Sunday, 29 April 2012

Cress rhymes with ...


Yes those are cress seeds growing out of the fold of a book. It's an experiment I invented for the Messy Book Group. After all, if you're going to Mess up a book, you might as well truly throw your heart, soul and cress seeds into it!

Yes, I am a bit crazy. If they grow properly I may even eat them - very nice in an egg sandwich.

Here's more detail from the page they are growing on in the Messy Journal.

We were told to alter a somewhat dull image of a group of Victorian-looking gents gathering for a meeting of what was probably the Society for Facial Hair in Medieval Literature or some other improbable subject. I decided their hats needed a little enlightenment, but as I was sketching I was astonished to discover that Cedric was hatless! What scandal!

So  I wrote a little caption:

Cedric cursed when he realised he'd forgotten his Lily hat for the annual photo of the Lily-Livered Society. He did at least remember his clown nose and eye patch!

At least now that the seeds have sprouted I can go back to messing up some other pages and investigating what effect all that regular moistening has done. There's some interesting bleed coming through from the next page...

Bet you wished you'd joined the Messy Book Group now eh? Stay tuned for next week when I'll be lending the book to the lions at Whipsnade Zoo...

Alien cress - played with in PhotoShop - taking the mess a stage further...

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Of moods and blues

Struggling this week. Dealing with loved ones in hospitals, sleep deprivation and a huge sense of overwhelm. Art helps, but it's interesting how it turns out...

Colour schemes favour blues. Original sketch below and final digitized version above. I feel the cracks, the smudges and the slightly lost sense in her eyes...

I can also hear my art supplies calling me back. I'm heeding their pleading and must return...

Sharing with Sunday Sketches.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sample content from my course

Shoes by Irregular Choice

If you're wondering what the content of my eCourse might be like, then wonder no more. Here's some content from a typical week where we'll be exploring how to try on inspiration until we find the size that fits.... You might also like to look at my previous post, another example of the type of content I'll cover where I'll introduce you to the work of other artists and demonstrate how you can take their techniques and make them your own.

We'll share our work and inspire each other into new directions too. I want to gently push you into expanding your creativity and teach you how to find little tendrils of inspiration that pull you into their story and beg you to tell it...

Stories from Shoes

What do you see when you look at these shoes? Now don't go moaning that you're a bloke and what do you care about shoes, or that you wouldn't be seen dead in anything so outlandish. Keep looking, then listen to the voice in your head. What does it see? What does it hear?

I have conjured up fairy tale castles filled with adventure. Dainty ladies wearing their hair too high for battling dragons bent on destruction.... Is that a ring tied into the bow? So, that's where she hid it!

I see turquoise oceans; I feel aching feet that aren't used to heels; I smell the Chinese sweat shop where each tiny flower is hand sewn for a pittance as Wai wonders how she will hide her bulging belly from her employer. I hear music that makes my toes tap and, looking down, notice the beer splashes on my pretty ribbons and wonder if they'll wash...

These are not shoes. These are whimsical paintings of a Princess, dance music, contemporary poetry. These are a written outpouring of shoe envy or a lament at the heel height of 2012 fashion. These are colour, shade and story.

Your challenge is to look deeper into this picture than just the footwear and let your Muse whisper their creative longings.

There's a story for everyone in this fancy pair of turquoise party slippers. Will yours be painted, written or photographed.

Close your eyes and let you imagination wander.... but if you're still looking at a blank page, then try on a few of these:
  • Sketch your ideal pair of shoes - total fantasy - if you want wheels, you've got them; if they need rocket launchers or 500 buttons, then they're yours! What materials will you use? When will you wear them and with what... and who...?
  • Write about your favourite pair of shoes. Do you still own them? What make them so special? Put yourself in 'their shoes'.... What stories could they tell about you? What do they think of you?
  • Quickly scribble a list of words associated with footwear and then compose a poem using every single one of them.
  • These shoes are very different and will most certainly make their owner stand out. Why might they want to do that? What does the rest of their outfit look like? Where are they going and why?
Share a link to your results in the comments on this page or on my Facebook Page and let me see where you (or indeed that pair of shoes) take this prompt.

Friday, 20 April 2012

A postcard from Romania

It turns out that Romania has these nesting dolls as well as Russia, which is just as well because I was having a hard time coming up with a postcard design this week that didn't involve vampires in capes in Gothic castles.

Even this little lady nearly got fangs. What can I say, I've already told you I watch too much Vampire Diaries...

