Saturday, February 28, 2009

Most Viewed

Dru has just posted about which of the images on her flickr stream get the most views. So I thought I'd show my top ten too... a very motley collection they are too:

In 10th position (731 views) is Purple Confetti:

Purple Confetti

This was an experiment in photographing purple.

In 9th position (846 views) is Holiday Cottage - Welcome In!:

Holiday Cottage - Welcome In!

This was a great holiday cottage to stay in at St Fillans in Scotland - we were there for a week in 2007 so that Jim could complete the Munros.

In 8th position (937 views) is Eden Project's Solar Panels:

Eden Project's Solar Panels

From a different holiday in 2006 when we were in Cornwall. It good to see that Solar Panels are almost as good to look at as mermaids....

In 7th position (940 views) is Mermaids:


A display Jim had spotted this a hairdressers window in Frampton Cotterell and as we happened to be near there soon after that I got this photo. I especially like the MerKen.

In 6th position (1,285 views) is Scratched Negative:

Scatched Negative

This is someone else's negative that I found in a book, Jim scanned it and I made it monochrome and put it into a texture's group or two.

In 5th position (1366 views) is Red Buddha:

Red Buddha

In 4th position (2186 views) is Wire Sculpture:

Wire Sculpture

My one attempt at wire sculpture (so far) - it hurt my hands too much...

In 3rd position (2443 views) is Birthday Card:

Birthday Card

With renewed thanks to Spitzgogo_CHEN (Nokia 6230i) for the Cake, Miss Loisy for the Bike, Jeff Kubina for the Balls, brokenchopstick for the Bubble.

This is a SoulCollage card blogged in my card blog.

In 2nd position (6,734 views) Water Droplets on Car Texture:

Water Droplets on Car Texture

A texture that I took - the original was a boring colour so I made it warm.

And in the top spot (9,283 views) is Background:


This one was in the top spot long before I got around to making it available with a creative commons license... This background was inspired by Try It Tuesdays - and blogged here.

It seems quite odd that my two top images are ones which aren't really of anything...

Flickr's idea of "interesting" is not the same as most viewed though there are overlaps. If you want to see my most interesting photos I have a dynamically created set of them on Flickr.

If you have a flickr stream I'd love to see which are your most viewed images!

Do let me know if you post about them.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Secret #8 of 12: Selecting Empowering Partnerships and Alliances

My digital tweaking of iwadesu's Hear, See, Speak no Evil

Empowering Partners?

I love collaborating with other people like iwadesu. She isn't someone I've met and I've not used any of her photos before (at least I don't think so) but she was kind enough to put this image on flickr with a creative commons license that allows reuse and manipulation which means when I searched for something to show hear no, see no, speak no evil hers was one of the images to come up. This sort of loose association of collaborators is one I really appreciate and one of the reasons why I like flickr so much. Most, though not all, of my flickr images are available for others to play with too and are some of my most popular images.

More formal partnerships?

Well there is my husband - he and I do quite a lot of things together, some of them creative. Right now he is in the process of writing Teasel's dog blog. We planned to do this in "real time" but somehow it didn't happen and he's been busily posting back-dated entries and is currently up to mid-December last year. He keeps a diary and has relied on that. I'd taken lots of photos (and he's taken some too) and many of those are in there.

Today I bumped into an old work colleague... he's someone I enjoyed working with though we didn't do much together. He now has his own business called Business with Heart - what a great name! His presence in my day reminded me that once I used to really enjoy the people aspect of my work life.

However with art work its not been the same. I've attempted twice to share studio space and found both times that it was disastrous for my creative output. This may be something to do with my needing to avoid words too much when I'm in picture space. And the converse that talking shifts me out of picture space...

But I really get a lot out of the way we all spark ideas in each other via our blogs. Yesterday Leah of Creative Every Day mentioned Angel cards - I thought of these, the Angel cards that are available separately but also as part of the Transformation Game. I decided I needed to play it:

Transformation Game

Normally one plays it with other people but I've also got the Solo version and I've adapted that to play in other ways too. Yesterday I played it with 2 hands - my conscious self and my dream self. It was amazing - I love the things that come up through playing it though I won't bore you with details!

Last week Kathryn, Collage Diva, called this process of sparking ideas back and forth the Inspiration Spiral. I love that name.

Silver Spiral Snail

Friday, February 20, 2009

Secret #7 of 12: Consulting with Guides

Peace Camp Update
Thanks to Leo Reynolds for winged figure of Peace and GoYurt for GoYurt at night
both with a creative commons license that allows alteration.

Onto week 7 of 12 Secrets... For me the idea of consulting with guides is about listening to my inner guides... looking and listening for answers from within.

Right now my intuition is that I need to play with labyrinths again.

And I decided I needed to carve them. So I used lino.

