Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Finished! and... a collaboration...

Well look at me - a whole month of blog posting and art. Yup, every single day my fingers ran across this keyboard, picked up pencils, splashed paint and played in Photoshop. What an adventure!

You know, it really was. I'll admit that the blog posts were far harder than the art. Art can after all be a doodle, a dab, a splash (not that it was ever just that to be honest - I always got far too carried away!). I did learn though that sometimes we make our best art when we just play and don't try too hard.

Of course, we can't let this month go by without some more serious introspection. Why do I love art and blogging so much? Is it escapism? Well, it certainly stops me noticing the housework that needs doing! More seriously though sometimes I wonder if my dreams of creating my own art business and my focus on constant improvement and learning are not an excuse for avoiding more difficult things - like trying to find new business for my 'day job'.

I was a networking event mid-month and going through the usual spiel about what I do. By day I am an internal communications specialist, a corporate journalist, a creator of presentations - but I also confessed my dreams of becoming an artist. The lady I was talking to told me that when I talked about my painting, my whole face lit up, she said she could see the passion burning inside of me. I know for sure that creating something from coloured water and a sheet of paper makes me feel so wonderful - a narcotic for the soul to which I am truly addicted. Is there any hope?

There's no reason why I can't do both of course and that's the plan. I see myself running a little portfolio of businesses - all focused around some form of creation.

So perhaps, it's OK to keep up this dream; to search for enough hours in the day to make it work! I do really believe that if you write down your goals you will reach them. A few weeks ago, I put out an idea into the blogosphere of doing a guest post somewhere and guess what... It happened! This very day you can see my collaboration with 'Healing Woman' Cheryl Dolby. She creates the most wonderful sculptures and jewellery and I've written a little story to go alongside one of them. Do pop along and let us know what you think!

Finally finished this piece I started last week. A little bit here, a little bit there. Really pleased with the finished outcome.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Nearly there...

Day 29 of blog posting and art every day. Today is the first day when I really don't have a clue what to write about. In fact, it's fair to say I feel rather mopey, so I'll just post this work in progress.

Tomorrow I plan some grand reflection on the month - a spot of analysis and introspection. Tonight all I want to do is watch 'I'm a Celebrity, get me out of here' on the telly. Sometimes it just has to be done...

I might just hold a pencil near some paper and see if anything happens... Or perhaps a cold compress on the forehead may be a better bet. If I was a Victorian lady of means, I might have an attack of the vapours.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Colouring in before drawing

Push Push Push. I keep at it, trying new techniques, learning, experimenting. Today was doing the colouring in before I had a picture!

I've been falling in love with watercolour again this week. I'm taking a course (yeah, I know, how many times have you heard me say that!?) on Whimsical Watercolours and I just finished another (!) on journalling techniques which involved this media too. I've been blending and splashing and watching those translucent colours meld into each other. I'd forgotten the wonderful things they do on paper; your tool is the water - such a simple ingredient, but just look at the results of the spells!

There's other things I want to do too today - like make something for Sunday Sketches, and so I push myself to combine the two. I'm also mindful of The Three Muses upcoming Movie challenge. Months ago I bottled out of drawing the enigmatic Neytiri from Avatar because 'I didn't do faces'. Then I found Suzi Blu and things have never been the same since. I've written about my love for painting faces once this week already so won't repeat myself... except to say.... I LOVE DRAWING AND PAINTING FACES!!

So I thought I'd practice drawing a slightly alien form on this watery mottle. Here is Neytiri with the colours of the forest at night reflecting in her face (which is why she isn't blue - artistic licence you understand - and the fact that I laid down the colour wash before I'd decided what to draw! Sometimes the Muse just likes to keep you on your toes!).

I have to share how thrilled I was to be an inspiration for another. Elizabeth, a fellow blogger so enjoyed looking at my pink flower creation (that I made for Breast Cancer Awareness), that she made one herself. It's part of a fabulous post of wonderful artwork on her site - Altered Book Lover - do pop along to browse around her gallery.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Guest post

Today I would like to welcome a special guest poster to my blog. He's a cute little man who has been doing his homework with his Mummy. Here he is to tell you all about it.

"We had to do a project about Motown. Motown is a special type of music from a long long way ago. It comes from the city of Detroit in USA. I had to pick a song and design a record sleeve and my song was Rockin Robin by Michael Jackson. My Mummy drawed Michael Jackson first and I painted him. It took about one hour. I loved it and I can't wait to take it into school. I really like being a guest blogger."

