Monday, 28 February 2011


The gist of this is that I am not well and feeling exceedingly sorry for myself! I thought making art might make me feel better but it just turned out a mess and made me feel even worse...

Sulky sulky moan groan...

Friday, 25 February 2011

I'm retreating

One must work and dare if one really wants to live.
Vincent van Gogh

Do you have some money saved for the preverbial rainy day? Or do you plan on spending on something special. You just aren't quite sure what that 'special' is. Some would say it's new carpet or furnishings, a newer car or topping up your pension. Yeah that's your head talking, it's pretty loud and often helped out by that microphone called well-meaning family..

At some point we have to realise that we are not anybody else. We aren't the person who needs the comfort of lined curtains. Instead we are the one who wants to spend a bit of money on doing the thing the heart craves.

Four days hanging out with other artists, painting and getting creative in the beautiful Yorkshire dales. Working with artists I already admire and making the acquaintance of others. Delving deep into what I want for my creative enterprise and nurturing my soul. Did my heart want it? Oh yes!

I'm going!!  Here...

"Imagine a magical place in an area of outstanding natural beauty, deep in the ancient English countryside. A place where you can escape from everyday life, reconnect with the real you, and nurture your creative spirit.

Imagine a time when you are free to indulge your creativity. When you can step out of your creative comfort zone and take risks, supported by a warm community of like-minded souls. And all this under the guidance of an outstanding teacher.

Imagine a space where you can explore the ideas you have been quietly sheltering for so long. Where they will be motivated by inspiring entrepreneurs and where, nurtured by your new community, your self-belief will soar. Where you can grow your creative business ideas, or simply plant the seed of belief that you really can find a way to do what you love, for life.

All this exists.

You can find it at the Do What You Love retreat (May 11-15, 2011).

It will be an intimate gathering of creative souls, sharing a special journey of change.

Everything will be taken care of. You just have to take care of yourself."

Well, I read that and leapt off my chair screaming "Yes!!!" It's the first one like it I've seen advertised in the UK. I got ready to apply... I nearly hit the button... Then the head kicked in with its spreadsheets and financial planning and I 'thought about it' for a few weeks, but everywhere I went links to this promise of magic and self-fulfillment kept pushing me back. I dithered. I contacted the organisers to check a place was still available on Flora Bowley's workshop. I dithered some more. And then.... I booked!

When I make a big decision, instinct usually kicks in as the no return moment passses and tells me if I was right or wrong (yeah, I know a bit late!). This one feels really good!

Who else is going? Anyone I know? I, for one, can't wait!

Pic is some digital play with a photo of the Dales. Lots of layers - just like me!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A deep blue breath

As I swam deeper and deeper among the coral I couldn't help but follow that beautiful music, as if a seashell orchestra was luring me in. Then as I rounded the old wreck and despite the oxygen tanks on my back, I found it suddenly impossible to draw breath. There before swam a shoal of mermaids, laughing and playing with the fishes and tangling an octopus' legs. They saw me and stopped and stared bemused. I finally gulped down some air but movement was impossible as fear kept my limbs from movement.

Mermaids are stories, fiction.... No one had ever really seen one.... or at least lived to tell the tale. What would be my fate?

As I floated in that deep palace of greens and blues, the beautiful creatures pulled at my tanks and played with my flippers but with no real strength or aggression. They were fascinated by the bubbles my spent breath leaked out into the ocean and chased them toward the surface before racing back down and pulling at my arms encouraging me to join in their games.

Their sweet smiles and gentle natures thawed my fear frozen limbs and I began to swim alongside them, joining in their games in the same way I had raced the dolphins the day before. They took me deeper, in and out of caves and crevices. We swam, span and swirled in the currents and laughed at the startled sea creatures that fled from our path.

Time lost all meaning and I did not notice my tanks empty; I just kept on swimming and diving and playing and splashing and swishing my tail and undulating my body like the waves above that had now become my home...

My entry for 'breathe' the Inspiration Avenue challenge this week - and also some of the work I've been doing for Tam's Mythical art class on Willowing.ning.

I'm kinda liking these sea creatures. Expect to see more...

