Wednesday, 30 December 2009
This time last year you promised yourself to write (nearly) every day. Well done girl. I bet you had no idea that starting a blog would open up such a rich vein of creativity, shrink the world a little and give you the wonderful gift of new friendships.
What will 2010 bring I wonder? Please keep up the writing and, whatever you do, don't stop painting. When you hold colour in your hand spells get woven and imagination soars. Above all don't forget that creativity is as much for you as anyone else; it's about forming something you are proud of and reflecting a little of what resides in your soul out into the big wide world.
Don't stop dreaming but maintain some focus. It's not going to be easy setting up in your chosen career. You'll need to learn to cope better with rejection for a start. Dig deep for those hidden reserves of stamina and determination. You're already well on the way to achieving your ambitions so don't fall at the last hurdle.
Start thinking about your birthday now. 40 is a time for celebration. Don't let the day slide by unmarked. Plan for the party.
Spend a weekend in London. You know how much you love it there.
Give that novel one more try then, if it doesn't work, start another. Don't give up. You will be a published author.
Now, let's get down to a few specifics. We need to talk about your 'office'. You simply cannot work in that mess. Make to do lists and stick to them. At the end of every one write the word TIDY UP AND FILE and do it. I want to see some targets drawn up for both work and personal
ambitions and regular review. Give yourself a quarterly appraisal and if either a little bonus or a big dressing down depending on how well you score yourself.
OK Lisa, enough now. You've never been a person for too much structure. Sieze every day and grab all the opportunities you can. Remember that life is not a rehearsal. This is your movie. You are the star - go grab everything you can and enjoy!
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
No weddings here, just an entry for an art challenge. The Three Muses' prompt delighted the Muse who has found her MoJo again.
I'll tell you in a minute how I made it, but you know me and my Muse; we never can be content with just posting up a pretty picture. We like to ponder and stretch fingers across keyboard.
Something old: I feel my age. In just a few days I shall reach the year that sees my 40th birthday. When are you middle-aged? Surely not yet? I don't feel middle aged that's for sure. I have far too much still to do before I start watching Countdown and buying comfortable shoes.
Something new: I may be nearly at the top of the hill, but I have something new. Today I received official notification of my Ltd Company status. The Wright Stuff Communications Ltd has been noted by the Inland Revenue. The Tax Man is watching me... I am a Company Director which sounds rather grown up and highly suitable for a soon-to-be-4o-year-old.
And now to the art...
Ancient arches and crumbling ruins. Ghostly remembrances and forgotten romance. What histories have danced through this garden? What overlaps between past and present seeping between the cracks in masonry? Old and new collide and compete but the magic remains constant...
This piece was inspired by a page in a magazine. I painted a strong background then attempted to transfer the image using gel medium. Half way through the rubbing off process I stopped and kept the backing page. It seemed to have melted into the other scene like it was meant to be - a magical overlap. I added lots more paint and the old book to add to the sense of ever-changing stories.
It was fun and another almost 'accidental' piece. If you're still feeling creative, I'm running a challenge on my blog looking for submissions of accidental art. I'd love to see what you might have.
Monday, 28 December 2009
Popping along to Mixed Media Monday's challenge seemed the cure. Paint something with a colour you don't like. Hmmm.... Well, that's a bit tricky but mustard immediately came to mind. Reminds me of the suits my English teacher used to wear back in the 1980s when they were never fashionable.
I took some sludgy looking paint and brayered it on. I started thinking ugly, decaying thoughts. I made a rather dreary background planning for a miserable picture and, for my Muse, this was the final straw. She leapt out of her apathy and vented at me in Italian for several minutes. I was surprised as I've always thought she was Greek.
As I don't speak Italian (or Greek for that matter) I hadn't a clue what she was screaming about, but it did at least prompt a chain of thought. It's coming up to New Year... I really want to go to Italy this year... Shall we list as a resolution? I think so, don't you?
My Muse wasn't finished with me though, not by a long chalk. Naturally she fancies a holiday under the Tuscan sun but she was also concerned with me finishing something today and getting back to blogging.
