Thursday, 28 February 2013

Hol or Way

After going to the Tate Modern, I have been thinking about Cy Twombly. I was wondering what inspired him to go from being Edwin Parker to Cy Twombly - Laura Hol is much less of a mouthful than Laura Holloway - Cy Twombly though!?! It turns out his name is actually Edwin Parker Twombly Junior and he just chose the nickname 'Cy' after his father, so that has ruined that train of thought then. Twombly, Twombly, Twombly.

(Incidentally if you want to find out some more information about Cy Twombly, you can do so here)

It has made me wonder about my choice of name and whether I haven't laid myself open to some split personality disorders. I do all my architecture and formal work under the name Holloway and my art work and creative items under the name Hol. This has been fine as the architecture and formal work has been more prevalent, and I am after all Laura Holloway. Recently though post has been coming through addressed to Laura Hol, as well as an increasing amount of emails. Laura Hol also seems more exciting - she paints, writes blog articles, has a facebook fan page, emails from art galleries and a constantly updated website.

So the question is, what happens when I forget who Laura Holloway is!?!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Battery Humans

It seems I have spent the last few days wasting my life trying to fix the world's slowest internet connection. It turns out it is most likely to be a physical problem with my landline, so they really are hours I will never get back. F.R.U.S.T.R.A.T.I.N.G. Just as well I supplemented my growing desire to throw my computer out of the window with the odd walk by the river, yoga, some paint, zumba and a trip into London to visit the Tate Modern combined with a 'bracing' walk along the South Bank; Bracing in a way that involves your face becoming markedly smaller as most of it gets disintegrated by the bitterly cold wind. It was beautiful though, like a walk by the sea.

My favourite.

The Tate however, was not my favourite, I think I might have been spoiled by the Guggenheim in New York as well as MoMA and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. I think I was greedy as everything felt like a bit of a half ditched attempt to explain the current gallery themes. I should have just skipped the general look around and just headed for the two current exhibitions 'Big Splash' and  a retrospective on Lichtenstein - they are both on my to-do list for the next couple of weeks. I am being slightly mean, there were some individually fantastic pieces - Meredith Frampton I wish I could paint like you! And some thought provoking items but I wanted more.

More, more more. Just some more paintings actually and not scribbles by Cy Twombly (no, he isn't one of the wombles), fair enough he is in fashion at the moment but did we really need 3 giant red swirly almost identical paintings, he has more varied work than that? I went in looking for inspiration, and I can appreciate most things but I left feeling slightly empty. Current 'modern art' is just too cynical for me at the moment, life is bad enough, can't someone say something CHEERFUL please!?!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Erase and Rewind

Today was supposed to be a good day as I was going to finally finish the last of the major changes to my website that I have been meaning to do for the last month or so. I was going to be able to say 'reformatted my Limited Editions - check, website all up to date and complete - check, Friday night glass of wine with my name on it - check.'

I wish.

After spending a short amount of time wondering how long it would take to make a hole in my desk using just my forehead (today my internet is so frustratingly slooooooooooooooooooooooooooow). I realised I need to change the comments page, add some 'skip to' buttons, make the downloadable thumbnails 'pop up' instead and check my mobile website runs properly still. Really? REALLY? WILL THESE WEBSITE UPDATES NEVER END?

Seemingly not. I think I need to try and remember what the website was like when I first started out, when I thought HTML was a different version of HRT. I know I would be impressed rather than like now, when I am wondering what other things I can put my head through.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Dear Father Christmas

Dear Father Christmas, I know this is rather early or rather late depending on which way you look at it but my test Giclee print arrived today and it is good - better than I expected in fact. I would like to buy some more prints, get them mounted and framed and then sell them in a shop with my Limited Editions and Original paintings. Therefore in order to make this the best year ever please could you get me:

1. Some frames.
2. Various print sizes of all my work.
3. One Limited Edition Print of all the ones currently up for sale.
4. And a shop.

I hope you don't think this is too much to ask, I have been very well behaved for the last 10 years, except for when I.......oh dear, and when that happened, oh yes and then as well....... I have been very well behaved for at least 5 years out of the last 10. I am sure this should count for something.

Thank you in advance,

Laura xxx

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The moral is...

Today is both exciting and distressing and I have a moral of the story to share. The moral is - when money is a bit tight but you have had a flush month, bought some new clothes to replace your Swiss cheese jeans, your holier than the Pope tops and stocked up slightly on Limited Edition prints do not then decide to get a budget together. Analysing last years accounts will make you not only a) incredulous at the amount you spent b) impressed that you actually survived the year at all c) wonder whether you thought money grew on trees and d) want to sell all of your stuff on eBay.

