Monday, 31 October 2011

Ghostly haunts

If ghosts exist, do you think they might be more inclined to haunt historical buildings? Visiting the Tower of London this weekend, with a thousand years of drama, turmoil, torture and the odd beheading or two; it certainly seemed the most likely place to spot one - especially the day before Halloween!

We heard grisly tales of the poor unfortunates who spent years locked inside its forbidding walls, with seemingly nothing better to do than carve Tudor graffitti into the soft walls that remains to this day. The Ravens regarded us with quizzical eye - these hoardes of marauding tourists gawping and staring. I think that if anyone knows where the ghosts hang out, it's these noble creatures.

So, today I was at work and, as befits someone of my stature and reputation, it seemed only right that I dress in appropriate work attire...

Saturday, 29 October 2011

It's hairy and it's got lots of legs...

Don't you just hate that moment when your eye tells your brain that something's not quite right about the bath... that there's something standing out starkly against the white enamel that just shouldn't be there... The hairs on the back of your neck begin to stand on end, your body tenses and you prepare for fight or flight... or maybe in my case, grabbing the nearest beaker and sheet of card.

What is it with the giant house spider and the bath tub? Are they particularly clean creatures? Do they like the smell of my bubble bath and fancy a hot soak? Or... much more sinisterly... do they desire a bite on my ankle, then a quick run up my leg heading for the face? EEK! I'm scaring myself!

Despite my fear of those many legs running across my flesh, I always take the second bravest option to deal with the intruder. The first is naturally just to ignore it and celebrate the fact that it eats flies (and was used by my ancestors as a cure for Malaria and Leprosy... apparently... I read it in a book - you had to eat them!). My preferred method is to approach with trembling hand and nausea and place a cup (or bowl, depending on size of creature) over its many legs, poison-dripping fangs and hairy body; then I slice a sheet of card underneath and carry into the garden hoping a passing bird may take a fancy... This release back into the wild is always done at arms length with a bolt back through the door and deadlocks applied. Heart beating wildly I'll return, shaking and covered in a sheen of fear.

Spiders and I just don't mix. What possessed me to want to draw one is quite beyond me. I had intended to draw a pretty little birdie and was flicking through a nature book for inspiration; but then I got sidetracked by the Illustration Friday theme of 'scary' - influced by all these Halloween-themed programmes on TV -  so I drifted onto ideas of zombie crows until, these hairy legs just 'spoke' to me (in a sinister spider-like fashion naturally).

I kind of like the way it is unfinished and cropped close; makes you wonder what's going on and what move it's going to make next... It's looking right at you don't you know?

Posting too for Sunday Sketches. I'm sorry if I make you shiver and shudder!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Beneath the mask

We all wear masks every now and again, indeed I have a metaphorical draw full, ready to pull on should the occasion demand it. Most are cool and collected and one even has C O N F I D E N T scrawled across the forehead in brave and bold lettering. They come in very useful - though some are a little more transparent than I would like.

This lady merely wanted to hide her true identity to practise a little discreet flirting with her lover. But let's face it, that hair was always going to be a giveaway and she's wearing a dahlia from the bouquet he gave her this morning...

Still, he'll pretend to be surprised as she lowers the mask and flutters those expensive false eyelashes at him.

I'm joining the Masquerade Ball for Inspiration Avenue then running quickly over to Paint Party Friday... so many invitations... so little time...

This piece took hours this week. Layer after layer of prismacolour pencil kept me amused and relaxed every evening. It was a total pleasure.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Most Irregular...

Where angels fear to tread is said to be a trait of the Aries lass and (as is the wont of star signs) I have often been able to apply it to yours truly. I don't like doing things by the book - particularly when it comes to work. That's what my clients like about me though - I do it differently. I raise eyebrows, capture attention and engage. I'm not always allowed a total free reign... sometimes I probably do go a little too far, but I'm on a mission to make corporate communications fun to read, stories to bring out and repeat round the fire on a cold night.

I've been wanting to write this post for a week or so - ever since my new boots arrived. I have a bit of thing about new boots - they just demand that kind of respect that requires an admiring blog post...A bit like these ones which I first fell in love with here.
They are from a brand I was not familiar with, but whose images of feet jewelled beauty is now etched onto my retina and Amazon wish list. They fit me rather well in more than the obvious sense! A brand after my own heart...
"Irregular Choice is known for maintaining creativity and individuality in a world of conformity. It is more than just the name of a brand. It's a state of mind, a way of being. A supply of something fresh and fun that maintains imagination and originality above all else."

