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.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

A Picture of 1966.

1966. Oil on card by Celia Turner.

Here is a painting to celebrate 1966, the year in which many of my peers were born. 50 years seems like a long time ago yet also not that long. In England the year is best remembered for the winning of the World Cup against West Germany, good job we have that memory at least. (Well, I don't remember it as such and all it gets in the painting is a little goal at the bottom of the picture)
Other notable events that took place in 1966 included:
The last UK concert by The Beatles.
John Lennon meets Yoko Ono.
Anti- Vietnam war protests all over US and London, Tokyo, Stockholm and Lyon.
Cigarette packs started to carry health warnings.
USSR launches Lunar 9 towards the moon.
Dow Jones index reaches 995 points.
It's the 23rd Golden Globes.
Ba-ath party takes power in Syria.
Muhammad Ali beats George Chuvala in 15 rounds.
215,000 US soldiers are in Vietnam.
Harold Wilson (Labour) wins the General Election.
Soviet Lunar 10 completes its first orbit of the moon.
Andy Warhol films The Velvet Underground.
Frank Sinatra records 'Strangers in the Night.'
Muhammad Ali TKO's Henry Cooper in 6 rounds.
2,400 people attend The White House Conference on civil rights.
The period of relative peace following WW11 exceeds that following WW1.
Brian Jones' final appearance as a Rolling Stone.
Muhammad Ali KO's Brian London in 3 for heavyweight title.
Lunar Orbiter 1 takes first photograph of earth from the moon.
Race riots in US.
'Monkees' premieres on NBC TV.
Walt Disney dies.
Five inches of rain fall on NYC.
The National Organisation of Women is founded.
Jimi Hendrix writes 'Purple Haze' backstage at the Upper Cut Club.
Monkees' 'I'm a Believer' hits number 1 and stays there for seven weeks.
The cult classic 'One Million Years BC' starring Raquel Welch is released.

Our mums were wearing mini skirts, our dads were wearing flowery shirts.
And here we are, fifty years later.
I wonder how I would paint a picture of 2016?

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Not a Rainbow- a Fogbow

A beautiful shot of a white 'fogbow' has been captured by photographer Melvin Nicholson. Mr Nicholson was out walking on Rannoch Moor in the west of Scotland on Sunday when the stunning white rainbow appeared. A 'fogbow' is a colourless rainbow that is made up of tiny water droplets that cause fog. A windswept tree, framed by the fogbow completed his magical shot.
As an artist myself, I especially love this photograph, I can imagine Melvin's delight at capturing this particular image at this particular time, not staged at all, nature doesn't do dress rehearsals or repeat performances after all. He was in the right place at the right time and was rewarded with this gift from nature, and he unwrapped his present and shared it with the world.
                                                             Magical work Melvin.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf by Roger Fry (1917)

I love this painting of Virginia Woolf. The faraway look in her eyes seems to encapsulate the myriad of thoughts that constantly swirled around in her head. I think she looks beautiful which would not be a common description of this great lady. It's such a shame that a generation of cinema-goers will only know of Virginia Woolf through the narrow portrait given in the film 'The Hours' where she comes across a dull and dour woman.
I would have so loved to have been a part of The Bloomsbury Group, those artists, philosophers, writers and intellectuals who revelled in each others company during the first half of the 20th century.
Fancy belonging to a group whose members included Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry, E.M Forster, Duncan Grant, Lytton Strachey and Leonard Woolf himself of course.

What the Bloomsbury Set would have thought of life today is anyone's guess. I think I would have preferred to live in an era of dramatic and important literary and artistic developments and to have had the pleasure of discussing these developments with a group of friends who were also so central to those discoveries.

Sadly Virginia suffered from depression and ended her own life.
But I hope to learn more about her and in doing so celebrate her life.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Creative Columnist.

This will be my 51st post. So far the subject matter of this blog has been rather eclectic, a bit of glamour, quite a bit of politics, a smidgen of philosophy, a tiptoe into tarot and a lot of a art.
I do tend to flit from one subject to the other but that's a characteristic of the creative brain.
Some people assume that artists- musicians, writers, poets, painters- are strong on the fantasy side, whereas politicians and business people are realists. This may be true in terms of day-to-day routine activities. But when a person begins to work creatively, all bets are off.
Artists need to combine playfulness and discipline or responsibility and irresponsibility. There is no question that a playfully light attitude is typical of creative individuals. But this playfulness doesn't go far without its antithesis, a quality of doggedness, endurance and perseverance.
When I am feeling creative I feel like I am living life more fully and can easily become absorbed in a project for hours on end. But don't be fooled, having a creative brain is also hard work.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Emotive Intuition and the Victory of Donald Trump.

