Sunday, 31 January 2010
I found the picture in Vogue, transferred the image to an acrylic background then played in Photoshop. I doubt she would approve.
Saturday, 30 January 2010
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
This piece, although intended for The Three Muses 'quote or quip' challenge, is also a bit of homework for my Suzi Blu Goddess & Poet portrait class. What a wonderful teacher she is, I could watch and listen all night. Personally I think that all artists should wear feathered hats at least once a day and dance around with parasols. There's something else I adore about Suzi - it's her recording studio aka bedroom. The room is a tip! I can just hear my Mum tutting "you think she'd have tidied up, fancy filming with all that mess..." Don't listen Suzi! I love you just the way you are!!!
Monday, 25 January 2010
Welcome friends old and new alike. Your magical carpet floats delicately before you. Before our flight departs, let me give you some history and a small safety briefing.
You are about to be taken on a wonderful ride through Bloglandia. The journey (since it is magical) can be as long or as short as you like. Perhaps you merely want to gaze at a few sites and treasures before alighting at your next stop, or you may stay and explore. Whatever you choose you are most welcome - for this is a One World; One Heart journey as the residents of this land of the imagination open their doors and share a little love.
The carpet before you may look a little threadbare and lack the usual creature comforts one expects with modern travel - there will be no drinks service I'm afraid, nor indeed any chairs; but I can assure you of a trouble free and safe flight.
Are you sitting comfortably now? Then we'll begin. Let's go right back to the beginning...
My Great-Great-Great Grandmother Elvira was a lady born with wanderlust sewn into her silk stockings. It was many years however, before it made its way from such a bizarre home and took this fine lady on her many adventures.
Her husband Ernest had regrettably grown into his name for he was a most serious fellow and not taken with the idea of travel outside of England's green and pleasant land, nor indeed even the small country town where they had made their home. After spending her honeymoon gazing wistfully at the lands across the English Channel from a wind-swept Brighton beach, Elvira begged her husband to take her to see the world.
Ernest thought he could placate his wife with trips to Bath and Edinburgh, but not even the ghosts of Holyrood Palace could tame her wild spirit. Eventually, for he was a kind man at heart and dearly loved his wife, he agreed on one special trip. They would travel to Spain.
Elvira's heart was bursting with excitement as they clambered aboard the steamer in Plymouth that would take them to the magically named Bilbao. However, what followed was not quite the journey of their dreams. Foul weather followed in their wake tossing and throwing their craft across the Bay of Biscay. A mysterious ailment struck the crew down who were unable to fulfill their duties. Ernest and Elvira took turns with the other passengers to steer the ship and guide her away from the terrible rocks that threatened to smash them to pieces. Wild storms swallowed them whole and spat them out into a maelstrom of confusion and far off course. After days of terror listening to the moans of the crew and wrapped in a blanket of confusing fog, they at last sighted land and made for the welcoming arms of a harbour on what appeared to be a small island.
Elvira and Ernest thankfully stepped onto dry land once again. A bustle of humanity greeted my relatives and their fellow travellers, whisking them up into a small town which appeared to be in the middle of a busy market day. Crowds thronged the streets admiring exotic fruits, vegetables and spices piled high. Garishly coloured clothing swung like washing on lines and the noise of colourful birds and beasts fought to be loudest among the strange language spoken by the residents of this haven.
The travellers wandered lost among the chaos unable to make sense of any words. The Captain, now sufficiently recovered, was using the universal language of barter for food and a new compass (since their own was behaving in a manner that indicated six poles instead of two). He instructed his crew and passengers to be back at their ship before sunset when he would guide them back home to Plymouth, thinking they had possibly had enough adventure to last a lifetime. Or at least he hoped he would, since at this moment he hadn't the slightest idea where they were.
Knowing that this might be her only chance of travel in this lifetime, Elvira grasped at it with an enthusiasm that surprised even her. She lifted her skirts and, leaving Ernest surrounded by chattering ladies, ran through the market laughing and waving at the surprised traders. Her senses were alive and devoured all that she threw at them. There was one sense however that was just waking up... Her sixth sense suddenly took Elvira away from the crowded market and into a narrow alleyway. With no fear she walked alone toward a small shop almost hidden in the shadows. Moving aside a dusty curtain she entered...
An old man bent his head in greeting and beckoned her in. As her eyes adjusted to the gloom, Elvira noticed that the tiny room appeared to be covered completely in carpets of the richest hues. There was not a scrap of wall, ceiling or floor to be seen among the beautiful patterns swirling before her eyes.