So, we're back on the Postcard challenge where the apparent Lothario Y has meandered across to Eastern Europe from Singapore on what appears to be a quest to find beautiful women in all four corners of the globe. I think we need to read between the lines though...

When will these two ever explain to each other who they are and what they are doing gallivanting about the place so much?

(Back story here)


OK, couldn't resist one little Dracula reference... This is a digital play I did a couple of years ago. Silly Mina!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Pretty Flamingo

Lisa Wright

There's a method to the madness... I'm experimenting. This week I was inspired by the work of Lawrence Yang who I 'stumbled upon'...

His bio reads:

Lawrence Yang wrestles with informational abstractions by day and paints by night. Influenced by graffiti art and traditional Chinese painting, he employs ink, marker, and watercolor, as the permanence of this media adds a sense of immediacy to his work. Lawrence's paintings make use of color to communicate atmosphere and emotion, and they are concerned primarily with creating order out of chaos (and vice versa).

Lawrence Yang

Lawrence Yang

He's seeing dimension in drip and dribble, substance in splatter... and little birdies and teddy bears in ... well ... maybe we shouldn't go there...

I took my own interpretation of his technique and, because I was wearing my best clothes at the time and didn't want to ruin them, printed out some splatter work I had 'prepared earlier' (just like Delia Smith). It was just some pink dribbles really with a random blog of green. It immediately spoke to me. In fact, truth be told, it sang.... 'pretty flamingo'. It sang it a lot... until I got really annoyed...

Anyway, we ended up with three pretty flamingos and one green bug. I was quite pleased that Manfred Mann hadn't recorded any songs about green bugs.

If you're interested in exploring new techniques (and getting annoying songs stuck in your head), then this is just the kind of thing we'll be doing on my Inspirational eCourse (shameless plug!). It starts on May 14th.

I'm also getting immersed in my messy book group which is proving great fun with the mess tribe getting up to all sorts of mischief and goading each other on in our Facebook group. We're learning that sometimes art must become mess before it can become art again (but sometimes it's just mess). If you want to get crayon shavings in your carpet or charcoal up your nose, then come and join us any time! Just request an invite to the Facebook group. The more the messier!

I'm sharing this for Paint Party Friday too.

Monday, 16 April 2012

What is behind the door?

Click on it (go on, I dare you) and see where it takes you... (it's a bit of fun... don't worry there won't be any monsters waiting to bite your bottom.... unless you want them to of course!)

Ooh did you hear those hinges creak? And what's that shadowy figure disappearing into the gloom? Can you hear someone playing the piano? Oh hello...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

I've got me an iPad3!

Look what I made with my new iPad! I was using a cheap little app called Art Set.

It was great fun, although a little limited in colour and functionality. I used the pencil, pastel and marker pen tools to create this eye. I am so excited by the fact that I can create art anywhere now without having to cart around a huge stack of supplies. I can even wear my best clothes!

I was also pretty excited that I drew this with no reference. I guess I've painted enough eyes to know what one looks like now... I was trying to teach my son the art of looking when it comes to art and seeing and sharing my fascination the intricacies of colour and shade... but he prefers to play with cars or shoot things... Ah well....

Any other iPad artists out there can recommend the best apps? I've heard that Brushes and Procreate are good for beginner digital artists (I found this good reference site here). I could easily become hooked!

Sharing for Sunday Sketches.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

It's OK to be messy

Week 2 of the messy book group (never to late to join in!!) and I'm trying to remind myself that it's OK to be messy - in fact, that is indeed the point of the exercise! So, it being Friday night and all, I decided to get smashed.

Don't tell my son, but I 'borrowed' a couple of his crayons and hit them hard with a hammer until they pulverised all over this page. But that wasn't really messy enough (unless you count the bits that flew off and embedded themselves in the carpet). Next up I headed to the kitchen and my art iron...

(As an aside, I would not recommend using your normal iron to melt wax with. I made that mistake before so have now purchased a £5 iron from Tesco which I use exclusively for this purpose!)

While I was waiting for the appliance to heat I turned my back just long enough for the boyfriend to come wandering in to the kitchen and move my messy journal scattering bits of crayon across the kitchen floor. More accidental mess.... it's getting good...

I melted neat, I melted through paper, I melted over greaseproof sheet. I burnt my hand and got bits of wax stuck down my fingernails.

Then, I turned to the glue page - nice and sticky. This one took a while as I had to wait for the glue drips to dry before I rubbed them with alcohol ink.

