Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Taking Flight

Fuelling my addiction to art classes, I am picking up my watercolours with Danielle Donaldson and playing in the Land of Light and Shadows.

I've explored what my wings require to lift me off the ground take me to magical places.

A sense of wonder - an ability to marvel at the mundane and find wonder in all things. Spotting the hidden textures of the fungi at the base of a rotting tree trunk, enjoying the

Curiosity - the eternal WHY?

Unfolding your own myth - figuring out my own characterisation and place in the plot of the world.

Standing in my own light - figuring out what it is I'm good at and being brave enough to stand in that spotlight and proclaim it as my own

Creativity - keep on making!

Serendipity - harvesting happy accidents

Spirit of Adventure - where angels fear to tread.

Today I'm playing with magic mushrooms - all on paper!!

Monday, 28 April 2014

You don't have to be mad or suffering from TB to be an artist...

Modigliani has been invading my thoughts and canvas this month. He is the inspiration gifted to me by Priti Lisa in our Magical Journal Journey.

His is such a tragic tale, of illness, addictions, death and broken-hearted suicides. He sold few paintings in his lifetime and was once again only really valued after we had lost him. So tragic to think that his TB could have been cured just years later.

Would his output have suffered though had he been in the fullness of health and free of addiction? Did he have to be tortured to be a genius. I hope not. I will admit to having a few oddments of eccentricity in my own creative basket, but would not want to be standing on a precipice to create my masterpieces.

As always I must thank the Master whose lessons I lapped up this month. Modigliani taught me a refreshing simplicity in portraiture. Painting in his style felt almost like taking aim with a camera. I snapped and captured in a moment a fleeting expression. I don't even know if that is what he intended his portraits to be, but it doesn't really matter. We all take our own lessons.

The nude at the top of the post was quite a departure for me. I rarely stray further down than the neck when it comes to figurative drawing. I thought I would be brave and daring and experimented with a number of sketches before settling on this pose.

I love how these projects push us from our comfort zones and surprise us when we discover that drawing a nude figure isn't quite as tricky as I thought it would be - especially when you're borrowing the loose style of Mr M (I shall call him that from now on as it's too hard to get the spelling right!).

Mr M met my style in this next piece.

I had intended to take it further, but once this layer had dried I rather fell in love with the simplicity so decided to let her be. I wonder what or who she is looking at...

It was hard to force myself to keep the features flatter than I normally would and I know I put far too much detail in this lady's eyes. I painted them too big and I don't think there's enough angle in the nose. We can be so critical once a piece of work has gone in the post!

Monday, 21 April 2014

With the tribe


Add together, a collaborative art project, a pile of journals filled with art, photographs and the written word, a large table surrounded by the creators and what do you get? A lot of talking!

Saturday was the first meet up of eight of the 22 participants of the Intervention art journal project. With each book having its own theme, we spend a few weeks with each before passing onto the next in the circle. Around a year has rolled by since we began and the books are fattening up nicely, bursting with colour and collage, dreamscapes, surrealism, poetry, prose and err... phallic mushrooms!
Photo by Lucy Sharpe
We each brought the book we were working on - there was much excitement when I spotted my own (titled Words of Wisdom) in the pile. I am so in love with the work already inside of it.
I adore hanging out with other creatives - folk just like me who love to paint, write, take photographs and make mess. Even though I had never met any of these seven other ladies before, and only exchanged a few Facebook messages with a couple of them, I knew we would never be stuck for conversation!  Even if the rest arrived with sealed lips, I knew I could keep talking on my own on the subject for hours - but that wasn't necessary!
I don't get to meet with members of my tribe very often, so when I do...
Photo by Lucy Sharpe

We shared our thoughts and experiences from the project and our own personal stories of why we signed up to the project and how it has helped us develop as artists.

Photo by Lucy Sharpe
Crimbo (above) brought us all together, dreaming of a collaborative project that would push our creative direction and bring together a tribe. As we draw close to the final rounds of the books, we are making plans to share these mini-works of art with the world. I for one, can't wait to see all 22!

