Tuesday, 29 June 2010

What a goal!

It's OK, come back, come back, it's not a football post! Now that England have slunk back home from the World Cup with their tails between their legs we can all get on with life as normal again (and enjoy all those funny jokes that are doing the rounds).

So, GOALS. Yes, I intend to score this week. I am fired up and ready to achieve. Here's my list which I am sharing with the cyber world. Do feel free to check back and see how I am getting on and shame me by comparisons with a certain football team if I fail to make progress.

1. Complete VAT return well ahead of schedule. (I have to tell you that the mere thought of this actually makes me shiver with distaste...). This should not take long, but feels like a mountain. I think it's even easy and straightforward, yet anything to do with tax brings me out in a dose of the eebie jeebies. By committing to it here, I do hope I stand a chance of completing this one.

To achieve this goal, I need to: get all my finances up to date (no mean feat) - and to achieve that requires some serious tidying up of all paperwork. Ugghrrrr......

2. Create a drawing for the Diary Project. A fellow blogger (Hybrid J) pointed me in this direction. 365 (ish) artists are creating their own individual pages for 2011. It's an 'ish' number because I think there's extras on the cover and back... Entries must be in by Thursday. There are still pages available if you want to sign up. It's free and there's no obligation to actually buy the diary - but come on... how could you resist seeing your work in print?

To achieve this goal, I need to: Decide on a theme that closely matches my current work, practice a few times, sketch and then send off!

3. Prepare the house for ... drum roll ... my boyfriend moving in this weekend! Eek, how exciting! I have already cleared a 'little' space in the wardrobes sweetheart and a couple of drawers... You already have my heart! (what a slushy romantic!!).

To achieve this goal, I need to: give away all those clothes I haven't worn for years, try and consolidate my art 'studio' into just one room in the house, make him his favourite dinner...

4. Add to my current series of greetings cards I am designing - with a special one for my friend's 40th. You can see some samples in my previous post. Then see about how best to get them made into prints. This is an important step in the formation of my creative biz!

To achieve this goal, I need to: DO THE OTHER ONES FIRST!

This goal sharing was a wonderful idea that sprang from the Kelly Rae creative business flying lessons ecourse. Cathy has created us a page where we can share our links, so do pop along and add yours too.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Pictures but not many words

I wasn't going to post tonight. Not because I didn't want to, but rather I feel too tired to think words into coherent sentences. Instead, I'll just show you some recent work. I'm creating a series of cards with grungy backgrounds. I've been sticking torn old book pages on a card then layering up some paint with a brayer and paintbrush, keeping the centre fairly light. Then I drew the faces on top with coloured pencil. The top one has a wonky face. I realised I'd got the angle of her nose wrong too late to do anything about it! Never mind, it's all a learning experience and if I ever become rich I'll send her to a top Hollywood plastic surgeon for a spot of realignment! If the second girl looks familiar... no it's not the neighbour's daughter or the woman on the tills in the supermarket! I based her loosely on Venus! I've got a couple of backgrounds ready for some more. What do you think? I must say I enjoyed the creation process of these - seeing the faces come to life out of the background, yet still being a part of it... if that makes sense? (I did warn you I was tired!).
How do you feel about ripping up books to use in art? It is mildly uncomfortable... Something not quite right about it!
(Perhaps I should tweet that last sentence! It looks like it is probably under 140 characters. I'm still getting the hang of it. I wonder how many tweets were sent yesterday after England crashed out of the world cup? More than one I suspect!
Have to go now... feeling a bit wonky myself...

Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Hatter's invitation

Alice sat quietly at the back of her shop watching the cinnamon dust motes float idly in the heat of the afternoon. Trade was slow at this time of day as those that thronged her store in the cool of the mornings took to the shade to rest when the sun was at its fiercest. She too closed her eyes and relaxed against the pastel cushions that matched so perfectly the hue of her cup cakes and fancies. She smiled as she felt the magic begin to stir around her, knowing that to give it strength she should empty her mind of irritating thought and just believe...

As the temperature cooled around her and the whispered stories of generations weaved their way into her mind, Alice began to grin. She knew exactly where the magic would take her this afternoon. She reached out instinctively and grabbed her basket from its spot by the door as both the chair and Alice sped off on an afternoon of adventure...


The Hatter had grown tired of tea parties. His guests would insist on the same old sandwiches and cakes. How he longed for something a little different. Well, today he smirked would be different as he had sent out invitations on the wind of change and, as everyone knows, that's the premium mail service for magic. The Dormouse and White Rabbit pondered how he could afford it, since he claimed to have no coins left to repair the hole in his top hat, but the question didn't perplex them long... They were far too excited to see who would answer.

The White Rabbit checked his watch for the hundredth time and sighed. One minute past four and the same old cast of characters. The March Hare was already annoying him and the Dormouse was of course asleep. It looked like nothing would break the monotony of this perpetual tea party...


