Monday, 30 August 2010

Moonlight Sonata

The creation process for this piece drove my poor boyfriend slightly nutty. I insisted on playing Moonlight Sonata on repeat while I painted - and she took a while...

Still, personally I think she was worth it. In fact, I would go so far as to say that she is a current favourite of mine (she looks much sharper in real life, the scan has dulled her a bit). I had already started her when I read the MMM prompt for 'cool colours' so she was perfect.

I used old sheet music for her background. I just wanted to paint in these dark yet intensely rich blues. I've treated myself to proper grown up paint and boy am I smitten! What depth of colour; I want to dive in and run my hands through it. Golden's Phalo blue (green shade) is my new best friend.

Now, don't you think she needs some story? Who is the raven-haired maiden whose beauty is lit by moonlight? There's certainly something mystical about her. Is she entirely human or does the fae world hold influence and history in her story? Is she a siren, emerging from the watery deeps? I think perhaps she is... If only we could see the rest of the picture...

Sunday, 29 August 2010


I love this stage of a piece - when a face starts to appear from the page, eyes stare mesmerised and expression forms. I like to put the first layer down in coloured pencil to build the form and establish shadows. I've tried going straight to paints but it feels clumsy. This way I can slowly build up the layers, next will be acrylics watered down with glaze medium for translucency. It's like applying delicate make up.

I'm not sure yet what her background will be, but she'll tell me when she's ready.

I'm pleased with the proportions on this and there's a reason. I took my time! Usually I'm so excited at starting a new piece that I just dive on in, pulling out the colours and not taking a moment to step back and judge whether those eyes line up or the nose looks crooked. I'm starting to want to get the details right which is a shift - and probably a good one.

For Sunday Sketches. Pop along to Sophia's blog and join in, or just enjoy the eye candy. I'll post the finished version later in the week.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Words and pictures

"I'm learning to live close to the lives of my friends without ever seeing them. No miles of any measurement can separate your souls from mine."
John Muir

(Best viewed enlarged)

I'll not deny that I've not exactly been friends with this piece all week. It was one of those paintings that started off so well with plenty of promise. But promises were broken, words were had and even little tantrums showed their faces.

It is my entry to Inspiration Avenue's words challenge and I so wanted it to be special. This was opportunity to celebrate in words and picture the friendships I've made both within this group and in the wider world of Blog, for while we never get the chance to sip a coffee or a glass of wine or nibble on a biscuit together, you're still my friends. You're my creative joists holding me up and keeping me going. I can't tell you how much your support means to me.

The idea behind the piece was to illustrate the quote above that really brought to life the nature of these online friendships. We may be scattered across the globe, but oftentimes I think you're standing in the arty mess next to me or reading over my shoulder as the words pour forth.

What you can't see, because they are now hidden beneath so many layers of paint, are photocopies of letters, notes and paper gifts sent to me in the mail by my fellow bloggers. It's a shame that they disappeared but I know they're there, making up the foundation of the painting - a most important role to play.

So, I finally finished it today after hours of work. I think that perhaps it was a little over-ambitious. I mean three faces, two of them 3/4 profile. What was I thinking of? I've struggled with most creative things this week and this was no exception. Each face ended up with so many layers of paint that they are practically 3D and they had more hair colour changes than Lady GaGa!

Still, this will have to do. I wasn't entirely happy with the end result, but as they say... It's the thought that counts!

Mixed media on acrylic paper. Acrylics, inks, pen, prismacolour pencils, collage, stamps, distress ink, sweat and tears....

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Missing inaction

OK, own up, who's got them? Yes, I know you're out there somewhere? Who, might I enquire has stolen my words? I'd like them back please along with every piece of prose, verbiage, wit and incorrectly structured sentences you have secreted about your person.

I am lost dear readers, lost. Lost for words. They have gone en vacances... I desire to write, to pour forth thought and expression, but nothing is there. I am barren, bleak and boring. I have nothing to say. I couldn't even muster up 140 characters for a Tweet...

Please come back, I miss you so...

It's a bleak day... I'm going to see if I can paint something instead...
Postscript... pic above is the result of a befuddled mind looking for lost vowels and consonants. I found some and they mysteriously turned into a big top. At last the mystery is solving itself. My words have run off and joined the circus...

Monday, 23 August 2010

She saw red...

