Friday, 31 August 2012

When will I know...

...when I am good enough?

I am going through a frenzy of painting over old canvases. Not much is safe and paintings I once adored are rapidly disappearing under a thick blanket of gesso as I wonder how I ever thought they were worth hanging on a wall.

Will the pieces I created fresh this week meet the same fate this time next year? Will I ever be satisfied?

Mind you, didn't many of the great Masters do the same thing? Aren't there instances of restorers finding older paintings hiding underneath those prized today? I wonder what lies beneath the Mona Lisa? I think it might be something saucy - which possibly accounts for that enigmatic expression she's been wearing for the last five centuries or so.

Maybe one day the experts will apply the digital thermal x-ray techno wotsits and see the large eye that resides beneath this mermaid. I'm pretty certain there's something else below that one too!

If you own a masterpiece and another is found underneath, does that make it twice as valuable? Imagine rubbing off Venus because you preferred the 'still life with old shoe' underneath! I wonder if there is a law against such things?

I am starting to talk nonsense now! You should really read yesterday's post where my philosophising was of a more intellectual nature - and I won't be painting over the art I share there either anytime soon (particularly as I no longer own it)!

It seems appropriate that this piece I am sharing for Paint Party Friday this week is very much a work in progress and, given the number of paintings underneath her, I assume she will remain so for many years to come!

Tune in next week for the next version!

Postscript: Carol just left me a comment mentioning the male figure behind the siren. Well, I thought for a moment she was seeing things, for I never painted a male figure. But then I looked again... and what do you know... there he is! How spooky is that?!! Thanks Carol. Namaste!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

I'm a girl of many layers

Twice in the last week or so I've been asked what inspires me, so if anything called for a blog post and piece of art then this was it.

This piece is probably somewhere over the Atlantic right now. She resides in an artistic collaboration, a round robin of art journals travelling from one side of the ocean to another. Eight artists each adding their own part to the story. Steph asked that we share what gave heat to our inspirational flame. For me it's layers and words and the feminine and eyes and story and pattern and experimentation... and well, you name it, sometimes it's there!

There's something very special about painting over layers. It's like you're building a secret history for your painting. There are stories from the past that only the two of you have read, but if the observer looks closely enough they might find clues in the tiny elements that remain.

Layers are whispers and hints, they add texture and interest, they cover up the pieces we wish to hide from others, but are still intrinsically a part of us.

Somewhere in this post I stopped talking about art and moved onto myself... There are many layers to peel away today. Some are pretty and sparkling but others stick like glue and weigh me down with their tight weave of negativity. I keep reminding myself to believe in myself and my goals, to keep on doing ...

Oops! I nearly forgot. This post is also for Artists' Playroom and the prompt "What inspires you?"

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

"But I'm not creative..."

I've got news for you!
Yes you are!
Everyone is creative and I have a day of activity to release your creative tension. Have fun with like-minded souls getting stuck into art and collage.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Great Expectations

Pip outside Satis House when Miss Havisham was in residence

When I was a child, my parents took me around a good many stately homes. Now, some children might find this a little on the tedious side - looking at a load of dusty old vases and portraits of the gentry in their best clothes. I on the other hand took each visit as an opportunity to disappear. Not out of sight of my parents (for that would have caused much angst and time spent on the naughty step).

No, with a suitably grandiose backdrop in place, I would lift the rope and climb into the realm of the imagination.

I would chase the ghosts up the back stairs and in and out of the bedrooms, explore the secret passageways and discover the treasure hidden by the family when the house was invaded by a secret Spanish force back in the days of good Queen Bess.

As I got older, there was a noticeable shift in fanciful daydream.... Then I would become the beauty of the house dressed in ballgown and elegantly sashaying down the grand staircase with my skirts sweeping behind me. Would the handsome hero waiting at the bottom notice me? You bet he would. Taking my hand, he would lead me into the dancing, gazing longingly into my eyes...

Another time, he may just happen to find me seated in the Elizabethan garden or once again visiting my childhood den beneath the weeping beeches... In the verdant seclusion he would fall under my spell....

Ah yes, I do love a good stately home. Yesterday I went to this one where the spirit of Miss Havisham lingers... although it looks a little more cared for these days!

Holdenby House, present day (no jilted brides to be seen - though you can get married here!)
Alas it was a little hard to immerse myself in fantasy land given that there were hundreds of people thronging the place visiting the Northamptonshire Food Festival. I had to swipe this photo from Google as the drive was chock-a-block with stalls selling chutneys and cheeses!

