Thursday, 26 February 2009

An embarrassment? Me??

I forget sometimes that I can inadvertently cause embarrassment to people - especially some people I know.......

On Saturday I went out to dinner with some close friends, well actually they are more like extended family, and as we did the "How've you been? and how's the family?" catch-up questions, I was told by the woman that she had had to side-step some difficult questions that her father had asked her recently. He knows me well enough too, and she had told him, in passing, some weeks ago, that I was exhibiting in London. This caused her a lot of problems. Because she wasn't expecting him to be SOOOO interested! Where in London? he wanted to know? Which gallery?What sort of subject matter? What sort of paintings? and then after the exhibition, he asked how I'd got on and asked what sort of people went there? And which paintings I'd sold? She found herself changing the subject quickly, to get him on to something else. Because she knew, and HE didn't, that I was exhibiting at Erotica at Olympia, and the art was erotic, and the buyers were buying erotic art, and I'd taken my "Fantasy fannies" paintings to show. This made me hooooowwl with laughter!!!!!!! Because, this is an extremely capable and confident woman in her late 50's who is suddenly side-stepping the awkward questions from her father in his mid 80's!!!!!!!!!!! Of course, he didn't know ANYTHING about the erotic art, and presumed that my art was of the landscape, portrait, animal type, that he probably, vaguely, thought I do (Well, I do, as well, but I DO DO the other erotic stuff TOO!!!!!!).

And that reminded me the other week when I was with another close woman friend, and she said that she had had her parents over for lunch recently, and her mother had gone around her house to view some new decorating she'd had done. And as she had had a look around, my friend had SUDDENLY remembered that she has one of my paintings hanging on her wall upstairs. And a cold wave of panic enveloped her as she thought of her mothers reaction if she saw this painting. So as they walked around upstairs, she quickly changed the subject, and managed to manoeuvre them downstairs out of harms way so that the picture couldn't be viewed. And this made me howl with laughter too - because this is also an extremely capable, confident woman in her late 50's whose mother is in her early 80's!

But whereas these tales are amusing me, I can also understand that its easier for them to avoid the subject to avoid the embarrassment.

I think I sometimes forget that others get embarrassed at some of the work I do. They like my art, and are happy with it in their lives, its just that its easier not to involve some others in it (like elderly parents!).

Sometimes I draw people, and they are embarrassed at the thought of the image I'm doing of them. But I've drawn a lot of non vanilla subjects, its the nature of being an Erotic Artist. But the thing is, I don't think "This is sexual, and maybe a bit kinky and maybe I'm a bit embarrassed" - I think "Mmm....... where is the composition with these items, where is the light coming from, where are the negative shapes, what colours should I use, where is the focal point, and would it be better if the feather was stuck in her hair, rather than where it is................?

Which reminds me of a joke:

What's the difference between erotic and kinky?
Erotic is when you use a feather during sex, kinky is when you use the WHOLE chicken! :)

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Let it free if its not for you

Sometimes things that you think are within your grasp are taken away from you. Sometimes it takes you by surprise and sometimes its out of your power no matter how much you think you're doing the right thing to get it. So, this was the case last year when I went to the local farm shop and talked with the owner about hanging some of my paintings there. She was keen on the idea, liked my art very much, had even been actively looking for a local artist to hang some paintings and was all for it. She just needed to hang some picture hooks. I went back week after week and the hooks weren't up but were going to be - imminently! Then we had the problem with "insurance" and the insurance company not being happy with paintings with glass hanging on the wall because of children running around and maybe harming themselves. So it was decided that it was better not to have my paintings, and they'd do without artwork. Fair enough. And funnily enough, a few weeks ago when I went they had some artwork on the wall. Ok, it wasn't for sale, and was possibly screwed to the wall, but it wasn't my artwork (neither was it as good as my artwork!). So, I shrugged it off, and got on with other things. There wasn't much else I could do.

This week something else was taken away that I thought was a "given". My spiritual healer friend has decided that she doesn't want her self-help book on unicorns illustrated now. The book has been two years in the writing, has only been completed recently, and we have on various occasions discussed me illustrating it for her. We were both looking forward to the creative partnership of her words and my images being published. But she now feels that the book doesn't need illustrating. Fair enough. It's her book and for her to make the decision. And its not for me to argue the point (too much!) - she is my closest friend, and will remain so, so we're not going to fall out over it. I know she's not comfortable with some of the erotic artwork I do sitting against "spiritual" images. But I paint so many varied subjects, so many different things, and maybe that's part of the problem. I do TOO much to fit into a niche. I know I'm good at what I do, and others like what I do, and my art sells. But I don't fit into a title - I do erotic art, but I'm more than "just" an Erotic Artist". I also "do" landscapes, and fantasy, cats, people, and figures. All I want to do is paint pictures and sell them. The subject matter is VAST.

