Sunday, 31 July 2011

Do you mind?

I was pushed out of bed this morning (a Sunday no less), by this girl who was begging to be drawn. Seriously, it's Sunday morning and last night I went out on a hen night and drank wine from a glass the size of a small bucket and she wants me to roll out of bed and get all creative.

Ah well actually it wasn't that difficult. I may have drunk more than my usual consumption of the fruit of the vine, but that isn't really that much truth be told... And I really did fancy drawing a girl with a touch of whimsey about her.

So, she took form on a splattered and stamped sketchbook page - more tea employed in the making of this (my boyfriend's 14-year-old daughter thought I was more insane than usual when she caught me flinging hot tea bags around in the name of art).

Yesterday the sun came out which was a somewhat shocking experience. It has been hiding for so long that I forgot that one was required to rub sunscreen in to exposed skin to protect it from sizzling. I'm a little rosy on the shoulders and chest today...

An early entry to Summer of Colour's Orange (I have another one for tomorrow!), and a Sunday Sketch.

Prismacoloured pencils on a background of tea splats and rubber stamping. Digital application of a brush by Kim Klassen with the words.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

What do you think this is?

Experimental art this week is all about photography. We're immersed in reflections and tricks of light. Earlier in the week, I captured some fairy magic glinting at me through the trees, but today we stayed at home and relaxed over...

... a refreshing cup of tea

Yesterday, I tried in vain to 'do art'. Nothing was working, the Muse was out with her mates. All I wanted to do was paint a pretty picture of an orange lady ready for Summer of Colour on Monday and a dainty array of afternoon tea for Inspiration Avenue. I just made a mess. So instead, I played with photographs. The Muse came back from her night out and took a great interest, peering over my shoulder at the screen and making suggestions. I've never been one for reading tea leaves before, but this looks like an interesting story to follow up! Can you see the winged creature hovering over the brown speckled tea in the one above?

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Where do you do your best thinking?

Mine is when free from all noise - just me alone with my thoughts. It might be while driving, trying to get to sleep or, like yesterday, running.

Now before you all go getting the wrong impression about this sleek runner pounding the streets, let me allow you into a little secret. I woke up this morning feeling as though while I'd slept some fiend had tied my legs in a knot round the back of my head and then pummeled me in the stomach... It  has been a while since I ran...

It's only since I became self-employed that I really stopped exercising - which was a total surprise because I somewhat naively thought I would have more time on my hands to fling myself about. The trouble is that I don't often take a proper lunch break and my home office is right next to the fridge. Then, at the end of the work day and by the time my son has gone to bed, all I want to do is paint.

The exercise stopped and the pounds began to pile on. Now that waistbands are beginning to dig in, it has become time to stop the rot. But it hurts...

Anyway, I digress. I was supposed to be posing the question about best thinking time. Has anyone else noticed that they always come up with their best ideas when they are least in a position to write them down?

 PS: For the avoidance of doubt - that is not me in the photograph!

Sunday, 24 July 2011


I'm all written out this week. My professional writing skills have been stretched to their limits and I confess to being just a touch tired out. So, instead of attempting to write something clever or entertaining, I'm just going to post this for Summer of Colour's purple challenge and then go out for a walk in the sunshine!

Brits among you may recognise her, though I'm not sure it's a terribly good likeness. It's Cat Deeley, taken from an advert for jewellery (except I didn't quite get around to painting the jewellery!).


Friday, 22 July 2011

The beauty of experimentation

You really need to enlarge this image (just click on it) to get into the lush colour and texture.

The beauty of experimentation is that it is just that. In the words of a certain Mr Gump, you just never know what you're gonna get. And because of this uncertainty, we're not too fussed about the end result. I touched on this last week with my finger painting, but it's worth mentioning again.

It's just play and it's very relaxing - just what was needed after the week I've had.

Collage, textures, paint, glue, ink, more collage, paint and glue. Fun. Perfect for Paint Party Friday.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Wings? Eh?

It's not as easy as it looks this collage malarky. I was inspired by my experimental art course and the work of Derek Gores to create this wild Scottish beachscape. I was also doing some serious 'out-of-the-box' thinking with regards to the creative prompt at Inspirational Avenue - Wings.