Photo by Lucy Sharpe

 The journal below is called Isolation. That's why it's on its own ;)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Creativity, The Muse & Me Part 2

Following on somewhat logically from Part 1 yesterday, I present Part 2 in my Creative Interview (still no call from Graham or Oprah though...)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I struggled to answer this one. For a start, I am not sure I have one. I do like to try so many different techniques - perhaps that is my differentiator. I am not afraid to try anything new. I freely sample flavours, taking a dip into this, a dab of that and seeing what comes out of the pot when I mix them all together.

I paint when I write too. Words are such beautiful creatures and they love to play together on the page. I just give them free rein.

Why do I create what I do?

I simply have to!

I can't just write for example. It has to be something requiring a thought process, a creative act.

I believe in the power of our Muse. She is a fickle creature though and gets frightfully cross when I don't bring something to life, yet will quite happily disappear off somewhere entirely on her own agenda whenever she feels like it.

She was only a sporadic visitor for a time. I think she got fed up with me pursuing other interests - boys, bars and soap operas mainly...

Then, around five years ago, we were reunited and swore never to desert each other again. It was a special moment!

In my professional life, I mould words into articles, newsletters, scripts, videos. I create for others. I am always firing up my imagination and can't fathom a role where I didn't. In fact, from past experience I know what this does to my soul and it aint pretty!

How does my writing & creating process work?
"It just happens" is perhaps something of a lame answer; and when I pause to think in depth of course, it isn't true.
A useful trick is to just START! Yes, sometimes it is indeed as simple as that! Put you pen to paper and let the words flow, get the colour onto the page.
When I'm painting I'll often start with an abstract background using layers of paint and collage - old book pages being a particular favourite. You can go from blank page to the opening chapters of your 'visual story' very quickly. I find that drawing or painting on this new surface is very forgiving removing a need or desire for perfection. It opens up a gateway to be BOLD. Go on, give it a try!
Writing is a layers game too. Don't feel you have to start at the beginning... cut and paste ... Just show up and let it happen!
Next week, showing up on this little blog hop we have...
Kat of Wright Story - Kat is a I'm a Mum, writer, artist & generally creative person with health problems - primarily dealing with a chronic illness (multiple sclerosis).
She explores creativity and story through art, writing, music, photos and journaling and is discovering how creative activity can benefit health and wellbeing.
Alexandra of Blue Chair Diary is a simple girl turning life's difficulties into something beautiful through writing and art. As a self-taught illustrator she is currently finishing my studies for entrance to Law School.  She LOVEs perfect hot cuppas, cozy blankets, hot water bottles, her adorable puppy and amazing guy!
Tracey Fletcher King the wittiest artist I know who paints the everyday and makes life oh so much prettier!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Creativity, The Muse & Me - Part 1

This week I'm interviewing myself (as Graham Norton and Oprah still haven't called...). It's all part of a lovely little blog hop. I was nominated by Latisha Guthrie of Petal and Moss. I met Latisha last year on Pilgrimage - she's a special lady.  Go visit her blog and find out more!

Anyway, I started answering the required questions and got totally carried away with my answers, so I am going to split them over a few days so you don't get sore eyes reading it all or, worse still, nod off!

So, without further ado, let us begin at the beginning.

What am I working on?

Now there's a question! It might have been better to ask what I'm not working on! I'm one of those people who likes to have a whole pile of irons in the proverbial fire. Some might say I take on too much, which is often true (and I never learn!). I go through phases of frenetic activity followed by a bit of singe-ing around the edges that threaten to ignite to full-blown burnout. I am getting a little better at managing this ... or at least I am trying my hardest ...

So, let's focus on a few of my current rash of projects:

1. Online art courses

I am a self-confessed art course junkie; but this is an addiction of which I have absolutely no intention of quitting. You'll see a recurring theme here for a passion for learning - more on this later.

So far this year I have been taking three courses:

Studying under the Masters led by Jeanne Oliver and a host of passionate artists. We have imagined ourselves into the art studios of the geniuses of Matisse and O'Keeffe, sitting alongside their ghosts and feeling our way into their paintbrushes. We didn't just restrict ourselves to those of bygone eras and centuries though. One of my favourite modern artists is Francoise de Felice and I loved the week we played with her soft techniques and beautiful ladies.

With Misty Mawn's Full Circle, we have journaled, sculpted, snapped, painted, drawn, collaged and gone digital. I have gone through nearly a vat of gesso and filled my phone's memory with photo manipulation apps. If it's captured... I'll grunge, double expose and recolour it!

