Saturday, 1 September 2012

Very excited as my second colouring book is now ' in stock'. Feel like its much more grown up than my "A is for Australia." Artwork more professional and consistent, the perforations are slightly different and the weight of the paper slightly better. I think I will tweak the artwork for "A is for Australia" before reprint. Constantly learning new things! All good. You can look at some of the internal pages if you go to   

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

An Alien At my table

I found my youngest child having a chat to her alien mate that sits looking at her at every meal time. I think he looks more like a bird but still I was careful not to say so....

" Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world".............

Albert Einstein wrote that . Good stuff eh?

I remember seeing the face of a wizzend old croan in the wooden floorboards of the bathroom when I was a child, and talking to it every time I sat on the loo......
Its very easy to crush a child's imagination with organised playtime, strict school curricular, not being able to meander from what has to be taught. Not much time to smell the roses, play in mud or talk to the alien at your table.

This photo I took at a friend's farm at the weekend. The smiling rock. Now if I had had her childhood, I probably would have sat talking to that rock instead telling it all the secrets, joys and woes of my world.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Is White a colour?

Is white a colour? Most scientists will say black isn't but white is but an artist faced with a box of paints or pencils will say the opposite. What do you think?

White in most Western cultures signifies purity, light , goodness, innocence, virginity, faith and safety.
Its the colour of angels,  good white magic in contrast to black magic. In heraldry it stands for faith and purity.
Its the colour of hi tech, hospitals, doctors, sterility and cleanliness. See how many soap and toiletry products are packaged in cool white with blue.......... imagine how many adverts have scientific experts in white lab coats. Its the colour we trust as professional and safe.

Wearing white can make flesh look bulky unlike its black opposite. Contrastingly its a colour that indicates light weight, low fat, light as a feather.........

Spiritually its the colour of goodness and purity. A white wedding. And yet in many cultures is the colour of death. White lilies, white roses. Those more apt for a coffin wreath than a wedding bouquet. People that have been granted a second chance at life having had a near death experience often talk about going towards a white light. Heaven is always depicted as full of white pure light.

Where I grew up in the Wiltshire Downs, I think it must have been a magical colour in ancient times. The soil under the grass is chalk so white in colour when you dig down. Silbury Hill , the largest man made mount in Europe would have been a giant pudding of glistening white in great contrast to the rolling green downs. Likewise the calved white horses on the hillsides must have been very stunning. I still turn three times around on the eye of the white horse at Cherhill and make a wish whenever I am back in the Uk!

If you live in a climate lucky enough to have snow , a snow angel is always fun to do. This is a great photo of a perfect one.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Black Sheep or Black Cat?

So is Black always bad? And is in fact a colour anyway? Scientist will say black is not a colour and white is, whereas an artist or a child faced with a box of pencils will say that black is a colour and not white........ whichever way you perceive it, black and all its implications is a very strong force in our culture.
Black stands for authority and seriousness. It is the colour of power, elegance, formality, evil, mystery, death. It is the complete opposite of white in most respects. Do you see a black cat crossing your path as good or bad luck?

It is the colour of darkness, black holes, the fear of the unknown. The colour of Black death, blacklist, black days, black sheep of the family. Its the colour of funerals and grief in most western cultures and infact a Greek widow will often wear black for the rest of her life if her husband dies. In Heraldry, black is the colour symbolic of grief.   Interestingly white takes on this role in most of Africa and some of Asia.

Black is the colour of anarchy. Anarchists adopt a black flag, black clothing is hard to identify in a mob. The Italian Fascists Militas were called Blackshirts as were the SS troups in Nazi Germany . In a black and white situation, black invariably is seen as the negative. It's the colour of punks, goths, subcultures. The bad black magic, not the good white witch. The pirate flag, the' Blackbeard the Bad. 'Its inbedded in our culture wherever we turn.

However its not all bad. Its a powerful prestigious colour to wear. Think of black tie event or a fabulous music recital when every musician will wear black in some shape or form. A background to let the music sing forth from.  A black suit or  dress will make you look thinner. It is a 'colour that pushes down and away ' allowing other colours to shine out. It can make for an aggressive colour scheme but also make a strikingly bold one.

And lets not forget the All Blacks, the discovery of a black box to tell us with authority what happened to a crashed plane. Black belt is the highest martial arts level. The black snooker ball the most prized. And then of course the bottom line is if your bank account is ' in the black' rather than the red, well that is the ultimate respect for a colour that is debatable in the first place.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Orange . The laughing Colour.