I mean it would just be too easy to think birds, butterflies and bumble bees wouldn't it? Maybe I should go down the man-made aeronautical route instead? But then a song crept into the depths of my imagination and an idea was born.

This particular song was the first in the UK to ever sell more than two million copies. It was number 1 for 9 weeks and is probably sung by every tourist visiting this distant outpost of the British Isles. It is of course Mull of Kintyre by the group 'Wings' - see, I told you I wasn't thinking along normal lines!!

My collage sort of looks like a photograph I saw of the mist rolling in through the sea.. my desire is always to be here oh Mull of Kintyre....I'm sure the house may be a slight exaggeration to the one owned by Mr McCartney though. I doubt even he would have been granted planning permission (he has made his mark in the clouds though... look closely!).

This definitely looks better when viewed from a distance. I might paint over part of it to help with the illusion of distance. Lots of fun though.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Devil woman

Seriously she's been a devil this one. Perhaps starting with such a fiery red didn't help, I was clearly asking for trouble. The temper was rising, the tantrums threatening to explode.

Just look at that moody stare; I wouldn't cross her if I were you. I've a feeling her man may well have caused some upset. Did he stray? Did he not quite understand the question "Does my bum look big in this?" Either way, he's in big trouble that's for sure.

I think he should take her dancing - something wild and tempestous with a Latin vibe. A rose between his teeth and a Cuban heel might just take her mind off his misdemeanours. Or maybe he'd be better off with someone a bit less pouty!

She is celebrating Red week at The Summer of Colour.

Acrylic background, charcoal, pastels, a bit more acrylic and a dash of temper thrown in for good measure. Keep your distance!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

In conversation with Picasso

"My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso."
Pablo Picasso

That Picasso was a wise fellow. Over the last few years, I seem to come across his quotes everywhere I go and they are just so memorable. How can I possibly choose which ones to include here? How could I pick a favourite? Oh just imagine what it would have been like to spend time in his company...What conversation... What inspiration...

Pablo Picasso: Action is the foundational key to all success.

Lisa Wright: And so now I will get started on that painting instead of just keeping on thinking about it.

Pablo Picasso: All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
Lisa Wright: My latest art experiments are reminding me of the value of play and not expecting to create masterpieces with every output.
Pablo Picasso: An idea is a point of departure and no more. As soon as you elaborate it, it becomes transformed by thought.

Lisa Wright: Couldn't agree more. When I both write and paint, sometimes all I need is a gem of an idea, a dash of words on paper or a sprinkling of paint, then the souffle rises! Indeed when I started writing this post, I had absolutely no idea I would be ending it having a chat with the man himself. I don't like to overplan my creativity. I love to see the idea grow its own roots and shoots and then let it take me just where it wants to go. Creativity definitely isn't tame!
Pablo Picasso: Are we to paint what's on the face, what's inside the face, or what's behind it?

Lisa Wright: More often than not, I find that the girls I paint tell me what's on their minds. Their personalities form under the pencil and brush. They are independent from me. I am just the means to bring them to life and allow them to tell their story.
Pablo Picasso: Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.

Lisa Wright:  I never thought about it that way before, but I guess that's very true. We do see our own truth in each creation.

Pablo Picasso: Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Lisa Wright: I wish I'd learnt this lesson earlier in life. Art is the magic lotion that soothes deep, the medicine that 'refreshes the parts' nothing else can reach and the food for the soul. Well said my man.


Pablo Picasso: Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.

Lisa Wright: I wouldn't say bad. I would say training. When I was a girl, I was always copying paintings and greetings cards - anything I could get my hands on. They were my teachers. But yes, as we grow as an artist we certainly shouldn't need to copy anything, just be inspired to take the direction your soul/muse wants you to take.
Pablo Picasso: Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.

 Lisa Wright: But what are we destroying? Something worthless without further creation? Does the blank canvas have any value other than anticipation? When we layer, we have to destroy what is beneath yet we fill with new promise. We are the creators, holding the life of our work in our hands fed by a diet of imagination and determination.

Pablo Picasso: Everything you can imagine is real.

Lisa Wright: Real in what sense? There are frightening things lurking in my imagination sometimes and I'd really rather they stayed there. We can certainly make it real if we want which in itself is a scary thought...
 Pablo Picasso :There are only two types of women - goddesses and doormats.