My first thought for a creation for the MMM challenge 'seeing red' was a flamenco dancer in crimson frilled skirt, but I confess that sounded a bit too tricky. So, I took myself off down a slightly more literal translation. Red eyes have been glaring at me from movie billboards all summer, so I thought I'd pursue the gothic vampire route.

Poor Virginia. She was a Southern Belle at the peak of her beauty when one fateful night her sparkling blue eyes were turned by the deep penetrating stare of a handsome stranger. As the music billowing from the ballroom of her family's mansion carried her and her dark-haired seducer further and further from the safety of others, Virginia was lost in the magic of the moment. She felt love for the first time and gave her trust most foolishly to the one with the silken words... trust that ran away with the blood down her neck as the sharp teeth made first contact.

She roams the grounds still, looking for the one who made her who she is and seeking her revenge. She's a lost, tormented soul, but don't be fooled by her frailty and be tempted to help, for she's also... very hungry...

An experiment in the dark side. Does she look deadly but with a certain fragility? Not sure! Her eyes are too big, nose the wrong angle and her hair looks like she's wearing a wonky wig - perhaps it is, after all she's several centuries old... you should see the state of her dress around the seams...

Maybe next time I'll stick with the flamenco dancer!
Acrylic on acrylic paper. I used just three colours - crimson, titanium white & mars black.
PS - I'm having a giveaway
PPS - Found another challenge site that is just calling for Virginia to pop by.... Spooky Mondays! A mixed media site, you're welcome to post about anything from decorations to costumes, art and crafts, recipes and stories about Halloween or anything spooky in between...

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Tea dance

You have no idea how long it took me to come up with something for this week's Inspiration Ave challenge on 'tea'. Should I collage a neat little teacup? How about using tea as paint? Will there be a tea dance perhaps?

Or shall I throw all three together? Ah, why not!

Collaged on a sheet of music, dabbed with gesso, collaged some more, splatted with a hot tea bag, edged with charcoal pencil, thrown into photoshop for some extra grunging and text addition - I haven't started my 'neat & artistic writing' course yet, so needed some help!

I like throwing teabags at my art. It's great fun, you should try it!

A wheely nice day out

When my son is away with his Dad I miss him terribly. It's like he took an arm or leg with him. This time he is away for two weeks. The first few days I moped around but pulled myself together a little today and tried to make the most of some time to myself. Embracing the spirit of my new exercise regime, I took myself off for a bike ride down the canal path.

It wasn't the most beautiful of days with heavy looming cloud threatening rain but at least it kept the temperature down. I enjoyed myself immensely. Living on the edge of town meant I was out in the countryside immediately and pootling along without a care in the world. However, there were a few things I hadn't accounted for. Firstly, the after-effects of yesterday's exercise (certain muscles are really none too happy with me), and secondly the bumpy terrain and hills. Yes, hills. What are they doing on a canal path? Perhaps I should have checked out the map in advance so I could spot the 12 lock flight.

Nonetheless I persevered and knocked the gears down a notch or two and day dreamed about paintings I might create based on the delightfully named canal boats I passed - Tanglefoot, Dreamweaver and Lady Bella... what perfect inspiration.

Aside from the watercraft, when you're by the water there are certain parts to the scenery that you are pretty much guaranteed - ducks and other water fowl, dragonflies, dog walkers. Today though I was presented with the entirely unexpected:

First was a crisp £10 note just lying along the tow path with no previous owner in sight. Thank you very much.

Secondly, I experienced a mysterious sudden temperature drop for no apparent reason. Suddenly the air was icy, then almost immediately back to normal. This was strange enough, but then I realised where I was - just a stone's throw from the haunted canal tunnel....

Finally, I met Father Christmas. Yes readers, I have discovered his secret summer hideaway. Of course, I can't tell you exactly where it was, because the poor man may find his peaceful retreat suddenly inundated with letters demanding lego and playstations. But I know... He waved a cheery greeting at me. Nice man!

I returned from my jaunt somewhat exhausted - not helped by the uphill ride from canal to home. Any sensible person would have taken the rest of the day easy, but no why do that when you can go dig the garden? To say I ache now would be an understatement.... Think I may paint for the rest of the day!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Happy spells

Well, it's Friday and tradition has it that I write a Happy Friday post.