Seriously, how is a girl supposed to conjure up Mr Darcy with half the county there peddling sausages? Poor King Charles I was turning in his grave... (he spent five months in captivity here before Cromwell chopped his head off).

Who are these mysterious and shadowy figures in the Elizabethan garden?

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Have you got your Moyo?

I'm going to write some posts about other people for a change. Especially those that inspire me.

To start this one off though, I do have to talk about me! It almost warrants a whole other post, so I'll try and keep it brief - but I have to tell you that I LOVE being an entrepreneur!

It's about freedom and the same time control. It's knowing that for every ounce of effort you put in, you're getting something personally out of it. It's the thrill of chase, the magic of adventure and the thrill of the unknown.

Don't get me wrong though, it's darn hard too. It's long hours, self-doubt, financial insecurity and tough decision-making to name but a few. And when, like me, you're a business of ONE, then it can be a bit lonely too. When there are choices to be made, you don't have a team around you to share opinion.

It's why I join Entrepreneur networks, devour business books and follow the goings on of those who inspire me - my entrepreneurial heroes whose determination to succeed, drive and creativity lift me from those moments when I fear I can't achieve.

Beth Nicholls and Rachael Taylor are two such ladies. I first came across Beth when she ran the Do What You Love retreat last May and I met Rachael there. Since then between them these ladies have run numerous successful online courses (sometimes together), collaborated with more of my heroes (Kelly Rae Roberts), moved to Japan (Beth), appeared in books, won awards, appeared in magazines, been interviewed here there and everywhere, given lectures and generally been a guiding light of entrepreneurial inspiration for those that believe that you really can do what you love for life and for your living.

And now... they have launched a new magazine that is quite possibly the most beautiful I have ever seen!

Read more about Beth here

Read more about Rachel here

Read Moyo right here!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Fortune favours

Gypsy Rose sees everything in the leaves. She listens to the changes of the seasons and hears the whispers of secrets that travel on moonbeams.

In the light of a dancing fire she'll predict your future, but are you sure you want to hear?

Gypsy Rose is herself a reincarnation. Shadows of her former self remain as layers beneath her piercing gaze.

Be wary of falling under her spell!

Gypsy Rose will be at Paint Party Friday in a few hours. She sits in her tent waiting to share her stories. It's up to you if you believe...

Rose is a mixed media painting and collage. She is indeed a lady of layers with the ghost of an older painting underneath too. She has much to tell - providing you grace her palm with silver first.

Would you like Gypsy Rose to share her stories with you?

"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere."
Carl Sagan

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

What's a Stook?

Today I thought I'd created a new word. I was very pleased with myself in an intellectual kind of way. It amused the left half of my brain to think in terms of dictionaries and alphabets.
It all came about from a simple typo (of which word, I'm afraid I forget). Anyway, Bill Gates drew his squiggly red line under my word informing me I was a spelling numpty. However, before I corrected, I stopped and stared. For was this not a great-sounding word? Did it not conjure up images of West African birds with enormous iridescent wingspans or mysterious doppelganger spirits that feed on the souls of those they resemble?
Sadly it turns out that a stook is already a word. There's a picture of one at the top of this post. Some kind of sheaf of hay.. Hang on though... there's more than one, and they are identical And, if it was black it might look a bit like a Dementor from Harry Potter. Watch out! It's after your soul....

stook Pronunciation: /stʊk, stuːk/

Definition of stook


  • a group of sheaves of grain stood on end in a field.


Sunday, 19 August 2012

Mischief at the Prom

Do fairies have Proms?

I didn't have a Prom. This lovely US tradition only arrived on our doorsteps in recent years. I would have liked a Prom. Although I went to an all-girls school which might have made it a bit dull... so it was probably for the best...

Can I let you into a secret? I'm supposed to be writing my 'morning pages' - three sheets of free-flow thought (hand-written). It's what Julia Cameron preaches in her Artist's Way Book. I'm not very good at remembering to do them... You're supposed to do them as soon as you wake, but I'm usually deep in the fug of semi-consciousness followed by crazy rush to get necessary beings and things out of the door to where they are supposed to be.

I write this because I'm rambling. Fairies and Proms? What kind of a post is this? Well, it is both an attempt to enter Inspiration Avenue's Fairy challenge and Sunday Sketches as well as a guilt trip about not writing my morning pages again... so I'm sort of doing a little bit of them here (though you are not supposed to type or show anyone - whoops!).

