Wednesday, 29 February 2012

What did you do with...

... your extra day?

It only happens once every four years after all. Me? Well, I started a campaign to move it to July. I mean February? Seriously?

Sorry if you're south of the equator - but you've had it summer for long enough. Let someone else have a go.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Wild at Heart

I want to cry. I'm just bursting with emotion and it requires release. But don't worry, these tears are not those of sadness, but more of a sense of overwhelm that comes from experiencing the joy of untold beauty. All I have been doing to kindle this outburst of passion  is simply immerse myself in beautiful art on Pinterest.

There's so much inspiration out there that it fills my heart, fuels my desires and creates a longing to dive into a vat of paint then roll about over canvas. To squirt, smudge, tweak. To add detail, texture and crazy, wildly abandoned lines.

Art does something to me. How can the placement of line and colour on paper bring out such emotion? Perhaps it is because we see something of the soul of the artist. We are given a free pass into their imagination and this triggers a response in our own and forges a connection, an awakening.

Sometimes this makes me feel inadequate, a small dot in the pontilism of great art; but I try to just let it lift me on an inspiration thermal until the metaphors all become too much!

I just paused in writing this to read Kelly Rae Roberts story that she is sharing as part of the Hello Soul. Hello Business course. Reading of her realisation that Art would be her future and then seeing the fairy tale unfold just goes to prove that magic does happen to all of us if we just push ourselves out there and do a bit of personal wand-waving to make it happen.

I have known for but a short time that art resides in my soul. I often wonder how could I have left it dormant for so long? But then, maybe I just wasn't ready to embrace it. I know that it will always be a part of me and that creativity will be how I earn my living. I might not be making money as an artist but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I have already alluded to some exciting news regarding an upcoming creative venture (you can sign up to be in on the news first at the top of my blog). Although I'm not quite ready to share all the details, I am a worker bee in the background preparing to unleash something for the creative soul in the next month or so. I am getting very excited and itching to tell you, but I want to wait until I am properly organised and decisions have been made. My branding is being created as we speak and thoughts of this project fill my every waking hour.

This week I am guest hosting on The Butterfly Effect. Weeks ago I determined on theme of Wild at Heart and I created this painting as a base from which I added more digital work. Today she feels particularly appropriate as I bare my soul to art and let the seeds in my heart take root and begin to grow.

The heart is more than life-giving pumping organ. It houses the portal to our soul from where our every emotion is wont to try and escape.

How wild is your heart?

Friday, 24 February 2012

A postcard from Cuba

Our heroine X is in Cuba this week, but what's all this about lonely cocktails and being stood up? Just who was this Latin lover and why did he leave her in the lurch? Are those tear or mojito stains? More importantly, what will Y make of all these goings on. I get the feeling he was getting rather proprietary over this lady, despite them still carrying the vestiges of the stranger label about their persons. I really think he was expecting her in Barry last weekend...

No mention this week of where she acquired the postcard.

It's OK though because I know...!! A local artist was attempting to paint a couple of local ladies of a certain age wearing flower-filled hats and sitting outside the cigar factory. But you know what ladies of a certain age are like - they just wouldn't stop talking and waving their cigars about (our artist wasn't fond of tobacco fumes and she preferred her subjects to sit still and keep quiet). In the end she had to resort to a google image search to look for silent and stationary models. It's amazing what comes up when you search for 'old Cuban ladies smoking cigars'....

So, the artist finally finished her work (which incidentally is done in oil pastels), only to find a strange compulsion to place it in the hands of a tearful lady at the bar! It's a rum old world...

The Postcard Challenge is run by delightful Darcy - back story here.
Paint Party Friday is the coolest place to hang out at the end of the week.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Quick draw McGraw

You know how I am a bit of a yes-girl?  Well, more of a yes, please actually (because I was brought up to be polite). Well, offer me an opportunity to partake of something interesting, pleasurable, educational, creative, edible.... and I'll grab it.

So, when I was chatting online with Cameron and she asked me to join her in working through Carla Sonheim'sDrawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun (Lab (Quarry Books)) I agreed wholeheartedly... Then got so busy that I couldn't find the time to join in...