Meanwhile, Alice clung to her chair in glee as it flew across the clouds, her long hair flowing behind her like a ship in full sail on the ocean. She turned to view her wake and waved at those that followed - a crazy procession of artists and writers, crafters and creators led a full blown riot of imagination. It was truly a site to behold. Baskets overflowed with sweets and pastries, cupcakes, teacakes, chocolate, carrot and fruit cakes... Jugs of lemonade fizzed with delight with their bubbles all popping in the excitement.

"Not long now" Alice called as the crazy procession began its descent through the clouds. The patchwork fields grew closer and sunflowers waved a cheery greeting as the flying chairs and their occupants (not forgetting the baskets and their sumptuous contents) dropped one by one into the garden and found themselves seated at a very large table presided over by a startled looking fellow in a top hat with a hole in (from which peeked a sleepy looking dormouse).

"You came" he squealed, "You came. I always knew this tea party would begin on a Fanciful Twist."


You can join the party too - just close your eyes and believe... or, if that doesn't work, come visit Vanessa and the partygoers at A Fanciful Twist for the blog party of the summer.

Eye candy: First pic of Alice in her shop created digitally from a selection of magazine pictures. Cupcakes from a magazine (Vogue) and overlaid with my artwork from... Journal page of Alice's adventures. Layer upon layer of collage and paint weaving into Alice's story. Alice sketched on top in graphite and coloured pencil. Look carefully and you might just spot the dormouse. Mad Hatter painting by me (done a few months ago) and overlaid on a spread from a cricket tea in Country Living.

Friday, 25 June 2010


Have you ever been to see Cirque du Soleil? It's like watching the most incredible Hollywood effects but they are real. Your eyes and brain start up arguments about what exactly they are seeing and debate how these artists could possibly perform the most intricate of moves. The colours flow like paint and the costumes swirl and all the while this incredible haunting music floats around you like silk, wrapping you and mesmerising you with its spell.

This is my tribute to the colourful performers and my entry for Inspiration Avenue's Circus challenge. I've been looking forward to painting it all week - as soon as I saw the prompt, it just popped in my mind and I just knew. I've dibbed and dabbed all evening with a somewhat varied soundtrack. It started with coverage from Glastonbury and finished with a spot of flamenco. Make of that what you will! The paint isn't even dry yet, so I've photographed which leaches a bit of the colour out - I really went for vibrancy.
Now, shall I run away and join the circus or just go to bed... Decisions, decisions...
Acrylic on canvas paper.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Inspiration and a strange ramble

Sometimes as I wander through blogland (and indeed also that stranger place known to many as 'real life'), I find so many sources of inspiration that my mind can't cope. It is spilling over like a fountain!

Lately it seems that every blog, magazine, news article... it all seems to spark something. What is great that this is continuing at work. Someone said to me today that he could hear my cogs whirring as ideas for an event began to take shape... What I haven't quite managed is to conjure up the time (or resources) to make these dreams reality, but we can but hope. Whenever I've done all those personality surveys they drag out at work I always show up as a creative, an ideas person. My nemeses being analysis and finishing things off. Perhaps I could just sit on a sofa eating chocolate and thinking up jolly wheezes while a team of lackeys executes them for me. Nah, I'd just get spotty, put on weight and miss all the fun!

This post will be disjointed - I warn you now. I should have perhaps warned you at the beginning but then it might not have seemed to random.

I'm sorry dear readers but I am more than a little tired. OK, so I didn't take part in an 11 hour long tennis match nor qualify for the final 16 in the World Cup, but hey it's been a busy week.

Back to where I started. A couple of inspiring things that have flitted through my conscious this week. First, some geurilla art posted by All Pulped Out. I have a big ambition to undertake a geurilla art exercise at work (we're harking back to another paragraph now). I have yet to quite firm up the best subject matter and overall objective... but I'll get there. Someone find me an interesting telegraph pole... Now, I could have included a picture here but I want you to go and read the full post, so off you go now...

The Kelly Rae course this weeks discusses time management and goal setting. Perhaps I should have organised my thoughts before starting this post. But you see, I just wanted to write something... anything... I haven't blogged for a few days and I missed it.

And more inspiration... well this weekend there's a delightful tea party to attend - there will be cupcakes and magic aplenty, as well as strange fellows in hats... If you've not packed your hamper and dug out your party dress yet then I suggest a quick trip down to the emporiums in Memory Lane to see what you can find...

Finally, the challenge at Inspiration Avenue this week is 'Circus'. I can't get the kaleidoscope of colour from Cirque du Soleil out of my mind... I just need to find time to somehow translate it onto paper...

I have to go now. My head feels slightly befuddled.... Normal service will resume soon (one hopes...)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Eye love a good story...

