Saturday, 30 April 2011

Princess Paintbrush & the Royal Proposals (IA Royal Wedding challenge)

This week's Inspiration Avenue theme was "Royal Wedding". The picture above goes with the following story:

Princess Paintbrush had been proposed to by many princes but had yet to find a prince that would make her happy. Her father, King Paintbrush, grew impatient for her decision. He insisted that the Princess narrow her choice to three princes and then make a decision based on what each could offer her.

The first prince was named Prince Jewel. He offered her unlimited supply of precious metals and stones that would be fashioned into endless jewellery made to her specifications. Princess Paintbrush smiled politely as she considered this generous offer. She was partial to pretty things and the prince possessed bedazzling good looks. Yet she was unsure if this would be enough to make her happy.

The second prince was named Prince Equine. He offered her hundreds of thoroughbred horses, beautiful ponies and a staff of stable hands to care for them. Princess Paintbrush loved horses and ponies and imagined the delight of having a kingdom full of these gorgeous creatures. The prince himself was tall, strong and yet graceful in his movements; a combination she found appealing. However, her heart did not flutter or warm sufficiently at his offer.

The third prince was named Prince Pen-to-paper. He approached the princess and offered her a large ornately decorated key. 
“What is this?” she asked, frowning.
“A key that opens a room full of art materials, stationery and books,” the prince explained. “Every time you unlock the room there will be all the beautiful creative supplies and inspiration you desire at that time. The key and room are enchanted with the magic of creativity.”
Delight illuminated Princess Paintbrush’s features as she held the key. Her heart sang at this thoughtful offer. It was obvious to her that she would choose Prince Pen-to-paper because he understood what would make her happy.

A month later Princess Paintbrush and Prince Pen-to-paper were married. They lived, of course, happily ever after...

So that's my IA contribution this week.

  • Did you watch the royal wedding? If you're in the UK and had the day off- how did you spend the day?

Inspiration Avenue is holding a charity auction from the 1st to 7th May 2011.

All proceeds from the auction will go to the Angel Faces charity. There will be lots of gorgeous art going into this auction from very popular blogging artists so please visit the Inspiration Avenue blog from the 1st May to view the wonderful auction items and learn more about how to join in. If you'd like to support this worthy cause then as well as visiting the auction we'd be grateful if you could please display an auction blog button (you can see mine in the top of my right hand column) and/or this auction flier. If you need the html codes or would like further details of how to get involved then please do visit the Inspiration Avenue blog.
Thanks :-)
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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

TIC TOCC week 3 results: doodles and fiction writing...

Welcome to week three's TIC TOCC post.  
For this week's TIC TOCC I set the clock for 20 minutes doodling (above) and then twenty minutes writing. Here are my unedited writing results:

"Busy thinking about the logistics of collecting Hannah from gymnastics, George from football and getting back in time for her conference call Leni didn't notice the package balancing on the washing line until she'd unpegged the red dress that partially hid it. Leni frowned at the small parcel of crumpled brown paper; it hadn't been there when she'd pegged the washing out that morning. Jim was working away and the kids had been out all day so where had the package come from? She looked around the garden for signs of life and then realised the foolishness of her search; their property resided in five private acres of woodland. It wasn't the sort of place people passed by; only accessible by a single partially gravelled dirt track. Butterflies of anxiety fluttered as it dawned on her that there could be an intruder. As a professional business woman with a cool manner Leni was not prone to flights of fancy but the situation was strange. She decided to open the package dismissing that it proved any danger by its crumpled packaging and small dimensions. Inside a painted ceramic disc approximately 7cm in diameter caused her to gasp and once again glance around her immediate surroundings. Was this a sick joke? This had been her group's secret society's emblem when they had been between eight and twelve years old. They'd carefully hand painted four ceramic circles, one for each member, and sworn allegiance to their club. An abandoned shed on the nearby Hanbury estate land had served as their meeting place. Their activities revolved around fantastical adventures played across the private land too large for the Lord and Lady to fully use. Their group had abandoned when Leni's twin, Tom, had disappeared. The police and neighborhood had frantically searched for twelve year old Tom. Three years after, resigned to the possibility of his death, the three remaining club members had placed their discs into a metal box weighted with a brick. They used the group's model boat to launch the box out into the river, setting it alight and watching it sink in a ceremony reminiscent of the ancient warriors they'd once played at being. Leni now aged 38 stared at the ceramic symbol in her trembling hand and felt her knees give way as she opened the letter that began 'Dear Sis...' "

Once again the writing took me in an unexpected direction.

