Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Festive Greetings

Festive greetings to you all. I can't believe the holiday is over. It seemed to be upon me before I realised. I don't do New Year. I hate it with a fiery passion. The whole idea that things might be different in a collection of days linked to another collection of days is beyond me. It has always been my experience that things do not change that way unless it is through tragedy. Oh well, there's no accounting for folk, as the saying goes.

Christmas Eve was spent icing the Christmas cake. By the time I was finished the kitchen looked like a snowstorm had hit. What's the deal with icing sugar? It doesn't matter how careful I am with it I still makes a mess. Christmas Day was spent with my family, eating lots and opening presents. It's at times like those that I can't help but think about those who do not have that opportunity and who spend it alone or in less festive circumstances.

I have taken a few photos of some 1x1 inch collage squares that I attempted using miniature prints of my own artwork. The best part of the project was painting the background papers. Lots of fun splashing acrylic paint around. I also added a top coat of walnut stain in places and it made some wonderful colours. Made the reds really rich and the yellows more mellow. It's only my first go so it might take a while to get to the standards of Chrysti (http://chrysti.wordpress.com) or Shari (http://www.creativechatter.blogspot.com). Still, it was fun.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Silky words

I have been dancing with silk paints recently. Well, not literally 'dancing' - the paints are a bit lacking in the leg department. My first attempt was a tie depicting a drunken snowman for a relative. Said relative wore the tie to work today only to be showered with compliments - including kind words from the Countess of Hume. It's not every day ones' work is admired by blue bloods. Do I change directions and take up silk painting full time??? Mmmm. I might wait a while before deciding on that.

Thursday, 21 December 2006


I was reading the Creative Chatter blog today (www.creativechatter.blogspot.com) and came across a piece about following your bliss. It was a quote by US folklorist, Joseph Campbell and runs like this:

Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else.

Mmmmm - the jury's out on that one. What do you do when your bliss keeps belting you around the head with a length of 2x4? I consider creating to be my 'bliss' whether it be creating friendships, romance, peace, artwork, etc. But it sure aint as comfortable as this guy implies.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Altered way of life

Another frosty morning but the strange thing is that the dandelions and dead nettles are still flowering. The seasons are very strange now. The leaves fell from the flowering currant in my garden and revealed a host of new buds. The Kilmarnock willow is covered in catkins. The sun is way to warm for December - and no sign of a white Christmas. H'rumph!

I have been having a mild flirtation with altered art recently. After more than 20 years of trying to draw and paint in a realistic style I got fed up with it all and wanted to play with colour and texture. Lovely thick acrylic with peaks sticking off the page. Vibrant reds, oranges and greens (and other colours as the mood dictates). Ripping, tearing and grubbying. Paper, card, clay, wire. I guess that is the only good thing about personal disappointments (the trigger for this rejection of all things neat and tidy). It scrubbles your brain and emotions until nothing makes any sense. One year and one and a half months after the end of a platonic friendship that meant the world to me (but who's counting) I still can't get my head back into the mould it should be in - for the sake of my finances if nothing else. I have painted just one proper painting in that time. I wonder if the old me will ever return? Maybe. For the first time in over a year I have felt the desire to go back to studying. I am a huge fan of the Open University (take a look at their site for more info - www.open.ac.uk) and have taken all kinds of courses with them over the last 10 years. Ancient history is my main fascination and they allowed me the freedom to study while making money too. In the meantime it is back to the rainbow of colours in my acrylic paint tubes. If I come up with something that I think is worth putting on the site I shall do. This afternoon I shall be creating an almost late Christmas card and decorating some 1x1 inch squares in altered style. Beats the last minute Christmas rush to the shops.

Monday, 18 December 2006

From a frosty morning.

I woke up to a world of white this morning. Beautiful, crisp, clean frost sparkling in the sun. Winter is definitely my favourite time of year. I don't deal with the heat well. I hibernate during the summer because it just gets too hot to do anything. I can't even paint because the heat dries the paint too quickly. But today it is so calm and still that the smoke from the chimneys in the nearby village and lying in the valley like mist. It is a very beautiful sight.

I have had a few people asking to see some more of my black and white work. My web site (at http://web.ukonline.co.uk/gsmcmurray) has quite a few examples of plants, animals and buildings but I will add a few more of my secret stash here as and when I feel the need to show them. For those who visit my site, the pen and ink panda has just been licensed as a rubber stamp by OnyxXpressions (www.onyxxpressions.com). It should be available in the not too distant future. OnyxXpressions have some stunningly beautiful stamps from oriental designs and text to photo realistic animals. The most beautiful stamps I have seen yet and Cheryl McVeigh, who runs the company, is very friendly and helpful. If you use stamps take a look.

So, on to the pictures. Here I have uploaded some small images I did of a fallow deer, a badger (the neighbour to the painting on my home page), detail of a foxglove, and some butterflies. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

My first blog

OK, it has taken a long time but I have finally taken the plunge into the world of blogging. After looking at all the lovely sites produed by other people I figured it was worth a try. I hope everyone enjoys looking at what I produce as much as I like looking at other peoples' work. As my first artistic submission I would like to introduce two friends of mine - the bunnies.