My finished piece for the Three Muses 'eye' challenge. You can see the work in progress and explanation in my previous post, but in short I cut a strip out of a magazine picture across the eyes, then drew them back in. This was a fun technique to try and I threw in a pile of other media as well as the collage and coloured pencils. A bit of water soluble oil pastel here, a touch of acrylic there. Cutting out a feature then drawing it back in opens up a whole world of opportunity. I kept her eyes fairly true to the original, but next time I might go for something much more kooky!

And as for what this piece is telling you. Well, I invite you to speculate dear readers. Who is the man on the beach and why has the woman lying next to him been ripped out of the picture. What relationship do they have to our moody beauty? Is she perhaps the abandoned wife, left with nothing but a diamond necklace? Or maybe she came across this photo in her late mother's possessions and finally begins to piece together the mystery of who her father was... It all waits to be told...

Or is the picture just a fragment passing through. Does the real story here hinge on the necklace? I'm thinking a great deal about diamonds this week as I read 'The Necklace' for the Wish Studio book group. More on this here, where another story begins...

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Eye like to sketch

A bit of work in progress I thought I would post for Sunday Sketches. Inspired by this week's challenge by the Three Muses - Eyes - I experimented with a bit of mixed media slicing a chunk out of the poor girl's face then doing a spot of pencil surgery. I plan to do more - add some bold chunks of colour and maybe layer up some more collage. You'll have to come back on Wednesday and see if I manage to ruin it or not! I've had a prolific weekend with art. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I have a cunning plan up my sleeve...

I'm not sure I dare admit it. Perhaps I'll just whisper... You see, there's an art market coming up soon at the town where I live and it only costs £10 to have a stall there... I was thinking of applying... but to do that I'll need a bit more stock... Shall I? Dare I?

Friday, 18 June 2010


It seems I am a writer? Scratch that... Am I? Well, writing sure made me happy this week. And what did I do at work all week? Write... Quite a lot... What do I do most weeks... Write. When someone is having trouble getting their wording right or want a fresh take on a piece of work, who do they turn to? Well, me.

When I'm at home of an evening and have a moment to myself. Do I watch TV? Nope, I make art or ... I write.

When a friend asks for help with some wording for a marketing idea, do I say no? Course not. I leap in with enthusiasm for I am doing what I love. Take right now for instance. The kettle has boiled; coffee could be made. It could indeed, but I am having far too much fun doing this. My thirst can be quenched later.

My writing makes me happy. It also appears to make other people happy too. Why do I find it so hard to admit to myself that I might be good at it? Why does the thought of writing a book seem such an unwieldy challenge? Why are there so many questions in this blog post?

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and given me praise this week. You have made me very happy. You know who you are. Big smiles.

Pop along and see what is making everyone else happy this week in the Happy Book Group... and stay tuned because I have a cunning plan on that subject...

I also made my first foray into the world of Twittery Tweets this week. Now, those of you who know me might wonder how I am coping condensing my thoughts down to just a measly 140 characters. It's tough I tell you. I have however managed to suss it out. What you do is write a really long blog post then just announce it on Twitter. Problemo solved!

Thursday, 17 June 2010


A puff of air

Whispered words

Dancing breezes

Carry wishes on fairy wings

Be careful how you wish...
My entry for Inspiration Avenue's Wish challenge. I took this photo on holiday and couldn't wait to come home and play in Photoshop. This week's challenge was just the catalyst to make me do just that! Nothing too technical - mainly colour saturation and a few adjustment filters.
My wishes? Well, that would be telling!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The stuff of fairy tales

Once upon a time a peasant girl wandered around the fairytale Kingdom in which she lived. She was a sad figure, having given up on her dreams of one day rising from her humble beginnings and a life draped in drabbery. Suddenly she came upon a tiny window of a shop set into a tree trunk twinkling in the sunlight. She was sure she had never seen this before and her curiosity beckoned her closer. With every step she took toward the old oak, the glistening became brighter until she realised that the sun was not glinting off of just the glass from the pane, but from what was immediately inside - a necklace shimmering with the lights of a hundred diamonds. It was the most beautiful treasure she had ever seen.

An old woman came shuffling up to the girl and invited her into the shop in the tree. She tried to protest, knowing that her humble savings could never afford anything so exquisite. The woman placed the necklace around the neck of the girl and turned her gently to face an ornate mirror in the corner of the room. The girl gasped as she saw the light reflecting across her face from the necklace. Her eyes lit in wonder as tiny stars of magic rose from the jewels and floated around the room.

The moment was brief as the old woman removed the treasure and returned it to the window. The girl thanked her and began to leave, but a knarled hand grabbed her and begged her to listen.

"This will be yours," she whispered. "It is for the kind-hearted, sharing and compassionate. It was made for one such as you, but others too." The words seemed like a riddle to the girl. How could it ever be hers? It must cost more than she could earn in a lifetime. "Have faith" smiled the crone. "Believe in your dreams, never give up on them and use the intelligence God gave you. Now be off... I know I'll see you soon..."