So as we watch the leaves turning orange as Autumn creeps in and the spicey pumpkin soup recipes are hunted out, there is a lot of orange around us at this time of year.

Orange is a secondary colour. It is the combination of red and yellow. It's a hot colour but not as agressive as red.
 Kandinsky said " Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow".

People who like orange are said to be thoughtful and sincere. It stands for joy, sunshine, enthusiasm, facination, happiness, success and stimulation. Its the laughing colour.

Buddist monks wear saffron orange robes. In China and Japan it is the colour of happiness and love. The American Indians use it as the colour of kinship. It's a positive colour, the colour of harvest, strength and endurance. Your orange Chakra is just below your navel. Said you be your creative centre.
Orange is a great colour to promote food and toys as it jumps out from the shelf  without the garrishness of red.
Orange food is great to both stimulate appetite but also keep nasty cancers at bay.  Citrus fruits,carrots, pumpkin are all great for our digestion but it's the power of the paw paw that is seriously under exposed! If you have someone you love in your life sick with cancer, I highly recommend you look into papaya power!
Have a great orange day!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Fantastic Plastic?

Having spent Easter in a small slice of wilderness where our only shower was the river, it breaks my heart to see water like this in Sydney's waterways so please excuse the following soap box rant!

Bottled water....... why? We have some of the best quality tap water in the world in Sydney. Nothing like the water that comes out of the tap water in London which supposedly has been through your body 7 times by the time you drink it . I'm all for recycling but it does taste revolting!

In Australia there is no real excuse. You don't have to wait for 'Clean up Australia day' to make a difference either. You can take a few steps, however teeny and your kids will learn by example.

Water is obviously the most healthy drink. Good for your skin, weight, teeth, wallet . Any model will boast how much water they drink.  Kids have to have water bottles pretty much everywhere they go . School. Sport. Excursions. I have learnt by trial and error what I find works the best.
The Sistema company do a great range of bottles and you can find them in the supermarket. None of the nasty toxic plastics and a NZ company that seems to be happily competing with China and doing a good job.

Their drinking bottles have a screw valve at the top. They don't leak.They don't go mouldy like the straw top ones. You can screw off the top bit of the bottle and sterilise it in the dishwasher . I put mine in the cutlery basket so they don't go wandering. You can fill them and put them in the freezer overnight so they can act as an icepack for lunchboxes in summer.
None of this is hard and it would make such a difference.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Happy Easter From ColourMeArt

 Easter is one of the best time of year to get creative with the kids and have a bit of fun with colour. We always do an Easter egg hunt , sometimes with written clues and even using map coordinates now they are getting older.
One of the favourite traditions in our family is egg rolling. We first hard boil an egg each. Add some vinegar to the water and they seem to harden even more . Bit like baking conkers ready for battle!

Then once they are left to cool, you can start the fun decorating them.
Using wax crayons ( or candles if you don't have any) you can draw on them. You can use inks ( or food colouring ) for bright colours. Glue and beads, string or paper for the more deconstructive creators.

You can add your own style and preferably your initial to make them different.  Best dressed egg gets a small prize in our house but then on Easter Sunday we meet up with friends and do our traditional egg rolling competition. A lot of fun and if you have kids that are older than each other , this is a family tradition that spans the age difference between children quite well.
You set the course ( on a hill obviously), rolling the eggs one at a time down it. The winner of each round is the egg that rolls the furthest that remains intact. You keep taking turns until the ultimate winner gets the first prize.
The Crows and Ibis like their Easter treat left behind and unless you have decorated your egg with something really unbiodegradable , you can leave them to feast while you go for a dip to work off your chocolate fest.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Meaning of Green

I love this photo. It really sums up my next colour, green.
 Its peaceful, restful, uplifting. It signifies balance, honesty, harmony and a refreshing sense of well being. Green is the colour we associate with words like durability and renewal and fertility. Its the colour of self respect and unconditional love.
Green is the most restful colour on ones eyes. Its the world's most favourite colour after blue. In colour therapy its the colour used to relax a mind. If the colour wheel was a PH scale it would be bang in the middle.

