Saturday, 15 January 2011


We started off the day by watching a bit of telly and having breakfast together, which was ace. I'm just loving Shameless and I feel very spoiled by there being five episodes this week. Had a good natter with my sis on the phone too, catching up on all her news and whittering about my work (since that's pretty much all I have in my mind these days).

I wanted to do a bit of 3D work today, some samples of brand new stuff. I made a flower out of synthetic satin and it turned out really well. My shrink plastic arrived so I thought I'd give that a go too. All I can say is, wow! I am loving it. I made a cupcake and a sugar skull. I can't imagine why I've never used this before. It shrinks down your images by about 70% and is quite hard work, but well worth the effort.  I started off by doing a drawing, then tracing it onto the plastic before colouring and then finally heating it. You can also gloss it, which I may do tomorrow.

After talking with my sis this morning I have yet more projects to do. I have finally decided to write some lists, which I should have been doing all along really. So many ideas pop into my head that I keep losing them in the chaos, so recording them somewhere seems very wise.

Oh and last night we had a simply fantastic time! Jay and I went to see this chap (Phil) who wants to do some music with him. We were there a few hours and I helped with lyrics and critique, which was more fun than I'd ever expected. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and we came out of there having completed a whole track. It sounds brilliant and I'm so proud that they let me be involved. The setup there is something else, with all the computer gubbins and music odds and ends to create and record tracks just like that. Phil is very very good and ever such a nice fellow, it was a pleasure to be there. I'm really looking forward to next time.

Did a little sales shopping in town on a brief trip out this afternoon. I got coloured pencils and watercolour pencils for a few quid a tin, a serious bargain. Yes, I know, all my buying for ages has been art materials and I run the risk of becoming a bore. I shall try to balance it out by buying some new shoes or something asap.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

January Stuff

Spent a leisurely hour in town this morning. I decided on the spur of the moment that todays paintings are going to be of green things. Since fruits are the fashion with me at the moment I bought a green apple, a pear, some limes and some grapes. I already have kiwis. It's all jet setting round here you know. I'm loving green with grey, though it could be a little drab. Experimenting shall commence later.

People watching was uplifting. There were lots of old retired chaps around, out buying their morning papers and such. The banter between them was really funny; they're like schoolboys, teasing each other and having a giggle. One was accusing another of getting him out of the café too early for the bus, another watched his friend approach on walking sticks and asked him if he'd been picked for the footie team this weekend. Another got off the bus and stuck his tongue out at his friends as he walked past the window. I was chuckling to myself all the way home listening to them.

Jay has the day off tomorrow. I really hope the weather is good and we can go for a walk down at the river. I haven't seem the heron for ages. I'll take some photos of the trees and plants too, now that I've got batteries in my camera (the last lot were rubbish, I put them in and hadn't even taken a photo when they ran out. What's that about?).

It's Hannah's birthday tomorrow. I found a Hello Kitty duvet set for her while I was out, which I'm sure she'll love. It's always hard getting her presents so close after christmas, which I'm sure I've complained about every year.

I spent all day yesterday working. I got a design completed for the scarf competition, which I am pleased with in some ways but I feel I can do better (isn't it always like that?). I may do some more. I'm certainly on a roll with the subject matter. A few people have voted on the submission, which is both very nice and quite surprising. They may have given it the lowest ranking though, who knows? I have to wait a few weeks for the results to show in actual numbers. Still, I reached my goal in actually doing it and getting it sent in, which I'm most pleased about.

Stayed up late last night in the hopes that I'd sleep more soundly. It did the trick and I was only awake once or twice. It was ever so nice snuggling on the couch with Jay watching films.

The postman hasn't been yet. My ebay stuff should start arriving anytime now. I got something yesterday that I ordered in November as a present for Jay, damn the delays. He loved it though and it made him smile - a hand knitted Cthulhu in lime green with little red button eyes. It's absolutely adorable. I don't know what it is about hand knitted things that makes them so wonderful. I have all kinds that I've collected over the years including ghosts, skeletons, pumpkins and food. Yes food. Knitted cakes, biscuits and sweeties. I once got the kids some play food that consisted of wool bacon, eggs, beans and sausages all on a mini dinner plate. They played with it for years.