The girl stumbled outside at first confused by the woman's words. But then she realised and she knew and understood... The necklace would be hers after all for suddenly she knew who were the others referred to in the riddle...


Are you fascinated by this story? Do you want to know what happened next? Shall I let you into a little secret... I know the ending... I confess that while I wrote the words above the plot itself comes from a true story. I have joined The Wish Studio book group. We are reading The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis. The story of a group of women who, inspired by one, came together to buy a $37,000 diamond necklace that none could afford on their own. They took it in turns to wear the jewels and came together every month to share their stories. The necklace became a catalyst for connection, friendship and much more.

The stuff of fairy tales? Maybe, just maybe...

It's not too late to join the Group. It kicks off this coming weekend... Details on The Wish Studio.

Monday, 14 June 2010

I'm tweeting (quietly for now)

Follow lisawrightstuff on Twitter

OK, so I gave in and decided I had better join Twitter. According to Kelly Rae's course, it's your way of waving to people from your front porch and letting them know what you're up to. If they're really interested then they'll come on inside to your kitchen table blog. I like her analogy.

Of course in the enrollment process, you get to the page where you're invited to offer up to the world your first tweet. And could I think of anything to say in just 140 characters? Err no. I'm not really a 140 character type of girl - I like the words to FLOW. However, needs must so my ground-breaking and revolution-sparking first tweet that will no doubt blow all tweeters away with awe was....

I'm getting connected

Yup, that's all I could think of to say. I felt pretty sorry for myself. Sorry enough to head over here and write some proper words. Maybe I'll go back in a second and tweet that I made a blog post.

So, if you wish to follow my tweets, twirps and tweedles then please do simply by clicking on this magic button. I will try to be interesting, informative and engaging. Let me know if you're a Twitterer too so I can follow your warblings alongside my own. And do share your hot tips and success stories on the subject. I am a helpless fledgling and need all the help I can get to fly!

Follow lisawrightstuff on Twitter

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Come relax in my garden

Don't you love this time of year when a brush against a tree leaves your hair full of blossom? When the breeze that whispers through the garden picks up the scents of roses and brushes it like a warm caress across your cheek? I seem to have come over very romantic!

My entry for this week's Inspiration Avenue 'Summer Fun & Relaxation' challenge. Well, I can't think of anything more relaxing then painting in the garden which is what I did. (We're keeping the romantic theme going despite the fact that running about after flyaway papers was not in keeping with peace and tranquility).

How this piece came about was fun anyway. I found a beautiful picture in a magazine of a green glass bowl of summer berries layered with cream. How perfect! I painted myself a green background then transferred the image on top. It was fine, but I didn't quite know what to do with it. I wanted to paint! So, I just had fun with the paint and swirled and scraped and brushed enjoying the feel of the medium and the freedom of expression. The painting became an abstract of my garden - what you'd see if you dived in the flower beds after a glass or two of bubbly alcohol.

I dribbled some inks and was happy with the result. But... I couldn't resist a small play in Photoshop so layered in a couple of photographs I took of the garden last weekend. They are quite subtle. I used some soft light overlay and brought down the opacity...

Then I cropped. And this is the result. What do you think? Do you feel like relaxing in my summer garden?
(It helps to enlarge the pictures)

Friday, 11 June 2010

Come and have a go...

It is so exciting to be English at the moment! Why? Well, because we're going to win the World Cup of course! Everywhere you go the flags are flying, t-shirts shout of messages of support and even sausage rolls have England football branding on them. We are England!

The thrill of anticipation is building to fever pitch as we prepare to shout the boys to victory tomorrow against those Yankie upstarts*. I was surprised to realise this morning that this... FOOTBALL... is making me happy! Wow, I never thought I was this much of a fan, but I can't wait for the match. I've got the beers in, the crisps and dips. I've downloaded the music and danced around the kitchen to Dizzee Rascal. I would have been yelling "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough" had I not got a sore throat. I will save my voice for tomorrow in anticipation of shouting at the referee when I suddenly become a football pundit.

* with apologies to my 'Yankee' friends and readers!!

Thinking about it, this does tend to happen to me every four years or so. It would have been two years had England not managed to fail to qualify for the Euros... Shame on you boys... Shame....

I remember back in my student days... Italia '90. I lived in a house with three boys and two other girls. Worried there might be fights over the TV, the one of the lads borrowed an extra telly so we could watch girlie flicks upstairs while the boys tended to important matters. But he needn't have bothered. We were all glued to every game. Our house became the place to watch the matches with bodies crammed onto sofas and squished into gaps on the carpet. Beer was spilt, crisps trodden into the carpet but no one noticed. All eyes on the game...

Remember when David Platt scored in the last minute of extra time in the 4th round against Belgium taking our boys through to the quarter finals? The entire room lifted into the air in an eruption of unbridalled joy. It was like being in a mosh pit. Victory was ours for the taking and we took it. As one, around 25 drunk patriots headed over the road to the pub to have some more beer!