Friday, 26 November 2010

More Ooglies

Now if you've been reading my blog all week, I know you'll have been wondering what the shape shifting Ooglies look like. Of course, the answer was there all along - anything they feel like (they are shape shifters after all!). Here are two of them who have popped along today to share the story of where they came from.

You see it all began around a week ago when I took the prompt from the group I'm working with on the Drawing Lab book (on Gumnut's blog). We were to squiggle some shapes in watercolour then draw fantastical creatures. I thought this would be a fun exercise to do with my son and even tidied up my work table in preparation.

Unfortunately he prefered to shoot things on the computer and even uttered the dreaded words... "But, I don't like art Mummy". WHAT? Doesn't like art? I'm cut to the quick... (Don't worry - he's a child, fickleness comes naturally, he'll like it again tomorrow.... I hope....)

Anyway, Mummy played with her paints and made a bird and an elephant with jelly legs, then she sat on the sofa and created the land of the Oogley Baloobleys while watching drivel on TV. Since then it's become something of an empire build (we even had shoe design on Wednesday), but I guess that was the whole point of the art exercise - to try something different, see where it takes you (in my case, a whole other planet!).

I just love to stretch and learn. Why didn't I have this burning desire when I studied art at school? I just stuck to what I knew best (encouraged down this path by my somewhat useless art teacher). What was missing from my education was the message that it was OK to create silly splodges, that experimentation was all part of the fun and a finished piece could look like it was created by a five year old if that was what you fancied. It seemed that as we grew older we were expected to leave the merriment of creation behind and focus on the technicalities - it was all about what was going to come up in the exam and that was all that mattered - the teachers weren't bothered that this ridiculous system was killing the creativity of their pupils.

It's different these days thank goodness. Some sensible head in a committee somwhere finally realised that a portfolio of work created over two years was actually a far better indicator of ability than one painting and a pencil sketch knocked up in a 4 hour exam.

I'm off to paint more random lines and see what magic starts to appear out of the paper. Maybe I'll even sign up to re-do my A Level Art...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Feeling the pressure

Art and a blog post every day for a month... Well, we're on the home straight but some days are clearly easier than others - today being one of the latter. I do have good excuses. I mean I am working hard and throwing all my energy into what pays the bills. I really don't have anything to post today, but can't let this mission slip, so I'll show you the next stage of my latest work in progress. Admittedly, all I've done today is put a layer of paint on her hair (which took about 30 seconds), but it's still art... and the day is yet young, there may be more later... I've also created a poster for work in Photoshop, so I am sure that counts too ;).

My lady of the pink hair is now comfortably ensconced on her blue background and she can see out of both eyes. I'm not quite sure what next steps are... A layer of paint on her face for sure; work on her hippy headband; addition of a flower; depth and shadow to her tresses and more blending with the background. I'm also thinking freckles...

What do you think? What would you do?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Candy Floss Slippers

There's a story to go with this. I am sure it has something to do with the people of Ooggley Baloobley, but I can't be sure since I haven't written it yet. I think it might refer to the way they design their footwear. They put cartridge paper outside their back doors at night to collect the custard and jelly drips. In the morning they venture out to see what patterns have formed. It's then a simple matter of looking for designs in the splotches and splatters. Of course, it helps if you're an Ooglie because they are shape shifters so frankly can fit any mis-shapen shoe - even the one that looks like a vodka martini. Lucky them!

If you think I've lost my marbles, then perhaps you should refer back to Monday's post and look for them there, for this art follows a similar theme.

Alternatively, you can just blame The Three Muses and their 'shoe' challenge.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


I think one of the reasons I have become so obsessed with drawing and painting faces is enjoying the act of creation. Of seeing a person from the depths of my imagination take form on the paper. Flat becomes rounded. Eyes sparkle into life and expression hints at a train of thought.

There's also something special about leaving a half-begun piece overnight, then coming across them staring up at you in the morning with such a look of expectation! In this case, perhaps my girl is asking me "Are you really going to give me PINK hair?"

I'm afraid so my dear. You see it will contrast perfectly with deepest blue background that is already flecked with dashes of rose and white. I'm sure you'll like it when we're finished and if you're too ashamed to go out then perhaps we'll go for something more conventional... purple!

