Tuesday, March 27, 2007

BOOOOO Selecta

My picture wasn't chosen for the competition.

I'm a bit disappointed but not too bad. It was good process for me and I learned a lot so overall I'm happy. As Jo suggested, I'll enter lots more competitions for the experience.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cover Up

I don’t want to look up a map on-line. I want an actual map. On paper. One of those big fold-out things that I can never put back together again.

I’m planning to spend some time in North Wales after Easter. I’ve been given the names of some places to go and visit. I don’t know where they are or what else might be nearby. So I want a map. I don’t want to Google it, or Multimap it or Streetmap it. I don’t want screen-sized. I want to spread it our over the living room floor. I want to draw on it. Maybe trace some ley lines. Go ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’. Take it with me on my journey to explore as I go. Although I have no sense of direction and my navigational skills are non-existent, I do love maps. They looks so pretty, so interesting, and the paper they are printed on is fab. Wonder what they smell like? Funny that, I don't think I've ever smelled a map.


Neither do I want an Ipod and Itunes. I don’t just want the music. I want the whole package. The album cover, the words, the credits. When I was a teenager, the symbol of cool was to walk around carrying an armful of ‘albums’. Buying a new album was just so much fun … such an experience. I’d get home, put the CD on and then read the album cover. I don’t just want a tune.

It’s also why I won’t do on-line DVD rental. A DVD in a plastic sleeve with a return envelope. Is it too much for you to send me the cover? Same goes for Blockbuster by the way. Let me read about the film and who’s in it. Gimme a box to hold and refer to as I watch the film.

I don’t like reading off the screen either. I have trouble doing it actually. I even print out emails to read them. Seems I can only make sense of things when they are on paper.

There’s a lot I love about t’internet, though increasingly I only use it for blogging and chatting. But I don’t want to go too far into a virtual world where things are just the image, the sound, the text, the shared file, the download. I want the physicality. I want the whole package. I at least want the cover.

In the meantime I need to go on-line to find out where I can buy a map of North Wales.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I've got piles ...

I'm so happy when I've got piles

of books and magazines to read. Lately, I've been stocking up ... in Borders and at Amazon. I just love sitting up in bed reading. Then I start writing. Then I start cutting and sticking. That's when it REALLY gets fun! That's how I spend the first hour of each day ... it helps to get me inspired and motivated.

So, the magazines I've currently got on the go include:

Another Magazine, Pop, Vogue, In Style, W, V, 10, Wonderland and Psychologies.

The books I'm currently reading include:

Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg
The second Belle de Jour book
Anonymous Lawyer by ... errr ... Anonymous
Getting Business To Come To You by Mark and Sarah Edwards
The Tom Peters Seminar by ... go on, guess
Fashion Design (can't remember who by and can't be bothered to go and look)
Left Bank by Kate Muir.

So what are you reading?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Private Views

I went to a Private View last week. I was going to lots of them but then I stopped. Going to this one reminded me why I did. They’re pants.

This one was an exhibition of “vintage jewellery with a contemporary twist”, by a local artist. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Might well have been too. Except I couldn’t get anywhere near it to see. You see, these things are full of people standing around drinking wine and chatting. You can’t actually get near the art. And they’re not looking at it either. Do they even know it’s there? It’s just a social event. Often, even the artist him/herself doesn’t turn up.

I want to see the art! I want to talk to the artist! I want to talk to other people about the art! I want music in the background! I want some nibbles … I’ll even pay for them if I have to! I want people from the gallery to act as hosts and welcome me, show me around! I want them to try to sell me stuff! (Really, I do … isn’t that what they’re there for?) I want there to be a vibe in the place! I want this to be one of the most happening things in town! I want it to be more like a fashion show or a gig!

But it’s sterile.

I want to touch the art! At one exhibition, I wanted to lick the pictures (OK … I know that one might not go down to well … but they were so yummy and I wanted to respond accordingly.)

I cry and laugh and sigh when I read books … I dance when I listen to music.

Please let me respond to the art … out loud and physically, if necessary. Art isn’t cerebral ... it’s sensual. Let’s have a party when an artist has a new set of work to show. Let’s celebrate. Let's get a little craaaaazzzzzyyyyy!!!!!

WANTED. Innovative gallerists who will kick some ass. Change the rules. Create an event that celebrates art. Show one picture or a dozen. Be a raving fan of the artists they represent.

OK … I’ve finished ranting now.

I’ve just got an invite to another Private View in a couple of weeks. Just time for a frontal lobe lobotomy before I go.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Sooooo ....

My picture for the competition was framed by lunch time today ... as promised.

Looked fab too.

I had a stress labelling it and packaging it but I got it done.

Handed it in at 3.00pm ... an hour to spare.

Will know on the 27th March whether it's been selected or not.

Treated myself to sushi.

Friday, March 09, 2007

This is not funny

I was driving through Pontyclun yesterday when I saw a blind man, with a stick, walking along on the pavement.

He was keeping close to the wall and tapping his way along quite nicely. In front of him was a lamp-post.

(Please don't rush ahead.)

He felt the lampost with his stick and moved aside one step.

But attached to the lamp-post was a waste paper bin. At head height.

I could see it coming. Obviously he couldn't.

He walked straight into it ... face first. Almost knocked him over backwards.

I wanted to go and help.

But I was helpless with laughter.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

It's Wet Indoors

These Emergency Plumbing Services are marvellous, aren’t they?