And here's what has been putting me in the mood this week. Second time I've shared it on my blog... Well, why not I say? Why not? As much as it's a song for the footie, I think it's also an unashamed celebration of being English - something we don't do enough of in this country!

by Dizzee Rascal and James Corden
DIZZEE: Come on England we need to sort it out,
Put the champs down,
Pull your finger out,
Leave the wags alone,
Set aside your ego,
We're tired of bragging about 40 odd years ago,
We need a victory, quick, fast,
Tired of getting a kick - oi!,
World cup 2010,
Don't wanna see ya slip past,
Think about the future,
Surely it's the right time,
I wanna see you win it in my lifetime,
1966 Bobby Moore and that Geogg Hurst put it to the turf - we applauded that,
There was no ignoring that,
Nobody could stop him,
I gotta myself an England shirt I'm gonna rock it,
Cos there's so much to play for,
But we've got to come together [Ay oh, ay oh, ay oh, ay oh],
You know we've got to come together now [Ay oh, ay oh, ay oh, ay oh],
1... 2... 3... Everybody sing

JAMES AND ENGLAND: Shout, Shout, let it all out,
Come on England!!!
These are the things I could do without,
Come on,
I'm talking to you - come on,
Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!
Ay oh, ay oh, ay oh, ay oh
And all the people sing
Ay oh, ay oh, ay oh, ay oh
Come on England!!!

DIZZEE: Pull your socks up let's get physical,
We need team work - we don't need a miracle,
We need Rooney iin tip top condition,
Aaron Lennon down the wing like he's on a mission,
It ain't no superstition, its not a luck thing,
Rio Ferdinand nobody can !@$% With him!,
Hope we get stuck in, on't get caught out,
And stop trying to hog the ball,
Knock the ball about,
So much to play for
But we've got to come together [Ay oh, ay oh, ay oh, ay oh],
1... 2... 3... Everybody sing

JAMES AND ENGLAND: Shout, Shout, let it all out,
Come on England!!!
These are the things I could do without,
Come on,
I'm talking to you - come on,
Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!

(COMMENTARY: Steven Gerrard with the shot,
It's in the net for England,
Well there's been some doubts,
But those doubts have been swept away now And England are heading for South Africa.)

JAMES: Shout, shout, let it all out,
These are the things I could do without,
Come on,
I'm talking to you - come on [England... England... England... England... ]
Come and have a go if you thing you're hard enough!

JAMES AND ENGLAND: Shout, shout, let it all out,
[Ay oh, ay oh, ay oh, ay oh]
Come on England!!!
[Ay oh, ay oh, ay oh, ay oh]
These are the things I could do without Come on,
I'm talking to you - come on
Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!
En-ger-land!!! En-ger-land!!! En-ger-land!!!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Never throw anything away

I am such a hoarder. Right now I need to have a massive clear out, deal with a spot of life laundry. It's where to start that's the problem.

When my husband left 4 years ago I suddenly had two whole wardrobes and sets of drawers to myself. They're full now. Do I wear all these clothes? Course not. Do I ever get around to getting rid of a few? Nope. Now that I can't actually fit anything else in, perhaps the time has arrived...

Then we could move onto the spare room. The little den that could one day become my studio. Right now it has a bed in which is covered in boxes. These spill onto the floor and out onto the landing. Some have art supplies, some contain items I did get so far as 'clearing' out ... as far as a box in the spare room. I keep thinking I'll take them to a car boot sale. In fact, many items did get to a car boot sale. They just came back again. Trouble is it always rains on the days I pick and I never seem to sell very much. How about I just donate the lot to charity? If not now, when?

There's a large bag of clothes my son has grown out of (not counting the dozen or so boxes in the loft). I've been meaning to put them on ebay for years. Have I? No. Will I? Well... maybe... Some of them are so cute though...

Moving around the house and into the kitchen. Whoops slipped on a bit of paper there. Since when did the floor become a filing cabinet? The paperwork is beginning to resemble a horror movie. Tendrils of torn strips are creeping across my desk, climbing up to my throat... Agggrrrhhhh. And what's this? A VAT return? Oh no... not that... anything but that....

Yup, the weight of domestic responsibility has me in its evil grip... I nearly did something about it last night but I was under the weather and an hour's painting promised to soothe my troubled throat far more than a late night filing session.