At last she stopped in her inspection as she beheld a small rug of outstanding beauty. Ruby reds, met sea blues and greens that were surely the colour of mermaid tails. Elvira stroked the soft fibres and breathed in a mysterious spicy scent that wafted from them. The man smiled and lifted if from its hook on the wall. He gave it to her to hold and Elvira gasped with surprise when she felt a weight no heavier than the silk shawl she wore over her shoulders.
Elvira knew at that instant that she must have this carpet. It already seemed a part of her. She had no money with her and somehow doubted that this shop would accept her Queen's Sterling. The man, sensing her thoughts just smiled, placed a gentle hand to her back and guided her towards the door. Elvira turned in confusion, attempting to return the treasure, but the man would not take it. It seemed he wished to gift it to her. Elvira could not possibly accept such generosity from a poor stranger and the man, again reading her thoughts, continued to smile and pointed at silk shawl.
Elvira shrugged it from her shoulders and gave it to the man who wrapped it around himself and smiled, before returning to find her frantic husband and return to their ship. They sailed within the hour and two weeks later were back at home believing they had visited a small and uncharted island off the coast of Africa.
You might think that the story ends here, but readers, this was just the beginning. I am sure you have guessed correctly that mysterious illnesses, navigation equipment failure and unknown islands appearing out of the fog can only mean one thing... that magic was afoot... and it wasn't long before it showed itself again.
The very first night they were home, Elvira carefully placed the carpet on the floor of her bedroom. She slept fitfully and after waking from an incredible dream clambered out of the warmth of her blankets to fetch a glass of water. The second her bare foot touched the carpet, she was thrown first to the ground and then in the air. Bracing herself for impact she was shocked again when none came and to her utter amazement she found herself seated on a carpet suspended mid air. When it took off out of the window and she disappeared with it into the night she was tempted to faint, having no suitable lady-like reaction stored up for just such an occasion, but curiosity and her sense of adventure got the better of her and so she was fully conscious when they landed just outside the Parthenon in Athens. Just as she was when subsequent trips took her to the Pyramids, The Grand Canyon, Paris in the Spring, The Ganges, Victoria Falls, Machu Picchu.....
Elvira recorded her adventures in her many journals illustrating each with words and drawings that excelled the imagination. After she died (at the grand old age of 102), the carpet and her 'fanciful' stories were packed away in storage waiting for the next female in the line to come of age... Many sons were born to my family.... until 1970 when a baby called Lisa made her entrance into the world!
Well, I have to confess that this post wasn't at all how I thought it would be. I had no idea that Elvira would appear and tell me her story. I was just going to give you a short tour around my blog. If you're still with me by this stage I'm sure you're exhausted so I'll give you leave to depart. Thanks for your visit and do pop by again. What you'll find (apart from evidence of an over-active imagination) are the varied ramblings of my words and creativity. I'm a rather enthusiastic blogger who rediscovered a passion for art and enjoys combining the two. I hope you'll return for a longer look around.
Before you go, you may like to enter my little giveaway and take a piece of Elvira's story with you. Who knows, there may be some magic lingering with it. This mixed media painting and collage is made from fragments of Elvira's journal, letters, photographs and paintings (yes, that's her bottom left, she was quite a beauty!).
To enter, simply leave a comment to this post ensuring that I can reach you if you win via your blog or email. All comments must be received by February 14th and I'll announce the winner on the 15th.
Friday, 22 January 2010
This is the other eye of the painting I did for 'something in the air' at The Three Muses this week. I had a little more fun in Photoshop for the Inspiration Avenue Mystique challenge - you need to look really closely... I had huge plans for a whole series of mysterious paintings this week, but then I happened upon a rather nifty little art course which has swallowed all my attention.
It is Suzi Blu's Goddess & Poetry course which takes a little of the 'mystique' out of portrait painting. After nearly 40 years it looks like I am finally learning how to draw a nose! What fun! It was always noses that put me off faces, but since my artistic rediscovery last year I have been 'drawn' more and more to this subject matter.
Regulars of my blog will know that I have become a big fan of 'colouring in' faces. Copies of Vogue have been gesso-ed and models' perfect complexions given make-overs. Then I learnt the transfer technique and there was no stopping me. Occasionally, with a sudden burst of confidence, I have created my own, freehand, with varying degrees of success (you only get to see the half-decent ones!).
I want to do more... The course is wonderful, Suzi is a great teacher and lovely and wacky - wearing mad hats and waving parasols about mid-lesson. So far I'm just on pencil sketches... next comes all that lovely colour! Can't wait!
Watch this space...
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Well, this evening I am planning on writing a happy post for I have many reasons to be cheerful. I also have many excuses for using words like joy and delight.
The first being that Ange has given me a Happy 101 award which is jolly nice of her. As usual these awards require some form of acceptance speech and seeing as I missed out on a Golden Globe (again) this year I just happen to have one I prepared earlier - but more on that later as I am still rather busy explaining to you why I am writing Happy posts.
