The final self-portrait

My painting class is now completed, and while I have some mixed feelings about the course, I am really glad I took it. This is mostly because it taught me techniques that I normally would’ve never used, and I learned that “painting is creating your own language”, which I love.

Here is my final project, my self-portrait, in the studio last week:

and I finished it this weekend! Here it is:

It’s back in my room in New York. You can see my old MS-10 KORG synth and tambourine on the floor. I look sad as sometimes my life there was a bit rough/stressful, but because I also painted this while looking in a mirror, and I’m not going to be constantly smiling in a mirror. I’m always surprised how different my face looks when it’s smiling vs. not smiling. Maybe everyone thinks that about themselves?

I’m wearing a mod dress that I wore when I played with my first band, and the pink painting is a painting I did in 2001. It was on my wall in NY.

Overall, I’m proud of myself. I will treasure it and I’m glad that it remotely looks like me!

Also, when I’m willing to do another self-portrait on my own time, I think I will go for another time-piece, featuring an era of my life. It could end up being an interesting series. xoxox

The Tour of Oscar Wilde

Yesterday I met up with a friend visiting from Australia and we decided to do the Oscar Wilde walking tour of London. I used to be a huge Wilde fan and my Aussie friend is also no stranger to his works. My only compliant about the tour was it was too long – 2 1/2 hours. It could’ve been an hour shorter and still give all the information about Wilde that one can remember. However, the tour was also interesting as I learned more about Wilde than I ever knew before.

Our jolly tour guide in action

The tour opened with the little known fact that women were more attracted to Wilde’s company than men! The tour guide joked that while he’s doing this tour for 20 years, never once has he had more men in the group than women. So even in death, women are more partial to Wilde.

One thing I learned about Wilde is that he was more of an excessive spender than I thought! He managed to spend over £5,000 at the Cafe Royal during his life. £5,000 may sound like a reasonable amount to spend over a lifetime at your favourite place, but this was the late 1800s. The average working class person made £2 a week. The most expensive gourmet meal for two was under £4.

One of the former hotels where Wilde stayed. One of the few where the original building is still there.

Elaborating on Wilde’s excessiveness, we visited Fox of St. James, a tobacco shop founded in 1757. Wilde bought the finest Turkish tobacco from there for his cigarettes, which were gold-tipped and had “Oscar” inscribed on the side. He smoked about 80-100 of these per day. With this habit, on top of all his excessiveness of living in posh hotels and holidays to Monte Carlo, it’s easy to see that Wilde spent more than he earned.

Wilde artifacts on display at Fox of St. James

Another thing I learned is that Wilde dying in Paris of syphilis is a myth. He actually died of an inner ear infection, after he fell on the floor in Paris and bacteria got into his ear. The syphilis rumour started as Wilde hated his teeth so he always talked with his hand in front of his mouth. The only treatment for syphilis in Victorian times was a shot of mercury which turned your teeth black. So people assumed Wilde had awful black teeth and therefore he must have syphilis. Also some thought his appetite for young men was a “crazy period” which also must be caused by syphilis. Again, completely wrong. He just liked young men!

The Royal Arcade. This place held the florist where Wilde bought many dozens of green carnations for his lapel. The green carnation became the symbol for queer men to recognise each other in Victorian times.

Overall, the tour was informative, as you can imagine. If you are really into Wilde, it’s a nice few hours out. However, by the end I was so hungry and tired, when we got to our afternoon tea at Drink, Shop & Do, I was really, really glad to be warm and indoors.

Tasty Prints, hopefully coming to a cupcake near you.

It might be a bit early to start talking about Halloween, but I mentioned it in my recent favourite things post, the weather outside is getting scarily like autumn, and I just bought my godchildren some Halloween candy. So, I think it’s ok to bring up the holiday….again. 😉

This morning I came across the etsy shop, Tasty Prints, which have a wonderful idea – Vintage/Victorian style imagery on edible cupcake toppers!! They are beautiful.

They also have non-Halloween ones…like this gorgeous moon.

….and they’re not all old images. Look at this lovely modern owl!

Visit the Tasty Prints etsy shop here!

Illustration with Miss Led

Some of my friends know I’m a fan of Miss Led‘s work. Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend her illustration workshop for London Fashion Week at Cass Art. It was really fun!! We were spoiled for choice on what materials we could use, and personally, it got me out of the mindset that I need to paint everything. I enjoy painting, but there is a world out there full of markers, inks, pastels and pencils that I could also use. I have always known this, of course, but lately I’ve been so focused on only acrylic painting and it was great to do something different.

