Friday, 31 December 2010

The end of this year

I knew at the beginning of the year that it was going to be a difficult one. I didn't know at the time that it was going to be the MOST difficult one ever, for me. But then, what can you expect when life changing decisions are made, and need to be acted upon..............

So January started with the understanding that I was getting divorced. As soon as possible. But things don't happen in quite the way you expect. Various cogs need to be put in motion first, and some of those cogs are reliant on other people, and their decisions. And added to that I knew that the house that I loved and had lived in for twenty years had to be sold. That was a very difficult decision too. So, I started decorating to get it ready to go on the housing market.

As it was, the house wasn't sold to complete strangers, but my half was sold to another. Which should have made the selling far easier, and it would have done if Land Registry weren't being pedantic to the nth degree over which parcels of land I owned and didn't own. That took from July to the end of November to sort out. Five whole fucking months of arguing!

Whilst that was happening, I was looking for another house to live in, a lot smaller than I was used to, with less land, but somewhere that was right for an artist. I looked at every house for sale within a 15 mile radius in my (limited) price range, and visited four - three of which were hugely unsuitable for various reasons, one of which I fell in love with on paper, and even more so when I walked through the door of it. And deeper still when I finally bought it. It is the right house for an artist, it is the right house for me. I love the rural village it is in, and love the fact it is near arterial roads. Fortunately the vendors were patient people who liked me, and wanted me to have the house, although the "quick sale" we were all hoping for dragged on for four long months because of the Land Registry problems. But at least I was able to rent the house, whilst renting out my half of my own, much beloved house. But, in renting, there were limits to what I could do. I had to leave the house in the state it was in or else risk losing the large deposit, should the house sale fall through. So, I didn't hang any pictures on the walls, as my heavy pictures needed walls drilling and proper fixings put on the walls. And I wasn't going to unwrap any of the boxes I'd brought, or my carefully wrapped pictures, until I knew the house was going to be paid for, and mine complete. It had taken me weeks to wrap them all in the first place, and clear my last house of twenty years of accumulated clutter! And I didn't want to repack them and start again.

Added to this was the fun of buying a car (a new experience for me) - and I chose one that was perfect for my needs. Within four months of buying it, it had had its front wing totally mangled in a car accident that happened whilst I was sitting oblivious in a pub having lunch in a pretty Essex village, when someone managed to reverse with such force that his car shunted the Mercedes parked next to mine, and embedded it sideways into my car. I am so thankful that I wasn't between the cars at the time! The car limped back up to the Midlands, and was duly mended and looked as good as new when it was returned to me a couple of weeks later. Three weeks after that, my car was hit in EXACTLY THE SAME PLACE by another vehicle as he drove off a road into the side of mine. I just got out of the car and thought "Fuck, not again!". I bet the garage repair men thought they were going through deja vu when it was towed in to be mended for a second time!

Also, I had an exhibition to put on - at Burton on Trent library. It had been booked months in advance, long before I knew I was getting divorced, and moving house. The woman I'd organised it with offered to cancel it, but I said I'd go ahead, and did the best I could with it. In the end, it was a success and I have other connections through it - including going on Radio Derby to promote it, which was an interesting experience.

Added to this, it was seven weeks before I got the internet at my new address, for reasons that seem to make sense to telephone companies, but not me. It was four weeks before I had a phone put in, and that involved endless, exasperated arguments with the phone companies too. Not helped that mobile signals are intermittent at this address too. I also had to go out and find furniture for the new house, so Ikea has become my second home, as it is both cheap and practical with its furnishings (all of which have to be put together of course! although I liked doing that bit).

And then, just when I thought my life was settling down again, and I could start getting things straight, my mum died.

So, when people ask me, in passing.................. "Have you painted anything recently, Jackie?" I look at them. And smile, and say "Well, its been a big year ............."  ...and start telling them why I haven't painted anything recently..................

But I'm certainly not complaining about the year. Far from it. Its been a good year as well.

And I have done some painting............ although not as much as I'd have liked, they have been good ones. I did the beautiful and mystical Goddesses painting, and I did a selection of artwork for Stuart who continues to be a walking advert for me, telling everyone in his life about the pictures I've done of him. I've done some excellent drawings of the male model I met a year ago, and he has grown to be a good friend of mine too.  I've done a couple of landscapes which have been popular, and I've started to think about writing erotic stories too. And I've done the painting of the girl with the universe in her hair because of a woman I met.

But, more than all of this, she is my muse. She also, has become a good friend, and I love the fact that I inspire her creativity as much as she does mine. Meeting her has got me back into wanting to paint properly again. She inspires me.

So, its been a big year, a year of change, and challenge.

But, these have been the building blocks for next year.

When I can start again, afresh.

So,  I wish you well at the end of this year, and want to thank my friends for their positive help and support, and for listening when I've had a lot to deal with. I want to thank my readers for following my life through this blog, and for mentioning it to me when we meet in real life. I want to thank my true friends for their friendship. And I want to thank my man for being so wonderful, and being there for me, always.

My love, to you all .......

Thursday, 30 December 2010

I'd almost forgotten

My Christmas was good, as good as I'd hoped for. Quiet on the day itself, which is what my man and I had wanted as it was our first proper Christmas together. But after that, we had various visitors, including my new muse and her husband. I always enjoy their company, as much as they appear to enjoy ours. But it is sometimes in quiet moments that I look at her and view her beauty on an appreciative level. And it was at one such moment on this visit that I looked at her upper lip. And noticed it had the tiniest of points to it, almost imperceptible in its delicate formation. I know that it was the angle of the light that had caused it to be noticeable for me - and I commented on it to her. She heard me and listened to me waxing lyrical about it without much of a realisation of what I was referring to - but perhaps its an artist thing that the tiniest details are suddenly of great interest to be explored and examined in minute detail by serious study. I was pleased when I thought about it afterwards, because it meant I was training my artistic eye to see again.... 

We talked of many things during their visit, but it took me my surprise when she said that her mother had asked me if I could do a print of the painting I'd done of her. It took me aback to be asked. But why should it? I paint. I sell my artwork. I sell the originals and prints. It was a typical question to ask of an artist and one I've been asked many times before. But, with all that has been going on in the last few months, I'd almost forgotten that I'm in the business of selling artwork! So, the answer was "Of course I can do a print, what size does she want?"

Other visitors came up from Essex to stay overnight with me, and the woman in particular enjoyed looking at the artwork I'd got hanging on the walls, and asked to see specifically the room where I paint. I took her to show her my studio , and we talked about art and painting as part of our varied conversations on many subjects. And again I was taken aback when she said in the last couple of hours of her visit "I wish I lived closer to you, I know you could teach me a lot about painting". I looked at her with some small surprise. Of course, I could do that. I could teach others to improve their art....

So, now I've been artistically prodded, I need to start focusing on it again! To get back into my arty life!!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Good cheer, eventually

It's funny (and not in a good way) having a funeral so close to Christmas. Two days before Christmas and most people are doing the supermarket dash, getting the sherry infused ingredients ready for the trifle, making the beds up for the in-laws staying and doing the last minute wrapping before the kids find the presents.

I didn't even know if I was going to get there.

The East Midlands area I live in had five inches of snow the day before, and I was heading three hours south on the motorway to the West Country which had had a foot of snow in places (although virtually nothing in other parts of that area weirdly). But I set off in good time, and the traffic wasn't half as bad as the authorities had said (do they say that on purpose I wonder, to keep people off the roads?) and the weather was as clement as it could be when the whole of the country is covered in snow. So, I got there ok. And suddenly realised that I WAS going to get to the funeral in time. And that brought a strange feeling - because I'd expected that I wasn't actually going to get there. And then had to focus on the fact that I would attend the funeral I'd helped to plan. My mothers funeral.

It went as well as funerals can go.

I always say that there is more love at a funeral than at a wedding. Because people are there because they want to be there, out of respect, and love, for the person who has died.  And to celebrate the fact that that person has lived, and affected them in some way during their lives.

I looked at the coffin, and was sad.

But also, I know that I felt a comfort for the fact that my mother gave birth to me, that she encouraged me to paint from an early age, and was as supportive of my talent and ability as she could have been. And that helped me to develop into the artist I am today. And through her I found the same delight that she had for people in her life. I know in many ways that I am like her. But there are also some differences in our characters too. I physically look like her, although she was brunette and I am blonde. So I have a strong sense of a family bond from her.

