Sunday, 20 September 2015

Hello Autumn

As much as I dislike the passing of summer there is a beauty to autumn that makes it all okay!

I love the freshness that comes that makes you feel awake and alive. And it always makes me think of nice new coats and the beginning of school or college.

This year is no different and at the splendid age of 41 I am off to California in a couple of weeks to continue my studies - this time as a Yoga for Surfers instructor.

I am looking forward to getting some Californian sunshine and seeing the leaves of the Redwood trees blush with the fiery colours of autumn. 

Tabitha will be off having adventures with daddy in the day and then we will all be together to enjoy evenings camping and exploring!

 It's going to be amazing to stretch without being jumped on by my little girl, but it's also going to be a bit strange not having her by my side all the time.

I've been busy getting myself organised as there are lots of things to do here.

 I've been working on the distribution and promotion of my book Glitter and Earth and working out the best way to market it. It's all been a bit of a learning curve! 

I have learned a lot  in making this book. I'm really proud of what I have achieved, but I recognise that it happened a bit back to front. When you read advice from publishers to authors they all say that you should write with a target audience in mind. Glitter and Earth is a little on the quirky side ! 

I think that I can create something a little more targeted for children but just as full of magic.

At the moment I am really inspired about creating the White Witch's Apprentice. I have already written it and so now I just need to illustrate it. It's really hard for me to stop because I can see the pictures clearly in my head!

Anyway, thanks for reading! I might go a bit quiet because of my travels but I look forward to catching up with you again soon. 💖💕😀

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Lessons from a 100 days of fairies

The fairies are finished!

So I finished my last fairy for #the100dayproject on 25/07/15 and what a journey I have had! From a camellia fairy to a protection fairy I have spent 100 days pondering fairies and bringing them to life.

I had no idea my fairies would become quite so 'real' and that they would create a book, but it just goes to show the magic that can happen when you dedicate yourself to something for a length of time.

Perhaps you are thinking about starting your own 100 day project? What about 100 days of affirmations, or 100 days of self care? It doesn't have to be something that takes up a huge amount of time, but think about where you want to be and what might help you get there. 

It has been a really amazing experience and I'd like to share with you some of the things that I have discovered along the way.

Immediate deadlines

Having to produce something every day means that you also see results everyday. This is very satisfying and can help push you on. This works really well if you have a tendency to procrastinate because it leaves you less wiggle room and just have to do it!

Momentum is everything 

Once you have got started you will find that the project develops a momentum of its own. You fall into a rhythm with it and your day takes shape around it. This is such a great thing as it starts to flow and you don't need as much energy as the initial effort. Just get started and enjoy the ride!

Be passionate

I think you really have to want to do this!  I was keen to experiment and to develop my style. One of the major 'helps' for me was the discovery of Procreate and the opportunities that opened up for me! I loved trying new combinations, learning about layering and the possibilities of this. If you can find some way to make your project feel fresh, new and exciting, then you are really going to love your 100 days!

Be brave

Part of the process is sharing your results and this can be a little bit intimidating, especially when you are starting and you might not feel like your work is finished or as good as it could be.  On the other hand sharing can give you a major boost and makes it seem a little bit more real! It's just one of those times when you just have to do it! It's a bit like jumping into a pool of cold water, it's a bit of a shock at first, but you soon get used to it!

Don't think about the finish line!

When I started I didn't really think about 100 fairies. If I did I think it might have been too overwhelming and it might have even put me off! I just thought about it day by day! I didn't worry about what it was going to turn out like as I really had no idea! Sometimes I would look on Pinterest for ideas or I would simply take references from my life. Some days I asked Tabitha and of course I had lots of great suggestion from my Facebook followers!

Inspiration and motivation comes! You just need that initial push to get started and a little discipline to carry on!

There is beauty in the journey

Just because it requires commitment and discipline doesn't mean that it's hard! Ultimately the project is for YOU!  Embrace it and when you reach the end you might find that you actually don't want to stop!