  • How did you get on with this week's TIC TOCC? 
It would be great to hear your feedback and experiences. Please leave your comments and/or links to results in the comments section of this post. You can also contact me via Twitter, facebook or email links for which can be found at the bottom of this week's Wright Story Extra issue & on the blog tabs above.

In issue 2 of Wright Story Extra I discussed tips for when creatively stuck. In this week's issue I discuss ideas for finding time to create.
  •  Do you have any tips for finding/managing your creative time?
I've set up a Wright Story Extra page where you can sign up to receive weekly TIC TOCC prompts and a monthly bonus interview. On that page you'll also find links to previous issues.

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Sunday, 24 April 2011

IA Angel challenge & my inability to paint/draw faces!

I'd like to learn to draw/paint faces because, as you can see above, I have an inability to do so. I'm not putting myself down just stating fact. When the Inspiration Avenue Challenge this week was 'Angels' I was initially stoked because I love angel art and sculpture. But then I remembered my lack of ability in drawing people. I've felt quite poorly this last few days and so had a valid excuse not to join in however, I wanted to push myself with the thought that only practice will help me learn how to draw faces and people. I didn't want fear of getting it wrong to get in my way. So I sat in my comfy chair with water colour pencils and my art journal and this was the result. The face was the hardest bit and after I put too much red watercolour I made things worse by overworking in an attempt to correct. But the process was fun, I learnt from mistakes and gained some much needed practice.

Faces tell a story and by the title of my blog you may guess that I'm a story enthusiast. Last week I created an 'On Story' page for my blog to explain about how I feel about, work with and view 'story'. If you've got time take a look and let me know if it makes sense.

  • What creative skill would you like to learn and improve on?
  • Does fear ever hold you back from trying a new creative technique or project?
Happy Easter and Happy Spring Holidays to all.
Visit my last post for a bit of magical art and romance fiction. There are 55 people signed up to receive my Wright Story Extra with its TIC TOCC prompt. All are welcome to sign up and it is wonderful when people share their TIC TOCC results via the comments on my Tuesday blog post, email, Twitter or/and facebook. Hope to see you soon.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

TIC TOCC week 2 - Magical art and a bit of romantic fiction...

Welcome to week two's TIC TOCC post. This week I used the TIC TOCC prompt to do 20 minutes of art (results above) and then used the same prompt for writing. Here are my unedited writing results:

 ~ Amy picked her way across Mr Jacob's uneven field the small beam of torch light erratically dancing in front. Occasionally she stumbled in the poor light but her gymnastic background helped her step lightly and keep her balance. She stopped briefly looking over her shoulder to gauge how far she'd come. Her parent's farmhouse was now hidden behind a gentle slope; she was five fields from home and only one from the stone circle she'd missed whilst away at college. Amy worried whether Sam would remember to meet her. It had been exactly a year since he'd left for Afghanistan and a month since they'd arranged this meeting. He'd arrived back in the UK last week whilst she'd still been in Brighton. So much had changed since they'd last been together. Would they have grown apart she wondered? 
           Approaching the field that was home to the circle she noticed a purple pink haze in the distance. She stopped abruptly. It was them. Her heart beat faster; she hadn't seen them since she and Sam were ten since... (Ten minutes up - but I decided to continue for ten more)
        She heard the faint rustle of footfall to her left and saw a large dark shape vault over the gate that led from Sam's parents' fields. Sam? It had to be Sam. Had he seen the light and the familiar dancing silver magic? She felt sick with apprehension at seeing the only boy, now man, she'd ever loved and the chance of experiencing the blissful fairy magic the memory of which she'd carried with her for ten years.