I shall think of her this Christmas, more than at any other time. And I will remember Christmas times past. And I shall miss her. But, I also know that I shall feel very close to her too.

And I hope that you feel close to your families and those you love, as well, and wish you the Happiest of Christmases full of good cheer, happiness, and most of all - L O V E

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Love accepted

It's a reflective time, and certainly a strange one.

People are wishing me a Happy Christmas full of good cheer and bonhomie and all I can think about is a funeral to arrange. Christmas seems a long way away.........

I open the cards that the postman brings, and am not prepared for what is there inside. A mix of  the expected "Have a Happy Christmas full of sparkle and  merriment" along with the sentiments of "So sorry to hear that you've got divorced but all the best for the future" and the "So sorry to hear the sad news about your Mum and we're thinking of you at this sad time" cards. I put them in two seperate places within the same room. To keep them apart. Happy and Sad.

Never the two shall meet.

But then, aren't they actually saying the same thing?

I think they are.

They are saying that people care, that they are thinking of me, and want to tell me so via a few words in a card. They are passing on love in various forms.

And isn't that what life is all about?

Death and illness are a huge part of life. But illness can be a terrible thing and hard to live with in the long term. Death will come to us all, its just hoping that we don’t suffer too much when we get there! We’re born, and we die, its just that we hope for some happy times inbetween – which is where love comes in. Love of life, love of things that make us happy, love of experiences and places, love of material things and less tangible ones. And love of people. That is the one that brings it all together – that is what life is ALL about.

I am ever the eternal optimist which has brought me joy, even when things are bad (like this year!) there have been lots of really good times too – it just depends on how you look at life. I avoid being around negative people as much as I can, as they will try and suck the positives out of you and bring you down to their miserable level. I look at the glass as always being “half full” rather than “half empty”. I am also a realist though – and know that you can’t have good things all the time (and how boring life would be if we did!) – but its accepting the bad and dealing with it when it arrives, but trying to avoid it the best we can in the meantime too. And looking for the silver linings in clouds as they are always there to be found.

So, a funeral is obviously a very sad time. But it is also bringing along with it the renewed bond of old friends and close cousins, uncles and aunts, and new friends too. All special in their own unique way.

Which brings me to the kindness of family and friends.
Thankyou my friends for thinking of me, I think of you in turn as I read your words, and that brings me close to you.

My Mum would have loved that.

And I do too.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Musical goodbyes from the heart

I've been to a lot of funerals. Too many of them, for sure.

But part of life is dealing with death.

I haven't arranged many funerals though - only my fathers, and this one for my mum. And whatever hymns we sang that day for him would have been chosen by her. Although the song that was played at the end for him was chosen by me as being the only song he'd ever liked, to my knowledge. And it can still make me cry if I hear it played on the radio, because it reminds me of him.

But this time, I am making the decisions for the hymns, and for the music to walk into, and out from. The hymns were easy enough - there is one funeral hymn in particular that always makes me cry "Lord of all hopefulness" and I've sung it enough times at other funerals. Its part of the saying goodbye, for me, so that was my first choice this time. The other hymn is equally sad, and traditional for a funeral.

As for the walking in piece of music, it has to be something by Mozart, as he was her favourite classical composer, and I've narrowed that down to one piece that seems most appropriate for this purpose.

But, it is the walking out piece of music that has given me the most problems. It had to be by her favouite singer - Frank Sinatra - but he sang so many songs it's been difficult to narrow it down. I remember various songs he sang  that were played in my childhood home whilst I was finding my own loud (!) musical interests (disco, rock, glam rock, and soul) but some of his old songs I still like to listen to when I'm feeling reflective and mellow. So revisiting them all now has been a blast from the past. But so many of them are totally inappropriate for a funeral, as they're about physical love between a man and a woman. I don't want any of those. And ideally I don't want the song the singer is most famous for. It would be ok if that was the only song, but there are so many that are more apt. It just took me a while to find them. Sifting through song lyrics and narrowing it down eventually to just three. I read them, and re-read them, looking for meanings, and every time I read one particular one, it made me cry.  I know that crying is part of the dealing with death, of the acceptance of what is, and what was, and what will no longer be. I understand that. But, these tears were for a different reason. They were happy tears. Tears for love.......... for love experienced.....for understanding love, for happy love.

And I know that when I hear it played at the funeral I shall cry.

Even though I chose it!

But it's right for her, and right as a celebration of her life, and what she was.

And the lovely thing is, that as I am ringing around my cousins - so many of them!- and they all remember her as the vibrant, attractive, fiesty woman that she was, not what she became in the last few years. And two of them told me she was their favourite aunty - which is lovely to hear. So, I've been revisiting her life through my conversations with them, which has been poignant but also refreshing, and lovely in its warm comfort. And I can hear the love they had for her. And I know the love I had for her.

So, the music is right.

Because it will make me cry.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

End of an era

Today's the day my Mum died.

It's been a big year. And now this.

I'll talk some more about my Mum.

But not today.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Conversation stoppers and starters

The invite was for lunch, and we gladly accepted. I knew she did a proper Sunday lunch regularly for her extended family, and was greatly touched that she wanted to include me and my man in that gathering.

We arrived early. Well, 42 hours early to be exact, but that's another story! And during that time I had been able to show her the painting I'd done of her. She had stood and looked at it, and liked it, and said a few words of praise about it, then fell silent. After the viewing, I wrapped it up again and put it out of the way in another room and that was all was said about it that day.

The following day she made lunch for her family - the kids, her husband, her mother, her sister and her sisters husband, and us. Nine people to feed , lots of food to prepare, so the morning was spent chopping and peeling, as the mouth watering cooking aromas from the kitchen wafted around us and we chatted companionably. The extended family arrived full of good cheer at 2 and lunch was served soon after. We all tucked into the delicious home cooked roast followed by a selection of three fabulous desserts as the conversation ebbed and flowed around the table - talk of people and places, occasions and the minutae of family life, banter and relaxed laughter. At the end of the meal I sat talking with the brother in law who had led an interesting life on foreign shores, and people came in and out of the room, the kids disappeared to their computer screens, the adults chatted and cleared the table and the mounds of washing up disappeared and got tidied back into cupboards. The hostess reappeared eventually, and sat opposite me at the long table. And in a lull in the conversation she said quietly to me...

"Show them"

I looked across at her, understanding her request in an instant but checking that we were in tune.

"You mean.........?"

"Yes" she nodded, certain in her request.

I smiled at her, and went to fetch it. I returned five minutes later, and all faces looked at me expectantly as I faced them down the length of the table. They could see I'd got a painting with me, but it was turned away from them, so that they couldn't see what it depicted. I explained to these people that I hardly knew, and had only known for a few short hours that when I had met the woman before me that she had a certain something that I instantly wanted to paint, and that she had agreed to pose for me - and I'd taken a few photos of her to work from. That the face and the hand within the picture were of her, but the rest was a fantasy picture. I could see from their faces that they were intrigued.....

I turned the picture around for them to see...

And they all looked at it, and without a doubt they knew who was in the picture. They knew without me explaining beforehand, who it was. Her mother was the first to speak - and said how much it reminded her of herself as a younger woman, and that it had made her feel quite emotional to see it. Her sister praised it, and said that she loved it. Her brother in law declared that he liked it. And I was so touched, that it worked so well as a portrait of her.

Then her kids walked in. They hadn't seen it before, and knew nothing of it even existing, let alone who it was. But they knew, instantly "It's you!" said the youngest. And the eldest looked at it and declared it to be "Well cool!" which I took to be praise indeed!!!!

Later, after we'd returned home, I texted her to thank her for her hospitality, and she texted back that she was pleased that I'd shown her family the painting, and how very impressed they were with it and that she'd felt moved by it despite seeing it before.

But, for probably the first time ever, I understood how she felt. And how other people feel when they see themselves in a painting by me. Because the day before, she had shown me her first story, and although it was a fictional piece, I could see echos of one of the women within the story being me. And I had been touched greatly by the fact that a character based on me was within her story, and that she had been inspired enough to write it in the first place. And had been kind enough to show it to me on this visit. Because the emotions she was going through, having seen herself within the picture I had painted of her, were the same ones as the ones I felt when I saw myself within the story she had written. I told her she'd got a big talent with her writing, and she said that was praise coming from someone with a talent as big as mine. I told her she'd got a big talent, she just didn't realise how much.

