Saturday, 22 April 2017

Learning to be Cheerful.


 Can you learn to be cheerful? Is it a realistic goal? Can you choose a path of optimism? What is optimism?

Daniel Goleman states in his book, Emotional Intelligence  (1995) that optimism " means having a strong expectation that, in general, things will turn out all right in life, despite setbacks and frustrations...optimism is an attitude that buffers people against falling into apathy, hopelessness or depression in the face of tough going."

Life is tough. Whether you are a student, a teenager, a young parent, an old parent, employed, unemployed, in love or nursing a broken heart. Life is a road which carries many bumps, it is how we choose to navigate the road which can make the journey enjoyable, miserable, magnificent or dull.

There will always be something with you as you make your journey.

It will go everywhere with you.
It will be on display at all times.
It has no size.
It has no colour.
People will make judgements about you on the basis of it.
Its impact on your life is profound.

What can it be?

It is your attitude.

An optimistic attitude prepares you to anticipate success and to bounce back from set-backs. A positive attitude will enable you to see obstacles as opportunities and to remain motivated in order to achieve your goals. An optimistic outlook will help you make self-fulfilling prophecies work for you rather than against you. If you expect things to turn out well, they are more likely to do so.

Optimism is such a wonderful tool because it gives you the confidence to cope with positive and negative events. It helps you to approach situations with assurance, persistence and an expectation of success. Being optimistic means you have a natural aptitude for happiness. That you can manage your perspective and that you can take an active role in creating the life you want.

A valuable lesson to learn here though is that for some people, an optimistic outlook will simply not work. Some people, believe it or not, are quite happy being miserable. I had a long relationship with such a person, He would use my 'optimistic outlook' as a weapon against me. Obviously the relationship ended. As far as I know he is still quite happy being miserable. But that's life. His glass will be forever half empty. At the end of a tunnel I will see daylight, he will see the headlights of an oncoming train. I will see a silver lining, he will see rain approaching. I'll see the doughnut he will see the hole.

You can keep your glass half full by accentuating the positive aspects of a situation. This doesn't mean you are ignoring or denying the negative aspects it's simply a decision to seek encouragement rather than discouragement.
Another key aspect in keeping your glass half full is to express gratitude for what you have or what you have experienced. People who show their appreciation feel more alert, optimistic, enthusiastic and positive.
Of course it is true that when the going gets tough it will be more difficult to be grateful than when things are going well. However it is a valuable lesson to learn that it is during hard times that we need gratitude the most.

Remember:
"The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.'
Marcus Aurelius
(AD 121-180)



@artycelia


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Google: Sunflowers and other Stories.

Having been brought up in the sixties and seventies I do admit to having a bit of a hippy outlook on life but I think this has served me well. I was always encouraged to read and constantly had my nose in a book. Enid Blyton taught me not to be afraid of spiders with her stories of Aaron the spider who was really a prince. I have infuriated my daughters over the years by my insistence that that huge hairy eight legged specimen in the bath was actually a prince trapped in a spider's body. They learned from a very young age how to use a pint glass and a piece of card to let the arachnid out of the window. Same with bees and wasps,' Buzz, buzz, buzz busy bee, busy bee, buzz if you like but don't sting me.' (I made that one up) Walking around the park would have me singing 'There once was an ugly duckling....' although I certainly didn't read that book to my own children over and over again, like my mum did to me ( I still bear a grudge)
As a child I played outside all day long. Imaginary friends would surround me in the woods along with fairies and elves. Trees would have faces to match their personalities, my imagination was that good.
As I grew older I became enchanted by the Greek myths. I still love them to this day. A recent guilty pleasure was discovering the film Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief which I love.
So why the picture of sunflowers? Well my hippy childhood taught me to see the stories behind the scenes; a gift that the young today may never learn with boring old Google giving them black and white answers to all of their questions.

Google: Sunflower; (Well, take a look)

Sunflowers : The beautiful sunflower takes her name from Clytie, a water nymph who turns into a sunflower after grieving the loss of her beloved Apollo. The mythological symbolism is that Clytie (in her form as a sunflower) is always facing the sun looking for Apollo's chariot to return that they might rekindle their love.

The sunflower grows tall and moves to face the life giving rays of the sun and is often used as the symbol of spiritual faith and worship.

A vase full of sunflowers brings sunshine to the gloomiest of days.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Yin and Yang. UK and US

Image result


The referendum in Britain which has resulted in 'Brexit,' the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump in America has highlighted in no uncertain terms the yawning gap between the elite and the 'ordinary people.'
In the United Kingdom there was a sense of profound shock at the result of the referendum and let's face it, if David Cameron had had any doubts about the result would he have allowed it to go ahead?Yes, it was in the manifesto but we are used to politicians conveniently forgetting promises.
The shock took a while to wear off, there was a lot of indignant bickering and feisty arguments but the bottom line was that the politicians had misread their electorate. I think it's fair to say that the referendum provided a perfect stage on which to protest and maybe a lot of the 'Leave' campaigners used their vote as a protest against the general scheme of things.

I am still protesting.I am using my protest vote to challenge every last detail of Article 50 which I think will be detrimental to Great Britain. I feel passionately that the vote to leave the EU was absolutely the wrong decision.


The shock we felt at our referendum result pales into insignificance compared to the seismic shock waves which are still shaking the American soil. Donald Trump is the President of the US.


The Hopi people use the word 'koyaanisquatsi' to describe how they feel about the modern world- a term which roughly translates as ' a world out of balance,' a world which overuses rationality at the expense of our intuition. We have lost sight of the greater picture- the mystical ' feminine' wisdom.
Yin and Yang out of balance. Rich versus poor. Strong versus weak.  A gulf between those in power and those in the workplace. An attitude of us and them.

