Monday, January 30, 2006

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chinese Year of the Fire Dog!

Fire Dog
Happy New Lunar Year. And as its the start of the Chinese Year of the Fire Dog here is a transformation of this somewhat perplexed friendly pooch into a flaming fire dog!

The last time there was a fire dog year was 1946.

Dogs in general may be rather overwhelming... dogs are very loyal though maybe a bit bossy too.

Fire dogs make good leaders. They have plenty of charisma and are honest but don't want to settle down.

Other dogs:

Wood Dog

Wood Dog - 1934 and 1994

Wood dogs are not as independent as other dogs and really like to be part of a group - they need someone to throw their sticks for them!

Metal Dog

Metal Dog - 1910 and 1970

Metal dogs pick their friends with care. Once a friend though, always a friend. They can be extremely anxious if they are unable to get on with their work.

Water Dog

Water Dog - 1922 and 1982

Water dogs are less loyal than the others. Easy come, easy go is their motto, with both people and money.

Earth Dog

Earth Dog - 1910 and 1958

In the year of the fire dog, earth dogs will feel rather more energetic than usual and maybe not as grounded, as shown in this photo!

Earth dogs are trustworthy and diplomatic and make great leaders.

All these photographs were taken today in Blaise Castle Park in Bristol.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Illustration Friday - Glamour

Illustration Friday - Glamour

A set of doodles done whilst under some sort of glamour...

The bit I enjoyed most was copying them, making a negative and shrinking to a third its original size to make the right hand tile on the middle row.


I was just posting a comment and noticed that the word verification - lrkea - was either an advert for Ikea or a clue that there were lurkers around. So I went to site meter:


and found a few!

Collaborative Camel

Camel - a collaboarative doodle

The original camel can be see on Johnny Norms' Elbowroom.

More collaborative doodles are on their way!

Update: Somehow I managed to miss this out when I was posting this morning....

On Crafty-Girl™ is an article about The art of crafting your life. From which I got to Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. The relevant item is:

16. Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

And also in my obvious over haste to post I forgot to wish Johnny Norms' blog a Happy 1st birthday:
Happy Birthday, Elbowroom!

And another update:

The Camel Exchange group blog for collaborative doodles has opened!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Painting on sand

Japanese Maple in the Autumn
I woke up this morning thinking I must get a flour dredger to use for adding sand to my paintings. Which is odd as I've not painted with sand in over 10 years. In fact probably more like 15 years or more...

The way I was painting at the time of this tree involved a lot of acrylic medium and sand to make an interesting texture on the surface of the canvas. I always worried that it would fall off later but none of the pictures I did this way seem to have lost any bits. Painting onto the sandy surface was amazing, it was much more porus than canvas and the colours came out very rich, but it did use a lot of paint.

I'd been given the idea on a weekend art course but not shown any examples. So I piled on the sand. When I later went to exhbitions of the teacher's paintings I saw that she'd meant just a tiny scattering. On that course she'd also warned me about painting from good photos so I did this one from a terribly blurry one... The teacher was Ros Cuthbert.

Andrea has posted a really inspiring article today on how she does her paintings. She paints a sort of colour negative first!

And before I'd had a chance to finish writing this blog entry the photo of this picture on flickr has already been "favorited" so I guess I'm getting some encouragement to get out my acryilcs soon!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

MMM: The past that lingers

The past that lingers

This is the second page in my mixed media memoir. For other people's see:

Last week's first page went quite smoothly - this one has been a much rougher ride!

This is the second or third version of the page itself and having printed it out I then had lots of Painter IX crashes as I tried to get a jpeg to put on flickr - I ended up having to scan in the one I'd printed out! The previous versions hadn't incurred any crashes - I just hadn't been happy with them.

I put all the crashes down to having included a light bulb gremlin! ;-)

The top of the picture shows karmic stones from both before and within this life time. They may not have originally been mine but these are the ones I'm carrying now...

