Saturday, 30 June 2012

Needles and pins

Some things needle me about Pinterest, and some just tickle...

Here's a list:


1. Why would you repin a personal comment? I mean, if I write something like 'this would never fit in my bed', why would anyone else want to share that as their own? Is it just laziness or do we have the same bed?

2. People that post artworks but don't share who their creators were. I always try my hardest to find out... but I know it's not always possible. But do try really hard people.

3. People who have enough spare time in their day to find all this stuff.

4. People who have been to/live in all these beautiful places.... I'm just a bit jealous - and even more so because they are all such good photographers.

5. Pictures of immaculately tidy children's rooms. Today I even saw some crayons colour-coded and stored in different cups. Not in my house...

Err... that's about it for needles. I'm not really a needly sort of person to be honest - much too glass half full for that.


1. Saw a pin of Number 10 Downing Street with the comment 'I think this is England?'. It's probably the second most famous address in the country! The first, naturally being her Majesty's town palace. I'm guessing the pinner wasn't from these shores. If they were, they should be thrown in the Tower!

2. Finding your own artwork pinned (and credited!). I was tickled pink that day!

Well, I might write more, but to be honest I keep hopping back to my Boards and getting distracted...

Plus, can I let you into a little secret? This whole post was just the staging so I could use the headline Needles and Pins. These don't really bother me... well, not much anyway!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Supermarket cruelty

I'm on a diet and fitness regime. It's going pretty well and I've lost 5kg already. As well as consuming the obligatory rabbit food, I've also cut down on the carbs (particularly the evil white refined ones), turned cakes and biscuits into once a week treats and (almost) weaned myself off chocolate. I do nibble on the occasional square of the dark stuff, high in cocoa solids - particularly nice when combined in the mouth with dried fruit.

It hasn't been easy. The sugar-cravings were the worst and things got to the state where I was dreaming about cupcakes and sniffing any discarded mars bar wrappers I found blowing down the street.

However, the worst is over; the fitness levels are rising and I'm actually enjoying the healthy diet and can walk past pizzas, chips,crisps, biscuits, ice cream and chocolate in the aisles of the supermarket with ease. Imagine my consternation this morning though when I realised that Tesco are onto me. They have clearly been studying my Clubcard buying patterns and noticed an alarming dip in my monthly purchase of sugary substances.

Coupled with an increase in wholegrain cereal dropping into the shopping trolley, they came up with a dastardly plan.

"Let's put a display of chocolate hanging down in front of the healthy cereal section" their dastardly marketing manager doubtless suggested in their revenue-generating meeting. The rest of his team rubbed their hands in excitement. It would surely work. The mean man was about to pick up the phone and call Cadbury to see if they'd offer a discount, when an over-ambitious fiend had an even better idea.

"Make it Lindt" she whispered, holding the rest of the team in awe... "Looking over her purchase patterns, I've a sneaky suspicion this may be her favourite".

And so it was that at least 20 bars of mouth-watering Swiss chocolate hung temptingly in front of the no-sugar, many grain, actually pretty tasty granola.

Would our heroine give into temptation.



Thursday, 28 June 2012

Lethargy & Inertia

Two words that pretty much sum up how I feel this evening.

Maybe it's the weather. It's sultry and there's a storm brewing.

Maybe it's just me.

Here's a picture I painted earlier in the week when I had the energy to lift a brush. If you look very closely you'll see the dancer.

I'm dancing in my heart... honest...

Sharing for Paint Party Friday.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


So, Blogger has changed its word verification again. Instead of having two blurry words to decifer, now we just get one plus a photo of somebody's house number.

This has me seriously perplexed. Did Blogger have to send out one of their Googlers with a camera to wander the streets snapping randomly? Were they instructed to shake the camera slightly each time? Have they captured any famous doorways?

Are spammers not then capable of reading house numbers? Given the amount of junk mail I receive, I beg to differ...

Monday, 25 June 2012

Pomegranate ice cream anyone?

The Pomegranate is a strange fruit. So pretty, but I can't be doing with all those seeds...Such a palaver to eat when really it's just crying out to be subject toan artistic still life (or the juicer).

Saying that, it has taken me 42 years to get arround to attempting to capture on canvas its 'paint me' insides - and the task proved much harder than anticipated, a bit like eating those seeds...

I've been playing with a new technique I developed on my eCourse. My students may recognise it... Nigel for one has been experimenting quite successfully with 'the Britannia Coconut Dancers' (you really need to google them...).

Unless you're in 'the circle' though, it is all top secret. I mean I could tell you, but then this post would go in self-destruct mode and seriously you don't want pomegranate seeds flying out of your screen at you...

This is all actually in aid of the Summer of Colour baseball flavour ice cream (I'm sure it was called something like that...). Anyway, it was pink, white and nuts, which between them I do believe this piece of art and writing has just about covered.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Am I messed out?

