Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Washing Up

The thing about having a blog, mainly set up for promotional purposes is that sometimes you feel like you really should write something on it to keep things ticking over.

I feel like I should write something today.


My head is empty.

I guess 9 hours in front of a computer, two and a bit hours of commuting and the washing up can do that to do you.

It was the washing up that did it.


Sunday, 27 April 2014


I am having a special evening today as I seem to have gone slightly bananas. The downside of periodically being a hormonal mess. I missed out on the stroppy teenage phase everyone goes through but I think instead of completely skipping it I am suffering from it now.

Well great. That seems a little uncalled for body, now sort yourself out, I am not playing.

But anyway, enough about the trials and tribulations of being a mature teenager, I have more important stuff to talk about. I am quite excited at the moment as I am about to run another competition with the arrival of my society 6 order and I have just sold a picture that was in my private collection. It seems like I am not very loyal to my supposed 'favourite paintings' but I know it is going to a good home and as I tend to like the latest painting in preference to any others nothing ever stays a favourite for very long anyway.

Times Square

But anyway (again). I had an interesting Friday night this weekend as I headed over to Reading to check out the Contemporary Art Exhibition currently running in Caversham. To be honest I was a little uninspired, all the work was good, some of it amazingly good, but somehow it was all a little bit too cliché. I think I might have been expecting too much, but I was cheered by the fact I could happily imagine my work displayed as well and it would have held it's own and been different. That is definitely two wishes in one. So maybe next year I will pluck up the courage to actually show my work and cope with that awkward 'standing around hoping someone will notice my work' feeling. Maybe....


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tax Returns

How has over a week gone by since I last posted? I feel like I only wrote that piece about the Machinist yesterday. I am really not managing to stay on top of everything at the moment, not helped by the fact I just had the last few days off to watch the horses in Cheltenham, pop over to Cambridge to have a debauched Easter and then see the point-to-point racing in Basingstoke yesterday. I think I might just pretend I was secretly networking to make myself feel better, or maybe 'gathering inspiration'. On the plus side, I stayed up yesterday to sort my tax returns out. Yes, I am one of those annoying people that has already spread-sheeted out all my invoices and expenses and is ready to fill out my return as soon as the tax year ends. The best thing is, this is my 4th year of being self employed so my spreadsheets are organised to work everything out for me as I go along. Nothing quite like the experience of surprise bills and disorganised chaos and confusion to make yourself iron out some seriously helpful short cuts. Now, I am well aware of what I have earnt, what I have spent and what I owe Monsieur Le Taxman.  If only it helped make paying the bill easier....

But anyway, this is important when you are setting yourself up, no matter what you are trying to set up, a craft business, artwork, architecture, teaching, ANYTHING. You need to give yourself a chance to get under-way which may mean spending more than you earn, but at some point you need to have a cut off to decide whether you can, or cannot achieve your goals. I have been lucky so far, but only because I rule my accounts with an iron fist, and I have a supreme ability to be tighter than an oyster shell in the bad months. Being so stringent with everything means I can also compare my freelance years together, and so far, I have done a little better each year. This is the ONE thing that keeps me going - it is getting better each year, a little more money, a few more sales, which to me means it is working, or at least could work. In the months when work is slow, bills are pressurizing and my bank account is looking in danger of floating away, the fact it is slowly getting easier, is the only thing that keeps me going.

It is all good though, what is life without a little bit of risk? I am lucky, I can just about get by, doing what I love best, so that is worth all the agro in the world.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Machinist

I am pausing at the moment, mid painting as I am waiting for a section of it to dry before I can add the supposed finishing touches. Providing nothing bad happens in the next hour or so, I think the painting should qualify as 'a good one'.

I treated myself to some Tiffany and Co glasses the other day (for my face, not to drink with) as it was a big birthday and I decided I was worth it (and the coating on my current glasses had disintegrated to the extent that I was seeing through a permanent mist). As part of the deal on my purchase I got a second pair of glasses free. I didn't pay much attention to the choice of these freebies, being too enamoured by my Tiffany pair. Somehow I seem to have ended up with large black rimmed glasses that should look 'trendy' but more realistically give the impression that in my free time I read encyclopaedias and I like to look at the dictionary before bed so I can learn a new word every day.  Either that, or  I am available for hire to give bad, or serious news to people. Glasses with gravitas, in a non positive way. Anyway.....I make a mess when I paint, so I am wearing the freebie glasses now so if I get paint on them they might lighten the load a little. I hope all my paintings from this point forward are not grey and sensible, or should that be sagacious.