But it's ever the case that creativity feeds creativity, and what one can do with ease others look askance at because they know they can't do it so well.

Friday, 10 December 2010


Today the house that I've been renting for the last three months, finally, belongs to me.

Paid for.


Now I can start to put pictures on the walls!!!!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

All white on the home front

The world continues to be a winter wonderland - I've never seen such beautiful hoar frost, covering all the twigs and foliage alike. The other day I was driving home on a lovely country road surrounded by open fields and hedgerows, and as I turned a corner saw before me a fabulous oak tree all covered in the heavy white frost, which was a joy to see on it's own, but the day was full of patches of fog, and as the sun set behind it, the sky was the brighest lemon yellow I've ever seen, which framed the tree spectacularly - I suppose all the more so because it was virtually a negative image, if you consider the sky is normally blue and the tree trunk black. I said "Wowww!" out loud even though there was only me in the car, and wished I'd got my camera with me. It was only a couple of miles from where I live, and normally I would have driven home to collect my camera to return for the image - but the roads were incredibly icy, the fog was coming down, and it was dropping dark. So, with regret I carried on, and 100 yards later on the fog came down again, hiding the winter sun, and losing the lemon sky behind its bleakness. But, for one glorious minute, I'd seen it! And will carry it in my mind's eye for ever more. Stunning scenery! The whiteness turns everything magical.

And again, that reminded me why I am an artist - so that I can capture for others a split second in time that "makes" the image.

And also whilst I'm stuck inside I'm spending my time, writing. This isn't a new occupation for me, I've done it before. Infact I've never stopped writing since I learnt at the age of five.

But, the subject matter is new to me.

Its erotic writing.

And it's going verrrry well....

So much so that I wonder if I have another outlet for my creativity. I'm still thinking about the possibility of a book as well.... or maybe more than one... mmm.....

Friday, 3 December 2010

Universal flow

As it's been a while since I did a proper painting, one from start to finish, with all the thought process's that are involved with it, so I didn't expect it to be easy. When I say "proper painting" I don't mean one where I am just copying  a basic scene from a photo, I mean one where I am designing it, based on a photograph but with other items and concepts as part of the picture, a whole I D E A of  a painting, and that is all before I start to paint it - the painting part is certainly the production of the creation - but the idea and concept is the biggest part by far. I always say that painting a picture is only one tenth of producing it. And an awful lot of work goes into painting it! So that shows how much depth of thought also goes behind that.

I hadn't got a much of an idea when I started thinking about it - I was more concerned about how I was going to capture the look on her face. She has a physically beautiful face, but she also has different expressions within it, and there was one in particular that I wanted to replicate. The one where she looks like she's lost in enigmatic sultry thoughts. Lost in her own world. Or perhaps she's dancing to her own tune then... either way, that was the look I wanted. I knew it would be a portrait, but perhaps not a traditional one. As I drew out some ideas in pencil, the concept slowly built up as it came to me. To draw her and her lovely dark curly hair, almost as an entity in itself when it's loose around her shoulders. The flowing hair transported her to another dimension.....

And that was when the title came to me "The girl with the universe in her hair" - so from then on it was easy to work with that idea and to build shapes and colours within it. I knew I wanted a star within the picture, an explosion of a sun lighting up the vast Heavens. And planets, suspended within space and time, passing along their journey, nine of them.   Her hair floating out,strands of it flowing away, and her hand gently passing on its power, adding to the magical effect. And lots of colour.

So, that was the start of the idea that I worked with, and all I had to do was paint it! I decided to use watercolours for it, as they lend themselves so well to fantasy, magic and mystery, and as the painting progressed and I needed more depth of colour I used gouache for the smokey effects and the whites I needed for the planets and star. There is also a lot of splatter within the picture, around her hair and face and hands - to give movement to the image. And there is magic within it.

There is also a sort of joke within it - when you see the placing of one the planets.

I finished it late last night,  delaying my dinner time by a few hours to complete it as I was so rapt with the image and the way the painting was flowing, and as I opened the door to the brightly lit hall way, and switched the light off in my studio, leaving the room in semi darkness I glanced back at the painting propped up leaning against the wall and stopped dead in my tracks and returned to check what I had seen in a split second.

It was a complete image, even in virtual darkness. That's a good sign. It means the tones are right, the focal point is right, the picture works.

I left the room with a big grin on my face.

I've got it back.

I've got it back, but it's better. 

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Pull it all together then!

I've been struggling for a while to think what image I want for my Christmas cards this year. In previous years I've done tigers, a snarling snow leopard, unicorns. I could do another animal, I have considered that, but I know I want to do something a bit different this year. I have had the general thought that a scene from the village I've moved into might be a good idea. It's certainly a pretty village with lots of lovely old cottages full of character, an ancient small church that looks like it comes straight out of a Grimms fairy tale, and there are some gorgeous walks around here so I could do a rural scene of rolling hills and sturdy trees under winter skies. I could do all of that, but for some reason they're not hugely inspiring me......

I know that part of that struggle for inspiration is due to the fact that I've got a lot of less than artistic things still going on in the background (well, its more the fore-front really!) of my life, so its difficult to get into the flow of painting when there are flurries of phone calls and emails from solicitors  full of questions that need answers regarding finances and accompanying forms to fill out and get signed, and have witnessed. I don't mind doing it, it's all of what I have to do to start my new life. But it's not the best background for being creative in........

I have ideas running though my head......

I have lots of ideas....half forming....swirling around......erotic images......erotic words.....erotic deeds.....erotic sights.......erotic stories half written.....

And seeing my new muse again last week so soon after the last time has added to those images. She is so sexy, and sensual, and beautiful. And a whole part of that sensualness of her is the fact she seems to be totally unaware of it. It is so natural in her. And yet in her everyday domestic life she doesn't show it so much. It's only when she has chance to blossom that it comes to light. Her man knows it, and loves to see that side of her. I see it and what to capture it. I've never wanted to paint anything as much as I want to paint her.......

The weather is unusual this year. Normally we don't get any snow until after Christmas. Maybe a few flurries in the air, but nothing that even vaguely counts as even a light covering of it. But it was cold last week, bitterly cold and dry. And at the weekend there was snow, enough to get the kids excited, and for adults to be concerned about driving on the roads. It cleared a little though, but the following day didn't get above freezing, so the hoar frost covered roof, tree branch, grass and walkways alike. Very pretty, I love it! The world has turned pristine white.

Yesterday was warmer though and it started to melt, the roads were clear and I was able to go out on my financial business. But I did notice it had snowed again late last night as I went to bed...

...This morning it was white over. A blizzard of snow. I looked out to see people trudging past on their way to work and school.

A day for stopping in.

I was due to go out but cancelled it.

I'd got better things to do.

Pictures to paint. Images to create. A Christmas card image to make.

I've got it! Why hadn't I seen it before?! What image is the right one for me this year? What image is haunting my dreams and my daylight hours? What image is the one that I want to paint above all others? What image is the one that ends this turbulent year and starts the next afresh with full hope for the future?

Only one.

And it's not tigers, or unicorns, pretty cottages, and ancient churches.

It's my muse.

That's what I'll paint, along with the magic that she brings with her, for me.

That's what I'll paint......

.....let it snow...let it snow.........let it snow..............

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Passing on the creativity

My mate the erotic writer Lucy Felthouse came over the other night for a drink and a chat, and I know most "business" meetings are boring - but ours NEVER are!!! Since we're never far away from what Lucy smilingly refers to as "smut"! (lovely word, so very evocative!). But when we're both in the business of selling erotic fantasies, what do you expect! I've not seen her for months so it was great to have a catch-up chat and ask about each others work and what each has been doing in our private lives... she's always amused when she thinks that a lot of people think she's actually done what she's writing about. I'm never asked that though, but perhaps people expect that one way or another, an artist creates an illusion......

By the end of the evening, when we were all "smutted out" and it was time for Lucy to go, she commented about me writing about some of the things I'd talked of to her. I could instantly feel the fire of desire rise within me! I wanted that, I wanted it a lot. I've always felt that I want to write, and the obvious thing would to be erotica, so, that's given me something to think about, too..... which is normal when Lucy and I get together!