I am sitting here with quite a glow about me. Following on from Wednesday's declaration to start exercising again I am fresh from quite a workout. My joints have been a-creaking and a-groaning but it felt so good. Those muscles sure needed a stretch. I had intended to start on Wednesday but work was a bit too busy to take time out at lunch, then we went out in the evening. Yesterday I left the house at 7.15am and returned at the same time pm and crawled over the doorstep, so no leaping about last night! Excuses I know... I shall have to be stricter with my time management and not allow complete and utter exhaustion to get the better of me! Ha! Some hope...

I remember when Fridays meant wild nights out. These days it's usually a struggle to stay awake past 10 o'clock. I can't even enjoy a glass of wine without it knocking me out.

I'll tell what put a spring in my step this week though. I was thrilled to bits to be featured on Victoria Pettella's art blog - Enchanting the Invisible. She put me in her creative spotlight. I feel quite humbled to be such illustrious company. Victoria (aka Kiki) paints mystical figures and weaves enhanchments with her words.

Have you read 'Garden Spells' by Sarah Addison Allen? I really think you should... It's quite magical - just remember never to eat any of those apples though! I've had my nose immersed in it all week just before bedtime. I could probably have finished it much sooner, but I was enjoying my nightly excursion to Bascom so much that I wanted to prolong my little holiday for as long as possible. Can anyone recommend anything similar?

I posted a giveaway yesterday to spread my happy, so do join in if you are interested. I'm inviting for you to share one (or more!) of your favourite artists to help feed my voracious appetite for inspiration and creative loveliness.
I took this picture last summer, but it seemed perfect for this post - I added a few spells in photoshop :)

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A little celebration giveaway

I'm rather chuffed. I hit my 200th follower, well 201 now. Can't be bad.

As promised, I shall treat one lucky reader to a giveaway now I have achieved this somewhat historic milestone. Yes, I painted something especially for you. Before we go on to the entry criteria though I am afraid I shall subject you to more ramblings (you are of course free to skip to the end, but then who knows what you'll miss - there might be ice cream!).

So, we begin... It seems only natural at this point to spend some time reflecting on how far I've come since I started this 'little writing exercise' about 18 months ago. In the beginning, it was all about the writing. I wanted to write a novel, but they do take rather a long time and considerable effort. I discovered that penning a blog post was actually much simpler and satisfied my urge to create prose in a far shorter timeframe and word count. Then, suddenly people started finding my paragraphs, and... commenting on them! Here was some fun. I began to feel like I was writing my very own column in a daily paper - childhood dreams realised.

And while I was regressing back to youthful dalliances with literature, I was reminded of my love of illustration. No story was complete back then without a picture. A bunny here, a cute little cottage there with roses around the door. It was time to get my paints out again. I had forgotten the sheer unadulterated pleasure to be gained by creating. Over the years we seem to feel that we can't paint unless we're brilliant artists, but we couldn't be more wrong. For me painting, drawing, making and just creating is my soul food, my rocket fuel and this online forum for sharing and learning alongside like-minded individuals has been more inspiration than I ever could have wished for. I have to confess to being rather addicted to blogland. If I'm not writing my own, I'm hopping around others, sometimes taking a crazy route through a maze of links until I end up whole worlds away from where I started. I just love this magical exploration and all the treasures it unfolds. The writing and the art have become intrinsically linked.
Then, finding that people actually like my work and even claim to be inspired by it was truly a revelation but also just the encouragement needed to keep on creating, to push myself. I still see huge room for improvement but knowing that at least some people like what I do and enjoy my words is quite the creative tonic. Making friends and sharing the creative journey sure has proved to be a rich mine of happiness. Through these friendships I've been able to find the confidence to open my own Etsy shop, join groups, take courses and even set my own creative challenges for others. Membership of Inspiration Avenue for example provides a worldwide creative support network - and some great places to buy pretty things!

Taking the regular art challenges often forces me outside my comfort zone and sees me far more likely to complete something - the element of 'getting my homework done' is another childhood throwback I think! I always was such a girlie swot! I love pushing myself though.
I could ramble on for hours, but do pity my poor readers and wouldn't want to log on next time and find I've put half of you off...
So, without further ado let's explain how you can win. Just leave a comment and share with us one of your favourite artists - with a link if can. Simple as that. I'll draw the winner by random generator on 1st September.
'Every woman blossoms' started off as an interesting background. There's some newspaper, dribbled inks and lots of acrylics. Then the face began to take shape but she kept shifting and changing. At one point, she became Frida Kahlo, then, somewhat bizarrely Minnie Driver made an appearance. Finally she blossomed into her current incarnation.

