Sunday, 27 March 2011

When the going gets tough

I've been meaning to start this painting for weeks, but in true fashion have left it until the last minute. Shh... don't tell, but it's a present for my twin nieces. I'm hoping that when finished it will be pretty enough to hang in their bedroom for a good few years.

Thought I would share WIP with Sunday Sketches. I am not entirely happy with progress so far - there has already been much rubbing out and adjustment I can tell you my friends. The fairies are being fickle with me today. I've already got rid of loads of green - while it looked rather lush and verdant, I wasn't sure it was exactly going to match the delicate pastel shades of their bedroom. I decided to have a glass of wine and a browse around some other artist sites to see if that helped.

It didn't.

So why we wait for the sudden splash of magenta I added to dry (so I can paint over that too), let me tell you more about today - today being Saturday, though I shall probably post the day after.

I felt it was about time I left the house and ventured further afield than the supermarket. I've tried many cures for this cold, and while it finally seems to be packing its bags and heading out of the door with a forlorn expression, it was still lurking up the garden path. Desperate measures clearly called for. I did what all women do in such a scenario.... I went clothes shopping!

I took this project very seriously - driving to the next town where the shops are large and bountiful. The fates were smiling on me as I bagged one of the rare 'free parking' spaces. I entered the busy mall with a clear plan in mind. Knowing my general state of fatigue, I would have to limit browsing and hit the minimum of stores with hopefully the maximum output.

Success dear readers, success. One tunic, one pair of trousers, one pair of sandals (£10 off - even better), a few art supplies and a pack of M&S Yum Yums for 'im indoors.. All this in under two hours. Clearly this illness is worse than I thought - just two hours spent shopping... What was I thinking?

When I got back I had a little snooze... (in case you are wondering - the little fella is away with his Dad this weekend!).

Right, I'm off to see if that paint has dried.

Hmm, it appears that my little girls look the size of dolls - either that or their fairy godmother is a giant. Why didn't I notice that before? Back to the drawing board... More paint and how about some bits of flowery tissue paper... 
Some things are just not meant to be. I am rather happy with this though. It won't be a present for little girls, but I can see something dramatic forming out of this - a change in direction...

While I'm here and in full waffle mode, thought I would share with you that since I switched off the 'captcha' thing for my comments, I've had no spam whatsoever. It does make commenting less laborious when you don't have to fill out those letters. I think blogger have improved their spam filters a great deal, so might be worth a try to switch yours off for a trial period - hint, hint....

Now, how on earth am I going to tackle this painting? Hopefully by the time you read this there'll be another (much better sketch) posted below all this writing!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Spring is sprung

Some nice music to listen to on the YouTube link below

Here in the UK we have had a real taste of Spring these past few days. Warm, unbroken sunshine making all the blossom pop out and wave a cheerful hello. Birds are singing, ladybirds are quite literally swarming all over the garden and even a couple of wasps have flown indoors to greet me after their winter's nap (I showed them the way out swiftly).

My favourite flower is the tulip, most notably the fluffy parrot variety. I've got lots in bud outside but none yet in flower, so we'll make do with these I grew and photographed a couple of years ago. Of course the original pic had bits of brick wall and even a distant shot of the freezer in my kitchen it. But with a bit of flick and flutter in PhotoShop and the application of a few Kim Klassen textures, we have this piece. I was rather chuffed how it turned out.

If you want to see more then spring over to Inspiration Avenue for their weekly challenge.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Taking stock

This protracted (albeit minor) illness is causing some serious think time. It's fairly obvious I'm run down - so how to fix it before total burnout? Writing stuff (see the play on words there?) down should help, so might as well do it in an open forum!

If dream interpretation is anything to go by, I need to go through a period of adjustment. Night time adventures seem to either involve a last minute and streesful packing up to move house - usually to or from University, but holidays sometimes involved too. I'm also constantly plagued by zombies and apocalypse scenarios.

So here comes the fun bit. According to various online sources...

  • To dream that you are attacked by zombies, indicates that you are feeling overwhelmed by forces beyond your control.
  • To dream of the apocalypse, signifies an emotional and dramatic change taken place within. The dream may also indicate the end of one kind of lifestyle and the beginning of another.
  • Moving signifies your desire or need for change.
  • To dream that you are packing signifies a new and significant beginning ahead of you.
  • To dream that you are repetitively packing and unpacking signifies confusion in your life. You have many too much on your plate that you feel you should take care of and you are overwhelmed by the burdens you face.
This is all somewhat scarily true. What? You mean my night time subconscious understands me better than I know myself? Who would have thought it eh?

It's taken me all week to write this post. By contrast this painting took about half an hour. The Muse hasn't been out to play all week - she had a cold too. We both found a little spring in our step today and, inspired by a recent purchase of a book of Brian Froud's artwork, we created this creepy creature. She's a combination of his Fideal, with a touch of the woman suffering with a cold for far too long! At least I retain my sense of humour.

