Saturday, 28 January 2012


I don't like waste. I hoard tiny scraps of paper that might fit nicely in a collage one day. I roll up ribbons and pieces of string. I keep autumn dried leaves until they fall apart. I pot up leftovers to create something new another day. I feel totally guilty wasting paint - so when I create something that's thick and gloopy and really not going anywhere, it does seem a sensible decision to rub some paper over the top of it and then see where the Muse takes it.

The Muse took it here. She saw herself in amongst the smudges and bade me to draw her. She's very haughty is my Muse. Just look at how she stares down her nose at us.

I love to paint like this - to just take a splodge of colour and texture and then bring life out of it; a life that tells its own story through the very textures of its creation. It's a forgiving technique. Is this what is called abstract realism?

Posting for Sunday Sketches.

Friday, 27 January 2012

A postcard from China

Well, we're four postcards in and still none the wiser as to quite who this mysterious X and Y are and why they are globe-trotting at such an alarming rate. How are they collecting their post from their mail boxes? Are they stopping off in between trips or do they have an accomplice forwarding their mail?

It seems that this week X finds herself in Shanghai, just in time for Chinese New Year. Coincidence or intentional? She doesn't so much as hint the little minx (or should that be Mingx?).

Y has been no help either. And what's with the way X keeps getting hold of these cards - ancient stores down back alleys and little boy artists giving them to her? There's more to this than meets the eye - I am sure of it.

I wonder what she's been dreaming about... Or shouldn't we ask?!

If you are entirely bemused yet still reading by this point, you may like to read the back story here, or pop over to Darcy's blog for another 50 or so postcards from China and their own unique stories.

I'm also posting to Paint Party Friday given that a) it's Friday; b) this is a painting; and c) I haven't had time to paint anything else this week!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

A moment

In the last couple of  years I have amassed a steadily growing collection of books on art and creativity, mixed in with a few copies of gorgeous Stampington magazines and copies of Uppercase - I've even read some of them.

I found myself enjoying a 'moment' a few nights ago. I had gathered a stash of these weighty tomes from various points around the house where they had accompanied me on my thoughtful meanderings. As I was about to return them to their home in my bedroom, that little dreamer inside me (who hates tidying up) thought my time would be better spent having another browse.

So, I sat on my fluffy marshmallow duvet surrounded by the paintings of Waterhouse and Froud and instruction and inspiration from my art heroes. I sank into a deep bliss of contentment. Art makes me happy. Books make me happy. Life is good.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A strange letter...

Dear Lisa

I know that you are a very busy girl these days and doing your best to fill every tiny crevice of your left brain with new information which then gets sifted and sorted by the right into some intriguing output.

However, this does not mean that I will sit idly by and be IGNORED! That's right. This is your blog writing in a desperate attempt to attract your attention. It's been days since you looked at me and frankly that will never do. After all, who do you think was responsible for putting you where you are now? Who helped stoke the fire and light the creative touchpaper? Who unlocked the treasure chest of your creativity and left you with the key?

That's right. It was me. I took you on a journey of discovery where you not only found yourself, but also a tribe of creatives that have influenced your very soul. Without me, you wouldn't have kept painting, taken e-courses, opened an Etsy shop, sold your work, whisked yourself away on an art retreat or met some of the most amazing people in your life right now. Without me, you wouldn't even be taking this Hello Soul. Hello Business course that is consuming your free moments.

So, this is a plea to remind you that I am still here. Right, rant over, I think you should go and paint something Chinese ready for the postcard challenge this week, then we can meet back here and you can tell me all about it.

Warm regards (nagging is for your own good).

Your Blog

Saturday, 21 January 2012


I've had a busy week OK, so please bear with me while I combine several art challenges together. You see, the thing is that I want to do EVERYTHING. I want to take EVERY course, join EVERY art challenge, learn EVERY technique... you get my drift...

So, this piece, by the very miracle of multi-tasking will fit nicely into Inspiration Avenue's 'Butterflies'; The Butterly Effect's 'Quotes' and is rather indicative of the mood over in the Facebook group for Hello Soul. Hello Business.

The quote is by an unknown author. Perhaps it was you or I and we just forgot we said it! I would love to be quoted, to appear on those google searches for 'quotes about creativity' or 'inspirational quotes'. I probably will be now I've typed that...

