Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Monday, 28 September 2009
When I saw the Mixed Media Monday Challenge this week asking for a piece inspired by lyrics from a song, this immediately sprang to mind. I love this line. It's so romantic.
I've had the idea for this painting for a while. I was captivated by the magazine shot of the woman in the rape field and wanted to give it a bit of a 'Lisa treatment'. OK, so it doesn't quite conjure up the romance of the lyric but the brilliant yellows from the blooms in the field keep her shining as the clouds gather above.
Acrylics, magazine collage, some more of that old book, tissue paper scrunched up (just like we did back at primary school!), charcoal pencil (my new favourite toy) and a dash of oil pastel.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Friday, 25 September 2009
This blog has become such an important part of my self-expression which is why I want to tell everyone just how great my Dad is. He doesn't have a computer and watching him work a mouse is frankly quite hilarious, but I know I can be sure you'll read this sooner or later.
It's pretty hard knowing quite what to say here. Once I start listing your qualities I'll struggle to stop. So let me just make everyone jealous and tell them you're always willing to help, to offer support and guidance (even when we don't think we need it!). You're funny and clever. You're a wonderful Grandad. In fact, you're everything!
Get well soon, have plenty of rest and, next time you have 'indigestion' for over 12 hours, do us all a favour and call an ambulance after about 10 minutes!
Your loving, troublesome daughter Lisa
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
No, I'm afraid I am going to be a bit cliched here. It's TIME I'd like a bit more of. I go to bed every night frazzled, trying to pack into my evening what I'd be far more comfortable spending all day enjoying. I need a little time to find me. I need time to find a job where I feel I'm actually achieving something, but that finishes nice and early so I can spend more time with my boy. I need time to do nothing - cause I'm supposed to be doing this for 15 minutes a day for the Joy Diet and I'm finding it really hard (more on this on Friday's posting). I most definitely want more time to write and slosh paint about. I might get around to doing more housework or, hey... what about someone to do it for me?! I would have posted a longer missive tonight, but guess what... I'm a bit pushed for time... (I'm multi-tasking hanging out the washing and making tomorrow's sandwiches as I write this).
Monday, 21 September 2009
(*aka Dancing with the Stars elsewhere in the world or simply 'Strictly' in the UK).Waltz along with my words tonight darlings as I take to the floor with my dance partner - Prose. Step to the sexy Brazilian beat of the Cha Cha Cha by taking in this rather crazy composition of silver foil, shiny metallic acrylic paints, iridescent inks, a little collage, shiny tissue paper, lashings of glitter and an overdose of swirling chiffon and rhythm. It is perhaps a little over-done and clumsy, but hey it's only week 1, there's time to improve... Over to you judges...
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Jacqueline floated onto the ice, relishing the sound of skate on her stage that gave her such comfort. Out on the rink she was another person, far removed from the broken-hearted, dejected housewife she became when she crossed the threshold of number 43. She was a princess, a warrior, a diva, a fairy. She was anything she wanted to be.
'Vintage' challenge at number 3 Inspiration Avenue. Strictly speaking I think I should probably have made something, but couldn't resist showing you this vintage programme I picked up at a car boot sale last weekend for the bargain price of 10p. Aside from the fact I've since found an identical one for sale online for £10 (now that's what I call I bargain!), it does conjure up a lost era. I couldn't help but wonder what their stories were, so thought I'd have a bit of fun and invent one. I actually got two programmes - the other for a 1954 Holiday on Ice. I went to see that as a girl (in the 1970s, not the 1954 one!) and I think it still tours now, fitting in around the X-Factor, Britain's Got Talent and more modern and cheeky upstarts!
There's much magic in the air tonight. Can you hear it whispering through the trees? Fragments of spells fly with the fairies as they dust the unsuspecting. The fae background comes to life with a heady mixture of acrylics, inks and old texts revealing hidden secrets. Are you brave enough to look in the mirror?There's a magical theme to this challenge from TGIF (strictly speaking it is now Saturday morning, but I'm sure it's still Friday somewhere in the world)
Friday, 18 September 2009
I’ve been comfort eating. I am unashamedly addicted to chocolate, it makes me feel better about my miserable job for at least… ooh 5 minutes.
A couple of extra pounds are sitting round my waistline and I feel lethargic and morose. I am not a happy bunny. What better week then to start my new blogging group book – The Joy Diet by Martha Beck. Although not strictly a diet book in the traditional sense; if I get it right I will hopefully feel less need to eat the brown sweet stuff.