Breakfast time now methinks, then on with the watercolouring.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Heroic Jools to the Rescue

I have been rescuer extraordinaire this morning. Jay rang me at about 7.20am in Penelope Pittstop style asking for "Heyulp!" (he denies this ever happened, claiming I am inventing the womanly cries, but I swear it's true, kind of). Poor baby had got a puncture in the dark and rain on the way to work, so I upped and drove over to collect him and dispense him at work.

Which brings me to my observation for the day. All vehicles ought to have a spray gun full of dayglo paint mounted on the bonnett. This should be let loose over the discourteous drivers of the world, allowing us to a) vent frustration and b) mark the culprits as the arsepits they are. One driver in particular inpsired my wrath this morning, cutting me up and then clinging an inch behind the car in front, thus not allowing any of the cars in the subsequent three queues into the lane. It's an unwritten rule of polite driving that one lets in a vehicle from the feeding lane, but not this guy. He was seemingly unaware of any other road users and I hope he has violent indigestion all day as well as a plague of bowel destroying diarrhea.

Since I was out already I ventured to the Wednesday flea market in town.  A sorry gathering that was. I could have been there with a million quid in my pocket and still not been drawn into temptation by even one item. It was a short little sojourn all in all and I was back home by 9am having a cup of tea.

I Ebayed early on this morning and got a few bits that tickle my fancy for my artwork (shrink plastic and some permanent marker pens). I've also called the local toy shop, J. R. hartley style, and discovered that they do indeed have one of those blower thingies that you attach to felt tip pens and spray the ink around. All for the princely sum of one pound. It's funny how you get used to art shop prices for this sort of thing. I am quite delighted and shall pop down there later to pick one up.

Yesterday I remembered my old ventures into paper marbling. In the absence of oil paints I decided to try it with spray paint instead. Apparently it can be done with watercolour or food colouring on a bed of shaving foam, but that's a little too messy even for me. Anyway, the acrylic sprays worked fairly well, especially the metallic ones. On the down side, the house now reeks of paint fumes and I am rather bespeckled in a rainbow of colours. This time I remembered to lay newspapers down and remove my watch and rings, which is astonishing really, since I usually only notice my mistake after the fact. The added bonus here is that I have swept all the mess straight into a bin bag and behold, it's as though nothing ever happened. Apart from the sheets of paper lying everywhere drying of course.

My plan is to scan in the marbled patterns and alter the colourways for a design I'm working on. It's for a textiles competition I want to enter and I am really drawn to the swirly qualities of the images I have. I may overlay watercolour studies on top here and there to give it the oomph I'm after. I was thinking about this when I went to bed last night and my mind obviously didn't switch off, because I was awake at 3am with ideas swimming round in my head. I didn't go back to bed until 5, so I shall more than likely be cantankerous later on.

I did some life drawing yesterday. I've been gearing up to this for weeks. I used to adore the classes I took at college and university, but I realised it has been at least 12 years since I last drew a figure with any consideration. I haven't forgotten how difficult it is, so I have a healthy nervousness about it. I decided to watch some tutorials online as a refresher and it was excellent to see a new teaching style. My old tutor, John, was the best and I always think of him when I'm drawing, wondering if he would approve. I'm not sure he would have liked the newfangled internet instruction clips, but I found them ever so inspiring.

In the absence of someone to sit for hours posing for me, I took photos of Jay to work from. John would not have approved at all of me drawing from anything but life, and I offered him a little apology as I sat here. I did a couple of sessions, both about an hour and a half each and I am really pleased with the results. I'm concentrating on foreshortening, which is excellent to do from photographs as it happens. I probably won't upload them anywhere yet. I might put them on my website once I've got a whole batch to post, but we'll see. it's definitely more for the drawing practice than anything else and I'm not sure people want to look at life drawing (I do, but the general populace, I dunno).