This lady was inspired by another. I was browsing Diane's blog (it's like wandering around your favourite home store - you really must pop by) and I noticed she'd given a few of her girls some hippy headbands. Lucky for my girl I found one to match her background - just look at that blue! If she's very lucky she'll have a flower in her hair too (and perhaps a trip to San Francisco - you never know!).

Well, we're on the home straight now in terms of blog and art posting every day for November. More reflections on this next week.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Ooggley Baloobley

Welcome to the land of Ooggley Baloobley - a small planet some distance away from the one where Yoda used to live - but with longer daylight hours and less green slime.

It's a strange place for sure with an atmosphere of jelly and custard. The climate is mild, though when this picture was taken they had just suffered a blueberry soda pop storm causing flooding in the Boogleploops. The creatures that live here adapted well to their surroundings and built an ingenious network of pipes, stripes and wriggle holes to protect them from the smothering effects of a custard atmosphere. Crystal windows reflect the rainbow jelly colours so decorating is not necessary which is probably just as well since they have yet to invent the paint brush. They have very large tongues which poke out of their homes to lick up jelly lunches. They have no teeth to rot so excessive sugar consumption is not a problem.

The only activity that keeps them away from their favourite hobbies of yodelling and seeing who can make the loudest squelching noise is the 'trifling' matter of sponge production which, when mixed with the atmosphere, a spot of cream from the blooper cows and some star sprinkles provides the planet with its security and protection. Be sure, that anyone trying to invade will receive their just desserts!

A spot of alien ingenuity for the Inspiration Avenue weekly challenge and more Art Every Day.

Watercolours, doodles and plenty of creative imagination!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A sneaky spot of multi-tasking

So much art to do, so little time... Sometimes you just have to grab the opportunity to mix a few challenges into one. I present a sneaky bit of fairy tale story telling sketched out. This equates nicely to:

An entry for Illustration Friday - sneaky. Just look at the cheeky faced Prince as he calls out to Rapunzel "let down your long hair". She's expecting an old hag to climb up her golden tresses but instead will find her knight in shining armour (let's hope he sheds some of that additional metallic weight before he climbs up or the poor girl will have a headache for weeks.)

Fairy tale was coincidentally the prompt from the Drawing Lab I found begging for attention on Gumnut's blog. I'm a bit late with this one, but hey better than never.

Then we have the location of this piece - in my 'storybook sketchbook' for the Sketchbook Project - that's another page ticked off.

Art Every Day Month is satisfied.

And finally, it's a sketch - albeit a fairly detailed one, so we'll see it on Sunday Sketches.

Phew, not bad for an hour's work! All that experience of being a woman helps I think :)

I fancied a bit of whimsey and was pleased with my young Knight. I did struggle with his wink though. Any hints on how to draw a whimsey wink would be most appreciated. The tower is rather out of proportion/perspective on purpose - bit of artistic licence going on there...

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Height restrictions apply

Thank goodness for height restrictions, or I would have been dragged into experiences beyond my wildest imaginings this afternoon. As it was, I return from the fairground having been shaken, tumbled, spun and wrung. Gone are the days when my little boy was content to go on the kiddie rides while Mum gazed on at her cute little bubba riding the little car.

No, these days we've moved up a gear. It's "all children must be accompanied by adults" territory now my friends and you know what that means... Yes, Mummy terrified and clinging on a white knuckle ride while small boy has the time of his life. The things we do for our kids eh?

OK, actually it was fun (if a little on the death-defying side). The adrenaline kicked in as we span and bounced and we squealed with delight trying to outdo the deafening cacophany of dance music. We got tangled in the house of fun, gained and lost a few pounds in the hall of mirrors and managed to hook a duck for some plastic tat.

A good time had by all. Oh and I'm definitely the better driver on the dodgems!

PS - Still doing Art Every Day, just haven't had time to take pictures today. Been making lots of sticky papier mache type things.

Friday, 19 November 2010

If you go down in the woods today

... you wouldn't be able to see these for the fog truth be told.

A little digital fun with one of my photographs. Are these toadstools or mushrooms? Delicacy or deadly? I'm not about to risk finding out! Anyway, the fairies would get miffed if I took their umbrellas for they are not fond of the damp drizzle of November, so nature kindly provided these umbrella stands scattered around the woodlands for their use.

I'm sure I saw one perched on top of one just before I hit the shutter button, but with a twinkle of fairy dust she was gone.