Good Morning America.

Half of the American people (well, nearly half) will have been nursing their first coffee of the day feeling rather sick. Think of us Brits on June 24th, (well, nearly half of us.We feel your pain) 
A vast disillusionment would be setting in: that as of now the romantic idealisation of America is dead.
As they shift uncomfortably in their chairs they will come to the conclusion that there may not be a happy ending to the novel that is their homeland.
Nearly half of the American people presumed that their fellow citizens still believed in a more liberal approach to life, a bit more of a leaning toward racial harmony and sexual equality; believed them to be an open and tolerant lot, believed them to be, well, more like themselves. It comes as a horrible shock to realise that it's actually you in the minority. It's actually you who voted for the losing campaign.
It's horrible to realise that perhaps you overlooked those fellow Americans, mainly white people, living in mainly rural areas who don't share your views on what it's like to be an American citizen. Those people who base their values on blood and soil, traditional patriarchy and racial hierarchy.
It is very unsettling to learn that the fragile harmony of your political song has been shattered.
But politics is a reckless game.. The American people, like the British people, wanted change, any change and they tuned into their emotive intuition get that change. The problem being that when anger or fear are deployed as the driving motivators for political action, the capacity for discernment is muted to say the least.
We voted for Brexit, you voted for Trump.
When the dust has settled and the shock has worn off a bit you will be able to sit back and ponder the problems that brought you to this point in your history. This will require a good look at yourself and your belief system. It will require you to look properly at our world today and what it has become. 
Then it will be up to you to step up to the plate, edit your novel and start writing the sequel.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Life and Death

Today I remember my brother who died in 2002 at the age of 42. He had been ill for some time so one would assume his death did not come as a shock but it did. We had grown accustomed to his illness, he had a brain stem tumour. My sister-in-law nursed him at home and his estimated life expectancy had been a few months yet he just kept going. He was bedridden but could recognise us and every now and then would surprise us all with bursts of conversation before silence resumed. Every now and then we were treated to glimpses of his wit and charm. I remember one particularly poignant conversation I had with him. He told me he had been out in the fields with Joe (his father-in-law who had passed away many years previously) and  a few of his other mates. A quizzical look came across his face as he said to me, "But, Cee, Joe wouldn't open the gate, why wouldn't he open the gate, why wouldn't he let me go with him? I wanted to go with him." I imagined a sun kissed field and a big farm yard type of gate, I could practically see Joe with his black shiny hair shaking his head at my brother before shutting the gate and leaving him on the other side.

Joe must have returned and opened the gate.

My brother left behind his wife and four children and a grandson.
The children were devastated, They won't mind being called children even though three of them were teenagers, the other even younger. It was a truly terrible time.

Years march relentlessly on and my brother would now be the proud grand-dad of 12 lovely little (and not so little) people. His children have done well.
But the lilting sadness is still there and probably always will be.
The following passage from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is for them.

...Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would now ask of Death.
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day
cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death
open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river 
and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hope and desires lies your
silent knowledge of the beyond:
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your
heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate
to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd
when he stands before the king whose hand
is to be laid on him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling,
that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind
and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the
breath from its restless tides, that it may rise
and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence
shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top,
then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then
shall you truly dance.

Kahlil Gibran. The Prophet.
Heinemann: London

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Art Deco and Modernist Carpets.

Spanish Dancer. Oil on wood by Celia Turner.
Based on carpet designed by Joan Miro c1930 for the Maison Myrbor, a gallery on the rue Vignon near the Champs Elysees.

Arts and Crafts.

I have always been intrigued by the debt we owe to William Morris. Morris was one of the most influential personalities on the British  cultural stage in the second half of the 19th century. Morris was one of the first to consider the carpet as an art form, rather than merely as a floor covering.
William Morris also advocated the 'total work of art', which extended from the design of  a building down to the cutlery and floor coverings.
The philosophy of William Morris and John Ruskin gave birth to the Arts and Crafts movement.

Art Deco and Modernist carpets are beautiful works of  art and can be seen in museums and collections all over the world, including the Victoria and Albert museum in London.
 I am working on a collection of paintings based on original carpet designs from the art deco and modernist era.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Emotive Intuition and Brexit.

Image result for picture of david cameron as he resigned
David Cameron announcing his resignation 24 June 2016.

