Monday, October 15, 2007

Where am I?

October MSH Mosaic

I've turned comments off on this blog as I'm getting quite a lot of spam. I've been able to keep on posting on flickr but haven't the time and energy to manage to be an active blogger. Sorry not to have been visiting your blogs.

My best wishes to you all!

Update: Comments are back on and I'm back!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Playing with photos in Painter

Polish Roman Catholic Church ttv

On flickr there is a group called Noise and Dust Through The Viewfinder - on it I found the overlay I've used here by Nesster

The idea is to fake what one sees through the viewfinder of a camera.

However I also played with multiple exposures of the same subject as I thought that this was the ideal place to use the HDR effect. Most people use either specialist software or photoshop to create this type of image - as I haven't got either I'm having a go imitating it in Corel Painter IX.5 and not getting close but loving the effects anyway!

HDR is intended to create an image that is more like what sees than what the camera sees but mine are coming out a good deal less real.

Here are some more:
Looking South

New Redland School

How real is your life?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What's in my bag?

What's in my bag?

Jo has just divulged the contents of her bag and suggested other do so too... so here is mine.

A couple of months ago I moved from a relatively large bag to a really small one, however that one couldn't take the strain and I soon had to buy a new one. This is a good size, big enough for what I consider essential without being so big that I'm tempted to put in things that really would be better put in my backpack or shopping bag.

My bag contains:

paper hankies, a camera, sunglasses, mobile (which is almost never switched on - for emergencies only!), comb, keys, wallet and pen

I'm interested to know what you keep on you, what is essential to your existence - in either your jacket pockets or bags... so go on tell me what's in your bag (or those pockets)... or better yet blog it and then let me know you have!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Buying a Car...

Photograph of a Q-reg car (which means its one of a kind) altered in Painter IX.5. I like to think the Q stands for Quirky. I don't know whose car this particular one is I was just drawn to it in the street and love the radiator grill!

We've been trying to buy a car. We haven't got one yet.

For the last ten years or more we've been very lucky and had Jim's brother's second company car for which we paid monthly, but for which we got a real bargain. Now, at long last, his wife wants the second car - I'd imagined that we'd stop having it as soon as they got married so that's about 7 years extra we've had it!

Now its bye-bye super-duper BMW (even if we always did go for the cheapest!), new every 9-12 months, taxed, insured etc without more effort on our part than simply paying the monthly charge and hello... well what?
  • Jim wants a car that he can easily put his band gear in (bass amp, bass, loads of other bits and bobs...).
  • It must fit on our drive (which is not long).
  • We need something reliable as neither of us knows the first thing about fiddling with cars (and that's despite the fact I grew-up on a garage... my father would be horrified at my total lack of knowledge in this area!)
  • And no where near as expensive as a BMW!
The first question is should we buy new or used. In the dim and distant past I've done both before. I was happier with the new car in many ways as the second hand one had problems which it was much harder to get the dealer I bought it from to fix... though they did in the end. (Even longer ago I also had absolute wrecks and have no intention of going back to one of those if I can help it!)

As I said I'm not a car person - but I can get into researching anything (or so I like to think!) - so I have the current issue of What Car?. What caught my eye was the "Shock Report" on the cover about who gets the best deal from car dealers - men or women. Then I read the report.

How many men and how many women would you send out to find out whether its men or women who get the best deals?

And what other aspects do you think you might need to take into account? Maybe age, perceived class, accent, perceived wealth, perceived attractiveness, smell, knowledge about cars, car currently driven, postcode, previous experience in negotiation, shyness...

So how many of each sex would you send out then? 100? 50? 20? 10?

What Car? clearly think they can tell from sending out just one man and one woman! In the report they do admit that negotiating skills vary from person to person but they continue to plug their result as showing that its men that get better deals than women.

Given this abstracting from an overly small subset what use is the rest of the "information" in the magazine? Am I right to abstract from this single example of a very poorly researched article into assuming that all their car tests are equally one-sided?

Of course two cars of the same specification from the same manufacturer are a lot more likely to be similar than two randomly selected men (or women) - maybe that is where they have gone wrong.

My main conclusion is that if there are two of you - go and negotiate separately and take whichever the best deal is that you can get between you!

So far we have test driven a nearly new Vauxhall Meriva - it has fabulous storage space - Jim especially liked the flat space available when the back seats are down. But it seemed hugely expensive compared to new ones available via brokers on the web. And the salesman wasn't budging on price for either of us!

