Thursday, 25 March 2010

Latest Creations in Etsy

I have recently listed my latest mini art and trinket box creations on Etsy, which you can view either from the link at the right of this page, or by clicking on the title of this post.

Struggling to find a suitable title for these two items, I decided to do a bit of "cheating" and just entered the two main colours, yellow and red, into an online anagram solver. The result actually astounded me by providing over 4,500 solutions!! I went with "Lowlander Dye" because it just seemed to suit it, somehow, although I have to admit there were a few ridiculous ones in there that I was tempted to select!

Here are the two items as a set, although I am selling them separately:

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Peter Williams - Mighty Fine Art

Unexpected Delivery

One day last week I received a rather large, flat parcel through the post. I wasn't expecting anything so it came as a bit of a surprise to me, even when I saw the label on the back of the parcel with Peter Williams' details on the return address. A few weeks ago I'd emailed him a photograph of myself for possible use in one of his Western Art portraits. I'd thought no more about it and said he didn't have to use it if he didn't think it suitable. Therefore I really was taken aback when I opened the parcel to see this little (well, actually rather large) beauty greeting me. When I say beauty, I'm of course referring to the skill of the artist, not the subject matter!  Peter had very kindly mounted the pencil portrait he'd done and carefully wrapped it in cellophane then sent it to me. I was really chuffed to have received it. I have already said to Peter that I don't think I will be displaying it in my house, as I think it's a bit much to look at yourself that size on a daily basis - but nevertheless I am still very happy to own the piece of work. Peter just regarded it as a practice piece of work - I still marvel at his skills with a pencil, so I wanted to share this with others! He has recently been shortlisted for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist Of The Year competition 2010. I have a feeling he will go far in that and I wish him every success. A talented artist and a true gentleman, too. I am privileged to know him. You can read more about Peter on his website, by clicking on the title of this post, or you can read his blog here.

Latest painting

 Aitch At Sea
Today I have finally decided to upload my most recent painting to my web-site. The idea behind this painting is that I have the letter "H" (my alias is the spelling for the letter "H" - Aitch) embedded within the painting. I plan to create a small series of these paintings with my initial letter hidden in one way or another, either in a subtle way or an obvious one. I have been in two minds about this one for ages, but as it's been hanging on my hall wall for over a week now, I have grown to like it more and more. I used some lovely acrylic inks in the sea part of the painting, which catch the light beautifully every now and then. The painting is 8 x 10 inches (that's 20 x 25cm for metrically minded folk!). It will be available for sale on my personal website and on the Affordable British Art website  should you wish to have a look at it in more detail and maybe think about purchasing!

Hull Musical Society Fund-Raising


A group of Hull musicians have tuned in to charity in a bid to support vulnerable children across the city. The Hull Musical Society (formerly The Hull Amateur Operatic Society) recently raised £368 at a musical show based on the life and work of Dr Thomas Barnardo, founder of the national children's charity.

Pictured above, presenting the cheque to Douglas Green (Manager of the Barnardo'sHull 348 Project) are, L-R: Ann Jackson (Treasurer), Gill Barker (Musical Director) and Helen Davison (Publicity Officer).

The society performed "The Likes Of Us", written in 1965 by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice, at the Floral Hall in Hornsea, and the Middleton Hall, University of Hull. Money raised from the five sell-out performances was donated to Barnardo's Hull 348 service earlier this week at Sutton Methodist Church Hall, where Hull Musical Society rehearse. The money will be used to support vulnerable children and their families who are referred to the service.

The Likes Of Us tells the story of Dr. Thomas Barnardo from his arrival in London to the setting up of his first children's refuge at The Elephant & Castle, a popular gin palace until purchased by Barnardo for his rather more altruistic purposes.

The show was a financial success for the Society and as such they are very pleased to donate the funds raised to such an apposite cause.

Doug Green, manager of Hull 348, said: "We are very grateful to Hull Musical Society and all the people who attended their performances for their generosity. Kind donations like this help to make sure that we can carry on supporting vulnerable children and young people across the city."

Hull Musical Society was founded in 1897 as The Hull Amateur Operatic Society. They have regularly produced musical shows annually throughout this time and are committed to ensuring that each production is of a high standard.

Membership is open to anyone with an ability to sing in tune, but to maintain the current professional standard, each new member must audition prior to joining. Rehearsals are weekly, on Tuesday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30pm at the Sutton Methodist Church Hall, Church Street, Sutton.

Their next concert will be held at St James Church in Sutton on April 16th, for which rehearsals are well under way. For more details about the society or any of our concerts, please contact our Secretary, Peter Martin, on 01482 701267.

Barnardo's Yorkshire works with more than 14,000 children, young people and their families in over 40 specialised projects in communities across the region.

We believe in the potential in every child and young person, no matter who they are, what they have done or what they have been through. We will support them, stand up for them and bring out the best in each and every child.

