Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Random facts (No.2) Part two

Well, I suppose you might be wanting some explanations to my last post - and here they are:

1. I arrived in Buenos Aires the day the Argentinians were celebrating the Falklands War and as an English person I thought it might be a little bit of a problem. And you know what? It wasn't at all! I was smilingly welcomed and the whole time I was there was treated with respect and curteousy. I loved the Argentinians, their civilised way of life and their beautiful country and hope to go back again one day.

2. I was treated like a movie star in Shanghai. And it was most weird! In my own country, and most others I've been to, I can walk the street and not many people notice me particularly, I can be lost in the crowd. But in Shanghai at the time I went they were not used to foreign tourists; although they had many tourists visiting the city, they were Chinese and a lot of them from the rural areas, who had not seen Westerners before and found the whole concept of them fascinating. The fact that my hair colour is blonde, was of particular fascinated interest. So, I'd be walking along the street, and the Chinese people would grin and call out "Hello" (in English) and want their photos taken with me and my companion. (No doubt so that they could show their friends and family on their return home about their exciting interaction with the wide-eyed and big nosed Westerners!). The high light of the phenomenon was sitting in a restaurant one night and the guy at the next table was so besotted with me, that he was spooning his dinner into his left ear, with his mouth wide open in total amazement at me! Much like Madonna must get when she's out in public I suppose! And just to add to the tale, I met a white-blonde American girl during the visit and asked if she had experienced the same interest, and she said she'd had a whole class of Chinese schoolchildren ask for her individually for her autograph and to be photographed with her!!!

3. I've seen the lights come on all over New York standing at the top of the Empire State building. I went up late afternoon and loved the experience of looking at the tiny buildings and cars below me, and as the day waned, and the purple of twilight faded into the deep dark of the night, the lights came on, one by one, and changed the vibrant city into a magical sight before me. Wonderful experience!

4. I've been on the Orient Express over the Andes from Cusco to the shores of Lake Titicaca. Watching the beautiful Peruvian landscape open up before me, the towering mountains and endless grassy plains, with perhaps a lone figure in the distance, spending the day looking after two shaggy cattle, or a goat. And being waved at by the grinning young children as the train sped by. To be served a delicious lunch in sumptuous surroundings just added to the wonderful experience.

5. I've seen the surreal landscape of New Zealand where the earth boils in poisons and water is hot enough to melt metal. This was at Rotorua on the North Island, where everything you think you know about geography and the landscape is turned on its head. The surrounding forests hide white plumes of steam, the mud bubbles and boils away at your feet, the whole place stinks of the bad eggs of sulphurous gases, and a wrong foot could get you tumbling to your death in boiling water or sinking churning poisonous mud. You think the world has gone mad, and could quite easily picture yourself at the beginning of time itself when the world was young and dinosaurs walked the earth.

6. I've been to the Rugby Sevens in Hong Kong and even for someone who is not remotely interested in sport, it was a great day out. Loads of fun, loads of boose, loads of hunky men. Yep, I enjoyed it!!!