           As Sam approached he glanced between the growing light show and the girl whose memory had kept him alive through the past year. In the dark he made out her familiar small frame and long wild hair. With memories he filled in the blue eyes and sprinkling of freckles. Sam slowed as he came within a few feet from her; his overwhelming emotions finally bringing him to a stop a foot in front of her. Now they were both only looking at each other; even the magic nearby unable to draw their attention away. He fought back the tears that threatened and struggled when he saw the glisten of a tear roll down her face. He was finally home. ~

Wow - I had a job to stop writing at the twenty minutes - as it was it ended up as twenty-two minutes. It's not a great piece of writing but I enjoyed creating Amy and Sam's story.  And to think that they didn't exist at all until I began writing. They just appeared in my imagination. The purple pink magic took form as I did the art work and so I had that in mind before I started writing but the characters only came as I wrote. The art took twenty minutes simply because I had to dry layers with a heat gun but the writing could have gone for longer.  Great fun!

  • How did you get on with this week's TIC TOCC? 
  • Did your imagination take over and surprise you like mine did?
  • Please share your thoughts and, if you're able to, links to your own results in the comment section of this post. 
In issue 2 of Wright Story Extra I shared a few tips for doing TIC TOCCs.

  • Do you have any tips on doing timed creative challenges that you could share with other participants in the comments below?
It was great fun to share the TIC TOCC experience last week and so I'm looking forward to this week's chat.   For those a bit shy to join in the comments/Twitter/Facebook chat I hope you're enjoying the Wright Story Extra. If you need to ask any questions about TIC TOCC in private please feel free to click the contact via email link at the bottom of the newsletter.

I've set up a Wright Story Extra page where you can sign up to receive weekly TIC TOCC prompts and a monthly bonus interview. On that page you'll also find links to previous issues.

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Friday, 15 April 2011

PPF, IA "Mother" & re-learning the same lessons....

This is my entry for Paint Party Friday and this week's Inspiration Avenue prompt: 'Mother'.  It is created mainly with watercolour paint with some Pitt Pen on the elephants.

This week I've re-learnt two valuable lessons. We're on day 7 of 20 of the school holidays and I'm a little exhausted. However, I can't blame the children being home as much as myself. I am perfectly aware that with my health problems I have to pace myself. I sent out my first Wright Story Extra email including TIC TOCC this week. But I left all the work for this, and a couple of other writing commitments, until the last minute; resulting in me working long hours within a short period. By Wednesday I started to feel quite poorly and yesterday was struggling with simple tasks.  (Luckily today I'm feeling better after my rest yesterday.) So first lesson re-learnt is that I need to pace and not take on too much at once.

The second lesson involved getting nervous about sending out the first TIC TOCC. I soon reminded myself that I write these prompts because I enjoy doing so and the outcome does not matter; it's the creative process that does. Just like doing the prompts themselves should be done without expectations or judgement I need to approach writing and sharing them in a similar way. I realised, that by worrying about the outcome and other people's approval, I removed myself from the intuitive moment by moment living I find beneficial.

So with these lessons fresh in mind I rested yesterday and began today with painting and piano with my children. Unfortunately, as if to test me further,I now have visitors who've sprung a visit to begin this weekend; my re-learnt wisdom will be severely tested ;-)

I'll be unable to visit as many blogs as I'd like to for this week's IA and PPF submissions. But I hope you all understand and I shall get around to you as soon as I can.

  • Have you learnt or been reminded of any life lessons this week?
  • What wisdom can you apply to your creative life to ensure it remains healthy and enjoyable?

Wishing you all a happy PPF and a wonderful weekend!

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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Sharing my first Tuesday TIC TOCC writing & art

Yay! Today I sent my first Wright Story Extra emails out with a TIC TOCC prompt and interview with Michael Nobbs. I'm hoping if you've signed up to be part of the TIC TOCC gang that you've received your email inspiration okay today. Please let me know in the comments section below. If you didn't receive it here is a sneak peek.