I can also squeeze this in for a Sunday Sketch and share some WIP. I almost always forget to take any progress shots. I'm usually far too immersed in the creative process.

Laying down the skin tones with oil pastels

Deeper colour and detailing with Prismacolors

Background added. Nearly there!

Friday, 20 January 2012

A postcard from Brazil

Well, he's off on his travels again - this mysterious Y character. Somehow he's gone from Vienna to the wilds of the Amazon. What a crazy agenda this man has... What do you think he's doing there?

Well, X won't be finding out any time soon, if the contents of this card are anything to go by (and no, she can't speak Portuguese, but she can at least spell it!).

If all this is baffling you, you might like to check out the back story... such as it is...

Postcard 3 for the Postcard challenge.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Quiet introspection

It has been a week of hard work and downtime thinking and reflection. I have not stopped and my body is complaining and urging me to both do some exercise (far too much time spent sitting in front of a computer!) and get some rest.

However, I am far too tired for the former and excited for the latter! This combination of emotion might result in a somewhat strange post, but let's just get on with it and see what happens.

Day job in the past couple of weeks has involved everything from changing tattoos on a man's head using PhotoShop to directing commercials and watching men dance along to Olivia Newton John...  I do love what I do!

Come evening, I have been partaking in my new favourite hobby - learning! I am so excited to be taking the Hello Soul. Hello Business course with Beth Nicholls and Kelly Rae Roberts. This week has been about introspection, discovering why we do what we want to do. Taking the time to reflect so we can build the right foundations for our creative businesses.

I was forced to delve deep into my passion for creativity. Why I have I chosen to take this path? What are my motivations? Well, I love to bring interest to the ordinary; colour and fun to the every day. If I can make people smile and take them on a journey of understanding that gives them pleasure and touches their heart and soul, then I'm getting that warm feeling inside of me.

Today was the culmination of weeks of hard work involving a huge team of talented people at Rackspace - one of the companies I have pleasure to work with. We put on an event to set the stage for 2012. Yes, there was PowerPoint involved... but also a theatre, cross dressing, ice cream, stunt doubles, pyrotechnics, drumming, camp performance, wigs, medal ceremonies, singing, a chariot and even an Olympic torch.

I need to transition this post into talking about art now, but am struggling to find a suitable link sentence... so let's just get on with it...

Last night I felt the urge to express through art a little of how I was feeling and this 'self portrait' was the result (I'm not blonde, nor do I have long hair... or indeed actually look like this....). Instead it just felt like me looking in. Quiet introspection. I just ripped a page out of an old book and played with my pastels and pencils. This evening, when I scanned the image in I was rather intrigued to spot a message hidden in the words... A moment of serendipity if you like...

Look closely and you'll spot...

... my name (Lisa. I have no idea who Eleanor is... maybe my Muse?) and then see how it talks about guts and instincts... just seconds after I'd listened to the course audio and heard Kelly Rae share how she believes that her intuition is her most valuable business tool! Serendipity?

(Also sharing this piece with my friends at Paint Party Friday).

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Slightly bursting

So, who would have thought it? I reach my 40s and suddenly learning becomes the new going out. It's becoming a total addiction - and doesn't require trying to find a taxi home at 2am. If I don't learn something new every hour then life is being wasted.

I used to read fiction to help me relax and get to sleep at night. Now I read business books and get so pumped up with inspiration and ideas that I can't then nod off. In fact, I'm constantly leaping up to jot down ideas and plot.

Having been self-employed for over two years now, I find it hard to imagine working for one employer again. I might not run a large enterprise and currently take the role of everything from CEO to cleaning lady, but it's mine... all mine.... [rubbing hands in slightly sinister fashion].

I finally feel a little more in charge of my own destiny, and more importantly, am loving the work I am performing for my clients. I take a huge amount of pride in what I deliver. It really and truly matters to me in a way that 'work' never quite did in the past. I work with my clients to increase their levels of employee engagement and it seems to be rubbing off on myself. I am very motivated by what I do! I am both leader and member of my own little tribe here and it feels a very comfortable and stimulating place to be.

Next week sees the start of what promises to be a very special e-course that ticks my creative boxes. Hello Soul. Hello Business by my heroines Beth Nichols and Kelly Rae Roberts will reach into the soul of what we as entrepreneurs are trying to achieve. It's right-directed thinking. It's 21st Century. It's about creating a future of which we will all be proud.