And there must definitely be something in the air this week, because when I had a chat on the phone earlier with my new muse, to arrange the next drawing session, and told her that I'd stayed up til 2 o'clock in the morning drawing her because I was so inspired, and she told me that she was now also inspired to write some erotic stories too! I love it when the creative spirit feeds from other people's creativity! Absolutely love it!!!!

I'm really pleased with the drawing I've done so far of her. I needs a bit more work doing on it though before I show it here. It was difficult to even decide which paper to use to start with. I made the mistake of starting with a coloured textured paper, and tore it up before I'd done too much to it, to swap to a smooth white cartridge paper. She's so soft and feminine, that the paper has to match that softness. I decided to use dark graphite pencil in the end, rather than a colour, or a range of colours. Again, her beauty doesn't need to be gilded too much - just a single colour will emphasis that. But I know the more I draw her and the more I am used to looking at her, and seeing her, that I may branch out to other colours, other textured papers, other coloured papers, paint, bright vibrant paint, and large brush strokes. But, I am starting slowly at the moment.....whilst the passion rises within me again.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Be - mused

Sometimes you build things up in your head. And when you get the chance to check them out properly, they aren't what you expected. The disappointment sits heavily on your shoulders, and you wonder how you could have been so stupid to have expected things to be any different.

But, I like to look at things from all perspectives (ha, that was an artist joke!!).

I like to look at all angles, and face the good and bad in equal measure. But, I will always find the overall balance of good, because I am ever the practical optimist. But I know its not good to expect too much. Experience has shown me that........

She was waiting for me, in the pub, where we had agreed to meet. She and her man. It was a large, busy pub, on a Saturday night. We walked in, my man and me, and stood at the bar, searching faces. But we were spotted first, and waved over. They stood to greet us, and we said our hellos before settling down at the table. I made a point of sitting opposite her. I wanted to look at her......

We talked, of mundane matters, and important things. We talked of people and places, of times past, and present, we talked about ourselves, and our passions, our shared interests, our wishes and desires, of good things and bad. We ate a meal, and drank, and talked, the four of us. But there were still so many questions to ask, so we moved on, and carried on the conversation afterwards back at the house over more wine and a more relaxed atmosphere.....

She was happy to pose for me, and touched at my request. She had presumed on our first, previous meeting, that I wasn't serious about my desire to draw her. But I was. Absolutely, totally serious. When she understood that, she delightedly agreed that she would pose for me....... 

All artists look for the muse, the one who will inspire and aid the creative spirit, the one that makes you want to pick up a brush and paint. The one that fills your waking hours, and sometimes your dreams too.

And this one scares me.
And excites me.

In equal measure.

I am excited by her beauty, her transluscent skin, her cascade of dark hair, her sensual mouth, her soft enigmatic dark eyes, her look of fragility, her innate sexiness, her full womanly body.

I am excited by all of that.

But I am scared.

Scared that I won't do her justice. That I won't be able to capture the image I see of her, in real life, and translate her beauty from a three dimensional living being, to a two dimensional flat drawing on paper.


But, I will .....try..............

Thursday, 18 November 2010

If only they knew

We'd made the arrangement for today - for him to drop in for a cup of tea and a lively chat. I just wasn't sure exactly what time it would be, so I texted him first thing to find out. He texted back a time, and then rang me later to say he had a puncture and had to borrow another car, to get to work, but would come over later.

All fine, all normal for me. For us.

I've drawn him a few times before, but not for a long while, whilst I sort out my life. And it's good for me to have the practice session of life drawing, and although he originally thought he was just coming over for a cup of tea this time, (we're both big tea imbibers!) he was more than happy to sit naked whilst I drew him, and we chatted about the usual mix of subjects. Some sexual, some not. We have a similar dry sense of humour, so there's usually some laughter and comments to amuse us both with our meetings and the conversations flow in an easy and relaxed manner.

And all of this is perfectly normal, in my life.

He comes in, we sit and chat over a cup of tea, he takes all his clothes off, finds a pose we're both happy with, we continue chatting, and listen to the background music, I draw, we chat, and hopefully at the end of it I have a drawing I'm happy with.

All normal, as I say.

Except, today, there were phone calls to deal with.

Because he had a puncture, he had to arrange for the tyre to be mended, for someone to come out to the car. But the tyre replacement company weren't happy with the details he'd given them for the tyre - they thought the particular tyre shouldn't be on his particular type of car. So they rang him back. So, he had to answer the call. So then he had to ring to ask someone to check that the tyre was the right one, which they confirmed it was. So then he had to ring the tyre company back to tell them.

All of this whilst he's standing infront of me.

N A K E D.

But, they didn't know that. THEY all presumed he was a business man in a dark business suit. And indeed, he had been before he got to my house. And got his kit off. For me to draw him and think of erotic art.

We resumed the session. He resumed the pose, I resumed drawing.

And then my house phone rang........

"Excuse me Madam, but we are a market research company who are doing a survey for the local authority about people's leisure time, and we wonder if we could ask you a few questions about how you enjoy spending your leisure time, would you be happy to answer those questions.................?"

a big   P    A    U    S     E         from me.

"No. I wouldn't"

And firmly put the phone down.

They just wouldn't understand.................................. :)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Seeing what you hear

Most of our conversations so far have been by email. And there haven't been a lot of those - just the basic ones to make preliminary arrangements. But we both know the other has something we're interested in and intrigued with. I can tell that by the tone of the brief emails.  And the electronic message that came through yesterday was one I could have answered equally by email. It was regarding making arrangements to meet in the near future and have a drink and a chat and answer the many questions face to face over a pub table. She lives a good distance away and  its not an area I know, so I have to rely on her to recommend a place. But, although it could have all been sorted out through emails back and forth, I felt there was something better I could do.

 I could ring her. To make the arrangements.

What a novel idea! The telephone!

And better than that, she was in.

We started to chat, and agreed a day to meet that suited us both, and a time, and a place, but inbetween there were other snippets of conversations, about likes and dislikes, opinions, queries, inner strengths and weaknesses, and the possibility of things that may need some resolving. That's fine, that's part of what I need to know. I don't expect that my model is going to be plonked infront of me and I will draw her without any issues arising at all. If I wanted that, I'd draw still life!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Place bottle, and let it sit there until its drawn, no empathy with the subject matter, just a lifeless souless object placed on a cloth. But this is a human being we're talking about. A real person, living and breathing. With blood pumping through their veins, and thoughts rushing through their head. And if she's new to this experience, then it will seem strange to her, and she will have endless questions to ask. But this is part of the process, for me. I need to listen to her. I need to hear her thoughts. I need to know what she's thinking, what her issues are, what she is happy with, and concerned about. Because, that will give me the essence of her. It will show what she is, to me.

And all of this, is before we meet properly.

I've only met her once, briefly. But in that time I admired her outer beauty. And I knew then that I wanted to draw her. It was after we met that she agreed to pose for me, to be my muse.

So, when I see her the next time I will be looking at her with different eyes.
It will be with Artists eyes. And they look differently at things.
They look deeper, they look beyond the outer skin, beyond the superficial. They look within.

And all that information is considered. That knowledge is put together to make a whole. And that whole is then captured and put on paper. Well, that's what I'm hoping for. That's what my job is.  To paint what I see, and what I feel, and what I know. But at the moment, that information is picked up by ear.

I'm looking forward to meeting her again. It will be a social occasion, along with our accompanying men. But, something tells me, they won't get many words in edgeways.............................

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Stepping in the right direction

Now I've got the internet back I thought I'd be doing dedicated blogging on an almost daily basis - but instead I find I've gone a number of days without turning my hand and head to blogging. But that is mostly the fault of that addictive of communicational things - Facebook. I'm hooked! I love it! It's great to catch up with friends again, and see what they're up to, and lovely to hear from them too! I'm back in the world, and I love it!

And I've started a drawing, too. Not an erotic one, a townscape. I can't say I'm hugely excited by it, but the discipline of straight lines, vertical lines, vanishing points, compositions and tonal values through texture and cross-hatching in pen on cartridge paper is absorbing, and will get me back into the mind-set of producing technical art before I start on the fun stuff again - the EROTIC stuff! Far more interesting!!!
As well as that I've been working on an updated artist statement - which is basically an article saying who I am, what my art is about, how I produce it and what my motives and inspirations are. Keeping it succinct and interesting is the main thing, so I know it'll take a bit of fine tuning before I'm happy with it.

