Sunday 31 August 2014

self doubt and Sunday's

One of the most debilitating things for any creative person is self doubt. There are any number of memes depicting the cyclic nature of perceived worth for any work, be it writing, music, or art in any form. I am no different from hundreds of thousands of other creatives who doubt themselves and their ability to create something worthwhile.

If I tally up the things I have done over the past year and a half I know I have produced an astounding number of words strung together as stories and an incredible amount of art. When I am listening rationally to the comments from others I can hear them say how much they like my work or how much they like my art but still I am more convinced by the negatives than the positives. I focus on my growing pile of rejections and my growing pile of failures in competitions. Rational me says that I need to research the judges and see what they like and not submit a story and hope it will win on its merits not the subjective likes of a judge. The rational me doesn't get a fair hearing.

I finally officially sent in an "I'm not coming back" letter to my former employer and they advertised my job within hours. I am relieved and scared at the same time. I need to make my writing and art an income generating activity but no one pays for anthology pieces, at least no one who will take my stories which brings me full circle into the belief that my work is only good enough for small press and vanity publishers who have no money to pay anyone (Or say they haven't). All the big publishers I have subbed to have either rejected me or not even known I subbed.

I sent one story to 12 people who offered to beta read for me and only two responded. Even my beta readers are rejecting me. So I am spiraling back to maybe I should quit this gig and go get a job cleaning toilets with my stories.

I ran out of money ages ago and I don't have a 'real job' to go back to. 

So before I sink into some quagmire of depressing thoughts I will share a bit of art for this week's 52 week challenge. Theme: Paris.
 I have never been, only seen, Paris through the lens. 
One day I'll go and see the show that poets scribe and then I'll know.
The first image was painted with water colours but I was not particularly happy with the soft pastel hues so I re-coloured with pencil next day. The image was in part inspired by the poster below and various images of the bridges over the Seine. I do love the lamp posts and hope some day to see them for myself. I am planning on one more image for the week of Coco Chanel.

My new garden plants are all sprouting leaves and the bulbs are up and flowering. I have never been an enthusiastic gardener and I am quite pleased when things actually grow well. My mother was an enthusiastic gardener, so enthusiastic she knew the common and scientific names of everything in her garden plus all the medical, cosmetic and edible properties of each and every leaf, stem, bulb and flower. Her talents were wasted, she should have been running the horticulture classes at a university somewhere. She loved plants so much that my sister wrote a song about it. The lyrics went something like this...  Plants, plates and other people always get your love, if I were to grow a leaf maybe you would see me... she will correct me, my sister, for having her lyrics wrong but it was four decades ago. I tell people I know nothing about plants but the truth is I do, I absorbed information about plants because that was all my mother was ever interested in. I don't willingly garden and until very recent times would only put edible plants in a garden and dismissed plants for their aesthetic appeal as purely fanciful and a waste of dirt and water. My mother did not grow food. She had eight children but did not grow food?

Goodness this post is maudlin I shall try and lift my dopamine and serotonin levels somewhat. The sun is shining, that should help or at least fill me with some vitamin D.

 My daughter is off to her second master class for acting today. She seems both terrified and enthusiastic and I am hoping it will strengthen her skills and give her a network of contacts.
 she is doing the 5 WEEK INTENSIVE MASTERCLASS WITH ANDY McPHEE through big&small acting studio
PO BOX 5244South Melbourne, VIC,3205
Andy McPhee  actor.
She is discovering that even adults do homework but the only people who check it is themselves. She has to read an actors autobiography each week, watch and review films, write poetry and monologues,  learn scripts, listen to music and analyse it and then in class she has to act and dance and change her accent and modify the scene to fit a different genre and so much more. It is intense and she was not prepared for the expectations of an adult class after fluffing around in high school but she will adapt. This is the career path she has always shown an interest in so I am hoping by supporting her to do this she can take flight.

I have paid for two courses to improve my own skills and I need to begin studying. I sent away for a book on self publishing which should be awesome. I am excited for friends and network acquaintances who have recently published their first books and signed their first contracts or signed new contracts. It is wonderful to see the successes of people I value. It gives me some hope to push past my own self depreciation.

Perseverance is the key. Most of the well known writers in giving tips say the same thing. BIC (bottom in chair), write every day and just keep going. So I shall just keep going. I have some more art to complete today and that always cheers me up.

Have a wonderful day dear readers.
ps I love you sister of mine.
pps. sorry I stood you up for the cuppa Shirley
ppps. did you know you could have a post post post script
pppps. the word Happy is used three times more often in English than sad

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Sams solution- the art journey of a small press published book.

