Introducing – Louise Tate Illustration

You know how when you start watching YouTube videos, you just can’t stop. Video after video, you discover new exciting music. I like to call that “Accidental discovery”. It seems the same is happening to me with discovering artist through Facebook, one leads me to another.

Louise Tate is children’s Artist and Illustrator and by her own admission “Lover of cheese!” .
birthday partyMiss. Tate has scribbled, scrawled and painted ever since she could wield a pencil and brush, developing a passion for painting and drawing very early on as a young child.

rhinosShe has been lucky enough to study both Zoology and Illustration at degree level, live in the most amazing places (South Africa, The Netherlands, Singapore and USA) and work with some wonderful publishers, greetings card companies and individual clients.

penguinShe’s also been fortunate enough to have been highly commended in the Macmillan Prize for Children’s Illustration four times in three years and to have work selected for the Illustrators Showcase exhibition in London in 2013.

the blue treeLouise and her family now live in Shropshire, UK and she has no intention of moving again for a while.

acrobateOn balancing work and family life: “Working from home has its challenges, not least the clutter that appears to accumulate, but it does mean I can juggle work and children. Developing new ideas while spending time with the family (they are a great source of inspiration) means I have the opportunity to be in control.”

sausage tief“Along with my studio space (a converted bedroom), the internet is vital. A third of my sales go overseas and a large number are repeat customers. My art work is a little quirky and unusual and although I sell prints, the brand isn’t just the art work, it’s also me, so I feel it’s incredibly important to communicate with my customers as much as I can. “bedtime story“The rise of social media has meant I can really engage with them and they can see that I’m passionate about my work. I spend a great deal of time listening to what they say and share images of work in progress, from initial sketches to finished pieces, enabling customers to feel part of the process.”


When not drawing or painting she can often be found chasing rabbits out of the garden or trying to come up with a recipe for Jerusalem Artichokes that actually tastes nice! Louise has an impressive portfolio of stockists developing in the UK and beyond.

dog chewing newspaperPlease, check Louise Tate’s website Louise Tate Illustration and Facebook page Louise Tate Illustration for more information.

All images are courtesy of Louise Tate and are published with permission.


Northbound Train

This is my new try at acrostic form, a contribution to Daily Prompt challenge – Opening Lines.

N ever before would I admit
O ne could be such a fool
R eeling with too much emotion
T itanium heart once so cruel
H umbled by your love
B ending and breaking so much
O nce I was a raging storm
U nfazed by a world in my clutch
N ow just a simmering coal
D ying without your touch

T ime to right the wrong
R ailroad will lead me to you
A lways knew you were strong
finally know what is true
N orth is where I belong

It always happens the same way. I stumble upon a piece of music and I become so captivated, almost a prisoner…I remember years ago when I first saw “North & South”, adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s love story of Margaret Hale, a middle class southerner who is forced to move to the northern town of Milton. I fell in love then and there with the series and especially with the enchanting music of Martin Phipps.

When I read The Daily Prompt “What’s the first line of the last song you listened to (on the radio, on your music player, or anywhere else)? Use it as the first sentence of your post”, I thought to myself: “What to do if there is no words?” In the end I decided to play around and use the title of the piece for my acrostic poem.

Well now, I’ll leave you to my words and I am going back to listening and dreaming.


A Failed Experiment

After-Before Friday is a weekly challenge hosted by Stacy Fischer on her blog Visual Venturing:
“After-Before Friday posts provide an opportunity for photographers (amateur and seasoned, alike) to share their photos, and if they wish, their post-processing decisions. The photos will provide a fun “wow” factor; the post-processing descriptions, the “how.” The goal is to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at others’ work while picking up helpful ideas along the way that each of us can use as we work with our own photos.”
If you are interested in joining us, you can find all the details on her blog.

Peterskirche (English: St. Peter’s Church) is a Baroque Roman Catholic parish church in Vienna, Austria. The construction  begun around 1701. By 1722, most of the building was finished, and in 1733, the Peterskirche was finally consecrated to the Holy Trinity.



