Saturday, 30 October 2010


Weighed down with sweet treats she returned home spent. She may be tired and a little unravelled but is feeling decidely pleased with the night's haul!

A bit of fun for Halloween. Tomorrow my son gets his first foray into the world of trick or treating aka collecting a large quantity of teeth-rotting substance. Given that the tooth fairy has had to pay us two visits this week already, I think I may have to put some form of rationining into motion on our return. He is fully prepared with pumpkin bucket and terrifying mask.

I'm thought I might go in disguise too (so the neighbours don't know who it is out begging!).

Interesting to see just how much has been 'spent' on Halloween in the UK this year in comparison to 'ye olden days'. Check out that link to a BBC news item. Spending in the UK has increased 23-fold since 2001!

I've been learning 'whimsey' from Tam at Willowing this week so thought I would use the new skill to spooky effect for Illustration Friday 'spent' and Sunday Sketches.

Friday, 29 October 2010

And Summer's lease...

We've reached that delicate patch of Autumn where beauty hangs in the balance. Trees hold grimly onto their colourful palettes but the wind and chill conspire to bring these lofty artists down to earth to make instead a mush of soggy leaf carpet. It's a rich, lush and fruitful time. I adore the smells and crunchy sounds as much as the sights of all those russets, greens and chestnuts.

It was fairly inevitable then that this week my hands have been pulling crimsons and ochres out of the paint box. I'm also rather enamoured of being inspired by the words of others and Mr Shakespeare came to mind.

"Summer's lease hath all too short a date"

Indeed William it does; yet there is something quite special about Autumn too - all that 'mist and mellow fruitfulness' as Mr Keats had a habit of saying.

This piece is my Queen of Samhain. I confess to being a little behind the times (or possibly in front) when it comes to my knowledge of this ancient festival, so did a spot of research and it turns out that 'something to do with Halloween' did indeed just about cover it! Here's what I found on Wikipedia

Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half".... It has some elements of a festival of the dead. The Gaels believed that the border between this world and the otherworld became thin on Samhain; because some animals and plants were dying, it thus allowed the dead to reach back through the veil that separated them from the living. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.

This piece came from the burning embers of the bonfire, the melting of leaves into earth and the turning of the season. The Queen of Samhain watches from the fire's edge and reclaims that which is hers ready to bring back to life come Spring...

She is for a new art challenge on a new creative community which I am only too pleased to share. Why not pop along and meet another regal figure - The Queen of Creativity herself at her Castle. She has raised the drawbridge and all artists are welcome.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Flavia speaks (again!)

Much as I wouldn't normally post the same picture twice (and certainly not in the same week!), serendipity thought otherwise this evening and forced me to stay up well past my bedtime to bring you this rework of Sunday's creation - Flavia.

Let me explain. I was pondering what to create for Inspiration Avenue this week with the delightful selection of word prompts provided. I would also be required to grunge up my creation for a vintage, rusty or aged feel.

I turned to my old friend Ms Google and searched for some inspirational quote to kick start the creative juice. Who should be waiting for me but Flavia herself. Having tangoed her way here last weekend in a philosophical mood, here she was again and spouting more little gems of wisdom.

Tonight she wishes us not to:

"Cut the wings of your dreams, for they are the heartbeat & freedom of your soul."

I suspect there may be more than one Flavia and this one doesn't tango onto the pages of my sketchbook, but you never know!

So, we present a slightly cheating entry for the Avenue. Well, how could I use a quote from Flavia without including the lady herself? Here she is 'aged' and rusted from being left out in the rain Photoshop. I think you'll agree, she doesn't really look a day older - must be something to do with having an Italian lover permanently smoldering away in the corner...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Wishcasting this week asks us what we wish to shed. Ha! Well, that's an easy one. You see readers, this morning I was very naughty and allowed myself a little treat... something that really shouldn't have passed my lips, since I'm losing weight to fit in my posh evening dress again.

So, what do I wish to shed?

The calories I took in eating this Krispy Kreme of course!

(Shh...Don't tell!!)

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

She had a head for fashion

I'm not entirely certain what this creation is any more! It began life as a designer hat for the Three Muses Challenge. I was pondering what was in vogue at present and so grabbed a copy of that illustrious publication, borrowed Philip Treacy's Muse and shaped and formed a living breathing monster of head gear which sat atop this poor lady's head. Philip's Muse sure is a strange lass, make no mistake. Perhaps he keeps her under a tighter reign than I managed, because after the hat was finished then she really went to town with my paints and inks. I'm not entirely sure what to make of  her. Are you? (You may need to enlarge to see the bizarre details of the millinery).

I won a hat design competition once. I bet you're impressed now! However, perhaps I should explain before you go thinking I'm some sort of fashion genius... It was a team building exercise involving large quantities of chocolate, cardboard, tissue paper and glue. In a task reminiscent of The Apprentice meets Blue Peter we were required to design a new concept in chocolate complete with packaging.