(Image was also created from something I learned this week... I have also signed up for Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers year long inspiration and PhotoShop tips - which included a place on her skinny mini PS course. Now, I thought I was beyond beginner stage... but you keep learning... This piece was created using one of her textures and a photo of my own.

Friday, 13 January 2012

A postcard from Spain

I would have liked to hop on a plane to Malaga then drive up into the Andalucian mountains and buy a real postcard from Ronda, but you know how it is... Real life does have this habit of getting in the way of art sometimes.

Besides, there's plenty of Spain to be had in England's green and pleasant (damp and dreary) land if you put your mind to it. Music is great transportation. I slipped on some flamenco passion and before I knew it I was peering over the shoulder of my character X as she wrote her first message to the equally mysterious Y while sitting in a window alcove of a 17th century hotel in Andalucia.

What was she writing and to whom?
If you missed the beginning of their journey last week then you can revisit their story here and on Darcy's blog where over fifty similar stories began their first chapters last week.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


Phew I'm tired... Working all hours is not good for a lass.

I need to get away from this computer for a while, so I'll post this early for Paint Party Friday and resist the urge to write her story... even though she is trying desperately to whisper it in my ear. Look, now she's started crying... What can I do? I can't please everyone!

See the crackle glaze?? I finally got it to work!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The 500

I thought I might pepper this blog with a few more business-related posts. For those of you about to tune out though ... Fear not! This will not be some Financial Times  review of a bull market nor a dissection of the Bank of England's decision to hold interest rates, nor indeed does it (unfortunately) have anything to do with Spartans with six-packs .... maybe next time...

Instead, keeping true to my passions, I will endeavour to approach each piece of writing with the right side of my brain. We'll tap into what Dan Pink calls his six senses that will be significant in the world of tomorrow........ design, meaning, story, play, symphony and empathy. I have lately been devouring his book - A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. More on this in a forthcoming post.

Firstly, I wish to share what I got up to yesterday. Together with 500 other Entrepreneurs, we packed out a West-Midlands conference facility to listen to our mentor - serial business creator, birthday boy and bundle of energy and motivation... Mr Nigel Botterill.

It's a regular get together for the members of the Entrepreneur's Circle. It's supposed to be a business-type briefing, but I believe there much be something about 'circles' that conjures up a bit of magic. Regardless of the fact that we had a magician in the room and that Nigel's shirt kept changing colour, there was definitely some enchantment going on...

The day progressed and we moved from session to session, then made friends with like-minded individuals over a limp sandwich and something masquerading as coffee. All day I was coming up with so many good ideas for my creative work, moving my business forward and seeking success. It was like a little picket gate inside my right brain opened up and grand ideas began dancing over to the left to get worked into solid plans and objectives.

I felt in touch with my own story and of those in the room. I was motivated, excited and proud to be able to call myself 'entrepreneur', I felt like the hero of my own fairy tale riding with my companions into a world of adventure. We've forsaken the safety of Employment Town and ridden out bravely to our own tune ready to slay dragons and find the pot of gold... Wish us luck!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

What's normal?

Am I normal?
Do I want to be?

My post for Sunday Scribblings. Short and to the point.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

From this...

Tracey Fletcher King shared an incredible artist with me today. Ben Quilty, an Aussie artist who uses bold colour and few strokes to just capture the essence of a face. It looks incredibly simple... but naturally, it's not as easy when you try it for yourself...

I used watercolours to sketch it out. Of course, had I been happy with the end result I wouldn't be calling it a sketch! But then again, then I wouldn't be able to share it with Sunday Sketches!

I liked bits of it, but it's not exactly quite there is it? Especially the eyes... pretty freaky! Even my son looked at it and asked somewhat curiously if it was "supposed to look like that?"

Back to the drawing board and out came the oil pastels and pencils and we used the rough sketch as exactly that... We ended up with some more Lisa Wright than Ben Quilty but I like to think there's a touch of him in there; you can still spot some of the original paint underneath. Shame one eye is bigger than the other...

Friday, 6 January 2012

A postcard from Austria - and a mystery...

Don't you just love a good mystery? Well my friend certainly seems to attract them. I wanted to share with you the tale of a most delightful correspondence. It began on a rainy January in Vienna when said friend opened up the drawer of the bedside cabinet in his hotel bedroom to find this postcard waiting there. It had a very explicit instruction on it... And so the story begins...