Not very 'completing' is it? That's my word of the year by the way.

So, Week 3 arrived and a project to draw your pet in motion in seconds. Come on, I says to myself. Even the most time-starved artist could take a nibble of this one.

And so, with two cats being suitably active (I caught them just before mealtimes when they follow me around like a shadow) I stalked their every move - and believe me there are a lot of them when food is on the cards. It's not so easy drawing a moving beast, but once you figure out that there are kind of three balls in decreasing sizes from rump to head, then it becomes easier.

Note the expressions of disgust on those faces as they cannot understand what is stopping me from moving  to the food cupboard and bringing out their dinner.

I really should go and feed them now...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday Scribbles

Oh gosh... I don't know if I really dare let tell you about this.... You see, you might become as addicted as I and forget to eat, brush your teeth, wash, sleep...

It started off so simply... just an innocent play...

But then it just kept going... picture after picture

And playing with colour and line size and connections.... Will it ever end? Get me out of here....

Oh go on then... here's the link...  but don't say I didn't warn you... (Blame Sunshineshelle - I found it on her blog...).

Sharing for Sunday Sketches

Friday, 17 February 2012

A postcard from Barry (in Wales... rather than Barry the singer... or indeed anyone else called Barry)

I love PhotoShop me.

See you gets to dress people up in silly hats and have fun with Barry and Barry in Barry.



Well, that X and Y are still sending each other postcards from all over the place. Looks like Y is back where his heart is this week. Mam's making griddle cakes before they pop round to see Uncle Bryn.

Apologies to those visitors who hail from a land yet to be influenced by Gavin, Stacey, Nessa, Smithy & Co... you may find the joke a little hard to understand! However, I can assure you that there is a place called Barry in Wales.

Ooh I wonder if she's back from Belgium yet... Might she be tempted by a weekend at the seaside in February...?

PS - See that button on my sidebar... the one at the top... ?

Thursday, 16 February 2012


What's occuring?

I've come over all Welsh. Tidy.

Well, perhaps that's a slight exaggeration, but this is the first of two pieces inspired by the singing in the valleys, the daffodils and the burly men playing rugby like their life depended on it. I'm also writing in a Welsh accent - can you tell?

So, while I was seeking inspiration for the Postcard Challenge - I found a photograph of Snowdonia online - one of those magical scenes where the sun has managed to find a way through the stormy skies lighting up the landscape from underneath the clouds in a slightly other-worldly fashion.

It's been a while since I attempted to paint the great outdoors and so to make it doubly hard on myself I decided not to use a paintbrush! I got my palette knife out and dragged and stippled the acrylics then touched up with oil pastels. The rocks and dry stone wall though had a secret ingredient to help add a little texture....

So, this could be my postcard... but I've had another slightly more ridiculous idea that I am about to attempt... If you come back tomorrow and there's not one of the Bee Gees on here then it all went horribly wrong...

You're getting this for Paint Party Friday on a Thursday night (it's that new blog party thing - you must have heard of it?!)

PS - See that button on my sidebar... the one at the top... ?

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A love affair

I'm in love. It's true. I can't keep it in. My heart is pounding, my soul dances polkas and my eyes light up from within.

This isn't the same love I hold for my sweetheart and my gorgeous boy though (for they are both most dear and truly loved in their own unique and special ways).

No, this is a different kind of magic altogether. It's the loving 'what you were meant to do'. It's random paint splotches forming shapes and pictures. It's eyes revealing personality from the page. It's texture, colour, depth. It's mystery, magic. It's Art.

Sometimes I want to create art so much it hurts - a physical pull. Others I feel pain from frustration when what I yearn to put onto canvas just refuses to take shape. Art makes me happy. Art soothes and caresses away the stresses of the day. Art is part and parcel of me.

It took me a while but I finally learnt that I was born to create. Sure I can do other things (and have to!), but creativity is as much a part and parcel of me as my boy and my sweetheart. Creating makes me happy.

Sharing today with a Valentine's blog party with the Fly Tribe - celebrating our love of art.