Have you any experience of buying via a net based broker?

And any suggestions for other cars to look at?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Some art at last!

Wire Sculpture

Wire and wooden beads plus the wooden table below.

Inspired by Elizabeth Berrien's Wire Sculpture Tutorial I got doodling with some wire - however I really wanted to add in springy bits and other objects so I did.

Ever since Jim and I went around the Sculpture exhibition at Trull House at the beginning of May I've been getting more and interested in doing some sculpture again. I did an OCA Sculpture course long ago and discovered then that I was most drawn to assembling things rather than carving, wet clay or moulding. I made enough at the time to also realise that sculptures are not as easy to store as pictures are - even when you are just at the maquette level - so working in a medium where you can take photos and then reuse the parts also suits me well!

I'm going to "doodle" in wire (plus other bits) for a while because its lots of fun.

Any idea what this one might be (or become)?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Crieff & Loch Earn (St Fillans)

Crieff Visitor Centre & Garden Centre

1. Welcome to Crief Visitor Centre, 2. Pixie, 3. Black Buddha, 4. Laughing

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

I still have some more photos from our Scotland trip so I thought I'd better get on with them - or I might never get round to the ones from Jim's birthday trip to Bath last Thursday! And if you are wondering if I've done any other kind of art recently the answer is no.

Above are some photos from the Crieff Visitor Centre - in general I found these tourist trap places disappointing but I liked this cow and was amused too by the garden centre.

1. Divine Pizza, 2. Superstitious?, 3. Saddlers, 4. Lolly Pop Man, 5. Marmite for Tea?, 6. Sweet Making, 7. Chocolate Hedgehogs, 8. Chocolate Dinosaurs, 9. Millions

We had lunch in Crieff one day and I had the best pizza ever - it really was gorgeous - from Delivino's.

Here are some more photos from St Fillans, the village we were staying in. These mostly feature Loch Earn.

Loch Earn

1. Boats on Loch Earn, 2. Gorse, 3. Wood, 4. Tree, 5. Mossy Stone Wall, 6. Ashes, 7. Boulder, 8. Loch Earn, 9. View from bridge, 10. Tree holding a Mirror, 11. Sunset, 12. Church of Scotland, 13. Petal Fall

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Staying at St. Fillans

St Fillians and near by
1. Sunlit wood, (centre) 2. Welcome to St Fillans, 3. Twisted tree, (photo by Jim) 4. Wine, 5. Oil lamp with no oil, 6. Rhubarb patch, 7. Plum Tree Cottage, 8. Celtic Design, (photo by Jim)9. Water, 10. Tissue box, 11. Strange faces appear..., (photo by Jim)12. Coffee?, 13. Sheep ornament

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

We were incredibly lucky with the holiday cottage that we stayed in for our week in Scotland. The main reason for choosing it was that it was near Jim's final munro and ran its weeks from Sunday - Sunday which meant that he could go up with all his friends on a Saturday. In fact it was such a good cottage that we might well return to it - not something we usually do. We booked this cottage via this website.

Here is an enlargement of the mosaic of the cottage that I embedded in the one above:

Plum Tree Cottage

The weather was very mixed but I was happy to be in the cottage when it rained!

I was constantly entertained by the birds that visited to feed.

Feeding the birds at Plum Tree Cottage

One day we visited a Glen nearby and played with pebbles.

Pebble StackJim's Pebbles Dry
I made the stack and Jim made the flower.

In Callender we saw Scottish Dancing and kilts for sale:

Scottish Country Dancing Suits you sir!

But the souvenir I bought was this - not very Scottish maybe but a crow with character!

Feed me!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thankyou for bearing with me...

From top to bottom on the left: NW Bear and church, SW Bear, SE Bear, and the big picture is the NE Bear

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

I'm back from a holiday with Jim and I'm also ready to be back blogging!
I've been missing you all.

I do still have energy work to do but I think it is now going to be less all-consuming. I don't talk about it much here because its not easy to explain in words.

The last week we have spent in Scotland.

On the way up we stopped for a night in the Lake District. The "bears" above are from Dacre's churchyard. There are four very old carved stones and the story told is that the main figure is that of a bear.

Going from NW, anti-clockwise, the bears are:
NW Bear
The first one is a sleeping bear.