 Since the referendum last June the passionate feelings of the Remainers do not seem to be at all diminished. I based my vote to 'remain' on my intuition and thorough research. I feel strongly that in a world which is truly 'out of balance' a world in which the 'leaders' seem to be economical with the truth it will be ever more important that we exercise our intuition as well as our rational thought processes in order to steer are paths toward a more peaceful and harmonious future.


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Follow the Dream.

Image result for alice down the rabbit hole drawings
"I could tell you my adventures- beginning from this morning,' said Alice, a little timidly, ' but it's no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then.'
Lewis Carroll.

When Alice disappeared down the rabbit hole, she had one goal in mind, to chase the White Rabbit. While looking for him she was forced to question all of her basic assumptions about reality- and to develop her courage, compassion and humility. She also had a great time.
Her goal wasn't important, it was the journey that mattered. Alice's desire to find the White Rabbit was just an excuse for her adventures in Wonderland.
Everyone needs a White Rabbit. Everyone needs to have dreams which inspire us to reach for the stars, to push through our fears and to explore our potential. When we chase our dreams, we are forever growing and changing, simply because our desire motivates us to keep moving on.
What if Alice had hesitated at the top of the rabbit hole, wondering whether chasing the rabbit was silly or impossible? Or whether there was something more worthy she should be doing? Or whether someone else might be much better at chasing White Rabbits? Whether she was being too unconventional and take up knitting instead? Or whether she should just be satisfied with her life and forget all about the White Rabbit?
If so, Alice would be forgotten by now- and what an adventure she would have missed.
Yet how often do we give ourselves similar excuses for not following our dreams?
We are here to learn, grow and have fun. Life is an adventure in consciousness. By following our hearts we can choose to grow through happiness. There will be many challenges along the way- from Mad Hatters to Mock Turtles- but we can see every event as an opportunity, as part of our adventure.
This doesn't mean that we all have to be wildly adventurous. White Rabbits come in many guises, from setting up a business, to bringing up a child, to committing yourself to a relationship or running a marathon.
All that matters is having the dream and throwing yourself into it. Some people, like Alice, have one White Rabbit which guides much of their life's journey. Others have a whole warren of rabbits leading them down many different holes.
It doesn't matter- all that matters is having a dream.
Think big, think without limits.
And enjoy yourself.

My Polish Friend.

Jay.

I take my dog for a long walk everyday and everyday is a different experience. Today I noticed a lot of Jays flying about. I love Jays.  I am always delighted to see such a magnificent blue flash appearing overhead. But there is another reason that I am always pleased to see a Jay.

About ten years ago I was working in a dental studio. The man who ran the studio fancied himself as a bit of a ladies' man but I wasn't interested in him at all. It was the old man who did the technical work who held me in thrall. His name was Heinz and he was in his early seventies. He was short and round, his cropped hair was grey and he had made his own teeth. He was Polish. We became great friends. We made a very unlikely couple. Me, tall and slim and quite a bit younger than him. I suppose people presumed him to be my dad but he came to mean much more to me than a surrogate parent. He was so kind even though he had lived through terrible times. He described being poverty stricken while growing up in Poland, he told of his escape from his homeland and his tough life in Britain. But he never felt sorry for himself, just grateful for the life he had made. Always the under-dog, he seemed to accept that his dentistry skills would be taken advantage of by people less skilled in technique but more polished in talk than himself.
We went out for lots of meals.  He would dress up for our evenings and always wore his hat. He had impeccable manners. He would stand up in the restaurant until he had seen me settled and then would make a grand gesture of seating himself, placing hat and gloves neatly on the table next to him. The waiter would not be permitted to remove them to the cloakroom. It was these little gestures that I found so charming.
We would chat and laugh for hours, I can't even remember what we talked about but simply feel a rosy glow at the memories.
I did remember one occasion however when he told me about his 'hunting hat' that he had had for years. He used to have a Jay's feather poked in the rim but had lost it.
The day after this particular evening I was out in the park with my dog, (this was Alfie, my previous dog) and lo and behold a Jay's feather fell to the ground. I should have been astonished but I wasn't. It was one of those magical, mysterious things that happen sometimes. Best not to reason why.
I will never forget the look on Heinz' face later that day when I handed him the feather. Years seemed to fall away  and his eyes filled with tears.(So did mine). A magical link between us was cemented with that feather.
On Valentine's Day that year , 2007, my phone rang and it was Heinz. He wished me Happy Valentine's Day  and thanked me for being such a lovely lady and good friend. He said he never expected he would find such happiness so late in his life and that our friendship had made him a very happy old man.

Out of the blue Heinz received a phone call from an old ex-colleague asking him to go and work for him in Sierra Leone. Most old men ( and Heinz was an old man, not sprightly and fit) would not have given this idea a second thought, but not Heinz.
Off he went with his feather in his cap.

I received a letter from him, inside were a few photos of him in Sierra Leone. Smiling at me with his lovely kind eyes. He looked pretty pleased with himself. He returned to the UK to sell his house and  tie up some loose ends.

Then came the phone call. Heinz told me he was gravely ill. He also told me he didn't want to see me. He wanted me to remember him in happy times, looking well.
 Death came and took him swiftly away.
I loved that man. The memories of our funny friendship will stay with me forever.
The Jay is a lovely reminder of our time together.

The Pre-Internet Brain.

Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist/artist/designer who creates visual masterpieces, one of his pieces is a poster reading, " I Miss My Pre-Internet Brain," He has designed many more since this one which was included as part of the collection: "Welcome to the 21st Century."

