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Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Travelling light

(18” x 22” mixed media on canvas board)

She skipped the streets of Paris with a tiny bag and happy heart.

For those few magical days she was truly travelling light.

Bit of technical joy - I am SUCH a non-techie so am currently feeling a quite ridiculous glee at somehow having managed to make my very own blog gadget (see heart in top left corner).  More to follow on this soon, but basically I think starting with believing (and saying out loud) that you are an artist is one of the most important steps in becoming one for real.  Feel free to take this and attach some arty love to your own blog my friends

And the winner of petit Parisian giveaway #2 (featuring this lovely material) was Mrs Spotts! Email me your address and I will send you your little red prize. Look forward to seeing what you make with it!

More Paris posts here:

The most wonderful piece of bad luck
Paris je t'adore
Shopping in Paris
Random acts of generosity

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Shopping in Paris & petit parisian giveaway #2

On my happy wanderings through the streets of Paris I discovered one gorgeous shop after another - sharing some of them with you here...

Textiles and ribbons in Montmartre...

Ribbon: Mercerie Saint Pierre, 6 rue Charles Nodier, 75018 Paris
Fabric: Les Tissus Laik, 1, rue de Steinkerque 75018 Paris

Stationery, ahhh stationery...

Papeterie Laffitte, 27 rue Laffitte, 75009 Paris

Beautiful cards from amazing print & paper workshop Intaglio, where I made new friends in the inspirational owners Stefan and Anna:

Intaglio: 91 rue de Lemercier, 75017 Paris
and 3 rue de Fleurus, 75006 Paris 

Dreamy candles from the original Diptyque shop in St Germain des Pres...

Diptyque, 34 boulevard saint germain, 75005 Paris

It wouldn't be Paris without some gorgeous food shops...

A sneaky crepe or two for the hungry shopper...
(hazelnut chocolate - this one's for you Chrissy!)

Some lovely flowers...

And then to Sennelier, the most wonderful art supply shop on the banks of the River Seine.  Established in 1887, Claude Monet might even have bought his brushes and paints here...

It is AMAZING.  If you go to Paris please please please go there, you will love it!   And come back next week to see what I painted with my lovely new supplies...


And so to the giveaway.  The lucky winner of the cute biscuit tin from giveaway #1 in this blog post is...  Cathy!  And I have just realised that she is also known as Tinnie Girl - how appropriate!  Cathy please mail me your address (to and I will get it sent down under.

Petit Parisian giveaway #2 is for the French equivalent of fat quarters, from a lovely textile shop in Montmartre.  You can win one of these...

(each is 0.25m x 1.1m)

Just leave a comment below, and tell us all whether you would prefer to have the red set or the green set and what you would make with it, and I will put your name in the beret for a chance to win!

More Paris posts here:

The most wonderful piece of bad luck
Paris je t'adore
Travelling Light
Random acts of generosity

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Paris, je t'adore! + petit parisian giveaway #1

I love Paris for many reasons, but not least because you can be whoever you like.  You can be...

... a movie star

... a musician

... a bride

... an artist

... a gossip

... a sunworshipper

... a grafitti artist

... a skyver

... or just yourself

What would you like to be in Paris?  Share your thoughts below and have a chance to win this cute little biscuit tin from the amazing Le Cure Gourmande sweet shop.  Names to be drawn out of a beret later in the week!  Will post anywhere in the world...

(19cm x 13cm x 7cm)

More Paris posts here:
The most wonderful piece of bad luck
Shopping in Paris
Travelling Light
Random acts of generosity

Friday, 16 April 2010

The most wonderful piece of bad luck

A volcano erupted in Iceland sending a cloud of volcanic ash across Europe yesterday. You may have heard about it, seen the pictures, thought it bizarre.  As the cloud has filled the airspace, the airports have shut down one after the other and it has left an estimated 600,000 people stranded - including me!   I was in Geneva, supposedly for a day.  But my flight back was cancelled and the earliest I can get home to England is Monday evening on the Eurostar train.  So what is a girl to do but head to Paris for an impromptu weekend of cafes, galleries, wandering and dreaming??  Oh life is hard 

It's quite odd actually as I had been dreaming about going to Paris in the Spring.  Unusually for me I  had no plans this weekend, and I accidentally bought an 'anytime' instead of fixed time return train ticket back from London so even that is still valid when I get back.  I only had my handbag with me, so no laptop = no work, and no clothes = excuse to buy new ones.  Funnily enough what I did have in my handbag were every girl's true travelling essentials: credit card, camera, chocolate, sketchbook and mascara. What more do I need? And an old friend from the US just happens to have also got stranded and is heading here right now.  What a wonderful piece of bad luck. Even ash clouds have a silver lining...

If you also happen to be in Paris or have any tips on must-visit ateliers, flea markets, cafes or stationery shops please do share!

A bientot

More Paris posts here:
Paris je t'adore
Shopping in Paris
Travelling Light
Random acts of generosity

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Bloom True

Thought I’d share a piece from a series I am working on – ‘Bloom True’. The smells and colours of the emerging spring made me want to paint flowers.

Acrylic on canvas (20"x16")

Recently I was introduced to the incredibly talented Flora Bowley in a post by Lorrie Spotts, and instantly loved her work.  I was intrigued to then discover she is teaching a workshop at Squam in the autumn, entitled… Bloom True! It felt like a sign so I have recklessly signed up for Squam and will be heading back to the US for more creative fun with lovely American gals later in the year. I have also signed up for a photography workshop with Susannah Conway and wabi-sabi paper with Judy Wise. Anyone else going? It’s going to be so much fun.

But for now, I am living in the moment of gorgeous sunshine, long mountain bike rides and painting – bliss. Happy weekend!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

seduced by Japanese ink painting

cherry blossom (Japanese ink on rice paper 12"x6")

When I started learning Japanese 15 years ago I used to stay up until the early hours of the morning in the college library copying characters from an old dictionary, dipping my brush in juicy ink, sweeping it across the rice paper and marvelling at the words that spilt out. Such a beautiful script, each word a picture in itself. The therapeutic quiet rhythm of shaping the text belied the speed at which each piece was created.

Although sometimes it is good to work on a creation for days, weeks, months even, there is something fundamentally satisfying about finishing a piece in under a minute. I took out my old brushes again yesterday and tried this with sumi-e (Japanese ink painting) with a little help from Takumasa Ono.  As the ink flowed through the bristles the memories flooded back.

heron (Japanese ink on rice paper 9"x9")

girl (Japanese ink on rice paper 12"x9")

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Spring is…

…trying to emerge from a long dark winter, seedlings wiggling up through the ground, trees preparing their new wardrobe, daffodils blooming courageously

(Is it just me or do they look like they are whispering secrets?)

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

This feels like a good time to reflect, breathe in and look forward. A time for something new…
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