Friday, May 29, 2015

Took a trip back to Doodle Town...

Finally got back in the studio this week...

No masterpieces evolving but started some mark making with shaky hands... A couple of doodles on the go...

Just nice to be playing around with pencil, paper and whatever else takes my fancy...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

First Pottery Lesson...

In an attempt to keep the creative curtains from closing and to stick my finger in a new kind of creative pie, I decided to start pottery lessons…

I'm hoping to one day merge my painting and drawing skills with my future pottery skills - fingers crossed.

In the short term, however, I foresee everyone on my gift list ending up with a piece of pottery before too long… Be it pinch pots, tea cups or sake cups… (Y'all better start drinking sake)… I'll apologise to those on the list in advance now.

Playing with clay was an awful lot of fun…

Images from lesson one.

Friday, April 10, 2015


So, after a long winded creative hiatus, (yes, yet another one), of almost 10 months, I have managed to find time for a new creative outlet despite my busy non-art related work schedule. I am forever meaning to make art my full time job but it's just not a viable process at this time. It is frustrating, but I am grateful for what I have and for the opportunities I am given. With all the awfulness happening in the world, I am finding it harder and harder to even hint at complaining about my own situation or to feel sorry for myself. Sure, everything is relative, but let's face it... there are people with far bigger problems than not being able to make art every day. However, I am making an effort to keep the creative juices flowing.

Those that know me or my work are obviously aware of my love for Japanese art and culture and know how heavily they, along with my travels to Japan, have influenced my work and inspired my creatively. I have recently been fortunate enough to start taking Ikebana lessons - something I have wanted to try since my second visit to Japan in 2005. I have found a wonderful and very lovely teacher an hours drive away. Chieko is a qualified teacher from the Shogetsudo-Koryu School of Ikebana. She is not only a wonderful teacher but also a wonderful host. Her Japanese hospitality, inclusive of green tea and Japanese or homemade sweets and treats, is an absolute delight and each week, for 1-2 hours, I feel like I am back in Japan without the language barrier, although I have been trying to polish up my limited Japanese vocabulary with her and she is very encouraging and full of praise.

I am only three lessons in and already I feel I have learnt so much, despite having so much yet to learn, about such an ancient and beautiful art in the form of flower arranging. Enjoyable, meditative, serene, inspiring, contemplative... the lessons are all these things to me.

My first three arrangements with the guidance of Chieko.

* week 1 - using Fern Ruscus, Dahlias and Easter Daisies
(my dogs, Aspen and Teak, thrown in for good measure)
* week 2 - using Camellia and Chrysanthemums
* week 3 - using some sort of Autumnal berries (don't know name), Chrysanthemums and Rose Berry

This week there was no lesson as Chieko was involved in the instalment of an exhibition. I missed our little weekly ritual but decided to continue practicing at home using cuttings from the garden and sake in the place of green tea.

This is my effort without Chieko's guidance and with the assistance of sake! Kanpai!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Annual Reflection

Words to follow…

Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to the Drawing Board… or Watercolour Paper

After something like a 2 year creative hiatus due to a plethora of reasons, I have recently succeeded in both managing my creative time and sourcing and nurturing artistic inspiration… so much so that I feel like I almost have too many ideas I wish to explore and actualise - however, I am grateful for the influx of inspiration.

After a long time - almost two years - in storage, I took these three works out…

...and decided it was high time I worked towards finishing them…

Mission accomplished.

A few detail pics of all 3 works…

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bicycles Japan! A Reflection.

Bicycles can often contribute to an interesting composition, I find this even more so the case whenever I am in Japan. For some reason I just feel compelled to photograph them in their 'natural habitat'.

Here is the series from 2012 - (with a trike thrown in at the end due to an odd number of snaps).

Here is the much larger collection from this year - Feb/March, 2014.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Annual reflection ( and a delayed one too )

Gosh. You abandon your blog for almost a year and a half and when you (try to) come back to it, you experience all sorts of log in problems and realise that dozens of photos have disappeared.

It's time for my annual reflection… I missed posting it last year - despite taking the photo for it. So, I will post photos for both last year and this year. Somehow, I will also attempt to repost all the photos I have lost.

I am usually one for saying "thank goodness that year is over and here's to a new one", however, this year, I have to admit, has been a most enjoyable one (on a personal level) - mostly due to one particular person coming into my life.