I came up with the idea of hats in a hat and so six pairs of sticky fingers got to work moulding and shaping until we had an Ascot-style hat with reams of tissue and feathers sat atop a box of choccies squished into the shapes of jockey caps, bowlers, baseball caps and even a fez! There was no one fired in my team I can tell you. In fact, we left weighed down with the spoils of the competition - chocolate naturally!

Got to dash, going out to a comedy evening.

The piece is made of collaged magazine snippets over and under acrylics and inks.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Racing in the anticipation of a dream

“Behind closed eyes, colors fade and blend into beautiful new creations. Fate is left at the shaking hands of our imaginations. Places new and amazing, faces remain unseen. How, then, does our heart feel as if racing in the anticipation of a dream?”


I'm not sure what you should look at first today. My initial sketch, the finished version or the breathtaking spectacle that is Vincent & Flavia's Argentine Tango in the clip at the bottom of this post. I think you should certainly have the sensual musical accompaniment, for this piece most certainly is infused with liberal does of Latin passion.

I've been pondering this quote for all day, for when I was searching for inspiration for the Illustration Friday 'racing' theme, it leapt out of google at me leaving the most intriguing sketch in my mind. As I cycled round the reservoir and mixed a little spice for my Thai meal, I've been soaking up what it means and allowed the Muse to flick through my books and magazines and delve into my art boxes and see what she could find. It turns out that she simply had to turn on the television and watch a bit of Strictly...

Flavia stands at the edge of the dance floor and closes her eyes. The music begins and the hypnotic notes course through her blood and begin their control of her feet. But not just yet. She waits and sees the colour of the dance floor in her imagination, feels the movement with the beating of her racing heart and the passion, yes the passion calls her and she is ready. Her eyes open into the dark stare of Vincent's and she steps onto the floor...

Phew, I feel quite flushed after all that. Be still my beating heart!
So, we have here a finished version for Illustration Friday and a half way sketch (while she figured out the choreography) for Sunday Sketches. I would also like to give a nod to the generous Tam from Willowing whose instruction this week on her free art course helped me inject a bit of depth into the background.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Harvest Queen

In the airing cupboard is a very soggy piece of paper. Parts of it are wearing away and there will doubtless be a white residue of gel medium mixed with papier mache come morning. It is my entry to the Harvest challenge on Inspiration Avenue. It is very much an experiment along the lines of childhood mud pies. It began life as a coloured pencil sketch of a woman from the earth - the Queen of the harvest. Beetroot was applied like a deep cleansing mask to her face under a layer of gel medium and magazine, then the top layer scrubbed off, digging right down into her pores. More layers of acrylics and crayons have built up quite an intriguing background. One eye peers out from the foliage and roots, a hint of peachy cheek, a strand or two of hair.
In the meantime, here's one I prepared earlier. My drawing digitised with the harvest root spread. Can you spot the Queen surveying the fruits of her earthy labours?
PS: I don't suppose anyone knows where I put my book for the Sketchbook Project do they? It really is about time I started on filling it, but I put it somewhere safe and...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Tales from the landlocked mermaid

When I began blogging, like I'm sure the rest of you, I had little clue of what I was doing. I hadn't even really looked at other people's blogs. All I knew was I needed an outlet for my writing. Then I discovered the delightul hobby of blog hopping. A few leaps and I landed on Carmen's site - Writing from Life - an Aladdin's cave of artful tales and treasures from a land-locked mermaid. I was spell-bound by her imagination and amazed at the incredible techniques she must be using to create her art. You could say that my love affair with mixed media art began here.

One day the summer before last I read on her site that she'd joined Jamie Ridler's Wreck this Journal Group. Sounded like fun to me, so I signed up too. Another momentous step in my life. That project was a total eye-opener for me. Every week myself and bloggers across the globe splodged, ripped and tattied our journals, sharing our creative output and letting loose so many of the fears that bind our creativity. It was roundabout this time that my artistic output exploded like the most vibrant firework. Suddenly I realised that art didn't have to be neat and perfect. It could be mess. It could be made of bits of old rubbish. It most certainly was fun!

And there I was surrounded by this amazing group of new friends, all offering support and encouragement. Some I've really got to know and enjoy spending time sipping a virtual coffee with while we talk about inspiration and admire each other's handiwork and Carmen is one of these.

When she decided to launch a new blog, I just knew I'd love to interview her over here to sell her talent to anyone who has had the misfortune not to come across her before.

And so, with apologies for this being such a big post (it's worth the read, I promise), may I present my interview with the lady herself - Carmen! (All the artwork and photographs on this post are hers).

Tell us something about the birth of your new blog
I really love expressing my creativity and interests here on this page, This blog along with my previous blogs are a way to express myself creatively. Blogs are such a great way to connect with so many like-minded souls, and the sense of connecting, getting inspired and opportunity for growth motivates me to keep on sharing my own unique voice, mind and heart with this world. I wish with all of my heart with this new blog to motivate and inspire others to live creatively, because after all, we find inspiration from each other and art has an incredible power.