The turreted dome was mainly designed by Matthias Steinl, who was also responsible for the interior decoration and the pews with their fabulous cherubic heads. The frescoes were originally painted by the famous Italian Andra Pozzo, whose paintings were removed after his death. As a result, in 1713, Johann Michale Rottmayr was able to start a completely new set. The fresco in the cupola represents the Coronation of Our Lady.



In all my ventures into the world of post-processing, I realized I mostly enjoy working on low-quality images. As in most things in my life, I like the challenge. That’s why this week I picked another image from my folder “discarded”. As you can see in the original image, it is out of focus, details are not very clear. I was wondering what to do, in which direction to go. I started with exposure, decreasing brightness and increasing shadows. The shadows seemed to accentuate some details more than the others, giving it overall a much dramatic look. Post-processing was done in PicMonkey.

To be honest, I don’t think there is much improvement in the “after” image. It just has a different atmosphere, a darker, fiery tone.  In the end, you need to have a quality “before image” to get a quality “after” image. There is only so much you can do in the post-processing.

But to quote Richard Buckminster Fuller: “There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes.”


Introducing – Helen Godfrey Wire Sculpture

Several weeks ago I introduced on my blog the fabulous work of Robin Wight, who then introduced me to the fabulous work of Helen Godfrey.

Helen - owl spread
Helen Godfrey initially began using galvanized wire as an armature for her papier mache work, for which she won a bursary from Dorset Arts and Crafts in 1997.
Helen - ducks and fox
With no formal training in the arts, Helen crafted her original work in papier mache in her home.
Helen - badgers
From early beginnings, she continued to experiment and was asked to exhibit her work at garden openings and craft exhibitions.
Helen - chicken
One day at a craft fair, she realized that people were more interested in the wire shape support than the papier mache itself.
Helen - mouse
A few commissions encouraged her to continue, and she went on to create a whole menagerie of wire animals and birds, and has recently moved onto human forms.
Helen - rabbit
Wire is a notoriously difficult material to work with due to its inflexibility and strength.
Helen - ducks
Helen has since developed the wire as an art form in itself, with inspiration for her work coming from the surrounding wildlife where she lives in rural Dorset.
Helen - guinea
She has exhibited at garden openings, undertaken commissions for gardens across the UK & abroad, and also had work featured in publications such as The English Garden magazine and Dorset magazine.
Helen - owl
Helen also teaches wire sculpture workshops at Walford Mill in Wimborne, Dorset.
Helen - elephant
It seems Mrs.Godfrey encountered the same problem as  many fellow artists before her:
“Dear Me,
Please stop making things that I don’t want to part with.
Yours sincerely Me”
Helen - dancing rabbits

Please, check Helen Godfrey’s website Wire Sculpture by Helen Godfrey and Facebook page Helen Godfrey Wire Sculpture for more information.

All images are courtesy of Helen Godfrey, and are published with permission.

Up In the Air

Here it is, another Quiet Thursday and I stare at another photo on Leanne’s blog. What am I to do, I wonder. Inevitably, I will come across as a dark, depressing person, but I just can’t resist the pull of the atmosphere. Caution out the door, artistic freedom firmly in my grasp, there is only one way out. Please, join me on this winding road paved with Leanne’s photos and my words.


 Copyright – Leanne Cole

Closer to the edge
That is how I feel
Floating  in the air
One more moment to steal

Pulling on my strings
You make me fly and dance
There is an expiring date
On my last chance

It was a fun ride
We made a good deal
You my favorite passenger
Me behind the wheel

Up in the air
Like a frozen plane
That is how I feel
In the eye of a hurricane


Introducing – Fairies by Robin Wight

You never know what surprises the day has in store for you. So, when I woke up this morning, had my coffee and scrolled down my Facebook wall, I stumbled upon something so magical and magnificent, that it’s hard to find the right words.

These magnificent sculptures are work of Robin Wight, a UK-based Sculptor, who creates playful fairies out of stainless steel wires.

He builds dramatic scenes of wind-blown fairies clutching dandelions, hiding in trees, and seemingly suspended in midair. There is an unbelievable poetry of motion present in his work.