Rays from one stone are highlighting times in my life (as shown by the smoke) where I've repeatedly made the same mistake over and over. I used the train as a sort of pun on the idea of training... though I'm not sure what I am in training for.... but each moment in the past has led to now.

The light bulb gremlin does haunt me - I repeatedly blow light bulbs when my energy is roused... I first noticed it as a teenager - that bulbs would blow if I flicked the switch when angry.

Footprints in the snow is another way I view the past - there may still be visible traces but they will pass.

Mr Pixy strikes again!

I was just responding to a comment on my own blog this time and I noticed this!
In reference to this posting.

As I mention in that same posting that my father is dead this one is a bit spookier than usual... he used to hum us to sleep....

Monday, January 23, 2006

And er... tagged.... 10 things you never knew about me...

Scene but not heard....
Just to show Wandering Coyote - this time at her food blog - that I really didn't mind being tagged yesterday I'm taking up the challenge of another one today...

10 things you never knew about me

  1. Foods I cannot stand:

    coffee and coffee-flavoured things, oranges and orange-flavoured things

  2. I own no high-heeled shoes at all... the ones I had in the past hurt too much!

  3. My favourite book when I was about 10 was the "Queen's Flowerpot" by Alison Farthing and I had to eat marmite on toast whilst reading it.

  4. The first room I rented when I started to work after university was chosen purely for the size of its window sill - it was big enough for me to lie down in - I filled it with plants!

  5. I've can hear really high pitched noises - I once did a test and came out with hearing well beyond human! .... I once had to leave a lecture I'd paid to go to because of the sound from their PA. And I've had to ask people to turn off TV's on standby because the noise is so painful whilst no one else seems to notice anything...

  6. I used to play the violin but now I couldn't play anything on one...

  7. My favourite garden plant depends on the season. In winter its cyclamen, in spring its magnolia, in summer its blue morning glories and in autumn its Plumbago but I've lost this one recently... And this list of favourites is bound to be under review now I'm getting into macro photography!

  8. I want a long lens too and an even more macro one.... um... were these things you never knew... well anyway they are true!

  9. My favourite snack food, when I was a child, was crisps.

  10. I own more coasters than we ever use - not sure where they've come from.
And I tag: Andrea, Melba, Lost Aussie, Rose, kg, Nan - 'cos I'd like to know more about you!

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Tagged by Wandering Coyote with a variant of the one I picked up from isay... less than 10 days ago... (here). So that's four links worked in to begin with ;-).

I'll try and give different answers to the parts that ask the same questions...

  1. Hum a jingle of which you know all the words - I'm humming it - can you hear?

  2. As a kid, you played a board game over and over. And you cheated... - no I didn't and anyone who says I did is a rotten, mean, lying, worm-tongued beast!

  3. What is the name of the song that you have been singing the incorrect words all these years? What were you singing? What should you have been singing? I refer you to Blue Moose...

  4. What is the most embarrassing childhood story that your parents drag out just for their own private amusement?

    Well both parents are now dead so I hope they are no longer dragging out stories about me, if they were it would be the one about me urging my slightly younger brother to throw jars of honey down onto the concrete floor below... we had a shop and for a short while we sold jars of honey from the postman's bees...

  5. Four (more) jobs I've had:

    * Waitress for a week... I was sacked... see the 25th fact here for more details...
    * Selling honey... (see number 4 above ;-) though I was only 4 at the time...
    * Making jewelry - not a real "job" but I earnt money from it when I was 17!
    * Health Kinesiologist - sort of the job I've never really had - I'm fully qualified... but I'm not actually practicing...

  6. Four TV shows I heart - I don't "heart" anything, its not a verb for me... and I still am not not watching TV much.... in the past I have been known to enjoy Poirot, Miss Marple, Morse, or other detective story but not the forsenic science type...