She muttered something about inspiration being di fronte al tuo viso and the penny dropped. A leftover from Christmas feasting - not a mince pie or Turkey leg - a napkin with an Italian scene - heavy on the mustard. I abandoned my decay and went for a bit of sunshine. I could just nibble on an olive now...
I'll leave you to guess which bits of the picture are collaged from my napkin... (my Muse has given up on me and retreated to bed with a cold compress).
Sunday, 27 December 2009
For something a little more light-hearted though you can't beat a bit of Ant & Dec with their old mate Robbie.
This is a very indulgent posting - I'm letting the talents of others do all the work. Where is my creative spark? I think it may be clogged in an over-loaded digestive system competing for attention among all the chocolate, cakes and other naughties. I can't seem to move. I'm beset by a fug of laziness. Or maybe I just need a rest?
Thursday, 24 December 2009
There is something very special about this time of year when you are around children. It is their belief in something magical. Whether it's angels telling shepherds that a King has been born in a stable or that an old man with a white beard will fly to your house in a sleigh drawn by reindeer and bring you a sack full of presents. There's not much beats the wonder as their faces light up in excitement.
Since my husband and I separated and divorced we have two Christmas visits from the man with the white beard. His first trip was here on Sunday. Aside from the mountain of brightly wrapped gifts we knew he'd been by the other clues he left behind - the handwritten thank you note for the mince pies, the crumbs on the plate, the nibbled carrots and most impressive of all, the magic sparkling glitter dropped by the reindeers in the snow where they had landed outside. If you look carefully you can still see some glistening on the path.
Yesterday we were lucky enough to receive another magical nocturnal visitor. The tooth fairy herself stopped by to make an important collection. My son's first tooth to wobble and fall. The tiny jewel came out in a piece of cheesecake but he made sure he licked all the sweet stickiness off before placing the fairy treasure in a special little box (made for the occasion by yours truly) and stowing it next to his pillow.
Morning came and with it indignation. "She's not been!" he wailed in disappointment while I struggled to regain consciousness at an unseemly hour. Of course she had been, he just wasn't looking carefully enough. You see she originally put the coin under the pillow, but came back later to check it was still there. She'd forgotten that small boys are equally as active in slumber as waking hours. The coin had been shoved down the bed. She thought it best to leave it on the wooden edging for safety and there it remained until he looked a little more closely (and with the light on this time).
My message to you is that belief, magic and miracles are not just the stuff of children's fairy tales or old books. Heed the wise words above and let a little something special guide you through life and be in your thoughts this Christmas.
Inspired by the Inspiration Avenue art challenge - Believe. Mixed media: yellows, greens and reds were painted in acrylic to form the background. An image transfer of a model in a posh dress makes the body of the angel, I painted in the wings then decided she needed a more dramatic background - a starry sky. I forced myself to find the time for the challenge this week, mainly because of the topic - how perfect for Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends. Health and happiness to you all.
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Sometimes we labour for hours over a piece, only to screw it up or paint over it in disgust. Other occasions see the paint float across the canvas as if Turner was holding the brush. Then there's those pieces that just appear almost by themselves, like this one.
What do you see? I absolutely love the layers in this piece. Is it perhaps a view through a rainy car window in the city at night? A wild party at the paint factory?
Nah, it's none of those... It's my palette paper after a spot of art journling - working off excess paint from the brayer! And yes, I was happier with this than the journal page!
Might make a good art challenge - especially one over the Christmas period when we are all so busy with other stuff. Go on, share with me your accidental art and let's see what is lurking in the cupboards and drawers! Can't wait...
Monday, 21 December 2009
Saturday, 19 December 2009
This, dear readers, leads me to ponder just what exactly has happened to this week. Did someone perhaps press the fast forward button down too hard? Have we been hurtling through the space/time continuum on a race with the good Doctor in his TARDIS?
