Saturday, 18 January 2014

The craving continues...

It appears that the flood of paint that spilled across paper last weekend was merely a quick fix. I need more art... I have signed up for two new online creative courses this month - the first began on Monday - although after the long wait I couldn't devote any time to it (the day job got in the way - darn it!)

It almost feels like I have been holding out for these, as if they are going to be the medication I need to settle my soul. True they will provide direction and tribe to share the ups and downs, but equally I should by now be able to cope on my own, to trek my own path.

Perhaps instead they are simply the perfect antidote to a busy life that often leaves little time for searching for my own inspiration. Being given direction takes a little stress away and gets paintbrush to paper which is the magic first step - for is it not the case that once the art starts something else takes over and the inspiration you sought so fruitlessly suddenly arrives unbidden from the corners of memory and imagination?

And what inspiration. In our first week with Jeanne Oliver 'studying the masters' we have been given the gift of Matisse. It's a real push away from comfort zones as I venture into the world of interiors, full figures (yes, arms and legs!), nudes and still life. And PATTERN!

Normally I shy away from such complications but my teachers held my hand and gave me confidence. Here's a copy of one of his pieces - I used oil pastels to try to get as close to the original as I could without spending a week on it! I was thrilled with how it turned out. Next I'm working on my own thing inspired by his techniques - a lot harder I fear!

I've begun with a few tentative sketches playing with perspective and composition...

Sharing with the crew at Sunday Sketches.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Night bloom

I had an urge to paint - a pulling from my soul. PAINT, PAINT, PAINT it shouted and screamed at me as I lay in bed swamped under a blanket of insomnia and with a head fugged with a cold virus.

And I tried, I really did. But the hours ticked away, the day job beckoned and the days drifted...

And then, finally last night I got paintbrush to paper and it all flooded out. Nothing profound or earth shattering but a creation of sorts. Buds became flowers and seeds grew to bloom - a meadow of floral sunshine danced across the page.

And then, for the first time in days I finally banished the night time demons that had been keeping me awake. I slept long and deep. Coincidence?

Next time I listen to my Muse - she clearly knows best!

This piece I'm sharing here was one of my favourites from last night's prolific spree. Blobs on a page that I'd used to mop up a surplus of paint from another piece grew into a painting in their own right and the title (which just jumped out at me) particularly appropriate!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Midnight Garden

Soft secrets whisper through the grass
as the night creatures stir
dreams fly from a hidden lair
And the seeds of tomorrow are sown

There must be something about January for its chill and drear seems to inspire me to dream of seasons past and to come - the warm kind - and to paint flowers. This time last year I called my 'Poppy Period' and it seems we have come full circle with the seeds of last winter bearing fruit again!

There are paintings in various stages of completion drying all over the lounge floor and calling me back. This one came from a messy experiment. It started life as an abstract watercolour butterfly, then I tried my new stencil and played with some spray inks. It was all set to become a piece of scrap when suddenly I saw the poppy heads stirring in the night as the fairies brushed past their stems...

Sharing with Sunday Sketches.

Friday, 10 January 2014

A Magical Journal Journey

Collaborate is my word for 2014, but it's not exactly something new for me. For the past two years I have been a part of a truly special creative project with a bunch of wonderful artist friends that span two continents.

We have worked together to weave a set of magical journals each imbued with our own styles and spells. A veritable coven of creativity, we inspired each other with a colourful theme to set the tone.

This year we chose a colour theme for our journal before sending it on its way. At last it's back and the slideshow above is its visual story of its journey packed with the work of nine artists.

I chose rusty hues - crackly browns, sumptuous oranges and speckles of turquoise and green.

The book spent nine months on the road (no wonder it go so rusty!) before coming home to me in November - about five times fatter than when it set off. In fact, it resembles more of a concertina these days than a bound book!

At first the colour theme was a little scary, but we collaborative journallers are seasoned professionals these days and knew that once we got started and did something about those pesky blank pages, then all would be well.

Right now we are in the throes of planning our project for 2014. One of these days maybe it won't just be my journal that gets to travel and meet my friends! Although... Kat and I did meet this October when I was 'down her neck of the woods'. It felt like we'd already met a thousand times!