7. I was kidnapped in Bangkok by a tuk-tuk driver. The day I arrived in Bangkok I was unprepared for the thumping humidity, the pollution and the blinding heat. Having spent the morning visiting the famous sites, I had a blazing and blinding headache and just wanted to go back to my hotel to get some headache tablets and have a lie down. My companion agreed it was a good idea, and we headed to the nearby taxi rank, knowing a taxi could get us back to the hotel within 10 minutes. Then, up drove the tuk tuk driver (the tuk-tuk is a cheap form of transport in Bangkok, its basically a three wheeled moped with a roofed open sided carriage on the back for carrying 2 or 3 passengers). He was all smiles and asked where we want to go, we told him the name of the hotel. No problem, he said, he would take us and get us there quicker than the taxi. Ideal as far as I was concerned, as the headache had worsened considerably. Off we went......... and then he said that on the way he would show us a beautiful golden Buddha, and he was off, down a side road, into a confusing maze of little backstreets and into the city, driving at a mega speed, turning this way and that, until we arrived at the golden Buddha. We were lost. The last thing I wanted to do was look at it, but I managed to drag myself out to view it since we were in his hands. We couldn't walk away, since we had absolutely no idea where we were, it was our first day in Bangkok and had no knowledge of whether wandering around away from the touristy spots was open to being mugged, raped or murdered. So we looked at the golden Buddha. Can we go to our hotel now please? Yes, certainly, he said, and we set off. Good. Then he announced that on the way he would take us to a jewellery shop where there were wonderful things to be had for a good price, and off he took us. We had no choice. He stopped outside the shop, we were ushered inside and were shown around and got out as fast as we politely could without giving offence. The tuk-tuk driver was upset we hadn't bought anything. Then we asked again for him to take us to our hotel, since we had absolutely no idea where we were or which part of the city we were in. He agreed he would take us........... but on the way he just wanted to take us to see another Buddha. No! No more Buddhas!!! Okay then, he would just take us to a tailors where we could have beautiful clothes made for us. We had no choice. He took us. We were taken in, and the owner of the shop spent ages showing us patterns for dresses, suits, trousers and skirts. No thank you we don't want them. No thank you. Then he got shitty with us for wasting his time. HIS time!!!!!!! What about our bloody time? He wanted us to buy something, anything. So in the end, to appease him, we bought the cheapest thing he'd got in the shop, a silk tie for £5 (and probably paid WAAAAAYYY over the top for it at that price!) but at least we could get out of the shop. Back to our friend the tuk-tuk driver who was happily waiting for us and who THEN took us back to the hotel. Thank goodness. Two bloody hours after we'd met him. My headache was abysmal by then and all I wanted was a lie down in a darkened room, a cold drink and some aspirin after my ordeal!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Random facts (Number 2)

Well this Amazing Blogger award has come around another time, so thank you Indigo for nominating me again! Right then seven more random facts about me - ok they are:

1. I arrived in Buenos Aires the day the Argentinians were celebrating the Falklands War.

2. I was treated like a movie star in Shanghai.

3. I've seen the lights come on all over New York.

4. I've been on the Orient Express over the Andes.

5. I've seen the surreal landscape of New Zealand where the earth boils in poisons and water is hot enough to melt metal.

6. I've been to the Rugby Sevens in Hong Kong.

7. I was kidnapped in Bankok.

And now I have to nominate three others to pass this on - ok then,

I nominate Vi cos she radiates passion about what she believes in, and writes an amazingly entertaining blog about her life in Blah.

I nominate Luka cos she has the most glorious dry wit which never fails to amuse me with its clever insight

I nominate Bittersweet Me who writes so eloquently, sensitively and poignantly about her life and lovers.

Over to you girls.......

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Speaking a different language

A woman rang me last week, wanting a painting doing of her house as a present for her husbands forthcoming birthday. I asked her the usual questions - what medium? watercolours? Oils? pen and ink? She didn't know. What size? She wasn't sure. Was I framing it or her? She thought she would get it framed. She asked how much it would be. I said I couldn't answer that without more idea of what she wanted exactly. She asked if it would be over £100 and I said "Yes". I asked her if she had a price range she was considering and she said "No". She said she wasn't sure what she wanted and asked me to go and visit her to see the property and give her some more idea of what was the best way of creating the picture as she knew nothing about art. I arranged to go and see her the next day. I arrived, she gave me coffee, we chatted about a lot of subjects and got on well enough, she showed me where the painting would hang and I worked out the size the painting would be to fit the area and told her its dimensions, then we went outside to look at the property and I gave my opinion on the layout and how best to capture it in a painting, as a watercolour, and described it to her, telling her what I would do to paint the picture, and suggesting ways of enhancing the image from what I could see infront of me. She listened and understood. I showed her a painting I had taken with me, of an old building in watercolour so that she could see my style and what I do (since she hadn't come to me through my website, and I knew she didn't know I was an erotic artist, I felt it better to show her a traditional painting rather than direct her to my website and probably shock her with my, er, less traditional work!!). She liked the painting I showed her. She asked how much for the painting of her house and I gave her a price. Her face immediately dropped, and she said very curtly that she'd be in touch. Ok, I said and came away. She hadn't rung me after a few days so I rang her, pleasantly, and asked if she had had further thoughts on the painting "Yes" she said "I don't want it". I asked pleasantly if it was the price that was the problem. "Yes, it is", she said. I said that I could perhaps drop the price a little for her, (since I wanted the job) but that I had asked her last week if she had a price range and she had said no she hadn't. I asked politely if she had a price range now? And she said no she hadn't and very curtly dismissed me.......

