Saturday, 24 June 2017

Musing on Art


Whenever I hear someone say 'I can't draw, paint or make sculpture.'  I feel like contradicting them.  Everyone has the potential to make art but lots of people have blocks in place so that they are denied this form of self-expression.  Maybe they were told they were no good as a child or make this judgement themselves.  I'm still having an uphill battle to convince my boy that his own art is beautiful.

For a long time my creativity was stifled.  I compared myself to my brother whose extraordinary work won him a place at art college. Thank goodness I overcame my own barriers to creativity.  My jewellery making, printing and mosaic give me intense pleasure and most of the time I'm really pleased with what I've made.

My work is always quite primitive. If I aimed for realism I think I'd experience disappointment.  But I'm  full of admiration though for clever souls who can produce art that replicates reality.  I remember at school there was a painting on the wall from an A-level student who'd completed a study of chemistry equipment.   How could someone produce a picture of glass objects to a standard where it looked like a photograph?  I'm very taken by this rather disturbing 17th century sculpture by Bernini that I came across the other day.  The way that the hand looks as if it is making an indentation into the thigh that it is touching is astounding.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Stepping Out and Up


I have sourced a picture of a crab today firstly because I want to make a print of one.  The other reason is that I'm reminded of a conversation the other day.  Mr Metrosexual and I were out on the green near my house the other day when we met a woman that he used to work with.  'Do you know Julie?' he asked.  'I see her out running.' the lady replied.  'Does she still move like a crab?' inquired my friend.  'Yes a bit.' was the reply.  The cheek!

Anyway I'm stepping up the running efforts as my Bristol half marathon attempt is less than three months away.   Since my 10K run back in March I've cut back a bit on training.  Now I've got to knuckle down in preparation for doubling that distance.  Eek!    So off out in a minute.  I did download some fancy training plans but have decided just to do things in my own way at my own pace.  I'll update you all in about a month and start begging for sponsorship then too.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Breatharianism: Not For Me!


I read an article last week about a couple who are breatharians and claim to live on cosmic nourishment. On one level I like the idea as, if it is true, it smacks of the miraculous.  I'm very happy to state the standpoint that sometimes things don't obey natural laws.  Another part of me is concerned that, in the wrong minds, this could be pretty dangerous stuff.  There are reports that people have starved to death in their attempt to follow this diet.

It's not for me.  I absolutely adore food.  Even though the breatharians in the article point out that all the money that they've saved can go on travel, I'm not persuaded.  One of the reasons that I visit other places is to eat and drink different things!  So today I thought I'd list 10 memorous meals as they came to me, just to remind myself of the pleasure that eating brings to my life.


  • Fried eggs and chips:  As soon as I got home after Louis was born to break the ban on runny yolks that was imposed during pregnancy.
  • A massive assiette de fruits de mer:  Seafood shared by me and Scary Secretary at Roscoff with our kids running backwards and forwards from a playground to steal winkles.
  • A Christmas day picinc:  On top of Yes Tor with my ex-husband in the early days of our marriage when we were sticking two fingers up to festivities.
  • Our feast of crab caught off the shore of Seattle
  • The great big cheese and garlic toasted open sandwiches that they used to serve at the Old Firehouse pub in Exeter and the special saald that they used to do at the Double Locks in the 1980s that was packed with fruit.
  • The weird but delicious bake that my mum used to make which consisted of sausagemeat topped with spaghetti hoops, mashed potatoes and grated cheese.  So good my brother, sister and I would request it as our birthday meal.
  • Strawberries eaten straight from the plants at the pick your own in Tiptree.
  • The best ice cream in the world as judged by Lou and me in Vancouver.
  • My mum's home made pork pies brought back to Devon from my trips back to my childhood home in Essex.
  • The gorgeous little cheesy parcels that are on sale everywhere in Malta.
....and I could go on.  Got to stop because I must get on with my day.  Yes, this has reinforced the idea.  No breatharianism for me!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Stumpy Brushes

Photo: The Independent

These fascinated me.   What stories they could tell.   They are Edward Munch's gnarly old paintbrushes.  It just goes to show that you don't need the finest materials and equipment to create masterpieces - or look after your kit very well.   'The Scream' sold for a record $119 million dollars in 2012.   I'm particularly taken with the third from the left.  It looks like Munch  did not just use it for painting.  Perhaps it ended up so stumpy because he used it for scouring something.  The second from the right hand end looks like the type of brush that might be given away free on the front of a kid's comic.