Coming out of a five and a half year relationship, (as I did in October 2012), is never an easy transition. I have to say however, not only do I believe that I have found the most wonderful person to share my life and love with, but I am also very lucky to be able to admit that I have a wonderful ex-partner who has made the transition so much easier with his support and understanding. We have both moved on and have found happiness with wonderful people and I am truly grateful for the love we have both found and for the respect we have shown each other through all of the changes that have taken place.

I'm becoming less and less a fan of new years resolutions - mostly through fear that I will only let myself down - however! - having moved into a more literary realm, I really must try to rekindle my semantic relationship with this blog. So here's hoping for more regular posts in 2014.

Happy new year to anyone who may read this. May 2014 bring you an abundance of good stuff!



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Today's Haiku

There's only so much
tea one can drink in a day.

Monday, May 28, 2012


This afternoon saw me bid farewell to Jamie, Aiko and Kayamori House and head back to the gritty city of Osaka for a bit of a sayonara session for my final night here in Japan.

A good night spent with some great people.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Picture Perfect

The last three days spent here at Kayamori House have been absolute bliss.

Kayamori House is a farmhouse situated in the mountains near Hasedera Temple, Sakurai, in Nara prefecture. It is also the home of HeadSpace international artist residency, which offers artists a chance to experience - and be inspired by - life in Japan, as well as providing studio space to create various types of artwork, from drawing/painting to sculpture and installation art.

Kayamori/HeadSpace is run by the lovely Scottish born Jamie and his adorable wife Aiko-Chan - who might I add is also a wonderful cook, preparing delicious home cooked meals for those staying at Kayamori.

The farmhouse itself is indeed very traditionally beautiful and with the glorious mountainous surroundings that provide panoramic, picture postcard views, topped off with two very accommodating and lovely hosts, it has been an absolute joy staying here. I hope I get the chance to visit again and participate in a proper residency stay.

The Beautiful and the Bizarre

Thursday afternoon saw me arrive at Kayamori House, in Sakurai, Nara prefecture, feeling very seedy and somewhat sorry indeed. At one point I had even wondered if I was capable of catching the train and lasting the 45 minute journey. Any frustration related to the way I was feeling could only be directed at myself, as it was all self inflicted... Nobody had forced me to consume the copious amounts of sake the night before. Ashamedly, it was all voluntary.

We're all allowed one of those nights here and there... aren't we?

Either way, it wasn't until I arrived at this amazingly beautiful place that I actually started to feel human again. And what a perfect place to recover!

Wednesday started off with a visit to SoHo Gallery in Osaka where I got the chance to meet Celio in the flesh, after several art related online interactions. His gallery itself was a great little space and the current work on exhibition was by an illustrator working in pen and ink, who was actually doing some live drawing at the gallery when I arrived. It was an enjoyable visit - Celio, obviously incredibly passionate about art and artists, provided me not only with his time, but with a wealth of information that will no doubt come in useful when planning future Japanese ventures!

Later that day I met up with my newfound and very lovely Canadian friend, Meg, and we headed to her house to get ready for our chaperone, who was due at 8pm. Ichiro-San, arrived to collect us in a taxi, ever so punctually, and took us to a most impressive and very traditional Japanese restaurant that I wish I could remember the name of.... We did, however, find ourselves in a private tatami room on the top floor, where we were treated to a very exquisite and memorable Japanese feast - consisting of some of the most delicious, not to mention different, culinary treats to ever pass through my chopsticks.... including many traditional Okinawan style dishes, as the chef was from that area. It was my first experience tasting foods such as ootoro and goya, I also got to enjoy a delectable selection of sake from Shiga, Nara and Fukushima.

After dining in such a stylish and sophisticated venue, we somehow ended up in a place at the complete opposite end of the spectrum in what could only be described as some sort of 'tranny hostess bar', where the sake was cheaper and nastier, the Mama-San wore a strap-on and most of the decor was phallic in nature. Each to their own, it's possibly not a place I would visit back home, but as they say, when in Rome... or even Osaka...

I managed to lose, very badly, to Mama-San in a rather risqué game of rock, paper, scissors... and shortly after, our chaperone bid us farewell and the two gaijin girls were left alone in this strange, almost surreal, place.

We were encouraged to partake in karaoke and indulge in a little more sake, and whilst we obliged, our stay after Ichiro-San left was not a long one... just enough to be able to say that was possibly one of the most bizarre outings I have ever had.

Needless to explain why Thursday saw me feeling very average.

Arriving at Kayamori House/HeadSpace Artist Residency was truly a breath of fresh air!