Art... Ahh... Yes, now I feel better. In fact, this neatly brings me around to the original point of this post (gosh I do love procrastination). Never throw anything away. That's art I'm talking about. Those portraits that look like Quasimodo, those florals that lie limp on the page... Keep everything and use it again and again. Take this piece. It began life as an acrylic portrait in my pre-Suzi Blu course days. Then I collaged over but the paper wrinkled too much. So I added some tissue for added texture and too much colour. It sat around feeling ignored for a few weeks then a face began to take shape. However, the excess wrinkling turned my beautiful Goddess into an old hag so more collaging was necessary. Some stamping with interesting textures made a mess which became disguised with thick paint scraped on with a palette knife. I've doodled on it now. It's still a mess but I'll keep at it (in fact, I could resist a bit of a play in Photoshop...). There's nothing like a bit of practice and experimentation! Even if I end up cutting it into tiny pieces and using in another assemblage, I'll use it somewhere! I do it all the time. Some of the creations I love the most started out as something else entirely.

This is my excuse for the mess that is my house and I'm sticking to it!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Three Lions, Three Muses and Three Words...

Three lions on the shirt Jules Rimet* still gleaming
All those years of hurt
Never stoppped me dreaming

So many jokes, so many jeers
But all those oh so nears
Wear you down
Through the years

But I still see that
Tackle by Moore
And when Lineker scored
Bobby belting the ball
And nobby dancing...

Well, I wonder if anyone else has been inspired with a football song at the lyric challenge of the the Three Muses this week. Last time I did one of these I stuck with the more traditional "I got sunshine on a cloudy day", but hey the World Cup starts this week. England are in it. The radios are full of football anthems. Lads and ladettes shout the words in the streets and dream...

Personally I love a good footie tune but it has to be 'of the people'. I'm sorry, but unless it has a rousing chorus that sounds better when sung by crowds of drunks celebrating that last second goal in the dying moments of the game than it aint no good by my book.

Here's a couple of fine examples ready for this year's upcoming victory.

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough...

And the best football song ever?
Reworked for 2010

And the three words of the header for this post? Well, WE WILL WIN of course!

* PS: For the last 12 years I had been under the impression that the lyrics of this song read 'jewels remain still gleaming'. What can I say... I'm a girl!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Great minds...

... think alike. The Universe works in mysterious ways.

Yesterday I emailed a bloggie friend who runs her own creative business (and she also set up the Inspiration Avenue Etsy Group), to see if she would like me to interview her for my blog. I already have some great questions in mind. This would be my second venture into 'chat show' territory and I felt a regular slot coming on, maybe once a month interviewing an artist who inspires me. I rather enjoyed the last one I did with Amelia Critchlow and feel like I could hone my skills in this area. After all, now Jonathan Ross is leaving the BBC there is a vacancy open for a Friday night talk show host (one has to think big!).

So, there I was planning on writing a blog post this evening outlining my plans. But first, I thought a quick ramble through Bloglandia might be in order. Cup of tea on the side and the thinnest slice of Battenburg cake crumbling between my fingers, I set off.

First stop of the blog bus was the Wish Studio. I hopped off here for visit and what do I find? Why the delightful Carmen Torbus inviting me to answer questions in a mini interview format... (I should point out at this juncture that it was not me specifically she had in mind, you are indeed all invited to join in. Pop along and check it out.)

So, we start with the tables turned and yours truly being interviewed. It was very comfy in the Wish Studio. They had a pink sofa covered with fluffy cushions. I was served frosted cup cakes on dainty china plates and had a foot massage while I answered the questions...

And how about you? Are you sitting comfortably? Well, then we'll begin... Over to you Carmen...

Carmen: You’ve got some amazing things happening and I can’t wait to hear more about it! Can you tell us a little about yourself and the inspiration behind what you do?

Lisa: Well Carmen, life is pretty good if a little hectic. I took the plunge to become a self-employed communications consultant last year and I'm incredibly busy with that side of my life. However, I don't talk about that so much online. I tend to reserve my blog for another part of me. Lisa the artist. The one who dreams of running her own creative business. The one who has a Muse who visits her most evenings and helps her put pen to paper, paint to canvas and make a huge mess of her house.

Carmen: We’re dying to know, what inspires you more than anything else in the whole world?
Lisa: Gosh what a hard question! Other artists I suppose. And, I know it sounds really corny, but the online friends I have made through my blog. Taking part in the art challenges and being surrounded by a worldwide group of like minded creatives has opened up so much to me. I rediscovered my art about a year ago and it was like finding the key to a secret cave full of treasure that I'd lost many years ago. Since that day I've had extra copies of the key cut and hidden them all around, so I can be sure I'll never get locked out again!

Carmen: What is your big dream? Yes, the BIG one! The really, super big, pee your pants when make it happen dream. The one you feel a wee bit nervous saying out loud. Yep, that one!
Lisa: OK, now I feel all shy.... You see the thing is.... the thing is.... I'd really like to be a proper artist and have an exhibition of my work somewhere really posh. I'd like to sell out on opening night. I'd like to be invited to write a book about creativity. Oh yeah, and guess what I also admitted last week in the comments forum of Kelly Rae's course? I said I wanted to write for the Wish Studio!!