One thing's for sure - I'm not afraid to tread anywhere with these fine specimens on my feet! I feel a very lasting relationship coming on and am currently lusting after these turquoise beauties... or would they be better in purple... Hmm decisions decisions... and check out the detailing on that heel... Ah.....

What I adore about these shoes is that designer Danny Sullivan is breaking all the rules. He's dressing feet like they deserve to be treated - for don't they work hard for us all day - should they not be decked in finery and made to feel a million dollars? All Irregular Choice footwear is unconventional, different from each other. Each designed shoe is a style statement in itself.

How could they have been off my radar for so long? It's a crime! Now, where's my credit card?

Monday, 24 October 2011

Overwhelm Awash Inarticulate Unworthy

Close your eyes and imagine soft swathes of gossamer-thin silk floating in a warm breeze and wrapping themselves around you. Your eyes can't quite focus through the rainbow of layered colour but you're aware of thousands of butterflies and sparkling birds dancing across your field of vision. The most enchanting music is playing and you're losing yourself in a haze of texture, shape and image. You smell the sweetest fruit and drink an intoxicating draught of euphoria...

This is how I feel when I look at art. Or at least this is a tiny, inarticulate description of what goes on somewhere between my heart and soul.

When I'm taken by these moods I feel a creative calling. I want to connect with my own art; to dive into the depths of inspiration and swim between, up and through layers. I am awash with emotion, craving to make, to create; but at the same time feeling so small and unworthy. I feel carried away by a cruel current as I desperately grasp at the flotsam of ideas and hope that I might atain the lofty heights of those I so admire.

It's too easy to give up. To allow that overwhelm and lack of self belief to win. Right now, I would far rather write about how I feel than try to capture it with paint. I have no idea where to start. I want to collage, stamp, embellish, paint, draw, mould, shape...

Does anyone else ever feel like this?


Some time and some art research later...

Ah, apparently some other artists do (particularly those named Henry)...

"Creativity takes courage"
Henri Matisse

“I find in all the artists that I admire most a disturbing element, a distortion, giving evidence of a struggle . . . . In great art, this conflict is hidden, it is unresolved. All that is bursting with energy is disturbing - not perfect."
Henry Moore

I feel a tiny bit better now. OK, Henri et Henry. I'm listening.... I'm off to face the struggle.
Image is a screen shot of my Pinterest favourite artists board - the source of all this angst!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Progress (and more philosophy!)

Not much time for sketching this week. Well, plenty of sketching out written ideas for clients, but little of the pencil variety. Instead I share with you some progress made on the wonky-eyed wench I submitted for Sunday Sketches last week.

Well, as you can see, she's no longer a sketch! She's levelled herself off a bit now too - although she teetered a bit this way and that before she settled (probably the wine)... She also kept up the philosophy chit chat which was an unusual experience. I mean, I'm used to my paintings talking to me - mostly moaning that the paintbrush is tickling them or that their clothes don't quite fit; but spouting Descartes' "I think; therefore I am" and discussing the geometrical proportions of the composition was truly something new!

While she was thinking, the wench also decided she's still far from done and still requires a certain je ne sais quoi (she's clearly been spending too much time reading French philosophers and needs to get out more!).

And so we will continue on her journey and apparent education. The aim of the exercise is to get her to turn up the other half her lip in a smile of satisfaction... We'll see!

I'm sharing with the Sunday Sketches again so see what they think of her 'improvements'.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Knock Knock

Margie heard the doorbell ringing for what seemed like the 50th time that evening. She struggled to her feet, bones and muscles protesting and headed out into the hallway to laboriously undo the bolts and locks to her heavy oak front door. She didn't flinch though when greeted by a tiny Frankenstein's monster and a putrid zombie, just handed over a bag of sweets then shuffled back to the TV to watch Ian argue with Phil on Eastenders while they too were interrupted by trick or treaters. She couldn't understand the sudden interest and commercialism of Halloween. Wandering around in the dark dressed as a freak and begging for treats seemed morally wrong. Last year she'd forgotten to buy the requisite packets of candy and had to spend the following morning washing dried egg off her windows - it had got all stuck around the leading and the effort quite wore her out. Why couldn't the kids go around offering to treat old ladies instead? That would certainly be more community-spirited than feeding the coffers of retailers and dentists.