The Joy Diet - find out more
Together with life coach Jamie Ridler and a group of inspirational bloggers/dieters – some old buddies and new friends in the making – we will work through each chapter that teaches us how to feed our soul all the nutrition it needs. We will learn how to make the most of our potential, what it takes to lift us from the arms of Morpheus each morning with a smile on our faces and a spring in our steps. In short, we will be mastering how to bring more joy into our lives.
I have read the first chapter which invites us to do ‘nothing’ which seems a strange start! Easier said than done though when you’re a Lisa. I thought at first we just had to still for 15 minutes a day which I’m sure I could just about manage… at a push… But no, doing nothing also means thinking nothing. We have to empty our minds; stop listening to the ticker tape of jabber; silence the inner critic; wipe the to do list off the brain’s blackboard. The benefits? Well, it's the place where you find your true self, your inner strength. It's probably best summed up in the words of Lao Tzu:
Worth thinking about for sure.
First attempt: I darkened the room and went all ‘new age’ with my background music. I relaxed and tried some of the techniques Martha recommends. My mind however, was still tuned into 300 channels (and a couple of muxes*) all competing for my attention. Doing nothing, it turns out, will take some perfecting… Tune in next Friday to see if practice makes perfect and the following weeks when joyful creativity, tenacious truth searching and brave risk-taking will abound.
I made this journal page a few weeks ago in a delicious moment. My creative inspiration melted on my tongue sending a rush of endorphins through my bloodstream and down into the paintbrush. It looks a bit of a mess but it was a rather joyful experience!
PS – I think the UK version of the book has a much more jolly cover dontcha think?
* Mux: technical term I picked up at work. It's a grey box - need I say more?
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
As the Prime Minister announces cuts in public service spending...
Gotcha! Don't worry, I'm not about to go all 'political' on you. Instead, I'm stretching the creative muscles and doing a spot of serious limbering up for some strenuous challenges coming up over the coming months.
In no particular order:
National Novel Writing Month
First up and undeniably the biggest, most ginormous online event I've ever dared stick my nose into is this challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (of November) - whilst also working full time, being a mother, girlfriend, daughter, sister, friend, and organising a craft fayre (more on that one later). Well, why not I say? The emphasis with this challenge is on quantity, not quality. In other words, the old inner critic can be told to take a running jump. Writing without inhibition may just be what is needed to get this novel off the ground.
I'm excited to be a writing buddy of another blogger - Hybrid J. We'll be encouraging each across that finishing line. I actually can't wait for this!
I guess I shouldn't dive too far into this posting without perhaps attempting to explain why a blobby pocket watch is serving illustrating purpose here. Well, by now you may have perceived a slight addiction to artistic challenges. This is for the benefit of the Three Muses and followers and this week's theme - pocket.
Journal page background scanned then digital collage. Thanks to Graphics Fairy for Mr Brownlow, the Victorian ghostly gent who has come looking for his pocket watch and found a few memories too. I can't remember where I got the watch from - 'somewhere else' on the web. I gave it a bit of a pounding in Photoshop butI think it's still working! I do feel I cheated a little though. I had planned to paint the watch, but it got too late and I wanted my bed...
I wanted to give a quick plug to the talents of the ladies at this Etsy group & blog. They have begun a new weekly challenge - open to all, so do pop along. This week's theme is 'Vintage'. Hmm, vintage wine... would love a glass thanks!
Mail art challenge
Here's a guaranteed gallery entry. Simply create a piece of mail art that will have the postman swooning (or possibly cursing, since I don't believe there is any restriction in size) and send it in. Clearly the organisers felt that since the advent of email they didn't get enough real post, or maybe they just wanted to provide work to their local postal service. We may never know... I need to investigate this one further but the closing date isn't for months so I'll probably apply the tried and tested 'leave it to the last minute' technique. Works every time...
Well, 'Art Journal' actually but that Oasis track is a particular favourite and I seem to have wine on the brain... This starts tomorrow! Most excited, will no doubt be telling more. Bought two pristine journals today which I've sat and stroked and dribbled over.
The Joy Diet
The second of Jamie Ridler's blogging groups I have joined. Together we work through this book by Martha Beck (our Maitre D') who presents us with a menu of ten behaviours to add to our Life table. I've had a bash at the first chapter. 'Do nothing'. It's a bit like asking me to eat parsnips cooked in blue cheese - hence I include it under my challenging list! Later weeks will have me taking risks, playing, laughing, feasting and getting creative (that sounds easier [whispers], but time will tell - there may be a few parsnips hidden among the chocolate mousse)! Starts this Friday; it's not too late to join.