I did the TIC TOCC prompt twice - ten minutes doodling and ten minutes writing.  This is the unedited result:
"Tamsyn ran up to what she'd long ago named as the 'hugging tree' because of its long outstretched limbs. Darting behind its mass before Harry caught up with her she slid to the ground her back against the ancient trunk, breathing heavily. She rubbed her hands against the exposed roots; saying hello to her favourite tree. Her left hand brushed against something unfamiliar that jutted up from between the roots and dry soil. Tamsyn's heart lifted at the thought of finding treasure; her quarrel with Harry forgotten in her excitement. Using her fingers and stubby nails she unearthed an oval wooden object about 10cm in length. A broken leathery cord was attached and as she rubbed away the dirt she began to reveal what appeared to be a carved wood pendant. Tamsyn rubbed it clean with her t-shirt uncaring for the stains she left on the pink top. The pendant was covered in strange geometric and swirly symbols. In the centre she could make out a heart and eye encased in a tear drop. Near the bottom there were symbols that reminded her of the hieroglyphics she remembered from her school Egyptian history lesson. She dropped the pendant in surprise as it began to vibrate between her fingers grip; it emitted a strange hum. What was it she wondered? Her curiosity forced her to pick it back up and shove it into her jeans pocket as she heard Harry's heavy footfall crash through the undergrowth."

So that was what I came up with in two timed ten minute sittings.

  • How about you? What was your experience of using this week's TIC TOCC prompt?If you've managed to have a go at this week's TIC TOCC challenge then please share your experience below in the comments section. 
  • And it would be great if you can include a link to show us your resulting creations. 
  • But if you're feeling shy then please do still leave a comment to tell us how you've got on with this timed creative challenge.

If you haven't signed up to receive weekly TIC TOCC mini imagination challenges its not too late to join in with this week.  Here is a sneak look at today's TIC TOCC and Wright Story Extra.

You can read more about TIC TOCC here and sign up HERE.

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Friday, 8 April 2011

A Sweet Walk Through My Imagination (Paint Party Friday & IA's Roald Dahl)

It's Paint Party Friday and prompted by Inspiration Avenue's theme of 'Roald Dahl' I painted this bit of whimsy. This is just part of the whole picture because it wouldn't fit on the scanner. Nearing the end of this painting I managed to spill glitter and wet paint (a few choice words were spluttered). This necessitated me hurriedly having to paint over/patch up a large part of the middle section. It has spoilt it a little however, as it was a 'just for fun' painting I guess it doesn't really matter. I feel this picture needs an accompanying story. I may have to add one later but for now I'm quite drained and want to go visit some paint party people before I run out of steam.

Roald Dahl has always inspired me with his vivid imagination. Children and adults over generations have enjoyed his fantastical stories.

  • Are you a  Roald Dahl fan? If so: how has he influenced your creative work?
  • Which children's books, authors & illustrators have inspired you?

Thank you to all the people who've signed up to receive my TIC TOCC timed challenges. If you haven't yet signed up and want to learn more take a look at my TIC TOCC page. I'd love to share the fun with you.

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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

TIC TOCC - 7 days to go!!!

Only 7 days to go!!!!
Thanks to everyone who has signed up to receive my emailed TIC TOCC prompts. For those of you who are wondering what TIC TOCC is.........
On Tuesday 12th April I'm starting a new project called TIC TOCC that consists of simple timed creative exercises designed by me and delivered weekly free to your email address
[TIC TOCC is a just a fun anagram for - Ten-minute Inspiration Catalyst   Timed Optional Creative Challenge! :-) A bit of a mouthful but it went with my logo design and the idea of a timed exercise ;-) ]   

What does TIC TOCC involve?
  • Using my TIC TOCC prompts to create for just ten or twenty minutes (your choice).
  • Enjoy the process with no expectations for the outcome. 
  • Doodle, write, draw, paint, take photos, sew, or compose music.....any medium you fancy.
  • It is entirely optional & you can choose to do it whenever suits you. 
  • You may use it to help start you on a larger piece of work or assist with another challenge.
  • The option to discuss and link to your TIC TOCC results in the comments section of my weekly TIC TOCC check in post. If you prefer to keep the results private please do pop in just to say hi.

To sign up for a weekly emailed TIC TOCC (& a bonus once a month inspirational interview with people living the creative life) click: HERE
And to learn more about TIC TOCC please visit my TIC TOCC page.