Margie chuckled to herself. She was becoming a grumpy old woman and that would never do! She'd reached her 90s without complaint and intended to stay cheerful til she met her maker. Margie felt lucky; unlike many of her friends, she was able enough to stay in the house that she and generations before her had made home - even if she needed a bit of help here and there and the poor old building was getting a bit crumbly around the edges. They suited each other just fine - a couple of dowagers growing older together. So, thanking her blessings, she resolved to inject a bit more fun into her next door-opening and treat giving.

But, it was getting late. The Eastenders' closing credits has been and gone and and as a blanket of tiredness wrapped around her, she found herself dozing off to the soft spoken Welsh lilt of the newsreader and the gentle creaking of the old house as it settled down for the night.


Margie was startled from her slumber and was on her feet heading to the door before she realised it. A motley crew awaited her and she laughed out loud at the best costumes of the night - each was dressed in period garb through the ages from Elizabethan times right up to a well-heeled suffragette. They were also the oldest trick or treaters she'd ever seen with white hair reflecting back the moon. However, their eyes glinted with such a childish mischief that when they suggested Margie join them, she didn't hesitate. In fact, it felt like the most natural thing in the world to want to do!

As they floated off down the garden path together, Margie was distantly aware of a bit of a commotion going on in her front room as 'the nice lady who helps me get ready for bed' escorted ambulance crew and police in sombre fashion to her old armchair in front of the now silent television.

A ghostly tale for the Halloween Party at A Fanciful Twist. There will be many creatures of darkness running amok over there... go visit... if you dare!!

If you like my spooky stories, there's another lurking here and one more behind the cobwebs...

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Looking back and looking in

Blog Party!
This week Inspiration Avenue the Etsy Group and creative challenge blog (of which I am a member) is celebrating hitting 500 followers with a little party. We have giveaways and something creative for you to join in with. Our challenge this week is to share what gives you the inspiration to create.

Now, let me tell you a story... Over two years ago I came across these creative ladies when they held another blog party on a similar theme. I shared what stirs my soul to write and paint and before I knew it had found myself with a whole heap of new friends keen to support me on my artistic journey. With their encouragement I opened my own Etsy shop, became a member of their wonderful tribe and sold some art! Without these wonderfully kind and caring folk, I doubt I would have had the confidence to keep trying new techniques, pushing myself and listening to the Muse inside me who was begging to be let out to play.

So, my Inspiration is YOU! Thank you both team mates and the wonderfully talented artists and creatives who join in every week with our challenges - your work never ceases to amaze me! I hope you don't think it's a cop out, but rather than create something new for this week, I really wanted to share again what started it all over two years ago. If I have time later in the week, I may add a few more to this list, but really want to get to that party right now... I just can't wait!

5 degrees of inspiration (originally posted 1st August 2009)

I've been invited to a wonderful party - fancy dress of course! Come dressed in your five favourite inspirations... It's not too late to join in, grab your 'drive' and journey over...

Inspiration. The word seems to brush gently as it passes your lips,
gossamer soft and strangely enticing.

Primo - My Muse

She is surely a magical thing but playful too. My secret self who will creep up on me when least expected, and don’t think she follows any rules. No way! Inspiration makes an appearance only when she wants to. It’s her terms or no terms.

Inspiration is my muse; she is what turns a dull day into a fine one; a pile of old paper into a work of art and a tiny germ of an idea into a full-blown pandemic of explosive creativity! Sometimes I just have to sit at a keyboard or in front of some art materials and she will weave her spells. Occasionally she makes me work a bit harder for her services. However, the time she pays me most visits (the little minx) is late at night when I am trying to sleep. POP goes the bubble of idea she sends me scuttling into my brain and spreading out its interesting tendrils, exploring a myriad possibilities. Will I remember by morning? Possibly not, so my muse gives me a quick nudge, turns on the bedside lamp and presents me with my beautiful floral notebook into which I diligently record her delightful suggestions.

Secondo - Artists & Creatives

The creativity of others – whether it be a beautiful ACEO on Etsy or gazing in awe in front of the great Masters. Standing in front of the Canalettos in the National Gallery in London, I once had what can only be described as a moment of self-discovery. It is almost impossible to put into words. I felt uplifted and suddenly in touch with lost emotion, with the desire to create and dig for soul treasure.