Melissa (the fairy Prom Queen), was created in watercolour. She didn't scan too well, so I popped her in a digital frame. I'm sorry to report that by the time the party was over, she didn't look quite so pristine. There was blackberry wine all down her dress (which was even torn in places), the spider-silk ribbons in her hair got stuck in Puck's (who knows what they were doing for that to happen...) and she left her flowers 'who knows where'. She still has that pink flush in her cheeks though!

Hopefully, by September she will have recovered (and be allowed out again). For there is a very special fairy tea party that all will attend and we are all invited!

Inspiration Avenue

Friday, 17 August 2012


This painting is real big - 24 x 36 inches big.

It's for sale for £150 + P&P.

I'm bringing it to the party - that's Paint Party Friday - but I promise it will behave and not get drunk and chat up the best looking men. It's just gonna hang out on the wall and observe. OK?

I think I'd like to go to a party where all the guests turn up with a painting instead of a partner. They might not leave with the same painting, but it's unlikely to end in divorce. Though maybe a small dose of regret.

I will miss this painting when it goes, although there is a raspberry pink stain on the patio where the drips missed the newspaper that will serve as reminder. That and the vandyke brown down my fingernails which appears to require a chisel to remove...

This painting has its eye on an owner with mushroom walls. It wants to hang over a fireplace or strategically placed on a feature wall. It has a warm and welcoming personality with a hint of the exotic. It enjoys a nice hot curry and the kind of music that makes your hips wiggle. Will you invite it into your home?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Out of sorts

Sometimes creativity is the only answer.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The girl with no name

She started as a doodle sketch on Friday evening but then she wouldn't let me stop until I had layered and collaged and waxed and blended and stamped. But she refused point blank to tell me her name. I suppose she thinks it's funny to be so coy. However, I'm not impressed.

I might just call her Mo.

Sharing for Sunday Sketches... well, she started as a sketch!

This is a very short post for me, but my son is standing at my shoulder waiting to be taken to crazy golf!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Morning light

I've been working on this piece for weeks and finally finished it last night reading to share at Paint Party Friday. It just needed a last spurt of effort - rather like Mr Bolt as he scampered over the line to claim his place in the record books!

I'm afraid I can't write anything these days without bringing in an Olympic reference. I wrote a whole newsletter for one of my clients where every article mentioned at least one GB gold medal winner. I mean, let's face it, I had plenty to choose from!!

I've called this lady Asayo which means 'morning world'. She does look like she is rising from a slumber.

In other news this week (non-medal-related!), I have set a launch date for the second run of my Creative right-brained eCourse. This is for you if you would love to:
  • Learn how to see things differently
  • Unblock your creative pathways
  • Exercise your right brain
  • Discover your own style
  • Expand your perspective
  • Find inspiration from new sources
It involves painting, collage, a bit of writing and lots of experimentation. It's fun, messy and sure to unlock something that's been hiding in your subconscious for years, just waiting for the chance to come out and play!

Who knows, maybe you'll feel like you deserve your own medal. You can read testimonials from previous students here.

I shall also be running a live workshop in October. I'm just finalising the details, so will share those soon. For now, I can tell you that it's on Saturday 20th October at the beautiful Highgate House in Northamptonshire (UK!).

Thursday, 9 August 2012

A postcard from Malta

I've never been to Malta but when I think of the island, brightly coloured fishing boats float across my conscious and then bob about in the harbour of my imagination.

So that's what I painted on my postcard this week. I took myself and my dreams off to the harbourside of Valetta and we sketched this little craft. See the eyes of Osiris on the bow. They protect her from evil, keeping her crew safe and the fish plentiful.

I used some text in Maltese to add some texture to the waves. You know me... I just can't resist adding a few words into my art, even if I can't remember what they said. I just threw some words about the island into Google Translate!

This postcard follows the adventures of my would-be lovers X and Y. Last week in Denmark, Y threw down the gauntlet and suggested they meet. I wonder what her reaction will be?

Join in the adventures of all here at Darcy's blog.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Olympic obsession

I've published a post on my Creative Biz blog about Team GB's Olympic success and how we can use the attributes of the athletes in our own creative endeavours. Pop on over and have a read.

I would stop and chat but I have a sudden urge to run, row, cycle, shoot and jump on a horse... and that's just for starters!

Sir Chris Hoy - just added another gold to the collection!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Raw emotion

The London 2012 Olympics are a crazy roller-coaster ride of emotion. What a time to be British. Yesterday we won SIX gold medals and one silver. We're sitting 3rd in the league table but top if you calculate medals:population. We're on fire!