I've also had the usual batch of interesting conversations this week, with interesting people. Some fleeting aquaintances met in a bar, some more solid in my life. The fleeting aquaintances tend to say things that amuse me. But perhaps that's because they find me amusing too - for instance the man who playfully slapped my bum as he told me "You're a VERY naughty girl, aren't you Jackie!" to which I just grinned and didn't bother to argue with him. If that is how an Erotic Artist is perceived, then so be it.  Having said that, his girlfriend painted pictures of sheep, so perhaps it was a step too far for him!!!
I've also had an indepth conversation with my usual male model who has decided he is mentally and physically ready to pose for me along with one or two female models. This is, I know, a big step for him, and I deeply appreciate that he is happy and trusting of my artistic decisions and professional manner. Now, that is going to be interesting to set up. It's finding the right female models to pose with him, that's going to be a little tricky. But, not impossible! And just think of the artwork!!! Mmm..... very tasty!

And I think all of this has reminded me of a  very useful lesson to learn in life -

"Don't worry, it's only kinky the first time............"  

Yep, that's a useful one to learn!!! I'll tell him, when I see him next.... LOL

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

But what's it like?

Some things have a definite answer. Particularly when it comes to time...... how long does it take to soft boil an egg? How long will it take to drive to Edinburgh? When's tea? How long will it take you to get ready? (well.. ok, that's EASY for a man to answer, but not a woman, certainly, its a bit fluid!!).

So, when my new muse asks me how I will draw her, I can't answer fully. Because I don't know how long it will take.  Its not that I don't have the experience, because I have. Loads of it. Years of figure and life drawing. So, maybe that's why I know that I don't know (if you know what I mean!).

It depends on the model, it depends on the pose, it depends on what I'm trying to capture, it depends on how inspirational I'm feeling, and how inspirational the model is feeling. If they've had a shit day, the kids are playing up, they've got a full bladder, and want to get home to watch "Strictly come dancing", then they're not going to be serene and calm. And for me to draw well, I need a model who can sit happily for a while, whilst we listen to some rock or dance music, and whilst I draw them. So, I'll try my best to find a pose that is comfortable. And that the room is warm. And that they're not going to get pins and needles or cramp within five minutes of me starting. We all want a nice working environment to work in, to achieve the best we can of the circumstances. So, if the model has got some music that they really like, and they're feeling sensual and sexy, and are willing to sit for a bit whilst I draw them, then that's ideal. If we can arrange it. And that's presuming that the model can sit still. I've drawn some people who can sit still endlessly in a slightly difficult pose, with a bad back, on a cold day, on a hard surface. But I've also drawn people who can't. They can only sit for five minutes before they start asking me "Have you almost finished?" or they get light headed and keel over because their legs have locked. But, that is an extreme reaction and usually the reason for that is medical. So, I need to be aware of what people can do, before I start to draw them. And I know I'm fast at drawing. If I had to do a set of five minute sketches, I could do that (with the right tools -  for instance, it'd have to be with a lump of chalk rather than a fine pointed pencil to get the quick soft essence rather than the sharp specifics of the details of the face and body). Sometimes working fast like that can create some surprisingly lovely but simple pictures.  

Anything is possible really. But conjecture is one thing. Actually doing it, will prove the point far better. So long as the model is happy, I can work around the situation. I've done it enough times, to know......

And I want it to be a happy experience for her - one that she enjoys and finds pleasureable. 

Friday, 5 November 2010

face book

Its been a good week. Not that I've got any painting done, but good nevertheless!

I do feel that a day not painting is a day wasted, but I know I have to get the background things set up and running before settling down to do some paintings or drawings.

But, the best part of the week was when my new aquaintance told me she'd be delighted to be my new muse! It seems she's thrilled to be asked, and I'm certainly thrilled that she's accepted. She said she hadn't realised that I was serious when I asked her - but then I wouldn't have asked if I wasn't. So now I'm thinking about her features and how I want to capture them... she has a dreamy look to her, dark eyes and a mass of dark curls.... and small facial features.... and I want to capture those feminine attributes on paper.. that essence of what makes her attractive and womanly, and put it within my pictures..... mmm..... it's got me thinking.....

And the other highlight of the week, is that I've joined Facebook!!!! YAY!

It's been on my to do list for ages but without having the internet, its made it somewhat .... er....difficult!!!!!

So, I've been busy setting up my profile, and thinking about my favourite films, books, music to put on it. And then there has been the absolute joy of finding friends on it - some names from the past have turned up - some unexpectedly so, and I've made contact with them, with the greatest of pleasures! So, it's great to be back in the world again, and catch up with friends old and new!

And, to mark the occasion of 5th November in an erotic way, I thought I'd show you some female fireworks! I adore these photos for the fabulously vibrant colours, and movement within them and think they are very sexy. I'd love to paint them, as large colourful canvas's and I think they'd make superb erotic paintings! (I'd better add em to the "to do list!" then that I thought I'd just knocked one thing off and now I'm adding another on! )

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Getting back in the swing

It all seems so sweetly have the internet back, to be able to blog again, to read and reply to emails. And yet I've waited almost two whole tedious months for this.

Its dragged, and yet, it's gone quickly too. As is the way with the passing of time.....

Only two months left of the year and its been such a massive year for me, the B I G G E S T and most challenging ever. Sorting out my life, saying goodbye to the past and moving on, to the future. A future that may be partly uncertain, but hopefully full of all sorts of interesting mentally and physically stimulating things, and fascinating people and new experiences, too.

It is a future with good friendships from the past, some old, some newer. There is a strength within those friendships that feeds various facets of my persona. Some vanilla, some less so. The Guild of Erotic Artists continues to be a good base for me, and I value the help and support I get from the members. It has been with deep regret that I have been unable to exhibit at Erotica at Olympia this year, partly through constraints of time, partly through my personal circumstances, partly because I need to fully concentrate on doing it and can't at the moment, and partly due to the large financial outlay it involves. But, as in all things, maybe when one door can't be opened, another opens in its place, and I am always happy to peek through other doorways to see where they might lead me.

Infact, I did just that, on Thursday.

It was a new doorway, a big one, one full of promises of exciting things to an Erotic Artist........

...and through that doorway I met someone...... a woman...... a beautiful dark haired woman.....who inspires me to want to paint again. She may even be my next muse. But we need to talk further about that subject, and I don't know if our paths will cross again, but it they do, I shall draw her, with the greatest of pleasure........

Saturday, 30 October 2010

I'm Back!!!

I'm back on line, how good is that!!!!!


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Autumn light and life in shadows

I went for a walk around my new village yesterday. I've done it a few times, but not with a camera, and thought that in the twenty minutes that the gentle walk normally takes, I'd find a few interesting things to capture.

But, I was well out with my assumptions.

It took two hours! Two wonderful hours of being enthralled with light. Crisp clear light, with the golden glow of Autumn. But, added to that, was the joy of shadows and light working together and creating their magic. That, gives the land a whole new look. It adds contours and interest to create new interest in the picture. I know that going out with a camera when the light is flat and grey, is really a waste of time, as the whole image will only be of mid tones - and how can you get excited with sullen greys and sage greens, sad yellows, and dismal browns. I certainly can't! But when the light is crisp and bright, the sun is shining, and the Autumn leaves are bright with shining gold, Indian yellows, burnt siennas, dramatic scarlets, rich purple shadows on cream paths, the shadows come alive and become a thing of beauty in themselves, the way they create patterns on the stone walls, the paths and the warm red brick walls of old cottages. Even the colour white takes on a new life of its own - and becomes a shimmering brightness, or descends to a rich cobalt blue in deep shadow.

The place I was most fascinated with, though, was the church. Its old, and very solid, but pretty, small but full of character. I don't know how old it is, but without searching hard I found a gravestone with the year 1728 on it, but there were far older gravestones, with faded lettering worn with weathering and mossy decay. The sunlight and shadows on the stonework of the church filled me with delight, and the vertical graves themselves added extra interest with the low sun on them, creating more shadows and sharp relief against the damp sap green grass.