I'd love to hear if you are going to start your own project and how you get on!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Loving goblins and living magically

Life is a constant challenge and when things start getting tough it's good to have a reminder that you are a magical being and that you are making progress!

 I had started getting some negative thoughts and instead of working through them, they were starting to gain momentum. I was feeling overwhelmed.

It's weird how you can feel like you are on top of things in terms of positivity and then you get a couple of days and your head starts bringing up old 'stuff.'

And then a Quartz cluster that I had recently moved to another position, started reaching out to me and so I cleansed it and started to feel better. Then I lit some Palo Santo and watched the smoke twirling upwards. 

In those simple acts I reconnected with a deeper part of myself that felt strong, powerful and ancient. And it felt good!

My negative thoughts simply weren't there anymore and they had been replaced by a sense of deep peace.

It reminded me a bit of a scene in Labyrinth, where the heroine, Sarah, was really close to the castle, but she was told to 'go back' and 'you are going the wrong way' by the goblins.

She didn't give up though. Her passion to save her brother overcame any fears or doubt.

Sometimes you forget the progress you have made and how close you are to really making a breakthrough! If you start paying too much attention to your goblins, then you will never reach your goal.

We are continually evolving and feeling challenged is such an important part of our growth. It might not feel comfortable or easy, but this is a great motivator for pushing forwards and finding ways to navigate the difficulty.

So, my grey thoughts had been bubbling up because I felt like I was getting closer to my goals and this brings up all sorts of emotions that need sorting and sifting through. 
And a lot of it has to do with the notion of 'success'. 

I remember thinking earlier in the year that I defined an artist with a book as successful! 

Here I am, about to publish my own book and so of course the goblins have been chattering away! 

I am realising that the closer you get to one goal, the more you can see past it. It's like reaching the top of a mountain after a long climb and you get to breathe and take in the view. And you can see clearly for miles ahead.

The new improved perspective can be a bit dizzying! It can be a bit overwhelming to see all the potential paths ahead.

But hey! We are magical beings! We can power up! 

I'm recognising more and more the importance of preparing my vibration first and this does mean a fair bit of self work. Going over old thought patterns and introducing new ones. 

I think all of this is a matter of practice too! We live in a very physical, sight orientated world and that we pay a lot of attention to our bodies and physical health. 

Being able to control our energy and emotions is not something that gets talked about very much!

I think that this is why some people suffer with anxiety and depression, they haven't been given any tools to recognise what's going on, or how to deal with it. This is especially true if you are sensitive or empathic (or artistic)!

My crystal reminded me that I have the power to set my intentions. That I have the power, just like any heroine in a book, to keep on believing and trusting. And when I do that, my life is richer. Full of wonder and potential.

I love the opportunities that are coming to me and I'm so excited to be part of this magical world!  If I hear any more goblins I will remember that it's because I must be making progress and I will try to remember to tell them, "you have no power over me"!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Self publishing

Self publishing!

So, this is what I am embarking on at the moment! My fairies want to fly and spread their magic and so I have popped them in a book with some short stories (and I mean really short!)

I'm excited and nervous at the same time. You know what it's like when you get that voice that says "who are you, to think you are good enough?" To which I kind of say "oh be quiet!" Because, sometimes you have to be brave and just do it!

I feel as though there is a force outside of me that is pushing me forwards and so I am just going with the flow.

Who knows what will happen? At the very least my work will reach more people and that can only be a good thing, right?

I've done a lot of research, watched YouTube videos and subscribed to every self publishing platform out there in order to work out costs and ease of creating a book.

It came down to a battle between CreateSpace and IngramSpark and CreateSpace won! I really nearly went with IngramSpark because they are European which means lower shipping and they also offered a lower price per book. 

CreateSpace are based in the U.S. and annoyingly this means that I will get charged 30% of any sales in tax by the IRS!  However, IngramSpark had all these scary set up fees and charges for any revisions to the book and so that made me really nervous!