I’d tried the tape and it hadn’t worked well enough. I’d even gone out to buy white tape because I just couldn’t get inspired to use black tape and white paint. Nevertheless, water was still seeping out of the toilet. Down to one ice cream container-full a day but still not great.

So I borrowed a spanner off my Dad and I bought some sealant. Knowing me, I thought, it will just be one little screw of the nut and it will be sorted. And my how we’ll laugh.

I remembered something I’d learned off CSI that had stuck with me.

Righty tighty … lefty loosey.

Concentrating hard, I tightened the spanner around the nut and turned. The wrong way.

Water was pouring out now. I flapped my hands around and said “oh shit” repeatedly. Still pouring out though. I got back in there with the spanner and turned it back the other way. It stopped pouring and went back to a steady drip. I felt victorious.

I noticed another nut above that one so I gave that one a tighten too. Just to be on the safe side. All in all, it was definitely better than it was. A big dollop of sealant and it should be sorted.

By this time I needed a wee. When I tried to flush, the handle was a bit tight. I did what I always do in this situation … I forced it. I thought I heard something snap but didn’t think too much of it.

Five minutes later the flush was still flushing and the cistern was still filling. As fast as the cistern filled, it poured out into the bowl. It just wouldn’t stop. It was like perpetual motion. There was also a plastic thingy bobbing about in the cistern.

I needed to switch off the water … the noise was driving me mad.

Eventually, I found the stopcock outside in a cupboard in the communal hallway. A row of stopcocks in fact. Fortunately they were numbered. Mine was the one with the water meter on it spinning around like a whirling dervish and laughing like a maniac.

Righty tighty … lefty loosey.

I tried to turn the stopcock but it wouldn’t budge. My track record so far on forcing things is not good (that’s how my wardrobe door broke)(and my computer keyboard ... the 3rd of the 4 I've had in the last couple of months). Imagine if I force the mains water knob the wrong way??? What then??? But I didn’t. The water meter slowed and stopped. The water in the toilet stopped flowing.

I made a cup of tea (with water I had left in the kettle) and phoned the Emergency Plumbing Service.

When the plumber he came I explained what a terrible co-incidence it was that just after I tightened a nut, something broke. He was lovely. Without a trace of sarcasm he explained how that when you tighten that nut you have to also hold this other part … otherwise it snaps. I didn’t understand a word of it and I paid no attention because there’s now way I’m ever going to fiddle with the toilet again. I’ll move if I have to.

He was such a nice man though … I asked him to help me fix the wardrobe door.


This is a terrible photo. I haven't figured out how to get good photos of my pictures etc. I need to because I want to catalogue them and put them all on-line. On other blogs I visit they have excellent reproductions. I guess a good digital camera would be a good place to start. Oh dear ... I can't be doing with all this.


This is the picture that I finished on Tuesday and took to be framed yesterday. It's called "Garwnant" and is 16 ins by 16 ins, produced in mixed media with found elements, on MDF board. It will be framed in a 3 ins deep solid oak box frame.

The framing will be finished by lunch-time next Wednesday with the picture due to be handed in by 4.00pm that day, here in Cardiff. It's for the Wales Artist of the Year 2007 competition. I'll know by March 30th if it has been selected. Or maybe 27th. I've had a hard time understanding the instructions. Still not sure what to do about packaging and delivery etc. I have to read these things lots of times and then I still don't understand exactly what it is I have to do. I hate forms ... and instructions.


I think this is the best picture I've done so far. I've also had to dig quite deep to get it done. I don't like deadlines either. At times, I haven't known what to do next. Even on Tuesday, when it was due to be finished, I spent all morning worrying and depressed because I didn't know how to do the last bit ... or even what to do. But I gathered all my sketches and photos and took myself off to AJs and just got my head down and worked through it. That's quite a discipline for me. I like discipline and hard work ... when I know what it is I'm supposed to be doing.


The point I'm making is this ... competition or no competition ... I've learned loads and grown up a bit as an artist. I've been around lots of galleries in South and Mid Wales and it doesn't seem that anyone else is doing what I'm doing. I'm happy to stick to my guns and keep working in the way that I am. I think my confidence is growing.

So I've already won a valuable prize.

P.S. Trust me ... it REALLY IS a crap photo. The picture REALLY IS quite good ...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Panic Stations

I've been busy ... and not blogging.

I'm helping with an office refurbishment project in London and travelling around a bit. And tired in between.

But now I'm in a panic.

I have entered an art competition. I got my registration documents through today. The picture is due to be handed in on 14th March. I woke up this morning and realised it was already 3rd March. I thought I had weeks ... but I don't.

The picture (based on my drawings and photos from Garwnant) is not finished. Not nearly. And it has to be framed. And labelled and packaged.

So I'm working this weekend. If I get it finished by Tuesday I may be able to get it framed within a week. If I beg. Or pay extra.

But there's only so much I can do in a day. Drying time takes too long. Imight use a hair dryer as Jo suggested.

I have to get over this "arty" thing of waiting for inspiration and motivation and just get on with the job.

It seems writers set themselves goals of so many words per day or week or whatever. I've broken the picture down in to sections and tasks. I'm going to do it like doing the laundry. But I'm not much good at that either. Or fixing toilets (still leaking by the way).

It's at this stage I usually cop out. But I musn't. I want to be selected. I want my work to be shown. I want to sell it. I want to win.


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