Choose Joy

Today was a trying day for me.  My brother is very ill and in the final stages of cancer and for the past couple of days as I go about my daily doings, my thoughts are mostly with him.  For those of you who read the first installment of my memoir and know some of my history, he is the one I call the memory keeper and I hold him sacred in my heart.

And, more mundanely, despite the fact that the whole world and his dog believes we are in the middle of summer, it was cold and it had rained overnight.  The wind was howling and roaring over head in wild gusts.   I didn’t sleep well and got up at 4 am to finish the latest painting.

Five hours later the last flower was in place, the last leaf embellished and the mantra written.

I’m in love with this painting!  There is something quite magical about it and I am excited to share it.

So off I went to the photocopy shop with it.  I get my mixed media paintings scanned and prints can then be made for my Etsy Shop.  But today I was told “No!”

Whaddaya mean “No!” ??

Turns out that I have missed a vital piece of information and my painting is too big and too inflexible to be put through any of the copy machines.  If it is bigger than an A3, it has to be on paper to go through the flat bed scanner…. Don’t ask, I don’t know why, or how they work.  That appears to be the truth of the matter – I got the same answer in two different places so that is that.

No cards, no prints, no post-cards, no options, just the original.

Battling the cold howling wind and with no sleep to sustain me, I got a little tetchy with the world!

I came home and took some photographs, I propped her up in the corner and there she sits dancing happily urging me to ‘Choose Joy’.

Bah, Humbug! I said to her in my best Ebeneezer Scrooge voice.

I opened my email and ran my eye down the list, there was a post from the lovely Alys over at Gardening Nirvana.

I thought, that will be a nice wee visit to help cheer me up, and opened the link.  Imagine my surprise to see one of my paintings looking back at me – and then I read her words ….. You can follow the link to see what I read.

All my grouchiness vanished in the twinkling of an eye. Wouldn’t yours?  Who would elect to remain grouchy when it is so much more pleasant to feel that actually everything is just fine – it will all work out one way or another – it always does!

Thank you Alys for that beautiful testimonial – in one of those wonderful serendipitous moments that we both love so much, you turned the sun in my direction at the very time I needed it most .  That does indeed make you a true friend!

So here is the latest whimsy girl.  She is mixed media on a rigid canvas board measuring 35 x 46 cm. You can double click for an enlarged view.

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And here she is again propped up in  corner of the bookshelf

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The wind has died down the sky is clearing and we just might get our fifth fine day for January tomorrow 🙂

There are more options, tomorrow I shall call some printing places and see if they can help me out – there will be a solution!

Thanks for coming by today, you know that I love that you did!  🙂

Falling Behind …

In the inimitable words of Bruce Springsteen and the Mighty, Mighty E-Street Band ….’If I should fall behind, wait for me’  this is the song my mind always goes to when I’m playing catch-up.  I generally put the DVD on and enjoy the whole concert again – I so love Clarence and his wonderful saxophone!!  I don’t think the band will be the same without him……

Having mentioned it – here ’tis, enjoy!

I’ve ever so slightly over extended myself and am deeply immersed in my latest mixed media – which is taking simply HOURS!  Happy hours, but hours none-the-less.

I am two days behind on my daily cards and don’t want it to become any more – otherwise the spontaneity is lost and that was definitely not the point of doing this exercise!

One good thing about my definitely non-summer summer days is I can happily play inside.  Though I hit the wall recently when I decided to use designer paper for my latest whimsy girl’s dress rather than paint and froze into indecision followed by prevarication for a couple of days but then, happily, if somewhat abruptly, sprang into action again.

Here is where we are up to  I’ve just finished building her hair….. She’s worked on a canvas board which is quite big – 35 x 46 cm so everything takes a lot longer as it is bigger and more definitely there rather than just indicated – but so much fun!

Choose Joy 1

I still have all the background bits to finish, and flowers and butterflies must be added too –  and the mantra must be placed………. might be another couple of days before I’m back with the finished painting. 🙂

Thanks for coming by today, I’m happy that you did!  🙂

A Gardener…. Another Mixed Media Painting

In conversation recently it was noted that I’ve been using blue greens quite a lot as that appears to be my latest colour crush.

Totally, I agreed, any colour associated with the sea seems to be my thing at the moment.