This is going to be such fun and so creative. The delicious Ms Darcy is organising a Nick Bantock-inspired year long challenge. We will write a correspondence between two people from locations across the globe. Who they are, what they are doing and what happens next is up to us. Darcy will just give us a country prompt every week.

Austria had me yodelling and trying on leder-hosen. I climbed every mountain and forded a few streams before I was reminded that a certain Mr Klimt (of whom I am rather fond) was Austrian. Kerching. We had our subject matter. I think that my X likes Klimt too, and probably purchased this postcard at an exhibition... What do you think? Follow this link to see all the other participants. It's not too late to join in...

Thursday, 5 January 2012


Sometimes you've just gotta let go... I went all intuitive with this painting, first creating layers of colour and texture with little thought as to end result. Then, because they always call me, a face begged to be let loose from the thick oozing paint, the mess of mixture.

So I got stuck in with fingers and knife and here is the result. Edgy... raw...

She feels like a creature forming from layers of advertising posters and graffiti. Some youth on a skateboard will fly by and reach out to grab her hand, peeling her to life.

For Paint Party Friday... on Thursday... I've got something else to post tomorrow - something new... something fun.... something collaborative... something you should check back and see... then maybe you might wish to join in too...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

If you go down in the woods...

My mood is dark. I am surrounded by the gloomiest forest, creepers tangle around my legs and mossy knolls catch my step. I am lost and alone. It is late and the sun is making rapid retreat. It becomes the time of the night when mortals should not tread here. It is when imagination is loose. Fantasy and fairy tale whisper through the dried and creaking boughs. Story is here...

There are so few places in this over-populated country that remain 'untouched'. Where nothing has been dug or built upon, explored and exploited. Unsurprisingly, many believe our ancient woodland is the portal to magic where pixies and elves flit among the bluebells passing by the cast of fairy tales.

I took my imagination to the woods and let her roam past dusk when the secrets are revealed. She met a lady in a red hood whose vein and sinews are formed from the flora and fauna. She carries the wisdom of wolves and the strength of woman... Are you receptive?


I painted 'Red' last night - on the cusp of returning to the world of work this morning, she beckoned me into a land of fantasy. It all began quite innocently when I chose to dip my imagination into the woodland for this week's Butterfly Effect challenge. I pondered painting fairies wearing acorn caps or innocent maidens skipping happily towards honeysuckle-strewn cottages and hungry Grandmothers...

But the Muse took me on a darker journey. She fed me spirits and played haunting melodies to intoxicate my senses and lose all sense of direction. She bade me play and experiment, building layer upon layer. Together we created Red.

In the light of day she looks most sinister. What do you think?

Sunday, 1 January 2012


Yup, that's my word for 2012. It was nearly completion but that had too much of a sense of finality to it - after all, I am very much a work in progress and rather wish to stay that way.

This word will set the scene for me 'getting stuff done' in 2012. It hinges a bit on my tendency to never quite finish big projects. Whenever I am psychometrically assessed (which isn't as painful as it sounds), I always score rather low on the completer/finisher side of the profile. I'm a great one for launching into new projects with the enthusiasm of a child faced with presents on Christmas morning and sparking ideas like New Year fireworks, but then I do so easily get distracted by the next big thing...

And while we're on the subject of distraction - let's jump back to this time last year. I took PUBLISHED as my maxim. I didn't write my book... but my words were in The Sunday Times. An extract from an award submission I wrote for a client took home a top prize and my prose was published verbatim. I was rather chuffed it has to be said...

So, back to 'completing' this post... 2011 saw me sign up for, commit to and begin rather a lot of projects. Don't get me wrong, they were not a waste of my time. On the contrary I learned a great deal, accomplished some marvelous creations and generally progressed pretty well. But I just didn't complete every part, or take advantage of all the opportunity that was out there.

I feel like an octopus sometimes desperately grabbing at particles that will fuel my creativity and guide my ambitions. I do recognise though that perhaps I should slow down and reap all I can from each passing opportunity. I might even get that book started in 2012... Who knows? (Surprise surprise I've signed up for a course to help me.... which I haven't even started...).

I will learn to focus on the most important, to procrastinate less and finish more. I will keep growing and ...


You can share your word of the year here too - organised by Geri of My Heart Art.
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