Thursday, November 30, 2006

Singing up a Storm

Singing up a storm
This is Dada music... you know: da, da, da

Painter IX

On Radio 4 today (Ha Ha: Art) there was a programme that was looking at humour in art and about art. Most of the laughs in this programme are at the expense of artists. They seemed to think it was hard to have humour in "serious" art.

And its true a joke is normally a throw away - not something to be gazed at over and over again - so is there scope for humour in art?

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Week 3 - Power

Artist's Floor
A doodle inspired by one the floors I saw in an artist's studio. Painter IX.

In the Artist's Way to reclaim one's power one has to accept one's anger and shame. This is the dark side of self that gets exposure during the week. Anger's energy is used to make a map of what we really want to do. I've found this very useful whenever I've remembered to apply it. This is what I do.

I get all STEAMED up about something or someone.

Then I remember that if I'm annoyed or irritated or any of those anger type words this is a useful signal.

And I say thank you to myself for it.

And then I work out what its about.

Some are easier than others. For instance if I'm looking at a picture and thinking "I could do better than that!" then that's exactly what I want to do.

Others are harder. For instance being angry with someone because of something they have done which I really don't do and don't want to do, say smoking... in that case the message for me isn't so direct but there are always habits that aren't beneficial that have crept in and guess what this is also the week in the artist's way when some of them get highlighted!

On the lighter side its the week where we really get going with synchronicities, not just as an interesting phenomenon, but actually getting what you need in answer to specific requests sent out to the universe. At first I used to rationalise this as a way that at least I'd got my head sorted so that when an opportunity came along I'd recognise it - and that is a very good way to start. But it gets harder to rationalise away... and the thing to do is to say thank you and accept what comes your way. These days I do a lot of asking.

Got this free association exercise from Kat

One word. No explanation.

1. Yourself: creative.
2. Your partner: loving
3. Your hair: fluffy
4. Your mother: messy
5. Your father: working
6. Your favorite item: lots
7. Your dream last night: childish
8. Your favourite drink: water
9. Your dream car: working
10. The room you are in: basement
11. Your ex: arrogant
12. Your fear: rejection
13. What you want to be in 10 years: enlightened!
14. Who you hung out with last night: alone
15. What you're not: skinny
16. Muffins: blueberry
17: One of your wish list items: countryside
18: Time: passes
19. The last thing you did: lunch
20. What you are wearing: home
21. Your favourite weather: crisp
22. Your favourite book: synchronous
23. The last thing you ate: peanut-butter
24. Your life: changing
25. Your mood: happy
26. Your best friend: away
27. What you're thinking about right now: silly
28. Your car: borrowed
29. What you are doing at the moment: typing
30. Your summer: boiling
31. Your relationship status: happy
32. What is on your TV: clock
33. What is the weather like: changeable
34. When was the last time you laughed: often

Try it too if you like!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Contrasts - review of Identity


A mixed media collage reviewing my second week of revisiting the artist way.

This week was a hard one for me. I found myself with loads of ideas about identity but whenever I attempted to express them they changed! It was like trying to pin down a lump of jelly (jello) and pretend it was a piece of granite - just not realistic and rather messy.

So I alternated between really paying attention to what was going on around me and working away in my journal.

There is a devil hidden in the detail:

Devil in the Detail

Exploring one's dark side is never easy - the reason we leave it unilluminated is because we are pretending to ourselves that it isn't there. And some of it seems to be pre-language which means attempting to psychoanalyse it is a waste of time - much better to get in contact with the feelings and unblock them.

And then there were a whole load more angel synchronicities:

Angel detail

I drew this angel as a morning doodle in my journal. Can you see the connection from its halo to its head? When this angel is resting the halo goes off like a neon sign saying closed for business.

Another reason for choosing these two as details is that this week I sold a book and then 3 hours later got a message saying that it had been bought in error. It was called "Heaven and Earth". By a great stroke of luck I hadn't posted it yet (normally, as the order came in before noon, it would have already been on its way).

I also added in the rainbow chest of drawers as it was one of my favourite doodles from this week.

There were plenty of butterfly synchronicities too but the message seemed to be that of reconstruction - not yet ready to emerge in its full glory. Top left there is a butterfly almost ready to emerge from its chrysalis; and bottom right there is one that is sleeping.

I worked a lot with the Shining Tribe Tarot this week (see my earlier post about the Empress). I drew a card and made a drawing of it each morning after that. That is where the other tarot cards in this image come from.

This morning's was the 6 of Trees in reply to "Who am I?" but I felt that it was really an answer to who will I be soon, so I put it upside down on the 2 of coins ready to be flipped upright when activated.