The conversation took an unexpected turn when it was mentioned that orange is a colour never seen in my work.  On quick reflection I had to agree, it is never seen…..  I didn’t even have an orange paint tube, though I do own a Distress Ink that is orange and it mostly sits unused at the bottom of the pile.

It was wondered if I use much of any of the hues from that portion of the colour wheel – the yellows through reds.

I use yellow quite often I said.  A quick hunt through current work and then photos of past work proved the point, I use yellow with blue very often and make lovely greens with them.

I use red I said.  By golly yes I do, a little is to be found in most paintings.  Whew!!

So I set out to do a painting that didn’t feature any sea type colours and did feature yellow and orange.  I even purchased a tube of orange paint!

As I worked I found the colour palette quite heavy [surprisingly – orange should be light and refreshing like it’s name] so I started to add in white which made a huge difference and when I had another of my genius ideas and used the edge of a rectangular paper doily as a frill on the bottom of her dress then things began to pop.

I had no idea what I was going to do when I started and was over halfway through before I could see where we were going – and this is what emerged:

A Gardener [c]

Half successful only, I couldn’t help myself the background just had to be what it is 🙂

I wish I’d chosen a longer canvas to work on so she could have been full length instead of cut off, but that’s what happens when you don’t have a plan!

As I was making the flowers, I  found I was thinking of my blogging friend Alys over at Gardening Nirvana and the words just popped into my head.

So what is your opinion of my attempt to use orange?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!  🙂

Smallest Things

It’s raining today – still warm, but wet and grey.  Typical spring weather really, yesterday I found I had a tinge of pink on my arms and shoulders after an hour sitting in the garden – medium rare 🙂

I’m been working on 180 gsm water colour paper – but from now on will move to 300 gsm – I don’t like the amount of buckle and curl on this lighter paper – you’ll see it in the photo.

It’s because of all the different mediums I’m playing with.

Acrylic paints, papers, stamps, pencils, pens and inks.

It makes for an interesting texture, there’s loads of ‘layers’ so the eye has a sense of depth.

As so often happens with me, I thought I was painting one thing and ended up painting something else – but I quite like her:

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The legend is a quote from AA Milne – it’s in one of the Winnie-the-Pooh books, but I can’t remember which one ‘Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart’

Painted on A4 paper, ready for framing – she is going into the shop today!  🙂

You will have noticed the watermark?  I’ve been warned that there are people out there who steal your work and pass it off as their own.  I knew this before, but didn’t think that anybody would bother to help themselves to mine – but apparently they have and so now I have to do this for anything I load onto my blog or pinterest .

On the up side – I am flattered that my work is considered good enough to steal.  Thank you for the compliment 🙂

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did 🙂

Sitting In The Sunshine – Musings on a Challenging Weekend

‘The Nightmare of Being Technologically Challenged’   I typed the title for my new post and settled in for a bit of a gripe.  It was a challenging weekend trying to sort out all the glitches that had surfaced in my Etsy shop – I thought it was all going way too smoothly!

Luckily for us all, I immediately got interrupted – and leaving my computer, went off to take coffee in my tiny courtyard garden with YD.

The coffee was hot and strong – a bit like the early summer heat – and the remnants of my grumpy mood evaporated like drops of water on a hot stone as we inhaled the scent of jasmine and lavender

Courtyard Garden

Can you see Sidd?  His head and cap are just visible under a drooping raceme of jasmine.

[I know it’s not really a raceme, but it’s a good word and needs using!]

And yes, though are weeds in the foreground. [Hangs head in shame]

YD had lots to share from her week and we chatted and laughed and let the sun warm us until the coffee was gone and then we headed off to the post office to send Elaine her prize, the limited edition print of ‘Be a Butterfly’, and also to have a look through a shop selling local artisans work.

We heard a sad story there – the owner will close at Christmas as business is too slow to keep going.  Her stock is stunning, she keeps her prices at an affordable level [which means she isn’t adding a huge mark-up] but she can’t compete with on-line sellers.

I felt guilty.  I had spent last week cat-sitting and making sure my shop was stocked with pictures and cards………   

The shop opened on Thursday and my first day was one of great happiness!  Maybe what happened next was karma for being part of the movement that is sending real stores out of business….

Because on day two it all went wrong – there were glitches and problems galore until I was tearing my hair out and found myself on Sunday raising my voice to an automated customer service robot over the phone demanding to speak to a real person.