..... Ok, then what did I miss in that? Um...... nothing. I had checked with her first if she had a price range and she had said no she hadn't. She said she knew nothing of art, and would be guided by me. I gave her my considered opinion and she didn't like the end price. Why didn't she? She obviously had got a price in her head but wasn't going to tell me what it was. Was she expecting the whole job to be done for 50 quid? No..... cos she asked if it would be more than a £100 before I went to see her. She said she knew nothing about art. So that's where the problem lies - she knows nothing about the creation of art either. And there do seem to be two sorts of people in life - those who think artwork is a wonder to behold, that anyone who can paint a decent picture is wonderfully clever and anything they produce is awesome and to be "Wowwed" over. And there are the people at the opposite extreme who seem to think that art is just churned out easily and has no great worth, and can't understand that it involves a whole lot of talent, learning, practice, mental capacity, ability, time, and materials.

So, am I sorry I lost the commission? Yes, I am, I quite fancied doing the painting and would have made an excellent job of it. Ah, but would I have done the job for fifty quid? ER, no! I value myself higher than that. So I know my value.............. even if the woman doesn't value it!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Random facts (Part two)

Well it seems some of you feel the need for more information regarding my random facts.... so to fill you in with the background to them, here goes:

1. I once got out of a plane at 12,000 feet, without a parachute, and survived. And that was because I stepped out of the plane ...........and onto tarmac! The plane landed in Cusco in Peru, which is one of the highest airports in the world at 12,000 feet (or perhaps more?) above sea level. So, I was perfectly safe, but the altitude sickness was another story altogether!!

2. I've been in the same room as a black maned lion with no bars between us, and it was an awesome experience! He was a magnificent creature and was brought into the room as part of an evening show I attended in Florida. All the animals were used in the entertainment industry and this beautiful beast was the original lion that the Lion King film was based on. He sat there on a stool, quite quietly in the smallish room, being fed large chunks of red meat by his keeper, who I noticed had various scratches on his arms and legs. So long as he kept feeding the lion, I was happy!

3. I've seen the sun rise over an eerily silent and deserted Machu Picchu, which was all the more poignant because I had been there the day before and it was heaving with tourists of all nationalities. Seeing it empty of humanity, with the sun rising over the mountains, much as the ancient Incas had seen it, was an awesome experience.

4. I've been to the exact point where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Point in South Africa. Wonderful to see the two great oceans merge, two different colours - deep blue and veridian green, and two different temperatures, warm and cold, so swirling mists surrounded the whole area, with the great bulk of the African continent behind that point of land.

5. I've waltzed across Tiannamen Square in Beijing with a guy I'd only met a few days before. And that was good fun, although I'm not so sure the Chinese authorities thought so!

6. I've eaten a silver service dinner in the open desert at Ayers Rock, by starlight. And anyone else who has attended the Sounds of Silence dinner, will know what a truly wonderful experience it is! The floor is sand, there are no walls, and the ceiling is a million stars, the Milky Way clearly visible above. The dinner is traditional Aussie fare, served with traditional Aussie flair - crocodile, emu, barramundi etc. and after the meal, all lights are extinguished, while an astronomer describes the stars and their constellations above, to a hushed and awed audience.

7. I've had three tarantulas crawling over my shoulders and breasts and was more interested by my companions reactions than the spiders themselves. This was the same event as the one described above with the lion. To start the show, a tarantula was brought around the audience (of about 60 people) and a lot of people flinched, turned away, gasped, looked in stunned horror, screamed, and did all the usual things that people do with large hairy spiders. I was probably the only person who leant forward towards it with great interest and was happy to stroke it. So when the guy running the show took the tarantula to the front of the room and wanted a volunteer, he immediately volunteered me for the job! I went to the front and he put a large hairy black tarantula on my left shoulder. Was I happy with that? Yes, perfectly. So they brought another tarantula out and put it on my right shoulder. Was I happy with that? Yes, no problem. So then they brought a third one out and put it with the one on my left shoulder where it started to move very very slowly down to my left breast....... And at that point I was more amused by my companions reactions, the clicking cameras, along with the stunned and incredulous reactions from the audience infront of me than I was bothered by the spiders themselves. It was only after they had been scooped off me and returned to their containers that I wondered if they bite, and if their venom had been removed......................

