Bulbs and Benches

This morning I wrote roughly a million words of my WIP. Feeling very inspired at the moment, if a little exhausted after a much needed 24-hour jaunt to a place I adore. And now I’ve just come back from a garden centre, of all places. Why is buying birthday presents for my Dad so difficult?! Anyway, I think I’d quite like my own garden one day, if only so I can buy pretty watering cans. Sadly, though, I never even remember to water anything when I attempt to have plants on my window sill. After I came back from Amsterdam, I put one of those one-euro tulip bulbs into a pot, only to discover, months later (and, I admit, having never watered it), that the bulb had completely disappeared. It wasn’t there anymore. I had been displaying, in this non-fruitful but expectant interim, a small pot of soil. I imagine it had given up on me and decided to disintegrate, thinking ‘I’ll just be soil, it’s easier’. I hope one day I’ll be the sort of person who can water a plant. In the meantime, and between some other things I’m doing today, I thought I’d post a quick miscellany of images I haven’t blogged yet, but which I love, with thanks to the photographers.

By Barrie Spence, Scotland:

By Rayment Kirby, Sussex:

By OnePixArt, Beverley Hills:

By Eddie Ray, taken at Paul’s Studio, Reading (inspired, of course, by Rossetti and Arthur Hughes):

By Davefish, taken at Eye For An Image Studio in Banbury, Oxfordshire:

By Paul Bartholomew, Oxfordshire:

By the Seaside and The Beauty of Women

I hope everyone is having a happy new year so far… I’ve been feeling a tiny bit ill (and so a tiny bit grumpy), but am definitely making the most of small pleasures; as if stationery didn’t make me happy enough as it already is, I today discovered that staples are available in different colours while on an incredibly boring but necessary jaunt to buy a new receipt file (the joys of keeping things for SIX YEARS). Pink, blue, green and yellow. My inner fourteen year-old girl is buzzing. I also got some very beautiful new towels today; I am easily pleased (well, that’s not strictly true, but for the purposes of this blog post let’s say I am). And I’m doing pretty well with my extreme multi-tasking idea; I want to improve my German and French this year, morphing the knowledge I have into actual practical confidence, to be tested later in the year on various trips, and am squeezing in some audio lessons during very short stints on my exercise bike. I wonder if I will forever associate particular words with the view of my speedometer.

Anyway, one thing I am very pleased about is to be able to mention that three photographer/artists I’ve worked with are all exhibiting at the same time. Mark Davy-Jones, Gregory Brown and Jeff Wack will all be showing work at ‘The Beauty of Women’ at The Menier Gallery, London 8-19th January. I know that some images of me are being featured by Mark, though I don’t know which, and will have to go along to find out if I’ll be featured in any more.

Interestingly, the Guild of Erotic Artists says of the exhibition:

THE BEAUTY OF WOMEN is an exhibition that is designed to allow the visitor to view the female form as a thing of beauty that is generally considered too private and intimate for public display. If shown at all, a woman’s body is usually presented in a negative fashion, generally within the context of pornography, intended, in almost all cases, for the exclusive pleasure of men. The goal of this exhibition is to remove these indecent inferences, contained in works of art over the centuries.’

I’m hoping to visit in between modelling for the Yerburys at the annual SWPP convention at the London Hilton on Edgeware Rd, which I’m really looking forward to. If you’re planning to be there, come and say hi!

Seems fitting to finally blog some images Mark Davy-Jones took of me and Kayleigh Lush a while ago. I love these!

(The biddies in the background didn’t pay us much attention.)

And this has reminded me that I need to plan a quick visit to the Isle of Wight again for March/April – will get on to that soon, though am all in a flux at the moment about when to visit Paris (4th-9th April?) and am also itching to get on with planning my trip to Scotland (early May; big proper tour, unlike my last year’s piddly foray into just Edinburgh, as stunningly beautiful as that city is), amongst others. Planning planning planning.

2012: a Retrospective

My New Years Resolutions are going to be quite pared down this time around. I’m actually not keen to change a huge amount. I’m feeling happier than I’ve felt in a while and am gratefully aware of it. This last year has been hard in certain ways, but I’ve got through it by frequently reminding myself how much I have to be grateful for, how independent and capable I have become, and also relying on my (full of questions, full of curiosity) spirituality. I am extremely lucky in so many ways and thankful for it! On top of that, I feel like I’ve finally found my ‘tribe’ in terms of dance classes, which are very important to me (missing them terribly over the Christmas break, but I would like to officially announce that I at least went on my exercise bike ON CHRISTMAS DAY, in between fistfuls of ferero roches), have made lots of new friends in the last few months by putting myself out there and meeting up with people based on shared interests, and am feeling more confident that I will be free to finally focus on what I want to focus on, now that upset and confusion are out of the door. I also have a lot of very exciting possibilities to look forward to!

Anyway, enough of all that. I’m shamelessly copying something Ivory Flame did last year, and showcasing some of my personal favourites from my 2012 year of blogging. What an amazing year it’s been!!!