Of his inspiration:
“In 1920 two little girls photographed fairies at the bottom of their garden and created a news sensation. As we know, the photographs were fake, but the story captured the imagination of people who wanted to believe.”

“A couple of years ago, while trying out my new camera, I took the picture in the woods at the bottom of my garden. It was only later when looking at the results that I spotted the figure in the tree.”
“It’s obviously a trick of the light coming through the trees. What else could it be? Whatever it is, it captured my imagination and inspired me to use the idea in my sculpture.”
10441434_635913476505634_3841548825455147600_nAlthough as a photographer I encounter tricks of the light too often, I would rather believe the real fairies decided to show themselves to Robin, knowing it would inspire him to create magic.
wire-5As his signature, he places a stone “heart” at each fairy’s core, sometimes engraving these hearts with messages. Imagine that, sculptures with hearts, elevating his art to another level.


What  better place to look for fairies than the bottom of the garden. You can find them at Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire, England, where there are currently 14 fairies hidden and waiting to be discovered.
wire-7 I can’t remember when I felt so overwhelmed by art work, it seems like the portal opened between Earth and Fairy, and all the magical creatures decided to visit us for a while. I can only hope they spread around and land somewhere near Croatia, so I can see them in person.

On a more serious note, I truly hope this very talented artist has continuing success and joy with his exceptional work, without becoming too overwhelmed.

Please, check Robin Wight’s  website FantasyWire and  Facebook page Wire Sculpture by Fantasywire for more information.

All images are courtesy of Robin Wight, and are published with permission.


Bassin d’Apollon

I came across Stacy Fischer’s blog  Visual Venturing through Monochrome Madness Challenge where both of us participate every week. She is also hosting a weekly challenge, seems challenges are  todays fashion in blogging. I think it is the best way to promote your own work and meet other talented people.

Her challenge is called After-Before and here’s what she says about it: “After-Before Friday posts provide an opportunity for photographers (amateur and seasoned, alike) to share their photos, and if they wish, their post-processing decisions. The photos will provide a fun “wow” factor; the post-processing descriptions, the “how.” The goal is to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at others’ work while picking up helpful ideas along the way that each of us can use as we work with our own photos.”

This is the photo I took years ago in the gardens of Versailles, on a gray, rainy day.


Occupying the site of Rondeau/Bassin des Cygnes of Louis XIII, the Apollo Fountain was constructed between 1668 and 1671. Charles Le Brun designed the centerpiece depicting the Greek god Apollo rising from the sea in a four-horse chariot to light the sky. A pond was dug on the site of the fountain in 1639 called “The Pond of the Swans”. When King Louis XIV of France had it enlarged in 1671, the pond’s east-west orientation and the common association of the King with Apollo prompted Charles Le Brun to suggest dedicating the site to Apollo. The fountain forms a focal point in the garden and serves as a transitional element between the gardens of the Petit Parc and the Grand Canal.

What is interesting about this image is that it was shot with the analog camera and the original photo is scanned. I wanted to use one of the poorer images to see how it can be improved with the use of more advanced tools. The original image was processed through Picmonkey online photo editor. A little bit of cropping, tinkering with exposure and sharpness, few additional effects and I think I ended up with an interesting final image.

I must say I enjoy this challenge, because I am new to all things related to post-processing. Without Photoshop, I am scrambling with online free photo editors. Hopefully, that will change in the near future. For now, all I can do is observe and learn through others work.

If you want to join us in this fun project, check Stacy’s blog for all the details.

Bring Me To Life

Australian photographer Leanne Cole posted a photo on her blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY challenging people to write a story or a poem. It is really not hard to find an inspiration in her dark and mysterious images, the words simply seem to flow.


 Copyright – Leanne Cole

You are drowning.

You can’t remember when it all begun. When you look back, it seems like it’s been forever. But if you have to pinpoint the exact moment, you would say it started the day you had to put your dog to sleep. Yes, it’s just a dog and 17 years is a long time for a dog…But still, you are drowning.