A real selling opportunity
In the last 6 months I have created and crafted; painted and patterned; melted and moulded. I have single-handedly kept Hobbycraft in business. It is time to recoup some cost. I have persuaded my son's school to hold a craft fayre in November. A bit of a ladies' night. I've sourced other local artisans and together with another Mum will be going all 'entrepreneurial'. We'll hopefully make money for the school too which they'll probably need because... today the the Prime Minister announced cuts in public service spending...
Monday, 14 September 2009
I opted for some artistic therapy and sought inspiration from a regular haunt. Mixed Media Monday bounced a 'round' theme. With a brain too tired for any clever, off-the-wall interpretation I just went literal. I got a round...
I drew round.
I printed round.
I cut round.
I painted round.
I collaged round.
I shaped round.
I baked round .
I found round.
I stuck round.
I rounded off...
In a roundabout way I ended up with this. It was fun. I feel a bit better now.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
“I had that weird dream again” Tabby said to the hand doing its poor job of relieving her annoying itch. Giving up hope of getting back to his dream of playing alongside his hero Thierry Henry, Mark gave his girlfriend his full attention. “Not dungeons and dragons again?” he smiled at her, marvelling at the powers of her subconscious imagination which was currently conjuring up the contents of a Tolkein novel most nights.
“Dragons and unicorns actually” Tabby remonstrated, “as well you know, and don’t laugh. I’ve never had such vivid dreams, they’re freaking me out”.
“I keep telling you… too much cheese… “ laughed Mark stumbling out of bed towards the shower. “If it bothers you that much, go and see the doctor, though be prepared to leave in a straight jacket!”
Tabby sank back under the duvet consumed by thought and duck down. She had no intention of going to the doctor over a series of odd dreams but they bugged her none the less. What she might see a quack about though was her birthmark which seemed to be changing. Climbing out of bed she tried to peer at the unusual markings on her back which had begun to itch and become inflamed in the last week or so. Her fingers traced the strange pattern at the base of her spine. She was rather proud of it in a way, it was certainly unlike any birthmark she had seen on anyone else – more like a tattoo, a mixture of swirling lines forming what seemed the beginnings of a pattern. Mark, an artist, had even created a series of paintings based around it. He came out with some supposedly romantic notion of it forming a bond between them., but Tabby didn’t need a painting to know that they were meant to be together. She blew an invisible kiss towards the steam filled shower and headed off to the kitchen to make the love of her life a coffee.
Tinker glared at Tony, his eyebrows knotting in anger and frustration.
“There’s nothing wrong with it, just do the tattoo” he ordered, but the artisan sat firm on his artist’s stool and stared back with as much determination.
“I’m telling you man, see a doctor, then I’ll do the last part. There’s definitely some inflammation around that mark that’s nothing to do with my artistry. Probably nothing, but I have my reputation and more importantly my insurance to think about.”
Tinker leapt up and got dressed wearing his frustration and disappointment alongside his leathers and filthy jeans.
“Looks bloody stupid now,” he bemoaned. His hands smoothed over the intricate design on his lower back made to match his weird birthmark. It was starting to look really cool, much better than the dumb mark he’d had to put up with all these years. Tony had skilfully mirrored the strange markings creating a labyrinthe design. It was too big a job for one session though and he’d returned for the last part today only to be turned away for “medical reasons”. He slouched out of the tattoo parlour and headed for the doctors. Might as well get the all clear today if he could, maybe Tony could fit him in later…
Friday, 11 September 2009
When the sun had set and with the small boy safely tucked up in bed, I bravely turned the notebook pages once again to reveal my bête noir of unpleasant tasks. I quivered in my slippers and felt myself drifting towards ‘sticky corner’ (aka what was once my dining room table but now resembles a very messy artist’s studio!).
However, something deep inside me, that secret longing to walk around my lounge without tripping over something, pushed me into action.
Readers, I tackled that list. I ticked things off. I worked through it. I did it! And do you know what? It sure felt great! A great feeling of calm and serenity descended upon me. I felt virtuous, organised, in control. And when I had finished, then I allowed myself time to create and have fun. And do you know what? I’ve made another list for this evening, for there are still things to trip over. It starts with clearing out my hallway to allow for more easy access and egress from my abode. It moves onto rediscovering my dining room table (albeit only temporarily). What tremendous fun… but it ends with splashing a bit of paint about and posting this blog – I confess I am writing this while at work – though it is still lunchtime (in some parts of the world!).
My mind is so full of ideas at the moment that it feels overflowing – they’re dripping down my hair and falling into my ears (no wonder I caught an ear infection!). I need some semblance of control, flying by the seat of my pants is no longer enough. Perhaps I am just getting old and the reflexes that allowed juggling a whole canteen of cutlery (carving knives included) just aren’t so sharp any more (unlike the knives).