How can it possibly be Saturday again already? What did I do for the past seven days? Let's have a think... Well, I have barely had time to pick up a paintbrush that's for sure. I've only done one proper day's work. I've sort of cleaned the house but it's messy again already. I've wrapped up all the presents, written all the cards. I've spent all day cooking and preparing for a big family party tomorrow (and let's not mention all the shopping that entailed). I did my bit for the community by clearing much of the snow out of the road in front of my house (and now I have a back ache, no surprise there...). This morning I found myself unexpectedly mopping up the mess after a 'hidden' leak in the shower pump resulted in a waterfall through the kitchen ceiling. I've sat in the audience of both a nativity play and a carol concert starring my son. Friends have been wined and dined... Hmm, perhaps I have been busy after all...
This waffle is really an excuse for my entry this week. I just didn't have enough time to devote to create exactly what I was after.
Friday, 18 December 2009
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Fancy dress is usually the order of the day for me. Past festivities have seen me disguised as Dolly Parton, a lush has-been actress (personally I think my performance here was Oscar-worthy!), a hairy pirate and even Darth Vader. After it took me a week to wash off the 'eye-liner pirate leg hair' I decided enough was enough. This year was all about the glamour. After all, when you are the Company Director you have to set some standards.
Dress therefore by Dior, diamonds naturally Tiffany's, make up Bobbi Brown (in person), escort... (well, that would be telling!).
OK you got me. The more observant among you may recall I work for myself. The company consists of me, a desk a computer and a printer. I've discovered that furniture and electronics make poor party companions. Mix that with the fact I can't hold my drink any more, am not particularly fond of cheese and onion crisps and we have a rather dull cocktail dear readers - more of a Canvey Island Iced Tea than the Big Apple version.
So, no wild office party this year. Bottoms were held securely in undies and pain killers not required.
Oh well.... this time next year....
PS - Yes, I am silly enough to have specially mocked up that photo up top just for this post!
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
I have to say I was really impressed by the whole performance. They sang, they recited, they played instruments, including the steel drums (why didn't they have steel drums at my school?)If they were handing out gongs I'm sure my boy could have carried off best supporting actor in a donkey role.
I wonder if there's much money in writing scripts for school plays. It wasn't exactly Shakespeare... Hmm food for thought...
I think we might have to go and see this film together next week on school hols...
Friday, 11 December 2009
I've talked in previous posts about tribes and the new movement of New Brand Tribalism I am so interested in. I've been reading more on the subject this week and am understanding why it resonates so clearly with me and my Muse. It's about not being afraid of rocking the status quo. In fact, the more you shake and disturb the better...
Take this piece of art for example. At school I was a sheep. I did what I was told unquestioningly. When Mr Bailey said paint landscapes because you're good at that and they always come up in the exam, that is exactly what I did. (There wasn't a landscape option in the exam, but that's another story!). I would never have dreamed of producing anything like this and for decades after A levels I still only ever painted landscapes. I would doubtless have been told this wasn't 'proper art'. I'm certainly more proud of this than any piece I produced at school. This is an expression of my imagination. It comes from the heart and soul. I never had the guts or even comprehension that life could be like this. I have been a sheep for far too long. I am casting off my woollen comfort blanket and running free on the fells.
Sounds a bit mad I know. I've been thinking, maybe my last job, the one I hated, was in a strange way the a good thing for my career. It required me to be a sheep and I finally realised that I was no longer capable of bleating and following tails. I want to be the wolf! I looked at the rules and I didn't believe in them any more. I like to challenge, in fact I love to challenge and I want to make a difference. I know there is another way, there are other believers not afraid to let their imagination roam and 'colour outside of the lines'.
Back to Seth... Have a look and listen...
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Anyway, back to my bottles. I took a photo then had a good old playaround in Photoshop giving what is supposed to be a slightly vintage feel. I felt there was a bit of magic around this old glassware - I'm sure I can see the remnants of a spell or two spilling out...
Monday, 7 December 2009
I've only just stopped singing poker face and now I'm 'on the wings of lurve' with Jeffrey someone circa 1985... and Mixed Media Monday's prompt.
A magazine transfer took the effort out of getting her facial features aligned and arms in the right place, but other than general shaping not much of the original model remains. She was given her wings with a liberal dose of acrylics, ink, the magic of love and promised passion!
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
PS Why does blogger sometimes repeatedly take out my carriage returns???
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!