Mixed media on canvas block - mainly acrylic with a bit of ink and some collage. Measures 12cm x 18cm.
And, if you like a giveaway then do pop over to Plumrose Lane for the chance to win some stunning jewellery. As a customer, I can highly recommend Sharon's wonderful creations. She currently has a closing down sale in her jewellery shop with up to 85% off. Pick yourself up a bargain friends. There's a link direct to the sale at the top of my blog.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Reacquainting with my ex....ercise....

I know I keep going on about this like a stuck record, but I am feeling my age. I am not happy with being in my 40s. I miss my 30s. I'm struggling with lots of things, trying to maintain a hold of my sense of direction. What annoys me intensely though is I know of one thing that will help. It's called E X E R C I S E. I've put on weight, I'm starting to ache in my joints, I feel lumpy and frumpy and lacking in energy. I need a hit of those endorphins that rush through you when your heart rate's up and the lactic acid pumps through the muscles. So, why don't I do it? Well, the old lame excuses. I don't have the energy, the time, I have too much else to do...

Today, Jamie Ridler's wishcasting prompt asks us what we wish to make a fresh start at.... Well, you know Jamie maybe I should spend my lunchbreak today exercising. What do you say? Shall I stick on one of my DVDs and leap about a bit in front of the television? I very rarely even take a lunchbreak these days, spending far too much time here in front of the pc. I haven't even had my recurring dream about running (and often winning!) a marathon for ages... and I miss it...

OK, that's it. Decided. Fresh start beginning today. Exercise at least three times a week. I have my DVDs, my mini-stepper and my bike. Now my boy has learnt to ride his without stabilisers we can go off together at weekends and explore the local bike trails too. Lots of fun to be had.

I'm off to weigh myself and measure my waistline so I can set a target. Watch this space...
Postscript: Ha! Just read Connie's post on the same subject - she's getting back into yoga. We are on a similar wavelength. Watch out for all us fit women running around in a few weeks. See what you started Jamie!

Monday, 16 August 2010

A little embellishment of the story

Sometimes a story is only worth telling with a little... embellishment!

Take the other morning for example. I was about to step in the shower when I noticed a dark shadow on the back of the shower curtain. However my arm was already in motion flicking it back in order to step inside before my mind reacted with the message that something wasn't quite right.

The menacing shape fell into the bath with a thump and two angry eyes stared back at me, cruel teeth bared and fangs dripped with sticky poison.

Eight legs began hammering against the side of the bath intent on reaching my by now cowering form. Too terrified to move I croaked and stammered the dreaded noun... sssss ppppp ider.....

It was huge, I'm telling you... HUGE! I ran downstairs and grabbed the largest beaker I could find and summoned every ounce of bravery I own (and I borrowed some from my son too) and tentatively reached over the edge of the bath before slamming it over the hideous creature.

Trapped in the plastic, I could see its desperate attempts at escape and, worse, hear the rasping and scraping from its legs against the side. I took a piece of card and slid it under then oh so carefully carried my dangerous prisoner to the far end of the garden and threw it as far from me as I could before high-tailing it back in the house and hoping that some hungry bird might hop past intent on an spidery snack.

Phew, what an adventure!

Having shared this story with work colleagues, a friend sent me this YouTube link. Now I'm not going to embed it here because I don't want the thing anywhere near me. If you lean towards arachnaphobia I strongly suggest you avoid watching... I should confess that my spider was smaller than this... Though it was still HUGE!

My entry for this week's Mixed Media Monday challenge with the theme 'embellish'. An embellished tale inspired by my brush with danger! Ink sketch over a torn old piece of scrapbook paper stuck in my sketchbook and painted with acrylics, a few stamps added plus the words and, of course, a few embellisments! My writing in my art could seriously do with some help, so I've signed up for this class - Handlettering techniques on Get it Scrapped. My scruffy handwriting is what puts me off art journaling. Here's hoping some new skills rub off.

