Sunday, 27 January 2013

Watch the birdie

One of the birds in our nest is taking flight this week. He's off 'up north' to start a new job!

We found him a new nest yesterday in a very pretty part of the world. We'll have to be a two-nest family for a while - but at least I get to have my dream of a pad in the countryside.

I drew this by pure coincidence but it does seem particularly appropriate.

I'm feeling a winged thing phase coming on.

I remember a pen and ink sketch of a parrot I did for my Grandmother when I was a young lass. She had it stuck on her lounge wall for years, alongside the paintings by Grandfather and pictures of kittens and puppies and of course all the photographs of loved ones. It's time to go feathery for a while I think (alongside the poppies, the obsession of which shows no sign of abating!).

Sharing today with my friends at Sunday Sketches.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Papaver somniferum

I guess there's only so much one can write about poppies and since I've already completed one post on the subject this month, I guess I am rather clutching at straws!

But the thing is... I just can't quite stop painting them. I appear to be succumbing to some form of narcotic addition.

Maybe instead, I could ponder on why I always want to go to sleep at around 7.30pm every evening (and it's nothing to do with poppy by-products I can assure you!).

Or perhaps bemoan the fact that I've cut the roof of my mouth and I keep getting seeds stuck in the wound which is incredibly painful. Funnily enough, they are usually poppy seeds... I feel a theme coming on here. What's going on with the poppies??

Of course, I know what you're thinking. "Stop eating seedy cereal bars and granola and go back to painting pretty ladies." You may have a point...

Sharing my poppy pain and pleasure with Paint Party Friday!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Very superstitious...

What is it about our normally sensible brains that allows us to entertain the notion that the number 13 might conceivably be unlucky? No matter from what remnant of history this idea originally formed, it clearly should have no place in modern society - and yet it does.

I once lived in a complex of flats - four blocks of six. Yet mysteriously, they were numbered 1 to 25! My times table memories are still good enough to tell me that something wasn't adding up right. Finally, I figured out the anomaly - there was no Flat 13! There is no number 13 in my road here either and indeed many thousands of other streets across the country are missing these digits. Postmen are feeling deprived...

A bit of research into the subject is enough to give anyone a nervous numerical disposition and it does appear that the entire world believes in the heebie jeebies associated with this number.

I am no exception. You see, I happened to notice that I had written 13 blog posts for both this wintry month and young year and we can't be having that now, can we?

In fact, no sooner had I drafted this 14th post, than some good news came my way... Hmm.... maybe something in it after all!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


I was doodling with a paintbrush last night and created this mixture between a rip cage with backbone and a the spiny scutigera.

Now the scutigera is a formidable creature - of the ilk that you wouldn't wish to meet down a dark alley on a full moon... My son and I love watching Deadly 60 - a kids' nature programme featuring, well... you must have guessed it by now - some pretty mean creatures.

The scutigera isn't some man-eating spider or serial killer snake or big-toothed beast. It is a mere insect of the centipede variety. It does come in a number of different varieties though - and the giant ones that live in caves in Borneo could hospitalise you with a bite. Nice.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Crone song

Tunes of love, joy and sorrow
the crone's songs lines her face
Memory notes dance across cheeks
and the voices of generations sing a story

I don't often draw wrinkles. In fact, as women we seem to focus on how best to prevent them and so hide the passing of the years. I think we prefer our voices, rather than our faces to tell our story!

This old lady has been sitting on my Pinterest board - faces to draw - for some time. So when I saw the Take a Word challenge for wrinkles this week, I thought it was about time I attempted someone with a bit more character than the fresh-faced beauties I usually create.

If you look very closely (or just at the pic below!!) you will also see that she is sketched over a collage of crinkled tissue paper decorated with musical notes. I actually remembered to scan in my background before I drew her which is a small miracle!

Sharing too with with my regular crew at Sunday Sketches.

PS: if you like art journal collaborations, you may enjoy yesterday's post.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Joy in the post

I hope you're sitting comfortably for I have so much to share in this one post.

A year ago I began a collaborative project with seven other artists both here in the UK and in the USA. We each created our own Art Journal which we then sent out on a journey across continents to meet our friends and have them add their own contribution.

Our journals returned to us just before Christmas and we promised each other that we would share the final pieces with each other and the rest of our friends in Blogland.

Here is my personal story of the arty adventure and what it has meant to me.

I have photographed all the pages and focused on details then mashed them up into this little video for you. Some of the pieces are mine (mostly those without names) but the rest portray the magic of my friends - the other artists. I'm sure you'll figure it all out! If the embed doesn't show, you can click here to go directly to YouTube (and put the sound on - there's music!).

The Artists

Lisa DiNunzio - our fearless leader
and me!


