Saturday, 15 February 2014

Something Different


It's been a bit of a while since I last did a post, but new things have been unfolding, something new which I'm finding oh so very exciting and I'm going to tell you all about it today.
An email plopped into my inbox a few weeks ago, from Lilla Rogers.  For those of you who are not familiar with this super creative lady, she is the owner of a rather marvellous art licensing agency in the USA, and as well as looking after some top class artists with amazing portfolios, she has also created some fabulous courses for artists of all levels, to help them tap into new ideas and discover hidden potential.
So, I read this email with some interest...a Make Art That Sells Bootcamp was being advertised, running for several months over which several assignments would be launched.  It sounded fun.  I read the email through, toyed with the possibility of signing up and then forgot about it.
And then the day before it was due to start, I noticed the email, still sitting there in my inbox.  And I clicked on it again and read it and sat staring at the screen, thinking.
I decided, upon a bit of an impulse, to sign up.
Like a breath of fresh air, the following morning the first mini assignment arrived.  I felt a bit giddy - it was kind of like being back at school and having a teacher tell you what you needed to be doing.  There would be research and sketches, deadlines and a gallery to post work goodness, it had been so many moons since I had done anything like this, and in a way I felt I was crossing the line of my comfort zone, moving away from the familiarity of coastal paintings and cheery harbour scenes to...
....cuckoo clocks.
I didn't see that one coming, but none the less I settled down to pore over Pinterest and find out a bit more about these pretty clocks.
The emphasis of this course is FUN.  We are encouraged to leave any notion of making sales (at the moment) right at the door, and just play around with images, make really crappy doodles and just see where the pen takes us.
I filled in quite a few sheets of such drawings, and amazed myself with what evolved.
Truth be told, it had been rather a long time since I sat down and drew for fun, with no other agenda and it was a very relaxing and inspiring experience.  How on earth had I forgotten how to do this?? When had I let my work become so organised and structured?  Oh my, this course was only in the first week yet already it was opening me up to lots of new thoughts and pathways.
Instead of reaching for my paints, I dug out my marker pens and a Bristol Board and got to work - sorry, play.  I had decided on a woodland theme, and took it from there, just drawing and letting the pen roam about the paper until something took shape that I liked.
On week 2, the main assignment arrived, and we were told that we had to design a mobile phone case using our images.  I had great fun messing about in Pic Monkey and my Photoshop Elements programs tweaking my designs and I confess right now that I more or less fumbled my way along doing this, learning as I went.  I'm by no way an expert in any of these editing programs but by jove, it was brilliant!
So, the pictures above are of some of my efforts, the one on the left being pretty near as damn it to finished, and the one I will be submitting to the online course gallery to show.
I'll keep you all posted on my assignments as they unfold.
Another nice bit of news is that I finally have limited edition prints available of two lovely paintings.  Home, and Holy Island are now available in my new look gallery shop, both in runs of 100.  They are professionally printed onto Hahnemuhle German Etching paper and the feedback I've had so far from my customers about them has been fantastic.
Thanks for coming to visit me today, I'm always pleased that you do.
See you next time.
J x 

Monday, 13 January 2014

100 Happy Days

Just before Christmas, I decided I'd like to choose a word for 2014.  This word would be significant in that it would illuminate my path throughout the year ahead.  The word had to be something to aspire to, something I could truly believe in, something that I wanted to be, do or have in my life.
I chose Happy.
Now please don't think that by choosing Happy that Im a miserable soul.  It's not that I'm not a happy person, generally I would say that I am, well at least most of the time I think I am - but I've had a niggling feeling for a while now that I might be able to be, well, just happier.
I think with the responsibilities of getting a little older, having a family to care for and so forth it's often easy to lose oneself in the muddle and despair of day to day living.  Often I potter about spending much of my time dwelling in the future or revisiting the past and not enough time in this glorious present. 
So that's why I chose *Happy* for 2014.  It was kind of like a pact with myself to help my life become happier on a daily basis, to be more in tune with the ordinary moments, to slow down and appreciate things.
And as if by magic, and the power that is Facebook, I stumbled upon this:
I stared at the link.  That was my word of the year there, and here I was being challenged to step up to the job of making a go of this happy business.
I felt a little bubble of possibility stir.
I could do that, I thought.
That would be the perfect project to commit to; a daily incentive to seek out happy moments in my days.  Just one photograph each day, for 100 days.  Yep, I could do that for sure.
And so I started, and it's rather incredible how when given a happy moment to seek out and capture on camera once a day, how you begin to look in all kinds of places for that moment:
Having breakfast on the sofa with my daughter, watching her little hand holding her pink spoon.
The glorious hot pink petals of a cheap bunch of roses in a blue enamel jug.
Puffy white clouds in a winter blue sky.
The delight of freshly laundered sheets, folded and put away.
The delight of a freshly made bed, and a good book at bedtime.
I could go on, but I think you can see what this is about.  Happiness lurks in the ordinary, and when we start to look for it in the ordinary, we see how glorious our ordinary actually is.  Our eyes open wider, we see things as if they are brand new - tiny things become miraculous and uplifting.  And you know something else, if you do something repeatedly for a period of time, it forms a habit, it becomes part of your person and you begin to do this thing you set out to do as a bit of fun without even thinking about it.
You can follow me and my 100 happy days on my Instagram feed.
If you'd like to join in, you can start anytime, just click the link under the last picture and you'll be able to read more about what to do to take part.
Happy 2014 all of you.
J x

