Saturday, 27 October 2012

Food shortages

I have this recurring dream, well nightmare really, that the world has been hit by a zombie apocalypse. Few humans remain and those that do live under the radar of the predatory flesh eaters.

In my dreams I am pursued by hordes of these repulsive creatures, shambling towards me like a never-ending tidal wave of rotten flesh. Vacant eyes stare as they are propelled by just a primeval instinct to feed.
And how they feed – ripping into limbs, gorging without taste, smell, or indeed any other sensory pleasure. It’s pure savagery, like the proverbial fox among the chickens.

As creatures from horror go, they lack and little need any form of sophistication, intelligence or cunning. It’s all about the power of the pack, a very large and greedy pack. There’s no thrill in the chase, no sense of victory when you capture your quarry. It’s just mindless feeding for seemingly no purpose, after all it’s never really explained why the zombie must eat flesh. Will they all die when they run out of living creatures to provide their three meals a day?  Is it just an unnecessary compulsion? What's the point of zombies anyway?

And then there’s the issue of them destroying what few humans remain on the planet - that’s where I have a real issue. You see, I'm not particularly concerned about being eaten by the vile creatures myself… it’s more that I worry about what they’re doing to my food supply....


Seriously, nobody ever thinks about how the poor vampires will manage during a zombie apocalypse do they?

[For the uninitiated, this devilishly handsome fellow above is the rather delicious Damon Salvatore. Mean n moody, but ever-so-sexy blood sucker from the Vampire Diaries. Obviously he shouldn't be confused with flesh-eating rotting Doris at the top of the page. She lurched her way out of my imagination and dragged herself onto the page dripping pus... nice....].

Vanessa, from A Fanciful Twist is having a Halloween Party. I like to pen a few words of fiction on these occasions. This is a little on the short side this year, but what it lacks in substance I hope it makes up for in drool-ability. And, if you have any zombie nightmares, here's hoping Damon Salvatore will be on hand to rescue you!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Mapping friendship

Doubly inspired - by both Orly Avineri's class and my beautiful friends on our round robin journal swap, I created this piece that maps our friendships. Layers of maps, letters, postage remnants and scraps from here and there* while the watchful eyes offer up the gateway to the soul.

Our round robin has wrapped eight friends together through art. Next stop on the journal's journey is the original owner, so I'm incredibly excited as I anticipate the arrival of mine back in the post any day now.

We have resolved to share all through a little blog party, so watch this space to share in the globe-trotting wonders.

While we're on the subject of parties - I'm sharing this with the Paint Party Friday revellers.

(*including one from Orly - or it might have been Teesha - it's the transparent piece over the right eye with the 4 on).

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Zumba la Bumba (elephants can dance)

I think that in a former life I must have been Cuban and also possibly an elephant. You see, I have this total affinity and love for Latin music; it seeps through my veins and pulls me to my feet like some dark-haired King of Salsa in a sweaty nightclub.

My speakers rebound with the sensual passion of the Buena Vista Social Club and I dream of one day being able to play the Spanish classical guitar.

Unfortunately once I get onto the 'dance floor' (or more accurately the Zumba class studio), that's when the elephant makes its appearance. I just can't seem to coordinate arms and legs; my hips most certainly don't swivel or shimmy in a remotely sexy fashion and swarthy suitors back away with quick flip of their Cuban heel (or there would if there were actually any men in the class... I've been trying to persuade my twinkle toes to come along, but he's having none of it!).

There is a happy end to this tale though and it's not that elephants can do the Cha-Cha-Cha... You see the thing is, it doesn't really matter if I don't quite get the steps exactly perfect or that I constantly muddle my left with my right, front, back, up and down. No,  the point of going to a Zumba class is to have fun and work out to a spot of passionate music. If you sneak a look around the room, you'll notice that you're not the only one in a tangle or with a huge grin. In fact, forget elephants, there are giraffes, orang-outangs, ostriches (and OK, admittedly a few swans!).

If you've never tried ... you should!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Strange things are happening to me...

Peculiar things are happening in this neck of the woods. It's all rather baffling.

Firstly, time is playing tricks on me. My digital bedside clock keeps shifting the hours around as it feels like it. It alters both the time of day and my alarm settings so I'm oversleeping or getting up way too early.

Secondly, strangers are calling my mobile phone claiming to have a missed call from me - although I have made no calls. I've even contacted the provider to see if somehow my SIM card has been cloned.

And thirdly (for now.... who knows what's going to happen next....) I get this strange sensation down my left shoulder when I'm sitting at the computer. A tickling on the underside of my skin like someone is trying to tell me something...

If you can shed any light on any of these mysteries, then please send your answer on a postcard to the usual address!

