Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Goldilocks and.....

It seems like I am endlessly procrastinating at the moment. I was briefly close to finishing my website as I started loading in the print section but that was a week or two ago and now I can't remember where I am. Near the end? In the middle? Just started? Yes, one of those things is probably true.

I have still been creative in the meantime, when there has been time, i.e. when I have stopped looking out of the window.... I have designed two 'pub' signs for a friend (see below) and a choice of 4 logos for a new local organisation. Whilst it has been fun to use my eye for something a bit different, I am glad to get both these things ticked off from my list.

All that leaves is a commission that I will hopefully be starting in a minute to distract me from the endless rain we are currently having, and then it will be back to website time and possibly a painting of something random at the weekend if I am still awake.

Lastly - two pieces of ultra good news - I sold a painting on Art Gallery on Sunday, and someone wants to come and view a piece at some point this week, so I am holding out for sale number two as well. Lets make this week an art week! (Fingers massively crossed, as my monitor just crashes, and chaos ensues, this doesn't bode well....) 

Monday, 3 June 2019

Rome is Where the Heart is

I am not entirely sure what I have been doing over the last couple of weeks, but I am sure it was all very productive. Honest.

I know I have sorted my cushions page out, got my print images sorted and run and completed a competition to win a cushion, which resulted in some new followers which is an added bonus.

I have also sold some cards, a London print to someone in America, painted a new picture and have a commission to do. That probably seems like enough for two weeks.

I think I have also eaten a lot, been out too much, had some good walks, possibly completed at least 8 zumba sessions, and played netball; Less work productive, but still very enjoyable.

Maybe I do know what I have been doing after all. I was also grateful this time to paint something nice and satisfying, as it not only feels restorative but reminds me that I can actually paint. There is no massive mystery to the inspiration for this one, a few of my friends were visiting Rome last week which firmly put it in my head. I have visited there twice so memories were resurfacing. I also wanted to paint a city scene as I always find them easier to do. Buildings are just there, they don't move, they don't smile, they have structure built in, detail and interest and a focus. I have to think less intensely when I paint a building, I find their solidity and presence much easier to capture than an expanse of landscape, so in some respects painting a building is like having a rest. I also feel like I know how to paint architecture, so after the not entirely successful experience of my last landscape painting, I wanted to do something more reliable.

So here it is: 'Rome is Where the Heart is'

Friday, 17 May 2019

Survival of the Fittest....

I painted a slightly controversial painting last week; Well, personally controversial as I couldn't decide whether to paint over it after I had 'finished' it or not. Often, if the painting can get through the night without me redoing it, or touching it up then it has a chance of surviving. If it is really bad then it just gets completely painted over pretty much instantly and I will try again the next day. If it is really, really bad then the black paint comes out and it will be obliterated.

Thankfully this doesn't happen too often. 

The problem comes with not pre-planning things, which is normally fine unless I start with an expectation. I had an expectation with this one, to paint something more abstract, calming, not busy and cleaner than typical - more blocks of colour, less lines.

This totally didn't happen.

I ended up painting something busy, hectic, stylistically mixed, dramatic, in your face, with non typical colours.

How did that happen? This is when you can tell how I was feeling when I painted it. I had too much on my mind, daydreaming about too many things and not being rigorous or concentrated with what I was doing. Mess in my head, mess on the canvas.

In need of inspiration I decided to ask my Facebook followers what they thought I should do with the painting and I got a mixed reception - some suggesting changes, some telling me to wait for a few days and see how I felt and others saying don't touch it, it is perfect. So I will leave it for now. I decided that if I did redo it it would end up being a different painting entirely, in which case I may as well just paint it again or do something else. I think it is easier to see what I was trying to do when you see the photograph I was working from, and I think it is easier to see where my paintbrush ran away to; Sometimes I have no control over the connection from my brain to my hand....

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Look at that Foxy Cart...

Blogging on a Saturday! 

This is partly because I have just got back from lunch and I have that awkward amount of too much time and not enough time before I have to get ready to go out again. I also, more importantly, need to take a painting offline as I have just sold it! 


An unexpected sale always makes the day/week/month, seem a lot better. With the painting sale also comes the news that I have finally rolled out my new shopping cart! The one that I was meant to roll out before Christmas (last year, not this year unfortunately, otherwise how organised am I!?) but yes, it is finally up, and hopefully the UK supplied cushions will be up next week too! Boom. Look at me. 