I am going off point slightly, or should that be dramatically as what I really wanted to talk about was the film I watched last night.

The Machinist. Wow, Christian Bale, let me take you out for dinner, maybe one entirely consisting of lard, Mars bars and a Big Mac or two. The film was slightly creepy anyway, but an anorexic sleep deprived Bale certainly added to the atmosphere. The film opens with a thin, insomnia ridden Bale, a person wrapped up in a carpet, no sleep for a year, little food and a few psychotic episodes. All of this, plus a few twists, a few 'eww I can't watch' moments to the reason why he hasn't slept. I got the reason wrong, and it was worth finding the real reason out....



After having a bit of a rest yesterday evening and vaguely being on top of my architecture work, I decided to go the whole hog today and do no work at all and catch up with some overdue art-ing.


First stop, a walk, in the sunshine, by the river, maybe to take some photos, maybe just to enjoy the first signs of Spring. Second stop, replying to some overdue messages building up on dA and in my emails. Third stop, tidying up my blog. Fourth stop and most important stop, getting ready to do a painting.

I am so excited, it seems like I haven't managed to paint for ages.

I hope that a) it is a good one, and that b) it is as therapeutic as I am expecting......

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Blue Door

I was going to do a painting this evening, and I was going to write a blog post. I just stood up from my desk, and felt so woozy that I think I am just going to have to eat and have an early night. The last couple of weeks have felt like I was trying to hold down three jobs at the same time. I just about survived (I only cried once) and I have got everything sorted to a manageable state now and I am somehow ahead of the game.

Thank god.

The problem with being on top of it all is that you start to relax, and then .....realise...... how...... flipping.... tired........you.......are..... Hearing records like this - my tune of the moment doesn't help on the keeping alert front.

So I give up.

I am going to relax.

And get some sleep.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Grand National

Boy, I am getting withdrawal symptoms. I really want to paint something but I have had no time to do anything other than strap myself to the computer these last ten or so days. I am hoping I will have some time next weekend, or failing that at some point over the Easter weekend (hooray for bank holidays). In the meantime I shall have to stay feeling neglectful of all things art related.

As a peace offering for my lack of artistic-ness, if you use this link to go to my Society6 account you can get free postage worldwide and $5 dollars off until Sunday the 13th of April. I don't know about you but I think I might buy some cushions, or if I am organised enough to make one, a shower curtain as I need a new one. I might also stock up with some bits and pieces to give away on Facebook. Somehow, I was feeling lucky on Saturday and I won some money on the Grand National! So I have some funds to play with for a change.

So I am still thinking about art stuff, even if I am not doing any....

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


Wow. I am really not keeping up with this blogging malarkey at the moment but I have some good excuses: Mother's Day, my birthday, work, a painting sale and probably some other things I have forgotten. You know you are busy when you have to write a list of what you need to do tomorrow before you go to bed.

But anyway, I do have some excitement to report courtesy of 'Plinth' which gave me two wishes in one last week. Firstly, it is going to be published on the front cover of the upcoming issue of the Butcher's Dog literary magazine, which quite frankly is super exciting! I can't wait to order my copy and I will post on here to let you know how you can get a copy too. Not only will it feature one of my paintings, but it should also be full of artistic/unusual gems of poems, articles and flash fiction. I am trying to decide whether to order a couple of extra copies to sign and give away on facebook, is that a bit pretentious? Probably, but I am so doing it anyway. Secondly, and I am unsure whether this is linked or not but it would seem likely it is, I sold the original copy of Plinth at the weekend. So yes, Plinth is working hard, earning me money and getting me publicity.

Now if only I could get all my paintings to do that....

Plinth    -   Acrylic on Canvas  -   20" x 16"