I think I will surgically apply a small notebook to my personage so I can jot down ideas in one place rather than scattered wherever they fall as they are at present. At least writing this blog allows for a spot of focus. Maybe in the future someone will invent a memory chip that supplements brain power and helps you remember things. How cool would that be?
Well, the evening is spent and I am ready for my beddy. I was a good girl. I tidied, I cleaned and cleared then relaxed. I'm a bit too tired to think now, but might as well post this or it will be out of date and an opportunity missed. And I did spend my (ahem) lunchbreak writing it!
Postscript: Saturday morning. Well, I was too tired to even think about illustration for this blog; yet it was the first thing I thought of this morning (after a blissful 9 hours sleep)! I'm in a bit of a rush, but once inspiration strikes... We have a quick journal page on the theme of lists! Well, we will once the paint dries enough to go in the scanner...
Roll up, roll up.Two oranges for the price of one. Come on ladies, pick up a bargain why don't ya. Lovely juicy oranges...
I do like a bit of Inspiration to set my creative cogs a-whirring. When I stumbled upon Inspiration Avenue's blog a wee while ago it was indeed a day most fortunate as it has already led me to make some lovely new friends as well given me opportunities for more tasty creative outpouring. Now they are hosting a weekly challenge.. Well, you know me and a challenge... Why don't you come along and join in!This week they suggest 'orange' as their theme. Very autumnal. My garden is slowly turning orange as the leaves begin to curl and wrinkle in the sunlight that finally decides to show its face now summer is over. As an aside - why is it that at this time of year spiders insist on spinning their webs at face height across pathways so you end up wearing them like some kind of halloween bridal veil?
I was in the mood for getting sticky this week in my creativity, so made some collage & acrylics boxes. It's a most restful exercise - until you view the mess strewn in a 5 mile radius around the work table. Even the cats have little bits of paper sticking out of their fur which they carry round the house to deposit in their favourite sleep spots.
Then I also couldn't resist a bit of spooky digital fun. I was actually going to save this for a forthcoming Halloween project, but have a sneak preview.
Watch out Mr Spider... or I'll set my pumpkins on ya!
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
This is the closest I got to writing my fantasy novel this week. She looks a little lost - caught between chapters perhaps; or maybe struggling to find her identity! Why, my frightened elf, thanks to this week's Three Muses' challenge, at least we now have a name for you.
What magical delights this word conjures!
And how appropriate a name for one whose skin shines with moonbeams. Moonstruck is a creature of the forest with eyes the colour of soft moss and hair downy as the feather blanket she sleeps upon. She carries the troubles of centuries upon shoulders equally weighed with responsibility and now, suddenly, she must deal with..... Ahhhh not so fast.... wait and see.... buy the book!
Bit of a mixed bag with media. I didn't have time to paint her a proper background so cheated a little and used some fantasy background paper - with an added moon and moonglow in photoshop. Moonstruck just wandered in from my sketchbook (or did she perhaps fly in by unicorn - one can never tell with these fantasy elves - a law unto themselves!). Her basic facial features began life as a photo from a magazine, then she was painted over with a ghostly pallor. She doesn't see the sun much, living as she does in the depths of a legendary forest. How will she cope when.... oops, she's at it again - giving away plot secrets....
And finally, just for fun. Last week's Three Muses' challenge was Charlie Chaplin. I never quite got around to this one - I was poorly remember. However, how could I possibly let a little fact like 'he's actually a distant relative' pass by without mention (actually, I've mentioned before, but who's counting?). So, we have Lisa and Charlie - can you tell which is which from the striking family resemblance??!!!! Well... maybe we just share a wacky, slapstick sense of humour! (For the avoidance of doubt - he's the one with the mustache.)
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
(if the feed doesn't work, click here to go to slide.com)
Dreams. Soft and beguiling - full of wondrous places, sensations and joy. Write down your dreams and they will be on the first step to coming true, illustrate your heart's desires and you will see them appear before your eyes.
It's been a summer of discovery for me this year, and also one of getting gloriously messy and sticky. 2009 - the year that creativity made a welcome return. I tackled this latest project with the same gusto as my blogging and painting. But I wanted to do something more than just make it look pretty. It had to mean something too and in the spirit of all my fellow creative lovelies, I created a dream book. Every page had to represent a part of me now or who I want to be. Places to visit; lifestyles I may wish to adopt; beds I'd like to sleep in; youthful figures I'd like to regain; and vistas to quench the thirstiest palette and fill my life with colour and inspiration. There's also an awful lot of cushions... See what I mean about dreams being 'soft'! I've tied the book closed with a pretty ribbon, it somehow adds to the magic!
