untidy workspace than usual and I can’t just go home and leave it at the end of the day! My little Lottie cat is most upset at me sitting on her ‘bed’ all day and is getting quite vocal in her complaints. She exacts her revenge by leaving muddy paw prints all over my paperwork. Her brother just clambers onto a lap already laden with notebooks and scribbled reminders and makes himself comfy where he can.
Regrets? Not one. The little teaser on my blog earlier in the week is to tempt you toward my forthcoming Etsy shop. Keep stopping by here to pick up your invitation to the star-studded launch!
So, I’ve taken my step and I’m feeling good!
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Once upon a time in a fairy tale castle far, far away lived a radiant Princess. Her beauty was legendary in both her own and neighbouring kingdoms and many fought for her hand. She had eyes for only one but, as is the way of fairy tales, the path to true romance was not smooth. For he was not only the son of one lowly born, but belonged to the sworn enemies of her Kingdom. How could they ever be together? Love will find a way...
My romantic entry to this week's Inspirational Avenue challenge. Mixed media on canvas block - quality of image not too good as it didn't fit in the scanner. Collage, acrylics, pastel, mica, stamps and a sprinkle of romance. I had such fun with this I even made a sister painting. I nearly sold it too. A lady had it in her hands... she was captivated by the romance... she came back for a second look... she asked if I would do a commission using a picture of her daughter instead.... I gave her my details...
This week the Etsy shop goes live! If I say it here then I'll have to do it won't I?
PS: Happy Birthday little sis!
Friday, 20 November 2009
I came across this quote while blog-hopping and it yelled “look at me – more on this tribalism topic you are suddenly so interested in!”. I liked the sound of this Wheatley woman so I travelled hundreds of miles to a suitably-sized academic library and spent hours researching to find out more… or did I just google?
In other work she talks about the pitfalls of the ‘same old, but better’ techniques employed by many companies when planning their business strategy or even Governments with public policy. What’s missing, she suggests is room for a creative approach, something to shake up the entrenched thinking. It’s about doing the ‘unthinkable’, being brave enough to step outside our conventional ways of working.
She had me jumping up and down in agreement there. I left my last employer for this very reason. As a right-side of brain creative thinker, I feel particularly uncomfortable with the same old, same old – particularly when it is linked with death by powerpoint presentations. Where making it ‘better’ actually meant give me more slides, with more information on a slide (that the participants already know anyway). This company was just not my tribe.
My experiences at the New Brand Tribalism workshop earlier this month gave me a reminder (as if I needed it!) that it doesn’t have to be this way.
We are no longer playing by the same rules. When I began my career in the early 1990s, if I’d come across an interesting quote by Margaret Wheatley, I would have needed some serious intent to go and research about her. Today, having stumbled upon her completely by accident, sitting in the comfort of my own home, I was then reading her articles within seconds. The world shifts. Economies shift. Business shifts. Employee relationships shift.
Scientists concur that the only building block in life is relationships. How well do you understand the relationships, or tribes, in your organisation? What social networks are building behind your back? Interesting food for thought.
Leaping about a bit (well, it’s my blog, I can do what I like!), I wanted to somehow bring these thoughts around to blogging too. When I started this back in February, I had absolutely no expectation of joining any tribes. I just thought I’d write an online diary of musings. And yet here I am, regular participant in various blog art and writing challenges, making new friends across the globe, joining in debate and offering support on topics close to my heart. We’re forming new tribes all the time and I’m more than happy to be a member of many great ones (see also new blog badge for new brand tribalism on right hand banner!).
One tribe I am still desperate to join is that of ‘selling artist’. I had a stall at the my son’s school’s festive fayre last night. Half my stand smelt sweetly of hand made soap. The other looked ‘pretty with pictures’. Perhaps the customers were just a grubby lot, because the soap sold, but the art, despite admiring glances, did not. Perhaps it was not the right market. Oh well. As they say, back to the drawing board… !
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
I was enthralled by a wonderful piece of television. No, it wasn't Jordan picking cockroaches out of her cleavage or Sam Fox balancing a large and very alive water spider on her tongue... It was culture darlings, of the kind that you can only trust the BBC to produce.