PS: I was properly spoilt today. I feel loved :)

PPS: If you love art, you might like to sign up (see the button top right) for something exciting I am planning. All will be revealed soon!!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Putting the voices on my ignore list

You know the voices. They are mean-spirited and cruel. They wait until you're riding along on the wave of enthusiasm and excitement believing that anything is possible ... Then they start their sneaky little attack.

Tiny whispers begin, like the first snowflakes... barely noticed and gone in an instant... but then the ranks swell and the message gets louder and clearer...

"Who are you to think you can do that?"

"It will never work"

"Make a living doing that? Ha! In your dreams maybe...!

"There are much smarter people out there who can do a better job"

"You'll run out of steam, get bored, want something different after a month..."

Well, I'm sorry you narky little moaners... I've got news for you.... I might have let you worm your way into my conscious all day. I might even have begun to listen. But that's it. You can SHUT UP. I'm not listening any more... Except for the one who foolishly started to mention my dreams. That's right - you forgot something didn't you? Dreams can come true.

I am stating my intention blog readers. I am on the cusp of launching a new creative enterprise. One I hope that will appeal to many like-minded creatives. I love this tribe and want to work with you, to nurture, to bloom together.

I'm not quite ready to share all the details yet - there are many little seedlings that I'm nurturing, so we'll see which decide to bloom, but I'd love to have you on this journey with me. If you'd like to be in on the secret in advance of the rest of the world, you can sign up right here on my blog - see that button top right?

My son told me to believe in myself and if I'm not going to listen to myself, then I sure am going to heed his little words of wisdom. And, as is the way with art sometimes, I sat down to try and free some emotion at my art table and picked up a half finished journal piece. The girl was sitting in her collage thinking and suddenly I saw through the window to her heart. Butterflies. They have faith that they'll turn from a squidgy caterpillar into a beautiful winged creature capable of soaring.

Believe in the butterflies...

Friday, 10 February 2012

A postcard from Belgium

Well, they're at it again, this mysterious couple of correspondents. What a pair of globe trotters.

Reading between the lines, I sense something of a cooling off from our X. Did Y overplay the whole romantic Paris theme last week? Is their current proximity making her nervous? Mind you, the way these two jet from place to place I expect he's on another continent by now.

This is a strange portrait of Monsieur Poirot, the great Belgian detective.While the gold leaf seems to suit, the grunge and clown make-up most certainly does not! I can imagine his moustache is curling in extreme distaste at the very thought.

Well, it certainly looks like it has a story to tell, though we may need to perform our own detective work to discover what... And what's all this about the shopkeeper's facial hair? The mystery thickens.

I'm playing the Postcard Challenge again. My protagonists X and Y are teasing each other from worldwide locations. Who knows where they'll appear next. You can see where they've been on a special page I made.


This postcard was created using image transfer technique. It is of course the marvellously talented David Suchet portraying the Belgian detective. When the ink ran I went with the flow and continued to colour him in until he resembled a clown, so I stopped and tried to convince myself he's just standing over a mysteriously murdered corpse under the lights of a Brussels theatre...

Thursday, 9 February 2012

When in doubt...

Lucy's time to rip a page out. I find that when I just get the urge to paint, but am too tired to think too hard or not in the mood for anything that's going to take hours, then I absolutely love to paint my girls. They give me such pleasure.

I rarely measure or do much preparation, but even they admit that they don't mind the odd wonky eye or crooked nose. These are dive in pieces, full of energy and experimentation. Some turn out better than others but that's half the fun... the anticipation... Will this one work? Have I ruined it by adding the shocking pink to her hair?

I adore how they whisper their names to me and start to pout and sulk if I can't quite hear them or disagree with such ridiculous suggestions (some of them are such divas!).

These two were most particular about being invited to Paint Party Friday and I thought they would love it there to be honest. So, here they are! Lucy is eyeing the Rioja though, so watch her... And Sarah, well Sarah's got her eye out for George Clooney. I tried to explain that it wasn't that kind of party, but what can you do? Anyway, you never know - he might turn up!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Raindrops on roses

...and whiskers on kittens... What are my favourite things?

