Friday, 31 August 2012

A Case of the Pretties...

It would appear I have a bit of a case of the pretties
which is very odd because I'm not really a pretty girly girl at all
and have never really bought anything flowery before
but as I rapidly approach 45
I am finding I am drawn to some pretty things more and more
this has become a concern because now I am starting to worry 
that I am going to end up all out chintz by the time I am 60
talk about shudder inducing... 
but rather than panic just yet, I think I will blame the weather 
because Spring has sprung
well not fully sprung, its more in a half crouch 
but the studio is being flooded with lovely scents
and that sweetness must be affecting my brain chemistry or something...

I am therefore blaming my purchase of this Cath Kidston Hand Cream
on a combination of the glorious weather
and the endorphins left over from my second favourite day on the cleaning calender
that is known as 
bash the living crap out of the duvets and pillows day
I do it twice a year and it is my sort of cleaning... 
give me a five iron and a pillow and I am in heaven
I make all the appropriate beating up and karate noises
which may raise some eyebrows with the neighbours
but the fun overrides any sense of propriety and I highly recommend
 that you throw in a few ka pows and take that you scoundrels
next time you are doing this chore
you will be smiling the rest of the day

Of course there is a downside
and it is obviously that you will go and buy hand cream in a pretty floral container
bloody endorphins
because while the packaging is all lovely and it smells pretty 
it has a screw on lid
which is hand cream torture for someone with my coordination
and I will now spend the next few months hunting for the lid
which will roll under furniture and go missing every single time I try to use it
I swore I would never venture down the screw top hand cream road again
but I have never been great at keeping up things I swear to
and it was fun to paint so maybe it will be worth 
all the cursing and crawling around lid hunting that is to come..

Happy Paint Party Friday everyone... xx

This week I have blogged about...

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Talking about Inspiration can be a tricky thing at times
because I sometimes struggle to see how people can't find inspiration
it usually feels like my brain is being bombarded about twenty times an hour 
with images that are crying out to be drawn and painted
and most days I go to bed feeling slightly beaten up and overwhelmed 
by how many things there are to draw and paint
and how on earth will I find time to draw them all
but it hasn't always been this way
and I used to get all angsty about what I should be painting
and what sorts of images and techniques I should be exploring
and where I should be taking my work and all that other utter crap
and it turns out the freaking shoulds were killing my inspiration

I was trained to draw and paint
I went to college back in the good old days when we actually had academic drawing classes
and tutors and professors who extolled the virtues of being able to render
and create tone in paint and it was generally a mix of technique, history and aesthetics
which meant I was lucky, as a lot of graduates now don't get that now
but the thing that stayed with me the most, that stuffed up my work for years
was image development
what are you saying, where do you want your work to be
how does it reflect and inhabit your beliefs about art
how is your style developing and reflecting your process
and all that other complete and utter nonsense
which completely did my head in and stifled any enjoyment I may have had
and don't even get me started on inspiration
I couldn't even spell it by the time I got through thinking about all that

But then after a shocking session of angst ridden quasi creativity
I gave myself a mental uppercut and told myself to stop being a complete tosser
I like simple things
I like what is around me
and drawing and painting them brings me great pleasure
I think the pleasure is doubled because it is fun to draw and paint them
and while doing the work I am made to look closely at the object
and get to appreciate its loveliness
even if it is just a favourite giant tea cup
and I feel joy in painting the same thing many times
I have attacked these mugs a couple of times
and love the bowl shape and the crispness of the blue and white lines
there is something timeless and comforting about them
not to mention they mean my tea cools nice and quickly

So I gave myself permission to not worry about image development
and to explore whatever takes my fancy
and it was kind of addictive
everything is fair game
the labels on a can, the mess in the pantry
the teetering pile of ironing with all its different textures and colours
the jungle I call a garden, my art supplies, the contents of my handbag
a trip to the pharmacy... it is all drawing and painting fodder
and my whole life has opened up into a sea of inspiration
and I find it alternates between exciting and bloody terrifying
which means sometimes I have to Do the Lean
but it is never boring and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way
because now from the time I wake up I am noticing things around me
I get to be immersed in my creative bubble even when I am doing the dishes
it is such a lovely place to be and I wouldn't go back to my old way for anything

So a big thank you to Jen at The Artists Playroom
for setting the topic of Inspiration
and reminding me to stop and appreciate how much I love what I do
and how I do it... xx

My last few blog posts have been about...

Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Alvey Feeling...

Every family has their own personal mythologies
in ours if you have the feeling you are going to win something it is called 
the Alvey Feeling
which is named after an Alvey fishing reel that Sinus won
when he was about 14 or 15 and he just knew he would win it
so every time we are feeling lucky we have "the Alvey Feeling"

I am not one to enter contests or draws or things
I'm not quite sure why, but it just isn't me... 
but then on Facebook I came across the Enjoy Every Day competition
and I love Twinings tea, especially Lady Grey and so I thought I would enter
The weekly prize was $5000 which was pretty spectacular
so I entered this painting which is one of my favourite Lady Grey paintings...

On hitting that enter button I was immediately and completely overcome by the Alvey feeling
I was soooooo winning five grand
I was mentally spending it
new computer, new printer, completing my set of Wedgewood tea cups
the list became alarmingly long ... alarmingly quickly
but I was convinced the Alvey feeling wouldn't let me down
I told Sinus about it and he was excited too
figuring that if I finally had the Alvey feeling it was quite the sign
and he took to making fishing reel motions all the time and patting me on the back
and welcoming me to the club
which was fun for about an hour
but quickly morphed into ... 
pat me one more time and I will show you where you can put your Alvey reel

yet somehow I still thought it was going to happen
which was crazy and delusional because in the twenty something years I have lived with Sinus
I have never seen any evidence that the Alvey feeling actually works
Every second week he has it with the lotto draw, and all sorts of other situations
and never has it come off... not even close
except when it comes to getting parking spaces
he always gets the perfect parking spot... even when the mall is packed
the minute he drives in it seems that about ten people
are overcome by the overwhelming need to head home
it is freaky how he gets those parks.... and every time
but parking spaces aside
I had somehow morphed into this  Alvey believer... I no longer scoffed and snorted
I actually thought it was going to come through

but on seeing the winner announced I was instantly plunged into utter despair
how could the Alvey feeling let me down so thoroughly
I was in shock... no new computer, or printer
turns out that the Alvey feeling is indeed the crock I had always thought it was

of course this tin arriving as a consolation prize sorted out my despair
as it is not only great for storing teas, 
but of course it is something new to draw and paint
which always sets the world to rights
and I do love seeing it there on the shelf

but now Sinus is declaring that the Alvey feeling works
because I did win something
even if it wasn't what I had hoped
he is taking it as vindication and I figure I can look forward to 
another 25 years of the bloody Alvey feeling...
lucky I have my Lady Grey to see me through the Alvey filled next few years...xx

Linking up with Sunday Sketches... 
head over to see what people have been drawing this week...xx

My last two posts have been...

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Broccoli Chip Effect....

Let's talk Broccoli chips
now if you are a normal person you will look at this painting
with a sort of horrified fascination that these things exist in the world
a normal reaction is...
they can't taste good
not on your sweet Nelly am I eating them
or in what universe do you think they are making it onto my plate
dear Phantom Steve's reaction was ...
cool can we get them to try... can we .... I think they will be awesome

seriously that is what she said
I pointed out that the same brand of banana chips had not been a winner
but relented as I was still on a high from finding the cereal that I talked about in the last post
so they ended up in the basket
and were duly taken home for Phantom's snacking pleasure
Now Phantom is actually one of the most brillantly stupid people you will ever meet
she has a monster IQ and a freaky brain that does weird and wonderful things
but seems unable to grasp just how bad a broccoli chip could be
I mean seriously
would you eat something that looked like this for anything other than a dare????
Fifty bucks, a pile of chocolate and a weekend with George Clooney
wouldn't be enough to get me to try these suckers
but Phantom and Sinus are either crazy brave or crazy stupid
or maybe a bit of both