Do you believe in fairies? Or am I just away with them?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Total Wipeout

I was not a pretty sight this morning. 14 hours in my bed and most of those spent asleep and feverish has that effect on a girl's hair and the brightness of her eyes.
I am afraid the lurgy got me - you know - the kind that drives steamrollers and carries hammer-drills, then turns your muscles to mush and makes your clothes hurt.

Fear not, I am on the road to recovery - and amazingly a kilo lighter too. As I have signed up to Art Every Day and Blog Posts Every day Month, and am not one to shy away from such commitments. Here I am having dragged myself out of my sick bed to create something...

Well, OK, I do feel a lot better and can highly recommend a 14 hour sojourn under a duvet if you can get it. The sofa is calling me now though and promises a bit of trash TV. The question is - are we going for some Zombie watching with The Walking Dead or shall we see what bargains Kirstie Allsopp turns into chic decorations in her home made home? Decisions decisions.

My artistic contribution today was how I looked this morning - hair in a tangle and decidedly green around the gills. Although, thinking about it, I actually seem to resemble an extra in the cast of the aforementioned zombie drama... That's it. Decision made. I'm watching Kirstie!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Hot wheels

Before cars were invented, what did little boys play with? Did they have specially adapted carts with added horse power? Were there flames painted down the sides? Did the wheels sparkle? Can a carriage and four perform the same level of stunts?

It must have been a dull old world...

An abstract homage to Hot Wheels for The Three Muses 'automobile' challenge. Photographs of some seriously cool cars layered up in Photoshop with a texture I made by taking a pic of my dirty car and a stamped block by KPertiet.

I took the photos of the toys sitting on the roof of my Ford Focus to capture a nice bit of reflection and add that certain je ne sais quoi. One of the neighbours saw me and then pretended he hadn't noticed such bizarre behaviour... I'm surprised they're not used to it by now.

Vrooom vrooom.....

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


I remember a friend telling me once that they had a persona for work which was quite different from the one they showed outside of it. A bit like stepping on stage and acting a part, they would become this other person - the confident, no-mess manager who got things done - but underneath they were just a vulnerable person needing a hug as much as the rest of us.

Writing about Take That yesterday reminded me too of how incongrous it seems that someone like Robbie Williams who can step out on stage in front of 100,000 people and command the audience, conducting them in the palm of his hand, can ever suffer with stage fright - which is what he openly confesses. Do some people need that alter ego? Is it part of their soul?

Am I like this too? Am I incognito some of the time? I'm not sure anymore. I know for sure that I shine most when I'm allowed to be 'just me', but then when you think about it we all have these different aspects to our personality, we bend and adapt according to situation. Take this morning - I didn't like being 'strict mother' when my son wouldn't get out of bed and get dressed for school but it was for his own good that I became her.

Then there's the bits we hide - our vulnerability. Sometimes we get so good at this, that we forget it's even there...

This post is turning into a load of old useless waffle and opens up enough questions to fill a psycholdogy doctorate, so I'll just quit while I'm (possibly not) ahead and stick it out there. The artwork was inspired by this piece for Inspiration Avenue's Incognito challenge - so I blame Sharon for all this introspection! I'm also taking an Art Journaling class this week, so took my words to the page - unfortunately they got a little smudged, despite testing the pen's colour fastness first!

Flicking through magazines looking for a nudge, I was reminded of some of the biggest chameleons out there - the models.

"It's Tuesday darling, so it must be Madrid... Who will I be today?"

Monday, 15 November 2010

Why I love Take That (and am proud to admit it!)

OK, 'fess up. Who watched the Take That documentary on Saturday night and the big X-Factor reunion? There's something so appealing about these five 'boys' that keeps them close to the nation's hearts. The fact that we'd even call a group of men all pushing (or just pushed) 40 'boys' says it all.

I think one of the reasons I love them so much is that they are my age. They're my peers, we grew up together and we've been seen life. We've had the highs, the lows, the love and broken relationships, the inner turmoils, career conflicts and we've all come out the other side. OK, so I haven't exactly had the cash, global adulation and fame, but hey at least I can go to Tesco without being recognised that often!