I have to admit at first I had technical difficulties as I pressed too hard with a soft pencil in order to trace my own image that I brought to class with me. This was resolved quickly and from then on, it was just 2 hours of being creative and having fun. Did I mention it was fun? Because it was fun. 😉

Miss Led was very supportive of our work, and my classmates were extremely talented. The girl next to me did an illustration that looked like it was from a 1950s fashion magazine. Amazing. Also, at the end of class Miss Led photographed each of us with our illustrations as I think she was impressed as well.

If you haven’t guessed, my piece is called “I Never Know What I Want In This Modern Life”, with the “In This Modern Life” part inspired by Tatty Devine and Black Heart Creatives necklaces. I wouldn’t say it’s finished, but it’s finished for now. xoxo

My Current Favourite Things part 3

What it says on the tin – what I currently love:

♥ Having tea and cake after work at Drink, Shop & Do in King’s X, London. This isn’t current as I always love going there, but the other night I was there with Melanie K, sharing red velvet cake and talking about everything. Here’s our table, complete with a flat white and hot chocolates.

♥ These really cute Halloween hand santizers and this pumpkin cupcake candle from Bath & Body Works, in the country that loves the commericalism joy of Halloween, my home country, the USA! If anybody there wants to send me anything Halloween-y, or do a Halloween care package exchange I am so up for it!
♥ The new “Spooky” video by Skinny Girl Diet.

♥ The Space is Ace collective’s new line on MEOW. I especially love this astronaut necklace:

♥ The Manic Street Preachers’ back catalog, as I saw them last weekend in Hyde Park. My friend Jo and I were right in front and it was awesome, as always!

♥ Running. I’ve been running for over 2 years now, but I have a very love/hate relationship with it. I recently found a huge park near my work which is great for running during my lunch breaks, and I also have started going for runs in the evening with my husband. I’m actually enjoying the workout!
♥ The stationary section at Selfridges. I found myself in there again last night and I always want everything!!! This also goes for Artbox in Covent Garden. I think I have a thing for Japanese stationary. Also, at Selfridges they have every magazine I want, including Oh Comely and Betty, as well as a huge moleskine section.

♥ And last but definitely not least, this quote:
“Men really need to be engaged in feminist politics, or they’re going to be just as oppressed by patriarchy and these ideas of what it means to be ‘a man’ and masculinity that keep them in the whatever closet they CHOOSE to be in.”
-Laverne Cox, star of “Orange is the New Black”

I couldn’t agree more.

You can also check out:
My Current Favourite Things part 1
My Current Favourite Things part 2

Happy Weekend. xxoxoxo

Paint like you’re a kid again

Art and a book made by one of my godchildren.

Last night at my painting class I was getting pretty frustrated over my final project, which won’t be finished for a couple weeks. For some reason I found it easier to paint what I wanted in previous classes but now that the pressure is on, I wasn’t happy at all.

Well, it turns out, I may be making a friend in the class. We go on our tea breaks together and she’s very nice. I had her laughing when I said “I hate painting noses!”. She understood. She also told me to forget the pressure, and to paint like you’re a kid again. She made some really great points about how it’s unfair how artists put pressure on themselves to create something great from the first brushstroke, and that instead you should be having fun. Remember what it is like to be a kid, and approach art this way. Also keep in mind that your painting is going to be ugly before it even appproaches beautiful, and even your favourite artists have not always produced great work. Also, by the way, what is considered great? Great art is in the eye of the beholder.

So after our tea, we went back upstairs and I painted like I didn’t care…and guess what? The frustration went away and I was back on track with my project. So, whatever you do, whether it’s painting, photography, scrapbooking, etc… Remember: don’t take it so seriously! Just have fun.

Self portrait – second sketch

Still ‘sketching’ for my final self-portrait for my Intermediate Painting class. We had a substitute instructor who was a really nice lady. I swear everything she saw was “really good”. So this painting is “really good” and also “like those Ancient Roman paintings with the big eyes”. So, it’s Ancient Roman….with a modern dye job. I also think this painting brings out my Norwegian features a lot, so it’s Modern Ancient Roman-Norwegian? You have to give me points on originality.

I’m the only person in the class that hasn’t started their final painting, so I should really start next week! Wish me luck. xoxox

Self-portrait – first sketch

As some of you know, I’ve been taking an intermediate painting class. Now that we’ve gone through colour theory, mass, volume, etc…we are working on our final project. I accidentally ended up with the hardest final project one could do – a self-portrait! I’ve never attempted one before, but my first sketch isn’t too bad, is it? At least I got my wonky eyelids and eyebrows.

My instructor says I’m very close to starting the final painting – just have to think a bit more on colour theory and expressionism. Also, I need to paint a bit slower as I did the above in an hour. I’ve never taken my time with painting or drawing, so we’ll see what happens! xoxo