It looks to me like some sort of creature clutching a post. It either has no head or is holding its head down behind the post.

It is the first of the "bears" visible as one enters the churchyard from the village which might explain why the story starts with it.

SW BearThe second one is said to be a bear which has been awakened by some sort of creature jumping on its back. So far I've read or heard that this creature is a cat or monkey.

The "bear" is still holding its post. Its head is up and to me it looks as though it is protecting its post jealously.

SE BearThe third bear is said to be attempting to shake off the creature from its back.

It certainly looks a bit miserable to me. But I couldn't see it shaking!

Still holding onto that post with grim determination.

Incidentally there is a great looking castle in the background of this one.

NE BearThe fourth and last "bear" is said to have eaten the creature and is very happy with itself.

Or it may simply have got it off its back.

The post is still held onto safely.

Some people say this one looks more like a lion with a mane and a pointy tail. It is definitely grinning.

The "bears" might be Viking or older. I've put up more pictures of Dacre's Bears and Churchyard on flickr.

We stayed in a B&B in the Lake District with wonderful grounds. I was up to catch the dawn light:

1. Misty Dawn Chorus, 2. Dawn on one of Land Ends' ponds, 3. Sunrise, 4. Lake District Dawn

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

I love the Lake District but this holiday's goal was to enable Jim to achieve his ambition of climbing all the mountains of 3000ft and above in Britain and Ireland before his 40th birthday (which is this Thursday, May 24th) and he'd already done the ones in the Lake District long ago. There are 313 of these mountains and its taken him nearly 20 years - on Saturday he completed the last one with various friends who have been up other Munros with him. (The Munros are the mountains in Scotland over 3000 feet). Despite foul weather they all made it to the top of Ben Chonzie (3048ft) and appeared to enjoy the day!

Jim is the one with his arms upraised in triumph!

This is Jim's photo from flickr taken with a remote control so all those who went to the top of this final Munro with him are in the picture. Later most of them joined us for a celebration meal at the Achray House Hotel which did a wonderful dinner for us.

I'm not in the picture as I have not been up any of the Munros. I prefer less steep walks. I enjoyed the holiday and took loads of photographs - some of which will appear here and even more of which will end up on flickr in the next few days.

Oh I am glad to be back blogging. It'll take me a while to catch up with you all but I look forward to it!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Gone fishing...

The Great Escape

"Goliath Heron" by Birds of Africa & "Fish on a Bicycle" by Daren Greenhow in a brilliant sculpture exhibition now on at Trull House near Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Open 11 am - 5 pm until Sunday 13th May 2007

We found the exhibition by following the signs from the A46 heading north from the M4. Entrance costs £3.50 each. It was well worth it - the gardens are glorious as well as the sculptures - and I'll go again if I have the chance!

Sorry about the lack of postings recently and the lack of visits to other blogs. I'm currently doing a lot of energy work and that seems to use up the same energy I use for making art and writing either here or for comments.

I'll be back.

Monday, April 23, 2007

St. George's Day Pagent

Stop! cries St. George

St. George rides onto the scene to discover the dragon about to eat the Princess.

"Stop!" he cries.

The dragon is distracted and the Princess runs to safety as the dragon turns its attention on to St. George.

The Dragon breathes fire at St George

It breathes out fiery breath but misses the nimble rider.

St. George advances with his lance ready.

With his lance he skewers the dragon

He skewers the dragon slaying him on the spot.

And then takes home the Princess

Then St. George and his horse take the Princess home.


St George......................... Lady the Ladybird
Princess............................Little Cow

Throughout the background used is Selime by Jean & Nathalie

Wikipedia's alternative version of St George and the Dragon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

All the answers?

Book of Answers
Today I noticed that this book - the promisingly named "Book of Answers" has instructions for use on the back - having read them I thought the most obvious question to ask was whether the way that I'd just read was the best way to use the book. So I opened it, using their instructions, with this in mind....


It said Never!

So then I thought perhaps I'd better ask if the way I normally use the book was better. And I got:


There is good reason to be optimistic!

So I will continue to just hold it, think of something silly to ask, and open it right up.

If you would like to consult the book please leave a question in the comments and I'll answer it via the book.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What is Art?