You wonder how the years went by without you noticing. Head burrowed in your career, climbing the ladder two steps at the time, any notion of family pushed aside. Military is an unforgiving mistress, taking everything and giving so little in return. But your love is blind.

It is hot, sticky summer, the first time you seek comfort in his bed. Drunken kisses and graceless movements, it is nothing you imagined it would be. It is so much emptier. He is trying to close that hole in your heart, but the demons still make you scream at night. And you are still drowning.

He helps you bury your dog in the woods behind your cabin. You are not surprised it’s raining. You don’t cry, you just turn around and walk back to the car. Paper bag with cheap wine in your hand, you are staring ahead, hypnotized by wipers sweeping back and forth, wishing they could sweep so effortlessly over your mind.

Two months later he is missing in action. And you wish you told him you love him. For the first time in years, you miss a day of work. They believe when you say it’s the flu. You never lied before. But you are so damned tired. Your doctor prescribes you some pills, warning you to be careful cause “These are very strong.” You ignore his advice and for the first time in months you sleep. And no one notices that you are drowning.

You read about his funeral in the Sunday newspapers. You just stare at the words, not surprised they didn’t call you. It was a well-kept secret, lie by omission. “Fraternization of officers with enlisted personnel” is not a label you want to be put on the thing you had. Not that you know what it was.  But you cry nevertheless. You cry for your silly dog and your long gone mother, for fighting this stupid war over and over again with no end in sight, for lost friends and lovers, for all that could have been, for all the children you’ll never have.

The pills help for a while, they numb your pain. And for a moment you contemplate how easy it would be to just stop. Give up. Your gun is locked in a safe in your office. But you keep your kitchen knives sharp. You stand by the open window, rain soaking your nightgown, bare feet in the freezing puddle on the hardwood floor. You wonder if anyone would miss you.

But the truth is you were never a quitter. Hard years of military training shaped not only your body, but your mind as well. So, you stand there, looking at the people walking on the street, willing someone to look up, to see you. So you can whisper: “Bring me to life.”

You are not drowning anymore.


Il Grande Toscano

It’s interesting how we stumble upon impressive art pieces when least expected. I was out and about with my cousin, looking for a small restaurant in a quiet part of Milan, when we came across this very interesting sculpture in Piazza del Carmine. It looks like it was placed there by accident, forgotten, overshadowed by the beautiful architecture of the church of Santa Maria del Carmine. In truth, this is a masterpiece by Igor Mitoraj, dating back to 1986.

Milano 151

Igor Mitoraj (born March 26, 1944) is a Polish artist born in Oederan, Germany. He studied painting at the Kraków School of Art and at the Kraków Academy of Art under Tadeusz Kantor. After graduating, he had several joint exhibitions, and held his first solo exhibition in 1967 at the Krzysztofory Gallery in Poland. In 1968, he moved to Paris to continue his studies at the National School of Art. Shortly afterwards, he became fascinated by Latin American art and culture, spending a year painting and travelling around Mexico. The experience led him to take up sculpture.
He returned to Paris in 1974 and two years later he held another major solo exhibition at the Gallery La Hune, including some sculptural work. The success of the show persuaded him that he was first and foremost a sculptor. Having previously worked with terracotta and bronze, a trip to Carrara, Italy, in 1979 turned him to using marble as his primary medium and in 1983 he set up a studio in Pietrasanta. In 2006, he created the new bronze doors and a statue of John the Baptist for the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome. Mitoraj’s sculptural style is rooted in the classical tradition with its focus on the well modelled torso. However, Mitoraj introduces a post-modern twist with ostentatiously truncated limbs, emphasising the damage sustained by most genuine classical sculptures.


Leanne Cole, a wonderful photographer from Australia, is hosting a weekly challenge on her blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY called Monochrome Madness Challenge, where she features some monochrome photos from other photographers.

Be sure to check other amazing photos on her blog. If you want to participate, head over there and read instructions at the bottom of the post. I would like to recommend her blog to any aspiring amateur photographer, you’ll find many helpful posts and tutorials, but above all she is very open and friendly person.