Carmen: Tell us how you’re going to feel when you make it happen!
Lisa: I'll be tipsy - because there will be champagne. I'll be stuffed on canapes. I'll feel floaty because I'll be wearing some delightful designer creation that would make Angelina, Nicole et al jealous. I'll be full of confidence, laughing, joking and bouncing up and down with excitement. I'll try not to pee in my pants though, because that would be just plain embarassing...

Carmen: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail and fear didn’t exist?
Lisa: Invent fear and failure. I think we all need a little fear to give us an edge. Where would the excitement be if you always succeeded? How could we possibly get that adrenalin rush from living close to the edge? Life would be far too dull. I suspect we'd end up doing nothing.

Carmen: What’s next for you?
Lisa: Tidy my bedroom. Make sandwiches for tomorrow... Hmmm.... I think just catch up a bit on myself. Everything is racing along so fast. Ask me that again in a few months.

Carmen: What are you working on right now that you could use some support and encouragement on?
Lisa: I like to keep busy (as I alluded to in the last question). Right now I'm taking part in Kelly Rae's Flying Lessons e-course and Suzi Blu's Piety & Passion (though the latter is on the back burner as I've got all summer to enjoy that one). I'm writing some imaginative copy for a friend's jewellery business. I've got an idea for a book mailaround (more on that soon). I'm reading Women who run with Wolves and was also wondering if perhaps I could find, or set up an online book group to work through it with me (any takers?). And, I've just realised I've done no preparation for Vanessa's Mad Hatter's Tea Party at a Fanciful Twist... Any words of general encouragement most welcome!

Carmen: What advice, tips, resources, and overall good-to-know information would you offer someone just starting out with regards to finding passion & inspiration and digging in?
LisaVisit all these wonderful blogs out there. The Wish Studio is a good start and then just follow links from blog to blog. Take part in online art challenges and indulge yourself in your creative dreams. Life is not a rehersal. There's no time like the present.

Just do it. Do it for yourself. You don't have to show anyone the output of your creativity and inspiration if you don't want to. If you never start, you'll certainly never finish. Sitting around thinking about it is a waste of good time. In fact, why are you still reading this? Go live your dream!

Carmen: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Lisa: Plenty! Keep reading this blog to find out what!! Especially my upcoming interview series. (See now I've said I'll do it, I have to... stealth tactics to make my get on with it!)

Also, a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has been a part of my creative journey, visited my blog and left encouraging comments.

Carmen: Where can we find you online and what is the best way to connect with you?
Lisa: Right here on this blog. I have a website for my consultancy business, Linked In & Facebook and keep meaning to start a Twitter account, but this blog is like my second home where I'm most comfortable. I'm hanging about most days, so just pop in for a coffee whenever you feel like it. Grab a paintbrush and create with me. At the moment you are in danger of being force fed holiday snaps, but I promise I'll put them away soon. Oh yes, and excuse the mess... I just find it hard to create and keep a tidy house.

Images: a few random shots from holiday - not a beach in sight in these ones!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Take off

BWS tips button

Having set the scene with an earlier post this week, I will now attempt once again to tell you about the latest course I am taking - Kelly Rae's Flying Lessons - rather than another art course, this one takes me on the next step of making a success of my creative business (which at the moment amounts to selling a couple of paintings).

The thing is, my mind is already wandering... I'm thinking about my last take off. Home from holiday just over a week ago. Skiathos has one of those very short runways that end in the sea. Landing was an exercise in swift braking and reverse thrust. Take off was flinging you back in the seat and subconsciously lifting your body up with the plane before the tarmac ran out.

Sorry, where was I? Ah yes, creating my successful creative business... Now of course I can't think of a thing to say (I've gone back to Greece).

I admire Kelly tremendously. An ordinary girl just like me. She's not formally trained, she just fell into art and now not only makes her living from it, but inspires and encourages others to take the plunge too. Her generous spirit has made this course possible and she genuinely wants us to make it too. This week we've been dealing with the fear factor. Those old 'who do you think you are?' niggles. It's all about bringing Faith and Self Belief into your make up box. I should stop listening to the inner critic and instead heed the words of those who tell me I am an Artist. I am Creative. I am good at what I do. It always seems to come as such a shock when I receive praise. Did Rembrandt have this much trouble I wonder? Does David Beckham ever wonder if he's any good at football? J K Rowling if she's got a good imagination?

I actually feel really strange just writing this. Just half-heartedly admitting that I might have some talent that buyers might wish to part with their hard-earned cash for. It's embarrassing. I'm blushing. Why is it so wrong to put yourself out there and say "I am an artist". After all, if someone asks me what I do for a living (ie the day job) I have no worries about comfortably stating I'm an Internal Communications Manager. If I played sport in my free time, I wouldn't shy away from admitting I competed. Why can't I just say I'm an artist?