OK, I admit the 'I'm a Celebrity who needs a bit of publicity so I'll allow myself to get tortured on TV for three weeks' was rather tempting, because sometimes you do have to indulge in a little trash, just so you put things in perspective. However, 'Art on your walls' was just lovely!
Little Sue Perkins took us on a journey of nostalgia from the sitting rooms of our grandparents in the 1950s to IKEA just last weekend. This was a programme celebrating art for the masses, as interior design, escapism and joyful sentimentality. You might love looking at a sheep in formaldahyde in a gallery, but over the back of your sofa? I think not. We prefer the windswept branches of a silvered tree on a white beach or the hypnotic sunset over Ullswater.
The programme paints an evocative picture of our childhood visits to Nan's with a Tretchikoff exotic lady with a strange tinge to her face giving a bit of colour to the woodchip. Then it took me to student digs where our poster choice indicated our tribe. This put you very clearly into the camps of those you either had something in common with or, more likely, wanted to be a part of. Coming from small-town-in-the-Midlands-that-nobody-has-heard-of put me at a distinct disadvantage on day 1. Your choice of cheap art from Athena (or even cheaper knocked off from street traders) was a statement about YOU. Were you, like Sue a Betty Blue? Or did you favour the political statement perhaps? My romance was more traditional. I think I might still have this poster somewhere - a little tattered and frayed but I was too unwilling to part with it - a little episode of my history! Oh how I longed to be passionately kissed by a tall, dark & handsome man on the Champs D'Elysse!
Oh yes, and a new item for my 'to do' list. Create some very marketable art and sell it to The Art Group - these are the people that fill IKEA, Argos and B&Q with affordable art and make the artists a fortune in the process and guess what.... they are based about 2 miles away from my studio (aka dining room table)! Serendipity??
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
I'm an Autumn person when it comes to colour. A professional (hello Tina!) told me so. The rich orange and green hues bring out the best in my skin colouring giving me a healthy glow. I love painting with these colours too - a peek in my acrylics box will see rather a lot of rust!
I started this picture for Inspiration Avenue's rust challenge, but felt it lacked a focal point. It's another of my collage with acrylics, pastel, ephemera and a bit of transfer experimentation. Then, I mosied* on over to check out this week's theme for the Three Muses - Keys! What a perfect fit! The keys have been added digitally to my original picture. Thank you for finding me my focal!
* I have no idea how to spell this word, but you'll get my drift I'm sure!
Monday, 16 November 2009
I'm wearing make up today. And a skirt. I'm not going anywhere. In fact I'm sitting at home working. I was prompted by this piece for Mixed Media Monday's I am Woman challenge. It reminded me to be feminine and to embrace that feeling. So, I envelop myself in soft scents and pastel hues and remember that I am woman!
Digital collage - various pictures from magazines, some of my artwork and photography.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Warm and deliciously spicy, the scent of cosying up in front of a crackling fire, nibbling on sweet pastries or swiss cookies crafted for Christmas. Ah cinnamon, my favourite spice and half of the theme for this week's Inspiration Avenue creative challenge.I hope you're listening to the song. It's one of my favourites, by a little-known band called The Storys. I saw them live once in a tiny venue. I was in the second row. It was the kind of gig where the band wander out into the foyer afterwards and sign star struck 30-somethings' tickets.
And so, I tried to bring Cinnamon, she of the long, tangled hair to life... She started as a painted canvas board in rich hues, her face was transferred from the fashion pages then she was collaged and painted and dabbed and daubed, rubbed and smudged and painted some more. Her hair disappeared somewhat under a shawl, she decamped to Moorish tiled corridors in Marrakech. She really didn't scan very well, so I dabbled with her a bit in photoshop where a spotlight brings her out of the shadows. She's rather introverted.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
OK, are you wriggling to the rhythm? Dancing comfortably? Then I'll begin...
Tomorrow I dare. I dare to take the BIG new step in my career. I dare to take everything I've learnt in safe full time job environments and spread it about in the freelancing world. Tomorrow my first assignment begins. I'm daring to be big, bold and adventurous. I'm daring to live my dream. I'm daring to believe...