But, this has also got me thinking - there is no reason why I can't still paint the unicorn pictures I have been planning in my head. There is no reason why the pictures won't make beautiful paintings, that people may want to buy, there is no reason why I may not at some point write a book - about my art, for instance, that will have a chapter on unicorns, a chapter on the fantasy fannies, a chapter on landscapes, one on tigers, one on mermaids, one on erotic art, one on surreal art, one on erotic landscapes, etc etc. I have enough subject matter to write a book already, and I enjoy the writing process very much. And it seems to be well accepted in return. I plan at some point in the future to do it. Not now, and maybe not for a few years, but its on the mental "to do" list.

So, I can only be true to myself - and paint what inspires me. Whatever it is. And listen to what other people ask me to paint for them. Its all fantasy, one way or another.

MMm........ Maybe I should retitle myself "Fantasy Artist"!!!! :)

Saturday, 21 February 2009


I've spent the day getting mucky. A normal state of affairs, you would think for an Erotic Artist !!!?! But this isn't normal dirty mucky - this is arty mucky, involving acrylic paint and palette knives! The sort of day that you come back with bottle green paint down your finger nails, yellow ochre in your hair, a long blue smear down the side of your cheek, and titanium white on your elbows, type of mucky. And what fun I've had getting into that state!!!

I've been to an art workshop where the subject matter was "Venice" and the style of painting was palette knives on canvas. I've never used a palette knife before, and never produced a painting that didn't involve some sort of brush at some point in the painting. So all a bit new for me. It took a while to get into it though, as the paint had to be applied in great daubs of colour straight from the tube onto the canvas, using all sorts of bright and vibrant colours, then smeared across the canvas like you smear great globs of thick butter and strawberry jam over toast - the knife spreading and merging the colour as it formed, mixed, melded, spread and picked up other colours next to it and below it, the whole creating some multi-coloured fluorescent mix of a childs paintbox sort of painting. Some of the paint sticking out in half inch blobs, all of it textured and moulded to form the painting. At the end of the session, I've painted the Rialto bridge, the Grand Canal, some boats, a lot of sky, a lot of water and some buildings, but I can't say I'm happy with the painting enough to do anything with it other than paint over the canvas for something else, maybe, or even throw the whole thing away. I'm not even going to show it to you here, because its not a good painting. BUT, what I have learnt is new techniques, new ways of applying paint, and seeing colour, and ways of tackling a subject, so I've learnt a lot. And been a big kid for the day. But, that's what these workshops are about - spending the day with other artists, learning, finding the inner child, and using that ability for more serious artwork at a later date. Grrrreat fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Life, love and art

I went to meeting for one of the art groups I'm in, last night. It was good to see everyone again, the usual start of chit-chat and pleasantries, then on to the meeting, not very exciting stuff, but it needs to be discussed with the group. Items talked over, decisions made, the usual stuff of meetings. Then afterwards, the usual dash for the door for some and the leisurely lean back and the comment of "Do you want a drink?" as the rest head for the bar.

Then the proper chat starts - the "What have you been doing recentlys?" as we catch up with news and gossip. I was sitting next to a guy who is a big friend of Stuart - the chap I drew two life portraits of in December, and funnily enough I'd had lunch with Stuart and his wife earlier on that day, and Stuart had kindly sent a very useful and interesting book about local interest, to me via our mutual friend. So we had a chat about what a nice chap Stuart is, and about the experience of my drawing him, and how odd Stuart had found the thought of it , but felt very comfortable in my company very soon after my starting to draw him. Then we moved on to other topics. And usually it gets around to my erotic art - since no one else in this group does erotic art, and I suppose some of my stories are a little more colourful and interesting than the usual art stories! So I quickly got them laughing with a couple of saucy arty anecdotes, and then started chatting with the younger woman next to me.