I've written a lot about turning 40 this year. Eight months later and I'm finally starting to get to grips with it. I look at Take That and see the lines forming around the eyes, the pounds that crept on here and there but I realise it doesn't matter. I look at Take That and see a band of 'men' of a certain age that sell 1 million concert tickets in one day, whose album will sell millions in the run up to Christmas (and according to the cashier in Tesco this morning as I grabbed my sweaty hands on my copy - "It's been flying off the shelves"). I see confidence and belief in ability. I see bravery, creativity and comfort within their own skins. It's nothing to do with age. It's knowing what you want and then going out and grabbing it. Then, when it's in your hands, recognising that and enjoying every second.

Robbie's decision to rejoin the band after 15 years and a solo career to rival any rock legend was, in my eyes, a great example of this. As a fan of all of them, it seemed the logical next step. Take That as a five-piece, then a four piece likewise achieved more than many stars ever dream of. What other move could they have made now that the bridges are not just mended but apparently glowing with the freshest coat of protective all-weather paint.

Long may it continue for us all! Although I don't think I'll be headlining a Stadium tour next summer (but I will certainly be attending one!).

The album, by the way, is rather good. Better than the last with the returning Robbie clearly making his mark.

(Apologies to those from foreign climes that have missed out on Take That mania over the years and haven't a clue what I am wittering on about - you just don't know what you've been missing!)

PS - Still doing my Art Every Day - just nothing in a finished enough state to post - lots of ripping up of newspapers going on right now!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Introducing an upcoming artist

Top billing today goes to a visiting artist. May I present Sky-Blue by Jessica Wright (no relation!). Jessica, a young artist aged just 8 years old, was inspired to create her after meeting 'Lily' on my blog last week. She left me such kind words that I knew Lily would find a happy home with her, so she slipped herself in an envelope and headed off to the South West.

A few days later and Sky-Blue landed on my doorstep. Isn't she lovely - just look at those adorable details from the paintbrushes in her pocket to the orange and red Argyle socks.

So, thank you Jessica. You cannot know how chuffed I am that my drawing inspired you so!

Well, it wouldn't be Sunday without a post for Sunday Sketches (well, actually it would, but let's not get in the way of artistic licence!). Here we have The Snow Queen, a coloured pencil sketch I did over a wintry magazine scene with a touch of acrylic and some sparkling powder added here and there.

Not many have seen the The Snow Queen for she hides in the dwindling ancient forests and only shows herself to the true believers. Sometimes I think I see her but then I realise she's just a pattern in the birch bark or shadows in the snow. She guards the trees as they winter, then sprinkles her magic on the earth in the New Year that sprouts and renews come Spring.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Hunk A Hunk... (well, three actually!)

Three of the same for you today. See which you prefer...

Lord Almighty,
I feel my temperature rising
Higher higher
It's burning through to my soul
When I saw the prompt for Illustration Friday as 'Burning', Elvis just grooved his way into my soul, ground his hips and crooned the inspiration for this piece. I also knew where I'd find my models, having spotted them hiding in the pages of Elle just this morning - advertising 'Guilty', a fragrance by Gucci and looking smouldering and sexy. Guilty pleasures...

I was on fire myself. A quick first sketch on a bit of scrap paper, then two more. Naturally, the one I just slung together without much thought probably looks the best. I don't know... What do you think?

The second was the 'proper one', on nice paper and of course proved the hardest. I still like it though, even if it lacks some of the freedom and energy of the first.

Finally, I was enjoying myself so much I decided to make a third for my Sketchbook Project.

Can you feel all that burning desire?

See what happens when you take up an Art Every Day challenge - it lights the touch paper. I can't stop... I don't want to stop... What can I paint next?

All three mixed media - mainly neo-colour pastels, coloured pencils and ink.

Friday, 12 November 2010

The space below

There was a whole world inside of her
filled with stars and caves and demons and gold.
She tinkered and played in that world;
but it was in the space below - in the depths of deep
that the real stuff was. And it was here that she needed to go
Terri St Cloud

Art Every Day month would be so much harder were it not for all the wonderful creative challenges and prompts that stir my subconscious. I'll admit that 12 days in the pressure is on, but the pleasure I get from seeing shape form on paper is far beyond such trifling stresses.

This poetry prompt comes from The Creativity Castle. I saw a mind full of fancies but a locked heart. Who is she trying to kid? Open your heart, be brave and take on the world my friend!

Something a bit different from me. Not quite sure how I would describe this. A sketch? Doodle? Experiment? Whatever! It was fun and that's all that matters. She's also filling another page in my Sketchbook Project.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


What is wrong with me this morning? The words won't flow. I think they've got stuck in the knotted muscle in my neck which is causing additional aggravation.