Each person who comes creates will bring their own message, emotion or interpretation. I am hoping that someone who sees my blog will be inspired to do the same.

How did you come up with the name?
As a blogger, as someone who like many others proclaims myself as 'self taught', I follow my gut in creating something even when the concept behind a piece isn’t clear in the beginning - or even at the end! In my posts I admit that I enjoy experimenting or that I have learned a new technique by much trial and error and keep on going and trying, (and honestly I know I still have so much to learn). I thought: Yes, I need courage to be brave enough to put my artwork and my experiments out there for others to see. And yes, I need a playground, to remind me to stay grounded and not to take myself too seriously, and the rest of the name is part of who I truly and deeply am and believe: Imagination, beauty and love.

What’s next on the creative wish list?
Over the years my life's path has taken me in many directions which is a good thing - my present is exciting at this very moment, I am so grateful for that! So, I have blown a little wish out there and hopefully will become a reality when the time is right. I have many many reasons to feel that will happen sooner rather than later ;-)

Meanwhile, all I want is to keep on sharing my process, I want to offer mostly a visual treat for my blog visitors, I want to share some aspects of my life too, specifically with photography,
visual journaling, mixed media art work, cooking and gardening. On occasion I would also like to offer and share little reflections or life poems of what I am feeling at the moment.

And thirdly, I will keep organizing round robins or art exchanges once a year for everyone who wishes to challenge herself in this kind of fun commitments.

I want to share and invite you to believe in yourself, and live creatively in the moment, and from the past, learn from it but let it go.

What artists have blown you away recently?
There are so many!!! it is difficult to name names, but I really enjoy both the life stories and craft of Mary Ann Moss And Lori-Lyn Hurley.

How has your work changed over the years?
There are so many more techniques, materials and art supplies involved in my art nowadays. Practice, confidence, and the desire to offer more is a part of that. Recently, I tried a hand on assemblage involving vintage knick-knacks, some old photos and fabric which was fun.

Creativity has always been a big part of my life. As young 4 years old I was already playing with paper and paints, all the way to my teenage years. And in between, I grew a love of homemaking. At 12, I started sewing and making jewelry. And for obvious reasons I keep getting myselft into a lot of DIY projects; tools fascinate me to tell you the truth I even use them to make textures and shapes in my abstract paintings.

What are your favorite techniques?
For this, you are going to need your imagination, a pen and several scraps of paper.
Are you ready? Doodle, doodle, doodle to your heart’s content! Another one I love and you can see clearly in all of my artwork is textured tissue paper with acrylics.

How does nature influence your work?
I grew up very close to my grandmother who was besides a seamstrees, cook, crafter, and many more things, also a gardener. From her, I learned the names for every tree, herb, plant, wild and delicate flower.

I think because of this exposure with nature at a very early age, I learned to respect it greatly and follow my instincts on knowing how to take care of it, too. And noticed every single thing going on. So yes, nature is my guru, too, and oh my how much I love the ocean and the change of seasons. Put it this way, in my lunchtime, I get all ready to go out and my colleagues say to me: where are you going? It is raining out there! Or it is too hot!

And there was this other time when started to snow and I went out and opened my arms and felt in paradise and felt like writing! Yes, I am happiest outdoors sitting in the grass or in a blanket or with my toes squishing in the sand, with rain or sunshine!

What’s your ideal creative day?
Breathing deeply, practicing kindness, taking nothing personally and seeing EVERYTHING as an opportunity to learn, grow and to live in the present moment. So that includes spending time with my loved ones; people watching; reading to be inspired; browsing around farmers' markets, thrift stores & flea markets; being outdoors; enjoying a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of wine; and
my solo dates - I'm especially good at these! I seek solace at home, in my garden and with my art. Nurturing yourself is definitely good for the soul; in return you get the clearest mind and a heart at ease.
"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is you-er than you"
Dr Seuss

Thank you so much for your time my friend! It was a pleasure to interview you. Maybe one day we might actually get to meet!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Soft animals

Before you read this post, you should take a look at what inspired it. Jamie Ridler has been writing of the vulnerabilities of our desires and invites us to share those things that we might be most afraid of sharing - what poet Mary Oliver portrays in the lines:

"You have only to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves..."

Jamie suggests we should "clear away our cobwebs of limiting beliefs". This ties in beautifully with what I have been reading in the classic book on writing 'If you want to write' by Brenda Ueland. Brenda talks about being true to oneself. I was so struck by this quote that I was moved to write it down so I could keep reminding myself of it:

"Everyone is original, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from himself. But it muts be from his true self and not from the self he thinks he should be."

Last night I wore my goals on my sleeve and posted a journal entry sharing what I hope to be achieving in the coming months - you can read it here. It wasn't an easy thing to share and I contemplated keeping it private but I'm also a firm believer in sharing your desires with the universe or, at the very least, writing them down. I know that if I don't make effort to achieve these goals now then I'll feel guilty because I told you I would. It's well-needed motivation and a tried and tested way of putting pressure on myself.