What is Art? by Caroline in Painter IX.5

I hadn't been expecting to consider such a philosophical question today but that was before I discovered that flickr had flagged my account as safe but also as NIPSA - this meant no-one would ever find my images through a public search because they weren't showing them there - not that I'm expecting flocks of people to find me - but as a great user of searches myself it seemed rather antisocial to not be contributing too.

It seemed to all ride on the fact that I hadn't marked my content as being art when it was, or photos or screenshots when it was those. I don't know when this change came in - completley passed me by! But you can set a default and then change anything that is not standard individually.

So now I know the answer - art is anything that is not a photo and not a screenshot.

Which is a great way of freeing up the inner artist to play with some completely digital dribbles of paint.

Hands up those who thought it was a test for colour blindness?

Can you see the numbers?


Friday, April 13, 2007

IF - Fortune

Guardian 5

Remix using images from flickr with appropriate cc licenses:

Nagahama Hachimangu well
by MShades
four leaf clover by Greencolander

I consider Illustration Friday's choice of word very fortunate as on Tuesday I got both of these up on Flickr and also published a bit about where they came from and the ten other images in this series on my card blog.

Good luck to you all!

Guardian 10

Remix using images from flickr with appropriate cc licenses:

Wishes to Buddha by Suviko
Chorten and Ama Dablam by Sam Judson

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Red Face
Red Face by Caroline - This is a remix of the following images: Water Droplet by Editor B , caducity by /baboon , DSCN2023 by ramikey

A few days ago I realised that I was feeling a bit stale - I'd been so happy making SoulCollage® cards using all this digital remixing that I hadn't noticed the need to use the same skills for different purposes. I wasn't conscious that I'd started to search for other ways to express myself but had, looking back, been doing so.

I'd made a few SoulCollage cards for other people: Reluctant Nomad (who posted it on his blog), this one and this one for someone else. Over the weekend I also did a collage for Andrea from her own work.

Then yesterday I twigged that I wanted to make something that was just for fun. I did this:

(88-91 by Caroline - Remix of butterflies with appropriate cc licenses: 88 by Rigmarole , 89 Butterfly on the Road by ARKNTINA, zafiro by dsevilla, Malachite by code poet )

It started by noticing that there was a butterfly that appeared to be called 88, presumably because of its markings, then that lead to an 89... so of course I looked for remixable butterflies with other numbers too and, flickr provided a couple - though not ones with numerical markings to match.

And then I posted yesterday and did lots of illustrations just for that one posting...

Somehow doing this all just for fun gave me the strength to complete a rather long posting that I'd been working on for my card blog - it needed 12 images uploading to flickr - all the attributions putting on and of course visiting all the providers of those images to say thank you to them and to let them see, if they were interested, what had become of their photos. As well as the writing for the blog posting of course...

And having done all this one of the people whose photos I'd used commented on flickr "You're welcome. :) Was this for some group or project or just for fun?" - a good question! I'm sure it had started out as fun but having to actually finish it became more like hard work and that needed something else as fun to sweeten the way.

The image at the top of this posting was done today - just for fun!

I think maybe now I've understood - if that is a relevant concept - the synchronicity of Cream / Creme eggs the other day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tinking Award

My eye photographed by Jim and then put through the hexagon tile effect in Corel Painter IX.

The ever wonderful Tinker has awarded me a Thinking Award - now I've noticed these and variations of them in some of the blogs that I read and so far no-one else (that I've noticed anyway) thought I deserved one. Of course that meant a bit of me felt left out and rejected but another part was feeling relieved, because unless you are the first in your circle of bloggers to get one almost everyone has already received one or two and it gets really hard to find someone new to pass the baton on too. And now that I've got one several other parts of me are leaping up to be noticed...

(This is a remix using the following flickr photos with appropriate cc licenses that allow remixing:Knitted brain by urbanmkr, Normal Invert by jovike, Ancient Cliff-Dwelling by laszlo-photo)

Pedant: "Meme, meme, meme.... "

I'm not going to let this part go on about memes again. It had its say ages ago. Its enough that I've made this grotesque picture for it - another variation on my critic... If you actually want to you can see it bigger by clicking on it.

(Remix using: poppy by mafleen, Antisthenes the Cynic by Alun Salt)

Cynic: "Have you noticed that everyone who gets this award is asked to link back to the original posting that started it? They are getting a huge number of links out of this. And search engines love the places with the most links to them..."

But not from me.