I want to talk about pride and triumph but the sentences don't flow and I sound like I'm reciting from a text book or being selfr-congratulatory.

Perhaps I have been approaching it all wrong and trying to be too formal. Shall I just write from the heart instead?

Tuesday night saw myself and colleagues representing Rackspace at the National Business Awards where we were finalists in two categories. I've been working for this IT Hosting company as a contractor on and off for a large part of this year and can safely say it's the best company I have ever worked for. Nowhere have I ever seen or felt such passion and excitement for a brand and what it stands for and frankly that brings out the best in me too.

I was exceptionally pleased with the entries I wrote for these awards, the teamwork involved in pulling the words (and then the finalist presentations) together and our place in the shortlist. I knew that Rackspace deserved to be in that group and I was determined to do all I could to ensure their place. It was hard work but it paid off.

We didn't win the top gongs on the night, but I came away with the strongest sense of achievement and the words of none other than our Prime Minister ringing in my ears - "Best of British".

A video message from David Cameron congratulated all of us finalists saying we were an "inspiration not only to the business community but those in government trying to support recovery".

“These awards, they really do show off the best of British...You are the doers and the grafters who will get this country back on its feet. The people who will get our economy growing again. And it’s absolutely right that we should take this moment to recognise what you do”, the Prime Minister said.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, then took to the stage and delivered the keynote speech to the room packed full of the country’s top business leaders and entrepreneurs and I was there. I was a part of it and it felt amazing!

I'm proud of Rackspace, being British and proud of myself.

In an hour's time we pause and remember others who sacrificed their lives in their pride and love of their country.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

How do I wish to grow older?

Why, disgracefully of course. I've been far too conformist all these years. I shall most definitely be 'wearing purple' and cultivating eccentrities in grubby corners of my home that don't see a duster because I am too busy painting and writing strange stories and romantic romps. I shall dance around supermarkets and sing in the bank.

I'll probably have paint stains on my fingers and bits of paper sticking to the back of my clothing. I'll totter around in high heels and evening dresses whenever I feel like it and roll in the grass. My make up and hair will depict my mood. I think I'll get hair extensions and wear flowers tucked behind my ears. I'll jingle and shine when I walk as all my jewellery dances along with me and catches the light.

I'll the be crazy relative that the young uns like to visit because there's always something interesting to find in my house - whether it's a fanciful tale, an intriguing guest or something sticking out of a drawer that sparkles and shines in the sunlight.

I'll be forever dashing off on adventures with my loved ones. Together we will be explorers of the world, gathering treasures and stories to share.

Growing older will be a pleasure. Starting with today when I promise I shall dance around the supermarket (wearing purple) while I pick out the ingredients for our evening meal. No time like the present I say!

Cast your growth wishes with Jamie Ridler and the gang over at the Wishcasting site.

Picture is just some eye candy I made from one of my summer photos - as it's purple I thought it was sort of appropriate. It would look lovely in my hair don't you think?

Art Every Day - Day 10

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The birds

The storm raged, the wind howled and the rain came down in torrents. The worlds shifted out of alignment that night as the black bird made his way from one to another...

 Forcing myself to create for Art Every Day month is a wonderful experience. I end each day with 'something' and often surprise myself. I love this piece. I realised I hadn't even thought about the Three Muses Blackbird challenge this week, so sat down and opened my mind. Leah's simple silhouette drawings sprang to mind and reminded that I didn't have to go complicated, that illusion was often far more powerful.

I took my imagination into the elements (the photoshop kind) and let rip with a few secret ingredients.

OK, perhaps not so secret. Shall I share? First up a background I've painted, sprayed, dripped and dabbed with acrylics and inks (intended for a later mermaid painting) and then wonderful play with brushes! Yes, brushes! The bird, moon and tempestuous sea were all imported brushes. Clever eh? Then I applied a few textures and masks et voila!
How lucky we modern artists are. Who would have thought what a wonderful outlet to creativity our computers would become?

Look.... a ghost bird too.... spooky! Same background - just changed the colour. Mask applied from Designerdigitals.com.

I love Photoshop!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Every picture tells a story

Well, it looks like that's it. The rain is falling in stair rods and lashing the leaves from the trees. Winter is peeking out from the clouds and readying to hold us in its grip for a few dismal months.

However, all is not lost, for is not the party season upon us? Why as soon as tomorrow night I shall be donning my glad rags and stepping out among the glitterati.