And blow me over and away, I got a real person and we began to solve the issues!  🙂

Take note dear readers, when you are stuck with a virtual customer service person, get hot under the collar and demand ‘a real person’  and you will maybe get one.  I guess they must be programmed now to respond to irate customers by handing us on!

Anyway the issues are solved and all is well again in my world.

Yesterday, with YD returned from her travels and Stanley once more settled in with his mum and Orlando no longer having to sniff out where I’d been going constantly [coming back smelling of another kitty doesn’t really go down that well with spoilt, over-indulged chappies] I was free to try and find my creative mojo again.

I’m still obsessed with faces and seem to have combined that and my obsession with the ocean into one place:

Listen1

Painted on A4 160 gsm water colour paper, she is definitely mixed media – acrylics, modelling paste, paper, pencils, charcoal and pens.

The legend reads ‘Listen, how the wild sea calls to me’  She is heavily textured with all the paste and needs to be in a frame to really look her best.

There is much about this piece that is successful or interesting, but my personal feeling is that her stare is too challenging to be marketable – I think she is maybe channelling my weekend mood….. 🙂

Tomorrow I shall start again.  It will be a new day and the sun will still be shining.  The scent of jasmine will still waft in through open windows and with no distractions maybe my paint brush will make something beautiful.

Thanks for stopping by today, I love that you did 🙂

……And The Winner Is …….

It’s the 14th – well, for we who dwell in the land that sees the first rays of the sun on any new day, it is  – and today is the day!

The Contented Crafter Etsy Store is open and the draw has been drawn!

There was one slight glitch in my plan and that was YD’s going out of town for the week – she was to be the guest drawer.  So it was down to me as Orlando is no use in that department at all and everybody else was at work.

Every person who commented had their name written in my lovely scrawl on a piece of cut up paper from my notebook – thirteen in all:

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If you can’t see your name, it’s because it is underneath somebody else’s – it is there I promise – I just didn’t think to lay them all out side by side.  Sometimes it’s your blog name and sometimes it’s your actual name – just depending on which one fell out of my head as I started writing………

Here is the chosen receptacle, my favourite ‘shabby chic’ style coffee mug:

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Here are the names in the receptacle

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They don’t take up much room!

I put my hand over the top of the mug and shook it energetically, then, without looking, rummaged around and pulled out a strip of paper

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Congratulations to Elaine over at fingerprintwriting.

Elaine, you will need to email me your address so I can get your numbered and signed limited edition print of ‘Be a Butterfly’ away to you

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Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment, I so appreciate all your good wishes, advice and cheering on!  Hugs to you all!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!  🙂

Be A Butterfly

Hello my lovelies!

I have been quite busy this past week – I took a leap of faith and decided to go for the Etsy shop thing – sooner than I had originally thought I might.  This decision was in no small way brought about due to the ongoing encouragement and support from my blogging pals – none of whom I personally know, but all of whom I feel I really know!

I cannot say enough about those of you who consistently visit and leave comments and words of encouragement.  I work mostly in isolation and your feedback has been pivotal in keeping me on task and determined to grow as an artist [chuckle – it still makes me smile…]

So to those loving, caring, loyal, helpful, beautiful gals – big, big hugs, tons of love and an unspeakable amount of gratitude zipping out from here to you!!

To celebrate the opening of said shop ‘The Contented Crafter’ – of course, what else – I painted a small mixed media canvas featuring a faery girl and butterflies.  She will be the first original mixed media canvas in the shop:

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This is a smallish exhibition canvas – just under 20 cm square x 3.5 cm deep [8 x 8 x 11/2″]  Worked in acrylics with water and ink pens, stamps and glitter. [You’ve gotta have some bling!]

There will also be larger limited edition prints and blank all purpose greeting cards of this faery girl in my Etsy shop.

To celebrate the opening of my new creative venture I am giving away the first numbered and signed limited edition print of this canvas to a randomly chosen commentor on this post.  You have until the 13th to comment.

The draw will take place on the 14th November, which is also the same day The Contented Crafter Etsy shop will go live   🙂   [Ooooh, exciting!]

All commenters names will be written on slips of paper and placed in a randomly selected kitchen container and the winner’s name will then be selected by someone who is not me.

So dear readers, I hope you like her and want to take a punt.  🙂