CreateSpace has a really easy set up system and you get to flip through your book on screen before committing to it!

It's been great as I have been able to play around with it, tweak it and get it just how I want it.

You wouldn't believe the amount of decisions you have to make! But I am pretty happy with it now and I just have to get the front and back cover sorted now before clicking the PRINT button!

I keep thinking that completing the book, completes the project, but, oh my, there's a whole lot of marketing to do! 

Thankfully I quite enjoy this side of things too!  So now it's time to crack on with press releases, contact booksellers, blogs and book reviewers. And work out how many books to order! 

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Half way there!

I have passed the half way mark of the #the100day project! Woo hoo! It's pretty crazy to think that I have created 50 fairies already, and just as crazy to think that I am going to do the same again.

Phoenix fairy

As the project progresses I am learning more and more and my fairies are getting better and better. Since, I have had a bit of press too, I feel the pressure to create something good each time!

Bee fairy

Of course I want to create good work, but I do have a bit of a time limit, especially trying to fit it in around my crazy baby!

What I am loving about this though is that I feel like I'm falling a little bit in love each time I create one. It is so much fun. 

Rabbit fairy

I am also buzzing with ideas and am thinking of creating a book with my best fairies in it. That is really exciting! There are a couple of websites that allow you to create your own book, I just need to learn how to do it. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy my latest fairies!
Don't forget to suggest a fairy for me!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Glitter and Earth in the press

So it has been an exciting week this week! We had a photographer come round to take some photos for an article in The Cornishman. I was a bit nervous, but it was actually a lot of fun and I am thrilled with the results.

We had lots of bubbles to play with and Tabitha spent the rest of the day waving her wand!

I had hoped to do a Cottingley inspired photo shoot outside and so I drew some fairies and cut them out. However it was really windy on Tuesday and so we decided todo it indoors instead!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

In bloom

This time of year is beautiful in Cornwall. The flowers keep opening up, one by one, and before you know it, summer is here!

It's also relatively quiet down here at the moment, so you can find yourself alone on a beach and enjoy the wildness. The sea pinks in the photo are my favourite Cornish flower - they look like little fairy bouquets!

I've just finished these pictures and I will take them to the Roundhouse and Casptan Gallery later this week. It's a really gorgeous gallery and I'm so pleased to be part of it.

I'm looking forward to creating lots more work for them and spreading my fairy magic wherever it is needed.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The fairies keep coming!

So, I wrote before about starting the #100dayproject and doing #100fairies. Back then I had no idea how much I was going to get into it and how much time it was going to take.

What I initially thought was going to be variations of my little glitter style fairies have turned into explorations of faces and techniques.

I have started to play with Procreate, an app for the iPad, where I can develop sketches that I did earlier in the day, usually when Tabitha has some food!

These images take an hour or so to do, but they also are stories of characters that have potential to be turned into fully fledged stories.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Me and my girl

So, this is a little bit about the fun I get up to with my little girl!

I wake up next to my beautiful little girl every morning and  smile at the random comments she makes first thing. For a 22 month old, she has a remarkable vocabulary and understanding. She can identify seagulls, pigeons and crows from their calls and so she often says the name of the bird she can hear.

This morning she said 'group hug' and so we all cuddled and I marvelled at how lovely it was.

The sunshine has been making life a lot easier and a lot more fun. We walk the dogs up the field at the end of the lane where we can look at horses and plane spot, or we go to the top of Sennen where everyone can run around happily!

I really like to exercise and I miss being able to go for long walks, but I have discovered that yoga outside is something that I can do when it's warm. Tabitha tends to bimble around and this gives me the space to stretch without getting bounced on! So, this is great progress for me and I'm starting to have a much more regular practice again.

Today Tabitha delighted in saying 'abradabra, frog, frog, frog' where I pretended she had turned me into a frog, bouncing around and croaking. She then magicked me back to being mummy and hugged my leg each time! Very cute! 