I shall be pleased to get the internet back. I've not had it at the new house, and I've been there seven weeks. So, I can't show you the images, I can only describe them at the moment. But, they are so inspirational. I want to paint them. And I will. Soon. I want others to see what I saw, to accompany me on that wonderful walk full of bright wonder and stunning light.........

Friday, 22 October 2010


I had two very enjoyable days over last weekend. But the character of each day differed greatly from the other.

On the Saturday the snippets of conversation were "Oh, that's a good picture, Jackie" ..."This is fun, making these prints, isn't it!"........."I love your use of floral shapes"........."I'm covered in black ink, but I think it'll wash off".....

But, on Sunday, the subject matter was a little, well, different...............

"Of course you have to be careful about having paintings hanging at sex clubs, incase the play gets a bit....boisterous"

"We're swingers, and stayed with other swingers last night"

"I've got a load of body casting gunge in me bits, and I'm going to need a tweezer to get it all out!"

"And these three girls wrestle semi-naked in baby oil, and cover each other in whipped ceam"
To which a male member of the assembled group called out "I'll lick it off!" and his wife agreed "and ME!"

Mmm.... now, which day did I prefer........................???

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Cut off from the world

Frustrations seem to add up, once they get started!

Since I've moved into my new house - six weeks ago - I've been trying (very hard!) to get a phone line installed, and the internet set up. I am a patient person, and understand that these things "take time" and am happy to wait whilst cogs whirl away behind the scenes with telecommunication companies.

So - to sum up,  so far  - I have rung one telecom company (a colour!) who said they couldn't set up the internet for me, as they couldn't take over the line so I had to contact another telecom company who I could rent the line from, on a monthly basis, and when I had done that, the other company would take it over...

I did that, and had to wait 10 working days for that to be set up.

Then, when it SHOULD have been set up, there was a problem on the line, and I had to wait for an engineer to come out, to sort it out. This took six days. It seemed to work at that point.....

Then, I rang the new telecomunications company (not the first one, as I want fibre optic internet, as its the only way to get a decent internet connection at this address). They took my details and told me that it would be another ten days (on top of the original ten days wait) to set it up.

The date was arranged. For yesterday.

I waited in for the five hours alloted for the internet engineer to arrive. He didn't come. I rang the company to find out WHY he hadn't come, when they had sent the equipment he was to install two days beforehand. This took a whole HOUR on the fucking phone, and three people, to tell me that the order had been cancelled. Oh, Really? WHO BY????!!!!! (not by me, and not by the telephone company!). How can it be that a third party can cancel my internet connection? I don't get this!!!!

To set it up again, will take, wait for it, SEVENTEEN more fucking days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, they're looking into it. Too bloody right, they are!!!!

And, just to add to the frustrations of the saga. The phone only works to ring OUT, and will only ring ONCE on incoming calls so if I don't answer in one frantic lunge on the first ring, it gets cut off! So, no one can leave a message on the answer phone.

And just whilst I'm having a whinge on this subject, the mobile signal is intermittent at the house, so I have to be on the upper floors to make and receive calls - not on the ground floor at all. So, when I rang the telecom company today to report the fault on the line, I had to explain ALL of the above first, so that they understood my problems. Her response was for me to take a screwdriver, remove the cover on the phone socket and check if the various phones within the house work there. Ok, but in doing it, the whole part of the phone socket came away in various pieces, and part of it is now buckled. (and I am a practical person who is used to using screwdrivers!)  So, now an engineer has to come out to check what the problem is - and if the fault is within the house, then I've got to pay £129 for it to be rectified!!!! Including, mending the broken phone socket - BUT IT ONLY GOT BROKEN BECAUSE I DID WHAT YOU TOLD ME TO DO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fucking frustation!!!!!!!!!!!

(Count to ten. Count again.)

So, to sum up:

After six weeks of being in the house, I have half a mobile signal, a broken phone that rings out, and only in on one ring for anyone ringing me, no internet, various bits of equipment that don't work, and a huge feeling of being cut off from the world!!!! I can only use the internet at other peoples houses......

There's a lot to be said for carrier pigeons.........................

Friday, 15 October 2010

Finding love

Buying a new house means a lot of blank walls suddenly open themselves up to new possibilities.

But, that all has to wait until the fundamental stuff has been done. Things like putting saucepans and crockery in kitchen cupboards, toothpaste and soaps in the bathroom, hanging clothes in wardrobes, placing books on book shelves (particularly when my collection of books includes general non fiction, fiction, cookery books, gardening books, art books, travel books, and of course an extensive collection of erotic books!).

As well as filling cupboards and draws, I've had to go out and buy a lot of cupboards and draws!  So that in itself takes time. Infact Ikea rang me this week to see what the problem was, their shares had suddenly slumped because I hadn't paid them a visit (and when I say "pay them a visit", I don't think I've managed to made any of my visits last less then four hours!).

So, it all takes time.

And in the background are phone calls to the phone company (don't get me started on that one! Another soap opera in the making!), the service providers for electricity, gas, water, insurance, council tax, etc etc.

And of course, the walls in the rooms of the house remain blank whilst this is going on.

That's ok, I don't mind.

But, its odd for me too. Because I'm used to pictures being on walls. 

So, now that all the other stuff has been done, I can do the job that is so natural to me.
Placing pictures.

I'm fortuante, in that the new house doesn't need decorating. And I LIKE decorating. I know most people don't. But I do!

All the walls are a pretty, pale, welcoming cream. Innocuous pale cream. Pale, warm, invitingly open to being dressed in pictures.
My pictures.

I've looked at those walls for the last five weeks. Blank walls.

But last night, I put some pictures up.

And  I could see the whole importance of pictures. Because, when you look at blank walls, you see ....nothing. But, when you look at a picture hanging on the wall, you look INTO it - into the depths of it, and get lost within the image. And it doesn't matter if the image is of a still life, animals, of a landscape, of a person or people, whether it's erotic or not, you put yourself within that frame, and something within that frame should connect with you. You should feeeeel something of the image, and it should have an emotion within it that makes you feeeeeel good. It might be because it's of someone you love, an animal you love, or a place you love, or a view you love, or an erotic image that gives you fantasies you love, or a surreal selection of images that puts a lot of things together that you love, or camouflage art that hides something that you love, or something humourous that you love, or just the colours you love, but one way or another, it should make you very happy.

That's what art should do.
And that's what YOUR collection of art should do.

So this morning, when I awoke, and looked at the couple of pictures I had hung in the bedroom last night, I smiled. They are very suited to the bedroom. Well, certainly, my bedroom. They are subtle in their eroticness and they make me very happy.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Anything you like

My good friend from across the seas rang me yesterday - a delightful suprise to hear his voice, and satisfying for us both  to have our usual interesting chat together He could hear how upbeat I was about setting up my new house, and getting my studio up and running, and we talked of  my art, as we always do. I made the comment that I just lurvvvve painting, no matter what the subject. He laughed in agreement and said jokingly "You'd even enjoy painting my computer, wouldn't you Jackie!" and I laughed back in amusement.

And then I realised a truth.

That I would actually really enjoy painting it - even if it was something as "unexciting" as a computer. I'd enjoy drawing it out, choosing the colours, painting it, getting the lighting and compostion right, and looking at the finished picture, knowing that I had painted it and got as good a match to the original as I could.

Having said that, I'm sure you could think of far more interesting subjects for me to paint.....................

Friday, 8 October 2010


I'm still waiting patiently for my internet to be set up at the new house, so am having to blog where I can, on other computers. Not an ideal situation, but one I can work around, until I'm set up. At least I've got a landline now, althought that was a farce in the background to set that up! Having spent 26 minutes on the phone last week trying to get through to someone (well, three "someones" actually!) to be told that my details were wrong, and they wouldn't speak to me unless I gave them my reference number (which I hadn't got on me, as I wasn't at home, and hadn't expected to speak to them on that day, else I'd have taken the reference number with me!). Only to be told, when I'd given them my name, address, date of birth and new phone number, that the details I had given them were wrong. "No they're not". "Yes, you've got the birth date wrong".  Sigh. "No I haven't". "Well, its not what we've got written down here". "Well you've got it wrong, not me". "Well, you can't give us the date written down here, so we won't speak to you". "BUT, YOU'VE GOT IT WRONG, NOT ME!!!! Like you got my title wrong, my address incomplete, and now my date of birth you've got wrong, too!!!!" "Well. we still won't speak to you....." I put the phone down in complete and utter frustrated anger. Idiots!!!!!!!!!!!