I don't want to bore you by going through my thoughts on each page but ladies.... check out the cover - is that not your dream walk-in closet? Does any other page reach and grab you?
Enjoy your travels through my dreams...
If you'd like to find out more, take the course run by Patty at River Bend Ranch.
Monday, 7 September 2009
I listened to an interview with Robbie Williams on the radio. He's back from a three year break after a not terribly successful album (at least compared to most of his records). Did he sound nervous, scared, lacking in confidence? Did he 'ekkers like*. The man is bursting with confidence. Success is written all over him (and yes, I can read through the radio - I'm clever like that!). I sat there and thought. "Here is someone who believes in himself". I'm sure he has attacks of the old inner critic like the rest of us but the important thing was that he announced to the world that he was proud of latest work; that it was great; that it would make you feel good. It wasn't big headed, it was just fact. Belief.
What does that do to someone listening to him talk? Well, I'll tell you. How can they hear a critic that he has so effectively silenced? They can't. They are carried along with his enthusiasm and believe too and then, they go out and buy his records. I, for one, can't wait.
I will be following this principle. I will BELIEVE in myself. I will let go of fear and then trample all over it. Now is my time and I am going to take it!
Finally, we get to the original point of this post. I found another arty blog challenge. Mixed Media Monday - what a pleasant start to the week. I was invited to develop a piece that evokes a particular time of day.
Well, after last night's list making, it had to be a new dawn.
I used to drive to work early down a dreary motorway and certain times of the year the sun would rise as I joined the commuter line of traffic. There's one spot where the road lies above the fields and the mist would hang like a magical see-through counterpane keeping the river warm. I wanted to recreate some of that mystical quality and also the remnants of dreams as you wake and rub the sleep from your eyes to take on the new day.
Acrylics, collage (old book and tissue paper), silk paint and oil pastel.
* I appreciate that many of my readers may wonder what kind of crazy spelling this is - it is in fact colloquial Yorkshire meaning 'as if'. Apologies to any Yorkshire folk as I've probably quoted it wrong - me being a Southern softie and all that...
Sunday, 6 September 2009
... all the more dramatic when you spend a patient time in Photoshop
Saturday, 5 September 2009
This morning was beautifully autumnal. I admit no mist, but that special crispness in the air alight with sparkling colour and charm. It was wonderful to be out soaking it all in, feet sniffing through the leaves looking for conkers, wiping the sticky webs out of your face and dusting the very same web-makers from your hair. I felt most lyrical upon my return, so poor Mr Keats was subjected to a little 'tampering'. He's probably turning in his grave poor fellow.
I've realised that early Autumn really is a special time of year that is too soon forgotten. Today reminded me of how September hangs onto Summer's beauty - rich and ripe before October's damp and the icy claws of November reach out and drag away all the colour and warmth. I so love the crunch of dried leaves underfoot and watching them swirl down around me dancing in the muted light. If you're not familiar with the (unmessed with) version of Keats' Ode to Autumn, you should google it. A stunningly evocative piece of poetry.
I feel the need to paint acorns now and partake a little of the fruit of the vine... (though reading this, you'd be forgiven for thinking I'd already enjoyed a little Bacchus nectar!
Thursday, 3 September 2009
And airy tongues that syllable men's names.
Yesterday's post proclaimed loudly that I still feel Summer's gentle touch, yet today I am thinking Halloween...
Well, I blame my friends across the pond where clearly this celebration is a much bigger deal than here in the UK, when if we want to get scared, we just look at our politicians! I'm amazed yet also intrigued to see Halloween countdowns abounding on blogs and a whole host of parties to join. Naturally, never being one to turn down an invitation, I am getting my pointy hat ready for one such fanciful twisting of a do.
Today's ghoulish thoughts come courtesy of Theme Thursday and their apple bobbing, pumpkin carving, things-that-go-bang-in-the-night challenge.
A little ATC triptych to tickle your taste buds ahead of the season of spookiness...
Mixed media: acrylics & collage (click to enlarge)
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
It may be September and the mornings already heralding Autumn's chill fingers, but I still feel summer in my heart and bear her honey tones on my skin.
So, I'm sending myself this postcard as a reminder of racing across sandy beaches and tasting the salty tang of sea in nature's fishy harvest.
As the leggy supermodels cry out to be photographed in the season's latest hues, so do the shiny scales of mackerel dare you to attempt to get a grip on their shine in paint. Twice captured - by line and then cast onto canvas and immortalised. A taste of holiday, a feast for the senses.
Summer & fish. What an intriguing combination! Just goes to show that inspiration can arrive and slap you round the face like a wet fish when you least expect it!