Websites like Etsy had me dreaming and drooling until suddenly I stopped thinking "if only" and instead dived in head first into a box of art supplies. I came out sticky, paint-stained, crumpled, creased, frustrated, exhilarated but above all motivated. No matter the result, it's the journey that counts. It doesn't have to rank alongside Canaletto, Rosetti or Monet. It just has to please me.

My soul is like a sponge soaked in all this inspirational juice. Everywhere I turn I'm drenched in showers of it. Thank you to all you lovely creative people.
Terzo - Italy

What magic lifts from the fragrant hills? What secrets lie behind honeyed walls and terracotta tile? What secret elixir inhabits the vino rosso? Maybe it is the incurable romantic in me, but there is something timelessly enticing about the land of Romeo and his sweetheart. Artists and writers across the centuries have been drawn in mesmerised and, growing up in such surroundings how can you fail but to become Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, Puccini or even Ferrari?

The first time I sat open-mouthed in front of the film adaptation of the E M Forster classic, A Room with a View, I was in love. I only have to catch a passing glimpse of rolling Tuscan countryside and I am reaching for paintbrush. Ah if only I could truly capture that essence.

Quarto - Feedback

Well, I admit that no one really likes criticism but if ever anything was guaranteed to goad me into action to improve anything I have created then a little niggling dig is sure to rile the Muse into action - providing of course that you see their point of view (there's always a caveat!). "I'll show them..."

But thankfully the scales of happiness do sometimes swing in our favour. How wonderful to receive praise... but is it really as good at kick-starting the Muse? Does it not put extra pressure to out-perform or at the very least equal?

And who can ever resist the pull of a little healthy competition too?

And now alas my inner critic is chastising me. How can I possibly post this without an appropriate picture? I don't have any artwork that quite epitomises the inspiring power of a few choice words. No, not excellent.

Quinto - Heston Blumenthal

Just watch and tell me you're not inspired! Anything is possible. Pure genius.

Heston is arguably one of the world's greatest chefs and undoubtedly the most imaginative.

He is a man who thrives on creativity, cut him in half (not recommended) and he'll have it written through him. It doesn't matter whether he creates culinary concoctions, advertisements, films or breeze blocks. It's about having the nerve to fire up that creativity with inspiration from the most unlikely sources; never being afraid to try something different and, possibly most important, keeping at it until you get the results you're after - it may not be exactly what you set out to do at the start, but it's giving people what they didn't know they wanted - and boy do they want it!

Thank you for the invite. I'm having fun so far, but a little lonely at the party on my own... Who will turn up next and what costumes will they be wearing?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

How a wonky eye got me all philosophical

Last night in the half light while watching TV, I quite liked the direction this sketch was going.

This morning however, I see wonky, mis-shapen and out-of-proportion eyes and lips, narrow sloping shoulders (her dress will fall off if she's not careful!) and she's too mournful looking. I'm not happy either! Time for the eraser!

I'm fine about starting again at this stage. It's only the preliminary sketch after all. It's when you've put the hours of effort in that makes it all the harder. I have a 'finished' painting I've had on my wall for months that I've only just noticed has out of sync features. I'm a little scared to cover up those soulful eyes... but now I see the problem I know I have to.

It's a metaphor for life of course too. Admitting to ourselves that we've taken a wrong path and despite all we've given that course, being brave enough to start afresh down a new one (or maybe just going back past that bend in the road and putting in some serious repair that goes well below surface dressing!).

What's interesting though is what we find on the other path. My marriage disintegration took me on a new romantic path (he's sleeping softly in the room next door. If I knew it wouldn't wake him, I'd nip in their and snuggle up....). When I was made redundant from a job I loved I chose to take a step along the road of self-employment and I haven't looked back.

I'm ready to start again on this sketch and have the faith that the painting I once loved is just waiting for me to take her on the next step to maturity - even now she's telling me that if I don't do it, she knows a plastic surgeon who will...

Posting for Sunday Sketches. Pop along to Blue Chair Diary and see what everyone else's pencils are teaching them!

Saturday, 15 October 2011


She was afraid of letting herself go...

He was afraid she'd got entirely the wrong end of the stick when he'd given her that rose... and why was she looking at diamonds in jewellery shop windows?

He was afraid... very afraid...

A bit of fun for Inspiration Avenue's Fear challenge. I was playing with collage after seeing what Sharon Tomlinson had been up to on Katie Kendrik's course. It was supposed to be a piece of wild passion and romance, but the Muse was feeling cynical and down to earth. She decided a fear of commitment might be more grounding (and it did rather fit the theme - subliminal influencing going on there I suspect!).