Another gleeful reason is that I am once again joining Jamie Blogger and her merry band of Ridlers (or have I got that confused somewhere along the line?) in a blogtastic book club. Jamie is rather skillful at choosing books with little in the way of reading required (see numerous Wreck this Journal posts back in the Summer of '09); which at first glance may seem a little odd for a book group, but bear with us, for The Happy Book requires the readers to do the writing. As a reaction to these credit-crunching times she also hit upon the marvellous idea of sharing the book so we're passing it among us and don't even have to buy a copy. What a jolly wheeze! As I'm near the bottom of the list it could be some time before said book arrives on my doorstep - the question is - will the dog ears have to be quarantined? Of course, being in a book group where you only see said book maybe six months or so into the project could be dull. Worry not dear readers, for clever Jamie is running a blog where we can all meet up every Friday and share what makes us happy which I think is a lovely idea. You may have gathered by now that this is therefore my first post on said subject. Hello Happy bloggers!
But now, my audience awaits and I must struggle up the stairs in an evening gown that was never designed with movement in mind and gracefully accept my Happy 101 award.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I've read so many posts recently about bloggers' words of the year - a great way to focus thought and direction. I thought first what my word for 2009 retrospectively should be. Stronger. I was stronger last year, not all of the time but I felt that word propping me up throughout the last 12 months. This year I feel the Universe tugging me in a 'Happy' direction so who am I to argue?
What makes me Happy? In no particular order... (am I supposed to do 101?)
- A small boy age 5 (nearly 6)
- A big boy age 44 (nearly 45)
- Making art and... making Art of the Week on Mixed Media Monday! I was so excited I emailed most of my address book
- Singing and dancing (not necessarily at the same time). Regrettably this does not necessarily put a smile on the faces of those around me and would give Simon Cowell good reason to shudder, but I like it!
- Writing. I bet you never would have guessed it...
- Being my own boss (this probably warrants a whole post in itself so I'll save it for another day)
- Girlie days or nights
- Strangers walking up to me in the street and gifting me several hundred thousand pounds (no strings attached). This hasn't actually happened yet, but we live in hope
- Friends, Romans, Countrymen
- Being silly
- And finally, for this post anyway, I just laughed my socks off when a neighbour's cat poked it's head and left paw through our cat flap intent on stealing some my moggies' food. I often catch him in the act and tonight we had a 'battle of the stares'. He backed down first and reversed back out still hungry. That's 15:0 to me I think!
I've enjoyed compiling this list, in face I might go so far as to say it made me very happy! I'm looking forward to sharing some more next week. I think we all need a bit of happy sharing every now and again.
Speaking of which... one of my favourite comedy sketches of all time which never fails to provoke some loud chuckles...
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
I had an interesting time with my Muse tonight. She pushed me back in the direction of portrait painting though I wanted to wait until I start my new course (more on that another day). She was insistent. "Paint someone who looks like they're dreaming of their new love" she urged... Easier said than done. I laid down a few layers to my story first before she began to take shape. She wasn't enveloped in a gentle romance though. There was a sadness to her eyes tinged with jealousy. Was it unrequited love?
I took her to the magician called Photoshop to see what could be done for such a terrible love sickness. The remedy called for a trip to Paris. Surely that's the last place she should be going to alone? Ah... we see she wishes to inflict more pressure on the cracks in her heart... Is that a wintry moon shining down on the passionate embrace of her love with another or perhaps the green-eyed monster? There's surely something in the air on the banks of the Seine this chilly evening...
Background: my painting
Embracing couple with street lamp: getty images
Over-active imagination: I think I'll claim that as mine too
Sunday, 17 January 2010
Yet how I pondered... how I stretched and searched for the lift onto the thermals of inspiration. Then the words 'taking flight' fluttered past and I knew... I would like to say thank you to Ms Kelly Rae Roberts for her truly uplifting book - Taking Flight - and her delightful blog where she shares her insights into her creative soul. Kelly is one of those people who proves that YOU CAN DO IT! After years as a social worker and without formal training, Kelly is now a successful artist and writer with her creations reproduced as prints and stationery across the world. She had a dream. She went after it. She caught it and netted the rewards.
I've taken informal lessons from many artists these last six months or so and the experience and techniques lovingly shared by Kelly in her book have given me not just endless fun and inspiration but have also given flight to my creativity. So for this challenge I wanted to create a little something with a nod to Kelly but still very much my own.