I must confess that I didn't quite comprehend the importance attached to what my actual journal should look like. With a thought more on the economics of postal costs and less on aesthetic pleasure, I went for a somewhat 'lightweight' approach to my book. I did, however, make it myself! My first attempt at book-binding surprisingly managed to keep itself together across continents, oceans and postal sorting offices. With this I impressed even myself, particularly as - much to my consternation - it transpired that bookbinding required the use of both needle and thread! (Regular readers will know that I have never quite managed to channel my inner seamstress!


The arrival each month of a bulky package was always momentous, requiring the teasing decision over whether to rip-it-open-right-this-second or savour the moment like a particularly fine wine. And, as the months passed and the colours, pattern and textures spilled ever-more profusely from the precious pages, the anticipation of savouring those contents just intensified.

Not wishing to ruin such moments with sneak peeks on others' blogs, I heeded spoiler alerts that came via email from the rest of the tribe for a while, but confess that eventually curiosity got the better of me and I indulged with wild abandon!


Of course, the purpose of each journal spending time with you was to fill its pages with your own style of beauty. However, it took several months to overcome the total terror of messing up someone's book! I also got blocked by attempting to create outside of my comfort zone - to break new boundaries. Eventually I figured that my friends were possibly looking forward to receiving something  recognisably 'Lisa Wright' so at last I began to relax and with the silly added pressure removed the paint began to 'flow'.


None of us have ever met in person. We came to know each other through all being members of the Inspiration Avenue Etsy team and blog at one point or another. I do consider these ladies the closest of friends though. I think that holding, touching and being able to peer close up at each other's art helped to nurture this closeness we felt towards each other. We shared our excitement through our blogs and email and of course the monthly packages!

I was extremely touched by the way each of them knew me so well and took the trouble to reflect that in their work. I am a very lucky lady.

Now we've started our own Facebook Group which further eases our communication and collaboration. It's like finally all being in the same room together and telling our stories over our favourite tipple.

The next chapter

We start again with new journals next month. I am preparing to embark upon this second voyage without the trepidation of the first and with some seriously grandiose plans for my journaling vehicle. I like to think that where 2012's was the local commuter train, 2013 will be more Orient Express - albeit a little rusty...

We are working with a colour theme this year and I have chosen rusty hues - oranges, browns, sepia, burnt copper, hints of turquoise...

Start your own

If this story resonates with you, I would urge you to get your own groups together and build an adventure. All you need is some trusty companions, a pack loaded with art supplies and some journals and a spot of mapping to navigate your way to your own treasure.

To get you started you might even be the lucky winner of the competition we are holding with this blog party. To win a selection of items to get you started, simply visit and comment on all of our blogs telling us what your art collaboration plans might involve - let your imaginations fly!

The Artists

Lisa DiNunzio - our fearless leader
Maggie Nemetz
Stephanie Mealor Corder
Tammy Neumann Sprinkle
Kat Wright
Angela Hogan
Kim Collister
and me!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Blurring the lines

This is a great quote from Lady Gaga.

Einstein has a intelligent things to say on the subject too. He writes that the gift of fantasy means more to him than any talent for abstract positive thinking. He acknowledges that our imagination is more important than knowledge too "for knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."

The alarm clock pulled me this morning from my fantasy village. It's a place I don't believe I've ever been yet I visit it many times in my dreams - a thriving community with tea rooms and antique shops; places to work, play and explore. History and interest paint the landscape and the community gives it soul. So far the only downside to this fantasy location is the parking. Last night my car got towed and I faced a fine of £320 for its return - let's hope that one remains firmly locked in the pages of fantasy - or maybe I should just take extra care where I leave my car this week.

As I paint and create I let my imagination flow. Gone are the days when I feel obliged to capture reality in my artwork. Instead, just a sense of it is enough, with the colours and textures telling their own stories.

Sharing with Take a Word's Fantasy theme. This piece is a fantasy mixture of three pieces of art - don't you just love how PhotoShop can bring your wildest fantasies to life?!


I am going through a phase - it's all about the poppy. Fortunately it's just painting them and not consuming any by-products.

Shall I let you into a little secret? I took this one to a couple of art galleries last week to see if they might be interested in selling my work. They liked this one and told me to do some more! So, this weekend I did quite a bit of painting....

Sharing this one with Inspiration Avenue's Poppy challenge.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Girl with flowers in her hair

I like to stick a bit of flora in my hair when the opportunity arises. In fact, a photograph of me with pink petals in my hair is actually on a ''proper" company website - for an IT Hosting company. (I would post the actual link to the correct page but unfortunately I can't remember which one it was on. A prize for anyone who finds me!).

This post will eventually get around to plugging an exciting blog party happening next weekend, but first it requires some scene setting.