Coupland is 54, a few years older than me and, like me lucky enough to have actually owned a pre-internet brain and can therefore compare past and present. It's quite a concept and makes me feel privileged to have been born in the 1960's, a generation of children who may well have been the last lot to grow up in a world of self-discovery and wonder, curiosity and creativity as well as in my case anyway, hunger and quite a bit of deprivation. I didn't know I was deprived though so it didn't really matter. I knew I was hungry quite a lot but then I just assumed everyone else was as well. Wasn't it a great feeling to see your big brother walk up the road with a rabbit tucked in his belt, or to not get caught whilst scrumping? (Younger people will need to google) 
A big joy of childhood was the library, a big quiet building where one could wander for ages and ages and go home with lots of dusty books under your arm. (yes, yes, today you know exactly what you want to read, you've seen the reviews online and a pristine book will arrive wrapped in a box) I still love the library, I still sit down in my Lloyd Loom chair and retreat into the world of 11th century Paris or Tudor England or anywhere in the world at any time at all for that matter, even space if I feel so inclined. The library today though is a noisy affair with lots of bleeping going on and people talking into their laptops. Old people shuffle about too embarrassed to ask how to actually borrow their books as the machine has replaced the librarian.
In my day my friends and I on the rare occasions that rain stopped play, would idle away time colouring in. That meant using colouring pencils to colour in pictures in a book. Now, that's an exercise in 'mindfulness.'
The thought of being stuck indoors was a frightful one. Why would anyone want to do that? There were, (still are actually) trees to climb, rivers to swim, orchards to strip, fields to scour. I think I spent about a third of my childhood in swimming pools, proper swimming pools with a proper deep end, not namby- pamby shallow  'safe' boring drips that pretend to be pools today.
Then there was school, Primary School was good fun, Secondary School not so much but I did learn a lot. Curiously although I hated Physics, my teacher to my hilarity was called Mr Grime, I learned an awful lot although didn't realise it at the time. Who knew flow tanks would have been so helpful?
I wasn't allowed the luxury of further education and went to work in London just short of my sixteenth birthday. At twenty I was promoted to a Chief Referencing Officer, fancy being a chief of anything at that tender age. My job was to travel across all of the London Boroughs collating evidence of land ownership. This would see me chatting to a Lord and Lady in Kensington one day and a big burly gypsy on a caravan site the next. I loved that job and it has stood me in good stead as a researcher.I expect all the information I found by trawling around with my pencil and pad can now be found on the internet, not so the myriad of stories behind the facts however.
Nearly thirty years later, my pre-internet brain is shared with my post internet brain.
Today as I walked around the park with my dog I came across a lot of young mums pushing their babies in their buggies. Ducks, swans, herons, cormorants, woodpeckers, parakeets, tits, a sly fox all totally ignored, bright orange and red crinkly leaves left underfoot and not kicked up in delight, squirrels left alone to squirrel their nuts. All the while the babies moaned and the mums listened to music or talked loudly into their hands-free sets.
The dog trod in a sticky pile of something and was covered in burrs, as I extricated them I realised my hand was covered in poo. I had my wellies on so climbed down the old roots of a tree into the stream and splashed about as I washed my hands, I dried them on a waxy leaf... much to the horror of a lady walking by who politely passed me a packet of disinfectant wipes.


Monday, 3 April 2017

The Emotional Exit.

Even the word is harsh - Brexit- it sounds tough on the tongue, an ugly word, brutal in pronunciation.
A politically emotional word, one that makes me flinch while others preen.
I think of Paris, the Paris of today as well as the Paris of my past, a visit on a school exchange aged 14, a romantic trip with my first real boyfriend, bomb blasts, carnage, heartbreak, tragedy. But I feel these feelings with a sense of love, a sense of comradeship. I think of Portugal and my first paintings inspired by the colours of the cliffs, the freezing sea, the wobbly restaurant attached to a rock face.Sardines on the beach and yellow houses. The quiet of the afternoon, the clanging of church bells.
I find it hard to believe that we are going to turn our backs on something so wonderful. Our friendship and alliance with Europe has brought us so much: sumptuous food, oozing garlic, red wine drunk in pavement cafes, rich aromatic coffee, gingham tablecloths, hams, croissants, pizza.
And then there is fashion, who remembers the dull high streets of the 1970's, Shoefayre being the highlight of a rainy Saturday afternoon.
When I think of Europe I see colour, bright reds, swirling skirts, lipstick on smiling mouths, The emerald green of a silk scarf caught in the breeze, shiny hair in curls, dancing. Happy waiters, surly waiters, petite waitresses standing to attention, fishermen clinging to steep vertical cliffs, eager for a fat fresh fish to take to market.
To me Europe means art, fashion, food and wine. sunshine and sea. Glamour.

I dearly hope our European neighbours will continue to open their doors and their hearts to us brutal Brits who have rudely dismissed the hospitality offered by our cousins abroad.


@artycelia



Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Isle of May.

Headline: March 29th 2019.  The Isle of May.

Despite two years of tough negotiation the nation finds itself broken, hungry, skint and scared.

The cost of our dairy and meat products have surged, the price of an average carrot is now 90p.  There has been no asparagus in the shops at all. An iceberg lettuce is a relic from 2016, never to adorn a prawn cocktail ever again. Prawns are as rare as hen's teeth anyway so maybe that's not too much of a problem.
Our cattle have suffered a catastrophe as there are no vets to inoculate them or treat them when ill. 
The fruit available is well and truly manky as the pickers went home leaving the scrumpers to raid the fruit bowl of the land.

A cheap flight to Portugal now costs an average of £999 return but no-one is going on holiday as there is no healthcare provision should they fall ill. (And the foreigners hate us)

Everyone knows someone who has had their personal data hacked- the tech industry is in technical meltdown.