  7. Four (more) places I've been on holiday:

    * Austria
    * Germany
    * Rhodes, Greece
    * Pisa, Italy

  8. Four web sites I visit daily:

    * lots of blogs
    * google
    * bbc radio 4
    * flickr

  9. Four (more) favourite foods:

    * toast with butter and maybe marmalade
    * baked potatoes (we even had them at our wedding reception!)
    * salad (yes I really LIKE salad)
    * chocolate (don't know how I missed that off the first list ;-)

  10. Four places I'd rather be right now:

    Well I'm still happy here, but if I had to move (and I was trying to last year)... how about near here but in the country. And really I would prefer not to be in more than one place it is bad for the soul!

  11. Four people I do NOT heart - okay take the refusal to "heart" as a verb again please... so four people I do not love?

    * Tony Blair - ever since he went pro-nuclear, I've gone from almost neutral to anti-him
    * Bush - ever since he started bombing other people
    * various unfunny comedians... e.g. Graham Norton
    * various unentertaining celebs.... well most of the ones who are just celebrities really...

And I'm tagging.. anyone who reads this and hasn't already done it or a close variant of it.

Saturday, January 21, 2006



This morning I was attempting to catch pictures of Bristol in the early light. When I looked at them later I discovered this rather fairy tale section.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Illustration Friday - Cats

Illustration Friday - Cats

Mountain Lion - I made this about 10 years ago. The material was dyed then free-emboridered on a sewing machine. Then made up into a cushion.

The image was inspired by some rock art.

Here is a detail:

Illustration Friday - Cats - detail

Update - Saturday Jan 21st 2006

Today I happened to catch this cat in my camera:


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

MMM: This is Me

MMM: This is Me

A journal page for a Mixed Media Memoir. This week's theme is "This is Me". For other people's pages see:

Mixed Media Memoirs

It is being organised by Melba. And you might like to check out her vision for it.

This page is made from a heap of my old (mostly) unused pictures. The waters of my not conscious self are covering up this mountain leaving a very small amount at the top to show my conscious self. I am sitting on top and fishing for clues. A friendly fish is patiently attempting to do a self-portrait of itself for me.

Fish - Detail
Behind me is a dog howling at the moon. And walking on the water is a strange being that I do not really know who or what it is.

The text in the water says:

The many bodies of Eve
By which we do deceive
First ourselves and then
The others who behold us

I wrote this in one of my journals last year whilst wondering about self-portraits.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Mr Pixy


Another funny word verification - I seem to be making a collection... this one came from Caribbean Colors' Back to Living in Paradise where I was commenting on Lee's magic eggs.

And when I posted a comment just now blogger told me it hadn't worked - that an engineer had been notified etc. and then I looked and the comment was still there.

Maybe there is a Mr Pixy in the works!

Sunday, January 15, 2006



This collage is made entirely digitally from some of my recent photos. The dalek that inspired it was caught whilst it was sitting quietly in the window of Bristol's Forbidden Planet.

What have you noticed (but not bought) recently whilst window shopping?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Illustration Friday - E is for...

Illustratation Friday
Click to see larger

I went through my magazines looking for things that began with an E. From these I made a paper collage which I scanned in and then played with in Painter IX.


Thank you to everyone who gave me so much insight into the picture I put up last week - I am very grateful and feel that even if no single answer has emerged for me something has shifted through the whole process.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Four of everything tag

Kaleidoscopic Hip
This is a voluntarily acquired tag from Isay

  1. Artificial Intelligence research
  2. Christmas post
  3. Serving petrol
  4. Making small motors in a factory

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean
  2. O brother Where are Thou?
  3. The Princess Bride
  4. Zoolander

  1. Paradise (near Painswick in Gloucestershire, UK)
  2. Upper Dowdeswell (little village near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, UK)
  3. London
  4. Bristol

  • Prefer the telly to be off
  1. Kalymnos, Greece
  2. Lake District, Cumbria, UK
  3. Sennen, Cornwall, UK
  4. Colorado & Utah & California, USA

  1. Thai
  2. Italian
  3. Casa Mexicana (near here)
  4. Natural yogurt with maple syrup

  • No where else but I would like the sun to shine here

And like isay I won't tag anyone - but do pick it up if you want to!