Last year in March I jumped into the tail end of the chapter book challenge (ChaBooCha) run by Becky Fyfe (facebook group and Chapter Book Challenge 2014   and contributed stories to the Teapot Tales anthology.

I also sent some art. Later that year I contributed stories and art to several other anthologies Becky was involved with. Earlier this year a fellow chapter book challenge member was seeking an artist to create work for her chapter book and Becky recommended several artists  of which I was one.

Melissa Gijsbers - Author Melissa Gijsbers - Author

Melissa approached me through facebook and we began a discussion about the kind of art she was looking for. She sent me the story as it stood then and I found it to be a lovely story about the difficulties faced by a child changing schools and countries and the teasing and bullying that follow her and the child, Sam's solution to deal with the challenges she faces.

I began with some concept drawings in pencil of what the main character and her adversaries might look like, what the school and the main play area could be and some ideas for a cover. 

Several phone calls, a few inbox messages and emails later and we were beginning to get a closer idea of what Melissa wanted. She suggested the art work of another illustrator as a comparison and I went to take a look at the style Melissa was looking for. This was very different to the original concept art but I felt up to the challenge. 

 One challenge was to get the pink jacket just right. Melissa wanted a puffy jacket "like the one worn by Alice the best friend of the Vicar of Dibley". Not being much of a Vicar of Dibley viewer at the time (this has changed) I had to seek out a copy of a DVD and online pictures to find the jacket in question then fashioned the jacket for the character accordingly.
The jacket  looks a bit like this.
So Sam's Jacket looked like this -->

The antagonist in the story had to have a jumper(pullover) added because the season is winter in the story. Melissa felt the jacket was too puffy so once more back to the drawing board and finally Sam had a smooth pink jacket that met with Melissa's approval.

I sent all the art to Melissa, both coloured and black&white versions and she introduced me to her publisher,

Julieann Wallace  from Lilly Pilly press

 Lilly Pilly Press

Julieann was working with Melissa to have the book formatted and she and I entered a few email discussions of what else Melissa was seeking in terms of black and white art as chapter headers. I sent Julieann several pieces. Melissa and Julieann had used some clip art as fillers while they decided how the final product should look and I undertook to send some original art work to replace the clips.

Unfortunately Melissa's time frame and mine did not coalesce for me to be able to create a cover to her deadline but she and Julieann used the art work of the main character on the cover they created so I feel very excited to see my art on Melissa's book.

Making art for another writer has some interesting challenges. It takes good communication to really clarify the vision in the writers head. I learned I needed to ask the right questions and I had to be flexible about changing style and focus. I had to be prepared to work with the brief but really be clear what Melissa was asking for and I had to learn how to change the art work digitally so Juliann could use it in the setting she was using. I have only met Melissa once and never met Juliann so working electronically and remotely is also a learning curve for me. I have gained a great deal of insight and understanding from this enterprise and feel a great deal of satisfaction in having achieved a milestone in my art journey.

I wish Melissa all the very best with her published story and thank her sincerely for the delightful experience of creating art to bring her character to life.

Melissa's book is currently being crowd funded through Pozible and her publisher has made a short trailer.

FInd out all about it through this link-
Swallow Me, NOW! by Melissa Gijsbers

Sunday 24 August 2014

Sunday musing

It has been a formidable week and an amazing one and tiring and thought provoking. I managed to write a picture book draft and have revised it several times. I uploaded the first 250 words to the forum on 12 x 12 and had some excellent suggestions and feedback for improving the piece. I sent it off to two ladies to critique but have yet to hear back from them. I am hoping to send it off to RYS (rate your story) on the 1st of September and see what they think before finding a place to submit to.
This story is about a boy who is terrified of taking a bath.  It was fun to develop and I plan to story board it next week to see how it flows.

I was incredibly excited to see that Melissa Gjibers has started her Pozible campaign

has written a middle grade book about a young girl, Sam, who has returned to Australia after being in Nepal with her parents for several years. Sam finds life hard with the cultural differences between the two countries and becomes the victim of bullying and teasing. She resorts to some unconvincing tactics that make her wish the ground would open up and swallow her when the other children react unfavourably. With the support of her parents and teacher she finds a way to solve her problems.