It's painted over collage followed by more digital layering.

I was never really afraid of commitment when I was younger. This may have been a personality defect on my part as I ended up getting divorced. However, seeing as I got my son from this error of judgement it's not a decision I would ever have changed!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Inspired by...

Something a little different. Weeks ago Jane des Rosier (aka Gritty) posted a challenge to get a bit of Klimt into our work. I'm taking her portraits and papers class (slowly!) so incorporated a bit of her teaching into my piece. There are some incredible works of art that she has posted on her Facebook page - I urge you to go on over and be amazed.

As you can no doubt see, this was painted over a patchwork of papers, many of which allowed their texture and pattern to show through. There are even the words A BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS at the bottom of the painting which I rather loved.

I can't decide if this is finished yet. It has been a week of unfinished projects which has left me ill-tempered. I've been going to bed early nursing a sore throat and accompanying aches and flitting from one work project to the next. I've calculated my VAT, but not paid it yet. I've bought half an outfit. I've not finished the book on storytelling in presentations I should have completed a week ago... I've half watched a webinar on writing a book and only managed to listen to one of Goddess Leonie's Summit lectures.

I shall post this to show my friends at Paint Party Friday and let them decide if it's finished or not! And in the meantime get on with finishing some stuff!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

How safe are your files?

 I don't know about you, but I'm starting to use Cloud technology more and more to store my precious digital files with little thought over what might happen to them in future. Now, I wouldn't blame you if you started scratching your head and wondering what I'm talking about... Isn't Cloud one of those fancy techie terms us mere mortals don't need to worry about, or even just a fluffy thing in the sky? Well, actually, I'll bet a great deal more of you are using the Cloud than you realise. Anyone use Hotmail? Facebook? Flickr? YouTube?

Ha! Gotcha! Yes, the Cloud is in simple terms, just a server sitting in a data centre somewhere that stores files. While the likes of little old me only really use its vast capacity in a tiny way, there are plenty of others who dip in and out on a regular basis and take real advantage of its flexibility and cost-efficiencies. A good example might be an online retailer. They have their own servers which cover off their day-to-day needs, but on the first day of their 50% discount sale, they are going to have a huge spike in traffic. Enter the Cloud - space on a server as and when you need it.
You might be forgiven for wondering why I am suddenly posting all 'techie'. Well, you see, I do rather a lot of work for Rackspace - one of these Cloud companies... Today they released some fascinating research that they'd compiled together with Goldsmiths College and the Uni of London. You can read the full report here.

In a nutshell, one of their key findings was that for every 10 of us storing our online treasures outside of our own hard drives, only one has thought about what might happen to them when we're gone. A bit morbid perhaps, but I wouldn't want my digital inheritance lost in the clouds!

Here's a quote from the Boss:
Fabio Torlini, VP at Rackspace, says: “The cloud is becoming more and more part of our everyday work and personal life. With the large investment so many UK adults seem to be making in digital treasures, it’s imperative that people consider the associated security and legacy implications. Businesses have a great opportunity now to shape consumer understanding of cloud computing and build trust. It’s important to remember that although cloud is for everyone, it’s not for everything.”

The survey respondents had some interesting thoughts about the future too:

  • 31%  believe that all their music will be stored and/or accessed online, and they won’t own any CDs
  • 28% believe the DVD would be a collector’s item
  • 25% believe they will no longer print photos, just store them in the cloud
  • 14% said they believe that they wouldn’t own any physical books, just e-books
  • 11% believe they won’t own a TV, but would instead use their computer or similar device to access programmes
  • 16% believe their household appliances, e.g. their fridge, will access the internet and, for instance, automatically order more essentials when they are running low
Still think the Cloud is just for techies?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

How now wise owl

Why are owls always supposed to be wise, even when they are not - case in point a certain WOL, trusted advisor to a bear with little brain (but more than he thinks)?

Is it because they often appear to be wearing spectacles... which as everyone knows is a clear indicator of advanced intelligence... or possibly just an ability to see clearly?

For Sunday Sketches and Inspiration Avenue's Owl theme this week I thought I would sketch an owl (we are yet to determine its wisdom though). Now, normally when I sketch something I haven't drawn since I was 6 years old, I would gather some form of reference to assist. However, I was rather too engrossed in simultaneously watching the X-Factor on TV and so decided to use stored mental reference instead.