It's been a hell of a year so far with the Jubilee helping to unite the nation to. Our Monarch has even taken to parachuting out of helicopters. I'm so proud.

Not much time for sketching as I was rather glued to the TV, but did manage to capture the emotion of Kat Copeland as she stood in disbelief at the top of the podium after winning the Women's Lightweight Double Sculls alongside partner Sophie Hosking.

I have the rest of the day planned out - there's GB medal hopes in the sailing, tennis, gymnastics, cycling, triple jump, and 400m (maybe more too - but those are just the ones I want to watch!)... plus of course a certain Mr Bolt attempts to retain his crown.

Sharing for Sunday Sketches.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

I will...

Drink more water and less coffee (I used to hate coffee, but now I fear I am somewhat addicted).

Eat less chocolate (which has crept back into my 'diet' like a stealth bomber). It was a 'treat' - just a square or two from a big block of Lindt a day, but then it became half a bar... and then....

Push harder at the gym (I'm there, so I might as well put my back into it). I'm much fitter now so there is no excuse to keep at it. No pain: No gain.

Any time I lose gym motivation I will visualise Olympic athletes standing next to me in a mirror
I will plan each day the night before. I will see their washboard stomachs and finely tuned muscles. I will get inside their heads and feel that motivation and desire. I will steal a bit of it.

I will prioritise and stick to it. That's right. This might also involve setting a timer and definitely deadlines.

I will ask The "boat" question every time I get distracted. (I have been very inspired by the boat question!). The boat question is the difference between getting there first and leading or sitting back thinking "I could have done that".

Meditate for 5 minutes every day to help calm and organise the crazy thoughts spiralling through my mind. These germs of ideas deserve this. I have lots of thoughts every day and some are very good ones, but they get lost in the maelstrom of distraction. They need to be nurtured and I think a few minutes of calm might be just the ticket.

Write in my gratitude journal. I have plenty to be grateful for.

Say "I am an Artist" every morning. Seriously, how difficult is that?

Friday, 3 August 2012

I love it when...

... a plan comes together.

Well, truth be told, I'm not entirely sure this plan did 'come together', but whatever the course of events that got me here, I sure am proud of the end result.

Jess actually began with a collaged background covered in delicate flowers and birds. (Doh, I forgot to photograph it .. always the way!) Then she slowly and softly emerged. She's even got teeth - I very rarely paint teeth!

Jess had an outing this morning. I took her to an entrepreneurial group coaching session I attend. I also wore my "I am an Artist" necklace. This was a significant moment. The ladies in my group have been trying to convince me that I should be able to confidently announce my profession for some time, but usually the most I can manage is a whisper.
But now, with a successfully run eCourse under my belt and a live workshop planned for October (more on this in a forthcoming post), I can really say it. I AM AN ARTIST.

I love Jess. She is painted in acrylics and oil pastels over a collaged background. There's oodles of texture and layering plus what is becoming my trademark book pages. She has a little sparkle about her - just like me today!

This morning another lady proved that when you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything. After winning three silver medals in the three preceding Olympics, 36 year old Katherine Grainger, alongside partner Anna Watkins, today picked up the Gold in the women's double sculls. Katherine you are an inspiration! Congratulations ladies - a national applauds you!

Sharing Jess and all things artistic with my friends at Paint Party Friday.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A postcard from Denmark

"Wonderful Wonderful Co-pen-hagen..."

I used to visit this vibrant city when I worked for a certain brewery. In fact, as soon as I saw that Darcy had posted Denmark as our country in the Postcard Challenge this week I knew that something connected with hops, malt and water might be making its way onto my card!

Some digital play for you this week.

You might well wonder what on earth an elephant has to do with beer. Well, there are actually four of them holding up part of the brewery, so pretty important actually!

So, we return to the saga of our travelling strangers and their postcard trail. Looks like Y is getting a bit fed up with keeping an air of mystery about him. I wonder if they will meet?

Back story here.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

I'm published in Wild Sister!

Ever since I came across this inspirational magazine last year I've been wanting to write something for it. But you know how it is, you think these things, but never quite get around to doing... It's so easy to let opportunity slip right on by.

So, I wrote it down on my goal list for 2012. I got myself a plan. I made the first move and contacted the editor. They accepted my idea for a story. I wrote it. Got published.

I'm one proud Lisa.

As a certain Meerkat would say... "Simples"

If you want to know why you need to 'be nice to your Muse', then download your copy here and turn to page 43 or, even better, join the Wild Sisterhood on Ning! Members get free copies.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...