Next week I'm daring to put my artistic efforts for sale at a craft market. I even dared to organise it!
Dare I open that Etsy shop as my next step?
I dared to make quick art by flinging paint and ink on paper. How very satisfying. Two minute art! (See, I knew there was a good reason never to pack your paints away!)
Dare you make your wishes at Wishcasting Wednesday?
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
A dream theme from the Three Muses - this could have kept me busy for a week and indeed it was a bit of a late one last night as I snipped and dipped. This mixed media piece contains... wait for it... acrylics, collage, stamping, inks, tissue, old book, a scrap of black lace... with the final edition a little omni spotlight from photoshop to really highlight the butterfly.
I am very tempted to write a long post about my weird and wonderful dreams but won't for several reasons. 1) It can be rather boring listening to other people's night time adventures; 2) You might think I'm insane; 3) I must get back to my novel!
Monday, 9 November 2009
Vogue inspires many a fair maiden - most often to part with their cash on clothing, make up and accessories and to drool over Jimmy Choo's. For me however, it's the paintbrush, pastels and acrylics, it's the new photoshop skills I'm learning on my visual poetry course; it's the colouring in of Nicole Kidman, the magical mermaids swimming off the swimsuit pages and the experiments with shade. I have collaged, gessoed, snipped, stuck and now had a bit of fun with my scanner and photoshop.
Thank you Vogue - June 2009 - you have helped release my creativity. In your honour I create this digital collage from you and for you ... and also Mixed Media Monday's 'Fashion' challenge.
Saturday, 7 November 2009
I've been writing about elves all week for NaNoWriMo. I should be there now - I left my travellers recovering from an attack by stinking trolls. They are about to make a new acquaintance. My lead character, provisionally named Fila (which makes her sound like some sort of pastry) has a silver streak running through her hair - the result of a powerful magical encounter.
She's a lovely thing with a binding destiny to fulfill. When I saw that this week's Inspiration Avenue challenge was 'frosty', she begged me to give her visual as well as written form. So meet Fila - as her skin is so pale, perhaps she earns the surname pasty!
Fila Pasty - frost maiden, is a mixed media creation formed magically from scrapbook papers, acrylic painting, old book (you may have noticed a slight obsession with me and bits of old book in my artwork), ink, pastels, mica and some silver stars I found in my bits & pieces pot. The mica looks much more silvery and frosty in real life, the scanner seemed to intensify the colour somehow.
Friday, 6 November 2009
Picasso was a chap who wrote a lot of terribly useful quotes about creativity. Apparently he also knocked up the odd canvas or two but I'm not sure if he was terribly successful in those endeavours or matched the success of his perfumier daughter.
Thinking on the same vein, Martha Beck in the Joy Diet, argues that 'play' is something we as adults should ensure we don't forget the value of. Play is how a child learns. Rolling the ball teaches that round things ... well, roll. Simple stuff. Play is what differentiates us from our animal cousins. They stop playing and just get bigger and stronger. We keep playing and learning and forming our minds. We get clever. What we mustn't do though is ever stop playing.
You know she's right and I've had the perfect experience of this. I've been playing at writing a novel. Yes, you are permitted to pick yourself up from the floor. I have finally begun what I've been wittering on about all year. I am taking my barely formed novel concept and giving it some substance. I'm switching between modern day London and LA to a magical land that exists (somehow, don't ask for exact details please) in parallel to our own. My characters are dusting off their cobwebs, pulling on some fine clothing and getting to know each other (they don't all get along too well just yet). The shock of the whole experience has even seen one poor Elf's hair be shot through with a silver streak!
As participant in NaNoWriMo I have been instructed to banish my inner critic and get words onto pages. I'm not to worry about it being any good. I just have to write a 50,000 word story. It's about play. It's about practice. How can I ever expect to write a publishable piece, let alone Pullitzer Prize winning novel with my first attempt? I'd have to be some kind of freak genius which I am well aware I'm not. So, we don't worry about publication. We don't even have to show anyone else what we've written. We just play.