It's a funny old world. Good job the pilot wasn't so scared of taking off last week!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Everything in the garden

How beautiful water droplets are, decorating the garden with glimmering jewels. I took this photograph with the intention of playing with it in Photoshop, but somehow in this case I don't think that you can really improve on nature. These are are real colours on this little beauty that just opened itself to the sunshine this morning. And, despite this being and English country garden in the summertime, those glimmering droplets were not rain but hosepipe jewels. For tis most hot here today my friends and my poor little garden babies were very thirsty.

I'm rather proud of this photo. What do you think? I may try to paint it, but not sure how to capture those bubbles. How do you paint bubbles? Any advice?

My entry for Inspiration Avenue's Garden challenge this week.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Flying... but slightly out of control

I'm having a strange week. I'm full of nerves, on edge and not entirely sure why. Perhaps it is a touch of culture shock after my week away in the sun. Day 1 back in the country saw me fighting round a supermarket that seemed to contain more people than the whole of Skiathos (and it was raining outside... and cold). Day 2 was driving for hours to deliver my son to his Dad for a week and consquently driving for hours home without him and then missing him like crazy all week. Then I was back at work - more driving - and filling my head with tasks, ideas, actions, things to do now, things to do next week...

On top of that I started another e-course (because you just know I can't get enough) - more on that later - and naturally had to watch the semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent most nights (my money is on Tina and Chandi the dancing dog).

By Thursday any beneficial effects of a week spent at a slower pace of life soaking up the healing rays of the Greek sun were but a distant memory. I felt like every drop of energy had been leaking out of me all week (probably though all those holes in my skin left by pesky mosquitos) and there was but a stagnant pool left somewhere in my left big toe.

The saving grace was the weather. A beautiful sunny evening yesterday prompted the boyfriend to pick me up, sling me over his shoulder and take me out for a restoring Pimm's in a canalside pub. I was still in bed by 10pm mind!

Well, this was going to be a post about me starting the Kelly Rae course - Flying Lessons - but it sort of got out of control. Rather indicative of how I feel this week. A fledgling chick just out of the nest on the cliff top - spiralling out of control with (hopefully) enough moments of control to keep me safely on the wing!
Might as well publish this then try the Kelly Rae post again later!!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Postcards from Greece (2): Stress the Greek way

I was so pleased to be writing this by day 2 of my holiday (by which time the sun had well and truly come out to play!)

I'm learning to relax. I'm getting rather good at it. In fact, it's rather easy when you have a few Greek ingredients mixing a magical spell: Nowhere special to be; no reason to rush; no driving; no traffic; no deadlines; no phone ringing... Err, hang on, these aren't ingredients! They're the things missing. Is this perhaps instead a very large Greek takeaway?

OK, let's try again: One large dose of sunshine, trees weighed down with unfathomably large lemons (later destined to dress my dinner); turquoise waters with curious fish swimming around my toes; diamond sparkling softest sand; beer on the balcony; boy bouncing a ball; stretching out on a sun-lounger.... Ahh.... bliss....

We sleep for at least 10 hours a night (without the need for warming socks). We lose the ability and desire to rush and, and, and... think that if we miss the bus, we'll just sit and wait for the next one...

I think we've clearly been infected by 'Skiathos'. As diseases go it's certainly one I could recommend. It shows its symptoms differently by age. Children forgo expensive toys and plastic in return for shiny stones and big rocks that go PLOP when you throw them in the sea and Mums sleep for 10 hours a night and alternate their days between doing a spot of nothing by the pool to the same on the beach...
I'm back at work now... stressful traffic jams, plenty of work. When is my next holiday?

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Making time

Today, for some reason a thought popped in my head of a future me discussing why I didn't paint anymore. "I just didn't have the time" I said.

Woah, where did that come from? Yes, I am busy right now with many things. Was it perhaps a subconscious warning? You see, rediscovering my art was like putting a missing component back in the engine. It's been running much smoother since I can tell you. For me art is no longer the 'nice to have'. It is the pure essential. It is the must have and I recognise that there will be times when I have to fight to ensure it stays.

OK, I accept that some weeks I might only have time for a sketch or two, but I know that I can create something I'm happy with in 10 minutes. 'Not enough time' will never be an excuse.

It's far too easy to utter those simple words and believe that you're right in your assumption. We do it all the time don't we - our way of absolving ourself of responsibility to our souls. It wasn't my fault I allowed my spiritual calling to fall by the wayside.... I just didn't have enough time. I was too busy watching drivel on TV or ironing my teacloths.

Enough I say. Enough. From now on I commit to make time, to focus on what it is that gives joy to my heart and takes me to where I want to be. I will focus on my goals and passions. They are what makes me the person I am, not a spotless floor or a tidy sock drawer.

Let's start as we mean to go on... I'll create something for the Three Muses fortuitously timed 'Time' challenge - what better reason than this post which is calling out for suitable illustration.
I cut out the timepiece from a magazine, stuck it in the scanner with some very real scissors, bits of string, foil and ribbon then played in photoshop - making time for me...
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