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Random facts

Thanks Lucy for giving me a Amazing Blogger Award. MMmm.....seven random facts about me.... Ok then, they are:

1. I once got out of a plane at 12,000 feet, without a parachute, and survived.
2. I've been in the same room as a black maned lion with no bars between us.
3. I've seen the sun rise over an eerily silent and deserted Machu Picchu.
4. I've been to the exact point where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean.
5. I've waltzed across Tiannamen Square.
6. I've eaten a silver service dinner in the open desert at Ayers Rock, by starlight.
7. I've had three tarantulas crawling over my shoulders and breasts and was more interested by my companions reactions than the spiders themselves.

And since I think it's customary to nominate three others for this award. I nominate Racy Redhead (cos she'll have naughty fun with this!), Nitebyrd (cos she's just finding her feet, and has loads of interesting things to tell the world) and Indigo (who just loves to shock and be wicked). Over to you, girls!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Am I that scary?

........ So, my friend said to her friend:

"I'm seeing my friend later, she's an erotic artist".

"Oh, a neurotic artist?"

"No, an EROTIC artist"


....... and then she changed the subject.

(Why does this amuse me?!)

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Background interference

After completing the dog portrait in time for the Christmas deadline, (even with a stinking cold!) I'm all poised to get on with the next erotic landscape when I receive a call requesting that the two women who are involved with the painting - the "requester" and the "giftee", (ie the woman who contacted me in the first place to order the painting and the woman for whom the present was intended) want to come and talk to me about the painting. Ok. Sounds sinister and I wonder what the problem is. It turns out, when they come to see me, that they love the portrait of the dog herself, and think I've caught her essence beautifully, and love her big soulful eyes and adore the painting EXCEPT for a slight alteration to the pinkness of the dogs ears BUT most importantly to the background. MMMm..... That was gratifying, that the only problem was in the background colour, and fortunately since the painting was done in acrylics it was possible to go over the colour with a different one (if it had been watercolour I'd have really struggled to do it and would probably have had to do the whole painting again from scratch!). So, what colour do you want? And it turned out, after they described colours to me, and I mixed up various shades to see that I understood the description of "more creamy greeny beige with a hint of yellow, but not too much, and not a lot of red or blue" that the colour they wanted was very similar to the colours of the dog. Mmm.... not a good idea and I explained why. That the colours I had originally chosen for the background colour complimented the dog, and made her stand out more, and made the picture more dramatic because of this. Yes, they understood this, but they wanted the dog blended in more to the background. Ok, I understand. But my problem was that I could see what the adjusted picture would look like, and needed them to understand it too before I started to change it and found that they actually preferred the original version! So, I painted them a couple of little thumbnails (small, indistinct sketches to show basic colours and basic tone as a guideline for how the paintings would differ). They stood and watched me as I did it and were still adamant at their decision. Ok. I'll do it then and contact them when I'd done the alteration. I made notes as to their request and had a full understanding of exactly what they wanted....

.....And that was the strange thing. Because I was perfectly happy with the original painting. I had chosen the colours with care, and matched it all perfectly. It balanced as a concept, as a painting, tonally and colour wise and I had painted it on my creative gut-reaction based on years of experience, every workshop, and art course I'd attended, every art tutor I had listened to, every book I had read, every piece of art I had seen and NOW I had to overwrite all of that with someone elses concept, and you know what? It was difficult. I had to ignore my own creativity and go with someone elses input. Plus I had to make the image look like it was originally painted like this, and keep it fresh so not over-paint it and make it look "tired" or strained or false. Mmm.... difficult. So, time to do it, and I got on with it. Painted over the background with the new colours, forever changed to the new colours, and I stood and looked and looked and looked at the new colours and wasn't at all sure that I was happy with them......... but I reframed the painting, rang the two women and awaited their arrival.....

......And you know what? They absolutely adored it!!!! Thought it was "fabulous"and that I'd done a wonderful job! Wow!!! So, they went away happy with the new version, and I'm happy they're happy but I'm still not sure about the colours..... What do you think? Which do you prefer?