During his resignation speech David Cameron said "We should be proud of the fact that in these islands we trust the people for these big decisions." In my opinion his body language told me a different story. My intuition, (another 70's trait) told me that he was absolutely gutted at the decision to leave the EU and was struggling to understand how people could have been so recklessly stupid. As he finished the speech he may well have said ," Right, you bunch of t******' now you can get on with it, I'm off."
The referendum was a massive political gamble and one that I don't think should have ever been undertaken. What is the point of politicians if such huge decisions are left to the masses of uninformed, angry, disillusioned, fearful, desperate voters who couldn't possibly have been  informed enough as to the consequences of such an overwhelmingly life changing decision?  The result of the referendum will have consequences which will last long after the deaths of the people who voted for it. Politicians and Prime Ministers should have that responsibility not the average man or woman on the street.
Politics is reckless. The British public wanted change, any change, a boot up the bum to the political elite, that mass of  nameless faces ruling from their ivory towers and they tuned into their emotive intuition. The problem being that when anger or fear are deployed as the driving motivators for political action, the capacity for discernment is muted, to say the least.The problems in Britain aren't really linked to the EU, the problems are more to do with social class, the haves and the have-nots,  These are the problems that should be addressed by our political parties, the politicians need to take care of their own back yards yet ironically the Brexit vote will take our politicians further away from the problems at home as they have to deal with the consequences of a vote that should never have taken place.
In the future I can imagine our grandchildren looking back at this time in our history with bemused horror.

And across The Pond will the voters tune into their emotive intuition and vote for Trump?

A little part of me thinks that one day Boris will become Prime Minister and stand up to say that it's all been a nonsense and a colossal waste of time and as Prime Minister he is going to cancel the whole silly ruddy idea that was Brexit.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Palm Trees.

Palm Trees. Oil on canvas by Celia Turner.

Crumbs, it is SO cold today. I am sitting here wrapped up in a vest, jumper, scarf and shawl and I'm still freezing.
I spent the morning getting the garden 'ready for bed' meaning tidying it up and cutting the grass before the weather gets too bad, I've brought the geraniums into the 'conservatory', loose term as it's more like a bombed out bus shelter clinging precariously to the side of the house, that's rented accommodation for you. I can now look forward to a few months of  involuntary slimming as there's no point paying for heating as any warmth simply seeps outside through the 'original' windows, which also took a battering during WW2.
This is the life of the impoverished artist. Still, all is not lost as I am going to rearrange my studio so I am surrounded by seascapes, lovely blues skies and glistening water, golden sands and lapping waves can lull me into a sense of  warm escapism as I wipe the dewdrops from my nose.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Marmite is Toast.

It would seem that the kitchen staple, Marmite is to be a victim of Brexit.
Who would have been able to predict the demise of such a popular product ?
Perhaps more worrying however is that the same company supplies us with English Mustard.
How beautiful the irony.

I remain......a Remainer.
(And I prefer marmalade on my toast)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Vogue. Happy One Hundred Years.

Oil on card by Celia Turner

Vogue magazine was 'born' in 1916 during WW1 when shipping in the US magazine became impossible.
There are obviously thousands of iconic, fabulous photos taken by a myriad of amazing photographers.
A quick google search will provide lots of information about the models, photographers and clothes but for me, a much overlooked prize to be found among the glossy pages of Vogue are the articles themselves, always written in an artistic fashion, well-researched, relevant and thoroughly absorbing.
A stand-out article for me this year would be
Goodbye To All That?
by Cressida Connolly

Cressida reflects on an enduring love affair with the Continent, and why Brexit . more than any other political question. is an emotional issue.
Published in the June issue the article serves as a poignant reminder of days gone by, although Cressida could not have known this at the time of writing.

The painting above is my tribute to 100 years of Vogue.

Friday, 7 October 2016

The Artist's Way.

This is my battered old copy of 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron. I bought this copy in 1994 and no matter how many times I shove it into the back of a cupboard it always gets retrieved.

It is my 'kick up the bum book.'

It enables me to reconnect with my inner and outer artist and to get moving forward with renewed vigour. It renews my faith in myself and who I am.

Describing oneself as an 'artist' can sound a bit, well, a bit poncey, pretentious, affected even but I have been painting and writing for a very long time , it's what I do. I have sold paintings at home and abroad, I have entertained children with my book, 'Mabel' and have had my research used in national newspapers and television documentaries.
I have stood in freezing conditions and the pouring rain while manning my pitch at London's Greenwich Market, I have sat in many a gallery while exhibiting my work.
My house is adorned with my artwork.
I am an artist.

Julia's book helps me recognise myself in a world where it is so easy to get lost.
If you are looking to discover or recover your creative self I would recommend The Artist's Way.