A lovely story with a terrific solution. What makes me even more excited though is that I created the art for this book. I found this to be an interesting journey in my creative career. I learned a great deal about what information I do and don't want  in terms of creating a concept drawing that meets the requirements of the writer. This book is self published so the communication has been direct between myself and Melissa.
The art in the original concept drawings is a far cry from the final pieces and I have enjoyed that metamorphosis.

Art theme for this week in the 52 week challenge is Butterfly. I played with my prismacolour pencils for this and tried a chibi style for one of the butterflies.

 my butterfly ballerina

Chibi (ちび or チビ) is a Japanese slang word meaning "short person" or "small child". The word has gained currency among fans of manga and anime.
This stylised butterfly is inspired by a tattoo. I like the artistry in some tattoos. I tried using a solvent with my prisma colours but I haven't quite embraced the skill. There are some terrific instructional videos on youtube I am going to study.

I was supposed to be at an adobe illustrator for beginners course today but I had to postpone it. I have a credit for when the course runs again and I am really looking forward to learning how to use my software.

Last weeks theme for the 52 week challenge was Toys and I missed it but did a catch up today.
I purchased a 'uniball signo broad nib white pigment' ink pen and this was my first time using it.  The image is of my set of plastic keys and a rattle with water and floating items in the handle. I have had them for 30+ and 25+ years and they are still as bright as the day they came into the first child's possession.

This week I have extra visitors staying with me. My grandson Kaylem Michael is one month old and he likes my singing. The young man has good taste. Here he is telling me off for taking too many photos.
We are taking bets on what colour his eyes will be. They are baby slate grey at the moment. His Mum has deep chocolate brown eyes and his Dad has light hazel eyes. Half his grandparents had blue eyes and half have brown so it could go any direction.

I entered one of my novels in a competition. I think I wrote a better synopsis this time. I have trouble with synopsis and pitches but each time I do one I believe I am improving.
The competition is with  and has a pleasant prize of $5000, an ipad mini and a publishing contract.

One of the big things I have had to deal with these last few weeks has been the saga of the car.
It overheated and has been rattling a lot and sounding like a V8. So I had the heater tap replaced and a service $230 then I had a wheel alignment $60, then two new tyres $230 and then the exhaust repairs $100, a timing belt $300 and then a new radiator $300 and then - gulp - the mechanic rings to say the car is still overheating and he doesn't know why. :( My car is still in the mechanics workshop and I am wondering if I will need to sell the furniture on ebay to get it back.(kidding) What is that old homily? A stitch in time saves nine or for want of a shoe the horse was lost. I really think I should have kept up regular maintenance instead of putting it off all the time. Well hopefully after this great saga I will get a few trouble free years out of it.
I didn't even know a heater tap existed. Apparently it looks like this..
and is part of the heating and cooling system of the car. So when my car was overheating I would turn the heater on full and pull heat off the engine. It worked for a little while and finally gave up the ghost.

 Aunty and Nephew becoming aquainted.

I thought I should do the grandmotherly obsessive thing and put another photo up.

Tomorrow I have to complete art for two people and have it sent and start two courses I have paid for but finally Shirley your art awaits. I have it in a frame for you.

Saturday 16 August 2014

What do we leave out?

This is the colour of my daughter's hair. I have to share. I simply love it.

It was an accidental colour but it suits her so much. The only other person I have ever known to pull of this particular shade is the character Lilu (Scarlett Johansson) in the fifth element,

 My daughter can wear just about any colour. She has that pale pale vampire skin, the kind that used to be referred to as alabaster (like the statues).

She has been colouring her hair since grade five in primary school(equivalent of grade four elementary-USA) when she landed a role in a play called The Seal Wife. She had the softest blondest hair imaginable before that and then changed to a brassy red to fit the role. All the females characters were Celtic and red headed in the play. 

Next year she went black to be a pirate. That was henna and it never seemed to come out of her hair.

Since then her hair has been every colour under the rainbow. For plays and cosplay. Sometimes dye and sometimes wigs. Often for charity.
Two years in a row the school she attend refused to allow her to have her photograph taken because her hair was coloured, regardless of the fact that she was raising money by colouring her hair for a cause. The message the school was sending was very clear. Uniformity is more important than good citizenship.
I think My daughter has light brown/dark blonde hair as her natural colour but it never stays undyed long enough to be sure.

Generally when I discuss my family on my blog it is in very broad and vague terms because I have limited control over who does and doesn't read my blog and I wish to preserve their privacy. I leave out details. I generally leave out many of the small daily challenges of my life such as estrangement from sons, dying parents, illness, babies, being a grandparent along with all the usual mundane things like my dishwasher making the most abominable noises or the foibles of my washing machine or the huge amount of money my car repairs are costing my budget. Everyone has little quirks and  challenges in their daily lives and it would become very boring and dull to be reading about them unless written by a very good story teller. Hmm there is an idea in that...