Visit my fellow artists and dreamers over the course of this weekend (starting Saturday) as we share our work, and view the fruits of our labours and roll about in all those juicy colours! See if you can spot my contributions!

Friday, 3 January 2014

How to save a few quid and get some exercise

Next time your car is due for a service and the garage is 6 miles away, why not contemplate using these few tips to help you both save money and exercise!

Yes, dear reader. It would be silly to waste money on a taxi and gym membership when a brisk walk home will get the old heart pumping.

The route is quite a pleasant one too on a raised up pathway above the flood plains and overlooking the river. What a splendid idea!


If it's raining and blowing a gale, you may find that the raised pathway alongside an expanse of open ground is not terribly sheltered. Umbrellas do not stand up too well in these conditions and the driving rain will soak through every layer of clothing you are wearing - no matter how thick and warm it starts out at the beginning of your journey.

The path is also isolated from any road for the first 2.5 miles so once you get about halfway along and realise it's a bad idea, then it's a little late.

You may then have to battle on with no protection from the elements getting wetter and colder until the first sign of civilisation. If you're very lucky, the nice people at the Holiday Inn will call you a taxi and give you a towel to dry your hair.

Unfortunately you will still have to pay for the taxi home as well as a new umbrella. Any benefits from the exercise will shortly be wrecked by coming down with a sore throat and a cold. Next time... get a bloody taxi!

Thursday, 2 January 2014


Last year my word of the year was 'Rhubarb' - a fruity choice but not terribly conducive to following any form of set direction. In fact, I would go so far as to say that many of my goals 'crumbled' due to such a lack of binding substance.

This will not happen in 2014. No No No...

The year, albeit only two days old has already begun with a differing outlook - a barrel-load of commitment and a rolling stone of change!


Here's how I see it going:

I work OK on my own, but it's when I'm teamed up with others that I shine. I love to get my teeth into new projects and sprinkle them with ideas and possibilities. I bring creativity, enthusiasm, knowledge, entrepreneurship, companionship and a bit of sparkle. Likewise, those I work with light the fire within me, give me the courage to push beyond comfortable boundaries and deliver promised results. Collaboration gives accountability and drives productivity. I want more! Are you looking for a partner to help you deliver in 2014?

Being a part of something special makes my soul bloom. For the past two years I have worked with other artists on collaborative projects and watched with delight as we have all put out our shoots and grown together. This is set to continue with projects underway and plans unfolding - but I dream of more! I have the germ of an idea seeding within me which I hope to share soon ... watch this space!

A word of caution to myself
I do like to say a big fat "Yes" to exciting invitations - it is, after all, the path to adventure. However, as I have learnt to my cost in the past, there are only so many balls I can simultaneously juggle. This is my little word of caution not to overload at any one time... Listen carefully Lisa and choose wisely!

Before I go, might I share my anti work of the year - the one that I'm trying my level best to not only avoid, but fight against. I am preparing my defences against the might of the dreaded demon Procrastination. May it beaten into submission once and for all!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014


Having an error message pop up on screen just as you are about re-start your blogging habit is not terribly auspicious is it? Plus, it appears I left cAPS-lOCK on too (and I've got a sore throat and aching limbs but that's a whole other topic).

Is this a message from the stars or simply just an unfortunate quirk of fate?

I think I'll go with the former as that sounds far more intriguing (and allows for a long and rambling blog post!). It could be the title of my new book. One of the main characters whispered his secrets to me last night as I lay in bed listening to explosions that were seeing in the New Year. I did watch for a little while as the sky above my town lit up in celebration but my bed was just so cosy and tempting... Maybe it's going to be the recurring lyric in a catchy tune set to take the charts by storm...

OR - it's the clanging chimes of doom? I mean have you read what it says? The compile time user-agent  is gonna get me!

I was going to write about my word for 2014 in this post, but got distracted (an all-too-regular failing which I will try to remedy at some point this year too). However, ANTI-PROCRASTINATION is not my word of guidance, much as it runs of the tongue so delightfully. You'll just have to wait until the next post to find out what is!


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