Thoughts of little black dresses inspired this piece for Illustration Friday's 'afterwards' theme and also finally got some work into my sketchbook project book. Look at this girl, how prim and proper she looks as she prepares for the office Christmas Party. She spent a fortune at the hairdressers getting that hair pinned, her make up is applied with the delicacy of a pre-Raphaelite working on a Greek beauty and the crushed velvet of her brand new sparkling party dress skims her curves perfectly.

Hours later she stands surveying her reflection once again. Every picture tells a story my friends and I think hers speaks of too much sparkling wine, an overdose of uninhibited dancing and someone else wearing her lipstick - look at that secret grin and try telling me otherwise!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A bit more whimsey

Lily was a happy little girl, even though she was the only girl in her class with pink hair.

I don't quite know what it is with me, but I always struggle to give my girls - whimsy or stylised - a 'normal' hair colour. Perhaps I harbour a secret desire for magenta locks myself? I know I'd love long thick tresses. I even dreamt last night that I was discussing hair extensions with Cheryl Cole while visiting in her modest semi-detached. Been having the strangest dreams lately...

I've been playing with whimseys today for my Sunday Sketch, Art Every Day and Tam's class (nothing like a bit of multi-tasking I say!). They really are rather fun, if a little harder to get right than they look! This little girl looks so innocent and sweet, but notice how she has her hands behind her back... What do you think she is hiding?

Might do some more later, but really should think about getting dressed and having some breakfast first!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Chatter through the natter

I've committed myself now - words and pictures every day for a month. I was pondering today's entry while drying my hair this morning and came up with a delightfully witty piece of prose to post. Naturally, once the hairdryer stopped blasting at my locks then the thought had blown away too so you'll have to make do with this ramble instead.

My attempts at fine words are being slightly hampered by my boyfriend's non-stop natter in my ear about football...

 I find it rather hard to just give you a picture with nothing to accompany it; just not in my nature. I like to natter and share what's flowing through my mind. I remember trying 'Wordless Wednesday' once - I think I sneaked in a whole paragraph.

My pink lady is sketched on some patterned paper (which you may just be able to make out).

I give up... can't think of anything more to say.. perhaps the wonderful post will pop back for another visit later.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Happiness is...

"Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly may alight upon you."
Nathaniel Hawthorne

What a beautiful sentiment. I googled happiness quotes this week in preparation for my entry to the Inspiration Avenue challenge on this very theme. There were many that echoed Nathaniel's words. We all need to take time to just sit and take life in sometimes to realise how happy we already are. That constant pursuit of 'If only..' just leads to much distress. However, one thing I have learnt though is that you can't just sit around expecting it to fall in your lap. If you want butterflies, you're not likely to find them lying around in bed. You have to go out and grow the flowers - then sit quietly in the garden you made!

If you want something you work at it. You learn, you practice and hone your skills. It doesn't just land in your lap.

As I posted a couple of days ago - I'm planting some seeds in my garden right now. I wonder when the butterflies will arrive?

Day 5 of Art Every Day. I thought I might as well join the NaBloPoMo gang too - that's blog posting every day month! It's also Happy Friday. So many reasons to post today!!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

I found it!

The Sketchbook for the same-named project. I confess that I've had it for months and managed one drawing before promptly losing (and forgetting about) it in a cavernous mess of tangled art supplies.

Trouble is, I still don't quite know what I'm going to put inside. I lay in bed pondering my 'Story' theme last night. The thing is though that wrapped up in a duvet and darkness is not the best method for drawing (pun intended) sketchbook ideas from my brain. What I need is a large sheet of paper, a sturdy pen and then some serious mind mapping. I love this technique - just letting the ideas pour forth and spread tentacles across the paper.

Whatever I decide on, I think it might involve this little character. What do you think? I quite fancy playing with whimsey for a while and seeing what adventures we might have.

This poppet is destined for a fun piece based on Tam's lessons and for Inspiration Avenue's Happiness challenge - should be finished by tomorrow and as it's Happy Friday, seems a good day to post!

Day 4 of Art Every Day Month

I just had to add this link to a wonderful post that really hit the spot this evening. If you've ever been nervous of painting on canvas, then be afraid no more. Have a read! It's from Victoria at Enchanting the Invisible - a delightfully magic space and entices you in with sparkling prose and pictures.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Putting it out there

The time has come to procrastinate no longer. The stars are in alignment (or so the delightfully named Shelly von Strunkel told me on the radio). I want my want and I'm gonna go out and get it. Even Wishcasting this week is pointing me in the right direction! Jamie asks: What do you wish to enjoy? Why everything about life and that includes how I earn a living!