In terms of perhaps sharing some of the 'softer' desires, the embarrassing tracks on the ipod type thing. I am not afraid of admitting my geekiness and sharing what is me with the world. Naturally some things should and do remain private but I don't mind letting people see what makes me tick and in fact like to think of myself as a little bit eccentric. I'm not exactly what people would call a shrinking violet. When I was a child I was always worrying about what people would think. Then one day - when I was in my teens I think - I just stopped with the realisation that if friends accepted me for who I was and respected you for your unique opinions, points of view and dodgy musical taste!

However, perhaps I should confess one little secret about me. As we were talking about 'soft animals' it reminded me that I still like to cuddle a soft animal in bed every now and again! One of my favourite things to look at is a child clutching their favourite toy in slumber - I guess I am rather a softie at heart and need my comfort.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Dreams taking flight

Like around 900 other creatives, I am joining Tam on her Heart, Art & Healing. First up was banishing fears and insecurities. I took things a step further and decided that setting a few goals out into the atmosphere might be a good thing (plus it fitted rather nicely with the Three Muses' Wings on Things theme this week!). I don't often art journal so this was rather a pleasant change for me.

So here are a few goals (with wings from Iktupulli). The girl represents me - though I look nothing like that. I think I might have been influenced by watching Star Wars at the weekend (I don't think I will ever get tired of watching that film! My son loved it by the way and wanted to watch The Empire Strikes Back straight after!).

1. Start that book. Yes, yes, I know. I keep writing this goal. However, I have some thoughts... a few seeds germinating in the corner of my subconscious... It could be time... It really could...

2. Be published by Stampington. Oh how I adore Artful Blogging and her sister publications. Now all I have to do is get myself organised, check out their submission guidelines and topics and SEND SOMETHING OFF!!

3. Revamp, rebrand and relaunch my Etsy shop. I have completely neglected my shop. It's partly because I have so many ideas for it - involving a new name for a start - that I feel a touch overwhelmed and have ended up barely starting anything. I've decided that The Wright Stuff doesn't really match my artistic output and could get confused with my blog. So, time for a change. I'm also looking into getting prints made up of my work and bogged down with what printers to choose, what papers, what service...

4. Lose 5kg and fit in that dress. The diet is working. I have lost a little weight, but and that's a big BUT I have toned up considerably and the dress now does up (if a little tightly). It's rather linked into point 5 - you see I'm going to an awards ceremony in November at a posh London hotel. The 5kg is to get me back to my comfortable weight so other clothes fit too!

5. Win something. Team efforts count here too. At the posh awards ceremony we're finalists for two business awards. I wrote the entries so certain amount of pride here! I was also doing well with the Dorset Blog Awards but some baking lady is beating me by about 10 votes... Hmm, muffins obviously proving popular. Perhaps I should paint cakes for the rest of the month...

Monday, 18 October 2010

Trinkets and customs officials

I love the anticipation of a parcel arriving don't you? Especially when it contains mystery treasures for sharing. The lovely Faerwillow began a mail around of trinkets back in the summer. Each participant was to take a goodie or two, replace with their own and mail it on.

All was going so well until our box fell foul of officialdom. You see, the suspicious folk at the UK border were not aware that what an arty blogger considers 'treasure' is not perhaps the swag they were expecting when they read the customs description and demanded import duty!

Thankfully they were placated by my tale of artists inspiring each other the world over with little drawings, a few beads and collage materials. They did open up the box for a good rummage around first mind. Perhaps they were disappointed it wasn't priceless artifacts, but at least our trinket trade was able to make its next stop without me adding to the coffers of Her Majesty's Customs & Excise.

So, tomorrow I will bid a fond farewell to the parcel - being sure to write a lengthy description on the required documents! The thought that remains with me though is this... What if we all become famous artists one day, with creations selling for millions? I like to think that perhaps in 10 years or so (or shall we be more ambitious and go for five?), this little box of 'trinkets' will warrant a huge customs declaration and the need to be escorted and handcuffed to the arm of a security guard. What do you think?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

When the moon howls

"Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with scary, spooky, haunted, or forbidden in the title." Shaggy, close friend of Scooby Doo.

Well said my lanky friend, well said. Perhaps I should have heeded such wise words before partaking of a hundred or more Halloween parties yesterday as I rampaged around blogland hotly pursued by ghouls, ghosts and goblins.

If you missed the party of the season at a Fanciful Twist and have a stomach for such things then do hop upon your broomstick and zoom over to follow the cobweb trails and tales... But a word of caution... do so after dark at your own risk...

It seemed perfectly natural that my Sunday sketching this week would be inspired by such gruesome imagery. This was helped along by the Illustration Friday theme 'spooky' and watching my boyfriend playing some zombie shoot 'em up game on the pc sitting next to me. It's a wonder I have managed to remain sane!