Every year we help thousands of children turn their lives around.But we cannot do it without your help. Visit Barnardos to find out how you can get involved and show you believe in children.


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

New notepad for Spring!

Today I have been doing some traditional "Spring cleaning". What started out as just a bit of a tidy-up this morning turned into a bit of an all-day clean of the living room, hall and bathroom! I haven't touched our bedroom or the kitchen yet, but now that I'm in the mood it may just happen tomorrow. I have also been getting rid of some of the clutter that I used to call ornaments. I love cats, and have sometimes bought souvenir cat ornaments from places we've travelled to. However, there was a period when all I seemed to get for gifts were things cat-related and I feel enough is enough! I am keeping a few of my favourite ones, but I feel so much better for having a bit of a clear-out. I have also just had some photos taken of my latest note-pad, which I have aptly named Spring Fever! I will be posting it on Etsy when I get time either later this evening or tomorrow, but here's a sneak preview of it before then. The above view is of it hanging on a wall in our living room. The whole of the note-pad board is decorated, however, and can be seen in the image below.

I think I need some food now - once I get stuck into a job I tend to forget about eating - it's the same when I'm creating things, too. I think I just heard my lovely husband say something about chips, mmmmm, one of my favourite trashy snacks. McCain's Southern Fries!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

You're Nicked

We have just held our auditions for the next play to be performed by the Junior members of Bilton Amateur Dramatic Society and it is with great pride that we are to stage a play originally written for the drama club of a local primary school. One of the adult members of BADS, Andy Jowett (or Mr J as he is affectionately known), is also a teacher at Preston Primary School and he often writes plays for the children to perform. He runs the drama club, so he also gets to direct the plays he has written.

If you click on the title of this post, you will be directed to the blog of Preston Primary School and there you will find many comments relating to the school's production of "You're Nicked".

The play has a large cast, originally with 30 named parts, but we have had to double up some of the parts and cut out a few in order to be able to cast it from within our existing membership of 18. Fortunately, Mr J was quite happy for us to edit his original script in order to make it fit our requirements. The other very fortunate element in using a "home-grown" script is that we have no royalties to pay either! These can often be very expensive for a small society such as ours, so it's really helpful.

We saw the original version of this play at the school, so we know how good it is. Even with some editing, I'm sure our production will be just as enjoyable. We may even invite the original cast members to come along to see it, just to get their reaction!

This play will be performed in July, probably on two separate evenings and on the same night as the performances from the Youth Section.

The laborious process of blocking for all these plays is now in place - it takes a long time to plan all the moves of each actor/actress in order to ensure the play itself runs smoothly and to prevent any awkward positioning or stumbles during the performances. Our study has been a whirr of printing recently, with 21 copies of the play being produced for the Juniors, plus several master copies for us as directors. July seems a long way off, but with only 1 rehearsal a week, this is no mean feat, especially when not all the children will be committed to attending every single rehearsal!!!

Next Monday we will be telling the children what parts they have got and giving them their scripts - hopefully to be looked after but, children being children, no doubt several will be forgotten, eaten, sat on, left in a classroom at school or a combination of all those!

I know that some children will be elated, others disapointed with their allocated parts, but we utilise the same code of conduct in the Junior & Youth section that we do in the adult section at BADS. New members simply do not get large parts in plays. Without previous knowledge of anyone's ability to learn lines, act, or even be reliable to turn up on time to rehearsals every week, we do not take a chance and use our most reliable members for the larger roles. This has always worked and it ensures we produce a professional play each time.

Reactions from the younger members may be posted here next week!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

12 Angry Pigs

The title of this post is the title of one of the short plays we are hoping to direct with the Youth Section this summer at Bilton Amateur Dramatic Society. You can read the full play online by clicking on the title of this post, which takes you to the web-page where I discovered it.

Today we have been casting 4 short plays - and looking for pig masks for this particular play. The best ones we found were these:
They are realistic-looking, but only cover the top half of the face, so the actors can still speak without being restricted in any way! The masks are available online from Silly Jokes and we will need to order 12 before the summer!

The other plays we are hoping to perform include 3 short plays written by Johnny Ball. "Mind The Trains" is set in a railway station and includes a talking weighing machine, a Porter wearing a boxing glove and an Irishman to name but a few. Johnny Balls plays are fun to watch, but they need to be well-acted since a lot of the humour is dependent on the lines being delivered clearly, since the humour is word-related! The second of his play is "The Sins of Cinderella", which is one we have done before with the Junior group. This is a pantomime-esque scene and perhaps the funniest character of all in this one is the Odd Bod. He/she has to do all the sound effects which include an orchestra tuning up, a donkey and a clock chiming each stroke of 12.

Finally, "Full of Eastern Promise" is a play for 5 characters and a lot of difficult lines to learn! Characters such as "Iyam, the jailor" make the humour twice as funny when identities are confused already!

Tonight we will be giving the parts to the members of the Youth section and beginning to rehearse all 4 short plays, which will only require minimal staging and props to bring them to life.