Sunday, 15 August 2010


Mermaid class begins today at Suzi Blu. I'm very excited. To celebrate (and contain my excitement while the first video downloads), I thought I'd have a bit of practice with bodies for Sunday Sketches. Most mermaids I draw only have top halves, so it's time to 'tell a tail'.
I own a beautiful book by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law called Dreamscapes. She teaches how to draw and paint watercolour fairies, angels and... yes... mermaids! I definitely need to practice bodies more. I'm rather hooked on magical and mythical creatures right now but they get most cross when I don't do them justice. There's a lady coming up tomorrow from a nursery rhyme... she was not happy with her hands. One looks like a claw and the other as if it's been mashed! I've had nothing but complaints all afternoon - so much so that she completely forgot about the eight-legged creature dangling down dangerously close to her shoulder.
I must also apologise for my less-than-helpful writing yesterday on my Hope piece. The work-in-progress I posted was in fact for that actual painting. First collage layer and initial sketch. Sorry for confusion! If you enlarge the finished piece you might be able to spot this layer!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Hope Quotes

I thought at first that creating something based on the prompt of 'Hope' would be really difficult. Until that is I googled 'hope quotes' and suddenly I was awash with inspiration. I'd like to thank Oscar Wilde, Albert Einstein and Emily Dickenson for their posthumous help this week. Their words transcended the centuries to bring art alive on a rainy August in 2010.
I wonder if anyone will ever quote me? How does one get to be quotable in the first place? What happens if you impart the choicest prose yet no one writes it down for posterity.

I hope that someone captures my words of wisdom... should I ever say any...

Here's Em's, Oscar's and Albie's. I chose to work on Emily's this week, but Oscar is calling too...
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Oscar Wilde

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
Albert Einstein

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”
Emily Dickenson

Mixed media. Acrylic canvas paper, collaged bits and bobs, acrylics, prismacolours, charcoal pencil, glittery sparkles, sequin negatives and ... a dash of hope ...

I thought I'd post a pic of work in progress too.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Cupcakes and things

A busy week but I'm still smiling which is surely a good thing and therefore worthy of a Happy Friday post. And why not I say, why not?

Happy taste buds (not so happy waistline)

I've just eaten my fourth of these cupcakes. Not in one go, I hasten to add although I did eat three yesterday. What can I say? There were there... They were tasty... They called to me... Hosted an employee event at work and these were part of the refreshments. My excuses for consuming three in the space of a few short hours was a) naturally it was essential that I tested then to make sure they were suitable for general consumption; and b) there was a great deal of manual labour involved with lugging chairs, tables, bottles, glasses and general bits and pieces, so clearly I worke them off!


Happy mail

Earlier in the week I answered the door to the postie to find a neat little package all for me! I was so lucky to win a giveaway on Claire Barone's Curious Emporium blog. This cute little bunny girl and a fancy brooch. You must check out her artwork which is adorable. Hers is one of those blogs I recently stumbled upon (but haven't a clue how I found her!), but now make regular visits. She has an Etsy shop too.

Happy art

Although the back end of this week has been a little dry in terms of artistic output, last weekend certainly made up for it and the warm feelings of so much productivity persist! Here's another fairy! She was the sketchbook try out for what eventually became my Butterfly girl.

Now, I've written before about how so often I'll find mermaids appearing on the page when they were never intended, well from next week they can splash their way into my art as often as they desire for I shall be partaking of Suzi Blu's Sirens course. Week one will see us working on colour matching. My pencils are itching to get started. My bank balance is crying (for some new paint seemed entirely necessary). Watch this space for scales, tails and mermaid wails!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Butterfly Girl

Look who is hiding in the enchanted wood? It's the friend of the fairies and butterflies. Magic flutters around her and whispers through her emerald tresses. She is kin to Mother Nature and granter of wishes. She is the heart of the forest. Look careful next time you run among the flowers and you just may catch a glimpse...
Butterfly Girl was inspired by my week of painting elves - I have more I have yet to post. For some reason I was really drawn back the realm of fantasy last week. I believe that the magical creatures cast a few healing and creativity spells because I certainly feel more like myself than I did this time last week and I thoroughly enjoyed creating this new lady.
And, serendipity struck, for just after I had put the final strokes I discovered a new art challenge (Simon says...) requiring an opening piece featuring 'wings on things'. Well, I was spoilt for choice with all my creations last week, but I think she is my best work.
A few mistakes (which I won't mention, in case you don't spot them!). Practice makes perfect, so I shall keep at it.
There is also a slight line through the canvas where I had to scan twice to fit her in. I'm off now to google a fix...
Very mixed media: canvas paper, acrylics, some collaged papers, inktense, acrylic ink, rub on butterflies, tissue paper, rubber stamps, some trim and a few magic sparkles

Monday, 9 August 2010

Another postcard from Skiathos

With a subject as far-reaching as 'memory' as the prompt for Mixed Media Monday it was certainly difficult to know where to begin - especially when I've got 40 years of the things to sift through!