Well, artistically speaking, I am rather partial to drawing a face over some kind of multi-layered background so this is what you get..

I also love stories - romantic adventures with a hint of magic. What do you suppose is going on in this piece. Can you see the lady in the background looking into her mirror? Once she whispers the magic words, it won't be her reflection gazing back at her... Oh no...

The Butterfly Effect have asked us to share our favourites from a mix of questions. These were my personal favourites from their list of favourites!

What's your favourite bird to dress up in a parade?
Well, something very beautiful with lots of coloured feathers in its tail and a stunning headdress, iridescent shimmers would reflect the Brazilian sunlight (well, seriously, if I'm making all this effort, I might as well do it in an appropriate location - and Notting Hill Carnival just doesn't quite cut it). Long legs, an elegant neck and a subtle beak (nothing too flamingo - that's just so last season!).

What's my favourite pet quality that I would like to own?
Sometimes I am most envious of my cats. They just loll around the house moving from one cosy spot to another. They are fed and pampered. I think that disdain would be a great quality. The sense of ownership and being the one in charge.

What's your favourite drink to accidentally spill on a person you like?
Well, I want them to like me right back so I'd have to go for the safest option of water. But then that's not really very adventurous is it? Do you mean like or like anyway. If I really liked them, then maybe champagne - there's something about the bubbles...

What's your favourite song to sing in the shower?
Well, I don't know about the shower, but anything by Meatloaf goes down very well on the motorway of a morning!

Which favourite book character would I take on a lonely island with me?
Elizabeth Bennett. I always thought we would get along rather well and she could tell me all the bits about Mr Darcy that Jane Austen missed out!


Shh... What's that? Did you hear it?

Ah yes, it's clearer now - it's just my bed calling. Night night my bloggy friends.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Snow, snow and more snow

(There's something better coming up later in the post... bear with me...)

I wanted to quickly sketch the depth of the snow for you this morning (to share for Sunday Sketches). But the truth is, I am far too excited to actually get out in it and play and so this sketch is wildly out of proportion and frankly a bit of a disaster... but you get the gist. The measure on there is 8cm! Yes, 8cm of lovely fresh snow to go play in. Our first proper downfall this winter and who knows how long it will last.

The sketch looks more like a Christmas cake than a garden table. I couldn't find a ruler - hence the set square, but I think that worked better anyway!

My son and I are just waiting for the hour to be a bit more sociable before we venture outside and begin shrieking with delight as we throw snowballs, craft snowmen and generally cause mayhem.

As this sketch is a bit of a mess, I think I should also share a more complete piece of journalling I did yesterday. A face... what a surprise! I have seen other bloggers taking part in 29 faces and creating one portrait a day throughout the month of February. Normally, I would have leapt on this like a kid in his first snowdrift, but I am soooo busy mes amies that I am trying very hard not to leap at every opportunity that hits me in the face snowball style.

Saturday, 4 February 2012


My life right now is a series of layers. I'm an onion, although that sounds a bit tearful and smelly. Perhaps I'm a layer cake? Yes, I like that - much sweeter!

If you looked at my office desk now you would see some serious evidence of layering. What you get is a cross section of everything going on in my brain. I am having some seriously exciting business ideas as a result of taking Hello Soul. Hello Business with Kelly Rae Roberts and Beth Nicholls and around 300 inspiring women (interesting how we are all female!). I have paper scribbled with ideas and calculations, marketing plans, to do lists. It's mind mapping gone wild.

My diary is underneath my sketchbook and the log book from my new car. My diary has rather a long list of items that need ticking off for today. Strictly speaking writing a blog post should not be top of the agenda... but it is Saturday... and I so wanted to enter The Butterfly Challenge's Layers week. I am such a layer lover when it comes to paint. More on this in a moment.... Back to the desk...

So, there are at three paintings, a book of love poetry, a rose that is crying out to be sketched, a memory stick with items that require downloading, a pile of unopened letters (they looked boring), a cuddly snowman, post it notes, pens, a card from Amy, wireless headphones and assorted notebooks (plus a thin layer of dust).