So,the next day, when the phone engineer arrived on the doorstep to set up the landline, he was a very welcome sight! I told him about the conversation I'd had with the service provider and he said he couldn't understand why it takes ten working days for anything to happen regarding changing lines, putting lines in, putting the internet in, or setting up the internet, and his summing up of it was "admin!" - so due to even more "admin" I'm having to wait another fortnight for internet connection...............

But, all of that waiting for phone lines being installed was over shadowed by a conversation I had yesterday with a painter and decorator. He was doing some decorating work at a house I was visiting, where my artwork was hanging on the wall. He knew that I had painted it, and he raved over it - the colours, the light, the subject matter. I thanked him, and had a big cheesy grin on my face as we talked, and I got more and more animated as I descibed other artwork I'd done - of portraits of  much beloved and much missed people for grieving families, soulful pets, special scenes, erotic art (to which he responded, "If any man tells you he's not interested in erotic art, he's lying!" which brought a bigger grin to my face!), the fantasy fannies, abstracts, surreal art, camouflage art with hidden messages, and erotic landscapes. His eyes widened with every description, and he said he'd look at my website with great interest. And as I got all fired up with the telling of what I'd achieved, I realised how much I've missed it this last year, whilst I've been sorting out my life, and finding somewhere new to live, and setting up my new house and studio. I can't wait to fire my passions up again, and find new artworks to paint, new commissions to enliven peoples lives with, new galleries to hang my work, new places to sell my pictures.

And more people to tell, about what I do, and what I can do for them.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Watching and learning through good taste

I happened to catch a programme on the telly the other night - MasterChef. It's not something I've ever watched before, but it caught my eye and I watched it with rising interest. I like cooking, and nice food, so it was something that piqued my gourmet tastebuds. The young men were all vying to show their expertise in the kitchen and during the episode they were shown a pile of luscious food piled up, all market fresh and of the highest possible quality. They were instructed to go and pick whatever they wanted from the pile, an array of venision, lobster, beef, crevettes, lamb, guinea fowl, vegetables and fruit, and from their choice had to produce three dishes from scratch, which were then judged by the master chef, the foody television presenter and three food critics.

I watched as they made their choices, chopped and prepared, sauteed, stirred, mixed and seasoned, roasted and boiled, then then arranged artistically on a plate. Ready to be judged. They all had had the same pile of fresh food to choose from, but some had chosen beef, others went for the guinea fowl, or lobster, some  picked carrots, others lentils, cabbage or peas. At the end of the session all six had produced through their knowledge and practical expertise some unique and fabulously flavoursome  dishes - some I wouldn't have personally chosen to eat, but certainly all looked delicious and were creative masterpieces, both visually and epicurally (if that's a word?!).

The next day, I was still thinking about it. And thought how much I admired what they had created from scratch. Each picking different items from the same pile, and making something magical with it.

And then it dawned on me.

That's what I do.

And, that's how other people react, when they see what I've painted. Starting from scratch.
And I understood fully that that's why people like to watch creative people at work. To see what they make from thin air, based on their talents and knowledge.

Of course, people also like to watch men dig holes in the ground too.......... LOL

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Exploding with ideas

Even this last year with all its huge personal and difficult challenges doesn't diminish it.

It's still there. Safe inside. Not seen, not even aware of, not called for, no sign of it.

But its days like this that make me aware of its existence, of how powerful it is, within me.

The invite was innocuous enough - to come and view an art exhibition. It sounded intriguing, though,  for its innovative ideas. The concept of an explosion of paint covering plasterboard. I'd not met the artist before, and he hadn't met me - but we had a connection through my surname, and that had caused us to be aware of each others existence. So I went along, after his personal invite, with an open mind......

He greeted me warmly, and showed me the artwork and gallery. A lovely, open gallery full of light and space. He told me about his work, and  showed me the different paintings there - he hadn't painted them himself - but had organised the explosives expert to blow them up. Does that count as art? A few years ago I would have said a resounding "NO". But as he explained the works, and what was involved, and about the different items imbedded in the paint, I could instantly see what he had done - he had created an explosion in a visual way, he had shown what it did, what it looked like, and what the split second of huge power and impact had created with texture and force, and colour within the paint. As I told him about my thoughts about it he said "You're the first person to realise what I'm doing, what it's about, what I'm trying to achieve" and I felt gratified for that. I explained to him about when I had visited Japan a couple of years ago, and went to Hiroshima, and visited the museum there, full of images of the A-bomb and its effect on the city, people, and surrounding environment, and I told him that his paintings reminded me of one instance where I had seen a set of stone steps from outside a bank in Hiroshima. Someone had been sitting on the steps waiting for the bank to open, on the day of the A bomb exploding, and his shadow was there, shown clearly on the stonework, a poignant echo of a living human being here one second, and gone the next. The art explosions reminded me of that.....and touched me in a way I hadn't expected......

We had a lot to chat about, so decided to go and have a chat over a cup of tea - the conversation easy and flowing. His youth and lack of experience perfectly happy with my greater experience and older years. I think we both learnt a bit from the other, as we both talked about our art, about selling it, exhibiting it, creating it. And of course, we touched upon my "Fantasy Fannies" as he was intrigued with them, their bright colours, how I had created them, and what was involved in the creative process. But I had fully expected that he would be interested in them, as most young men would be.

But, by then I had learnt that he had produced a porno movie.

Its not every day that you meet a pornographic film maker. But then, perhaps its par for the course when you're an Erotic Artist! :)

And that's what I had seen within myself - through the fulfilling couple of hours of chat, through seeing the exploding paintings and understanding them, through talking about making arty porno films, through chatting with another artist, through explaining to someone who doesn't know me who I am and what I do, through talking about the life of an artist, and all that it entails. I had seen ..................myself.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Blogging's difficult when you haven't got a computer, let alone internet access!

Well, the title says it all, really. And I'm still not sure when I shall be getting my internet access, or even my landline at the new address. Why are these things difficult? The people who lived in the house before me had a landline, and internet access. But it doesn't just "sit" there waiting to be picked up, as far as I can tell...... Perhaps I was being overly optimistic, or maybe naive, in the belief that I would just ring up someone on my mobile and they would attach my debit card to their phoneline (or however else they get you to pay, blood sweat and tears?) and - as if by magic - the phone would work. But no, it's not that simple (it never is!). I have had to ring up the new provider, who tells me that they can't find the line (well, it was there last week, where has it gone since then?!) so I have to ring up the Post Office to get a line set up by them, so then the new provider can take it off them. Which certainly begs the question, in my mind, as to why they couldn't have done that themselves in the first place! But, they can't. So, there's a ten working day delay whilst they do all of this (bearing in mind that the line was there for thre previous people only a few days before all of this!). And added to this will be the new telephone provider having to wave their magic telephone wands to enable them to do their telecommunacative stuff (so I'm not getting my hopes up regarding all of that happening at breakneck speed in nanoseconds after I ring them up!).

There's a lot to be said for carrier pigeons................

Anyway, in the meantime, there are still a multitude of jobs to be done in setting up the house. Somewhere to paint pictures, would be nice! And an office to work from (even if it does have a big gap where the computer should be until I can move it there). So, to that end, I've been hunting for furniture. And found some, quite amazingly! But, the multitude of boxes that are currently residing in the office-to-be will have to be moved to the hall, and then all moved back in again after the furniture has been set up....... so that'll keep me busy for a while!

But, it was great to go to the art workshop last Saturday and see all my arty friends again after the summer break. Good to catch up with their news, and to see their faces again, and to join them in the great creative outpourings that make up for these days!

I've missed it.

And loved getting back into the swing of it again. It was about inks and being creative with them - and the tutor certainly made sure we were kept busy all day with it. We did three paintings in the six hours we were there - all with different ways of working with inks - the first was painting with Quink ink - which has some strange chemical properties that means when its painted onto wet watercolour paper, where it is deep black it stays deep black, but where it is painted thinly, it dries golden yellow, to great effect if you can plan what you want to paint with it, and how you want it to turn out....we did a black yacht silhouetted on a lake, with forebidding black clouds above which really looked great with the yellow effect adding to the atmosphere of the clouds and thundery sky.