At first I drifted around conjuring up the world of my Grandmothers', then moved to a maelstrom of memory spiralling out of control from a poor girl's mind but then something just clicked and I simply reached back just a month or two and returned to the sunshine island of Skiathos with my son.
I collaged some ephemera from my holiday as well as a few travel-related bits and bobs I had lying around. Added the colour of the sea and sky using my water-soluble oil pastels (which added further memory since they came on holiday with me!). Then I was going to draw a dreamy girl (me) on top but felt that the piece was missing the real essence of my holiday - the real happy memories - the photos. So we moved indoors and went digital to finish it off.
Nice memories to take me through a Monday :)

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The bird girl

This week for Sunday Sketches, I have temporarily laid down my Drawing Lab book as I've been playing with Mystele in the Little Glimpses studio. She offered a free storytelling class. I've been a fan of hers for around a year now and love how she's never afraid to 'keep going' with a piece, layering over and over again until the real story of the piece shows itself.

In the same spirit, I took an old picture that I didn't quite know what to do with and decided to start again. The original was an autumnal Kelly-Rae style piece but one I was never happy with once I discovered the Suzi Blu method to drawing stylised faces!

My poor girl, who sadly lacked the quirkiness of Kelly's sweet girls disappeared under thick gesso and more layers of collage and acrylics. Inks and tissue paper replaced the old story with the new.

I left my background to dry overnight while I waited for the narrative to reveal. I guess it was inevitable that a girl's face would materialise. I sketched her with charcoal expecting to paint in her features but she immediately told me that wasn't her way. She would reveal herself by what had gone before, share her history through her layered background. Then, just when I thought she was settled, a large black bird landed on her shoulder and cocked a bright eye at me. I blinked in surprise and could have sworn he smiled before he too began to fade into the background history.

The question remains - do I continue to work on her, pull the chapters out, or is her story complete.... ?

Mixed media on canvas board. Acrylics, papers, tissue, ink, charocal.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The tooth fairy

She's coming to our house tonight. Isn't that exciting! We'll leave the bedroom window ajar and the curtain slightly open so she can slip in. Her prize will be waiting in a specially made tooth box under the little boy's pillow. She'll be carrying a coin in her silk bag. Who knows how such a slight thing could carry such a weight? Such is the power of magic!

There's a real fairy tale feel in the air this afternoon, for we have spent the afternoon in company of a handsome Prince and the impoverished daughter of the local Baron forced to work as a servant in the home of her cruel and heartless stepmother. Of course it sounds familiar, but the the story, in this interpretation stripped of the traditional magic still not fail to leave a sparkle in the air. Readers, I've been watching Ever After.

Back in the kitchen after an hour or two of fantasy, I tie up my apron and return to my skivvy duties. A woman's life in the 21st century is a hard one! I do love this genre of film - when I was a child I would have watched enraptured then escaped to my world of the imagination to act out my own version.
Since setting the challenge at Inspiration Avenue this week as 'other worlds', I have been so immersed in the worlds of elf and fairy that I fear I may awaken tomorrow with pointy ears or a sudden ability to play the lute. This fairy is my fourth such painting this week. These creatures are flitting their way from my imagination to the page. Clearly they wish to tell their stories... and who am I to stop them?
If you wish to enter it's not too late. Just bring your entry to the ball before midnight tomorrow (that's 4pm EST!).
Mixed media - watercolour, inktense, ink and some magic sparkle.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Egg yolk

I haven't written a Happy Friday post for a few weeks - mainly because I've not exactly been my usual bouncing self. My writing this week has reflected the downturn in mood which swings with a temperamental wind. That's not really a great excuse is it? Makes me sound rather sulky!