Oh and before I forget, if you want to see a very funny image of me see what Ian did to me on the Camel Exchange.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

North Bristol Art Trail 2006

It was lovely to see the work, meet the artists and visit the houses on this trail. A great way to spend a sunny Sunday morning.

All the photos in this posting are of work from other artists. I took far more than I can show here, my apologies to anyone visiting this blog and hoping to see their work but not finding it here. Thank you to all who let me take photos.

Ceramic Chickens

Chickens by Denise Lonsdale - more like these will be available from Bristol Guild between 9th and 30th December 2006. (As will work by Sally Cox - see later)

Rainbow Weave

One of Marilyn Burton's window hangings woven from slubbed linen. She weaves everything from delicate scarves to robust rugs.

Hand-painted Tile Mosaic

Caroline Casswell makes colourful mosaics. As it was so hard to find tiles in the colours she wanted she started to paint white tiles. This has the added advantage that all the tiles have the same thickness for a smoother finish.


Jane Ormes does whimsical mixed media work. I'm showing this particular butterfly as it looks so like one of the ones I made last week but did not blog.

HeadStone chimes

These are pieces that I spotted in Sculptor Sally Cox's garden. She lives a few doors down from us and I'm so glad to have finally made her and her family's acquaintance. We went to their Friday preview and were impressed by the friendly atmosphere - it was most welcoming and wonderful to finally meet an artist-neighbour!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


The Empress

A drawn copy of The Empress from the Shining Tribe Tarot by Rachel Pollack
The Shining Tribe Tarot (
The Shining Tribe Tarot (

Whilst I drew this copy (I did it on its side so as not to be copying it as a symbol but seeing its shapes) I recalled one of the things that had upset my early identity as an artist.

I used to draw pictures to send to my Gran. My sister, who is 6 years younger, would "copy" my pictures and my mother sent both off to Gran.

My mother mentioned to me that my sister's pictures were much better than mine, though according to my sister she never mentioned that to her; this ate away at me for years.

My mother was a frustrated artist - she'd been to art school and worked as an artist for a few years but found it hard to make enough money and moved into other work before she'd even met my father.

Today as I copied someone else's art (Rachel Pollack's, the artist and tarot interpreter who invented the Shining Tribe Tarot) I realised that my sister had an advantage in copying my work that I'd not thought of before in this context - I'd been drawing from my imagination but she was doing a still life.

I've often preferred the marks I make when working from life (still or not) but am drawn over and over to work with the stuff of my imagination. And as I drew I was annoyed with my mother for not having seen this aspect of the situation and mentioned it as a reason for my sister's pictures being better than mine. (Now I doubt she'd thought of it at all - she just thought it was my sister's young naive style that was so endearing and of course that was true too.)

In the past I have experimented with redrawing my own work once sketched in a search for these marks. But it didn't work - though I will try again.

However it has worked for me in this copy of someone else's work. I much prefer my version (shown here) to the image on the card! This deck is my favourite ever set of cards so this is not meant as disrespect to them. Its to do with making my own marks and expressing myself in this image drawn from our ancestor's art.

Having drawn the card at "random" from the pack to draw it on paper I thought, after copying it and thinking of all this about my sister and my mother, that I should also check what the book says about The Empress.

As with all the cards in this pack the images are drawn from old artifacts and images. This one is based on a Romanian vase painting from over 4,500 years ago. The Mountains on either side of her are meant to be seen as wings and then she becomes a "Winged Artemis", which sounds like another angel reference to me, this time well outside Christianity.

The Empress represents the concept of Mother, and the star above her is that of Daughter. The mythical Demeter and her daughter Persephone are mentioned, and in reference to Persephone's separation from her mother and the outcome of the myth, this card also symbolises the need for separation from our parents before we can "return" to them in some sense.

Since my mother died a few years ago its her memory that I'm making peace with. My mother and the rest of my female line.

I rather like this way of working with the tarot.

This is tonight's moon that was positioned well for me to take with a tripod without leaving the warmth of the house.

Moon through cloud

According to MoonDock the moon is nearly 5 days through its cycle; daughter stage.

And I've just noticed I was warbling along on a similar theme this time last year about my mother's influence on me as an artist. And what's more the picture that inspired that posting shows a little mouse playing drums to which a stalk of wheat is dancing.

Wheat is one of Demeter's symbols.


Friday, November 24, 2006

IF - Invention

Illustration Friday - Invention
A collage of clip-art assembled using Painter IX.5.

I made a new image hose to create the spray of letters.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Rain and Shine

These were taken this morning. The rainbow was taken out of the right side of our bay window (09:13:10) and 3 minutes later (I was taking lots of pictures!) the rain was taken out of the left side of the bay window at (09:16:18)

Here is a picture I've done for Identity. It was inspired by some of the children's pictures in St Andrew's park that I mentioned yesterday.