Finally, the smiley face of Carla Sonnheim brightens my inbox with a monthly dose of fairytale magic in the Year of the Fairytale. This month we are building up mattress layers of story in our illustrations of The Princess and the Pea.

2. Collaborative Art Journals

I am a joyous participant in two of these projects. The Magical Journal Journey is now in its third year and iteration. This year our themes centre around our favourite artists. Matisse is my man. I created the first few pages then sent it on its globe-trotting way to receive my friends' art!

The second of these collaborations involves around 25 artists. This Saturday I am getting to meet many of them for the first time - I can't wait! We might all be relative strangers to each other - but I know we will have PLENTY to talk about!

3. My book!

Yes, those that know me well will be aware that I have promising to get myself published for centuries... But at last I may have actually made a start with the semblance of a plan, and as fortune would have it, there's ... you guessed it ... another online course to help me get there ... Christine Mason Miller's Conscious Booksmith course will help me launch my words from head to page and to take the plunge into becoming a bona fide author. Who knows, I may even write two - depending on writer's angst...

4. Continuous bookish learning

I have a recurring dream that I am back at University and realise far too late in the term that I haven't attended any lectures or written my essays. I think it's a form of regret that I didn't study harder. I did OK, but didn't exactly set the academic world on fire - I kept all that passion for the social life to be honest... They say education is wasted on the young and I would have to agree. Now though I devour 'text books' - on business, marketing, creativity, positive thinking, self help, motivation, organisation, feminism and magic. I just can't get enough of this learning malarkey!

Well that will do for today - come back tomorrow for the next question and the line up of bloggers who will take up the baton next!

Today, here's a quick link to the other two bloggers on the hop with me this week - Lisa Hofman and Eileen Nishi.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Work shoes

I have several pairs of work shoes. They don't have steel toe-caps, rubber grip soles nor do they glow in the dark. They aren't specifically designed for being on your feet all day with soft linings or moulding to protect the feet. They aren't hard wearing and I wouldn't wear them for an interview.

No, these are special shoes for ladies. The kind with high heels and flimsy straps. They don't stay on very well and require practice to walk in them. They are extremely uncomfortable and I can only really them indoors when I don't plan on moving about too much (e.g. at work!)  - but darn they look good...

Monday, 7 April 2014


My friend Moyra introduced me to this word today on her Facebook page. I think it will fast become one of my favourite words for saying aloud - alongside rhubarb and bunting!

But what on earth can it mean I hear you ask. Did Moyra make it up, or in fact is it ...

a) An Australian 'delicacy' of the type favoured by men of the bush like Crocodile Dundee? Bungaroosh is a simple dish made with the root of the Bunga bush and ground, dried witchetty grub. Delicious... (if you've got no taste buds!).

b) A form of bribe. Bungaroosh is the poorer cousin to Baksheesh. It's a bribe made by offering a promise rather than hard cash or goods. It can be found in the original Aladdin story within 1,001 Nights when Aladdin offers bungaroosh to the sly shopkeeper in return for his freedom.

c) A building material used only in houses in Brighton. Bungeroosh is a mixture of bricks, cobblestone, pebbles and other hardcore which is set  in lime and used in construction. It is liable to erosion from water and never really caught on outside of the Brighton area.

Answers on a postcard to the usual address...

Saturday, 5 April 2014


There's an English Maple tree outside my office window that has, in the course of a week, begun to glow.

Each day the green tinge has become just that little bit brighter and the shapes more defined. It is Spring! Now, if the sun would just come out...

I am slowly unfurling this morning too. Pulling myself out from the blanket of a cold virus and attempting to dislodge the thick layer of down in my head. After two months of exercising nearly every day, a week without and I feel like my joints are rusting.

The new me had felt like she had a full tank of fuel on board and was ready to hit the road. I was bursting with energy and drive ... until POP! Flat tyre!

Be gone runny nose and tickly chest - you are no longer wanted!

I took the photo this morning (in my PJs - to give the neighbours something to talk about as I haven't done anything eccentric outside for a while), and was rather pleasantly surprised to see a little friend hiding among the leaves. Can you spot her?
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