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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Self-Portraits, Freeing the Imagination & Happy Mother's Day (UK)

This week's Inspiration Avenue challenge was to create a self-portrait.  I seem incapable of drawing faces let alone my own and so I could've given this week a miss but instead I allowed my imagination free reign; the picture above was the result.  I tried to draw a portrait of my inner self, allowing myself to draw freely. I really enjoyed the experience.

I'm always talking about how much creative activity improves my mood and wellbeing. I think this is even more effective when I allow my imagination the freedom to create without any expectation or censoring. When I do this I find the experience cathartic and sometimes even spiritual in its connection with my inner self.  This happens with free writing as well as art.  
  • Do you censor your imagination consciously or unconsciously?  How do you suppose this affects your experience of creating? 
For instance, for me, if I censor or try to stick by a set of 'rules' I can end up stuck. Sometimes rules can help us improve but other times they can be destructive.

Setting up my TIC TOCC challenges to do in ten or twenty minutes encourage me:
  • to write/paint/create within a set amount of time with no expectations or censorship. 
  • Plus only needing ten minutes to complete they offer very little time/energy commitment.
  • the option to keep private or share (I'll share if I have some fellow TIC TOCC mates to share with).
  • Sometimes the results I get may be able to be used for other challenges I do like Paint Party Friday.
I'm offering to share the exercises I create via email. All you need to do is add your email to my list by clicking HERE. You can either keep the results of using the TIC TOCC prompts private or on a Tuesday I'll do a check-in post where you can leave a link or just chat about the experience in the comments section (but this is entirely optional). It would be lovely to have a few people share the experience with me. If you want to read more about TIC TOCC you can read this page I've set up.

And if you've signed up then it would be great if you could display one of my lovingly created blog buttons and link it back to the challenge page:
They look like this:

But you can get them in various sizes on my blog's TIC TOCC page.
If you like this idea then please pass on the details via your blogs, facebook or twitter as I'd love to share the experience with other adventurers of the imagination! 
And to those of you in the UK and elsewhere that celebrate today HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!! XX. I'm eating some delicious chocolate I was gifted whilst writing this. Yum! I can also smell the dinner my husband is cooking and it smells delicious. I was also given some gorgeous handmade cards, poems, pens and cuddles. I feel a lucky Mum. Enjoy the day :-)

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Friday, 1 April 2011

Painting embellishments (Paint Party Friday) and another new venture...

Today I've been painting wooden shapes with acrylic, metallic, glitter & 3D paint. I've been wanting to paint these blank wooden shapes for a while and knowing that it was Paint Party Friday helped motivate me to get on with it. Below are some close-ups: 

They measure approximately between one and four inches and because of their size are quite fiddly to layer and paint. I've created similar before as card toppers and have been wondering whether to make these into cards, brooches or keep as card toppers for my Etsy shop. In the past I've attached to felt and then created a card with a brooch as the embellishment so as to create a card with gift combination. Its still early days for me on Etsy and I'm still experimenting. I may just keep as gifts, we'll see.

Thank you for the get well and good wishes this past week. Today I found myself feeling a lot brighter, so all those kind words must have worked thank you. For a long time, especially when over tired or pushed for time, I've used short timed creative exercises to help inspire writing and ideas (a few of which I've shared on this blog). After doing a ten minute burst of writing/doodling etc I seem to feel more energised and inspired. Sometimes that's all I can manage but other times that ten minutes leads to a much larger project. For me creative activity certainly seems to improve my mood. With all this in mind I've decided to create weekly timed prompts and share them with you (if you like) via an email newsletter. I've created a blog button (which I enjoyed painting yesterday afternoon):

and you can learn more about TIC TOCC and how to sign up to receive it HERE. I hope you may join me on this new journey and enjoy spending ten (or twenty minutes) doing a timed creative challenge. The great thing is that once you sign up you can save the creative TIC TOCC prompt for whenever you're ready. I may use it sometimes as a prompt for Paint Party Friday.

  • Do you have any favourite ways of kick-starting your muse?

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