I am, however, here writing for Happy Friday this week. I haven't exactly reversed completely out of the gloom but I have come to realise and appreciate just what I do have. When I wrote a post earlier this week sharing my feelings of overwhelm I was reminded just how valuable this wonderful online community is that I am a part of - the words of encouragement and support given by my fellow bloggers were just the lift I needed. I felt a part of a tribe and that's always a good, safe place to be. So let me just use this opportunity to say a heartfelt "Thank You" to you all.

Not only that but I have a loving family, I earn (just about!) enough and have time to play with my art. My life is full and happy.

Moving on, let's just share another little Friday Happy. I've just been dipping fresh bread cut from a loaf into egg yolk. Simple food. Simple pleasures. Rich egg yolk is one of the most comforting foods in existence - a life giver in every sense. Oh, and should I mention there was sizzling bacon on the plate too... and baked beans... all washed down with a nice cup of tea!

Thursday, 5 August 2010


A confession. Prior to starting my blog and rediscovering the soothing power of a paint pot, I spent much of the previous couple of years immersed in a fantasy fiction and living out the words I was reading in the world of the MMO (massively multiplayer online game).

OK, it’s time to admit it. I have been a gaming geek. I did inhabit another world where my alter-ego 'Bobricka' ran amok among the goblins and orcs slaying and fighting her way through Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings online MMO (LOTRO). Yes, I did live life as an Elf Loremaster wielding a mighty staff and followed by a trail of animal friends only to willing to sacrifice themselves for my safety.

Bobricka, or Bobs as she is known to her friends wasn't the most skillful of her kind unfortunately. She also boasted an alarming tendency to both get lost or cast entirely the wrong spell in the heat of battle. But what she lacked in technical ability, she more than made up for in enthusiasm and general willingness to be in the thick of adventure.

I do occasionally dust her off and take her for a run around. At the moment she's in her house waiting for her next play date - horse munching on the rich grass outside. She's been trying on her numerous outfits - somewhat unbelievably she actually qualified as a tailor - an irony that never ceases to make me smile since I am useless with a needle myself.

Now, at this point, you are either wondering if I have lost the plot entirely or are jumping around excitedly eagar to tell me about your tank in WOW, Hox in Conan or Guild Wars Elementalist. The world of the MMO is a strange one. Don't knock it until you've tried it!

I adore fantasy fiction too. If a book boasts a dragon or two then I’m in, if portals exist between dimensions then take me there and if magic whispers on the wind then whisk me with it! I even have the first couple of chapters of my own attempt languishing, ignored in a deep dark corner of my pc.

It was the excuse to disappear back in fantasyland that prompted me to set 'other worlds' for the prompt on the Inspiration Avenue challenge this week. I really wanted to try painting an elf, so this was the perfect excuse. Aside from the pointy ear, I tried to give her a look of nobility - the possessor of ancient knowledge, a connection to nature and the spirits seen through her eyes.

She was created using the power of prismacolours, inktense and a few stamps.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Creative wishes

It seems like ages since I took part in the Wednesday Wishcast, but when I saw the prompt today I knew I just had to join in. Jamie asked us 'what we wish for our creativity'. Well, given the heartfelt post I wrote yesterday and the kind and generous support I received from my fellow bloggers I might well say that my creativity is already bestowed with all it could wish for.
How warm and comforting to read such words of kindness. It seems my post touched a nerve and gave us opportunity to how much these issues affect all of us every now and again.

By all means read yesterday's post, but if you haven't got time I basically poured out some of my current frustrations and stresses; my feelings of overwhelm; the creative drive and passion; pushing boundaries and finding the time to do everything!

And so, without further ado, here is what I wish for my creativity...

That it finds the time to slow down and listen to the advice it's been given by my blogging friends. That is enjoys the journey as well as the destination and that it continues to flourish and grow day by day, year by year bringing me endless pleasure!

Well, not bad for a wish! I'm off to see what others wished for.

Pic is another of my legoland flowers!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Crazy ramblings of the tortured artist

I feel so tired. I've been wracked with stomach pain for days. At first I thought I'd caught the same bug as my son, but now I'm wondering if perhaps it's stress. I haven't felt relaxed for weeks; there's this constant feeling that I should be doing more, creating more, setting in motion plans for the future. But I can't. I just don't have the energy. Days drift into weeks and I make no progress.