Image result for poems about old fashioned glamour
Charming: Pleasing, delightful.
Using charm: Exercising magic power.

A woman's secret.
(Let's keep it that way)

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


In times of turmoil, whether that be universal or personal, art and beauty can soothe the soul.

I don't want this little space of mine to be taken up with politics yet today I want to share the following quote:

'Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love."
Kahlil Gibran.

I wonder if our little world, and our tiny little country will ever heed these wise words?

Kate Moss by Celia Turner.

                                                                    Oil on paper.

Oil on wood.


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

An Alluring Charm.

My  Glamorous Grandma, My Stylish Mum and Her Sisters and Brothers circa 1960.
Grandma never left the house without applying full make-up including her trademark red lippy!
I'm loving all those handbags.
Elizabeth Taylor, photographed by Henry Clarke, 1967

Since the earliest movies shot their stars to fame, women have been inspired by what
they've seen on screen, which by its very nature demands larger than life beauty, charisma and style.
After visiting the cinema,women gave themselves Louise Brooks haircuts (they still do) and
dreamt about Garbo's otherworldly beauty. A few years later they dyed their hair platinum blonde after Jean Harlow
and longed for legs like Betty Grable's or a bosom like Sophia Loren's.
Nothing has promoted the idea of glamour in all its forms more than the cinema, whether we are
watching Audrey Hepburn's gamine charm or Liz Taylor's more-is-more fireworks, or Marilyn Monroe's- well - Marilyn Monroe.

Audrey Hepburn, photographed by Bert Stern 1963.
The year I was born.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Red Alert.

British Vogue November 1925

You have been warned!

"There are no ugly women, only lazy ones," declared Helena Rubinstein, one of the great pioneers of the cosmetic
industry. Well, nothing requires more effort or precision than perfect red lips or fabulously manicured crimson talons. But then nothing has quite so great an effect on transforming the face and hands. Properly painted lips and nails, saturated with scarlet, speak volumes about the way  you regard yourself in terms of the outside world. They are nothing less than a red flag for impeccable glamour.

How maddening is it then, when your absolute favourite lipstick is brutally discontinued?
I am still mourning my Chanel  Lune Rousse no:36. (92200 Neuilly) 

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Buttons and Bows.

I love my clothes (so does Billy!)
A Personality in a Wardrobe
Vintage in  Progress.

Old Fashioned But So Much Prettier.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

A Work in Progress

In my dreams I look like this......

In my mirror I look like this.
Never mind.
After all...

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Autumn Term.

Well, that's it. Children and students are back at school, college and uni. Politicians are back in Parliament and summer 2016 is drawing to a close. We are heading toward 'Leaf-Fall.' Burnt orange crispy leaves fall from the trees, the sun shines bravely but hazy, the apples turn brown on the dead yellow grass and the first phlox appears....

" It is a sad moment when the
first phlox appears. It is the
amber light indicating the end
of the great burst of early summer
and suggesting that we must now
start looking forward to autumn.
Not that I have any objection to
autumn as a season, full of its
own beauty: but I just cannot bear
to see another summer go,
and I recoil from what the
first hint of autumn means."

Vita Sackville-West.

Autumn inevitably brings chillier seas, a thought that has never really occurred to me but it does today as I think of the hundreds of thousands of souls who will be boarding their death-boats in order to try living.
Autumn will bring shorter days and will hamper rescue missions. The sky will close around us, will blacken the nights, obscure the light. The light that draws the desperate.

The autumn will see the building of walls.

Monday, 4 July 2016


I am still job-seeking.
Over the last few months I have gained my certificates in Life Coaching, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Counselling, I have also been dabbling in Hypnotherapy. I now have files and files of information and forms but no hint of paid employment.
And the world has changed.

On 23 June I went to bed in one country and woke up the next day finding myself in a different one.
On 23 June I lived in a tolerant, friendly, cosmopolitan, colourful,young, vibrant beautiful Britain and then upon waking the next morning and watching the news I found myself in a drab, intolerant, bemused, confused,upset, divided, old, miserable group of little countries who were at odds with each other and also themselves.

It has been the biggest political upheaval in my lifetime.
It's like the biggest carpet has been snatched away.
It's not an exaggeration when I say it feels like a death.
The death of my country.
On 23 June I would have described myself as a fully fledged European, enjoying distant wafts of warm scented air, imagining myself wandering around 1930's Parisian streets, enjoying fashion and beauty, overhearing charming accents, coffee in a courtyard, wine in the vineyard.

I don't feel like that anymore.
Britain seems to have reverted to black and white on a very small screen.