A tin foil hat is a hat made from one or more sheets of aluminium foil, or a piece of conventional headgear lined with foil, worn in the belief it shields the brain from threats such as electromagnetic fields, mind control, and mind reading.

I will share this though. Some time ago my landlord reacted to my tin foil hat neighbour who was worried about twigs falling on his two four wheel drives, two station wagons, two boats, trailers and various other wheeled assets in his front yard. He was concerned the once a year visits from the fruit bats would ruin his paint by dropping half eaten fruit and what if the 30 year old tree suddenly fell on his house.
 These are the old trees.

So the neighbour squealed and whined and the knee jerk reaction of the landlord was to remove not only the tree beside the neighbours fence but the one on the other side of the front lawn, no where near the tinfoil hat neighbour or his precious assets. I  offered to make my neighbour a tin foil hat to protect him from alien invasion and falling elephants which were more likely than the trees falling.I had begged and pleaded and even became angry that they would destroy two perfectly healthy trees filled with nests, birds, insects and life. Trees that provided shade and cleaned the air around us. Trees that cooled the temperature and protected the house from the fierce winds we experience. No they were cut down and turned into wood chips. So I planted new trees and shrubs. Sixteen of them.  Here they are.
 The pots lined up on the front lawns. selecting placement is an important step.
 They are all native species which will be wonderful for encouraging insects and birds.
 They look like mere twigs now but I can imagine the magnificence of these plants in a few years time in full bloom. The scarlet and gold of their flowers will be such a delight.
 I could not get this one to stand in place until it was planted.
Look at those lovely red leaves. This little beauty will be tall and shady and fill the space where a canopy should be.
 A native grass with an added self seeded prickly acacia hiding in the fronds.
 Look at this sweet little flower peeping out of my garden. I have some very learned friends who could spout off the technical and common names of all these plants but I don't care so much about the paper work I just care that they grow.

 another little stick almost camouflaged by the twigs around it.
 Just wait until this little stick is forty meters high.
 and this lovely frond with the golden flower fills me with delight
each mound of dirt is a future patch of shade and colour.   I am so happy they are all in and well watered with plenty of mulch from what was left of the previous trees. They don't look like much now but in a few years time it will be lovely to sit on the grass for a picnic in the cool shade.

My little act of rebellion. One score for mother nature!

So what of my writing and art? I am writing every day. I am on the eighth draft of a picture book and have had some very good feedback from my critique group and the 'first 250 words' forum in the 12 x 12 group. The story has become much better since the original idea and changed a lot.

This weeks theme for the 52 week challenge is TOY. I am yet to produce a piece for the theme.

I am booked in for a class in using Illustrator. I am looking forward to that and seeing what I can achieve in the digital art world. There is a big difference between cutting and pasting someone else's work and coming up with original concepts and art and I want to be able to make original work.
I recieved my membership card for the F project and I am keen to explore what my options are for studio space at the Artery. So many good things coming up for me I can hardly turn around without another opportunity.
I spent a great afternoon talking writing and story ideas with a friend of a friend which was such a buzz and I have been reading and reviewing other writers work. I like encouraging other writers and artists.

So some things I leave out and others I share, I think we all do that to varying degrees and depending on who we are sharing with.

I like your new fence palings Shirley and your green fairy is part way done. :)

On that note it is time for me to find a good book and curl up to read. Hugs and warm fuzzies.

Tuesday 12 August 2014

okay what'sthe date?

It is the 12th of August and I am finding more and more wonderful things to do with my words and art. I have been participating in a desultory manner in the Nerdy chicks Kidlit summer school, in fact for a while I have been desultory about a lot of things but I am finding my 'mojo' again.

The term 'mojo' has an interesting history.  If you would like to know more, I suggest reading this blog post:

So with my new burst of energy I have managed to write and revise a new picture book manuscript, finish the art works I had agreed on, complete my Derwent art classes and so much more.

 I learned a new word this week sgraffito.
Wikipedia has this to say about it:

Sgraffito (plural: sgraffiti; sometimes spelled scraffito) is a technique either of wall decor, produced by applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colours to a moistened surface, or in ceramics, by applying to an unfired ceramic body two successive layers of contrasting slip, and then in either case scratching so as to produce an outline drawing.
Sgraffito and sgraffiti come from the Italian word graffiare ("to scratch"), ultimately from the Greek γράφειν (gráphein) "to write". Related terms include graffito and graffiti.