I might be exaggerating slightly but freelance and artistic versus 'just go and get a proper job' sometimes hurts. A lot.  But I am going to put my fluffy, everything is super beautiful and secure hat on and hope the year carries on as it is at the moment -  5 paintings sold already and a decent amount of freelance work in the bag.

I'll be fine.

Lets think about the two emails I had yesterday instead. One of them was a printing enquiry offering to do some discounted GiclĂ©e prints for me. I have been meaning to look into getting some of these done as they are the 'industry standard.' I don't really know what they are but I am going to order some test prints to see if they are an idea worth pursuing. The second email was from a start up community art gallery in Basingstoke town centre that would like me to 'jump on board.' They are keen to display my work as part of a gallery that will revolve around sales, art classes, school visits, and displays by amateurs, professionals and children alike. I like the sound of this but let's first see what 'jump on board' actually means. I hope they don't want any money!!!!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Disaster Pack

I had some new Limited Edition canvasses arrive today - my printers had a special offer on so I thought I might as well buy some stock. Stock is risky. Whilst it can be a good investment it is also money disappearing from my account that may have been better saved. The worst thing about being an artist or working freelance is the unpredictability of it. I know I have this much work on/money today but who knows what will happen tomorrow, next month, by the end of the year?

The new arrivals made me look in my cupboards to see what other copies I had. I have 8 Limited Editions ready and waiting. I also have some copyright and authentication certificates printed in eager anticipation of some purchases. This is matched by the back-log of bubble wrap, edge protectors and cardboard I have been hoarding for a couple of years and some business cards I had printed when I first started up. These are all wise moves as it makes packaging economic and it is the little extras that make you look professional. It depends what mood I am in though, if I am positive then I can pat myself on the back that I have all the measures in place to deal with an explosion of custom or enough templates in place to cope with when I finally 'take off.' If I am in a bad mood it seems a bit like the futility of putting together a disaster pack in case a natural or man-made catastrophe strikes the earth. If something horrendous does materialise how on earth is this small rucksack of items going to help? And let's face it, the chance of me ever needing that bag is pretty remote.

I think I might need a holiday..... somewhere mighty pretty......

Thursday, 14 February 2013


Valentines Day - we meet again. Never mind.

I watched a film yesterday that I am glad I did not watch this evening - it was hardly the stuff dreams are made of, nightmares maybe but certainly not dreams. I got a 6 month Lovefilm subscription for Christmas and I have been making the most of it, as soon as I signed in I hastily filled up my rental basket with 40 films I 'wanted' to watch and set their arrivals to random. I say 'wanted' as it has been interesting so far...'Ted', ok but a bit too crude for me, 'The Ides of March', also not bad but political dramas are not my usual cup of tea - Ryan Gosling and George Clooney in the same movie though? Like I am going to not watch it!? Tyrannosaur was by far the worst arrival, I read the back and couldn't work out why I even decided I wanted to watch it in the first place. Ironically it was really good and definitely the best of the three and good enough for me to recommend on here. I say recommend in the loosest sense, this film is dark, gritty, potentially realistic, and potentially depressing..... is depressing. It is not sugar coated, it is not beautiful, it does not end happily ever after, but it is interesting, hard hitting and the relationship between the two main characters is worth witnessing.

If you take your films with a pinch of salt don't watch this, if you take your films with a pinch of salt, a shot of tequila and some lime then you will be ok.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Laura 2, art scam 0

The problem with having your email online in a website is that quite often you get spammed, not only by Saudi Arabian art scams but also by eastern European women. I am currently waking up every morning to messages from Olga and Elena, single, Russian and desperately looking for love, they are apparently young and attractive and, as they want to start a family with me, they are obviously leading and controversial scientists in the field of IVF treatments - but think how beautiful our children would be! Oh dear. The thought of valentines day approaching fills me with fear.

Valentines Day..... I am of two minds here - do you know what would really show someone you love them? Buying them one of my paintings or maybe I should just go with Valentines Day? Hah - I believe love is for life, not just for Christmas.

Speaking of selling paintings, what a good job 'Speared' did being sold a few hours after I had put it on facebook and before I even had a chance to officially put it online. It is off to the post box today so let's hope the paint has dried. It was a good sale not only because it was so quick but because I was suffering slightly from the disappointment of the Saudi Scam and it picked me up. Interestingly I only really painted it because of the scam - painting is my cure for feeling fed up with the world - so I reckon that makes it Laura 2, Scam 0.

