Tuesday, 24 July 2012

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

I think it is time for me to say a fond farewell to this blog.

I need one online identity...one that links everything together and, since setting up my drawing a day site, that online identity has become Art Is Autobiographical. I post a picture on there everyday and talk about what has inspired it....sometimes I go into more depth about what is going on...sometimes I don't. Now that I have my Etsy Shop it makes even more sense for me to have one place where I can be found. I am going to transfer all the posts from here to Art Is Autobiographical as well as my 'List of blogs I follow' (so that I can actually start following you all again!). 

I hope that you will come visit me at my new online home.

So lovely little blog

"So long...and thanks for all the fish"

Monday, 23 July 2012

I Need Your Help AND You Could Win An Original Drawing

I have not been here in an age and now I'm here asking for a favour....Yup, I am totally shameless!

I have set up an Art Is Autobiographical shop on etsy and I am trying to raise awareness of it's existence! Could you write a wee blog post (or just a couple of sentences in one you were planning to write anyway) to give my site a plug?

As a thank you to everyone that shares the information on their Blog/Facebook/Twitter page I will be holding an additional 'win an original drawing' competition where the winner can choose ANY original from all the pictures that have been put on the blog so far...no monthly restrictions.

Here is a graphic you can use (It should link to the shop) but incase you are having any problems the website address is http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtsAutobiographical

Thank you

(Oh, and if you do help out please let me know so that I can include your name in the draw. I don't want you to do your bit then miss out!)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

My Dream Of You - a new Novel by DJ Kirkby

Today is the online Launch of an exciting new novel by the fabulous DJ Kirkby so pop over to her blog and leave a 'pick me' comment on her 'My Dream Of You' blog post and you could win one of these exciting prizes. 

Prize One - 
A Bothams of Whitby champagne afternoon tea hamper custom made for the My Dream of You launch party. The contents of hamper are:
Apricot & Orange Teabread
Butter Rice Madeira Cake
Butter Syrup Tea Biscuits
Apricot and Almond Jam 8oz
Resolution Tea Box 80 bags
Small wooden tray
750ml bottle of Fratelli Berlucchi (2006) Brut
A limited edition (signed) paperback copy of MDOY. (Unfortunately this prize open to UK entrants only due to complications with posting all the contents of this hamper to other countries...but I'm not complaining cause it means that there is a slightly higher chance that I will win!)

Prize Two - 
One of five limited edition (signed) paperback copies of MDOY (open to worldwide entrants).

Prize Three - 
A character named after you in her next novel (open to worldwide entrants).

Prize Four - 
One of 15 MDOY fridge magnets (open to worldwide entrants).

The winner will be announced on DJ's blog on Sunday June 11th.

What's that? What is the book about? Well let me tell you

Is it a crime of passion or cruel twist of fate?
One summer’s day Betty let love carry her a step too far. That exquisite sun dappled afternoon became one of her best memories but also the catalyst for the worst experience of her life. Now elderly, Betty has been running from her past since she was a teenager, and it’s about to catch up with her. Will the experience be as awful as she fears or wonderful beyond imagining?

Praise for MDOY:
“D.J. Kirkby writes with compassion and energy, creating characters you can really care about.”  Sarah Salway (Canterbury Poet Laureate)

"Evocatively written, My Dream of You is an absorbing read filled with interesting characters, plot twists, and emotion."  Talli Roland, bestselling author of Build a Man

“A tale of motherhood, of hope and of love. Truly touching” Caroline Smailes, author of 99 Reasons Why

About the lovely DJ:
Denyse lives in the South of England in a house otherwise filled with males - husband, boys and pets - she writes to escape the testosterone.
She is the author of Without Alice, My Dream of You, and her book Special Deliveries which is currently with her agent.

Quarterly newsletter sign up page: http://djkirkby.co.uk/newsletter/

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Waiting For A Train At Paddington

I can see:
The curve of the station roof stretching into the distance
A flickering black and orange board announcing arrivals and departures
An Asian girl talking urgently into her mobile
A man concentrating intensly on what he's reading on his ipad
A young boy snuggling into his Mum
A large clock displaying the time
People eating at Yo! Sushi
Plants moving in the breeze
A sculpture of Paddington Bear
A group of people running to catch a train all trailing large suitcases behind them
The beautiful elegance of a conversation using sign langugage (I try not to stare as its considered rude within the deaf community...it is the equivalent of evesdropping)