The floor is covered in paper. There are notes stuck to the walls and piles of filing dotted around. It is complete and utter ORGANISED chaos! Honest!

Back to this painting. I rather love it I have to confess. It began life as some random red and brown scrapings and corrugated cardboard prints made using up palette paint. The brighter bands of colour were added with a brayer then a few splatterings and scatterings of this and that to add more interest.

Right, blog post done. Back to the mind mapping and business planning! I'm very excited!!! Watch this space...

Friday, 3 February 2012

A postcard from France

The mood has shifted within the hero of this tale. No more the playful flirt, but perhaps a tired romantic? What mysterious forces are placing the cards within the hands of our two protagonists? Are they merely jet-lagged and short of attention, or is some enchantment pushing them together?

Some digital play for the Postcard challenge this week as X and Y continue their odd relationship... For postcards from the past, deliver yourself to this page.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The urge...

You know how it is... You've worked hard all day exercising the mental muscle, then when night falls the Muse wants to come out and play... She dips her fingers into your paint boxes and has a good old rummage around, she flicks through magazines looking for models and then she sticks that pencil in your hand and urges you to draw, draw, draw...

No time for many words today (all my words are required by clients!). Instead I'll just post this piece that the Muse and I worked on over a couple of evenings. She's mixed media with oil pastels, acrylic and pencils. I couldn't quite make up my mind what colour background she should have - if you look closely you might just be able to spot my various alternatives lurking in the layering.

She also poses a few thoughts - firstly, that hair dragging over her face would drive me nuts. Perhaps I should get her a pretty hair slide to pin it back...? Also, I love her jumper but am a bit worried that she might be giving me the cold shoulder. What do you think?

Posting for Paint Party Friday.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Celebrating the (W)right brain

Image from Mercedes Benz advertisement

I have a confession to make. I am completely smitten by a business book! Dan Pink's Whole New Mind has somewhat lodged itself in my own. I am a right-brainer and to be told that we're on the cusp of a revolution where we're set to take over the world was most gratifying. OK, slight exaggeration, but I'm just showing my passion! This was completely vindicated today when I took a Strength Finder test (more on this later).

Mr Pink reveals "that the future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: designers, inventors, teachers, storytellers - creative and empathetic 'right-brain' thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn't".

He theorises that in an age dominated by abundance and cheaper labour and manufacturing in Asia, we need to be differentiating ourselves to guarantee success. It's not about being a great number cruncher anymore. You need to be number cruncher that discerns patterns, can see the whole picture, empathise underlying causes and be willing to stand out and be different.

Dan Pink doesn't dismiss the left brain at all, his theory is that for too long we have neglected half of our brain power and that getting the two working together - being master of both - will be the traits needed for success in this new age.

His book hinges on six much neglected senses that will guide the lives of us 21st Century citizens obsessed with information, technology, logic and focus. It is time for Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning to make their resurgence. It's all there inside us - we just need to let it live again.

 As my career has rattled along through the years I have increasingly found myself hanging out with an edge of eccentricity. Ask me to complete a detailed project plan and you'll watch the light die in my eyes. Encourage me to think outside of the box, to blend humour with financial forecasts, to strategise with story and you'll have me in the palm of your hand. I don't do normal, conventional. I think "What if...?" and explore hidden pathways, open portals and adventure! My right brain needs a free leash!

Right brainers see possibility in discovering that 2012 is apparently 'the year of enchantment', I'm already wondering what spells I might weave to reach my lofty goals.

As we enter Week 3 of the Hello Soul. Hello Business course, we are exploring the 'what's' of our entrepreneurial craft. On Monday evening I stayed up way past my bedtime mind mapping some incredibly exciting opportunities to develop my creative business. I am incredibly excited by the opportunities I've discovered.
I am also blown away by the wonderful sharing community of ... you guessed it... right-brainers taking this course. We are all there to help and support each other see our dreams take shape. Our destiny awaits!
Today I came across this series of advertisements by Mercedes. It reads...
I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearing. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. I am movement. Vivid colours. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.
Interesting coming from such a technology driven company. The times they are indeed a-changing...

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