Lisa Wright: I am no doormat. That must make me a Goddess. Thanks :)

What was that Pablo? My favourite Picasso painting? Guernica. Possibly one of the most powerful paintings I've ever seen*. I am moved, not just by paint on canvas, but the message and story behind it. I recently learnt the story of this terrible crime against humanity in the name of war and weaved in the fictional account I read was also Picasso's involvement.

All this rumination and conversation was inspired by Inspiration Avenue's weekly challenge - Picasso - and the desire to have something to present as my Sunday Sketch! See what these prompts lead to - legendary house guests. He's gone now, but it was wonderful having his company for an hour or so.

Tune in again soon for my next conversation with another legend ... Who next? Maybe Winston Churchill?

* Unfortunately I've only ever seen in reproductions and not the original. However, I'm going to Madrid for a short break soon, so fingers crossed I'll have time to see it.

Top sketch is the man himself (he sat very patiently while we chatted). Ink blobs came through from other page and felt appropriate for this portrait. Next is inspired by... and finally I mixed the two together, just to see what happened.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Finger painting

This girl came from paint to paper via only my fingers. Mainly fingertips, but nails were needed for the finer details (it's very difficult to transfer paint from fingernails to paper with any kind of control, I can assure you!).

It's an exercise for the Experimental Art Course which I'm also sharing for Paint Party Friday. If I'd had time I would probably have done more paintings with sponges, sticks and stones for assignment 2, but this is the extent of my artwork this week. Fingers have been glued to keyboard all week churning out the work stuff.

I'm really rather proud of her. A few years ago I'd have been chuffed if I'd painted this with a brush! I think it comes down to attitude. Painting with my fingers, I hardly expected to create a masterpiece. It was play, experimentation. I didn't have to share the result on here or even indeed with my fellow students in our Flickr group. It didn't matter if it was a total disaster.

And the result when the pressure was off? Well, I like it! OK, no masterpiece, but there's something fresh and fun about her. This was on my mind a lot this week - letting go of being precious, being brave. I've been trying to apply it to my writing and creativity at work too; I've been writing a tonne of articles and helping pull together presentation materials for the senior management team. Sometimes when we try too hard it's just so stiff and pretentious.

Maybe I'll take some paint into the office and get the Board finger painting... What do you think?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


This week I was involved in breaking a world record! I guess it's not often we get to write that - although I should point out that it's not the first time I have assisted in such an endeavour (we'll get onto that one later).

On Saturday night I was a part of the largest sized image of a music event ever taken - me and 85,000 other Take That fans packed into Wembley Stadium. It was shot on a special high-res camera that allows you to zoom in and focus on every individual in the place. I'm to be seen clapping in Block 523, row 5, lime green top.

Focus is something I've had to work on myself this week too, as well as feeling a bit like I'm trying to break records. I'm stacked with work (which is a good thing... I think....), taking an art course and being a Mother, partner, daughter and housewife. Sometimes (in fact most times), it is difficult to know where to start.

In fact, do I have time and more importantly, should I be writing about it now? Probably not, but I'll keep it brief (and anyway, blogging is good for my soul).

When I first started freelancing, it was fairly easy to keep on top of things and I enjoyed a certain amount of free time to keep up with household chores. Now, with success and a number of clients under my belt, plus the desire to weld drawing and painting implements to my digits and play football in the garden of an evening with my boy, I'm having to become more and more organised... something I haven't been for a while...

I've even bought books on the subject and am currently trying to organise my time enough so I can read Leo Babauta's Power of Less and learn what are his 6 productivity principles that will change my life...

I'm nearly half way through the book and applying (some!) of his teaching and it does feel better, although I feel a bigger house with my own office, art studio and generally more room to spread out might also help!

I'm proud of who I am and that person is on a constant drive for improvement fuelled by a desire to always do a good job. I want to be like Take That - put on a good show, raise the bar and dazzle my audience. I want my clients eating out of the palm of my hand and screaming for more!


And finally ... the other world record? Well, it was to take part in the world's largest YMCA dance... at Northampton Balloon festival in 2008. Sadly the internet is not awash with news stories about this event, and this sorry report is just about all I could find (even the YouTube videos have gone). Given that it was never much of a record, I imagine it has been beaten by now. Perhaps I should have got 85,000 people at Take That doing YMCA instead of Mexican waves while we waiting for the band to come on stage!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Brown girl in the (coffee) ring

Show me a motion... Tra la la la la...