To celebrate my shop going live I am offering a 10% discount on all items in stock using the code FOXYCART (who are my lovely new shop portal suppliers) so hurry up and get shopping at lauraholart.co.uk  

I feel like it has been a while since I have felt a little bit excited by my online store but I feel a bit more enthusiastic today. The hard work is starting to pay off. I have suppliers in store for everything except the tote bags. I have sorted out my vouchers and coupons so that they work online and sorted out the checkout process so that it charges for international shipping, sends an automatic purchase confirmation email and gives you bulk buy discounts automatically. I am beginning to feel like an actual legitimate business, not some adhoc making-this-up as I go along thing. I still am an adhoc making-this-up as I go along thing but I just look a bit more convincing. I am even starting to convince myself. I have had a lot of doubts recently. But today, I think we can do this. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Morocco - a year on.

I heard back from 'Not on the High Street' about my application to sell with them and their response was a big fat no. Charming. One good thing about the fact that I have been doing this for a long time now is that I care slightly less. I literally still get rejected all the time. Almost every time I enter anything in fact, but well, who cares. I have sold things, and I can't not do it, each piece is a piece of me and they can't come out any other way. There is nothing right or wrong about it, love it or hate it, it doesn't matter either way - this is me (cue singing).

I'm happy with that.

Speaking of me, I was finally brave enough to tackle a painting of my trip to Morocco from April last year. Morocco blew my brains away. I climbed Mount Toubkhal, in the snow, at breathless altitude, on borrowed shoes, with blood sugar lows, enormous 'I can see your achilles heel' blisters and filled my shoes with blood. We were hiking through the Atlas Mountains for 6 or 7 days. I got the blisters about 3 hours in. I had elephant sized feet when I got off the plane back onto UK soil and it took two weeks before I could walk without hobbling.

The Atlas Mountains were beautiful, dusty, windy, snowy, cold, hot, red, white, isolated, desolate, culturally different, peaceful, empty, on top of the world, scenic, cloudy, I can touch the moon, bread filled, every day painful, painkiller crazy.

Marrakesh was a dusty, smelly, hot, people filled, busy, patterned, colourful, look at those tiles, pestered, rainy, peppermint tea drenched, loud, traffic, haggling, bustling, sensory overload.

I couldn't get my head around mixing these things together, let alone getting my head around the experience of the trip, the pain of my feet or reducing all these things into a painting. Processing it all has literally taken a year, and here is the first result - a mix of it all. I think I will let the painting speak for itself because I wouldn't even know where to start...

Friday, 12 April 2019

Kul Sharif Mosque

Well the month between my last post and today disappeared rather quickly! I blame this in part on having an extravagant birthday week filled with cake, spas, meals out and maybe the odd cocktail.

The detox, exercise regime and money saving tips are now ON. (Or trying to be, I think the only one I am succeeding in currently is the exercise *she types whilst having a massive marshmallow filled hot chocolate!*)


Today, I am signing up to see if I can sell on 'Not on the High Street' and trying out a new cushion supplier. There is a chance I may be able to get my cushions printed in the UK instead of the US which would be perfect, especially as then my gift vouchers can be used against them. I also heard from the BBC Arts team earlier in the week asking if I wanted to take part in a documentary about the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. God damn, not getting through the first judging round (again) Next year.....!! Still, an email enquiry in the first place must be a good thing?

But moving on, as part of my birthday celebrations, I took a trip around Windsor Castle whereupon I realised my painting of St George's Gate, was actually a painting of Norman Gate. This has made me feel obliged, to provide some slightly more accurate information about my latest painting in order to make up for the error. For some reason I had my painting of the Nossa Senhora Cathedral de Lourdes on my mind (see left) and I decided I wanted to paint another, small portrait of a Church (or religious building). So please welcome an internet hole inspired picture I found whilst Sunday afternoon surfing after typing in 'exciting / unusual / weird Churches' into Google and seeing what happened.  The building that caught my eye was the Kul Sharif Mosque in Kazan, Russia. It is in fact a new building, completed in 2005, created to replace the original Kul Sharif Mosque that was destroyed in 1552 by Ivan the Terrible. Whilst it still functions as a mosque, it is predominately used as a Museum to Islam, and here is my interpretation of it.

So let's hope the facts about this painting are true. Wikipedia never lies right? And I'll try to make sure I name my paintings a bit better in the future (maybe, probably not!)!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

A Souvenir

I am cheating a bit as I am pre-planning this post whilst I have some free time. I should technically be drawing up some architectural stuff, but it is 4pm on Friday, and when you are working from home, motivation has normally left the building by now. Plus technically, writing this is still working, just for my other job, which generally feels less job like and more fun.

I would like to pretend I will manage a new painting over the weekend, but I am helping out with a charity event for the elderly on Sunday and I have a feeling I won't be in the mood afterwards. Hopefully I will find some time in the week, or next weekend instead.

In the meantime, here is my first painting from the Brecon Beacons. I will also share the photograph I took for inspiration so you can judge me. Funnily enough, I haven't really looked at the photograph since I painted it, and now the photo seems wrong. I don't really understand how that makes sense but I guess the painting feels more true to me, which I suppose does make sense as it is me?