The spring is coiled and tense but going rusty. Wire scrapes against wire and irritates as it tumbles along the treadmill. Why do I find it so difficult to complete simple tasks? Why can't I finish one thing before beginning the next? Am I trying to be too much?

What is it with me? Why this constant desire to push boundaries? I believe this a positive trait and one I wish to keep, but sometimes it's just all too tiring. Since turning 40 I feel like I have to make up for lost time. That I should have been taking this creative path 20 years ago. Is that why I've had that recurring dream that I'm not prepared for my exams; that I've done no work all term and there's work to hand in? Perhaps that makes sense, or is it just an inner desire to keep learning and progressing and maybe finding that mysterious something?

I feel swamped by inspiration. I look at artistic blog after artistic blog, I follow links to further treasures, I take them all in. I want it all. I wish to throw myself into my art, try everything, master all. I strive for my own originality. I feel like there's something out there I'm trying to reach - my touchstone, but I'm swamped. The key is there, but it's mixed in with a thousand others. Are creative people ever content? Do we eventually find what we are looking for, or is our soul only alive during the search? Is that what fires us?

Should I stop looking at other people's work and just immerse myself in my own? All I know is that I just can't seem to settle at anything. Something creative is pulling me but I know not what, where or why...

I write this with no intention of posting, but the reason it is here and not in a journal or simple word document is that this is my sanctuary, my place of expression. I often use the medium of blogger to articulate my thoughts and pull them from the depths of my subconscious. It's intriguing what this blog has become for me.

Ah why not, let's edit this a bit and post... Cast those thoughts into the Universe and see what happens. I actually wrote this a couple of days ago now and feel a little better. I've spent hours focused on one aspect of my art tonight and completed two drawings I'm more than happy with. Perhaps I did just need to articulate my confused thoughts!

It's interesting that I felt the need to illustrate this post - with anything of mine... I'm saving the drawings for other posts later in the week so I dived into my photography stash and had a quick play with this pic I took last week - at Legoland of all places. No, it's not made of lego, but it is yet another art project in the making. When I saw them, I knew I just had to try and paint them at some point.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Link love

When the words and pictures won't come, best instead to share the work of others. I'm too tired for writing or painting tonight, so let me tell you about:

The Boy Wonder
A little something for those artists among you who dream of hitting the big time - especially those who have only been painting for a year or two. This artist started just two years ago and just sold out an exhibition in just 3o minutes and made a cool £150,000. Not bad for a 7 year old... (yes, you did read that right!)

The Magpie's dream sale
Do you love bright and shining things - especially those that look fab-u-lous adorned around your neck or hanging from your lobes? Why not treat yourself to something really special without breaking the bank. My friend Mama Moon is having a closing down sale of her incredible jewellery. Grab it while it lasts... (I have!).

Dreamy Inspiration
I have been meaning to post this for weeks and weeks and have been very remiss. I was lucky enough to win this beautiful print from artist Flor Larios when she had a giveaway. I keep it by my bed and their serene faces greet each morning with me. Go dream on her site and immerse yourself in such dreamy inspiration

Her name is Faerwillow and she writes as you would imagine - words of magic and images that float through the mist. A most fortunate discovery! Another chance to thank her for the photos and gifts she sent.

And finally...
I guess you may need to be a Brit to get this parody of Alicia's big hit. It tickled me anyway and almost makes me want to be Welsh! Who needs New York when you've got...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Old loves

Multi tasking today. Combining Sunday Sketches with working through The Drawing Lab (inspired from nature) and Mixed Media Monday where the prompt was to return to 'an old art love'.
Behold image 1 - sketch of flower
Until about 18 months ago, if I got my paints out it would inevitably be to paint something from nature - and as accurately as possible. This was copied from a beautiful photograph sent to me by Faerwillow - I won a giveaway of her photos. If you visit her site, you may just spot this one! She also sent me the most adorable Guardian Faerie to keep me safe. On the subject of giveaways - I think I shall have one of my own to celebrate reaching 200 followers... 8 to go!
I wasn't overly impressed by my sketch, so returned to my second old love... watercolours to see if I could improve things a bit.
Behold image 2 - watercolour washes
Hmm, I think I prefer acrylics, so much more forgiving. Now I return to my Drawing Lab lesson and consult additional media.
Behold image 3 - mixed media
The application of Inktense pencils, water and black & white ink pens as well as abstraction. Happier now, but clearly need more practice!
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