If you want to see the original wording visit via the link on Tinker's posting - I'd rather link to her than to someone whose blog I never read! Though yes I did actually go and read the posting that started it all off. And the cynics in me have an awful lot more comments about this that they are going to keep to themselves! (Oh oh I've gone plural in my inner cynics... :-)

Time for someone who is not so keen on thinking, I think:

Zen Unthinker:

"There really is too much thinking and not enough thought."

Well thank you for the paradox... Some of my inner parts can be a little hard to fathom...

Arising out of all this I thought it would be fun to have some new buttons to award.

The first is for all those people who think too much:

Over Thinker Award

And the second to those who have managed to go beyond thinking, even if only briefly and know that I mean as its not something that can be easily described:

Beyond Thinking Award

And of course as I cannot tell what you are thinking you will have to decide for yourself which to take - for most people who visit here I'd recommend both!

If you like you can link your award back here - but that's entirely at your own discretion.

Which would you like?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Laying chocolate eggs

Golden Egg
Golden Egg for Easter that I didn't get around to posting here before:
Images used in the original remix of Gatekeeper to Success are all from flickr with appropriate CC licenses: North Lees track by Roger B., Gatekeeper by Ben Werdmuller, Gardening Trophy by east_lothian_museums, Glum beardy man by hugovk
Eggness created with - fun with your photos

Cream has just asked "Did Lucy lay them chocolate eggs, Caro? "

And next to the email alerting me to his comment was an email Jim sent me with this link - about a bird attempting to hatch some Cadbury's Creme Eggs.

So what's the message?

Should I be eating more chocolate?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

Lucy Lamb and Chocolate Eggs photographed with my new compact digital camera.

After months of research I've finally got a little camera that I can take anywhere - it is small enough to fit in my small shoulder bag so really no excuses now.

Jim noticed that the Panasonic DMC-FX01 was on offer from Comet at either the store or on-line (£150) - so he went to our nearest store and, having managed to say no to all their attempts to sell extended guarantees / insurance etc. (who does pay £60 to guarantee a £150 camera?), came away with my new take anywhere toy!

I'm feeling very lucky today. Thank you Jim!

As you can see the sun is shining here - we are having beautifully warm spring weather.

I hope Easter, if you celebrate it, is finding you replete with chocolate (or a suitable alternative), if not sunshine too.

Easter and its more pagan roots are all about the transformation of death into life - or winter into spring - which makes the card I made yesterday all the more appropriate.

I noticed Tinker mentioning Easter frocks on her blog - I never had one, in fact I had never even heard of them before - what celebrations and traditions do you associate with this time of year?

Friday, April 06, 2007

IF - Green

Relax in Green

Relax in Green by Caroline using Corel Painter IX

Images used in this remix include from flickr with appropriate CC licenses:

Here Be Squirrels by Nyx
Fluorite octahedron by MShades
Regal Queen by laszlo-photo
morning glory by only alice
nuez (a tropical nut) pendant with malachite inlay by kafka4prez
Graphium sarpedon by melop

I have recently been making SoulCollage® cards which are done by collaging whole images together . I love the effects created by the changes in background and juxtapositioning of previously unrelated images. Most people do these with magazines, scissors and paste but I've been mostly doing them digitally. The above image is a variation on one that I call The Relaxation Teacher - I put it together specifically for this week's Illustration Friday's theme of Green.

More of my SoulCollage® cards
Illustration Friday

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring Mandalas

Kaleidoscope images at top and bottom of this post derived from more originals from Beth of Mother Luck Flower Essences. This time in spring colours especially for Mr Nomad.

Having returned from Ireland I'm continuing to get more and more synchronicities that involve Ireland - right now I'm listening to a Radio 4 programme about Henry IIs invasion of Ireland...


A Laudable Invasion?

Series using documentary evidence to throw new light on past events.

The story of a flawed dossier and an unlawful invasion. The Laudabiliter was a papal letter which for 800 years became the legal precedent for English occupation of Ireland.

Plus I've just heard that someone else I know has just gone there for Easter.

This got delayed in posting as the electrician needed the power off - this phase of our re-decoration is almost complete! Its a shame that the storm damaged rooms we'd decorated recently but at least they are now looking good again. I've been very impressed with these builders - how often can one say that? (Benchmark Contracts - for anyone in the Bristol or Clevedon area who is interested.)

What colours do you associate with the spring?