As I created this piece it began to remind me of my friend and arty collaborator Priti Lisa who, ever since I first saw this picture on her blog, I imagine to permanently walk around with flowers in her hair and channelling her inner Frida.

This week I have been excitedly planning the big reveal of the art journal collaboration/round robin that Lisa organised for a group of eight artists last year - as well as planning the beginnings of our second artistic adventure starting on March 1st.

Come along to my blog next weekend for links to all the participants showcase the work that travelled the globe and share their experience of being a part of such a project. I'm not going to say any more now... you need to visit next weekend!!

Well, for some reason this post has taken me ages to write and I need my breakfast.

Sharing with the crew at Sunday Sketches.

The roses in my girl's hair were created using a stamp made from the heart of a cabbage...

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Vampires and bookish learning

I'm missing my weekly dose of eye candy as The Vampire Diaries is on a break. Seriously, don't they know I need my Damon fix?

Interesting that authors put their vampires through High School again and again and again (we're talking Cullens and Stefan here)... I mean if you could pass for 18, wouldn't you rather go to University?

These withdrawal symptoms included a train of thought along the lines of what I would do with my time if I suddenly became immortal. This might sound incredibly geeky, but you know what, I'd love to keep learning. Just imagine how much you could absorb over centuries, what an expert you could become and how you could use that amassed knowledge for the good of the world.

The past 12 months or so have seen me devour business, self-help and spiritual books. As I read each, I'm finding links and patterns that excite my brain cells, deliver solutions and spark creativity. Imagine an eternity of building recipes from your learning. Who knows... you might even find the elusive Philosopher's Stone.

My brain is giving greedy gurgles at the mere thought of it, although I do wonder if my own personal hard drive has a maximum capacity. Is there only so much I could take in and process? Would my operating system crash? Could I build my own upgrade?

Monday, 7 January 2013

Stealing like an artist

According to Austin Kleon, David Bowie, Jay Z, Goethe, Ecclesiastes 1:9 and a whole host of other artists and creators there are no new ideas - just rehashes influenced by what's already been.

I can live with that - as long as we build on what's gone before and make it better (or just different) by adding our own special ingredients and flavour.

Seth Godin says that to be successful we should connect with one another. So, with both of these trains of thought in mind tunnels, for my blogging endeavour today I am borrowing Seth Godin's post as I rather like it. Here it is in its entirety.

Two kinds of mistakes

1. There is the mistake of overdoing the defence of the status quo, the error of investing too much time and energy in keep things as they are.

2. And then there is the mistake made while inventing the future, the error of small experiments gone bad.

We are almost never hurt by the second kind of mistake and yet we persist in making the first kind, again and again.

He's right is Seth. He's right.

Do what you've always done and get what you've always got.

I like to bend the rules. Experiment, push a few boundaries.

This is what you get when you mix a painting of a girl with a photograph of a chicken. It's also a reminder for us as artists not to be afraid to step out of comfort zones - to mix carrot with chocolate just to see what it tastes like - just because we can... Break the rules! You might just like what you get - I kind of like this! I randomly selected two images from my folders without looking and then mixed them up in Photoshop. Go break some rules my fellow artists!

Why don't you have a go. Come on now - don't be chicken!

I'm also sharing with Take a Word this week where they ask what Art means to us. I thought this post was quite appropriate.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Possessed artwork

A couple of works in progress to share with Sunday Sketches.

Now, where would you go with these? I'm thinking butterflies with the first - I stuck a sample cut out in the scanner, but I think I'll draw, rather than actually collage - and that one is almost scarily big!

Naturally, it's not until she goes in the scanner that I spot one eye bigger than the other (I'm sure it's the machine that does it...).

Mind you, the Scanner did make up for changing facial features on this second piece. She went in, looking a little green around the gills, as if perhaps she was about to audition for a 'walk-on' part in The Walking Dead.

She came out flushed with a rich shade of orange - although she still looks terrifying. I think she'll get the part without too much effort. Funnily enough she is actually risen from the dead so to speak, as she's sitting on top of another portrait that freaked me out even more than this. I had to cover her in a shroud of tissue paper collage. She may have got her own back by possessing this new interloper to her page.

So, what would you do with these? Ideas please!!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Cold feet

I hate getting cold feet. If my feet take a drop in temperature, they take ages to warm up again, especially in bed. I have to get up, put socks on or heat up a wheat pillow. I've got some lilac baggy bed socks, they're easy to kick off in the night. Usually they curl up like a cat at the bottom of the duvet and sleep peacefully, but one found its way up to my other half's pillow the other day - he wasn't overly impressed. The thing with normal cold feet though is that they aren't really a huge issue - pretty curable. Eventually the blood starts pumping enough to restore feeling and all is well with our appendages.