(I love this photo image I created. You think you see something but is really what you mind is telling you? Look closer... I thought it went well with the subject matter!)

Monday, 22 October 2012

No vacancies?

Journal page from the heart

I am shamelessly stealing/borrowing this poetry from both Ange and Rumi. Written by the latter, I found it on the former's blog and it sang to me a tune of recognition.

This human being is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


It has been a busy period in this particular 'guest house' - high season for visiting emotions. Some seem to have set up home, while others flit in and out with no regard for reservation or planning. When the Sorrows come to stay with naughty children Depression and Mope they are usually bent on taking over the place, filling every nook and cranny with their dreary moods. They are not the most profitable of house guests that's for sure as they leech productivity and cast a weariness over all in their path. They play mournful tunes and spend too much time in bed. How am I supposed to change the sheets when they are weighing them down?

Fortunately I do believe they are thinking about leaving. I dropped a few hints - like printing out their invoice and packing their suitcases and they sense a shift in my once subconscious welcoming attitude towards them. You see, I've had an enquiry from Joy and Gratitude. They are desperate for a visit and let's face it, who wouldn't open their doors to these moments of sunshine?

Sunday, 21 October 2012


Spent many restorative hours yesterday painting and talking about art at my Art Spa for the Soul Workshop. It was a wonderful day and, given that I've been really down in the dumps lately, just what I needed for a bit of creative pep up.

Here's the piece I worked on - the result of a number of exercises mashed up together, lots of loose sketching and play

More about the workshop in a forthcoming post, just wanted to share this with my friends at Sunday Sketches.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Doodles on Doodles...

and whiskers on kittens...

Just playing in my journal and letting the paint take its own direction and map out the story.

This one speaks to me of adventures in Arabia.

When she arrives at Paint Party Friday she will have tales to tell of secrets in the sand, ancient treasures and mystic stones.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

From the stars

Celeste, daughter of moon and sister of stars

The subconscious is a mighty powerful thing. Hiding at the back of my mind was the Stargazing theme for the Artists' Playroom weekly challenge. After I had scanned my original piece (below), the urge to play further took over and so out came the PhotoShop. Grabbing the first texture that caught my eye, suddenly Celeste was looking down on me from the stars and I had my entry.

Having a painting frenzy this evening, so no time to write. I have to go now, the colours are calling...

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Whispering trees

I swear these trees were talking to each other. A very private conversation, because as soon as I whipped the camera out they fell shtum. A couple of regal ladies a little past their prime, they gossiped of summers past and tried not to notice each other's somewhat threadbare attire.

Meanwhile on the other side of the river, the oaks stood guard over the landscape and consulted the clouds about the weather.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A book with bite

If you loved Twilight but craved for the story and characters to be just that little bit more 'grown up' or you got rather frustrated with 50 Shades (no, not that kind of frustrated... more the kind where you fancied the touch of some actual plot that holds together or characters that you might actually enjoy spending time with), then you'll love this!

It's one of those books that found its way onto my Kindle. I've not really any idea how it got there. Perhaps the saucy cover picture caught my fancy while I was browsing the lists on Amazon or maybe it was free that week.

That's the trouble with Kindle I find. It's not quite the same as having a pile of coloured paperbacks waiting patiently for their turn to be read. I'll buy a book then promptly forget all about it. I'm a bit of a sucker for the freebies you can pick up every week so my home page tends to get clogged with The Complete Works of Shakespeare or anything that looks a bit steamy or opens the door to a fantasy realm filled with fae and vampires.

What is it with the sharp-toothed immortals that so captures our imaginations? This is a vampire romance with a heavy dose of adventure and intrigue thrown in among the fang fascination. Naturally the lead man is devilishly handsome and lucky for our heroine his 500 year existence doesn't show on his features - just his cultured mind.

The villain was born in the tradition of a Bond baddie (think lots of henchmen and a tendency to unveil his dastardly plans so he can revel in their glory, while giving the game away should the good guys live to fight another day).... but there's nothing wrong with a bit of Blofeld mixed in with your psycho Klaus (Vampire Diaries fans will know who I'm talking about!).

Anyway I have to go now. I've just finished Book 2 in the series and can't wait to get my teeth into the next one...

PS - Oldish drawing of mine which you may well remember.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

An unusual vase

I was doing my homework. Not only is it a bit late - it's not even what was asked... But hey, this is the world of art and nobody really minds (I hope!).

These funky flowers were supposed to be in a vase, but Tahiti here wanted to carry them around with her all day so she stuck them in her hair and weaved a dress from the vines and blooms then danced around singing hippy songs and hugging trees (carefully, so as not to crush the petals).

I'm taking another class... Yeah, what can I say, I am a total art class junkie. This one is the Brave Girls Art School.