This illustration was an experiment. How can you turn a simple sketch of a girl into something far more sinister? Well, you could cast spells and rub her with newt's entrails, but I preferred the contents of my paint box. I oozed, dripped and splodged and sprayed with a ghoulish mist. Rather effective I think? She started out as quite a pretty little thing and now she looks like she's had a run in with the special effects department at Hammer House of Horror.
I always used to think that painting should be such an exact science, but now I've learnt that half the fun can be in the experimentation. When you drip ink over an eye then tilt the paper you lose control, the art makes itself and the story unfolds before you.

"Where there is no imagination, there is no horror."

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Friday, 15 October 2010

Magic stirring... A Halloween Tale

Follow me my pretties through the enchanted doorway to a tale of autumnal magic...

Deep in the woods lived a creature who rarely saw the light of day. She was old and tired and had seen the moon's waxing and waning more than anyone else she knew.

They say that with age comes wisdom and many would seek her out to share the answers she had learned. Some wanted love, others the return of youth or the secrets of a magic life. She would sit with them awhile and share her secrets... but before you seek her out, remember that enchantment always comes at a price...

How can I tell you this tale? Why, I've been there myself. Shall I tell you how, where and why?


I woke to the strangest music that floated in through the window and danced with the dust motes. The moon's slim fingers of light were creeping through the curtains and encouraged me out of bed. Where was that music coming from? I pulled on my clothes, grabbed a light and drifted downstairs still groggy with sleep and out into the crisp October night.

As I tramped through the sodden lawn the symphony became louder. I could hear voices now too, an excited chatter mixing with the wind in the dry leaves tumbling to the ground from the trees. I fought my way through the brambles and undergrowth somewhat bemused at the quantity of pumpkins I was finding along the path.

At last I came to the gap in the trees where a winding path lay. It was a track I had never ventured down before but I am not sure why. Some reason or other always pushed me in a different direction. Today though the music and conversations called me along its enticing trail, I pulled back dead branches and flicked away strings of sticky cobwebs.

The strangest of sensations began to overwhelm me. I felt as if in the midst of a crowd yet the path was deserted. Something pulled on my skirt and I felt a cold breath on the back of my neck. I wanted to turn and run but that music... it bewitched me... I sped up but not in the direction of home.

The invisible tide carried me through the ancient forest, the trees grew thicker and blocked the moon's reassuring light, a chilled mist wound around my ankles and all the while the pull of the music drew me deeper and deeper until suddenly... it stopped.

I found myself before the strangest little door set within a steep bank and tangled with roots and vines. Whispers of voices and song urged me in and without further thought I reached up and pushed at the damp wood.

The room was dark save for the gentle illumination of candlelight and it took a while for my eyes to focus on the strikingly beautiful woman sitting in a carved chair beside a table covered with bottles, herbs, dried mosses and peculiar items the like of which I had never seen before.

"You took your time" she said rather matter of factly. I was struck dumb until she smiled kindly and motioned me to sit in the empty chair beside her before shooing would could only have been an invisible occupant out of it and then closing the door behind them.

It was all I could do to ask who she was and why she might have been expecting me. She poured me a blood red drink from one of the many bottles on the table and began her story.

"I'm the Keeper," she explained. "I hold the knowledge of the ancients from these woods, I see, hear and know. I am the bridge between the human and fae , but these days few from your world can find me or even believe in my existence."

I gulped down some of the liquid she had handed me. It was rich and fruity and not entirely unpleasant. I took another mouthful and another but soon wished I hadn't for suddenly my vision began to clear and I realised we were not alone in the room, for sitting on shelves, balancing on tables, dangling from the ceiling and leaning against walls was the most terrifying collection of creatures ranging from tiny winged things to ghostly apiritions and what could only be vampires licking their lips and lusting after my blood.

The Keeper laughed at my surprise and fear. "They come to me for advice, for wisdom, for magic...," she smiled then added. "...every year at this time.." A quick calculation of the date and shivers ran down my spine for I realised with a sudden chill that it was indeed the 31st October...

"Why am I here?" I asked, though I was beginning to believe that I most certainly wouldn't like the answer.

"Despite my looks, I am old and tired. It's time for a new Keeper. I offer you my knowledge, my eternal youth, beauty and eternity on this world. It's your destiny, a role you were born to take. In return, I take your soul and live the remainder of what would have been your life."

I shrank back in the chair in fear. Eternal youth or not, I had no wish to cast aside my human life and was rather attached to my soul. Sensing my obvious reluctance the woman stood and began to chant, joined by the singing and music that had lured me to this wretched hovel. In panic I tried to flee but stopped short when I caught sight of her reflection in the mirror which was rapidly changing from ravishing beauty to something far more sinister.

The Keeper's bony wrist reached out to grab me and fairies, goblins and hairy bats pulled at my hair and clothes. I used every ounce of strength to utter just one word "NO!" Then everything went black.


When I woke I was at home in bed drenched in sweat and with a raging fever. I dragged myself to the sink and drank a cooling glass of water. As I stared at myself in the mirror I saw no change, looking out of the window no sinister beings lurked in the shadows, no music lured me into woodland. It had been nothing but a dream.
Or so I thought. You see 500 years later I still look in the mirror every morning and my reflection remains the same... But I'm tired now, won't you come and see me in the woods my pretty?