Labyrinth and Not Labyrinth

One worked, the other didn't. I rather like the symbology of both a working, followable, labyrinth and one that is merely superficially labyrinthine but in fact quickly turns out to be a dead end.

I am amused at one synchronicity. This week's interview is with Melba. And it was when I was taking part in Melba's Mixed Media Memoirs (an old challenge that is no longer running) that I last showed images of labyrinths on this blog!

For those prompts I was tending to scan things in, manipulate and glue them together digitally, before I printed out the completed whole to stick in my memoir. This time around, with the inspiration of altered books and Soul Journals, I'm using more real glue. And maybe also because the novelty of doing everything digitally has worn off a little...

And I have really been getting my hands dirty this time. These are my first lino prints since school!

Here are the next two I did:

A Couple More Linocuts

Sorry this is all a bit stilted... my words go out the window when I'm in strong image space.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Wishcast: Where do you wish to go?

Two photos manipulated and combined using Corel Painter

This Wednesday's Wishcasting prompt from Jamie is: Where do you wish to go?

Good question.... really I'd like to get my (night time) dreams to be more productive.

The last time I attempted to dream myself somewhere exotic I spent the whole night at the airport!

So I wish to go to more beautiful, interesting and healing places in my dreams.

And whilst I'm blogging here are my latest Soul Journal pages.

I journalled all over the page opposite the armour but when I put a wash of it my pen turned out to be rather soluble - I rather like the look of it like that.

Joan of Heart

Little Squares

The purple page with little squares is in response to Sarah's Whitmire's prompts for day 5 and day 6.

It reminded me of a technique we'd used at school of cutting up images and then pasting the bits back down. I used that to make this page:

Sliced Images

I especially liked the way the black gesso worked here when I blotted the pages together.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Secret #6 of 12: Conquering Saboteurs

Suit of Armour
Suit of Armour, featuring pwbaker's girl warrior of the 15th century
with a creative commons license that allows alteration.

We are onto chapter 6 of Gail McMeekin's "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" hosted by Jamie Ridler.

This chapter is about Conquering Saboteurs - and what better for that than a protective golden suit of armour! This is a partially completed page from my SoulJournal done in response to the 3rd day of Soul Journaling prompts from Sarah Whitmire which is about our critics, both internal and external, and building some protection for ourselves from them.

I started working on these prompts last week but was struggling to find suitable armour. On Saturday Radio 4 had a play about Joan of Arc and I thought that I might try a search based on her... I love searching through flickr using the advanced search so that I only find images which are available for manipulation - but you need some idea of what to look for!

The Soul Journalling has been inspired by some of you - thank you!

I love mixed media work and have had a couple of goes at altering books. I'm loving playing with these prompts in what was once a Colour Me Beautiful Style Guide book and is becoming my own Soul Journal!

Last week I was inspired to re-organise my art materials after watching Art by Chrysti's video tour of her studio. I did a lot of sorting out but I realised I was rather short of storage furniture. So imagine my joy at finding these outside someone's house with a sign on them saying "please take".

Jim was kind enough to collect and install them for me - Thank you Jim!

They fit into a previously unused space and are perfect for my paints.

Chrysti has been doing a whole series of Giveaways, the most recent was Day 21 of the planned 29. That one is open until February 20th, 2009. And she has the rest of the 29 yet to post. So do check out her blog.

Another freebie I was lucky enough to benefit from was on Thursday... Bristol Zoo were celebrating Darwin's 200th birthday by offering free admission to anyone sporting a beard - whether real or fake.

Of course that did mean I, and lots of others, had to wear a beard to gain our free entry:

Darwin Day at the Zoo

The centre photo is of Jim wearing the beard he uses when playing bass when the band he is in covers ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" - their band is called the Macaroni Penguins - so here you see a penguin, in a beard, at the zoo.

There are six photos around the edge of me which also involve the same beard.

Teasel, being a dog, is not allowed into the zoo (they don't even allow assistance dogs in which must be rather hard on those that rely on them) so Jim and I took it in turns to wear the beard and go into the zoo whilst the other took Teasel for a walk nearby.

The interview this week seemed extra-specially relevant to me too - I take my camera out the way Andrea Scher describes and love seeing my local neighbourhood in a new way daily both with and without my dog! Being grounded by what is around me really helps when I'm feeling that I'm going through a low of any kind and is something I tend to enjoy doing whether I'm feeling "creative" or not. I don't worry about whether my photos are any good whilst I take them - then I'm in the moment and attempting to capture some aspect of it. Whether I have or not doesn't really matter.

Here are some of the things I've photographed locally recently:

My eye is drawn to quirky things - like the daffodils labelled as Lavendula! And you really wouldn't believe the number of suitcases that have been put out on the streets recently.