She started as a doodle but then I just kept going. The coloured pencils started taking an interest and before I knew it I had a whole sheet of paper covered in bright shades. She pretties up my mood. I like her.

It's nearly Sunday, so I'm going to post for Sunday Sketches.

Friday, 12 October 2012



I'm not too sure where I'm going with either of these pieces, they are just finding their own way.

They both began with pieces torn from magazines.

The hair-raising lady had her missing body parts drawn back in with a liberal dose of colour and imagination. She feels almost finished, though part of my sees a pencil sketch of something appearing through the blue background... What it might be is still floating around my right brain somewhere...

The second piece is sharing a story of a tender heart exposed, laid bare. I should point out that the 'Chinese' calligraphy is purely a product of my imagination - should it actually spell anything I would love to know! Imagine... my subconscious may be able to communicate in other languages... what a marvel that would be!

I may continue with these today or just leave until their stories more fully reveal themselves to me.

Sharing today with Paint Party Friday.

An open heart

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Street Art

Girl with street light
I came across art in the street
It stretched before me
Covering pavement
It's out of proportion
But the artist did no wrong
The woman viewed the girl
The lighting was perfect
Then the woman moved
The art was gone
Until the next shadow


Sunday, 7 October 2012

And the day came...

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anais Nin

I love watching a face take form on the canvas. This piece is a little topsy turvey in its approach though.

It began life as a full length Klimt-inspired Goddess, but I got annoyed by her wonky eyes and ridiculous hair so she disappeared under a layer or too of Gesso and I went to town with the mosaic patterning while I waited for inspiration to strike.

Finally, weeks later I am rewarded with this face as she takes shape from the layers of lives that have gone before. She seems to carry some wisdom in those eyes, which once again seem determined to be wonky... but there is plenty of time to fix that!

My beautiful business coach Leanne Flower shared this video with me and asked that it be my mantra for the month as I feel a shift within - shoots ready to grow and bloom...

Sharing this piece with the crew at Sunday Sketches where I have been absent for weeks - my apologies my lovely artist friends. I have missed you!
Also to confess I already missed a day's blogging for Blogtoberfest... Oops....

Friday, 5 October 2012

October Girl

It felt like proper Autumn today - like the leaves were hanging on just to be sure it was October. As the temperature dipped and the dew rose there was the scent of ripeness in the air and a shift in the wind.

It's a day to wrap up in warm scarves and dance with the leaves under the trees.

This is the first piece of art I've created since returning from retreat which seems strange. I've written plenty and played in PhotoShop but the pressures of the week squeezed my painting time. I wanted hours... not just a few minutes here and there! I wrote elsewhere this week about Time being voracious for it does seem to gobble up the days - and when it gets together with its buddy Procrastination then we're in serious trouble...

This is just a quick page in my journal where I was inspired by the crackle and colour of the season and a sudden desire to create a face.

More painting over the weekend methinks...

Sharing for Paint Party Friday where I've been absent for a few weeks. September was strange for me... I wasn't really in a 'party' mood for much of it. October though is a new month and I return from retreat rejuvenated and refreshed!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Day 4 in the Blogtober House

Hmm... four days in and I'm already struggling to come up with ideas. Mind you today this is the third blog post I've written - the other two for work purposes, so maybe I'm just a bit blogged out today.

So, what to write?

You know what. I'm not going to... I'm going to go downstairs and paint... In the meantime you might like to read this blog post by Umair Haque on the Harvard Business Review website.

He shares his thoughts on why it is so difficult to have a well-paid job with meaning. He pulls out the contrasting examples of bankers and teachers. (The poor bankers do have a hard time of it don't they - always getting picked on! Must be a reason though!!)

It's really worth a read and to me he hits the nail right on the head - with meaning.

Have a read and let me know in the comments what you think and if you agree.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Finding my way

I've been attempting to work my way through The Artist's Way by creative legend Julia Cameron. I started it about three years ago so 'attempt' is definitely the right descriptor. This time though I'm with a book group (organised by the rather wonderful Jessica Brogan and we're taking a chapter a month, rather than the week that Julia suggests.

You would think this would be easy. But it's not... I am already a month behind after just three. I have only written my morning pages about five times which is not exactly what Julia recommends (shh.... don't tell her!).

I have been on a few artist dates though - and last week's retreat 'filled the well' to overflowing (I'm still mopping up the ideas...they did get a bit out of control).

Anyway, I was swimming around in Chapter 3 yesterday when something really struck a chord and part explains some repetitive and self-destructive behaviour that has been baffling me for some time. Julia writes:

"Answered prayers [dreams] are scary. They imply responsibility. You asked for it. Now that you've got it, what are you going to do?"