Come join the Halloween party over at A Fanciful Twist if you dare... where hundreds of revellers will spin tales, weave magic and scare you witless!
All photographs and artwork by me - with a little magic applied here and there...
If you liked what you saw and fancy voting for me as blog of the month for Dorset Cereals, you can click on the egg cup in the sidebar and cast your vote... If not, there's some very nice blogs to visit there anyway!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Charity Auction for Breast Cancer Care

The creative theme at Inspiration Avenue this week is Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

I've posted my piece for auction on the eBay charity auction pages. If you'd like to own an original Lisa Wright, you can bid for it here!

In a departure from my seeming obsession for painting faces, I've returned to an old love - a spot of collage - also an attempt to shrink the magazine tower that is building down the side of the sofa.

This is a little canvas block painted pink acrylics and smudged with inks, collaged with pinks from magazines, textured with molding paste, rubbed with more inks, dabbed with paint and highlighted with inktense pencil.

I love the technique. I feel I might be using this again!

Measures 12cm x 18cm x 1cm
Auction ends: Wednesday 20 October 22.15 BST
Starting bid: £5

All proceeds go to Breast Cancer Care.

Please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Vintage Victoria

I was lucky enough to find this photograph of Great Great Great Aunt Victoria for the Three Muses' Vintage challenge this week. She was quite a gal about town and absolutely adored hats - just look at this striking feathered creation. Having read her diaries, I am quite certain it's an Augustus Treacy, who was rather fond of the Ostrich feather in his millinery and apparently kept a flock of the birds in the garden of his small home in Balham.

The more observant among you may recognise this lady as she has graced these pages before, only last time her head gear was really rather an embarrassment. It turns out the picture I captured was at her fitting and should never have seen the light of day. I committed the sin equivalent to posting a photograph in her undergarments. Her ghost, who has visited me nightly since, has been most aggrieved and warned me to put the situation right at once. She's rather fierce, so I thought I'd best do as she asks.

So here she is in her finished finery and full technicolour. Thank you my readers for your encouragement to finish this piece. I fear I would have abandoned poor Victoria without your kind words. She's very grateful! As you can probably guess, my top version has been given the sepia and grunge treatment in Photoshop.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Cool date!

My post today however has little to do with the calendar - it concerns shopping - more specifically the purchase of clothes!! (If my boyfriend is reading this he will by now have switched website to something boring about computers since the mere thought of shopping brings him out in a nasty rash).

Don't you just hate it ladies when you have in mind the perfect outfit yet no designer, shop or online boutique seems to have taken the same journey down the imagination?

Not even my boho favourite Monsoon will oblige this season. So, I'm turning to bloggers for help. Here, I've sketched what I'm after. If anyone spots it anywhere, do be a kind soul and let me know where I can purchase!

Long floaty skirt with perhaps two layers. A beaded hem for added charm. Low cut tailored tunic with embroidered details and maybe a few beads sewn here and there and something that glitters in the sunshine. What do you think? Anyone seen this for around £100 all in?

My entry for Sunday Sketches.

Of course, it was Paris Fashion Week, which probably deserves a mention. Not that I went or anything, but I did see some pictures - does that count? I rather liked this piece of woodland magic by Alexander McQueen. If you want to see more, then pop along to The Bottom of the Ironing Basket - Simone has a wonderful post. I do enjoy visiting her blog - always so many beautiful photographs of which this was one.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Feeling the heat

I love hosting the creative challenges over at Inspiration Avenue but then I always put so much pressure on myself to complete my entry. You'd think I'd learn and have my piece dried and dusted well in advance of even announcing the topic, but then if you believed that then you clearly don't know me too well!

Still, at least I'm two days ahead of schedule on this Mexico theme which can't be bad! A chance 'lift conversation' with a colleague at work has pointed me in the direction of a programme called 'Getting things Done' by some guy who reckons he knows how - a certain Mr David Allen. Anyone familiar with this? I bet he's really smug and the kind of person who fills out his tax return 5 years in advance.

Or is that just me shifting accountability by trying to make fun of the accomplishments of someone I so secretly envy! Yet another day has flown by and still I'm surrounded by paperwork. I did at least sort out the house insurance and wrote a letter to Customs & Excise, but that about finished me off and I retreated to the art table.

Well, I've made a note to find out more about this miracle cure. Gus said it changed his life! We'll see...

Anyway, this evening I shall remain with my "but I'm an eccentric artist" excuse for my total inability at controlling paper. So, while we're on a painterly subject, here is my entry for aforementioned Mexico challenge.

She's a sort of Frida-inspired Chica. Lots of lovely colour, some Spanish text from a magazine, acrylics, pencils, water-soluble oil pastels and some ink. I loved painting her, she was a pure pleasure - albeit a guilty one while the paper chaos still existed in the background.