Canary Wharf stands eerily silent as the bankers have fled tatty London Town.

Northern Ireland seems to be doing well though, about time that lot had a break. Black market goods are freely flowing across the soft border and they have a surplus of spuds!

The deficit which has always been huge is now humongous as Davis got bored negotiating and gave out a £50 billion bung.

There have been near riots at the school gates as parents refuse to kit their kids out in the required school uniform which has soared in price since the days of cheap imported clothes. Long gone are the days of a uniform to last a term- we are back to the days of trousers and skirts 'that will last.'

The joy of going out to dinner has gone completely, well unless a curry or a Chinese is your thing, then you are laughing.

German beer and French wine are off the shelves, priced completely out of reach but never mind. 

Cheers anyway- you got what you wanted.

Monday, 27 March 2017

In Reply To: 'Brussels chiefs ready for nasty split.' The Times. March 25 2017





I can't believe we have got ourselves into this mess. I know 'feelings' upset a lot of people on these forums which is quite ironic but blimey , why are we doing this? 

To extricate ourselves is going to be painful, expensive, chaotic and probably futile. It is like dissembling a jigsaw, scattering the pieces all over the floor of a huge warehouse and then scrambling about trying to put the pieces together again to create a pretty picture.

We are where we are in the world. A dangerous world that none of us expected to be in, whatever our age.

We are a member of the European Union, a union (as we have sadly seen) that stands together in the face of adversity. A union that brings us together, teaches our children to share, to enjoy the foibles that being a little bit different but mainly the same bring. To share culture, history and solidarity. To move forward together knowing that someone has your back.

Our leaving is going to be expensive and nasty and a long time coming. Meanwhile, the standard of living we enjoy at present will soon be a thing of the past.

I know I will be moaned at and criticised but I am beyond caring. I feel in my bones that the decision to leave the EU is wrong and I feel really sad and bad about it.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

In Reply To " Remainer Spree Leaves Economists Baffled." The Times: March 17th 2017.




It's interesting and amusing how the referendum has introduced a new form of stereotyping.
Remain voters are portrayed as young to early middle-aged, quite well off and supremely intelligent, probably slim, fit and good looking . Those who voted to leave are portrayed as being as old as Methuselah, a bit on the poor side, lacking in intelligence /decidedly thick, probably a bit tubby, unfit and frankly, ugly. 

But here in Great Britain (soon to be re-named The Isle of May) we are a diverse community, no size fits all.

I voted to remain. I am in my late forties (so I tell myself) not well off at all, quite clever in some areas but quite thick in others, slim, fit and good looking. 

I did have a bit of a spend up this week but not on a new car like a few other posters here today but on a new pair of jeans from Primark.

I think it is reasonable to forecast some very tough times ahead and after reading the interview with David Davis in the Independent earlier this week I don't think it unreasonable to describe a new stereotype: Scarily clueless politicians who are determined to walk the citizens of Great Britain over the White Cliffs and deep down into the beautiful briny sea.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds.

Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds
Oil on paper by Celia Turner.

Autumn.... Winter and now Spring.

The trees flush red and drop their leaves, the flowers wither and the crops stop growing.
Persephone has travelled to the Underworld and Demeter roams the earth missing her daughter.
But Spring will come again and Persephone will return to her mother.
The grasses will become green, the flowers will bloom, the trees will sport blossom, then leaves and then fruit.
Demeter and Persephone will walk hand in hand, talking and singing and laughing and the evening primroses will open just to see them passing by.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

In Praise of Red Lippy

Oil on card by Celia Turner.

My beloved grandma always wore red lipstick, she would not leave the house without a full face of make-up crowned by her lush red lips. It must be in my genes because as long as I've been wearing lipstick ( which is a long time) it's been red. At the moment it's Alarm by Rimmel to walk the dog around the park and Gabrielle by Chanel for special occasions. Chanel lipsticks are an extra special treat as they come in lovely little boxes tucked into  lovely little Chanel bags. A beautiful present to yourself.

Although this doesn't apply to me, red lips have been seen for centuries as a stamp of immorality. In more God- fearing
medieval times, it was believed that creating a plump sexualised mouth would take you on a one way ticket to the devil's doorway. Several hundred years later, Parliament passed a law condemning lipstick, considering it a sign of witchcraft. Good job I wasn't alive in those times, yet another reason to pop me on the ducking stool.

Confusingly there have also been long stretches in history that were entirely pro-red lippy. The Sumerians invented the stuff, just 200 miles outside of Babylon. Egyptian women liked to deepen their lip colour, in fact they were so embraced with beautifying that they were buried with pots of rouge. Queen Elizabeth 1 was famous for her strong red lips, making them regal not sleazy.
And then to Hollywood, with its Technicolor films and beautiful studio portraits;  red lipstick proclaimed GLAMOUR. Think Jean Harlow's pointy pout in the 1930's, Veronica Lake's in the 1940's and of course the purring pouty pout of pouts, the one and only Marilyn Monroe in the 1950's.
These were women with overtly feminine power. They loved being women, they knew their allure, they celebrated their feminine strength.
Even the act of applying red lipstick is empowering. By dressing your lips in red, it draws attention to you, especially your mouth and subsequently the words that come out of it. Red lippy is a symbol of prowess. Unlike other cosmetics that correct or camouflage something we aren't keen on, red lipstick is about assertion. Red lippy is a statement.

Red lippy is a beautiful case of chicken and egg. It may require confidence to wear but confidence can actually result from the wearing of it - and no-one needs to know which came first.
Go on, treat yourself.
You are definitely worth it.