Then, I couldn't quite resist getting all arty... I took some macro photos but darn it the flash went off...

Hold on... if this isn't an accidental discovery, then I don't know what is... They have a certain appeal don't you think - accidental art.

I think there's a creature in this one...


A real close up. I like this - follows the rule of thirds compositionally. A piece of art made from mess. Good work. Next week I might use food.... Eeek!

Friday, 13 April 2012

A postcard from Iceland

I truly never realised the beauty of this country until I started researching it for the Postcard Challenge this week. I'm so in awe of the wild and wonderful spectacle that nature creates. I've even created a board on Pinterest - see if you can spot the picture I painted!

So, this week sees our intrepid heroine in the land of the Aurora Borealis (yes, I did have to check the spelling on that one!). I wonder if she got to see them, it's still the right time of the year. No wonder that the Icelandics believe in elves with such a magical show regularly on their doorstep!

I think X rather likes it when Y flirts with her. I get the impression she might be a little lonely. Perhaps that is why she is hinting at revealing some of her secrets!

Full back story of the mysterious correspondence is right here.

Worry no longer, for I have escaped the Turkish bathroom and headed North to Iceland - that's the country rather than the frozen food shop where "Mums shop".

I had never realised there would be such beauty and colour here. I am enjoying it in solitude - no flings (or indeed slings!) here!

One day I might tell you what carries me around the blog and ask the same of you. For now I'll retain my cloak of mystery....

Where next?


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Flora of the Foliage

I've been working on Flora on and off for several weeks. On the whole I was happy with her, but felt she was missing a certain je ne sais quoi. I wanted to blend her in with nature and toyed with waxing a layer of pressed leaves and flowers, but I'll be honest... I did try but it just got a bit messy - the leaves just weren't keen on being coated in hot wax - can't say I blame them.

So, I took her outside and slung her in the shrubbery for a photo shoot. This gave way to a few strange looks from my other half questioning what the neighbours might think. They should be used to my antics - after all, it's only a few months ago since I dressed up as Boudicca and staged a Roman battle in the front garden.

I'll admit that this photographic expedition wasn't quite as successful as historical staging - nor nowhere near as much fun.

Flora had to find some decent foliage in PhotoShop - but at least I was using my own photography so it still feels very much my own piece. I think she's waiting in the shadows for the 'people' to go away so she and her fairy friends can come out to play.

She is joining in with Inspiration Avenue's Foliage challenge and then hopping over to Paint Party Friday - busy girl!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Up above the streets and houses...

If you're British and of a certain age (that probably means over 35), I defy you not to continue the lyrics in the title and sigh fondly at memories of men in Bungle suits and loud-mouthed puppets with zips for mouths. Ahh... those days of harmless childhood entertainment. Interestingly, if you pop onto YouTube for a trip down Nostalgia Avenue, you might find a few episodes that you don't recall seeing on TV... Watch with caution it may shatter your illusions forever!

Anyway enough nonsensical rambling; I have a global readership to take of who have absolutely no interest in learning that you can buy a George fancy dress costume on eBay for £49.99...

Let's move my writing onto the more serious matter of why there is a lady with rainbow-coloured hair sitting at the top of this post.

Well, this lady up top is Ellie. She had a mix up at the hairdressers when, during a freak storm, a rainbow shot down the drainpipe, entered the salon water system and turned her hair all the colours of ... well the rainbow.

Personally I think it suits her and, as they say, worse things have happened at sea. Not sure what her Mum will say when she gets home though... especially as poor Ellie has now become rainbow obsessed and felt compelled to paint Jessica using the water squeezed from her towel.

Both of these ladies are posted for the Butterfly Effect's rainbow challenge.

I'm in a strange mood this evening. I may have over-dosed on episodes of the Vampire Diaries (and the wine probably doesn't help either). Last night I dreamt mean and nasty Klaus was after me and then I couldn't understand why I dreamt about a boy I went to school with who I haven't seen in over 30 years... until I thought about his surname... Gilbert.... cue spooky Vampire music.... I do love the ridiculous plots though - it's almost on a par with the Apprentice for encouraging pointless shouting at people inside the television screen. I really should watch something more sensible - like Britain's Got Talent.

Anyway, it never being a good idea to write a blog post when slightly inebriated and with a day's work ahead of me come sunrise, I must away to my bed. Perhaps tonight I will dream where the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow might be hidden...