because the packet is opened and we are met by the unmistakable waft
of fish food
and not the mild kelpy smell, but the rotting in the sun kelpy smell
these things smell nasty
one whiff and my lips are clamped so tight they couldn't be pried open by the jaws of life
but still Phantom and Sinus eat one.... 
I actually thought Sinus teared up a little bit it was so bad 
but he manfully got it down and declared them the worst thing in the history of the world
Phantom gamely hung onto her poker face for all of 30 seconds
before bolting to the kitchen bin to spit it out
and spent the next ten minutes trying to scrub the taste from her tongue
while shooting me dirty looks, as I was , by this stage,
laughing so hard that I was having trouble breathing
I really regret not having the camera out... 
it would have been a youtube sensation let me tell you

Even more exciting is that I now have the ultimate weapon in my mum arsenal
in the war against teenager-dom
the threat of broccoli chips is being used at each and every opportunity
to great evil effect... 
and just the sight of the box is reducing both Phantom and Sinus to my slaves
which they totally deserve by the way... 
the scales have finally tipped in my favour
and I am mad with the power of it all ...

My domination of the house is not quite complete though
as any sign of any box makes my mutt, Mushu think he is getting a treat
mainly because he is alarmingly stupid and has the memory span of a goldfish, 
so even if we had given him a try of them he would have forgotten what they tasted like 
about two minutes after throwing them up
but he is cute and cuddly and is too gentle a soul to be tortured by such horribleness...
Someone who totally gets how sweet he is , is my friend Von
 she has done the most beautiful painting of him
how wonderful is this
she has caught his eyes so perfectly
check out her post about it here ...
I love it so much.... so a huge public thank you to my friend

Happy Paint Party Friday to all
I am so looking forward to being able to catch up on what you have been up to
head over here to see what other painting goodness is on show... xx

this week I have been back from my studio break 
and here is what I have been up to...

A post over at Dion Dior for the When Artists Cook series

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Cereal Killer....

I challenge anyone of my vintage
to not want to buy this cereal
is that the greatest cereal name ever or what...
my Daughter Phantom Steve is a coeliac
which necessitates us making regular trips to the natural foods grocer
or as I like to call it
the hand over your life savings to buy three products grocer
Okay it isn't quite that bad, but it can feel like it sometimes

So on the trip to stock up on rice bread we came across this cereal
which made me immediately want to don a huge white Choose Life T-shirt
and dance down around the store singing Wham at the top of my lungs
which would have embarrassed Phantom mightily
especially as my singing has been compared to putting a squeaky toy through a mincer
which personally I feel is harsh... 
surely volume and enthusiasm should count for something
but we succumbed to the purchase and I managed to not sing
until we got into the car
at which time I assaulted poor Phantom's ears with gusto
and now you are all humming it too aren't you
going to be in your head all day now....

On getting home bowls were taken out
milk poured and the cereal was declared "Killer"
which felt all wrong considering the Choose Life associations with the song
but hey it is pretty good for gluten, wheat, and everything else free
so wins all round
and as a bonus I get to sing at 5.30 am as I pour it for her
now that is a great way to start the day...

Another great start to the day today
was turning on the computer and seeing my post for When Artists Cook was up
I am contributing to a series over at Dion Dior
and it has been great fun to be part of
you can see the post here ...

and in a great twist of fate the challenge at
was illustrate a word
and this is close as it has words in it right...
so the day is going swimmingly
turns out starting the day with a song makes everything better... xx

If you have missed them
here are the links to my last two posts...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Trevor the Pocket Deity....

It is great to be back in blog land after my studio time!!!
 not just great... that's an understatement
It is crazy great... I missed it an unhealthy amount great
feel like I am home after a long trip great... well you get the idea...