 Green really stands for nature. If you think about it almost all of nature has some element of green in it. Politically it is always associated with environmental issues which is logical. In Asia the green stone of Jade is sacred. In Ireland , St Patrick's day is always associated with the colour green. Its the colour of Christmas ( coupled with its opposite red of course) and the ' go ' colour for traffic lights . In business if you get the 'green light ' for an idea or project its only positive go go go!! If you have a green thumb in the garden, you are a 'natural' gardener. We talk of the American dollar being the ' green back', ' greener pastures' being richer than what we have. Deep greens indicate old money, racing green, speed with style whereas olive green is the ultimate colour of peace.

However green does get some negative press too. How about green with jealousy ' the green eyed monster' as Shakespeare referred to this deadly sin. It is also a colour we can associate with sickness. We talk about someone turning green when they are about to vomit. But maybe that is more Chartreuse yellowy greens in the palette as eating green vegetables is always a healthy option!

Whether you like green or not, it has to be considered the oldest colour of life really. Its our natural back drop and makes you feel calmer even if you don't realise it does. Next time you are at the park or in the garden with the kids , get them to spot how many different kinds of greens they can see.  You would be amazed and I think its always good for them to appreciate the colours of their surroundings.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Creative Purple

Purple is a secondary colour. It is the combination of primary red and blue. I like teaching kids how to mix colour at bathtime using food colouring. Just a couple of drops of each and it won't send them to bed looking like a punk. Just breaks up the boredum of bed times routine .

Purple is a colour you find a lot in nature. Be it a spud or a stunning jacaranda tree. It traditionally symbolises royalty , nobility and spirituality. It's the colour of magic. It the colour associated with creativity so its not suprising that its an artists favourite and one of mine.

Purple is the colour of good judgement. Its confident and ambitious. The colour of purpose.  The perfect colour for meditation as it combines the hot red and cool blue opposites to a colour that calms over activity or lifts you up from depression.

Purple used to be a very expensive dye to produce. 4000 years ago in the ancient city of Tyre, the glands of a spiral Murex shell were sought as they contained a rich purple dye. These shells were found deep in the Mediteranean so only the divers that could hold their breath long enough to retrieve them did. 12,000 shells were needed to dye cloth for one toga so no wonder it was a colour associated with royalty and wealth. Later lichen was used but again , it took the same weight in lichen to cloth to dye it. The lichen was combined with urine ( Yukko!) to draw the dye out of it over a matter of weeks. Nice.!

Traditionally the colour of mourning in Thailand. Purple is worn by priests during lent to symbolise spirituality and restraint. It was queen Cleopatras favourite colour. It's used as a symbolic colour today for example International Womens Day( last week) or Epilepsy day. The U.S Military award  the wounded in battle with the purple heart medal.

Now you don't have to be royalty to enjoy the magic of purple. You just need to look around you and stop to absorb how great it makes you feel ! Forget the smelling the roses, lavender will calm you in both colour and scent!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Got the Blues?

This photo is from the Bluebell woods near my hometown of Marlborough in the UK. I was lucky enough to time a trip 'home' a few years ago and took my middle daughter to go to experience the peace and beauty of these woods in full bloom.

Blue is an interesting colour to work with. It signifies the cold end of the spectrum.We associate it with cold, clinical, clean, efficient.  Most washing powders or medicines have a lot of blue packaging you may notice. Poison was bottled in blue glass bottles in Victorian times. Cold taps are indicated with blue. You can  easily experiment with how your brain's thermostat works by painting one beach pebble blue and one red. What feels colder and what hotter? Its the same with painting a wall. A room will instinctly feel cold if painted blue. Its the colour of hospital waiting rooms, offices, cool and efficient places of work.

 We associate blue with water. Of course water is colourless and it's only the sky reflecting on the ocean to make it blue but childen will invariably paint water blue.
 Blue is one of the three primary colours so is not easily made. Blue is most men's favourite colour, we always associate blue for boys, pink for girls. Wonder why that is? Especially when you consider one in eight males is colourblind anyway and only one in 20,000 females are!

In painting blue is traditionally symbolic of piousness. Mary, mother of Jesus was always depicted in blue. If you look at a landscape blue is the colour of the distant hills, it's the tone that all colours become in the distance, the absolute opposite of red jumping out at you, blue disappears into haze on the horizon.

Blue in music would be the base tones, to ' sing the blues' would be sorrowful, soulful sounds. Its the sound of a whale in the deep waters. The sound of peace , low and slow.