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Setting off a chain of events

Last night I spent a very enjoyable time with a diverse gathering of people from different nations. Seated at dinner, my companions were, amongst others, English, Polish, American, Scottish, Danish and Turkish. An eclectic mix, and possibly more enjoyable because of it. And most I had not met before. So, when polite discourse starts over the meal-table people ask the normal questions of well-being, vocations and inter-relationships with others around the table. And you spend time surreptitiously viewing the new acquaintances, taking in physical form, facial expressions, choice of clothing and deciding how appealing their personality is to your own. As they do with you. Its part of the game of getting to know someone. Polite talk ensues whilst you assimilate all these factors. And then they get around to the question..... "And what do you do, Jackie?" and I smile pleasantly and say "I'm an artist". "Oh" they say "Do you paint landscapes?" "No" I smile "Although I can do, I'm an erotic artist" and then I wait for the response. And when its a different ethnic background to your own, you're even more intrigued of the reaction you'll get. And when a woman asks the question and I give my reply, I'm never quite sure what sort of response I'm going to get either, and it will be even more so when its a woman from a different country. The Danish woman who asked it, last night, was very elegant, both in her looks and clothing. Her Turkish male companion, was very quiet, but intently listening to everything said around him. I waited for the response. And it was instantly very favourable, positive and interested to know more! So I talked, and expounded on my subject, passed over a business card which was inspected by them both. I carried on talking and noticed the guy busy doing something in his lap under the damask table cloth. My interest was piqued.... until I was shown that he was looking at my website on his mobile phone. Ah!!! The wonders of technology, over the soup! But at least they could view what I was talking about, and could see what artwork I produce, what subject matter and images are mine. And then, the previously quiet man started talking..... and it turned out we're in the same line of business! He creates erotic images too, albeit moving ones! So we have a lot in common, and the whole experience was quite normal for the pair of us. It just goes to show, more people than you first realise are working with erotica! And what I like about it is that its all quite normal, healthy and accepted amongst like-minded people.

Also at the dinner was a catalyst. It was in human form. And one I've not seen for a year or so. The first time I met him I found him dynamic and one of the most inspiring, funny, delightful and witty men I know. He's also disabled physically and struggles with getting around, but manages to make light-hearted jokes about his problems and always radiates good energies and positive up-beat vibes. I love his openness and being in his company as we talk about so many varied subjects. And the reason I know he's a catalyst? Because it was during a conversation with him over a year ago that started an interesting chain of events for me. Because he put me in touch with Lucy, and through Lucy I updated my website to more erotic art, which led on to me promoting myself more, and I started my blog, which led on to my selling more erotic artwork, and becoming an international artist, which led on to some delightful Americans coming to visit me to see my art, and me talking to the WI about being an erotic artist and being accepted in the Guild of Erotic Artists. All of this happened last year because of one conversation. I know my life would be different now if I had not had that initial conversation. He didn't do anything other than mention the name of someone else who also worked in erotica. I did the rest myself. And worked hard at it. But often its the people we meet in life who change the direction we're going in.

And to finish with another conversation I had over the course of the evening, with no preamble whatsoever a male acquaintance who I've not seen for some months said he thought my painting "Getting acquainted" was quite provocative! I laughed and asked how, when all that was happening was in his head! The image isn't showing anything other than a seated man and a woman kneeling infront of him. The title and your imagination is creating the rest of the image! But the guy I was talking to obviously found it a powerful one! Good. That's what images should be. Powerful enough for him to mention it to the artist who created it. But I possibly might not have painted it if I had not had that initial conversation with the catalyst..........

Friday, 4 January 2008


A good start to the year - my one hundredth blog post! Yay!!!

Getting back into the mind set of being an erotic artist, after doing two dog commissions, and I've been thinking about what makes an image "erotic". I know when I look at someone I see various attributes of their persona that I would enhance to make my image erotic, but, would another erotic artist see necessarily the same things? Perhaps. Perhaps not. And would the person being drawn consider the attributes I see as their own best features? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I might think their eyes are striking, especially the written invitation in them, but the person in question might think their mouth is their best feature. MMm........ So considering myself, I think I know my own "best attributes"..... but do others see in me something I don't see in myself? Perhaps. Perhaps not....... So, do we need to be drawn by someone else for them to pick out our essence, the part of us we might feel inside, but we don't see in ourselves when we look in the mirror? Perhaps we do. And, maybe, there will be some pleasant surprises................