While we are on the subject of 'breath'... Seven years ago today, my son took his first as he popped into the world full of love and wonder. Happy Birthday my little Munchkin! xxxx

Sunday, 20 February 2011


No prize for guessing what movie I've been watching*. It was rather good... I'm not going to say any more than that because if you haven't pirouetted your way to seeing it yet, then it would certainly spoil it to say more than it's a film about a ballet dancer! Go see it and enjoy and let the director, cast and cinematography tell you its story.

Then, put on some Tchaikovsky, grab your artist materials and follow Nina and... let go...

Last week while on my photographic assignment - to capture some magic - I snapped a shot of the movie poster inside the British Film Institute. Tonight I drew... It was the first page of new sketchbook - all pristine, no paint sploshes, no crumpled sheets. Just 110 pages of delicious anticipation. What shapes and forms will appear over the coming months? What magic? What pain and disaster? (not much I hope, but we do learn from those!)

For Sunday Sketches - see what everyone else has sketched this week.

I thought it was also rather appropriate for Illustration Friday's 'layers' - once you see the film you'll know why...

*Postscript: If you don't know what I'm talking about - it's the new Natalie Portman film, Black Swan!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

OWOH winners

A quick post to announce the winners of my giveaway.

Congratulations to Beth of Elizabeth Studio 54 who wins the print.

Large postcards also on their way to:

Sheree - Raven Moon Magic
Diane - My Art Journal
Fiona Whitehead

All the winners should have received an email from me requesting their mailing address.

Thursday, 17 February 2011


'Tis the last rose of summer left blooming alone; All her lovely companions are faded and gone
St Thomas More

I wondered what to write to accompany this piece of digital art I made for Inspiration Avenue. I feel a bit faded myself truth be told. I've dipped again after a more positive weekend and have spent most of the week in a depressed and tired mope. Artist angst perhaps, or maybe I just need a good rest.

All I can think of to write is to share some coincidence. I created this piece then found the quote to match it. My primary school was named after St Thomas More - Henry VIII's chancellor who was executed for his religious beliefs. While I was at the school we performed a play about the last rose of summer. I was a flower. It was a poem which we acted out and recited. My Grandma liked hearing me read it.

What a weird post.... I think I'm losing it...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Well red

I love spotting art in unlikely places and sometimes being a messy chick can really turn out to your advantage. There I was snipping up some red card to make fancy backing for love poetry - I ran the Cupid Love Desk at work (she writes that like it's a perfectly normal work-a-day occurrence!). I had little bits of red card all over the carpet and balled them up ready to take outside to the recycling bin (we are trying to be green in this house, even with our red).

The cat found the ball and chased it round the carpet, unravelling it somewhat in the process. Was I cross? Did I see red? Nah, I saw abstract art!

Fun in PhotoShop later and we have some sizzling red hot metal for The Three Muses challenge. I just love how the images and colours blended - don't touch... they're hot!

Sunday, 13 February 2011


I painted this on Friday night when my mood was mixed up. I hadn't felt myself all day and not even making art was soothing. She was supposed to be a beautiful Goddess that would calm my spirits, but my Muse was full of angst. She wanted savagery and blood. She didn't quite get that, but this fractured piece is not exactly my normal style.

I'm at peace with this though. She is an accurate reflect of the my turmoiled mind and I rather like that my art can express my mood.

In case you missed yesterday's post - I am feeling MUCH BETTER! I filled my 'creative well' and made some new friends - some of whom I'd already got to know through cyberspace, but how wonderful to actually meet and chat!

So, this is a fretful Friday sketch posted on a somewhat soothed Sunday for Sunday Sketches. Come over to Sophia's and see what everyone is up to.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The magic of London

It doesn't take much to coax me down to London so when the invitation came to spend some time with one of my online Art teachers - Amelia Critchlow - and some fellow students who was I to say no! We spent the afternoon talking art, blogging and families. We had great fun with a creative photography exercise - taking 36 magic-themed photographs in 36 minutes... Then we chatted some more, reviewed each other's masterpieces, drank more coffee and ate cake.

Now at home I'm drinking wine and playing in PhotoShop. All in all a rather good day and just the tonic I needed to 'fill my well'.