I haven't played in my Messy Journal for weeks. I'm afraid to say that I've somewhat abandoned my poor group of mess-creants to their own devices.

What happened? Did I just get messed out? Was there only so much chaos one girl could take?

My office is a perpetual mess as is my 'studio' aka dining table. As much as it pains me to attempt to work amid piles of paper, stationery, a camera, notebooks, bubble wrap (who knows what that's doing on my desk?), shells, bank statement and magazines - I just can't quite organise myself into any semblence of order.

Attempting to paint is even worse...

Would a bigger house help? A bigger desk, more shelves, cupboards and drawers? Or, would that just offer kindling to the blaze?

Sometimes I hate it. Often it brings the black dog of depression to sit alongside me whining and dribbling to be taken out for a walk and entertained. When it gets that bad though, I have to give in and tidy up at least a little...

My art is never neat either. It usually begins life as a quantity of splats and splotches with little thought for the final output. I just paint on top of what I've got. A bit like the rest of my day as I battle both creative thought and paper towers.

Despite the lack of space in which to work, today has been a profilic one on the art front. Here you see the result of being told to 'destroy a page in the book and put it back together again creatively'. I snipped, sewed and threaded (and performed the habitual paint slap).

I like it. It makes for some interesting angles. I may have to experiment further and start sewing more of my artworks as one can get away with being, dare I say it, 'messy' in one's sewing skills. It's called art darling! Couldn't get away with that when trying to put a button back on!

This final shot was me playing with layers in PhotoShop.

Now I shall shut the door on this chaos and retreat to my bed and no doubt tangled dreamscapes!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The art of football



These are part of my series of football paintings - the kind you do while the match is playing at the other end of the room. I do try to be patriotic and support my national team, but football does get a bit tedious after the first five minutes and it annoys me think how much they get paid to pass the ball around (not always very successfully) and hit the post.

For those of you not on European shores, you may have missed the fact that it's the 'Euros'. Across our continent, fans gather by their TV sets biting their nails and chewing their knuckles. After 90 minutes of watching the players running about you'll be lucky to see one goal scored. You are guaranteed though at least one bad referee decision (yeah, yeah, it crossed the line after all - live with it - we remember Lampard in South Africa and the famous 'hand of God). You are guaranteed a spot of high drama histrionics from the players - lots of rolling around the floor in agony clutching their left leg when the replay shows they were actually kicked in the right... then they're leaping up and running after the ball when they realise nobody gives a toss.

There's not even much eye candy on the pitch either to help pass the time. Bring back Beckham I say. A friend of mine saw him play many times. She said he actually 'twinkles'...

Oh well, if he's not playing football this week, maybe he'd like to be my guest at Paint Party Friday. He certainly appears to be dressed for it!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tick Tock

I started my time at the computer this evening listening to a webinar about Time Management. Getting more stuff done. That's what I need...You see I allow myself to be distracted far too easily. My brain is a manic road system at rush hour - we're talking both left and right sides here - busy stuff! Some of it is clogged with information that needs processing and going nowhere while other lanes are free-flowing and those ideas are whisking off to implementation land.

Take this evening. As I was watching the webinar I started thinking how I could blog about the whole experience. I jumped in the fast lane and here I am fingers zipping across those keys... (plus a quick diversion to PhotoShop to make a suitable image) ...


Wasn't there something else I was supposed to be doing?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Mint-choc echinacea

Yes, I know, I was flumoxed by the title too. I mean I've heard some flavour and ingredient combinations before that had me baffled, but this one was a real mystery!

In a bold departure, it appears that Lisa Wright has decided to use her mint-choc background (created especially for The Summer of Ice Cream Colours), as a stage setting for flowers. With not a face or eye in sight, this appears to be a throwback to her early painting days when she believed that the only things she was capable of painting were petals and bunnies in smocks and sailor suits.

Will this set a new trend? Are all those macro shots of Corfu blooms about to be immortalised onto canvas with paint and pastel? I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tzatziki for tea

What's a girl to do while the football is on? Well, she could skillfully get the channel changed so she can watch Greece (my new adopted country) beat Russia, rather than the Poles and the Czechs (first choice of man about the house), and cheer them on during the exciting bits. However, 90 minutes is a long time to watch men running around some grass kicking a ball about, so she had to play with her pencils and pens too.

I doodled on some scraps of paper left over from another project. I think the bottom girl is calling out for a proper portrait. She has a touch of the Greek about her anyway.

My heart is still in Greece. A trip to the supermarket saw me bringing home the ingredients for a Corfu salad, Greek yoghurt in assorted flavours and a vat of Tzatziki. I am pretending that the sound of the wind ruffling through the trees outside is actually waves lapping upon a sandy shore.