I've known her for many years as an artist, but am only just starting to know her as a friend. Her fella came to join the social group later on, and he's someone I've known for a number of years too through another connection, so it was easy chat between us..... and as the evening wore on, we chatted and chatted, and were the only three left at the end, and we easily conversed on many varied subjects from vegetarianism (they are, I'm not), to erotic art, getting paid by clients, producing art, making people happy, celebrity and all the problems it brings, painting nature, working as an artist, relationships, finding yourself as an artist and I suppose mostly about life and love and art. And what totally wonderful subjects to discuss! I have felt for a long time that my art is "spiritual" (especially after having many long and deep conversations with my spiritual healer friend) - I don't mean religious, I mean spiritual - in the way that it is therapeutic to the buyer, brings them happiness and it feeds the soul. I suppose you could argue the fact that all art is like that - but I seem to be able to paint pictures that people can empathise with, probably because of the erotic/sensual subject matter. It was good to explain how much I've changed this last year as I've focused on my art more, and the pleasure I get from painting. She said she could see how much I had changed within myself as a person and becoming more creative as an artist. And I was touched that she had seen that. We talked about our personal circumstances, and the way we created art from within ourselves, the creative spirit and how hugely important it is within us and forms the whole basis of our lives. It was good to bond with my artist friend, and hear her views on life - because her personal circumstances have changed hugely within the last year, but I can see that she too, is more relaxed within herself, and with the way she communicates with her art with the people she works with.

Time to go, and not because we had finished conversing on this subject but because the bar was closing, so we walked together into the dark night, and said goodnight, but after a couple of steps she came back to me, hugged me and said "I'm SO proud of you, Jackie!" and I hugged her back and said I was proud of her too, and was so touched with her words.

Monday, 16 February 2009

All that is me

After the last blog post I've had a few further discussions with my friend regarding my art and the expectations some people have of what I do. His reply is that he is interested in my vision rather than my interpretation of some body elses. He loves my art but doesn't wish to guide me because I am the artist, not him or anyone else. He feels that the art has to come from me, my mind, and my experiences, for it to be of value. And only through what I produce is my vision revealed. So its my vision and interpretation he is looking for. He feels that if he were to tell me how to paint then it wouldn't be my picture anymore, because I'd just be just like a version of a camera. He wants my name in the corner of the painting to mean something as interpreted my me.

And sometimes I forget this - I know I have to ask someone I'm painting a picture for what they want, what colours they like or don't like, what colour scheme suits them. Some people prefer oils or watercolours, or have an idea of a size in their minds. And I want to please the person who I am hoping to sell a commission to - so it makes sense to check that they're getting what I they want! :) But after I've checked the technical details, its down to me - to my vision of what i see in my mind, given the information a buyer has given me. That is when I produce the "art" as compared to the "image".

And that's the way it is with the latest painting - another Fantasy Fanny - I've got the photos, so I've got all the details of shape and colour. I've got the technical ability, experience, and materials. So, now its down to artistic ability. And over this last weekend I started the painting. Working out the best composition, drawing out the shapes, working out the tones with the lights and darks. Working out the colour scheme to fit into the bedroom its going in (pride of place, over the bed!! no less!!!!) and then................ I look............. and I see the colours before me in the photograph. I see purples and pinks, blues and ................. I put some loud rock music on....................... and start listening to the beat, feel it move within me................. and I look at the colours again........... and start to see them emerge ..................... the pinks merging into oranges, magentas, yellow ochres...........lemon yellow, cobalt blue, pale blue, maroon, purple, sage green.......... the music carries on, building up in the studio, and in me, and the siennas appear............then bright oranges, lime greens, scarlet and turquoise.................. and this is the painting forming. And ..............This is me.............. painting it.

Friday, 13 February 2009

This is the way it is

Someone who is a big fan of my art made the comment this week that he was very interested in the abstract style that I've used for the "Living flame" painting and was interested to see what else I might paint in this style. Great that he's so interested in my work, but it also underlined the problem that I've had all my painting career. And its this:

I paint a picture. It will be something I like or what I think someone else will like. And if its good enough, I’ll put it in a gallery, and on my website, and someone may come along and may find the gallery, and may find the website, and may find the picture in question. And they may like it. And they might go home and think about it, and they might talk to their spouse about it, and if there is enough money, they might buy it. Or they might go off the idea, and talk themselves out of the idea. Which happens an awful lot. Sometimes, people fall in love with one of my paintings, and they buy it, and they love it. And that’s great. BUT I can only paint “best guess” pictures, that I think they might want to buy. HOWEVER, if someone comes to me, and says – I like this subject matter, this style, these colours, this size, this medium, then they get EXACTLY the picture they want, and I paint EXACTLY what they are looking for. Instead of “best guess” that usually doesn’t work (because I have cupboards full of best guess work). So, if someone is interested in this abstract style, and interested in seeing other ideas – it would help greatly if they can be a bit more specific, because the idea that’s in my head may not be the idea that’s in theirs! Plus, I’m going to put it on one side if its only a best guess painting rather than a specific commission, because commissions always take priority, and I have another fanny commission on at the moment, and if I have a commission to do I’m more focused on the painting because I know I’m painting a “specific painting for a specific someone” rather than a “best guess painting for anyone, maybe at some point in the future”. Having said all that – the idea I have in my mind is quite clear, its this abstract style, these pastel colours, of an erotic couple entwined. And I’m pretty sure it will work well as a picture. If you want me to paint it, I will, but it will be my “best guess” painting of this subject matter, that I hope you will like, because you know me as a person, an artist, and you like my style, and character. Of course, there is no pressure at all on you to buy the painting. So, do you want me to go ahead with my “best guess” painting for you – and see what you think when I do it?