What indeed? I told the universe I was going to organise a day's creativity course. I built it. They came (or they're coming... it hasn't happened yet). Now, faced with the prospect of standing up in front of expectant faces, I find my inner critic whispering reasons to cancel... "you're not good enough", "there's not the full contingent you were hoping for"... It would be so easy to just postpone (or, worse still, cancel) it wouldn't it. To take this offered dream and fling it back at the Universe. Julia captures this perfectly:

"The universe is prodigal in its support. We are miserly in what we accept. All gift horses are looked in the mouth and usually returned to sender. We say we are scared by failure, but what frightens us more is the possibility of success."

Why is this? What could be so scary about becoming the person we were meant to be?

The answer is probably CHANGE - we all get nervous about that right? But also, it means EXPOSURE. By opening my creativity up to others I am giving a glimpse into my soul. Teaching my approach to art and creativity and sharing my passions feels vulnerable and pretty darn scary.

Reading Julia's words gave me the reassurance that I'm not alone. These urges to back away into the comfort of the known is just natural and happens to us all. The trick is not to listen; to have faith. It's time to recognise that I am more than average. I know I can do it. And furthermore I will...

Now, if just a few more people would sign up.... Come on... you know you want to!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Tree hugging

Did you know it's Blogtoberfest? It's a great game where you drink a pint of beer for every blog you visit during the month, wear lederhosen and sing Eins Zwei Zuffa very loudly whilst banging your drinking vessel on the table.

OK, it's not exactly that... though you are free to indulge in your choice of beverage in whatever quantity you wish... it's your hangover!

Blogtoberfest is instead a month-long blogging binge where participants commit to post something every day. Well, hey, I'm up for a challenge and I'm bursting with ideas and thoughts to share from my Call of the Wild Soul retreat. So, let's give it a go.

We therefore begin Day 2 of this autumnal month with a story about getting affectionate with trees...

When I signed up for Call of the Wild Soul, I wasn't expecting to find myself howling at the moon or communing with nature quite so literally. I don't think I've ever actually gone up to a tree and intentionally hugged it before. I've gripped on for dear life while attempting to climb to lofty branches, but to actual grasp an emotional connection was something that passed me by.

There was something about the place though... it was indeed a call to my wild soul. And, do you know what? It feels really good - and I think the tree liked it too! The first to take my embrace was a tall pine standing guard outside the yoga studio. I'm not sure if it was the shock of actually being up and about before 7am, but the urge to hug suddenly took hold. I liked it.

Next day we were adventuring in the grounds of Croydon House with a metaphorical butterfly net camera ready to pounce upon images that captured emotion. I wanted to illustrate my need to treasure and love. The whispering leaves called me and the trunks stood firm while I tested them out for size. This photograph staging is not as easy as you might think - for one thing there were so many trees requiring my affection that I found it difficult to leave any out,! However, for photography purposes you really need one with a good fit - not too wide or your hands are too far apart, stable surface to stand on so you don't kiss earth (saving that one for another day!).

Anyway, we got there in the end as the photographic evidence up top proves.

Have you hugged a tree today? Go on... give it a try!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Holding Fast

Lisa Wright

I've spent hours doing other things rather than attempt to write this blog post, for how can anyone possibly encapsulate the wonder of spending three days with such like-minded souls and eating, breathing, sleeping, dreaming and even howling to the Moon about art & creativity?

I spent a long weekend in a magical dream at The Call of the Wild Soul retreat in the sweeping Somerset countryside. Twice now I have taken myself away from day-to-day life to a place of creativity and spiritual healing whereI find the opportunity to connect with women just like me. What encapsulates 'just like Lisa'? I think it may have to be slightly eccentric and one who see things a little differently with a spinkling of humour and a twinkle in their eye!

After a long journey down on Thursday, so many warm and open souls greeted me as I first stepped over the threshold of Croydon Hall. As I sank into a saggy sofa with a warming cuppa, I felt instant connections and a stirring of magic in the air.

I fear I will be waxing most lyrically about this experience over the coming days and bombarding you with the fruits of my labours, so be prepared for my dramatic return to regular blogging - when I can tear myself away from painting perhaps.

The image above was taken during Madelyn Mulvaney's beautiful workshop where we wrote poetry with our cameras. There are many more to share!

As I travelled home last night, there was plenty of opportunity in the four hour drive for contemplation, but it did not take me long to recognise that the biggest gift from the three days was the new friendships and treasured memories. It may already be nearly 24 hours since we were together under the tiles of Croydon Hall, but I still feel everyone in my heart.

The facebook group is already filling up with the smiling faces of my new friends, so really we are merely a click away. We will hold fast to the changes made, the connections and the memories.

Thank you Erin Faith Allen for weaving the spell and to all the magical ladies whose participation and passion made it so special.

Photo by Lisa Wright & Poppy Buttons
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