For The Summer of Colour we had an unexpected challenge - brown! Eek, reminds me of my school uniform. However, brown is actually very exciting because it allows me to incorporate a spot of staining into my picture. Paper was prepared by flinging hot and wet tea bags at it and then sprinkling with my new favourite coffee Kenco Millicano wholebean instant (from Arabica beans). This left me with an array of choices for names for this lass - Milli perhaps? Rica? Arabica?

Let's go for Rica (pronounced Reek-a) for to be honest she does smell a bit. There's a definite whiff of rich roasted bean about her!

So, once the beverage stain layers had dried, I added a little tissue paper here and there then sketched her in Inktense pencils before bringing all their lushness to life with water and paintbrush.

I'm torn between wondering if she has a 'pox' on her face or it's just an aged vintage feel...

Starting to feel the pressure to keep this portraiture up all summer, but now I've started I must finish. I wonder what colour we're going to have this week?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

An 85,000-strong sing-along

Forgive me if I sound a little hoarse today readers, I did rather a lot of singing and screaming last night alongside a further 85,000 other singing and screaming Take That fans at the closing show of a 26 date (including a record-breaking 8 at Wembley) UK Stadium tour.

The uninitiated might think that with it being the biggest tour in UK history and all, it would have been easy to procure tickets. Not so my friends. It took a whole day of hanging pages on websites which crashed more than a season of stock car races before yours truly finally bagged the big prize at 7pm that evening, just as she was giving up hope of seeing her heroes perform on stage reunited once more.

And so months later the day finally arrived. It looked like the rain might hold off as the four of us piled in the car ready for the journey to our fair Capital. It was of course a necessity to warm up our vocal chords with some serious singing on the way there - in particular, Robbie's Angels got a very good airing on the M1. We looked out for evidence of other fans en route but there was a distinct lack of scarves and banners waving from tour buses so we just had to guess and wave at car loads of women with expectant smiles on their faces.

As it turned out the audience has changed a little in its demographic since I first saw them tour back in the mid 90s when I, in my mid 20s was probably one of the oldest there. Fan base then was screaming teenagers and the gay scene. Yesterday everyone from the under 10s out with the family to senior citizens were decked out in Take That T-shirts and singing along with gusto.

I've seen both Take That and Robbie on his own numerous times over the years and both easily rank as my favourite live performers. Tonight having Robbie reunited was truly something special. When he burst out of the backdrop to opening bars of Let me Entertain you, the crowd, already bursting the scale of excitement, then took off into cyberspace! If ever a man knew how to hold an audience, it is Mr Williams (although I was disappointed he didn't split his trousers as apparently he has managed on numerous occasions through over-excited stage acrobatics.

With a show that included everything from Alice's white rabbit and giant caterpillars to spidermen acrobats climbing the walls, pyrotechnics and giant statues that stood up taller than my house in the middle of the football pitch, it's certainly hard to pick favourite moments. And, seeing as I've already written reams maybe I'll just leave it with one understated word. Fanbloodytastic!! Thank you boys. Actually, maybe there is a favourite moment - knowing that a couple of them are (fractinally) older than me! Suddenly I felt cool being 41!

They are off to Europe next week - I think there's still a few tickets available here and there... Hmm. Milan suddenly sounds extra tempting...

PS: the videos aren't mine - thank you to the lovely people who shared their experience on YouTube

Friday, 8 July 2011

More beaker moments... Look what I did!

Aha my students, I am glad you are here once again for I have many experiments to share with you. Pull up a bunsen burner and gather round the petri dish - making sure to wear goggles and button up your lab coat, for it's likely you'll get paint splashed!

Reader, I have been missing art so much this week. It has been another of those busy ones where the day job, while incredibly creative, did wear me out a tad.

So last night I had to get messy. I had to dribble and splat, squash and flick, stick and scumble and just make mess. I'm experimenting with Amelia Critchlow. It seems we're almost making art by accident - not for us the measured application of brush to a carefully considered composition. No, we are letting loose with everything from tea bags to toe nails (well, maybe not the latter... yet!). We are seeing what happens if.... and when.... and let's just mix this with that and squash it flat.

I'm storing away the results in the crazy filing system that is the right side of my brain (and also on my Flickr stream), ready to pull them out and use when the occasion arises.