I can hear:
The rumble of a train approaching the platform
The screech of feedback on a microphone
The mumble of an announcement which is impossible to make out
That underlying hum which comes from being in a busy public place
A coffee machine grinding and hissing
The click of a pair of heels as a woman scurries pst
The theeeerrrrump theeeerrrump of the wheels on a suitcase hitting the ridges of the floor tiles
The rustle of a newspaper
Ice clicking together as the man next to me slurps his drink
A hushed, urgent sounding, conversation in a language I don't understand
Someone coughing
A couple arguing
The tinkle and clatter of someone dropping cutlery
A tut from somewhere behind me
A child crying

I can feel:
A slight tension in the air as people wait for their trains to be announced
A cold breeze moving the hair on the back of my neck and making me shiver
My eyes...hot and tired after a long day at the office
The weight of the book I am writing in
Heat from the arm of the man sitting next to me who is invading my personal space
My rucksack pushing against my leg as it is jammed in the tiny amount of space available between me and the table
The smoothness of the paper as my hand glides over it
The smooth satin of my coat lining contrasting with the rough wool of the outside as it brushes the top of my hand
A slight cramp in my hand from writing (So used to the computer now!)
Bubbles playing in my mouth as I sip my sparkling water
Time passing slowly as I wait

I can touch:
The embossed front of my notebook as it balances on my forefinger
The ridges of paper already scribbled on under my thumb
The faux leather of the chair that I'm sitting on
The glass of chilled water in front of me
The textured waterproof fabric of my rucksack

I can smell:
The oil and dirt of machines
The stale sweat of the man sitting next to me
Frying food
Liberally applied perfume or aftershave...I'm not sure which
Something sweet and slightly sickly
The aroma of freshly ground coffee
An acrid hint of stale cigarette smoke

I can taste:
A hint of lemon from the slice that is in my water
The slightly bitter aftertaste of coffee

(I did some blind contour drawing after I had written this (including the one here) so pop over to Art Is Autobiographical to see them. They will be appearing over the next couple of days)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Six Senses - Today at 3.36pm.

So there I was...planning on writing a post that would probably start with something along the lines of 'Sorry, I've not blogged for ages' when I realised something...I am blogging. I'm blogging every bloomin day...just not here! It sounds stupid to say but I honestly had no idea that doing a drawing a day would take up so much of my time (Yeah, I don't know why that hadn't occurred to me either *slaps self on forehead*). I think part of the problem is that I am writing about what I'm thinking and what I'm doing as a background to each picture so to then come here and write about what I'm thinking and what I'm doing seems a bit...well...repetitive which would be fine if I was, I don't know, a circus performer (no, I don't know why that popped into my head but I'm going with it) who travels all over the world meeting interesting people but I'm not...I'm a community engagement manager who travels to Tower Hamlets! I do, however, have a plan (be afraid...be very afraid).

Last year, inspired by the lovely Fire Byrd, I did a post called 'Six Senses'. I really enjoyed writing it and, from the comments I got, you lot really enjoyed reading it. The idea is that you stop for five minutes and really pay attention to your surroundings...what you can see, touch, smell etc. So once a week I'm going to take five minutes to myself. I'm going to concentrate on that exact moment in time and I'm going to try and capture it. It solves the 'what the hell shall I blog about?' thing that has been bothering me, it will force me to stop and pay attention to my surroundings (which is always a good thing) and I think it will help me appreciate where I am right now rather than always thinking of the next thing I need to do (and hopefully it will make interesting reading). So I'm going to start right now

(Today at 3.36pm)

I can see:
my netbook which I have propped up on a cushion
the sun glinting off a hand carved wooden boat that was made for me in Thailand
a carved wooden elephant
a spider plant that is looking surprisingly green considering I keep forgetting to water it
a stack of books sitting on a dust covered table top
blue sky
cat nose smears on the window
dust motes swirling slowly in a shaft of sunlight
Lugs sprawled on his back letting the sun warm his stomach

I can hear:
the whirr of my computer
the rattle of a lorry as it makes its way up the hill
the fridge humming
Gai making his way down the stairs
someone laughing
a car door slam
Lugs yawning
the click of my netbook keys as I type
my breathing
the tick of a clock
Chris moving about in the bedroom

I can feel:
the weight and heat of the netbook on my lap
a slight breeze cooling my toes as it comes in through the window
the soft cashmire rug under my foot
the bottom half of my right leg starting to go numb because of the way I am sitting
the soft cotton of my top
a thread on the frayed bottom of my jeans lightly tickling my ankle
a stray hair touching my cheek

I can touch:
the smoothness of the netbook keys under my finger tips
the warmth of my netbook,
the slightly raised stitching of the cushion my netbook is sitting on
the smooth silk of the green cushion next to me
an ice cold can of Irn Bru next to me
a bead of condensation that is forming on the can

I can smell:
fresh air coming in through the window,
a hint of paint (someone somewhere must be decorating)
cut grass
the Issay Miyaki perfume that I put on this morning.