After my foray into portrait painting last week I couldn't resist another go. This canvas block started life as a completely different picture which never quite lived up to expectation. Layers of acrylics, transfers and collage have been painted over leaving an intriguing background. I painted the girl who represents me (though she was never meant to look like me!) and made her wings from words because, for me, my words and art go hand in hand. I added some collaged hearts and got grubby with pastels and detailed with caran d'ache. I was pleased with the result. I feel like I've come a long way since I last posted a Kelly-inspired creation which I felt was far too much an inferior copy of her work rather than something of my own.
Friday, 15 January 2010
Take me away to better days
I thought I'd make a greetings card this week. I had planned on an adventure into advertising having the somewhat over ambitious idea of creating a new advert for fabric conditioner with sparkles and sunbeams flowing out of pockets in newly laundered clothing while tossed delicately on a Spring breeze. I thought a soundtrack of sunshine on a cloudy day might add soul fragrance.
Well, would you believe it. I only went and got some paid work! Well, how inconvenient! My foray into the world of advertising had to go on hold for a few days. Then, I was suffering serious boyfriend and shopping withdrawal symptoms, so managed to get my fix of both on Thursday. Fortunately for the boyfriend, first stop was Costa Coffee where we lolled on sofas, inhaled neat caffeine and he stole secret nibbles of my cake when I wasn't looking. All very indulgent. This put me in such a good mood that I suggested he remain there with the sports pages and a couple of Grannies for company while I quickly nipped in John Lewis to the Bobbi Brown counter... (well, those gift vouchers had been cluttering up the place...)
This morning I was laid low artistically by a rare disease in this house - it was the urge to clean. I advise sunglasses before entering my kitchen readers - the glare is quite dangerous and if you're looking for anything I may well have actually put it away... Put the boyfriend to good use reorganising my desk and moving electrical equipment. And Mum, before you ask, yes he did do something about that tangled mess of cables.
And so, Friday afternoon edged into a foggy sky and no artwork done all week! There was one corner of the house though that had been untouched by the cleaning typhoon.... the art studio aka dining table... well, it wouldn't hurt to get a few more paints out then would it... a few acrylics sloshed about and splashed over hands and fingers and I almost felt my old self again.
No pockets I'm afraid, but hopefully plenty of sunshine!
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Naturally I can't possibly think, write or say this word without the Take That song popping into my head and out of my mouth. Shiiiiine Shiiiine... For those of you who don't know or dislike Take That - shame on you... Maybe I'll stick a link to YouTube in at the end of this post (a perfect excuse to play it again and again and again and ...).
I quite fancy shining as a pop star or Shirley Bassey-style diva, but I don't think even the best vocal coach could perform that miracle, so we'll have to think of something else.
I've always thought of myself as a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades. I'm not sure what I most shine at. Lately though it's definitely the desire to shine in my creativity. I think that's my essence and what propels me through the day. The last year has been all about writing and painting and long may it continue. It gives me strength, makes me smile and has started some incredible new friendships. Here's to shiny words and pictures!
All together now...
So come on, come on, get it on
Don't know what you're waiting for
Your time is coming don't be late, hey hey
So come on
See the light on your face
Let it shine
Just let it shine
Let it shine.
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Monday, 11 January 2010
William Shakespeare (from Julius Caesar)
What a wonderful thought from the old bard and such a simple philosophy given such poetic treatment - he was a clever fellow wasn't he? I thought I'd find a nice seaworthy quote to float alongside my art today and this one splashed me right in the face as soon as I started looking.
Saturday, 9 January 2010
Oh yes, I am very excited about this upcoming cinematic extravaganza - who wants to see Johnny Depp play a straight role when he can lose himself in his, Tim Burton's and Lewis Carroll's imaginations?
This is a grown up piece of work from me. I use that definition for several reasons. The first being that I had to give it a PG certificate because it scares the pants off my son. In fact, he said "it looks evil". Well, he does have a point. It sort of became the Mad Hatter meets Johnny Depp meets the Joker...
Secondly though, this was a proper painting - on a big canvas (16" x 20"). There's a bit of collage in the background - you can just see some playing cards and pictures of Alice and friends, but other than that is just my painting. Mainly acrylics but with a little oil pastel and some watercolour pencil to add texture and detail.
I'm putting it for sale in my Etsy shop on the off chance that a Mad Hatter fan who doesn't mind being given the evil eye might happen upon it.
Inspired this week by Inspiration Avenue's 'Wonderland' challenge and Mixed Media Monday - 'Something New'. For the latter this meant being brave and tackling both a big painting and a portrait! The advantage of painting the Mad Hatter of course was that the slightly insane look in the eyes and strange skin colouring was perfectly acceptable!
Friday, 8 January 2010
I've been meaning to make one of these myself for absolutely ages but never got around to it. One of the many 'must learn how to do thats' on the list. Perhaps this year sometime...