This post has taken me so long to write that I've already altered the armour a bit - here is a close-up:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

I took the theme of "Birds of a Feather" and put little chocolate eggs into golden heart boxes... Please take a chocolate and join my page for the Valentine's Day party!

I've just joined the Soul Journalling Group on Yahoo and am beginning to make some mixed media pieces based on the original prompts by Sarah Whitmire.

Somehow I got quite carried away and have wandered well away from those prompts.

Here is what some of the pages look like at the moment, in no particular order, most have just had a new thin coating of gesso:

Soul Journal Pages in Progress - 1

Soul Journal Pages in Progress - 2

Soul Journal Pages in Progress - 3

Soul Journal Pages in Progress - 5

Soul Journal Pages in Progress - 4

The last one of the pages above has a trace of a suit of armour on the left... I've gone through various versions of this and am wondering just where its going to take me.

But the strangest part of the process for me, so far, has been my tendency to doodle instead of write!

That and the sheer joy I'm getting from playing this way.

UPDATE: I'd written this last night and scheduled it to post this morning. When I woke up I just had to add this to one of the pages:

The Rules

And yes, even spelling correctly is clearly optional.

And since I'm adding an update - look what I got for Valentine's Day:

Valentine's Day 2009

Jim's Valentine card features the bay in Cornwall where we were married in 2000! Isn't that sweet.

And wonderfully not-too-sweet is the 99% cocoa bar - as I avoid sugar as much as possible this is definitely my type of chocolate.

Do have a square if you'd prefer it to one of the eggs.

And then go visit more partiers at the Birds of a Feather Party

Thursday, February 12, 2009

One World.....One Heart Giveaway! - Winners

Today is the day when the winners of the One World... One Heart Giveaway are all announced.

I thought it would be easiest to pick the winners using a random number generator - but with 189 comments (after deleting a couple of duplicates from when blogger when bonkers) I soon realised I'm not that good at counting... Jim then wrote me a perl program to count the comments for me... so I could tell exactly which the 78th, 52nd and 102nd comments were... wonderful man!

The three winners are:
What fun - thanks again to Lisa Oceandreamer for organising this event.

If you didn't win and would like to make your own calendar the number photos are all available, with creative commons permission to use them, in my Calendar Project set on flickr. I've been adding more so there is a greater variety there than when I printed the giveaways.

If you use them I'd love to see your calendars (or any other art work you make using them) so please do feel free to let me know - though that's not a condition of use ;-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday Wishcast: What do you wish for yourself?

Wish for Valentine's Day

I wish that with each breath I take I breathe in love and each time I exhale I emit love!

For this Wednesday's Wishcasting.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Secret #5 of 12: Committing To Self-Focus

Eye Candy
"Eye Candy" for February's MSH on Flickr

We are onto chapter 5 of Gail McMeekin's "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" hosted by Jamie Ridler.

My first thought on reading this chapter was that I'm already self-focussed... then I wondered if I was just kidding myself and I noticed how hard it is to put a whole day aside to just make things.

There's the dog to walk (so I take my camera and usually get photos too - most of my house numbers have been taken that way), there's shopping to do (even then I sometimes get photos - today I got this photo of a butterfly cake) and Jim to be with (not time I plan to give up!)... We are pretty good at sharing the cooking but I do seem to do most of the laundry... He might point out that he does most of the DIY... We have no children and are not especially house proud so really there isn't much to bind me.

I think rather than focussing directly on Self-focus this week I'd be better off focussing on:

S gold e l F
f-spo yellow o R
G Educational Block I letter V E
westerN E S DSC_0691
Spelt using Spell with flickr

Because Self-Forgiveness is what I need to improve my Self-Focus.

I have been reasonably productive in the last week or so.

Calendar from Calendar ProjectThose of you who haven't yet commented on my perpetual calendar giveaway have until noon GMT Feb 11th if you would like to be in with a chance of winning one of the three that I'm giving away... make sure you comment on that specific post as I'll be doing the draw from the names there.

I'm still collecting new photos of numbers and have started to collect photos of letters too... though as yet I haven't a full alphabet so am relying on tools like Spell with flickr for colourful words!

With the unusual amount of snow we've had this week I've built a snow totem:

Snow totem

And I've taken lots of snowy photos... most of which have yet to get on flickr...

I've made a couple of new SoulCollage® cards, one of which - Goat - is on my card blog. I've realised that an excellent way to get a good usable set of cards would be to send them off to be printed as postcards... I'm still thinking about that as it would be a complete change in feel to the cards I've previously made.

And today I even bought myself a present:

Rainmaker bear fetish

The chapter did get me wondering what more I could do to support the creative women I know... especially those I know who aren't bloggers... I thought maybe something creative from me to help them...

What would you suggest?