So how did studio time go you may be asking?
Did I get all the things done that I had on my desk?
Are deadlines no longer crushing my will to live?
Did I give the blog a facelift? 
and set up a blog shop?
Did I give in and clean the house?
well the answers are
fine thanks, not really, kind of, added some pages at the top, didn't even think of it and briefly

I got enough done that I can at least delude myself that things are under control
which sums up the state of the house as well come to think of it
and while I didn't make as much progress in some projects as I had planned
and didn't even start others
the imminent deadlines have been met 
and all others appear to be manageable
so crisis averted and the world is looking just fine and dandy ...

I may be a touch misguided but I kind of think I was helped along
by the appearance in my life of a pocket deity
This thing must have some pretty powerful vibes 
as it managed to offset possible bad mojo 
that should have accompanied the fact that I swiped it from Phantom
but is there such a thing as stealing from your teenage daughter???
I mean what's hers is mine I should think
and he probably felt unappreciated by Phantom anyway
after all she just had him sitting on a shelf
behind a model of a pregnancy pelvis and beside an model of an eyeball
don't ask!!!!! trust me we are all pleased the fascination with all things medical has passed

Sitting on my desk however,
being surrounded by colour  and being lightly splattered with paint 
seems to suit him
and while I haven't officially named him yet 
because I'm not sure what the protocol in these matters is
I am considering Trevor as a name
Which appeals mainly because then I can walk around the house
calling his name and asking if anyone has seen Trevor
because ...
he fell out of my pocket, has been stolen by the dog
or was last seen backstroking in my paint water container
I have tried out some other names over the last few days 
but Trevor is winning at the moment
I have no clue why I find the name Trevor so funny
and a Buddha named Trevor just strikes me as hilarious
mind you I could be swayed to another name if you have any suggestions...
this naming business isn't meant to be blasphemous,
 but he is, 
after all, a pocket buddha
and I can't imagine deities being too impressed with spending the day
being buffeted by my lip balm, spare change and the odd tissue
so being out in the air and immortalizing him in paint
and naming him
has to offset any offence he may be feeling at his lot in life...

So I am sharing all the good vibes, great karma, positive mojo
and peace that Trevor can bring to the world 
with my dearly missed bloggy friends
and my buds over at Sunday Sketches.
and a special birthday shout out from Trevor and I to Alex... 
our wonderful hostess with the mostess..
ahh it's great to be back xx

You haven't missed much in the last two weeks as I have been
on a break... didn't you read the post???
but here are my last two posts anyway...

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Things I Have Learnt...

Update time on my blogging break
which kind of defeats the purpose of the break I know
but there are a few things I have learnt that I wanted to share

That you should never think smugly that you have escaped the winter flu season
just because the first hint of Spring arrives
if you do that it will bite you
big time
and poor Phantom has been horribly sick for days
which has meant I have been on nurse duty
though happily she is finally on the mend

I have also learnt that I would have been a lousy nurse

That I am also really bad at keeping aquarium plants alive
which I needed to pick up for Phantom to take in for a chem experiment
but then she got sick
so now I am trying to keep them alive long enough 
for her to take them to school and kill them in a variety of ways... 
how's that for irony

Also that I really don't like Moleskin notebooks
I did this drawing of an Apothecary jar that I had bought a while ago
and yes I should have bought one that takes watercolour
and yes I know lots of people love them
but I can't get my head around the yellow paper
maybe it is something I will get used to

I also learnt that such a disrupted week means I have gotten little done
especially as despite practically bathing in hand sanitiser
and scoffing vitamins like tic tacs 
the dreaded lurgy is not quite being held at bay
another week off is going to be needed for me to get some work done

but most importantly I have learnt how much I have missed blogging
so I will be scoffing extra vitamins
mainlining tea and working my fingers to the bone
so I can get back to it... you are all missed...xx

PS. Phantom Steve is doing the forty hour famine
well she isn't not eating because she has some health challenges
which require her to eat regularly
so she is actually giving up the letter "e"
I know... seems a bit weird, but for a while there she talked about taping up her thumbs
until I pointed out that would mean needing help getting dressed etc
that was soooo not going to happen let me tell you
but if you would like to support her you can head over to this link to donate
thanks all... will let you know how it goes...xx