Well, that's basically the question! LOL

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


She's gone.

Out of my life.

I'll probably never see her again. So, that's it - its final. Finished!! And I'm missing her already. She's been such a large part of me, and my life, even for the short time I knew her. But, she was mine, then. And I suppose, still is. And always will be, even though she's gone to live with another woman, in another country, on another continent. Gone. And I miss her. I loved her sooooooo much. I know I'll always love her. She's touched my soul and heart so deeply, with her ageless beauty, so I know I won't forget her. How could I? But, she belongs elsewhere. With someone else. I cannot keep her by my side. And I hope she'll be loved there as much as she was here. Loved and cherished. That's what she deserves. Because she was meant to be there, with the other woman. I understand that, and I accept that.


I still have the other one.

The twin. The twin that is as close to the other as makes no difference. And she is here with me still. She belongs to me. And that is where she will stay. In my life. Loved my me, daily. Looked at, admired, cherished, adored.

And hung on my wall.

Whilst the other goes to America, to be hung on another wall.

"Living Flame" - I really love her!!!!!! :)

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Seeing Double

Well the snow's been useful - it means I can stay in and paint! I've been working on the second, proper painting, of "Living Flame". My spiritual healer friend thought it a big task, and asked me if I'd have problems painting it a second time, and I replied that I doubted it. If I've done it once, I can do it again! So, instead of showing you the painting, I'll show you the two together, so you can see what I'm talking about, and compare them. The "proper" version is as close as I can make it to the original "working painting". They are both in acrylics - used in the style of thin watercolours - but the original is on acrylic board whereas the proper version is on watercolour paper, as it was decided that to frame it, some of the image would be lost under the mount, and if I painted a larger border of background around it, then that could be "lost" under the mount without detracting from the image. Its a good idea to do that, anyway, as its a large image (20 x 16 inches) and since its on watercolour paper, the framer will want as much paper as possible to be able to hide behind the mount and stop the paper buckling.
Its not often I paint a picture twice - I usually get bored - but this painting has been a pleasure to paint a second time, to capture the light, the colour, the line, and tone. And I think she's beautiful, this living flame........

Monday, 2 February 2009

Blogging in the Tudor style

Well, well, well, this is my 200th blog post!!! YAY!!!!!!! But not quite my second anniversary of blogging......

Since I've been "fannying" alot recently :) it struck me the other day that I've not shown you a watercolour painting I did towards the end of last year for someone who wanted it as a surprise for her husband at Christmas. I didn't want to feature it on my website or blog until the guy had received it as a gift, incase someone told him about it and spoilt the surprise. The house is called Tudor Lodge (for obvious reasons!) and is in the village of Repton in Derbyshire. And was a real challenge to draw because of all the architectural lines in it that all had to go in the right direction! But although old buildings might "look" like they have straight lines in them, there are tiny imperfections in the line where the old wood has settled and warped slightly that gives the gentle sag to the roof line, and the timbers on the house itself. Of course part of making a house like this look interesting is not to make every black timber deep black, but to give a bit of colour change within the darks to make it more pleasing to the eye. I loved painting the tiled roof, putting slightly different colours within the blue wash to give the impression of lichens and aged tiles. The old red brick wall infront of the house has lovely faded reds and ochres in it to show the aged variations within the wall. Infact, it was a joy to paint this picture because of all the lovely textures within it - stone, tile, brick, timber, glass, paint, wood, foliage, tarmac, and sky! Its always worth looking at windows when you see a house painted - to see how the artist has depicted it - a window is like a living thing - the glass in it isn't a solid dark, its a light and airy sheet of translucency that picks up whats infront of it as much as whats behind it, in some places.
So, all in all, I loved painting this challenging picture. Today as I look out of my window its a total contrast to this painting of late summer, as the landscape is now thick with snow, very picturesque in a Christmassy cardy sort of way. Its not often we get snow like this here, so I'm interested in looking at the way the snow forms and lies against roof lines and plant forms....... its always difficult to paint snow scenes, to capture the light against the white...... snow rarely is pure white, its lots of subtle colours................