For me it was about the lesson in which we were supposed to coat our surface with thick layers of coloured oil pastel then go over it all with black pastel and finally scratch off the black to form the image . I do not currently own oil pastels so I used scratch paper instead and then used chalk pastels to give a softening affect to the colours. I am looking forward to having some oil pastels to try it.

Class five was about landscapes with water colour. I quite enjoyed mixing the colour on the paper and allowing the water to give interesting patterns to the bark and leaves.

I am loving finding classes to stretch my skills.

Then we had a copyright infringement issue in the 52 week challenge and Tania McCartney issued a strongly worded disclaimer that the onus was on the individual artist to ensure they acknowledged their inspiration if it was someone else's art or photography and since I had someone compare my piece for the week with another artist I wanted to make sure mine did not too closely resemble that artist. I had glanced at hundreds of images online when trying to decide on my piece of work for the theme Psychadelic.  I started off with an image pencilled onto paper and then filled in with cheap crayons. I quite liked the effect.
when I looked at other art by Googling  Lips + Psychadelic I found hundreds but none the same and most with four upper teeth. There is a gorgeous digital piece that is glossy and something I aspire to if I ever learn how to do digital art  ( which is the most like mine.   I then went on to remake the image with Copic markers (sob sob boo hoo I have finally returned them). Sigh. I did two images, one with and one without fine liner.

The vibrancy of the colour is delicious and when I pinned them to the wall I realised that the paper underneath that I used to protect the craft board was just as interesting for the theme.
Oh the artist I was compared to is Peter Max artist which, after looking at his very vibrant pop art, I find very complimentary.

Okay what else has been happening apart from art? Plenty. I spent two whole hours with a baby and of course after a bit of gooing and gurgling and a nappy change he slept the whole time in my arms. What a lovely feeling and what a lovely way to while away two hours.

I started the opening of a new novel, had another rejection for a novel subbed to a competition, wrote several picture book ideas out and completed the first draft of one and two revisions. I sent the first 250 words into the 12 x 12 forum and have had some helpful feedback on it. I need a more dedicated critique group to bounce my ideas off.
I attended the WWG(Warrnambool writers' group) and we decided to change the name of our upcoming anthology to 'Flotsam and Jetsam' to better reflect the mixture of stories and poetry from seaside writers.  I am also responsible for developing a critique sheet to guide critiques by group members and for getting our FB group up and running. This has been fun. I borrowed a photograph by a local girl and although she gave me permission to use it ages ago for another purpose I have to let her know I am using it as the banner for the writing group. Once I let her know I will let them know who the photographer is. A bit backwards I know but I will get it right.

I have had to have a lot of work done on my car lately. It needed a heater tap, timing belt, new tyres and a service. All up a big dent in my small savings but I do need to be able to traverse this giant country of mine and my little car needed the love.

I have begun a regular meditation practice and opted for a quick fix beginners 7 minute tone up. Just like the 7 minute exercise apps only calmer. I tried one of those 7 minute apps for exercise recently and spent the next three days unable to walk - literally. I returned to my much more sensible physiotherapy exercises and yogalates(yoga and pilates mixed). The meditation is a brilliant way for me to relax and calm my frenzied creativity at the end of the day so I can sleep and be refreshed without being bombarded by characters during the night.

 My favourite relaxation is to listen to the music of the cosmos. NASA converted the electromagnetic pulses all the planets and the sun make, into sounds and the resultant pulsing noises are as individual as fingerprints and collectively are the most magnificent music my heart could yearn for. I sometimes play all of the youtube videos at once so I can hear the collective swell of sound that our solar system can fill me with. Of course the CDs are available for purchase but they don't do the all at once sound.  The recordings were marketed as Symphonies of the Planets.

Oh and I have begun to make myself some new clothes. My patterns came in the mail. I had bought them to make a Tauriel(she-elf The Hobbit) costume for my daughter but have decided that first I will make myself some beautiful things to wear. With my new haircut and extra energy I should be able to cut a fine figure when I am out and about as a writer and artist. Grin.

I am off to a webinar(Seminar online) in two minutes so I will sign off and turn off my Pirates of the Carribean soundtrack and get studious. Have a wonderful day wherever you are in the world. Love and Hugs.