I am a writer. I accept this now. I want to write more. I need to write more. I have been earning my living from writing. I need more clients. I must build my business. I want to pull that book out of me (kicking and screaming if necessary).

The most important thing to remember though is that this is what I know I will enjoy. It's my passion. Whatever I decide to do, I must hold onto that emotion and never let it become a chore.

So, here's what I'm going to do next.

1. Update my business website with all the things I've done and can do.
2. Tell people about myself - turn myself into a mini 'celebrity'. Become known in the right circles. Market, market, market.

[Back you demons. I can hear you saying "you can't write that. You're not good enough. Who would be interested in you anyway?" Go away. I'm not listening. I'm talking to the Universe, so kindly don't interrupt]

Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, getting my name out there. Well, just wondering if anyone would like me to do a guest post for them on their blog? I'd also be interested in finding other blogs and sites that look for guest writers, so if you know of any, please do share!

Eek, I asked! I am prepared for a deathly silence, but if you don't ask you don't get. No charge or catch for this - just a hint of what to write about.

I hope you're listening Universe!

You can contact me via my email link in my profile page or just leave a message in comments.

Art Every Day - Day 3. Some playing in Photoshop today. I went to a posh garden centre last week and took a stack of photos of all the lovely things they had on display. I couldn't afford to buy them, but anyway, how much more fun it can be to play artistically with their images! Expect to see a few more...

And why a picture of pots today? Planting idea seeds my friends. I wonder what will grow?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Her name was Lola

She was a show girl, but that was 30 years ago when they used to have a show...

Please stop singing that song Barry. I can't get you out of my head... "at the Copa... Copacabana... they fell in love". Agrhhhh!!!

If you read yesterday's post you'll know that Lola and I have had words; we've fallen out and we are most definitely not friends. Revenge is sweet though. Lola was going to be in her prime, but the layers of paint took their toll and she aged. She has become the Miss Haversham of the Copacabana, sitting at the bar surrounded the detrious of a life on the stage gradually crumbling into the hardboard scenery. She is for the Three Muses Showtime challenge.

Poor Lola, she lost her youth and she lost her Tony and she lost her mind...

Barry... I'm warning you...

I admit that this has been a real struggle. I painted her on canvas too. Perhaps it was the pressure of using expensive supplies. I think the final grim touch was adding long scraggly hair; but this was after I decided she was old, mad Lola sitting at the bar in her old finery getting drunk night after night, in which case she probably works! Once I came to terms with the Lola she wanted to be, then we made friends again. I red rimmed her eyes and painted on the smile that never quite reaches her eyes. It's a rather tragic song. Let's go find something more cheerful shall we...?
Day 2 of Art Every Day month.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Doing battle

The battle lines are drawn (with an HB pencil) and the ranks are massing. A number of skirmishes have already taken place with minor injuries on both sides but neither has established an advantage.

Lisa and Lola glare at each other, frown, grimace and smile. Colours spark from eyes then fade away and just as it looks one has the advantage then they back down.

I'm having a fight with my painting. Lola the showgirl is having a strop. She doesn't like her outfit, she wishes she wasn't facing full on, but would prefer just her right (best) side. Too late now I murmer as I attempt to bring some life into her features. The strobe lights are confusing the lighting. Someone mixed grey into her make up and she looks like a corpse. She just won't smile.

I'm sorry Lola but you had your to chance to be young and beautiful but you just wouldn't cooperate would you? We're moving instead to the later stages of the song - the bit where you're all jaded in your faded feathers. Yes, that will teach you my lady.... Showgirl indeed....

I hope to have her finished to post in time for The Three Muses challenge on Wednesday, but her face has just disappeared under another coat of white and her sparkly bikini-style top has become a black velvet dress, so who knows what she'll be looking like this time tomorrow. She may have to wait for a 'living dead' theme from some other challenge! I blame too much Halloween...

Postscript: I have just discovered that Leah Piken Kolidas is hosting Art Every Day for the month of November. Naturally I couldn't let this pass me by so have signed up. Here is today's! Anyone can join, so grab your pencils and paints and I'll see you over there.
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