I also thought they were much more similar than they actually are. I guess they are the same in principle, but there is quite a bit of artistic license thrown in as well. I can't believe I didn't notice any of this at the time. I guess I must focus on different things when I am in art mode. Colour is most definitely a strong one! They also don't need to be identical, otherwise what is the point? I could have just used the photograph and not worried about painting it at all. The painting is my personal souvenir.

I do however feel like I need to move the moon over a bit now....

Friday, 15 March 2019

Brecon Beacons

So I didn't quite manage my Brecon post yesterday, but that is what I am here for now. I did mostly manage to prioritise my sorting out list, although art admin didn't seem to start until about 4pm. I put my new painting online, responded to some Deviant Art bits and pieces and this morning I have managed to put all my final cards together. The study seems a bit more organised now, and I have knocked 18 things off my to-do list.

High five please!

(And yes, we are ignoring the fact that there are still 46 things on it, and focusing on the fact that I should knock at least 2, if not 3 more things off by the end of today). I am sure having less than 50 things means something. At least I feel justified in being stressed when I had 64 things on it!

But anyway, a few weeks ago I had a brief inspiration collection session in the Brecon Beacons. This should be interesting as the three days and three walks we did were very different.

No. 1. Scenic, peaceful, gentle and sunny.

No 2. A bit cloudy and misty, mostly dry and beautifully rugged and isolated.

No 3. Raining, and incredibly foggy/cloudy, and ridiculously windy, a bit of a steeper climb and well basically you could see no further than a metre or too ahead, except about twice when the sky parted.

So three very different walks, three very different weathers and three very different experiences. Each of them definitely got various bits of my art brain ticking, and my paint hand twitching, the second walk especially, and for once in my life, I lined up some specific shots with a view to painting them later. The first one has been created already and I will share that next!

I am already looking forward to painting picture number 2!

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Over and Out

I managed to finish my architecture work for today a bit earlier than usual. What a perfect time to start a blog post, once I have done some admin, tidied up, done some account sorting, rung up four hundred people I need to chase for various things, updated my to do list, checked my outstanding invoices, thought 'oh god I haven't done that' and 'I'm so behind with that too'.


I might just need to go to bed instead, or go to zumba, or run away from my desk screaming. I have been stressed this week as I needed to update my to-do list to remove the items pressing upon my frontal cortex. At least when it is on paper, I can stop thinking I need to remember to do it. Unfortunately when it is on paper you can see how big the list is - it is currently making an unused toilet roll look barely paper filled.

What have I done!?

So yes, this early finish was going to be a blog post about my trip to the Brecon Beacons, but I officially can't do it just yet. I need a mind detox first, or a good nights sleep. Tomorrow is clear at the moment to do some accounting, sort some bits in town and put my latest painting online, oh yes, and write a post about the Brecon Beacons.

Here is to not checking my emails in the morning and realising that lots of other things need to be done first.

Today. I am over and out!   

Thursday, 28 February 2019

St George's Gate

I am falling rather behind with art stuff at the moment as I have had a lot of architecture work on over the last couple of weeks, and I went inspiration collecting for a couple of days in the Brecon Beacons, but I will blog about that later.

I am starting to get frustrated, as I have paintings lined up that need to be painted, and I was hoping to have finished a bit more of my website by now. You know when you have those, 'I'll sort it out in the New Year deadlines / expectations' that suddenly turn into how the hell is it almost March?!?

Yes, I am on that page currently.

On the plus side, I have just put a new painting online for sale that I shared on the 13th of February. This is a good indication of how behind I am, as new paintings normally get put online across all my galleries within a couple of days, not two weeks later! But never mind, it is up!

There is no particularly exciting story to this painting, it is in fact one that I would consider to be a quick fix cheat. I was in the mood to paint the other day whilst simultaneously being exhausted. This usually means there is no option but to try and find something to paint that won't kill me in the process. So I chose this composition of St George's Gate, in Windsor Castle - a place I have to been before and have experience of, not too complicated, and a small size.

It's a win, win; I get my 'I need to paint or I am going to go crazy' off my chest, can finish in time for an 'early' night and have something shiny and new to share.

I am currently hoping that this weekend I will be able to have a go at painting one of my Brecon Beacon photos, at a slightly larger size than the one above. Let's hope that I am both inspired, awake, and not hungover on Sunday! 

(As always, my new painting is up for sale on my website and can be found by clicking here!)

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

An Art Class

Post number 4 of 2019, is that more than last year put together? I don't think so, but it doesn't feel like that much of an exaggeration. I think this means that I might be doing slightly better at remembering to note my meandering thoughts down for everyone to pretend they haven't read.

Are you ready?