Monday, 13 March 2017

When No News is Good News.

The Tooth Fairy. Oil on canvas.  Celia Turner.

A little while ago I found myself sitting in the dentist's waiting room. I don't mind visiting the dentist, in fact I actually quite enjoy it, so different is the experience compared to when I was a child. Back then it was such a gruesome affair, brutal even, compared to modern day dentistry   I remember the waiting room of yesteryear, very uncomfortable rickety chairs, peeling paint and pictures of gnarled old trees adorned the walls. My brothers and I would make up stories about those trees, anything to keep our minds from Mr Paddyachy, he of the white coat and cruel intentions.

In the surgery of modern times there are no pictures or peeling paint. On the wall is a flat screen television. Sky News is on all the time. We, the patients, are treated to scenes of utter devastation, tiny babies being pulled from the aftermath of an earthquake, dusty faces and bewildered eyes stare at us from the ruins. We see a shot of a bedroom hanging from the side of a building, the bed has a red bedspread. Old women, bent over, wander amid the debris, headscarves askew, crinkly eyes crying. The scene is eerily silent. It is also silent in the waiting room.
Next on the screen is a big man shouting and pointing at an audience. He waves his arms about, he has weird hair and for some reason seems a bit threatening.
Next up are tanks and soldiers, BOOM and BANG and bodies under blankets.

Then, just like that, we are given the latest sports report. This has always confused me. Why IS sport so important? Why is it on the News? It seems distasteful to end a distressing news report with a downcast description of a lost football match.

The children in the waiting room look uncomfortable but there is nothing for them to do except watch the television.

Figures from the NSPCC's  Childline Service show the number of children and young people looking for help with anxiety has jumped sharply, the report states that there were 11,706 counselling sessions where anxiety was mentioned in 2015-2016,This is an increase of more than a third (35%) on the previous year. The report also states that the problem seems to be getting worse, with provisional figures showing that from April to September the service dealt with an average of more than 1000 cases of anxiety a month. Children as young as eight have called the service to discuss their fears, with girls seven times more likely to contact Childline than boys.
Childline president, Esther Rantzen said children and young people are sometimes upset by world events, " Seeing pictures of crying and bewildered toddlers being pulled from bomb damaged homes upsets all of us," she said. "Often we fail to notice the impact the stories are having on young people."

I can absolutely relate to this; I can remember seeing footage from the Vietnam war when I was a very young child and being really, really upset by it.  'The News' was then deemed to be a 'grown-up' programme and I never dared to break the serious silence my parents kept up when watching it.Therefore I didn't ask what was going on, I simply remained haunted by the terrible pictures I had seen.

We now have 24 hour news channels, often the news is just there,as background noise but it is important that we realise that all this 'news' can be overwhelming and frightening to children. We must try to educate and reassure our young people and to take care that they are not overly exposed to violent and dramatic scenes on an everyday basis and to keep 'news' in context. After all 'The News' rarely exposes its audience to 'good news.'

On my next visit to the dentist I took the painting pictured above, I told him it was a gift for the young people to look at while waiting for their appointments. He told me they have the news to watch and I replied that the news was often too grim for such a young audience. He said it was real life.
If I was a child again I think I'd rather look at a pretty painting than at a screen full of crumpled buildings and sad looking grandparents wandering around in a daze.
Real life can wait.

We'll see if he puts the painting on display. I hope he does.


@artycelia



Friday, 10 March 2017

Two Days in March

I take my dog, Billy, out for a long walk everyday and nearly every day there is an incident of some kind. Friday's incident was very unpleasant. I was happily striding along with Billy who was on his lead when a Jack Russell ran up to Billy and started to viciously snap at his face. The Jack Russell was circling Billy and launching his attack. The owner came into view and I told him to get his dog away. The man laughed at me and said, "What do expect, he's a Jack Russell." I replied that I didn't care what he was, he was being aggressive and was out of control.  I told the man to get his dog back on a lead. The dog had no collar and the man had no lead. He didn't even attempt to call his dog off Billy. I told the man I would kick his dog away if he refused to do anything. At this the man took umbrage. He raised his hands in the air and said aloud, "You are going to kick my dog, YOU are going to kick my dog.' The horrible little mutt was still yapping and biting at Billy. I was getting very annoyed and didn't really see why I shouldn't kick his dog away. The man walked on ahead and I held Billy still until finally the Jack Russell ran away. The man then turned around and attempted to take a photograph of me which he promised to put on Facebook to, in his words, 'shame me' for threatening to kick his dog.
In the distance I saw a Jack Russell circling a little Cockapoo and heard the shrill scream of a frightened child.
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I am queuing up at the checkout in Asda on a very busy Saturday afternoon. The supermarket is really busy with people doing their weekly shopping. There is a corridor of sorts which leads out of the shop, it is a really busy thoroughfare with people bustling hither and thither. A very tall black lady glides along with a square cardboard box balanced perfectly on her head. She draws glances of astonishment from all and sundry. The lady working on the checkout raises her eyebrows and mutters something disparaging under her breath. Other people shake their heads and laugh. The black lady does not move her head at all, the cardboard box and its contents remain perfectly still. No  'Bags for Life' necessary.
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I bought my dad some cockles in Marks and Spencer. I had bought some for myself the week before and they were delicious but more than that, they transported me back in time.
On tasting the salty sea flavour of the little molluscs I was immediately reminded of trips to Greatstone Beach as a very young child. My mum and dad and brothers would journey to the beach on cold Sundays with our tin buckets to collect cockles and winkles from the windswept wet shore. I remember being so small that as I crouched down the sand and seawater would ooze into the top of my wellington boots. I also remember my hair smelling of the sea for days after our trips.
We would take our booty home and mum would boil up huge (they probably were normal size) saucepans of water and we would tip in the cockles and winkles. The kitchen would be steamy with the smell of hot sea.
We would then pick the 'beauty spots' out of the winkles with a pin and stick them on our faces. We would all huddle around the formica table and eat our spoils with some bread and butter.
The yellow lino floor would be dotted with beauty spots for days afterwards.