Owls though are not a bird I have often seen in my garden (heard occasionally), but never seen. I do love looking at them at bird displays though - what magnificent creatures, such power... such wisdom behind those eyes.... Ah, now look at me. I'm answering my own question. Owls just look wise. They go about their business with calm, unruffled authority and woe betide any fool who gets in their way.

My owl however, does not look like he'd do well in a fight. He came from the smallest egg in the clutch and has always preferred to sit and share, rather than go and acquire, his wisdom. I rather like him though and he just goes to prove that we don't need a reference to draw from. Believe it or not, we all have acquired our own wisdom over the years, our store of knowledge (what owls look like, for example). We just have to trust our guts to use it!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Sweet Saturday

How I still love to receive snail mail. I even dreamt about it last night. I was back in the flat of my wild twenties. 2nd floor of a converted house with lots of stairs to run down to check for post. A famous actress lived on the ground floor - though being as she was an actress famed to portraying old ladies, there was a distinct lack of wild parties with George Clooney in attendance going on!

The postman always arrives early here on a Saturday. He usually has a parcel and needs to knock on the door and wake us all up which can be something of a trial. Personally, I think he saves the packages up for the weekend so he gets to see me with wild hair in a dressing gown. The rest of the week he rolls up late morning. I wonder how much online retailing has changed the phyique of the postal worker. They sure have to carry a whole load more around than a few brown envelopes and birthday cards these days...

However, I digress. Today is Saturday! Life is sweet! Especially when you receive goodies in the mail (see, I knew there was a link in there somewhere!). These came last Saturday, but I have been a touch busy.

I was so excited to be a winner of Manonpopje's beautiful art from her latest giveaway. It's full of fun and quirky layers - just my kind of thing. Thank you Manon!

Visit more Sweet Saturdays here.

Friday, 7 October 2011

I love this interview!

... Because it's with me! No, seriously, this is just a bit of fun I found at Amy's site. Amy is a positive delight and if you've never discovered her wit and wisdom then I suggest you pay a visit. She's posted this interview-yourself-technique which thoughtfully helps bloggers find something to write about. Do join in. I might sling in a few interrogations of my own. Perhaps we could all swap a question out with a new one (it's a good way of getting rid of the one you don't want to answer!).

While I'm on the subject of Amy - and giving her a bit of free PR - I should also mention her Neverending Story which will evolve, chapter by chapter, author by author, across the globe... It began this week with a somewhat folically-based tale about keeping domestic animals on your head. I shall be intrigued to see where the cast of characters (many waiting patiently for their cue in the wings... or possibly on the arms) will take my imagination when I take the pen in December.

So, without further ado... I have placed two comfortable chairs facing each other and will now flit back and forth between them while simultaneously swapping costumes to give the real authentic interview technique...

1. What is your name and stuff? and any other good information... like bank account details?

My name is Lisa, but I also answer to Mums, Mumma, Babes, Dreamer, Clever Writer, Dreamer and Super Dooper Artist! I am practising the power of positive thinking a great deal these days too...

If you want my bank account details, you should talk to some guy with an Eastern European sounding surname who 'borrowed' mine for a time. Although since he is currently being investigated by Her Majesty's Constabulary, I would suggest you approach with caution.

2. What is super hot about you? (Don't you Dare skip this one. Answer it!)

Oh dear. I've already pushed the boundaries by daring to say I'm a writer and an artist. You do ask for a lot don't you? Well, err.... today I think I'm dressing pretty hot. I've got my rock chick look on that miraculously makes me look like I've lost half a stone in weight and (I hope) knocks about 5 years off my age. Who needs a diet when clothes can work the same magic?

3. Don't lie or cheat: what is under your couch right now?

Probably a lot of dust and pet hair, a few sweet wrappers, a toy car and a cat toy. I should have kept my cash there too as it would have been safer than in the bank!

4. When was the last time you shaved your legs?

About 18 years ago... now before you all go yeuuuuuhhhhhh, I don't shave but I do epilate. For the uninitiated, an epilator plucks the hairs out. It's a bit like waxing but the pain goes on a lot longer. After a few times (or was it years?) the agony does diminish I promise!

5. What dance would you most like to learn?
Definitely Argentine Tango (though I would require a sexy Latin partner that knew exactly what he was doing).

6. If you could choose a new name, what would you name yourself?

Always. I'd keep my surname though.

[there's a joke here... think about it.....]