The green background was made weeks ago to use up some paint - just brayered on a page in the sketchbook and left for when inspiration struck. She was drawn with Inktense pencils and neocolour pastels. Water application gave her life and depth - somehow appropriate as traditionally she lives in the reed beds and swamps waiting to seductively lure her prey into a watery embrace. They leave her with damp clothes and a runny nose...

She's for Paint Party Friday, but they will only allow her in if she promises to use a tissue when sneezing.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Not sure where I'm going

Really wasn't quite sure where I was going with this little baby. I made the initial sketch earlier in the week with the intention of working it up into some kind of bigger painting but intentions and actual 'happenings' have been slim on the ground this week. The day after I finished my antiobiotics and got rid of the chest infection, I began to come down with another cold which kept me in bed most of yesterday. Add to that the fact that my art studio (aka dining area of the lounge) has been out of action for two weeks while it pays host to half the kitchen, and we have little room or inclination for play!

The reason half my kitchen is sitting in another room is yet another story! I'm waiting for my new flooring to be laid. It did arrive nearly two weeks ago, hence the removal of unfixed furniture, but some mix up meant it was the wrong size... We'd already ripped up the old floor which left a sticky residue underfoot that is now covered with dust, crumbs and cat hair. They promise Tuesday...please!! In the meantime, we continue with disorganised chaos and sticky feet...

Back to the art. So, we had a pencil sketch. I splashed a bit of paint on it, then stuck it in PhotoShop et voila! Original page in sketchbook below.

A Sunday Sketch. Pop along to Blue Chair Diary and view some more. I just realised it also rather fits Illustration's Friday's Cultivate theme too.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Paint Party

It's Friday and it's party time! There's a great new blog- Paint Party Friday - that you should visit where everyone shares a painting and so here is mine!

I've been experimenting with watercolour with Bonnie Rose Bryan on the Willowing.ning site. Painted with a very restricted palette of just 4 colours. I loved how the blush spread across her cheeks wet in wet, like she'd just found out the class hunk fancies her!

Well, today has been totally red nose random. For those of you outside the UK, perhaps I should explain. Today is Red Nose Day for the charity Comic Relief. We wear red noses and do something funny for money. I went to work in my PJs and slippers where we had a contest to see how many of us could fit inside an old-style Mini Cooper. My team won - there were 17 of us squashed and squished inside; it got rather hot in there I can tell you!

I didn't wear a red nose though. I didn't have to. Can you believe I've caught another cold??? Man, I need a break!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Are you allowed to say you've been featured if you were the one doing the featuring? Hmm, possibly?

Well, guess what...

As if you didn't get enough of me here, you can pop over to Inspiration Avenue of which I am a member, and have a read all about me.

While I'm here, and before you dash off, I just had to share with you what I found in the garden today. The photograph is actual size and I believe that may just be fairy dust floating around in an attempt to hide the little lady. I always knew that there were fairies in the bottom of my garden... as well as the bats in my belfry and butterflies in my stomach.

The butterflies were busy today. I had to stand up and speak in front of a couple of hundred people. I was given a microphone which is always a dangerous thing. The temptation to start singing is often too great, but seeing as we sadly don't exist in the world of musical theatre then, bursting into impromptu song and dance routines just doesn't happen in the way it does like in West Side Story or The Sound of Music. If only...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Not much blogging or creativity for me that past few days.... Why? Am I still ill? No...

Am I out partying? No.

Am I obsessed with some game involving angry birds, a catapult and funny looking green pigs?

Hmmm, maybe a little bit....

New phone that gets apps... what can I say?

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Eye candy

Last night was one of those evenings where I needed to relax and only the gentle swooshing of paintbrush over paper was going to do it. However, it says something about my mood that the first thing that came to mind was this eye candy!

Do you worry? I know I do. It's that time of the month though, when the alien surfaces and niggles at the sensibilities. When things get thrown (it's OK - just small things, plastic, non-dangerous - I'm not that bad!). I have been known to growl though, that's when family members know to back away. So frankly, I think you should be grateful that joke sweeties is all you had to put up with!

I'm still trying to sketch my fairy for my final homework assignment at Tam's Magical Mythical Making class. This is as far as I got. I want my fairy to have big eyes and sharp features but retain a gentle look. More work needed I think!

Why not pop along to Sunday Sketches and see what delights everyone else is drawing up.

PS: Is anyone else having a problem with blogger where it constantly signs you out. Sometimes I'm having to login almost every time I want to leave a comment. Driving me nuts I can tell you!

PPS: As of this morning, I am pleased to report that the alien has returned from whence it came and calm and order is one more restored in this household. Until this time next month.... whaa haaa haaa haaaa......

Saturday, 12 March 2011


I used to work for 3i. They are a venture capital company. However, don't panic, I'm not about to start talking all finance with you. It's merely serving as an introduction to today's artistic postings. Three eyes!

First an albino eye - for Inspiration Avenue's 'black & white & pink' challenge, then some intriguing ones. Hmm, what's going on there I wonder. Just who do those eyes belong to and, more importantly, why are they looking at you like that? Should you be worried? Who knows....