Dad was delighted with his little pot of cockles from Marks and Spencer but remarked that they weren't quite as tasty as the 'real thing.'

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Creative Type.

Me, Myself and I  by Celia Turner.


How can one describe the excitement the artist feels at her easel? How can one describe the obscure thought processes that conjure up a picture that absolutely needs to be painted? Why, when I am feeling creative do I feel that I am living more 'fully' than during the rest of my life?

Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People is a study published in 1996 by Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi. (Harper Collins)

In my case I am describing an artist as in a girl standing at her easel but of course creativity is a phenomenon itself too difficult to describe easily.

The report suggests that creative people tend to have good physical energy but are also often quiet and rest.
We can be smart yet naive.
We combine playfulness and discipline.
Although we may alternate between imagination and fantasy we also have a rooted sense of reality.
We can be both introverted and extroverted.
Humble and proud.
Rebellious and conservative.
Passionate but objective about our work.
Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender. This is psychological androgyny, referring to a person's ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive.

This original report is well worth reading as although it cannot answer individual questions it does offer explanations as to how and why creative 'types' behave and feel as they do.
Can creativity be learned and will it be a much harder skill in these days of digital dominance?

My creative self was born when I was a very young girl at infant school. We were sent out onto the playing fields to find chrysalides' which we then popped into old plastic sweet jars filled with greenery.
A couple of weeks later, to my utter delight a beautiful moth emerged.
I began to perceive the world in a new way.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Tarot Times


The Rider-Waite deck. First issued 1910.


Tarot Lady by Celia Turner. Oil on canvas.
The 78 cards of the Tarot deck are made up of the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana, which basically mean 'big secrets' and 'little secrets' respectively. Nobody really knows where the tarot originated but it is known that decks of mystical numbered cards existed in India and the Far East in ancient times and were probably brought to Europe by the Knights Templar during and after the  crusades to the Holy Land. There have also been suggestions that travelling gypsies from the Far East brought the tarot to Europe during the Middle Ages.
I was introduced to the tarot at a visit to Dreamland in Margate in Kent when I was about fifteen. My friends and I giggled as we queued outside the red velvet curtain which was haphazardly attached to some wonky wooden hooks around a makeshift tent. I entered to find an old lady (she probably wasn't that old but at fifteen anyone over the age of thirty looks pretty ancient) sitting at a round table which was covered in a green velvet cloth. The lady herself had an abundance of black curly hair and wore huge hooped golden earrings. An absolute stereotype and so perfectly fitting. I loved the theatre of it all.
She gestured for me to sit down, I obediently sat on a creaky stool.
I remember looking into her face and being confronted by astonishingly green, green eyes.She didn't actually say anything to me before shuffling her pack  and laying some cards on the table.
She pointed to a card that had  a picture of the moon on it and told me that I was a little lost. Then another card that had a picture of a knight on a horse riding into battle clutching a huge sword, as she pointed at this she told me that I had been insensitive to a friend and needed to sort it out. There were more cards but I cannot remember the others, except the last one which depicted two children surrounded by cups full of flowers. She smiled at me as she explained that I had a strong inner child and needed to nurture her, to beware of becoming cynical or to grow up too soon. She told me never to lose my 'gift' of childlike delight.
It wasn't at all what I had expected it to be. I thought she was going to tell me I would fall in love and live happily ever after.
Thank goodness she didn't.

I have been reading tarot cards for a long time,, this skill has helped me through some dark times.

For readings and more information:
celia.turner@hotmail.co.uk
@artycelia

Friday, 24 February 2017

Henry Miller.

Henry Valentine Miller.
26 December 1891 - 7 June 1980
Writer and Artist

An artist's life involves great swathes of attention. Attention is our way of connecting and surviving. Paying attention to the small details in our lives makes our lives extraordinarily large. Henry Miller championed this attention and his artistic and literary career stand as a legacy to his vast vision and close scrutiny.

'The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.'  Henry Miller.

'The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.' Henry Miller.

'Develop interest in life as you see it; people, things, literature, music- the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.' Henry Miller.

Miller's daughter, Valentine,  describes her father as '... tolerant, kind ,inspiring, droll ,genuine, loving, intelligent, thoughtful, a wonderful combination of many talents, humble as well as proud.'

What a top man. An inspiration.

Author of: Tropic of Cancer. Tropic of Capricorn. Sexus. Black Spring. The Books in My Life and many more.

@artycelia


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Painting Portugal.