Sunday 3 August 2014

The week spins by so fast I'm dizzy

Here we are back at Sunday. It is a beautiful day today with the sky clear blue. Quite a few places around the state experienced sub zero temperatures this morning and the snow has been falling steadily in the mountain regions. Snow is not something many people outside of Australia associate with our giant island home. Sun, surf and beach goers are the stereotype people think of when 'Aussie(pronounced Ozzie)' is mentioned. Plenty of people are sharing photographs of the snow in their part of Oz and my first born shared this photo of the weir at Lake Eildon. I haven't see it that full since my teens which was during the Jurassic period apparently(according to my teens)

I am glad that there are so many water saving behaviours we as a nation, have learned since my childhood. Water is a precious resource and we need to treat it with intelligence. My water bill came in recently and I am pleased to say we are relatively conservative in our usage. My electricity bill came in too and our household still uses less than the average single person not at home during the day and that is in spite of adding an extra heater to the draw this winter. I dream of having an all solar house some day. I am trying to minimise my impact on the environment and have gone back to the bicarb soda and vinegar cleaning routines. I don't know why I lost the good habits but somehow along the way I became a victim of advertising and began purchasing product. I use bicarb in the dishwasher instead of highly caustic pellets and my dishes are cleaner, I use bicarb and vinegar on my hair as a wash and rinse and my hair feels fuller and softer and I no longer get an itchy scalp or dandruff. I use bicarb with my non flouride toothpaste and am winning the war against the tea stains of my serious tea attachment. I have tried to train the kids about recycling, reusing and reducing our waste and aim to reduce our need for kerbside garbage collection. it is hard when everything is wrapped in plastic at the supermarket, over packaging of any product from department stores and far too much reliance on plastic to cart things around. I have a long way to go before my impact diminishes to the level I can feel good about but every time I purchase something unpackaged it is a step in the right direction.

So art this week. I joined 'The Drawing Club'. A once a month gathering of local artists who wanted an outlet for unstructured drawing time with others. It is housed in The Artery in Timor Street Warrnambool. The Artery is the brainchild of a group of local artists who wanted a space to come together with like minded people and they formed The F Project. On Friday 1st I joined the F Project and became a member artist. The building housing The Artery has more than thirty rooms and each room is claimed by an artist as his or her own studio. They offer short courses, exhibitions and a variety of other art related activities. Art is not confined and embraces; performance, poetry, writing, fine arts, creative arts, textiles and photography just to name a few. I felt so positive being there. I met new people and came home smiling and anticipating being part of it all.

So here is one of my still life drawings from The Drawing Club. 1st August.

The others can be found through my gallery button which will take you to my pinterest.
 The 52 week challenge this week is LINES.  So many ideas can spring from one word. I am enjoying experimenting with different styles and ideas and here are the ones I uploaded to FB.
 Darling daughter did a piece for this week's theme and three other people have taken the same path for their idea. Interestingly they are all very different. They all contain a tracing of their hands and all have lines of colour but they are each as individual as the artists.
 I am setting out to assist darling daughter with her next cosplay costume and while tracing a pattern onto bakers tissue I realised that sewing patterns were perfect for the week's theme. I scanned and uploaded and added the text.
This little fellow reminds me that we need to understand the message. I enjoyed playing with this idea and the coloured pencils. 

 Finally my fairies. These girls are proving very popular amongst the participants and viewers of the 52 week challenge. I loved playing with the lines to create a picture and the mood of the piece. Line proved to be lots of fun.

My other art this week was the Derwent Academy.( I discovered the six classes Derwent offers online and have gone back to basics to discover just how to make things happen with my pencils. The first two lessons were simply refreshers for me but the third and fourth so far have been very helpful. Since I did not study art at a tertiary level I am always looking for avenues to improve my knowledge and skills and appreciate that Derwent is offering these.
Lesson four was about colouring and blending. There are an astounding number of videos on youtube to help anyone improve their art and some generous and amazing teachers. The Derwent classes are short simple and very clear and I would recommend them for beginners.

This is my rooster, blue tit and chicken. The scan is not particularly clear but I am very pleased with the original.

So have I managed any writing this week? Not much of my own work this week however I did have the priviledge of editing and critiquing several other people's work. There are some fine stories in progress out there in the world. I must also do another review or two and I have one more person to make art for. I have missed my characters lately and really want to get back to torturing them through love and battles.

I had a funny experience recently where I met a particularly annoying person. I was clenching my jaw he was so annoying then suddenly I thought 'write it down, he will make a fantastic character'. So I did.