7. Have you ever had plastic surgery?

No. However I once had some stitches in my face after minor surgery and had to go out on my 19th birthday looking like someone has squashed a fly on my cheek. It wasn't really the look I was after...

I'll tell you who has had loads of plastic surgery though.... Barbie! (see photographic evidence above!)

8. Are you afraid of the dark?

Only when accompanies by spooky woooohhoooooooo noises or mysterious creaks and bumps.

9. Are you a hermit?

Only on Mondays

10. Why do you blog?

Because it gets me out of the house without actually having to leave it (especially on Mondays - see Q9).

So, there we go. A little bit about me that doesn't really tell you anything at all (apart from slightly reaffirm my eccentricity).

Do partake and share your results!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

A pair of...

I was going to title this post 'A couple of WIPs', but was a bit nervous on the kind of visitor I might be attracting. Oops I did it again!

I've missed my blog this week. Demands of work have kept me away and tired my poor little brain out. The only art I've managed is a quick charcoal outline of a figure. I have matchsticks propping open my eyelids, but I need to be here. The creative well is parched and cracked. It needs sustenance.

I've given all my words to my clients this week - there's nothing left for me.

I'll just post these paintings for Paint Party Friday then go and chill out and listen to some of Goddess Leonie's World's Biggest Summit. Both pieces have been created on top of old 'masterpieces' which I'm doing a lot of lately. I started them both over a week ago, alternating between each as the layers of paint dried. Hopefully I'll finish them over the weekend.

Before I dash off, let me just let you know (by sharing this link) about a lovely party (with presents for some lucky visitors) we are hosting over at Inspiration Avenue to celebrate our 500 followers! (I only hope they don't all turn up at once. I've only made enough vol-au-vents for 50!).

I am sorry my poor neglected blog. I promise I will fill you with wit and wisdom again soon.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sit there for the present

I loved that story in Cider with Rosie when Laurie Lee is instructed to sit at a particular desk on his first day at school. "Sit there for the present," he is told. He waits all day for the promised gift that never arrives!

Well, right now I am sitting pretty in my new home - a little present to myself.

This weekend we converted the spare bedroom/box room/junk store into my new office. No more will I be working in the kitchen and having to pack everything away every time we want to sit at the table to eat a meal. I am Queen of all I survey. As my business grows, so does the accumulation of paperwork, notes and mind-mapping exercises!

Of course, I would have loved for this to be art studio too; but space constraints meant I had to choose one or the other and so the activity that will one day fund a move to a bigger house (with room for an art studio) nabbed the space. I do have some of my art on the wall though!

I'm decidedly pleased with my present. Who knows what the imagination will conjure up in here!

Somewhat fortuitously, Sunday's Scribble theme today is 'present'. Just perfect!

Picture is a bit rubbish, but you get the idea (and the size!)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Viva Espana

Well, I've been back a week already and I'm sure you're all sick of the sight of all the Madrid images I've skillfully manipulated and tweaked.... images that capture the heat and magic of the Spanish capital and fill your senses with flavour and scent.

What? You've missed them? Surely not... Has Blogger been playing up again?

OK, I confess, I have been a bit tardy. What can I say? It's not laziness I can assure. I'm just swamped with the life of the entrepreneur, and believe me that is an exciting, if hectic place to be. I seem to have come through something of an epiphany in the past few months. I have so much more belief in myself, determination and ambition. I'm growing more than I did in teenage growth spurt (I always was a bit of a late developer!).

I have much more to say on the subject, but that is for another post... I have another chapter of a business book I need to go and read right now!

But, before I shoot off, I must share that this week I am hosting the Inspiration Avenue Challenge. Naturally, my thoughts turned to Spain for our theme, seeing as I still felt that country's rays on my skin and tasted the Sangria. Unfortunately, with time not being on my side, all I managed was a background! It was supposed to have a painting of my own of a flamenco dancer, but I had to borrow a couple and have a play in PhotoShop instead. One is a painting by the talented Mai Griffin and the other a photograph from unknown source. Good old PhotoShop eh?

Below is my background - if you enlarge and save for the high res version, you are welcome to have a play and share what you come up with - just come back here and pop in a link to your creation!

Next week I might just get around to sharing some photos! Oh and did I mention that I bumped into some pop stars while I was out there.... Every teenage girl's dream to turn a corner and find yourself surrounded by The Wanted. If only it had been Take That.... ahh.....
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