And do you know what? It's actually rather fun! Take away your inner critic, the voice of reason, the need for a market, possibility of a multi-million dollar screenplay and a film starring George Clooney and just let go and write a story. Takes me back to primary school where we wrote stories for the fun of it and illustrated them with little bunnies and squirrels dressed in pinafores!
No animals in costume so far in my book (but I wouldn't rule them out - you never know what direction my imagination might choose to head in).
NaNoWriMo, aside from being an intensely irritating acronym to type, is my route to finding out if I have the bones of a novel in me and more importantly the real desire to become a novelist. As Martha so wisely writes "when we know we're playing a game, we're less attached to the outcome". If this novel turns out to be a D minus then so be it. I'll learn from it and move onto the next one. I know I love writing, we'll just see if that actually extends to novels too. Stay tuned and we'll find out.
OK, to finish up a little something for British readers of a certain age - check out that Playaway poster up top, team portrait below and the names starring alongside the legend that is Brian Cant... They didn't amount to much did they?
And now for a spot of playful nostalgia?
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
Sunday, 1 November 2009
My black wig with the silver streak has fallen to an odd angle and bits of the nylon hair are sticking to the orange face paint, joining the dots of my stick on warts. My hat keeps falling off and I smell of wood smoke. We left the party before they announced the winner of the best costume... (frankly it was so dark, I have no idea how they intended on judging it!). But am I dejected? Why of course not dear readers, for I am nonetheless a winner - twicefold!
Yes, once again, I climb the award winner's pedestal in Bloglandia to collect my glittering prizes. And what prizes... On the desk beside me sits a rather pretty pastel block with delightful rose centre and... an undead chicken....
I've moved the pastel block with the rose centre away from the shedding feathers and onto the mantlepiece with the other awards to keep it nice. I'm not too sure what to do with the zombie. Will it stay on display or insist on wandering around the lounge groaning with its wings held at a slightly forward angle? Ah well, it matters not - it's a conversation starter...
Speaking of which... I know you are dying to ask... Zombie Chicken awards?? Well, allow the proud owner of one enlighten you:
“The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.”
I must say I'm rather chuffed that Chapter Forty wished to award my poultry efforts. I thank you, I thank you, I thank you. Now I have to pass it on... Hmm.... decisions, decisions:
- Creating Wings - if nothing else just for the name!
- Ilka's Attic - the talented Susan Tuttle - I am sucking up to teacher as I just joined her online course!
- Oh, hello friend - lots of lovely inspiration
- Writing from life - because I'd love to see what a mermaid does with a zombie chicken!
- The English Muse - she's not English, but she muses
That's a chicken in the post for you all - enjoy!Now, my poor pastel block with the rose centre is feeling a little left out. It doesn't groan dramatically or shed bits of flesh. It does however, give me a rosy glow. How delightful to be given the title Kreativ blogger (even if creative is spelt wrong!). Thank you Mana Moon... too kind.... too kind.
Well, what do I do next with this little beauty?
Thank the person who gave this to you.
Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
Link back to the person who nominated you.
Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
Nominate seven 'Kreativ Bloggers'.
Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.
Leave a comment on each blog letting them know you nominated them.
OK, we start with the amazing facts...
- In a previous life I was a paintbrush.
- Almost every year I wrote to Father Christmas asking for the game Mousetrap. I never got it. Last night I dreamt I bought it. Shall I get it for my son?
- I eat too much chocolate.
- I did not win the lottery again this week.
- I found John & Edward 'entertaining' tonight on the X-Factor in a painful sort of way.
- I would love to live life in a musical where folk regularly burst into spontaneous (yet perfectly choreographed) song and dance routines.
- I once fell down a hill, banged my elbow on a rock and landed with my face in an ants' nest.
It's quite hard deciding who to bestow these awards upon. It will take me all day to visit all these sites and give them the good news! I shall be exhausted, yet happy to be the bearer of such glad tidings.
I pass to:
- Kathryn Collage Diva
- The art and life of the ruby nest
- Grys photos
- The Queen of Creativity
- Joy rebel
Mwah Mwah - lots of kisses.