Do pop along to 'the Avenue' and see the Mexican-inspired creations of all the other wonderful creative souls.
PS: By complete coincidence I found this blog today called Mexican Colors. She featured an artist I follow (The Ruby Nest) with an interview which is how the magic path of serendipity took me to her. Both blogs mentioned are well worth a visit.
I know, I know, it's really bad.... I'll clear it up tomorrow....

Time Capsule

Our happy book homework from Mistress Ridler this week was to create a time capsule capturing the moment for posterity. The prompt in the book suggests we record a snapshot of our lives for review in years to come.

Well, at least I've done something interesting this week!
Biggest achievement this week: Finished the entry for Marketing Team of the Year - will we win?? Hope so!

Book: Last night I finished The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Read it and you'll be carrying garlic in your pockets and never looking at librarians quite the same way again.

House - Untidy.

Artwork - working on a Mexican piece for the Inspiration Avenue challenge.

Blog - 226 followers, pageviews last month 2,717. Current votes in the Dorset Cereals blog of the month competition - 28. Number behind leader 2. If anyone wants to vote for me (pretty please), they can click the link in the sidebar!

Most played tunes on the ipod. Well right now, I'm rather into the rather sexy vocals of Brandon Flowers and his solo album. It's called Flamingo. I wonder if he recorded it while standing on one leg and dressed in pink?

TV - it's all Strictly, X-Factor and the Apprentice. Reality TV all the way baby...

Weight - 65.9kg. Not happy. Need to be back to 59.9kg which is what makes me smile when I step on the scales. Not enough exercise and too much chocolate is the culprit. Himself and I are three weeks into the South Beach Diet. Weight loss to date is virtually negligible. Something wrong here surely - eating the most healthy food, exercising and cutting out carbs and nothing is dropping off.... Too depressing for words. I might have to go buy chocolate to cheer myself up!

Hair style - bob. Who knows, next time I read this it may well be a charlie!

Ability to be serious for any decent length of time - pretty much zero.

I think I'll do this exercise with my son this weekend. He'll love it!

Now I'm off to capture some moments with my camera.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Water Music

I love how these regular art challenges force me into creativity. Take this evening for example. I was tired and started lolling on the sofa, but then this niggle began to knaw at my fingertips. I knew I hadn't made my music piece for the Three Muses. I had planned to draw a ballerina over a piece of sheet music but as usual time ran away with me. I couldn't quite summon the energy for moving pencil across paper tonight but what could I do instead?
Why, have a play in Photoshop of course. I present Handel and his lady friend dancing through the water to music. You may just be able to make out little spurts of water taken from a fountain in Valencia last week. Yes, they are actually in the water the little scamps - what will their parents say? I strongly suspect this lady may be cast out from society for getting her petticoats wet in polite company. Let's hope Handel does the right thing and makes an honest woman of her.
Or perhaps, he will return to his dusty music room and write a piece inspired by his adventure. Who knows?
So, thanks to the Muses (who clearly are doing their job), instead of watching mindless drivel on TV I learnt a few new techniques in Photoshop - and got a famous composer into trouble! This digital collage was made with a piece of scanned sheet music, a dancing couple (who may or may not be Handel and lady friend) from Graphics Fairy and a photograph of my own. Final touches were some texture by Skeletal Mess on Flickr and Shadowhouse Creations.
One other little thing... my blog is featured on Dorset Cereals and you can vote for it if you like it. I might win some muesli (well, you always knew I was a bit nuts)! Just click on the link in the sidebar (top right).

Monday, 4 October 2010

What price Art?

How do you price a piece of your creativity?

Naturally you can pay yourself an hourly rate and attempt to add on a cost for supplies (1/100th of a tube of cerulean blue, 3mm of peach pencil, one sheet of acrylic paper etc..). Then there’s depreciation – how long will that paintbrush last (especially if I forget to clean it)?

But what about your talent? The originality of the idea? The skills involved in execution? How on earth do you place a price on the contents of your imagination and the splashes of your soul that end up in some pieces? Artists like Van Gogh put their heart and soul into every painting, I think that man in particular gave more than he had.

It’s a grey old area make no mistake.

Take this piece. While I didn’t time it, I guess she took around three hours. I used paints, pencils, modelling paste, fibres, wax (I even had to buy an iron as melting wax on the same iron I use for pressing my delicates is obviously going to end in tears. Mind you £3.50 for a bog basic steam number from Tesco can’t be scoffed at!).

Then there’s the costs I wasn’t anticipating. Redecoration and carpet cleaning... Using a pump spray to give that delicate coat of speckled paint to her face caused not just a blue face my friends. The language was not so clean as the stream shot out at a bizarre angle covering everything on the table and finishing up all over the magnolia walls.

Attempt two took me outside into the garden... and back in again with muddy feet all over the carpet.

And so, as I ponder putting her for sale in my shop. What exactly should I be charging?