Metaphorical cold feet on the other hand are an entirely different kettle of fish! I get cold feet about my art too, only these chills are caused by the gremlins whispering their freezing tactics:

"You're not good enough"
"Who do you think you are?"
"People might not like it"

Then there's the most ridiculous fear of all ~

"What happens if I push myself out there and people actually want what I do?"

"Isn't it easier to just sit here and dream and write about it?"

Just imagine ... you might just be successful ... What's so scary about that?

It's leaving behind the cosy safety of the known. It's listening to the instinctual part of your brain that fears change. It's missing the ride on the swanky yacht because you're frightened it will sink even though George Clooney is standing at the bar pouring you a drink and giving you 'that look'.

I've sold some art. I'm taking myself seriously. I've got a marketing plan. It could all happen. It's the cusp of 'dream-come-true land'. How terrifying. How exciting and exhilarating. Cold feet? Yes, but I've got my thermals out...

Are you ready to fly with your dreams?

To illustrate this post, I found one of the few photographs I've taken of my feet (well, foot). It's not a subject matter I often study but it did prove the perfect excuse for playing in PhotoShop... with bizarre results too - below.

Friday, 4 January 2013

A winter's tale

That song has been on repeat in my mind for weeks and just when I thought I'd packed it away in the loft with the tinsel, I decide to share its name with this painting. Darn it.

I am following an Abstract urge. This may be due to a shift in artistic direction or just a slight post-Christmas laziness where I can't quite be bothered to find anything else to paint. It's really quite soothing though just letting the paint take its own direction and then allowing intuition to take over and following a whim.

This year I am determined not to spend time procrastinating, yet here I am playing with my blog and about to head over to hang out with the crew at Paint Party Friday when I should be doing.... MY TAX....

Can you blame me?

But no. It must be done. And, all I have to do is find all the relevant information, my accountant will do the rest... it's hardly the equivalent of being locked up in a tiny cell full of numbers screaming at me and poking at my skin with their sharp edges.

I am away to my spreadsheets and statements. Wish me luck... I may be some time...

Thursday, 3 January 2013


When I started this blog back in the olden days of 2009, when I was still in my 30s and forgotten what a paintbrush was for, back then I had a purpose and that purpose was to write. I was to write something as close to every day as I could manage. It wasn't about creating perfect prose, but rather just the exercising of words on 'paper', a purging and a practice.

Back then it was easy. I just wrote. But then I started sharing my work with others and suddenly I had a readership! Then art invaded by psyche and I bonded with global tribes of like-minded creatives. Slowly slowly catchy monkey my blog became a vehicle for my art and a place where I felt I couldn't post unless I had something really interesting to say.

This wasn't always easy. The block began to set itself in quick-drying concrete around my sentences and paragraphs. Cracks appeared as the output dried up. It was a sorry state of affairs.

Then today, in fact, just a few moments ago, Seth Godin reminded me that we never get talkers' block. We've always got something to say out loud, even if it's not set to set the tribal fire alight.

"Write anything" urges the great marketing maestro of a man "because the second best thing to zero is something better than bad".

Oh Seth, I needed to hear that today. From now on I promise that even when I haven't got anything much to say nor any art to post, I will just write. I'll write for me, for practice and for anyone that cares enough to read it.

So Mr Bloggie, you'd better get used to having me around!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Staying resolute

Happy 2013!

I read an interesting article today in the Entrepreneurs' Circle monthly magazine. Guest writer Vic Johnson talked resolutions.

He made an interesting point, one I've heard before from my good friend Leanne Flower but it's always useful to be reminded.

It's about maintaining a positive attitude toward our goals and hopes for the year ahead. Vic uses the classic January example of weight loss. He points out that setting a goal to lose weight is negative in itself, plus it speaks volumes of future angst and torture. It's hardly a good starting point. How much better instead to picture yourself in the mirror in February clear-skinned, toned, glossy-haired and sparkly-eyed - a vision of health and fitness? I don't know about you, but I feel pretty good about working towards becoming this February girl.

To help, I'm writing myself a long list of positive verbs - build, grow, commit, make, test, create, learn and above all, I'm believing in the beauty of my dreams rather than thinking too much about the slog I need to do to get there. With the shining touchstone of success guiding me through the tough times it all feels so much easier.

2013 begins for me with a clear(ish) plan with some SMART goals and a rough idea on how I'm going to achieve them. However, I never like to set anything too much in stone (it takes far too long to chip away all that concrete). I believe a spot of by-the-seat-of-your-pants flying is often the magic dusting required to take a project to an elevated level. Being able to shift the plan at a moment's notice to embrace that exciting vision that just popped in your head can lead to the remarkable over the mundane. It's a method of working I highly recommend - never stop asking questions. I know I'm not the only one who thinks like this...

"Don't think! Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things."

(Artwork above is something I made the other evening after a fun planning session.)

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