So, after an already eventful and fruitful morning I think I'm going to treat myself to an hour of telly. I recorded Shameless last night, my guilty little pleasure (though it does make me cringe something terrible). A cup of tea and a chill out is quite the tonic.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Just Another Tuesday Morning

It's 8.19am. I am showered and dressed and feeling optimistic. Suddenly I feel a rush of gratitude that I am where I am today. Literally today, right now, this minute.

I am at my desk working (OK, taking a few minutes to write this) with my own materials and inspiration. No office, no corporate bullshit, no treadmill of the same old stuff, breaking my heart to make money for some unseen person/s somewhere else in the world.

My love has just called, the house is silent and I have projects needing to be done. The need here is something that makes me happy. I am more fortunate than I ever dreamed I could be. All I need to make it perfect is a cup of tea, which I am about to achieve.


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New Start

My first real and proper day of the year in the new scheme of things. How do I feel? A little weird!

Got up with my beloved at godforsaken o'clock for moral support and to make him a toasted bagel to take for his brekkie. He was off at 7am, all togged up in twenty thousand layers of clobber on his bicycle. It had snowed a tiny bit in the night, but not enough to put him off. I felt rather sad seeing him off like that, like a brave thingy into the wilderness. Almost nine miles later he was at work, made it on time and all in one piece. I really need to learn to quit vexing so much about him, as he is more than capable of doing this without getting squished on the roads.

I savoured my morning coffee and got dressed early, then took Tascha to town with me. I needed a few things from Asda and she wanted to get a new coat before she went to college. Shopping was successful, every coat she tried on looked utterly gorgeous on her and she chose a fitted black wool number. Oh to be young and willowy and beautiful.

Today I shall mostly be cleaning this damn house. I need to get a grip on the place and beat it into submission. It's taken advantage of me not being around and become slovenly, so I shall show it what for. I've bought bin bags and cleaning stuff and I shall begin once I've had some boiled eggs. One requires sustinence for such tasks. As soon as I'm happy with it I'll be able to relax and get on with my work. So many plans in my head right now, it might just burst at the seams, Bagpuss style.

I hope to go for a nice walk soon. I can't see it being today (see above), but hopefully by the morning I'll feel accomplished enough to brave the river and Spike Island with my camera and sketchbook. I shall be umbel hunting for inspiration. We shall see.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

2011 Begins

Just waiting for some stuff to dry (PVA, latex masking). I really ought to be doing some housework, but it's Sunday, we're all home and I'm so stuck in with my paintings that I don't want to do anything else. I have stopped for breakfast, though I'm not dressed yet.

I'm going to need to do a search for more paper soon. I use this amazing thick watercolour paper all the time and I stock up every time I see it on sale. It's simply glorious, just looking at it makes me want to get the colours out and start scribbling. I know I have a few more stacks of it around the place, so I'll dig it out in a bit.

Mostly this week I've been doing latex masking and applying chalk pastel over the top before peeling (much fun). I'm also crossing over into the realms of pen and ink, which I may concentrate on later today, if only to curb the coloured dust that's now floating in the ether of the dining room. I am falling asleep each night with plans a-hatching as to what stages come next. I'm considering some papercrafting, using the shapes that are coming out of my drawings. The only problem with that is how on earth to store it later without spoiling it. I need to start shifting some of the work I'm doing before the house fills up completely.

What joy to have stopped the disturbing sleep patterns that I've been suffering from for so long. Gone are the recurring dreams about office stuff (everything has to be put into excel format!) and back are the relaxed and happy nights where I don't mind waking up a bit because I have lovely things in my head. Years of restless nights and vexing, anxious dreams appear to have been wiped out in the sweep of one little holiday. I'm ever so grateful.

We're having a Lord of the Rings day today. I'm half watching and listening to the movies as I buzz about doing other things. Jay is painting and the kids are out, apart from Hannah who is asleep with occasional dashes to the bathroom in the throws of the hangover from hell (most amusing). I've done some laundry too and I may sort out the kitchen a bit when I get the urge. Then perhaps a nice relaxing bath.

Did I mention - joy?