Ferragudo, Portugal. Oil on paper by Celia Turner.
This is one of my earliest paintings. I visited Ferragudo in Portugal for the first time back in 2002. This area of Portugal is absolutely stunningly beautiful. Ferragudo town seemed untouched by time with fishermen bringing in their catch, widows in their weeds strolling quietly by, dogs chasing each other and impeccably dressed babies being taken out for a stroll. The air was fresh with salty sea air and barbecued fish. The lovely yellow houses seemed to lend an air of sunshine even on a rare gloomy day. I felt a sense of freedom in Ferragudo, that strange feeling that I had been there before and feeling totally at home even though I had never visited before in my life.
Around the corner from this scene is the Fort of Sao- Joao do Arade, I think it has been modernised now but then was a stately old fort proudly protecting the coastline. I have many paintings of this fort /castle. The coastline itself is very much like our rugged Cornish coast. The deep blue waves bash hard against the burnished orange rocks. If you look carefully you can spot brave fishermen clinging high up on cliff faces as they try their luck at catching supper.
The amazing light in this part of the Algarve is enough to inspire any aspiring artist, it begs a paintbrush. 
An amazing beach at Caneiros provides another stunning vista,To spend a whole day and evening on this beach provides a life long lesson in natural beauty Colours seem to actually dance around the rocks and coves spreading a fairy-tale kind of beauty. When I first visited this beach there was a very old restaurant built into the cliff. The floor was wibbly-wobbly and the structure groaned in the wind, the food and owners however were lovely. A few years after my first visit and the restaurant had been renovated, the lovely old grand-dad was still in residence thank goodness and he and I would watch the sunset and somehow have a conversation even though he spoke no English and I spoke no Portuguese. I painted a scene of the restaurant for the owners at their request but circumstance has sadly meant I have not returned so I have never seen my painting in situ.
I always look back to my visits to this special place with a smile in my heart.


Friday, 27 January 2017

Donald Trump - The Geminian

Versatility is the hallmark of Sun sign Geminians. This is the first dual sign of the zodiac, and its subjects find it essential to pursue several courses of action at once. They also need to communicate on all levels. Their potential can be expressed in many ways, but especially through the media. This need for communication is so strong that they will tweet on every conceivable subject  and will happily chat to someone in the bus queue if no-one else is available.

The Geminian versatility and communicative skills should ideally be used in the chosen career. Many do very well working in the media and are also known as the natural salespeople of the zodiac, doing well in department stores, advertising and as commercial travellers. Their need for change and variety should not be ignored: predictable routine is inimical to them. So is solitary work, but when a Geminian acquires a lonely top job, he will never fail to listen to former colleagues, although this doesn't mean that their advice will be accepted. a full and free interchange of ideas, and the batting to and fro of opinions, is important.
In business, Geminians can be highly shrewd and cunning, and if they apply these characteristics to making money they often do extremely well, although sometimes a faulty decision, perhaps too hastily made, will result in financial collapse.
This is not an overly ambitious sign, but the Gemini imagination will happily enjoy success before it is actually achieved.

Superficiality is the worst Geminian fault, and should be controlled- these people tend to know a little about many subjects, and sometimes fail to acquire truly deep knowledge of the things that really interest them. An ability to assimilate knowledge can work well under certain conditions but it is important for these Geminians to realise the necessity for deep thought and seriously based opinions on some subjects.
A tendency to inconsistency is another problem, the Geminian need for variety and change makes it all too easy for these people to start a great many different projects but then leave a lot of them unfinished. However, awareness of this trait can help counter it.

There is a very powerful critical streak in every Geminian, which can be more damning than they realise and causes them to upset and deflate others, this can be tempered with humour and softened with praise.


Note: The monkey, quick witted and full of tricks is a Geminian animal!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Trump Effect on Fashion.

Fashion itself is a reliable reflection of social, cultural ,economic and political change. And boy 'The Times They-Are-A-Changin''. I wonder what effect the Trump era will have on fashion?

I think the first noticeable change will be in the boob department. I predict that boobs will be taking a back seat. I reckon we (well, us girls) will be buttoning up our blouses pretty pronto. When women want to be taken seriously they need to look serious. In the US the women will be feeling thwarted, frantic and afraid of what their futures hold for them and their daughters. It is time for them to re-group, show solidarity, button up and go to war to reassert themselves and their power.
Already the disappearance of the bosom can be noticed on the red carpet with high-necked gowns overtaking the plunging necklines which already seem embarrassing and naff.
The sales of plunge bras have plummeted while the sales of t-shirt bras, un-padded bras and bra-lets have increased. Women want to feel like women again.  Strong, feminine and natural. The inner lioness is ready to roar. She may be in the long grass licking her wounds for a while but she will be back fiercely protecting her cubs, after having fed them of course.

I think legs will become the focal part of the fashionable body. Long and strong, showing the ability to kick ass. A little bit of lithe leg peaking from the side of a long evening gown evokes a sensation of power and strength. But is classy and feminine at the same time.

For work I think very smart, no nonsense is the dress of the day. Not severe though.Women do not need to adopt a masculine attitude in dress or mind.

Hair is an interesting one. I can imagine returning to the buttoned up Victorian era. Masses of beautiful long hair for night time but tucked up tight for the daytime. A return to the hair pin. This styling will lend an air of mystery and be fun to manage. At the beach we can have playful plaits, in the boardroom, a no-nonsense bun. For peace loving people hippie hair can make a comeback. I foresee a return of the afro to represent a fierce sense of black pride.

Fashion can make loud statements but it doesn't need to shout.
Fashion allows people to express themselves, their personal identity, their culture and their talents.
Fashion can change politics.
Fashion is powerful. Use it.

@artycelia

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Brigitte Bardot

"I have understood that the most important things are tenderness and kindness,
I can't do without them."


"I have always adored beautiful young men. Just because I grow older, my taste doesn't change. So if I can still have them, why not?"


Asked what the best day of her life was, she replied
"It was a night."

Sophia Loren.



"Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical."

"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful."

"If you haven't cried, your eyes can't be beautiful."

A Short Tribute To Coco Chanel.


Coco Chanel. Photographed by Cecil Beaton 1937
In 1918, when Coco Chanel presented her first collection of gowns, she heralded a new type of glamour
that became instantly classic. Her vision was modern, streamlined and elegant.
Like Chanel, who broke every rule, classic glamour doesn't adhere to strictures.
Yet you know it the instant you see it.
And what might be trashy on someone else (marabou feathers, sequins, an asymmetric dress) is pure
perfection on those who , thanks to their confidence and inherent style, personify glamour.
For further instruction, take a tip from Chanel herself, and her immortal line:
" A girl should be two things- classy and fabulous,"
A perfect definition of classic glamour.

" Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit
the face you have at fifty."
Coco Chanel.


"I am not young but I feel young.The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there.
J'aime la vie!
I feel that to live is a wonderful thing."
Coco Chanel
August 18 1883 - January 10 1971

The Birth of Seaside Glamour.

Gerald and Sara Murphy.
Before the early Twenties, no-one
fashionable went to the French Riviera in the summer and sunbathing was unheard of.
But in 1923 an American expatriate couple, Gerald and Sara Murphy, persuaded
the Hotel du Cap to stay open during the hot months so they and their guests could
spend time frolicking in the sea, lying in the sun and sharing gossip.
Their friends included Picasso, Cole Porter, Dorothy Parker, Hemingway, Cocteau, Marlene Dietrich and
Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald. Indeed, so fascinated was Fitzgerald by his hosts that he based Nicole and Dick Diver
in
Tender is the Night upon them!
A very glamorous set then, and they all looked the part- Sara always wore pearls with her bathing costume
because, she said, "they needed sunning."
Since the Murphy's heyday, the beach has retained its allure and provided
a constant inspiration and backdrop for some of the most memorable
fashion photography.










Saturday, 7 January 2017

Not in Vogue.

Me,back in the very early 80's
I can remember having this picture taken. It is a photograph, not a snap. I had to pose, I was very tall (well, funnily enough, I still am) and very slim and very young and fancied myself as super model material. I was a bit premature on that front as the real supermodels were still struggling to make names for themselves back then, in fact the term wouldn't be christened for a couple more years. I sent the photo to a modelling agency in Mayfair. I didn't hear anything from the agency so just carried on in my job as a clerical officer at the Greater London Council. Then one day I had a phone call at work, a personal phone call which was very frowned upon. It was a man calling from the agency in Mayfair asking me where I was. I was flustered and replied that I was at work. He went on in a dramatic fashion to say that the studio had been set up and the photographer was waiting for me. I didn't know what to do as I couldn't just up and leave my desk. I tried to explain that I hadn't heard anything from the agency at all, let alone notice of a pending appointment. My immediate boss could see that I was in a pickle and indicated that I pass him the phone which I did. He asked the caller for an explanation and then calmly put the phone down. He then, to my astonishment , took some cash out of his wallet and told me to go and get a taxi to the appointment.
It was summer and I was wearing a dress, quite a smart dress as casual clothes were not deemed fit to wear to work at that time. I felt frumpy and not model material at all but a steely determination had set in and on the way to Mayfair I mapped my new life , it would include lots of glamorous parties, champagne, gorgeous clothes, Vogue covers, shining hair, good-looking men and of course, vast sums of money.
I arrived at the building which was a tall and grand affair, I presumed the whole house was the agency but soon realised that the number of bells attached to the wall gave the lie to that assumption. I pressed the bell to the agency and the door swung open. I climbed up a long staircase until I reached what was probably once known as the servants' quarters. I was ushered in by a youngish man who was wearing a hacking jacket and light brown cords, (I don't know why I remember this detail so clearly) he had a floppy fringe which he had to keep flicking from his eyes. He looked me up and down while rubbing his hand across his chin. He asked me to pull my dress up so he could see more of my legs. I felt a red flush bloom across my cheeks but pulled up my dress as instructed. He seemed to stare at my legs for ages and I felt awkward and embarrassed but kept telling myself I was being stupid as of course I would have to expect this sort of scrutiny everyday while being photographed by David Bailey and the like.
Finally, the man from the agency, (I can't remember his name) told me he thought my legs were a tiny bit on the chubby side but not to worry, I could exercise that away. I remember feeling mortified, my legs couldn't really have been any skinnier, they wouldn't have held me up. I dropped my dress back down to below my knees.
The photographer called from the 'studio' which was probably once upon a time, a broom cupboard.
I had lost my nerve, I couldn't bear the thought of my chubby legs being photographed. I dashed back down the staircase on my sturdy pins and hailed a taxi which took me back to County Hall.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Artwork not Housework.

Oil on wood by Celia Turner.

Have had to spend the day doing BDT's  (Boring domestic tasks) today. That's hoovering,(which is actually quite difficult as my dog absolutely hates the hoover. I have to constantly throw his ball for him with one hand and hoover with the other) Ironing, dusting, waxing furniture etc. Boring, boring , boring. The good news is that I found this painting tucked away in an old portfolio. I'm sure it is one of a set that I painted some time ago.

The bad news is that I turned my studio upside down trying to find the others. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Tips to Beat the Winter Blues.

It is thought the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder affects around 2 million people in the UK. It can affect people of any age including children. So, as it's a gloomy start to November, cold, grey and damp, here are some tips to beat the blues. And a happy picture to remind you of more colourful days to come.



As soon as you wake up, open all curtains and blinds- any light is good light.
Maintain your routine- don't neglect your hobbies.
Get outside- dog walkers have to do it.
Ditch the sugar-  sugar feeds depression.
Develop wintertime interests- become a super-chef, a knitter, a blogger, a singer, a dancer.
Practice relaxation- breathing exercises, yoga, mindfulness.
Watch a funny film- it is hard not to laugh.
Keep warm- hot water bottles are great, hot drinks, warm socks.
Keep working out- you will feel better even if it's a struggle.
See friends and family- they might need cheering up too.
Book a massage- a study shows massage appears to increase your brain and body's level of serotonin.


So, don't hibernate, you are not a hedgehog.