This is my first ever entry to Illustration Friday – a challenge site I’ve been meaning to join in with for about a year. Well, finally I managed! The theme is ‘Beneath’. My mermaid lies beneath the waves waiting patiently for her prey. I liked the eventual effect of the watery face – trying to imagine what mermaid skin might look like – a touch of camouflage perhaps. If I’d painted her tail, you might spot a barnacle or two!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Mirror Mirror

I love browsing through the Boden catalogue. The Summer one in particular has been the source of many models for my art. How kind of them to pose for free!

The Autumn offering plopped onto my doormat this week and, flicking through, one particular image cried out to be drawn.

Something of a challenge, a reflection. Definitely one to try out with a preliminary sketch (which fits rather nicely with Sunday Sketches!).

I added the ornate frame to the mirror from the stores of my imagination - the one in the photograph was just some cheap glass fixed to the wall and I thought my model deserved something far more opulent.

I don't imagine for one instant that this is going to be the easiest piece I've ever tackled. It's hard enough after all painting one figure without adding in the complication of a twin sister placed in exactly the right spot, leaning at the right angle and with the same look on her face.

Now I just have to pluck up the courage to start. I think my version needs some little quirk though - a touch of magic with something a little 'odd' about the reflection. What do you think? Shall we bring some story to the picture, a touch of the supernatural. A nice way to cover up any mistakes in the composition perhaps?
Sketch in charcoal pencil.
And, speaking of magic, if you have time check out yesterday's post - a tale of trolls, flowers and mythical creatures!

Saturday, 2 October 2010


Coton Manor c.2010

Last night I dreamt* I went to Coton Manor again...

Yesterday I posted a picture of this splendid abode whilst dreaming of living in a wisteria covered cottage. Today I went back there.

Of course, you can probably tell from the picture that it's rather more than a yokel's residence! However, it wasn't the building itself that took me there today, but the gardens which are rich with sumptuous colour and texture from Spring through to Autumn. May in particular is the most magical time to visit when the bluebell woods filled with colour and fairy folk weave their magic spell on you. (It's true! There's a sign that says that if you pick the flowers, the pixies will set the imps on you!)

Today was the last day before they shut up shop for winter and the sun was shining its brilliant best, turning the brown leaves of yesterday's rain filled sky to amber beads glinting in the light.

I dragged a reluctant six-year-old with me but knew once he got there he'd enjoy running around and getting lost in the tangles and his imagination. Secret pathways lead you to the hidden nooks where the fairies make their homes. We crossed bridges on tiptoes for fear of waking trolls and met Pan and friends in verdant glades who played enchanting tunes before bobbing for pears at the bottom of still ponds.

Could it be magic? Yes, I think it probably could!
Certainly a few spells were applied in Photoshop on our return home...
Oh and did I mention just how much I love Photoshop. There were three people in the top photo including two sat on a bench right in the foreground. I was too polite to ask them to move for my photograph so removed them later. Yes, definitely magic!

* I actually dreamt about cake - more specifically fruit scones with cream and strawberry jam and sticky pastries. This diet I am on is clearly having a detrimental affect on my sleeptime adventures... I want caaaaake I want caaaaake....

Friday, 1 October 2010

My new profile

OK, time for some Friday fun with the Happy Book Group. This week we're writing our social media profiles for the year 2015.

[sits back, flexes muscles and grins with anticipatory excitement]


I'm 45 - gosh where did those last 5 years go? What's interesting though is that I appear to be looking younger and there are certainly less grey hairs. Must be something to do with my lifestyle.

4 years ago I bought my dream cottage in the countryside, just a mile from the sea and live in cosy abundance with my partner and son. I shall never forget the moment I first wandered up the front path... If the wisteria clinging to the front porch hadn't charmed me then the art studio overlooking the rolling landscape certainly did!

I spend my days indulging in a mixture of art, writing and outdoor pursuits. Who could have predicted that I would develop skills in sport as late in life as in my 40s. I know that the moment I stepped onto the winner's podium at the London Olympics to collect my gold medal in archery, women of a 'certain age' were given the message that anything is possible!

I'll concur with that. When I began blogging and painting again just over 5 years ago it was to satisfy an itch; a niggle that had been pestering at me for years. Now my work is exhibited across the world, my book on Creativity has been in the best seller lists for 3 years and my fiction fantasy trilogy has gone into movie production.

If I had to share a greatest influence it would be all the people who promised that if you write down your goals and ambitions. If you believe. If you have a plan. Then, the Universe will listen.

It did!


Wow! That felt good. I could have gone for hours. What a wonderful excuse to cast those dreams on the winds of change. I can highly recommend this activity. Why not join us over at The Next Chapter Happy Book Group. You don't need to buy the book, just do the exercise - but remember, the wisteria covered cottage in the countryside just one mile from the sea with an art studio - that's mine OK?

I took the photograph at Coton Manor in Northamptonshire. The most beautiful gardens and bluebell woods that take your breath away.
Oh yes, for the avoidance of doubt - the chance of me ever representing GB at the Olympics in any sport, let alone archery (which I don't even do) is a big fat ZERO!
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