Full circle

butterfly image

‘Butterfly’. Stencil painting in Rebelle2, rounded and embellished in Paint Shop Pro.

I began my post-school career at art college and it was both beautiful and dismal. Beautiful in that 1960s Brighton was a glittering smog-free jewel next to the tallest most colourful sea I had ever seen; dismal due to my local council in Bradford withdrawing out of county grants for art students and requiring me to return to a place still trapped in the 1950s where towns like Halifax were invisible from the high moors roads due to the thick yellow fog of coal fire pollution. I declined the offer and so ended my education in painting and graphic design and artiness.

Now, after a bit of geographical back and forth and a lengthy detour into science (which turns out to be just as much a creative activity as any branch of the arts), I’m back. Not as an undergrad, you understand – small matter of a portfolio of any sort never mind a competitive one – but learning how to draw all over again, flinging digital paint around in a most spectacular manner via a programme called Rebelle2, and running or making all kinds of images with iPad apps such as Enlight and Procreate, editing and filtering in Paint Shop Pro, and getting lost in apps like ON1Effects, Perfect Effects (from the PSP stable), and Flame Painter (Rebelle software). With the exception of drawing, which is both muckier and harder work than I recall, it’s also cat-compatible so there are no footprints in your paint palette trailing off and onto the sofa. Obstruction remains an issue though – show me a cat that doesn’t like to sit on the keyboard and stare at you.

Some of the results are in the Rebelle2 online gallery hoping one day to make the ‘featured’ section. As there isn’t a search facility, may I point you at this Apple which, if clicked from the Recents tab, will take you to my small collection.

painting of an apple

‘Apple’. Tutorial painting in Rebelle2 using acrylic and water colour wash.








Other items, including some of the drawing class efforts, are on Instagram for which I have finally found a purpose, although my gravy boat is yet to appear due to the crime of being nothing like the actual item. My Dalek pepperpot, though … 🙂

Gloves are off, now it’s serious..

Noisy class during first day of Creative Writi...

Image via Wikipedia

This time last year, I signed up for a twelve week Open University course on writing fiction and, hey ho, I’ve done it again. Thirty two weeks this time, creative writing, WITH POETRY – am I mad?! Sweepy Jean, your Gil Scott-Heron entry may have come in the nick of time – that kind of poetry I can relate to. But what’s this about biography and autobiography? Will I have to follow Fabio Cappello around while he negotiates his exit from England management? Or Rooney? Please, not Rooney, I don’t speak Scouse!  Beckham though..

I’ve been faffing about considering this decision. Full time job, just getting into writing, full-time job, might have just found my voice, full-time job, no time to write my stuff. What? The trouble is, I’ve just been on leave and being on leave gives me a distorted sense of my creative availability because it’s not being used up on brain-tickling research projects. Nevertheless, I put out a plea on Twitter – should I sign up? But the Twitterverse did not want to take responsibility for this, even collectively, as I might come back and bite its bum once the reality hit home. The Twitterverse is right, I would have given it a thorough going over had it guided me in the wrong direction but what was the right direction? Only one thing for it – the Universe Splitter app on my iPhone! Plug in your choices and this little gizmo blinks and winks, judders and jangles, and finally explodes its conclusion – in this universe, I would do the course.

So here I am, signed up and bracing myself. Is it the right decision? Based on a silly bit of software that sends no photons anywhere at all and splits nothing but a few pixels on a screen? As I pressed that button, I knew I was going to ignore it if it said no.

Somewhere, my alternate self is justifying either taking the advice or getting on and doing the course anyway. Seems I’m my own woman no matter what the universe thinks and so, when I start carping on about being over-committed with no time to breathe never mind nurture an original thought, just remind me I have only myself to blame!