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Fairy enchantment

Do you believe in fairies? I must say if I'm in a patch of ancient woodland wandering along paths beaten over the centuries by paws, hooves and feet and I peer among the moss covered logs and rocks sometimes, just sometimes I wonder if that flicker of light was a gossamer winged creature with pointy ears and a mischievous nature.

This week on Tam's course we are inspired by the work of Brian Froud - the master fairy painter who professes to have met the creatures and, when you stare deep into his paintings, do you see anything familiar? See how his backgrounds come alive with life if you only look closely enough. Is that what we need to do? Just look closely enough to really see what's hiding in there!

There's a large spider hiding in my bathroom, I know that much. I saw him scurry across the tiles and into a crack. I think he wanted to listen to the bedtime story I was reading my son while he was in the bath. Perhaps he has his tiny teddy in his arms and is snuggled down in his bed of dust and web.

Another week is creeping towards its end and I have done little other than work and sleep. I started this post days ago with the intention of illustrating with a piece of my own crafted one evening. Instead, I'll just have to post this one from a collage sheet by piddix on Etsy.

Also, there's a magical giveaway I wanted to share on Faery Realm Creations - a wind chime designed especially to attract fairies to you.Well, who could say no!

Faery Realm Creations

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Siren Sketches

Following my Magical Mythical Makings course I am once more wrapped up in a mermaid world and just can't seem to get enough of these mystical creatures.

I did these sketches over a week ago now in preparation for a potential painting, but this is as far as I got before the virus got me! I'm leaning more towards the first one as a composition. I want the richest of colours swirling around her though on a big canvas. Deep acrylics, fibres, glitter and shell shards. I'm starting to grow in confidence with using bigger materials to paint on (if only they weren't so expensive!). I even had a crazy idea of painting a wall in my bathroom (with a big pot of white emulsion ready... just in case). I wonder if that's how Michaelangelo started. Bet he got into trouble with his Mama!

I am getting more and more excited about the art retreat and the workshops with Flora Bowley. Her use of colour is phenomenal - so rich you want to dive in and hug it!

For those of you who are regular followers, I must apologise for all the whining about being ill this week - you may have gathered that I am not a good, or even patient, patient. Thank you for all the get well wishes - though I might need a few more cause they haven't worked yet.... Oops, there I go again. Whinge whinge... Just be grateful it's not catching down the wire(less)!

I'm off now to visit the other Sunday Sketchers over at Blue Chair Diary

Saturday, 5 March 2011


Living with the bright lights of a big town, I miss being able to see the stars in all their glory. It's only when you get away that the magic appears - all part of being on holiday! My partner says though that you've never seen stars until you've seen them in the African bush when the entire sky twinkles and illuminates.

I painted this last night in an attempt to feel better. I don't! Although I did have the most amazing dream about three Kingdoms at war, a tangled forest, marbles and this giant inflatable that bounced me around like a rag doll!

Best leave this post there before you all think I've gone nuts...

For Inspiration Avenue - Celestial.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Cough Cough

This week:



Moaned about being sick








Looked all pathetic

Attempted to watch videos from the Right Brain Business Summit (but just wanted to sleep)



No time for art and blogging makes Lisa a dull girl...

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Setting limits

I haven't joined in with the Wishcasting crew for months but felt particularly prompted when I saw the question this morning - What limits do you wish to set?

Limits is not really a word I carry around in my vocabulary. I prefer words that form sentences like - leap without looking and where angels fear to tread. But lately, I've come to the realisation that perhaps for my own sanity I need to set maybe one or two little ones here and there.

I think I've been pushing myself too hard. There's so much I wish to achieve, yet not enough hours in the day or, more realistically, energy in this mind and body. By trying to win at everything, I think I'm coming in a medicore average at all. Some focus wouldn't go amiss, a concentration on one thing at a time. My mind is a tangle of thoughts, ambitions and ideas all competing for attention and getting themselves mixed and messed up.

Night time offers no rest when dreams get mixed in with reality and I awake in a state of confusion. It took me a while to realise this morning that I hadn't actually just had dinner with the Queen, Princess Anne and the late Edward and Mrs Simpson. Edward and I shared a cheeky glass of vintage wine that he'd hidden from his father... Interestingly, the Queen and Princess Anne resembled their current selves but Edward looked like Guy Pierce... (guess what I watched at the weekend!). Colin Firth was strangely absent. Perhaps he was busy off being Mr Darcy in someone else's dream.

The illustration for this post was prompted by Illustration Friday's 'swarm' topic and the book I am reading - Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan. One of the characters - Eva, a rather wicked woman carries a swarm of bees around her to torture those she seeks to influence. A kind of nagging annoyance that saps the spirit and bends you to her will.

My head feels like it has been infected by her bees at the moment and I think it's time they found someone else to bother - or better still, went back to the business of making honey - a far sweeter occupation. Is a bee invasion a warning that I'm reaching my limit?
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