Half Made-up

I've called if Half Made-Up.

My thoughts about Identity are still brewing...

When I got back from my summer off, I had to comment out my blogroll as it was so out of date. I've been wondering about doing a pictorial one. I'd like to use a thumbnail from your blog to link to you in my sidebar - what do you think about that?

Update: I've added pictorial links in my sidebar. If you don't won't me to use one of your pictures in this way I'll remove it.

Strangely, in the week I'm calling Identity, the image I was using to represent myself (I forget what they're called) has just disappeared from Jim's website where I'd put it for safe keeping! So that's pushed me to change my image!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Week 2 - Identity


I'm calling this doodle Painter and it was done in Painter IX

Following in Tinker's footsteps here are 10 Random Things
  1. This week is called Identity. I wonder who I'll decide I am.
  2. Its the North Bristol Art Trail this weekend. One of the open evenings is in our road.
  3. On Sunday, Jim and I were out because it was such a gorgeous day and I noticed at the top of the park something glinting in the sun. Although we'd not planned to go that way we went to find out what it was gleaming. This is what we found:
    Art in the Park 1
    Art in the Park 2
    A whole load of children's pictures laminated and tied to the railings plus an advert for the North Bristol Art Trail. This year I was bound to find out about it!
  4. There was another angel reference on the radio today (Wednesday's Afternoon Play called Forever Mine). This time it was a play about life after death and the angel featured strongly.
  5. We are having a new boiler fitted soon, I booked it today. We are expecting it in the week commencing December 11th - which is in the middle of the section I've called Fire (and in either the week called Integrity or Possibility). But at least ought to be operational before Christmas!
  6. Jim is going to a talk on avalanches tonight. He's never been in one but thought it would be worth knowing about them "just in case".
  7. I'm having trouble being random.... which is odd because I can be quite random when asked not to be. I've wondered for sometime if I have a built in contrariness filter. And its hard to work around it on purpose (for instance by asking myself to list 10 things that are on my mind right now) as I know thats what I'm doing.
  8. I had a dream where I was a cleaner in a large business building. I'd been sacked and was preparing to wreck havoc!
  9. I've got to rush its almost 6pm and I've scheduled some drawing for an hour starting then.
  10. When I was little I had a toy that was made out of plastic clowns whose feet slotted into each other shoulders. I had difficulty saying shoulders and called these my soldiers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Synchronicities - review of Safety

A very mixed media collage reviewing my first week of revisiting the artist way.

Earlier in the year I really enjoyed the Mixed Media Memoirs inspired by Melba. The way that I did them I found them to be a very powerful method for dredging* through my not-conscious self and putting together the images I'd already been working with, whether on the computer or in my journals or dreams.

As I've not been joining in with the current run through the chakras that Melba has been engaged in I've not been doing any recently. However I thought I'd experiment with this style as a way of doing my reviews of each week this time through the artist way. After all if I'm doing Morning Doodles instead of Morning Pages it seems only logical to have a more image-oriented way of reflecting on the week that has past.

Some of these images I blogged on the day I did them but others have gone unmentioned until now (still more didn't make it into this collage but that's okay reviews are selective).

Clockwise from the top

Shepherd - in this last week I've been drawn to three different images of shepherds; one a Cotswold shepherd (drawn here), one a bishop and the other a woman who is both a shepherd and a priest. (And I've wondered why they carry crooks because, with all my recent reading of detective stories, crooks are the bad guys! ;-)

Boat - see Lifes Ups and Downs

A rather sad looking woman - she was a doodle that came through one morning and does express the not so cheerful, not so brave, not so carefree part of me
The witch - I got as far as putting her up on flickr but when the posting I'd written to go with her was discarded by Firefox crashing I got all superstitious and refused to redo it!

Life / DNA building block - this was a fun doodle that I just didn't happen to blog

Face Your Body - see Day 1: Revisiting the Artist's Way

Madam Butterfly - see yesterday's Butterflies. I've never laughed so much at one of my own pictures as I have done looking at her!

Blue butterfly - this was one the first versions of the butterfly that became Madam Butterfly - though here I've played with it some more so its transformed yet again.

Then there is the big black butterfly which I cut out intending to make the diamond earring be lined up with the body. When I opened it up and looked at it I discovered that I also had some words on it - "art of you" - this had originally been "part of you" in an advert for jewelry - I took this as encouragement to make the next butterfly

Me as Butterfly - and now I know that if you feel little bumps on your head they might not be devils horns growing but the beginning of your butterfly's antennae!

In the background I used the orange scribble from last Friday. Reluctant Nomad had commented on this being a synchronicity for him and has since blogged about it.