Nan has taken the tag!



Yesterday I was having trouble accessing blogs and leaving comments. The above was the funniest word verification ever which was more amusing than the fact that blogger wouldn't let me leave my comment on Andreas's blog!

And just when her son had done such a great picture of a blogger!

And on the blogs where there is no word verification I wasn't getting through either. It kept on claiming that there was no data...

Now I know you won't be able to comment here if you are going through the same difficulties but if you can comment I'd be interested to know if you have had similiar problems... thanks!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday: Personal History 2

SPT: Personal History 2

As a teenager I discovered that the professed ability to read palms was a great ice breaker!

Monday, January 09, 2006

A cosy chair


An altered chair... this was an experiment with an image pulled out of a magazine and then Painter IXed...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Its an even wilder life

Fox being mobbed by a magpie

Foxy FaceHaving seen, sketched and blogged a cat being mobbed by magpies a few days ago, this morning Jim pointed out there was a fox on our garden wall and it was being harried by two magpies. One of them is the black and white blur above it!

We got this house almost 10 years ago and this is the first time we've seen a fox in the garden. We've seen traces - things like old bones etc. so we knew there was likely to be one that visited.

I got out my camera and although it was in continuous shot mode it wasn't in the right state for focussing on moving objects... So much to learn... These were the best out of 48 shots!

And of course I had to crop right in as I do not have a long telephoto... thank goodness for mega-pixels.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Illustration Friday - Sea

Sea Collage

Yesterday I started work on this. It started as a collage of the paper and scissors type. Then I scanned it in and spent this morning manipulating it with Painter IX's oil brushes.

Here is a detail (at a higher resolution):

Sea Detail

Handily relevant to the topic!

Tell me, if you've time, what you think the big picture is really about. Its another one of my intuitively created pieces that I'm hoping to understand more from.

Thank you!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Flickr Favourites

Your favourites!

In October, when blogger suddenly stopped accepting my images I discovered flickr. (I assume I hit some sort of blogger limit but have never found out how to check this.)

One of the things that flickr does is allow people to mark one's images as favourites. This collage is made up of those that have been "favourited".

Now that I've got my own digital camera I expect I'll be uploading even more photos to flickr.

plumAnd as its Twelth Night, Plum has been put back into the decorations box, as I said when I got her she was a pet one could have just for Christmas!

Bye-Bye Plum!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Wild Life

Cat being mobbed by Magpies

Quick sketch - a photo was impossible as this was a grey day, a grey cat and grey tree... and all a bit too far away too!

These magpies looked as though they were determined to tease the cat up into the thinnest parts of the tree. Once there they flew off and the cat started coming down again, with a very angry swing to its tail.... the magpies had a second attempt but this time the cat was not fooled into thinking it would catch one and carried on down the tree.

In all there were four magpies involved though mostly just two at a time.

Have you seen a cat being teased to jump like this? Do they ever jump?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday: Personal History

Self-Portrait Tuesday: Personal History 1

I've decided to join in with Self-Portrait Tuesday (thanks to nudges from Andrea).

I'm not especially happy with this collage but I didn't want to just publish any of the individual pictures as they didn't feel like, on their own, they were "Personal History".

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Resolutions for 2006


  1. Improve my drawing skills. I've got lots of potential projects...

  2. Get fitter - over the last few years I've had trouble with my achilles tendons - but zero balancing has definitely been helping - I can walk up hill from the shops now without pain in either leg - so this is a resolution to keep on getting help!

  3. Listen to myself more... not sure how I'm going to do this one but its a real intention.

  4. Express my love more. Which means, amongst other things, seeing more of my friends and relatives.

  5. Keep on blogging!

Once more, Happy New Year to you all!