I recently held an art class for a lovely bunch of Ladies that are in a club I belong too. It was quite a learning experience and had a dramatic start as it was almost snowed off. I was 50/50 about whether that would have been a good thing or not but in the end, 10 people turned up, with the promise of running another class later for the 6 or 7 that couldn't make it.

So I learnt, that actually they were all pretty good! I also surprised myself that my instructions made sense and I do actually know how to mix colours, and what I am talking about. This may seem like a stupid thing to say, but I do everything without thinking, so I can't always remember what I did when I look at the end product. I have a couple of paintings I can look at and be impressed that I did them. Me. Somehow I did draw that and pick those combinations, and didn't mess it up. Me. Are you sure?

I also learnt that it would have been easier if I had painted along with them. There was a latecomer so I let her take my space as it was already set up, which was fine to begin with but then got a bit more complicated when it came to the 'stones' and the tree.  But we managed.

It was also interesting to break my painting down into easy to do sections, if I am honest, it made it seem like there wasn't much to it. I suppose there isn't really, but copying cuts down the thought process and the trial and error and the mistakes so I guess it makes it seem easier than it is. At least that is what I am saying to myself.

I also learnt that I am a very indelicate painter. Watching everyone leisurely, gently use small brushstrokes across the canvas made me realise that a). I paint like I am angry b). I paint like I am in a rush and c). I definitely do not paint delicately, which might explain the condition of some of my brushes! :-O

But anyway, a thoroughly enjoyable experience, so thank you Maidenhead Ladies Circle for having me. I would happily teach you all again, and I think you all might have surprised yourselves with your hidden talents! 

Monday, 4 February 2019

Blackhead House

I was just about to say 'look at me! Three blog posts in January' but I just realised it is now actually February. It is funny, getting busy creeps up on you without you noticing. I remember when I started out and I had no emails coming in and not much work on and lots of time to paint, blog and market myself. I also had very little money. So a lot of improvements but also a lot less time.

But anyway, I came online this evening to partake in my annual submission into the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I think this will be the 5th time I have attempted to get my work displayed. So far I haven't managed to make it past the first round, and judging from this years topic of 'work responding to the contemporary world' I don't fancy my chances this time either. I need a topic about vibrancy, or optimism, or colour. It seems like it is unfashionable in the art world to be positive. But that is OK, there are many well known artists that never managed to make it into the Summer Exhibition so it is by no means the be all or end all. It would just be a welcome boost. I am determined to keep entering, until either they let me in, or I make them look bad for always refusing me. Here is to hoping. Good luck Blackhead House!

Monday, 28 January 2019

Central Hall

So the kitchen arriving has been more chaotic than I anticipated, mostly because my painting space is currently a mini kitchenette. On the plus side, the lack of food, cooking equipment and fridge has done wonders for my waistline, so I can legitimately, if somewhat cheekily, pretend one of my new years resolutions to shift a stubborn 7lbs is working. (Ask me if this is true after my third take away of the week later!)

But anyway, in anticipation of the chaos I did manage to squeeze out the second painting of the year which has now turned into the first sale.

This paintings subject was suggested to me before Christmas, by a lovely lady buying some cards for her daughter as a present. She simply enquired whether I had painted Central Hall in Westminster as it meant a lot to her for many different reasons. I had not, so whilst she purchased my other London themed cards, I googled the subject and saw that it was a building right up my street. (Not literally!) As with most things that catch my eye, they sit in my head, quietly demanding to be painted, so I knew I was not going to last long before I succumbed, and succumb I did!

I was worried about this one to start with as about 30 minutes in I lost impetus, which is unusual once I have got underway, but I persevered and ended up with something I am pretty pleased with; Even more so as it has chalked up my first sale of the year!

Seems like a good start!


Friday, 11 January 2019

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I am not even going to make excuses for the lack of blog posting or anything else over the last couple of months. I am just going to start 2019 afresh, with good intentions, new resolutions and hopefully some consistency!

On the plus side, except for the fact a new kitchen is being installed in a little over a week which will result in chaos, I am slowly getting on top of my to-do list. This means I am confident that at some point this year, I will be able to blog, tweet and Instagram consistently. Yes, I know, you can mock me this time next year when I say the same thing, but here is to hoping. Anything is possible after all!

But without further ado, it seems this year can't properly start without the introduction of a new painting. So here it is; the first painting of 2019.

This has an obscure provenance as I had decided I was in the mood to paint, but I wasn't sure what to do. I then went on a car wash trip with a friend, and after watching the water being drenched over the windscreen, felt like I needed to paint the sea. Having just spent the Christmas break on the Isle of Wight, it seemed natural to put two and two together. So here it is: Bembridge Lifeboat Station on the Isle of Wight at sunset and low tide.