This was inspired by Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom which has made a big impression. She is pretty obsessed with the fish Big  Bad Barry and talks about him a LOT! 

I try not to let her watch too many programmes, but sometimes it's the only way I get anything done. She's happy and safe and I manage to make dinner or get some painting done without going crazy.

She's a pretty lively baby and she is always on the go. To be honest I'm pretty happy when she falls asleep as this gives me a little bit of a breather. 

Some days I look forward to a little more calmness and regaining a bit more of 'me', but then the thought of this, of all the closeness, cuddles and newness, coming to an end is unthinkable!  It's been such an incredible experience that it makes me determined  to appreciate the moment. 

We go to bed early together and read stories or cuddle until she falls asleep. I'm lucky if I can slip away. She is fine tuned to my presence and wakes really easily when I'm gone. I just thank goodness for my iPad and that I can get on with lots of things! 

And, to be honest, I'm pretty tired by then too. It's nice to snuggle up and I know that these moments are so, so, precious. 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Competition winner,

The winner of my competition for the feather fairy picture is........ Lindsey Wallace! Congratulations!

Lindsey suggested that I wrote posts about my life with Tabitha and that is something that I would love to do too!

I also wanted to give a runner up prize to Sheila Sayer who wants to see a video of me doing my work. I love this idea and shall look forward to doing it! It might be a little while though as I'm going to have to learn some editing skills!

I've really appreciated everyone's comments and feedback! It makes me really happy when I see that someone has taken the time to read and comment! Thank you so much!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

100 fairies

100 fairies

Well there is something about a creative project that I can't resist. Perhaps it's because it makes me feel like a student again, being sent off into the world with a suggestion and an idea to create. There is the need for discipline and also the search for a greater learning.

This is something that I love to do and so when I came across the 100 day project I was immediately inspired to join in.

The 100 day project was actually inspired originally by a teacher who tasked his students to create anything for 100 days, but that 'anything' was the same thing. 

"For years, Michael Bierut led graduate graphic design students at the Yale School of Art in a workshop that he called “The 100 Day Project.” The premise for the class was simple: each student chose one action to repeat every day for 100 days. For example, one student made a poster in under a minute every day for 100 days; another danced in public every day and made a video; another student, Rachel Berger, picked a paint chip out of a bag and responded to it in writing for 100 days."

So, last year Elle Luna and her friends hash tagged their projects on Instagram and found that the camaraderie and accountability was incredibly exciting.
The project was so successful that it is running again this year and I'm excited to have begun my hundred day journey!

Of course, it won't be exactly the same thing. After all where would the fun be in that? The joy comes in the little differences that occur, that are exploited and directed to create something new.

Of course I had to choose to create 100 fairies! And of course I don't really have the time, but my fairies were built for speed and repetition! What I am looking forward to is playing with pattern and incorporating new elements into my work.

It's so easy to reuse certain shapes or colours that are almost ingrained habits. I want to discover new shapes, new flowers, wing shapes, fairy hairstyles, fairy homes, fairy animals! It's exciting just thinking about it! It doesn't matter that I don't have the time. It's just one of those things that I will find the time for because it gives me permission to explore the things I really want to do! 

Join me on my journey at #100fairies. Discover other people's projects at #100dayproject.
Read more and join in www.thegreatdiscontent/100days

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Fairy artist interview - Autumn Rosario Hall

I fell in love with Autumn's work as it captures the close relationship between the magical and the natural world so beautifully. I was delighted when Autumn agreed to be interviewed, so please join me on a little faerie journey!

What has led you to be a faerie artist? Have you always had an interest in faeries?

I was raised on fairy tales from the Brother’s Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, Narnia etc. Like most children, I was fascinated by faeries. But unlike most children, I did not lose this interest. As I grew, I became more interested in folklore and folk-tales from many cultures. In this way I was able to keep my belief in faeries as my understanding of them grew.

I’ve also always loved creating. For me, my love of painting and my love of faeries are tied very close. Growing up, my main drive to improve as an artist came from my desire to paint faeries that were truer to the vision I had of them. As an artist now, painting faeries allows me to communicate the sense of wonder and enchantment I find in nature and life in general.

Have you ever had an encounter with fairies? What do you think faeries are?

I believe faerie to be nature spirits. They are neither wholly benevolent nor wholly malicious, but exist somewhere in between. I encounter faerie when exploring muddy riverbanks, deer trails, and crumbling farm houses. They are the deep forests, but also the small overgrown woody places in town. They are the possibility of magic. Faeries do not exist in some other realm, but in this one. If one takes the time to truly look they will find wondrous things. I try to show this wonder in my art. And, yes, I believe I have seen them, fluttering out of the corner of my eye, like leaves.

Could you describe what it is like to live where you do? You refer to prairies quite a lot and that is a very different landscape to what we have in the UK. Are there particular flowers or elements that you find particularly faerie?

I live in Iowa, which is located in the middle of the U.S. This is farming country, so there are lots of fields of corn, cows, and soy beans. I grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River and was lucky to always live close enough to a little bit of woods.

I’ve always found places where water meets land to be enchanting. The water is full of light, and life, and sound, and tree roots twist into the streams creating cubbies where faeries may hide. Once I found this old gnarled tree whose roots had pockets that held water. As I stopped to look, a frog jumped out of one of these pools in the roots. I was so surprised that such a large frog had fit into the pool so I stirred it with a stick to see how deep it was. It was actually quit shallow, too shallow for that frog to fit. I suspect it may have been a faerie in disguise because when I next looked it was gone. Whenever I find a tree with twisted roots I think of faeries and when I see hollow trees I want to climb inside.

As for the prairie, it is very beautiful. At first it may look like just a bunch of very tall grass but if you look closer you will see vibrant thistle, golden rod, oxe eye daisies, edible mints, and lots of dragonflies and bees. There are also little tunnels trough the grass and everything rustles and whispers in the wind. Tall grass prairies used to cover most of Iowa, but have largely disappeared due to over farming. I’m very interested in prairie restoration because so many native species, like foxes, and bees, and owls rely on the prairie.

Your writing is really expressive too, how important are stories to your art?

Stories are very important to my work. I don’t want to be an artist who just paints pretty pictures. Each painting starts as a story about a moment. In each painting I seek to hint at this story. Some series of work are based more around a theme or notion. My current series focuses on the idea of summer’s passing. I just feel that there is so much enchantment in the air of late summer, so many stories. And it’s made all the more sweet because of the sense of impending loss as summer fades. My head is constantly full of stories that I wish to paint.

What is your favourite fantasy book? And what is your favourite fantasy film.

My favourite fantasy books would have to be The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees. I also love all of Holly Black’s novels, Harry Potter because I grew up with it, and lots of Charles de Lint. Two of my favourite fantasy films would be Labyrinth by Jim Henson and Castle in the Sky by Hayao Miazaki.

I’m always on the lookout for new fantasy or imaginative films to watch. l love collecting stories.

Is there anything that you would like people to know about?

Hmm. I think I would just encourage my fellow faerie lovers to get involved in any local sustainability or green groups. I guess I’d also like people to know about my website because it’s where I share my story for each painting and I’m also working on a blog to share faerie info and tips on living greener and connecting with nature. I also love connecting with people so feel free to shoot me a message or an email any time.

Please take a look at Autumn's beautiful website for lots more fabulous fairy pictures and to learn more about Autumn herself.

Or you can connect with Autumn on Facebook

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Glitter and Earth is one!

Well, I can't quite believe that it's been a whole year since I started Glitter and Earth! 

I still remember walking round the field with my dogs one misty morning contemplating what to call my 'brand'. I knew I wanted glitter in the title and something else.

The mist was very thick that morning (something that happens quite a lot in St Just) and so it was very nearly called Glitter and Mist!  I finally decided on Earth though as it sounded grounding and also because I try to be environmentally conscious with the materials I buy. 

I got to work on my logo in between Tabitha's needs and it came together surprisingly quickly!

I had made some stamps, which were great fun to carve out and simply played around with a few arrangements. Sometimes I wish I had put more colour in to reflect the vibrant nature of my work, but I like the earthiness of it. It also makes me feel quite nostalgic now, so I don't think I will be changing it for sometime.

This year has given me a lot of confidence and I have my lovely Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers ( and the lovely Massofhair) to thank for that.

I have gone from being nervous about anyone liking my work, to knowing that people do! My mission is simply to find them! 

My creativity has soared and I feel very lucky to be an artist. I'm learning all the time and I love what I do! Thank you for being part of my journey!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

It's not just fairies!

I wanted to share some recent commisions that I have done for people. I love being asked to do something a little bit different and out of my comfort zone.

I never know quite what something is going to turn out, but that is really exciting to me.

I love the concentration involved in tackling a new subject and it's brilliant when it turns out well.

The best thing however, is knowing that someone is going to be delighted with their special card, because a friend or relative has asked for something to be created, just for them.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Five ways to put more sparkle in your day.

So, what does that mean exactly? Well, I see it as having a little bit of magic about you. It's the bit of fairy glamour that attracts others to you and makes you feel light, bright and positive. 

I think that cultivating a bit of sparkle is a really positive thing. When you are feeling happy, you are open and confident and much less likely to spiral down dark paths. By staying light, you will brighten other people's day and show them that it IS possible ( as well as feeling a whole lot better about yourself.)

How to do it!

Self care

It can be easy to neglect to look after ourselves properly, especially when we are busy and stressed. As a teenager, I was not into makeup or clothes. In fact I was anti fashion and lived happily in oversized band t-shirts. I didn't really care what I looked like and that was fine with me! However, I notice now, that when I make an effort to put some lipstick on or choose a nice outfit, I feel a LOT better about myself.

It's those moments when you look in the mirror and think 'hey, that's me and I'm looking pretty good' that give you a boost. Instead of the alternative scenario where you haven't bothered, you feel tired and moody and your reflection not only reinforces that feeling, but sinks your confidence a bit too.

Your appearance shouldn't matter (after all it's what's on the inside that counts!) but how will anyone know what a beautiful soul you are if you neglect to express yourself as beautiful? 

Mood boosters

There is lots of advice out there on how to start your day,  as it sets you up for how you approach the rest of your day. People recommend, meditation, yoga, exercise and a good breakfast. These are all good, but to get some sparkle going, I would put on some music, have a dance, or sing! Start your day with passion an excitement and don't let anything knock you off course. 

Follow your thoughts like water

Have you noticed how your thoughts seem to trickle down into your body and leave you with either a good or bad feeling? In order to maintain a sparkly feeling, you need to make sure that your thoughts are making you feel good. Just like water, thoughts and emotions run down well worn tributaries, simply flowing unless they find resistance. 

Your habitual thoughts will have a well channeled groove in your emotional body and it is up to you to build dams for negative thoughts and actually carve out new pathways for your shining thoughts to run through.

It takes work and practice, but when you are habitually reaching for happier thoughts, it will be even easier to find that extra bit of sparkle. 

Ocean dips and free swimming

There is nothing quite like getting in natural water to reconnect you and make you feel all shiny and new. Just try it! You will feel special, like you are carrying around an awesome secret. If you don't live close to open water, then have a cold shower. Seriously! You will feel so good after.

Polish your aura

Just because you don't (usually) see it, doesn't mean you should neglect it. Your aura is your energetic space around you and people pick up on how you are feeling without you having to say a word. It helps to visualise your chakras and ensure that everything is flowing as it should. Imagine golden light around you, glittering and enveloping you. 

I like to visualise flowers in mine! This is a lovely and uplifting thing to practice. You can even imagine the smell to give yourself an extra lift.

I hope you find some of this useful! If you would like a bit more detail or any clarification, then let me know.
In the meantime, shine on!