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The winner is....


Today is the day that I do the draw to see who has won TWO signed artist proofs of Moon Fishing and Dream Haven.  I've read all your lovely comments and would like to thank you kindly for taking the time to write and leave such nice messages.

Wishing you all the best of we go...

There were 54 people who took part....and the winner is...*carefully counting down the list of comments*...
Many congratulations!!
If you would like to get in touch, we can arrange for the prints to be sent out to you - you can use the contacts tab at the top of the blog here, or message me through Facebook, whichever is easiest for you.
I'm so sorry to everyone else who didn't win, I wish I had something for all of you but thank you so much for taking part, and for helping me to get to over 5000 likes on my Facebook Page.
I'll be back soon with some new posts for you, where you can find out what I'm going to be up to this year.
J x

Friday, 20 December 2013

The Giveaway Post!

I'm very pleased to announce a Giveaway today, it's to celebrate reaching over 5000 Likes on my Facebook Page
To say a huge thank you to all of you who support my art, and who like what I do, I've decided to offer TWO artist proof prints to you. 
These artist proofs are professionally printed images of Moon Fishing and Dream Haven.  They are printed onto high quality Hahnemuhle fine art paper courtesy of the wonderful Studio 61 Gallery printing department.
If you've headed over to my Blog from Facebook - a big warm welcome to you - while you're here you can choose to follow my Blog if you like by connecting with Bloglovin or by email, both of which you can click on in the sidebar here.  To my regular Blog readers, you are also very welcome to take part and all you need to do is leave me a comment under this post.
The Giveaway is open as of now - and it will remain open over the Christmas holidays to give everyone a chance to enter.  I will do the draw week commencing the 6th January, and announce the winner here.  Facebook friends will be directed back to this page to see if they're one of the lucky ones!
In case you're wondering why I'm hosting the giveaway here, and not simply on Facebook, well - I've read a lot of articles this last day or so about the protocol of hosting such a thing on ones page, and it does seem that there are some rather complex rules and regulations to adhere to.  So, in order not to offend or unwittingly make a mistake, I figured the simplest thing would be to share about it here.
Good luck to all of you who take part, and thank you once again for your amazing support, I'm in deep gratitude to all of you for making it possible for me to call this painting malarkey my job.
Merry Christmas to all of you, I'll be back in the new year to find a winner and share more of my work with you *exciting new things are on the cards too!*
Julia x

Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Little Moment

I was in Bath a couple of days ago, we had met up with some friends and taken our children off to Longleat.  Before we went home, we stopped in this beautiful city for a few hours, and upon our wanderings we stumbled upon The Whistlefish Gallery.

You may or may not know that a while ago, some of my images were licensed to be sold as greetings cards by this art company, who have galleries throughout the south west of England.

I went inside, spotted the Christmas card stand, and suddenly, there they were.  Just like that, right in front of me amongst a collection of other festive images...three of my own wee pictures.

It's a rather lovely and strange moment seeing your work published and for sale in a real live gallery for the first time.  I've had real paintings in galleries and that is a spectacular feeling, but seeing your work printed as cards, and knowing that people might perhaps come in and buy them and send them to someone special, and to different little corners of the globe, well, that's pretty special.

Thanks to everyone at Whistlefish and Emma at The Paintbox for making one of my dreams come true.

PS - you can currently get 15 cards for just £6 - available in the shops and online at their lovely new website.
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