I can taste:
Irn Bru
a slight honey aftertaste left by my lipbalm

I'm hoping that these will get better the more I do them but I don't think that's too bad a start. Please remember that you can always visit me at Art Is Autobiographical if you want to see how the drawing is going...oh, and if you follow the blog you will automatically be entered into a competition to win an original drawing. I put all the names in a hat and select one at random ever month so you have a chance to win every month.

Monday, 19 March 2012

99 Reasons Why by Caroline Smailes

Caroline is a wonderful writer! She writes unusual books with storylines that stay with you long after you have put the book down (Check out In Search Of Adam, Black Boxes and Like Bees To Honey if you don't believe me!). Today is the launch of her latest book 99 Reasons Why. It is only available as an e-book and it offers something rather special...you get to choose the ending! There are 11 in total...9 will be accessed as part of the book, one is featured here and one will be handwritten and auctioned for charity.

So what's the book about? Well....

Kate isn’t like 22 year olds. She’s got a job to do for her Uncle Phil. Each day, she spies on The Kevin Keegan Day Nursery across the road from her bedroom window, writing down all of the comings and goings in her notebooks. That’s how she spots her little girl in the pink coat. She likes her, and it isn’t long before Kate asks her mum to steal the girl for her. Plans are made.

But then, quite unexpectedly, Kate flashes her breasts out her bedroom window at the little girl’s father. And that’s the reason why nothing will ever be the same again…

There is no one ending to Kate’s story, instead there are nine possible outcomes which you can navigate through your ereading device. Each is different, and each exposes a little more of Kate’s utterly wonky world.

One of the endings -

Reason 99 - Why I was only worth ninety-nine quid.

It’s been six days since the little girl in the pink coat went missing and me Uncle Phil’s in me bedroom.

We’ve been watching the little girl in the pink coat’s mam on the news. She was appealing to the public for witnesses.

‘Didn’t realise she had a mam,’ I says, looking at me telly.

‘Everyone’s got a mam, pet,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘She sold her story to The Sun,’ I says, looking at me telly.

‘Got a few quid,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I nod.

‘She wanted nowt to do with that bairn before all this,’ me Uncle Phil says, looking at me telly.

‘Do you know where she is?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘Belle?’ me Uncle Phil asks me.

I nod.

‘She’s safe,’ me Uncle Phil says to me. ‘Your mam’s keeping an eye on her.’

‘Can I be her mam?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘No, pet, you’re a filthy whore,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I nod.

‘Can you make Andy Douglas come back, Uncle Phil?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

Me Uncle Phil shakes his head.

‘I love him,’ I tell me Uncle Phil.

‘Andy Douglas is your brother, pet. You didn’t seriously think Princess Di was your mam, did you?’ me Uncle Phil asks me.

I nod.

‘You’re a cradle snatcher just like your mam,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I nod.

‘Your mam miscarried when she found out I’d been banging Betty Douglas. Betty was expecting you,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I don’t speak.

‘When you was born, your mam went mad and I ended up buying you from Betty Douglas for ninety-nine quid,’ me Uncle Phil says.

‘Ninety-nine quid?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘I paid a hundred but got a quid change for some chips for your mam and dad’s tea,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘You bought me?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

I’m a little bit sick in me mouth.

‘It was the right thing to do,’ me Uncle Phil says to me. ‘I got Betty Douglas pregnant straight away with Andy.’

‘I’m pregnant,’ I says to me Uncle Phil. ‘I’m pregnant with me brother’s baby,’ I says, and then I throws up on me purple carpet.

‘You’re a filthy whore,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘What am I going to do?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘You’re going to have the baby,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘Have me brother’s baby?’ I asks me Uncle Phil.

‘Then I’m giving it to Betty Douglas to bring up,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘You what?’ I says to me Uncle Phil.

‘It’s the right thing to do,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

‘I can’t—’ I says to me Uncle Phil.

‘It’s either that or I’ll make you disappear,’ me Uncle Phil says to me.

I don’t speak.

I’m thinking, they’re all a bunch of nutters.

You can buy it here

Friday, 10 February 2012

And January Winner is.....

Here are all the entries

and here they are in the hat
(erm, just ignore the wine glass in the background)

and the winner is....Juniper :-D. Congratulations lovely lady.

Commiserations to everyone else but hey...there is always next month!