I'll shut up now and let me photos do the talking!! After the first one there's not many that actually say 'London' to you - not a red bus in sight! They were all taken around The South Bank, then mixed up with a few textures and filters.

There's more on flickr - I've gone a bit mad!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Beating myself up

Can you believe I am actually feeling guilty about my lack of artistic output this week. Challenges have come and gone and I have got no further than a cursary thought of what I might create. I feel terrible. I am letting myself down. How ridiculous can you get?

For truth be told, I also feel a little burnt out. I've been working on other projects, focusing on work and family and trying to get enough sleep. I've cleaned the house, dug the garden, cooked and made plans.

I just try too hard sometimes. I am going to have a bath now then spend the remainder of the day on the sofa.

Normal service will hopefully resume again in a few days....

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A guardian Angel always near...

There are so many beautiful angel quotes to be found, but I guess we shouldn't be surprised for are they not creatures that radiate love and inspire great things?

This angel wasn't keen on being sketched - I think she had more important caring business to attend to and couldn't stop long enough for me to really capture her compassion and serenity. In fact, after I'd attempted to draw her features for about the 10th time I wouldn't have been surprised to see the rare sight of angel foot-tapping impatience!

Still, she did her job, which was to allow soothing sketching and brush strokes to caress away the strains of the day and freshen a tired mind. She doesn't care that her face and neck are a bit long, that her eye is wonky and her hair a wild, untamed beast! And, she assures me that although her one visible wing is a bit wispy, it serves its purpose well.
She is art journal homework for my art course and my entry to the Three Muses' Quotation challenge.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Under their wing

I've lost count of the number of online art classes I've taken in the last year or so. I've learnt so much from them and would probably count them as a little addiction. Before I finish the current one, I'm planning the next or dreaming over technique or inspiration books. Frankly I just can't get enough.

I took some time yesterday to think why that was and the reason came to me in a flash (of paint naturally - crimson acrylic to be specific). I want my own personal teacher! One that sits next to me in the same room and shows me where I am going wrong (and indeed right!). One that teaches me technique by live demonstration so I can stop and pester with questions - all the Whys and Hows that I like! I'd love someone to push me so hard I teeter on the brink but at the same time produce my best work.

Right now I feel like I'm trying to catch up on 20 years of missed opportunity; cramming all that learning into as short a space of time as possible.

Where can I find such a person? Could I ever afford them? I'd love to go back and study art full time but that's just not possible. It's a shame because I am ready for it now... I understand... I feel the pull, the tugs at my soul. My Muse would love it too.

Do you think instead that the ghosts of Van Gogh, Klimt or JW Waterhouse might fancy taking up residence with me for a while? Full board and lodging in return for a lesson or two??

Perhaps Mucha could have helped with this! Nearly finished homework for my Willowing class (just need to take a touch of the undead out of her skin tone). Mucha - if you're listening - I had serious trouble with her hands - I rushed them - and had to give her a couple of nurturing hearts to hold... with her grey arms. What would you have done oh wise one?

PS - That's not a zebra in the bottom left corner, but merely my slippered foot holding the painting down in the wild wind. Taking photos outside seemed like a good idea at the time until she took off for a tour around the garden!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Homework in progress

A lesson in Mucha, Alphonse. I'm taking part in the Willowing class on Magical Mythical Makings. I'm sure you're wondering what's so magical about this lady - aside perhaps from the colour of her hair! Well, I can tell you.... it's called metamorphosis and she's been through a few this week! She was supposed to be an angel in the style of Mucha but, I don't know, she just didn't look very angelic to me and the wings looked like bad fancy dress so they had to go. However, that's OK. The point of the lesson was as much about learning from a Master as painting an angel. Most interesting for me has been using the hair as a key decorative element and framing the subject in the background. I'm also gaining in confidence with clothing and limbs - though as you can see from this image below I've not quite got around to colouring them in yet! If she looks a bit like she's leaping out of the page, it's because she is! She will be stuck down now I'm happier with the background (which is also on about version 10 - it was once pink, peach and yellow...). I think I might give her skin a touch of blue too. This is hard work, but I guess that's the point of taking a course - an adventure outside of your comfort zones.