I found myself very engrossed with making art this week, however I also found time to read E is for Evidence, F is for Fugitive, G is for Gumshoe and H is for Homicide and sold (through my Amazon marketplace listings):
So, having laid what I hope is a good safe foundation for the next few weeks, tomorrow I'll be starting on identity - but wait I've just started that today - I am a butterfly and I have come out of my chrysalis! I really do hope it is safe!

* I dredge my not-conscious, whilst I've noticed Tinker has been wading in her stream of consciousness.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Golden Butterfly
This is a butterfly shape cut out of a magazine and then reflected on itself in Painter IX.

Yesterday Kat had a painting of a tree of butterflies it recalled to me that last month on one day I'd spotted what at first I'd thought was a butterfly and then realised was a leaf, and on the next I'd seen a leaf floating in the wind that turned out to be a butterfly. Seeing Kat's picture made me realise that I needed to work more with the idea of butterflies. I've seen lots of collage artists putting wings onto people, often using butterfly wings, and they produce some very beautiful results; but I've never felt inclined to do any myself before.

Maybe this is why:

Madam Butterfly

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Uncertainty Principle

Schrodingers cat
The UFO from Thursday has been identified as Schrödinger's cat. Here it is trying to pull a little green alien into a violent hole. Notice how the violent hole has a hazy edge representing an uncertain event horizon - especially for the poor little alien.

Ian mentioned in the comments to that photo an interview with Nick Pope, a British ex-MOD man, who'd been put in charge of checking out UFO sightings.
Listening to the interview there are some important clues:
  • Mr Pope has just left the MOD (last week)
  • He only worked on UFOs for 3 years (early 1990s)
  • He considered 5% of reports to be "interesting"
  • He said "A statistic which is not widely known - of all the requests that the Ministry of Defence gets under the freedom of information act; the number one subject that they get requests on is.... UFOs"
From which I conclude that of all the things he's done in the last 21 years the one that is the biggest potential money spinner is the UFO one, and may also be the only one he'd get clearance to write about. Of course I can't be certain.

By the way I'm not saying that aliens do or do not exist. That UFOs do or do not hover over us, (or Hoover over us). Again I can't be certain.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Animal Window

Donkey wondering how it got a horse's tail - in Painter IX

This is another exercise from Art Escapes. You can see that a variation of it is on the cover of the book. In essence one draws a simple figure then divides it into four and uses a different paint effect in the background of each square.

I like how grassy the bottom right square looks but that snake was a bit of a surprise!

Friday, November 17, 2006

IF - Thanksgiving

IF - Thanksgiving
Drawn using my new pencils then scanned, and a smidgen of colour added in Painter IX.

Does this count as mixed media or would pencil have been better?


This morning I've done lots and lots of morning doodles and my favourite is this one which is really pure scribble.

And now the post has arrived I've got some new pencils and blenders to play with:
New Supplies - Pencils and blenders
These are two propelling pencils with soft leads - 6B and B. From Studio Arts.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I just spotted this floating in the sunset - by the time I'd got my camera out it was against darker clouds. I don't have a long enough lens to really get close to things this small / far away. I assume it was a balloon - it was moving quickly in the wind.
Flicker enlarged it to this for the thumbnail view:
And I had a go at enlarging and enhancing it in Painter IX and got this:

Perhaps even more amazing than this odd object is that this is my 3rd posting today!

I think it may have been a ballon in the shape of a cat - what do you think it was?

Wait - Rose!

I've just been shopping. I went to Waitrose. They have a quickcheck system which allows you to scan your own items as you go round. Then pay at an automatic checkout. I've used it since it was first introduced in my local store. I've loved it. (Though when they do a spot check and re-scan everything its always really nerve-wracking - worse than an exam!) Until today it was my favourite supermarket.

Today I used the new version of the system. I put my card in. It then told me the total and asked me to pay. Before it had always reviewed what I'd bought. I found this reassuring - it meant the program had matched up properly and I was about to pay for the things I'd put in my trolley. The new system didn't. I wondered what was wrong. I wasn't even sure it was working. It did produce a receipt AFTER I'd paid. I wasn't happy. I told a member of staff and she said it was quicker. I pointed out that it hadn't given me any indication that it was my bill I was being asked to pay and she looked at me like I was an idiot. She said you are meant to check as you scan. I looked at her like she was an idiot. I told her I was a programmer (didn't mention the retired part) and that I just wasn't going to trust a computer system that far.

So that's it. The end of faster shopping and back to letting them scan it all. Which may also mean Goodbye waitRose...

Life's ups and downs


Going with the flow. Riding the wave.

This morning's doodle looks like a very cheerful boat able to ride even stormy seas.

And having just spotted this exercise at Steve's Go Flying Turtle I've made more faces: