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Just a week and a half remains of my summer night job at the theatre. Watching from the wings the other night, I was just thrilled by the fantasy effect of faces painted in white powder and glitter, illuminated by the lighting.
In the canteen queue at the opera house where I work, the renowned Australian theatre director Barrie Kosky was standing in front of me.
'How are you, Barrie?' asked a passing colleague.
'I'm very tired,' he replied unapologetically.
There seems to be a mischievous mid-summer energy in the air.
Hot, still, star-filled nights filled with the echoing yelps of foxes. A neighbourhood cat slinking through pools of streetlamp light on soundless paws.
It was several years into my painting career before I began to add buildings and cityscapes onto my canvases.
Prior to that, I'd always created characters against an abstract or plain background. I preferred not to give too much away about a character, because I wanted people to be free to project their own ideas about who she or he might be.
People say you are what you eat, but I would also propose that you are what you speak.
Paintings don't make much noise, but often I do hear a voice (should I be worried?) while creating a character on the canvas or page.
‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’
Oscar Wilde’s famous quote is one of the greatest of all time. To me it offers such solace and conjures up an image of magical hope and wonder.
It was the first time I had shared a piece of writing with my bi-weekly writing group.
Even though the other members always offer fair and constructive criticism, I had to work to keep my voice strong from behind my laptop screen.
While sitting with a book beneath June's huge, blue sky, a droning sound began to intrude on my thoughts. It wasn't a bumble bee, so I craned my head back and looked up.
As the film credits rolled, I surreptitiously tried to smear away my tears with my sleeve in the darkness of the cinema.
To keep my mind occupied while bending and stretching, I listened to a TED talk that someone had posted on social media. It's by Anil Seth and is called, 'Your Brain Hallucinates Your Conscious Reality'.
'I feel like sometimes you have to block out real life,' I said to a friend recently over coffee. 'It's like, there are all of these forces telling you to be sensible…
'The job of the artist is to find treasure in the trash,' says mentor Jamie Catto - or words to that effect.
This really struck a chord with me. I am always interested in the discarded, the lost and the overlooked.
'The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.'
When I was sixteen, I wrote this quote from Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Johnson into my little book of inspiration.
I'm not a natural tech-head, but I recognise that modern technology has a lot to offer (when it works!!)
‘OK darrlin’, bellowed the large lady at JFK’s Air Shuttle desk. She didn’t look up from under her impressive afro as she handed over a small white card. ‘Here’s your ticket, ‘n I want choo sittin’ right here at a quarter pay-ast. Ok honey?’
‘Thank you,’ I bleated, my economy-travel-worn English accent suddenly sounding very weedy.
Samuel Johnson's famous quote often comes to mind when I think of London: 'You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.'
Well, I did leave London...
I've been asked to judge a kids' art competition. The children will have been asked to draw or make the 'most extraordinary creature they can imagine'.
I'm often asked who my favourite artists are. Usually, it isn't other painters or illustrators who immediately spring to mind.
I love to draw inspiration from other art forms, and one of my favourites is fashion.
The first day of spring passed by earlier this week. Winter is supposed to be vanquished by now. It should be nothing more than a shivery memory!
I am not a coffee connoisseur. Caffeine gives me the shakes.
Coffee aficionados look on with horror when I fix myself an instant decaffeinated cup of joe, or use a chicory-based hippy alternative from the health-food shop.
I had a birthday recently, and one of my gifts was a gorgeous Labradorite crystal sphere.
As you turn it about in the light, you can see a beautiful, ethereal blue fire slipping about inside of it.
Fifteen years ago, a kitten was born in my East London bedroom, in the back of a guitar amp.
Her doting mum was so proud to introduce me to her tiny, blind, squalling baby.
Tucked away in the heart of London's graffitied East End, there is a little rehearsal studio, with white-washed walls and a glass ceiling.
I tip-toed in, holding a coffee in one hand and a portfolio case of sketchbooks in the other.
It's easy to feel a sense of magical awe when you're standing on the South Downs at night, looking up at the stars.
Apple Mac inventor Steve Jobs famously stole this line from Picasso when he spoke about inspiration. 'It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done,' he explained.
The grey light of dawn peeked through the gap in the curtains, and found me already awake.
With glum resignation, I had to accept that the night had passed without sleep.
And yet here I was, at the crack of 9am on a dark, rain-lashed Sunday after a late night in London, chugging back a mug of instant coffee.
The January skies, in this corner of the world, have been leaden and heavy.
So it has been nice to absorb myself in a painting that’s full of light. To crack open my pots of iridescent gold, and mix up hues of blue sky from my tubes of Cobalt and Cyan.