Saturday, 7 April 2012


I have no idea what to write about in connection with this piece which I'm submitting to Sunday Sketches. It's a shameless copy of a Modigliani. I felt like having a lesson from a Master this evening and he was most obliging. It certainly makes a change for me to give a girl I paint the benefit of a body to go with her head and shoulders.

This lady is clearly not in the UK right now, or she would be wrapped up in a warm jumper. Mind you, she does have a slightly frosty look about her features (possibly from being forced to sit motionless in this pose for hours on end...).

Night night.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Messy Book Group

I'm so excited. My first online book group is about to start!!

So far there are 15 of us rolling up our sleeves and getting messy with Keri Smith's Manual of Accidents & Mistakes. I'd love it if you joined in - all the details on my Book Group Blog.

Week 1 is just really finding our feet and starting to loosen up. I'm only going to share one page with you this week but I think it truly epitomises what the book is about....

... namely having fun and, quite literally, thinking outside of the box.The instruction for this page was to use all the colours you have on hand. Well, I thought I'd take that literally! I just love the way the acrylics knit together.

I looked up Sol Lewitt. He's a new artist to me - one of those painting stripes kind of guys. The sort that begs the question "But is it art?" Of course it is!

I let him inspire me to seek pattern and colour in the messy hand print, to really drill down and simplify.

As a first exercise it was fun. I'm inspired to pursue the fingerprint lines some more... Watch this space...

Thursday, 5 April 2012

A postcard from Singapore...

A veil of moonlight on her lovely face...

I love reading between the lines when these two write to each other. Look at that... he writes so clearly until we get to the sling or is it fling? I fear Y's intentions are not too honorable, but then can we blame him. X is a bit of a tease and made him so jealous when she went to Cuba.

He taunts her with his dreams of an oriental princess, yet still reaches out a hand if she would but cross the oceans to him. I think he might be a terrible flirt!

This lady is a mixture of technique. She is watercolour drips, pencil sketch and PhotoShop texture. She oozes passion and temptation for our weary traveller. Will he succomb or does his heart already belong to the girl from the valleys?

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then please check out the Postcard Challenge and the full back story of the intriguing correspondece between X and Y.

Also posting for Paint Party Friday.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Beware the bindweed

"Beware my lord of Bindweed, the green leaved monster that doth mock the meat it feedeth upon..."
Will Shakespeare (if he'd been a gardener as well as a playwright)

Every Spring I do battle. Armed with fork and trowel I dig in and attack, ripping through the advancing roots, weakening defences, flanking, chopping... Every year I make small advances but never win the war. Every time the bindweed just keeps on growing spreading its evil roots underground, sprouting from the tiniest of shoots, mocking me, laughing at my pathetic attempts to keep it at bay.

Last Summer I made a grave error. I gave up. I let it win and it twined its way through my roses, it choked, blanketed and clogged my shrubbery. It took over.

Now I've had to dig out the entire flower bed, wrenching my poor plants out and teasing the bindweed snakes from their roots before carefully replanting and hoping they survive the trauma. It has not been a pleasant experience and my muscles are protesting sorely.

Reminds me of how we deal with our troubles and anxieties. It's hard work keeping them under control, but necessary. For if we neglect what goes on underneath, the nasty roots like depression or resentment will spread and strangle your joy.

Beware the bindweed. Keep fighting!

Not my usual cheerful sort of post I admit, just a train of thought...  Rest assured I haven't been neglecting my emotional roots. All is well in the Wright camp!

Sunday, 1 April 2012


When you really try hard at something it is truly amazing what you can accomplish. Take this sketch. OK, it looks simple, but I spent hours searching deep within myself for the meaning of me. I stripped away flesh, bone, hair and everything recognisable to reveal just my essence. This is how I see myself. A moon head on sticks balancing precariously in blissful ignorance of the fragility of my situation.

Notice how one eye is deliberately slightly larger than the other - representing the hemispheres of the brain and my right side predominance. The smile too lacks symmetry - a focus on my wry sense of humour.

I think I might experiment with this new direction further, maybe exploring the cycles of the moon with a crescent head or lengthening the sticks; dotted lines perhaps? I think it's the birth of something truly special and unique. I will call it FRAIL LOOP, a take on physical impossibility in a metaphysical playground of dogma. This is me becoming intellectual, upping my game...

Sharing for Sunday Sketches on this, the first day of a new month also known as ... please think about THE DATE....


Some time after I originally published.

OK, I 'fess up. This was supposed to be an April Fool... but I can see how maybe you could take it seriously... as the joke was really me taking myself far too seriously... FRAIL LOOP is an anagram by the way...
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