You'll have to tune in later in the week to see the finished version. In the meantime, I am sharing this progress as my Sunday Sketch, do pop along to Sophia's blog to see all the others.

In the meantime, I thought I would let you into a couple of secrets... The first is the state of my workspace and the second is..... ME! Yes, that is indeed the mysterious Lisa Wright. I am wrapped up warm and snug at the Ice Bar - yes, that glass is made of ice!


Saturday, 5 February 2011

Sunshine on a cloudy day

I'm cold. The wind is blowing the cat flap open and a cruel draught is chilling me to the bone. It's grey and cloudy and promises rain (how very kind of it).

I set the creative challenge at Inspiration Avenue this week and, as usually happens when I do this, I get stumped for ideas! OK, well actually I did have rather a good one this week, just not the time to execute. However, I could hardly fail to enter something when I'm hosting now, could I? That's what I call an incentive.

So I hopped on a metaphorical plane back to Valencia and grabbed some sunSHINE and took it and this palm tree for a digital play.

Last night I was at an entertainment venue that provided a different kind of sparkle. I went to a bar made of ice. How 'cool' is that? Even the glasses we sipped our cocktails from were ice. The seats, walls, bar - all frozen. The staff kindly provided hooded capes and gloves with thermal lining to keep the chill out of our bones. It was quite an experience - and the cocktails were rather nice too!

Friday, 4 February 2011

One foot on the ground

Aren't dreams supposed to make sense of your tangled daytime thoughts. Doesn't the subconscious sift through the superfluous and leave you with a sense of calm. Maybe not. I've had strange ones this week, some easy to interpret while others remain entirely unfathomable and best forgotten.

Mind you, when you think about what's going on in this head of mine you really shouldn't be surprised. It's overload - a maelstrom of ideas, projects and plans with not enough hours in the day to control them. I shouldn't really be writing this, I should be focusing on the most important, but if I don't write I get antsy and anyway, it helps to make sense of things, keep one foot on the ground.

In this case I'm now shouting at myself because once more I procrastinate, I find something 'useful' to do (never housework!). And so, I pause in my ramblings and look up train times and book a taxi (I'm going somewhere very exciting tonight - will share over the weekend).

Next I must order some prints of my artwork in anticipation of a relaunch of my Etsy shop and then later, perhaps add some more thoughts to a little story that is growing in my deeper recesses; a modern take on a classic tale... Then there.... followed by..... after.....

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Play is black and white

Play in photoshop with some of my art and photography. Lots of black and white layering infused with a touch of red. Needed more soothing....

For the Three Muses Black & White challenge. OK, so there's not actually that much black and white left, but believe me the layers were there - I hit 'convert to black and white' more times than Charlie Chaplin made a film, I promise!!

Abstract is what's calling me next I think, although the Muse is a little scared by the whole idea of blobs and stuff. We'll see...Maybe I'll feel more comfortable combining with Photoshop - opens up a whole host of new possibilities :)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Sweet surrender

This piece really was total surrender. My head span with music and wine and I just painted with littlecare over end result. I was using an old canvas that I'd ripped some collage off and primed again with gesso. There was all manner of interesting textures left behind by the glues and papers. Layer after layer built her features and brought vibrant life to her surroundings.

What music do you think she is caught up in? Definitely something with fiery passion - I can definitely hear Spanish guitar... maybe some flamenco. The beat is hypnotic, she is at one with the magic it creates. She lives in the song. She surrenders to the rhythm and let's go...

I just love how a creative prompt - in this case Illustration Friday - Surrender - can pull the ideas from you. There's lots wrong with this painting. Her feathered hat looks a trifle odd (I bet you were wondering what on earth had died on top of her  head!). Her necklace doesn't quite sit with the correct angle of her body either - but hey, those rubies look pretty realistic!

Who cares! It was fun. I came. I saw. I surrendered and I'm very glad I did! I love art! Did I mention that before? Yeah, OK, only about a few times...!!

I'll probably keep tweaking. Would appreciate some suggestions on how to get her just right. What do you think?

Mixed media on canvas - primarily acrylics with some collaged sheet music.
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