Having worked in fashion both sides of the planet I find it amusing that a blue colourway in most prints will always sell well in Australia, but never in the UK. I always put it down to the fact that most Australians are hot enough already without wearing hot colours and the same in the opposite applies to the UK. Blue bedlinen always sells well down under but Chinese culture and Feng Shui associate blue as bad in the bedroom. Not good for loving at all!

Here are few tricks for your kids to mix a range of blues if you follow my UTUBE link below.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Yellow is for Golden Sunlight

So it is with a sense of relief  that after all that rain last night , the sun is out and we have some yellow to start the week with . Its no surprise that people feel better about life when the sun is out. Yellow is the primary colour that we associate with optimism, enlightenment and happiness. It can be used as  a gentler version of the positive red to change your mood or your environment for the better.

I have a yellow hallway which is a sunny entrance and supposed to encourage luck and wealth! I used to work for a very supersitious Hungarian Jew who placed gold coins above the studio entrance door mantle to encourage luck. I must admit that when we relaid our deck a couple of years ago I placed gold coins in the cement of our Feng Shui wealth corner ( top left ).

Yellow is globally the colour we associate with positivity and wealth.  In Japan it is associated with courage, in India with peace and in China with royalty and respect. It is the highlight colour of life. The yellow jersey. The high tinkling notes in music, the golden light of a halo, the colour of spiritual awakening.  The yellow spice of saffron ( made from the dried crocus stamens) is actually more valuable in weight than gold.

Interestingly enough it is also the most tiring colour on the eye as it reflects the most light. You won't be finding many screen savers predominately yellow.

 But yellow has a sinister side too. Think of jaundice, yellow bellied, cowadice, yellow card in soccer, yellow warning flag in a car race, yellow armbands worn by the Jews in concentration camps....... its not all happiness and golden light. Its also the colour associated with deceit and bankcruptcy. I always think there is an irony when all the financial experts on the news seem to wear a predominately gold tie. Which side are they on? Wealth or warning?! Have a look next time and see what I mean!

The Australian landscape is full of ochres, reds and rusts , the colours of the aboriginal flag are true of this big dusty island. My kids like making their own pigments at the beach. You can grind sandstone or rock and charcoal mixing it with water to make a palette fit for any artist. They can dot paint on smooth rocks or  even each other and they wash it all off with one last dip before you go home.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Red Is For Love.

So Valentines Day has come around again! Why do we associate the colour red with love? Well red, pink and those hot colours make our heart skip a beat. Just like love. Red is the end of the colour spectrum that make us take notice, it stands for danger, hot taps, red traffic lights, fast sports cars, warning signs, fire fire!

Next time you are at the supermarket just take a look at how much packaging is in red. Buy me , buy me now!!

The Chinese culture consider red ( and gold ) very good luck. I have designed many a bedlinen set based on this colour combination , traditionally given to newly weds.
Think of expressions like ' in the pink',  seeing things through 'rose tinted spectacles', it's a very positive colour and if you are feeling physically low, red lifts the soul, cheers you up.  The very basic feng shui rule on red is to put it in your relationship corner ( top right ), so think about growing something red or pink in your top right corner of your garden, put something red or pink on the top right corner of your desk, bedroom........ See if it makes a difference to your lovelife or sense of wellbeing. I know I was amazed to see a deep pink colour painted walls on the delivery floor of Royal Womens Hospital in Randwick but the sense of positivity , love and warmth when you step out of the lift is fantastic. Someone knew what they were doing when they chose that! Must have been a mum that knew a thing about colour theory!
Anyway Happy Valentine's Day  whatever colour you are wearing!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Born to Colour!

So a little about me, what makes me tick and what I love and why I created ColourMeArt last year.......... She Inspires online magazine article if you follow this link ................

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Pink Dog Cake

Most People know I refer to my gorgeous dog as my 4th baby without the pelvic floor problems ( !)  so when it was her birthday of course we made her a cake. This pink dog cake was made with kibble, mashed potato with pink food colouring added and then sculpted into a pigs head with real piggy ears, and doggy treats for the details. Kids absolutely loved doing it. We had a proper party and invited all her 4 legged friends. One of my girls made tiny party hats on pin elastic for the dogs and instead of party bags, they all went away with a doggy poo bags filled with doggy treats! If you have a four legged member of your family you might want to try it!