The second painting was done drawing black ink pen onto watercolour paper, this image of a French courtyard garden, with many pretty flowers and a variety of shapes and textures of foliage. After drawing the image out, we painted the colours with watercolours - a pretty way of painting, and very effective for the subject matter.

But the third picture we did was my favourite - it was done by drawing out an image of a stone cottage (and for us each to decide whether it was creamy Cotswold stone, bleak Scottish stone, whitewashed Welsh stone, or mellow Mediteranean stone) and then we used a mix of watercolours, acrylic inks, heavy black Indian ink, using various effects that incorporated candle wax (to make a wax resist pattern), or using straws to blow the paint and ink around, splattering, tilting the paper to move the paint around, using different implements to make marks, or even as a last resort, to just paint with a brush - whatever came to mind was fine, and added to the overall effect.

Which makes me wonder about the conversation I had earlier with my friend across the seas, who went to an artshow at the weekend, and sent me some photos of his visit - all nice to see, very familiar, and certainly interesting. But, the most surprising image that stuck most in my mind, was the one of the pastel painting being completed by a woman. She was copying a photo of a man on a bike in a street scene – but for me the surprising thing was that she hadn’t done any under-painting – which is so familiar for me to see, particularly with pastels. She was just painting the colour on the white paper and working down the length of the paper starting at the top. That’s really odd! Because the white paper looks so stark next to the colour that your eyes “read” it differently, so its normal for an artist to do an underpainting of colour (which may be muted tones of the top colour, or a contrasting colour to give the top colour some zizz through colour mixing on the paper). Very strange! She wasn’t “painting” the picture from the photo – she was COPYING it. And doing it in an amateurish way – as you could see by the straight line of diagonal leaves on the edge of the tree to the left of the painting. How odd!

And how different from the day I spent at the weekend, being encouraged to be so creative, that anything was acceptable. So long as it was arty!  And inky!

Yep, black fingers again.....

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Some semblence of order

I'm slowly, very slowly getting the new house set up. There are some things that have to take priority - like the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. So long as there is somewhere to sleep, wash and brush teeth, and make a sandwich, and particularly a cup of tea, then the basics are there!!!! After that, the other stuff slowly gets set up - the services of water, electricity and gas, the council tax. And then the house and the stuff in life that makes life more I've got to go and buy a washing machine, a front door mat, and some book shelves, some art storage cupboards, and some form of workspace for my new studio.

But, I have the basics. I have a kithcen table to paint from, and a small cupboard to put things in.

I have a lot of stuff in boxes still, though. And I am attending a workshop on Saturday - one that sounds like its going to be a lot of fun - its investigating effects in inks - both permenant and semi-permenant inks. That's great. I have inks already - permanent acrylic inks in various shades, black ink, and Indian ink which is about as permanent as you can get. I have watercolours too, and brushes, and paper, and a workboard.

I have all of those things.

................ Somewhere......

 In boxes. Yep, definately in boxes.

Different boxes. But all in the same room, so that helps!

But, which boxes?

I'm not sure.... I'll have to find out though, before the weekend. And I think it may take me a while to find them.......

Monday, 13 September 2010

Moving on

And now I'm unpacking them.

In a different place............

Sunday, 5 September 2010

At long last

Too busy to say anything, other than ......................I'm packing. At long last.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Getting the buzz

I always love the start of an exhibition. There's always a buzz aboout it, that sets me buzzing too.

The mellee of people waiting to see where to store their paintings, ready for hanging. Questions from first time exhibitors, the quiet assurance of the ones who've done it before, many times (that's me!). The smile to other artists, as we acknowledge that we are part of a creative group participating in the same activity. The interest to see who else is hanging their work this year. A hug and kiss to the various organisers who are familiar as old friends.

And the wide eyed acknowledgement when one of them told me that two members of the RA are coming tomorrow night to the preview night. I agreed with her, that that was indeed an accolade! She confided "I wonder if they can pass on some tips to us regarding the exhibition?" And I agreed, that it would be a good opportunity to ask. Then she said "Mind you, it takes them four weeks to hang a thousand paintings, and it takes us a night and half a day to hang one thousand, one hundred paintings!" I looked at her, and smiled and retorted "It looks like its YOU who can teach THEM how it should be done!" and she laughed in agreement!!!!!

So, it'll be set up this weekend, and if you're in the area, and would like to attend, its the Dame Catherine Harpur art show at Ticknall Village Hall in South Derbyshire, and is open to the public on Sunday and Monday. And if you think its just a local village exhibition, you're mistaken - there are some excellent paintings there, by talented artists from all over the East Midlands, as much as there are some cheaper paintings by amateurs. Infact, there will be something for everyone, even if you're only looking. Of course, if you're buying...........then this is the place to go.... and the school will benefit from it as it is their best fund raiser!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Bluer than blue

You don't realise how murky it is, inland, until you go to the coast.

Where the light is clearer. The colours are more vibrant, more vivid, more.....lucidly beautiful.

I love the blues the most. They have depths of pure cobalt blue in them that I've not seen for a long time. Added to which the French ultramarine creates a complexity to the deep shadows of the still water.

And it makes me want to paint them. Just as they are. Just to capture that fabulous depth of pure colour. The form of the black rocks, and the way the water swirls around them. The softness of the white fluffy clouds, the hazy distance and cerelean blues of the warm summer skies. The luminosity of the day is captured there, within the photos. And if a photo makes me feel like that - what would a painting do?

Friday, 20 August 2010

When your legal advice says....

Because of this legal soap opera that I currently find myself in, it's been decided to change to a better solicitor than the current one. Not that there's anything wrong with the current one, its just that the new one specialises in conveyancing problems. They are used to dealing with the sort of problem that I currently have - where the Land Registry says that various parcels of land within the boundary of my garden, don't belong in my name. But it did when I bought it, twenty years ago, so why doesn't it NOWWWWW???!!!

This is what we're trying to sort out. This is what is holding up me buying the house I want. The house, where I can be an artist, properly.

So, today I went to see the new solicitor in his offices up in South Yorkshire.
They're noted for being blunt in Yorkshire.

I don't mind blunt.

But, I must admit to being greatly amused by his comments that included the phrases "cock up" "balls up" and "The Land Registry are being anal" - because that is exactly how I think of it! A fucking mess!!!!

The meeting started at 3pm and went on til almost 5. It was a good meeting, a long one, but we got a lot done. We looked at maps. aerial photos, and discussed boundaries of the land and how established they were. We all felt that we were on the same wave length and talked of how long it would take to sort it out. A few weeks, hopefully.

Then I can buy the house I want. All being well.

But, just to add to the legal soap opera ..... I was informed this evening, that all the solicitors were in place this afternoon to exchange contracts on the properties in the chain.

All of them. Except one.

He was in a meeting.

In his offices, in South Yorkshire. Between 3 and 5. And he couldn't be contacted.

So the contracts weren't exchanged.........

And guess who he was with............................................


Monday, 16 August 2010

In neither place

I should have been in my new house by now. I should be busy unpacking boxes and setting up my new studio. I should be planning the next painting, and advertising my services from my new address.

But I'm not.

I'm stuck in limbo land.

Neither fully packing, nor knowing whether I am even moving on the date I'm hoping for. But still aware that I might be able to move on that date, so I need to get stuff packed up into boxes, just in case.

Neither here, nor there.
Neither one place, or the other.

And the decisions aren't down to me. I have found the house I want, I have made an offer on it, it has been accepted, but the sale of my house has had to be delayed by a couple of weeks whilst we sort out the problems further down the chain. They should, all being well, be finalised next week. But in the mean time, there are legal problems, not of my making, that mean that the purchase of my current house may get delayed for a few weeks, maybe, whilst the solicitors sort it out. That means, that I can't buy the house I want, until they are sorted.

 But, I know there are various ways of getting the result we're all after, its just that I'm not sure which one it will be, as yet. Until then, I'm neither here fully or anywhere else fully. I'm stuck in a legal soap opera, and someone else is directing it.

But I want to be in an art documentary, of my making,  instead.

So, I'll just have to do whatever I can do, in the meantime.
And try not to be frustrated with the legal delays that seem to be punctuating each day..... at the moment.