Adobe have digitally recreated these through clever 3D wizardry..  Photoshop and Sketch users can use them to paint their own version of one of the world's most iconic paintings.  They could be in with a chance of winning a trip to Vegas and five grand for their troubles.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Temporary Chaos



Little things please little minds.  My newly tidied wardrobe is a joy.  No more rummaging around to try and find a piece of clothing, exacerbating the problem in the process.  I've become a bit of an evangelist, showing off my neat knicker drawer at every opportunity.    The tallboy where Louis now keeps his clothes has had a bit of a makeover too.  Even the messy pup who calls me OCD at shows the first signs of conversion.

This is a bit of a confessional photo.  It shows my craft area at the start of the weekend.  It's not usually in such a huge state of disarray.  Funnily enough the tidying process has made it worse than usual.  I've been turning it upside to find boxes to use for storage!   I have to say though it's been becoming increasingly messy over the months as I've tried to find homes for more stuff to be stored. It's the next space in my house to get my own variant of 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Treatment'.  If she read this the author Marie Kondo would be tutting.  She does not advocate doing one room at once.  But each to their own.   I've gone off-piste!

I'm hoping to show the cleansed space in about a week.  It will be all zen calm by then.   Work is underway.   The drawer units that housed rush baskets with all my tools in have gone.  You can just see them on the right hand side of the picture.  On the hottest day in June for forty one years I spent my lunch break at the recycling centre getting rid of the wooden frames.   They were stacked precariously and I risked life and limb every time I tried to retrieve a screwdriver.  There's more space now to move, for energy to flow.

And making space seems to be a theme in my life at the moment, in my head, environment and in my day to day routines.  What I'm hoping is for my newly ordered workspace to be someone which inspires creativity rather than dread.   All I need will be as easily on hand as my underwear is now!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Going, Going Gone!


I seem to be spending a lot of time in the pub these days. If it's not the quiz, which incidentally we lost on the tie break this month, it's the meat draw.  There's always something going on.  Over this weekend the Queen's Arms has been having a fundraising weekend for the Golden Vanity Trust to take away disadvantaged kids on a sailing holiday on a Brixham trawler.  The highlight of the weekend is the art auction.  I've been doing my bit by displaying a poster advertising the event in my window.  What's more I framed up one of my octopus prints and donated it to be raffled.


Louis came with me.  I gave him a budget of a tenner to bid with and he came home with a lovely photograph of the harbour which he won for £11.  Another punter around the other side of the bar took pity and stumped up the extra pound.  I'd seen a few pictures that I liked the look of but was outbid on them all.   You have to be strict with yourself at auction and set a price.  You can't get carried away!


My friend Sam the Beard's  painting in the style of a `1930's railway poster was one of the items that stole the show.  People came especially to try and win it and it went for over £100.  My octopus?  Well it raised £24, over the double the cost of the frame so I was happy.  Not bad for a print made out of a polystyrene pizza plate.

It seemed that I was going to come away empty handed but then my fortune changed.  I won this.  An intricate slate sculpture of a fishing harbour.  It's like a mosaic in 3D.  I'm thrilled to bits!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Grenfell Fire: Reflections on Impermanence


My thoughts and prayers are with the residents of Grenfell Tower at the moment.  There are those who lost their lives, have been injured in a life changing way and others who have lost everything.  Disco Queen Vikki told me the other day that her family had suffered a house fire when she was a teenager. One of her twin sisters had left a school bag on a bed where  an electric blanket had been switched on. A couple of chemistry sets that  the girls had got for their birthday also added to the intensity of the flames.  She came home from her job as a junior hairdresser in just the clothes that she was wearing. That happened to be the green overall that was her uniform.   There was no contents insurance on the home so people rallied round and gave them what they needed.

It got me thinking about the transitory nature of all we have and own.   I thought it would be wise to acknowledge this.  Each night before I go to sleep I'm in the habit of expressing gratitude for what the day has brought me, the people I've met, the kindness done to me and what I've been able to do, food, what I've seen and done.......  . I'm now giving thanks that I've been allowed to enjoy my lovely house and all that I own for just one more day.  With this comes acceptance of the idea that things could change in the course of the day and acknowledgement that, at any time, I might have to adapt to a life that's different from the one I have now.