These are my Sunday Sketches. I was all set to play last week from my holiday shores. But, despite producing the requisite pieces and having the required technology at my disposal to make it happen, somehow lying by the pool, leaping through the waves with my son and gazing into the blue won out. Sorry folks!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

My watch stopped working

It was a sign. Time to switch off, remove oneself from the hamster wheel of 'normal' life and allow a different rhythm to pump through your veins. The Holiday. The golden Corfu beaches. A slower pace.

It was also an opportunity to leave behind the grey skies and persistent rain-soaked (drought-ridden!) England and experience the colour blue in all its glory and shades. Frankly, I'd almost forgotten it existed.

Back again now though to washing, grocery shopping, cooking and the unpacking that seems to take an eternity (though it's always nice to find a little pile of sand at the bottom of the suitcase to remind my toes of what it felt like to scrunch in (or, during the heat of the day, run very fast across...)

I like holidays. I love Corfu. I want to go back there.... right now.... and watch the sun set just like this...

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sherbet Dib Dab

I am hoping for the best, typing this on a very ropey Internet connection somewhere in Corfu. Yes, without wishing too make you too jealous, I am in fact on holiday here on the isle of olive trees.

Since arriving I have yet to see a cloud. It is not yet quite as relaxing as I thought as the temptations of pool and sea pull me away from sun lounger and small boy wants mme to play games. Today I somewhat foolishly climbed up to a viewpoint. It was an hour of solid climb in 35 degrees, then got lost in the narrow maze of streets in the hilltop village and had to retrace steps back uphill!

Anyway, enough of that for now. Here is my piece for Summer of Colour on the theme of sherbet. Apologies if it takes me a while to get around everyone, as I say, the Internet connection is a bit of a struggle. I was unhappy with the first version of this, so cut it up into pieces and started again. Never give up I say.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Feeling bookish

Einstein said that "Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."

It's an easy thing to do. I use reading as procrastination all the time. After all, delving into a book about 'The Art of Possibility' or 'Resonating through visual presentation' is work right? It's education, it's honing my craft... Well, yes, but it's not much use if all you ever do is read and never apply. Or, worse still, if you take what the author says as 'read' and don't mix in your own opinion and experience - your unique point of view.

This piece is part inspired by Modigliani (he of the long face predilection) and Audrey Hepburn (she of the pretty face). Audrey wrote that:

"Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it in all at once."

This lady, who wears Audrey's quote across her chest like a cosy scarf, is wide-eyed in wonder. Her mind fills with creative fuel until she can do nothing else but light the touch paper...

Sharing for The Butterfly Effect's theme of Books.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Hey you...

Hey you...

I happened to be listening to Basement Jaxx while I painted last night which is the only reason this painting got its name. I scribbled the lyrics across her while bopping to the music. Then I remembered I was supposed to watching the Jubilee concert... Doh! Good job, I recorded it. Caught the last half live at least!

This piece a bit different for me, but then again not really a surprise. I was craving a change in direction (even if only temporary), and rose to the challenge on Willowing.ning to paint a quirky face instead of a pretty one. We all benefit from a change in direction every now and again - look at Mary Poppins, she dictated her working life by the wind (with a bit of help from the odd dodgy cockney too).

I was loosened up by the music. I slung my paint with wild abandon (I like me a bit of wild abandon - good for the soul). It was very satisfying to find bits of my painting adventure still adherring to my arms and under my fingernails this morning - always a sign of good session I think.

I finished off this second piece today. See if you can guess what artist I was listening to last night while scribbling in the background!

Girl with dog

Today, though I felt she wasn't quirky enough so we snipped out a little randomness to finish her off. I'm thinking now that maybe she needs a black & white handbag - that's what you get for making her part 'model'. All she can think of is accessories!

We finish up with Mr Quirky Bird. If you want to know the roundabout and mysterious process that went into making him though, you'll have to take my course!

mR qUiRkY bIrD

Sunday, 3 June 2012

It's a Jubilee Parade

I love being a Brit. We know how to put on a show. This afternoon around a thousand boats flotilla-ed down the Thames and the Queen kept waving. It was, after all, her Jubilee. The weather was dreadful. It was cold, windy and raining, but we pull out our sou'westers and thermal undies, stick feet in wellies and just go for it.

This family braved the drizzle to go to a local 'picnic in the park'. Some enterprising souls brought their own tents. We just dodged from the Antiques to the tea tent and face painting then slipped and slid through the quagmire that was once parkland. We don't care. It's our Queen's Jubilee and we're jolly well going to enjoy it.

You've got to admire the woman. 60 years on the throne and still smiling, still poised and elegant, still very much a figurehead and a bastion of all that's British, even if no-one can quite fathom what she carries in her handbag (maybe a couple of quid for an ice cream if the weather's nice).

She only has to say the word and the Royal peacocks change their plumage just for her. Red, white & blue is so this season.

I've no idea what possessed me to draw a peacock to celebrate the occasion, but let's just go with it. A Jubilee-inspired piece for Sunday Sketches.
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