Speared, laura hol art, abstract paintings for sale, up through the trees, trees in perspective

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Oh yes.

Sometimes when the world shows you that it is a bad place full of bad people, scams, cons, abuse, food scandal, apocalyptic snow storms, rain, rain, rain, rain you need to find something life affirming to pick you back up.

So thank you Disney for combining the best of drawing talent with the beauty of computer animation and a damn good story. Oh yes:

Laura 1, art scam 0.

It is 50/50 good news and bad news today as I got hit by my first scam. The bad news is that there are art scams floating around, and this one was almost convincing. The good news is I am set up well enough business wise that I didn't fall for it. I guess that is reassuring if nothing else.

I got requested through one of my online art galleries to put a price-list together for some paintings and their shipping cost to an address in Saudi Arabia so they could be put in an art gallery in Riyadh. After a bit of correspondence it started to sound too good to be true - ok so actually you are working on an oil rig in the Muscat sea and about to set up a gallery, for fun, during retirement - money is no object and you want to buy 9 of my largest paintings, with a view to doing repeat business? Hmmmm I don't like this........I feel uneasy in my shoulder blades.....sleep eludes me....... I have been brought up on a diet of Agatha Christie novels and I have a wickedly accurate spidy sense - I need to look at this closer....So, your English is good but not perfect yet you have a curiously English name? What's this? You can't pay by Paypal as it doesn't work in Saudi Arabia and you want me to charge your card directly using a merchant account so you can give me your card details? (Not true, PayPal does work) I don't think you need the registered card address to use a merchant account either. Stolen credit card? Google Earth - your shipping address looks a bit dodgy. Did you know there is a typo in your email address where you have spelt your surname wrong?


It turns out it is a relatively well known scam that usually applies to cars or electronic goods not paintings. Apparently they will send you the money using a stolen credit card and either over pay, pay extra for shipping, or do something strange. They will then ask you to wire the extra money somewhere else and then run off with it leaving you to fit the bill when the stolen money is repossessed. Either that or they will do a similar thing using PayPal and send you a fake payment confirmation email. Whatever you do, always check and log into your real account.

Nightmare. So please look out for Richard Tristram -, people that say they work on oil rigs and are far too free with their money, who might have issues using PayPal...If it is too good to be true it probably is!

Things to look out for:

1. An email address with lots of extra numbers and letters.
2. A name that doesn't seem to match who they are.
3. A lack of concern about the price of anything.
4. An inability to pay using conventional methods.
5. A dubious looking shipping address.
6. NEVER return any money - contact your bank/PayPal for advice.
7. ALWAYS log on to your own account to check for payment.
8. GOOGLE IT - the address, the name, the letter - someone will have come across the same thing if it is a scam.

So I was almost rich, and almost a lot poorer! Oh well, test 1 complete..... Pass.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Day or Night? I think I will be ill for both

It appears I have good timing when it comes to being unwell. The six nations has started and I have a legitimate reason to set up camp on the sofa with a blanket, hot drink, ten jumpers, and legs that won't move.  Unfortunately, during the week, I had an idea for a painting that I decided I could try at the weekend. Do I now sit, enjoy the rugby and then watch countless episodes of the Big Bang Theory or do I try and persuade myself to roll off the sofa and get my paints out?

Paints it is, but rugby first, I can get some priorities right at least. I have been freezing all day but as soon as I try to paint I am on fire. This is such a bad idea especially as I am trying to achieve something specific. But here is the result:

Day or night, 2-in-1 canvas, 180 degree canvas, laura hol art
Day or Night? Day first, night second (as it should be) 

A 2-in-1 painting. The idea being, dependant on your mood, you can have mountains in the night or mountains in the day at a mere 180 degree turn of the canvas. I thought I had failed yesterday as I much preferred the day view, but today, I much prefer the night - just as well I can have both, so maybe it is a success after all?

I would like to try something a bit more complicated next time but I just watched quite an inspiring Richard Attenborough documentary about the Sahara. I wonder whether my next painting will be a sandstorm? Right now, my first port of call is to crawl back to the sofa before I wake up in three hours time with my keyboard plastered to my face and a crick in my neck.

My bed is closer than the sofa though....but there is chocolate by the sofa...maybe the keyboard won't be that uncomfortable after-all.....................zzzzzzzzz!