Sharing today with the Paint Friday Party-goers! Pop over and join in the fun (and see who has got the most paint still down their fingernails).

PS: Did I mention that I am wildly excited about these creations? Experimenting is so free and liberating. I feel so much better :)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Twas brillig

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Lewis Carroll

When you wish to paint creatures of the imagination, I think it helps to let loose yours. A Jabberwock sounds a fearful spiny creature that creeps into nightmares to wreck havoc. I was too scared to paint one so I let it paint itself. I dripped and closed the book with a slam then ran... Look what slithered and slid onto the page while my back was turned. Long may it stay there ... I'm off to sketch a vorpal sword...

For Inspiration Avenue's Poetry challenge (and some experimental art homework).

Makes you wonder how Mr Carroll 'experimented' when he wrote Through the Looking Glass...?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Mellow Yellow

Soft, silken Primrose, fading timelessly
John Milton

She is Primrose of the Fae, born in the Spring, creature of the soft woodland dwelling in among the mossy roots. We haven't captured her playful spirit here, having disturbed her sleep (so she's a bit cross).

Summer of Colour finds us in yellow this week.

I painted Primrose over a collage that looked like this....

Art recyling...

Sunday, 3 July 2011

At the charcoal face

I've just had a revelation and it's called Charcoal.

Seriously, why have I never used this medium before? I've owned a charcoal pencil for about two years that's just sort of languished alone and unwanted in the pencil box under the waxy lushness of my prismacolors.

I knocked this sketch up in around 10 minutes on a bit of paint-splattered scrap paper. Just thrown together without much planning, but look at the depth of shading I managed to achieve.

I've opened up a vein of possibility. Now I am dashing off to open a pristine page in my sketchbook to concentrate on a 'proper' piece.

I'm taking Jane DesRosier's Gritty Jane class....yes, and the Experimental Art class... and I've also enrolled on 21 Secrets... Well, the latter two are self-paced so I can take my time! Jane's first lessons involved blind contour drawing and charcoal. I'm hooked and will share this with the Sunday Sketchers. Hopefully I'll have time today to complete a more careful study, but there's a wall waiting to be painted (with emulsion!), and a tonne of work admin I've been putting off...

Ah the temptations and distractions of art.... how we love them!

PS: If you have time for an extra read, yesterday I wrote something from the heart - a thank you post to all my supportive friends here in Bloglandia.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Sweet treasures

I am slowly getting round to posting about some delightful treasures that came my way via the incredible artists I meet in Bloglandia. Their talents and passion fuel and ignite my own. Their accomplishments help fire me to set and achieve my goals too.

Right now art is my burning passion. It feeds my soul with delicious, energy-giving morsels. I love to look, touch and create. I also know that it doesn't matter what becomes of each painting. It has been the journey through the creative process that has worked its magic deep inside of me.

Sometimes I feel the pain and angst when the paintings don't speak to me. They just lie there on the paper with dull features and won't help weave the magic. But then I live for the others, when I make something that laughs, dances and sings across the page. Which prompts wonderful sharing people to comment that they like it, that it speaks to them too. I think that's why I like to paint my girls. To watch their features slowly form and their eyes gaze out at me trying to reflect their story.

I know with every ounce of certainty that without this online community of artists I stumbled upon two years ago that this would never have happened. The supportive comments and emails, the online courses and creative challenges, the friendship and encouragement were just the spurs I needed. I may not be selling hundreds of paintings, have a licensing agreement or written a book about Mixed Media (YET!); but I think I can finally say that I AM AN ARTIST.

So thank you one and all.

And now, after going off at a tangent, I will finally get back to the point of this post. To thank Natasha May, Sheree Wagner and Heather Stillufsen for the treasures they shared with me - the little goodies that dropped through the letterbox with a Bloglandia postmark.

And the 'Sweet' part of this post header - well it is Sweet Saturday and what a perfect opportunity to share my sweet treasured gifts and friendships.

Friday, 1 July 2011



and when it gets really intense

and even this

And this is before we go to Paint Party Friday...

Just some abstract paint play in my sketchbook. Started off as one of my background pages created from leftover paint on my palette - waste not want not.

My boyfriend can see his headache in there - pain pulsing and spreading out...Perhaps I should paint paracetamol next...
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