From Happy New Year, by Ron Skei, Vancouver:

From Rich Caramel Chocolate, by Cam Attree, Mexico:

From Mosquito nets, Metaphysics and Mississippi Mud Pie, by Mel Brackstone, Mexico:

From Pottery, Petals and Peach Sunset, by Cam Attree, Mexico:
From Luxury Strikes Again, by Keith Cooper, Cheltenham Film Studio
From Natural Women, by Stephen Billups, Mexico:

From Bug Off*, by Cam Attree, Mexico:

From Dance in the Studio, by TarMoo, Eye For An Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

From Trips and Leaves, by Robert Farnham, Mexico:

From A celebration, some wedding princessing and some Lions (and a monkey), by Mike Croshaw, Cheltenham Film Studio:

From The Edge of the World, by Billy Sheahan, Mexico:

From Costume Changes, by Mike Croshaw, Cheltenham Film Studio:

From Spring Flower Portraits, by Richard Tuckett:

From Technicoloured Earth, by Billy Sheahan, Mexico:

From Silk in the Dark, by Barry Barker:

From Let’s Dance, by Jeremie Nassif, Paris:

From Mean, Moody and Magnificent Muse in Montmartre at Midnight (post macaroon), by Jeremy Howitt, Paris:

From Strength in the Dark, by Eric Kellerman, Nijmegen, Holland:

From Swathes of Lavender, by Imagesse, Gloucestershire:

From Paris by Day ~ Travelogue, by Jeremy Howitt, Paris:

From Portraits, Box, Stripes and Lightning, by Eric Kellerman, Nijmegen, Holland:

From Postcards – an Exhibition, by Robbie Wraith, Oxfordshire:

From On the Plank, by Vanijzen, Amsterdam:

From Fairy Paintings, by Philip Malpass:

From Lioness Lightplay, by Neil Snape, Paris:

From Trees and Bicycles, by Jules Photography:

From Riverdance, by Britalicus, Edinburgh:

From Extreme Eiffel Tower Exploits, Etc, by Jeremy Howitt, Paris:

From White on Black, by Klaus Kampert, Dusseldorf:

From TWO ~ Ella Rose and Ivory Flame, by Karen Jones, Eye for an Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

From Yerbury Fine Art Nude Masterclass, by Max Operandi:

From Pebbles, by Jeremy Howitt, Brighton beach:

From Public Service Announcement ~ A Book! 😉 (And I’m hoping to start putting together a massive book for myself in 2013, covering various styles) Cover image by Keith Cooper, digitally magicalised by Moonmomma:

From Bedroom Glamour, by Tony Ornstien, Oxfordshire:

From Clouds and Poppies, by Rayment Kirby, Sussex:

From Colouroids, by Steven Billups, Black Forest, Germany:

From Lions, Points and Window Light, by Nige W. Hallam Mill, Stockport:

From Gypsy Dance, by Frank (Pangolin). Gregory Brown’s LoftHouse Studio, London:

From Red Jellyfish and Black Tutus, by Richard Spurdens. Hallam Mill Studio, Stockport:

From Painting with Chaos, by Terry Joslin, featuring Ivory Flame. Eye For An Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

From Sunset, Candle, Tree, by Rayment Kirby, Sussex:

From When We Had Summer, by Max Operandi:

From Hands and Roots, by Steven Billups. Black Forest, Germany:

From Peaches and Cream, by Richard Lund, Buckinghamshire:

From Purple Haze, by Keith Cooper, Cheltenham Film Studio:

From Mr Cupid, by Karen Jones, Buckinghamshire:

From Enchanted Forest, by Calandra Images. Fife, Scotland:

From Solarised, by Zoe Wiseman. Palm Springs, CA:

From Beetroot and Rocks, by Bob Freund. Joshua Tree National Park:

From Cracked Earth, Sleek Fashion and Tumbleweed, by Jeremy Howitt. Lucerne Valley:

From Ourania Ascending Mount Wilson, by Jeff Wack, featuring Anoush Anou. LA:

From A-flitting and a-fluttering, by Brian Martin. Fife, Scotland:

From Mirrors, by Neil Snape. Paris:

From Otters, Rocks and Water Lillies, by Imagesse. Pembrokeshire, Wales:

From Running in Heels, by Tony Ornstien, Oxfordshire:

From Underwater Fires, by Zoe Wiseman, featuring Meghan Claire. California:

From Grapes and Ferrets, by Vincent Rijs, Amsterdam:

From Thinkin’ About Your Body, by OnePixArt, LA:

From Guide us to Thy Perfect Light, by Karen Jones. Eye For An Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

Back to the New Years Resolutions thing, I’ve realised that, for me, black and white decision-making is liberating, though it’s definitely not something that comes easily to me. With that in mind, one new thing is that I’ve decided I will probably no longer drink any alcohol – not because I think drinking is bad (it’s not!), or because I don’t like the taste (I do; wine and cocktails especially!), or because I have a problem with alcohol (I hardly drink as it is!), but because I’ve finally acknowledged the fact that, for as long as I can remember, I’ve shown signs of alcohol intolerance. I looked it up on Christmas Eve when one drop of sherry made my face red, and apparently most of my Mum’s side of the family were tee-total for reasons unknown (hhhmm….); and I’ve since learnt that alcohol intolerance can be hereditary. Ha! Thinking back, as a teenager, there are a few things that stand out: I only started wearing make up on my face to pre-emptively cover up the extreme ‘flushing’ I’d get over my face and chest after just a couple of sips of wine, and I remember sitting with my friends and wondering whether I was wearing the wrong size underwear because my chest felt painful and tight after a few drinks. I also know that the ‘depressant’ aspect of alcohol, especially after drinking wine, is a real thing for me, where a party high is followed by feeling really down the next day. So I’ve decided not to bother drinking alcohol at all. That’s not really a ‘resolution’, though, as it’s not something I feel compelled to do for moral or health or other reasons of self-improvement (and I won’t be strict about it); it’s just a new, official validation of what I’d suspected all along. So bring on the lime soda and cranberry apples! Or something. I can still dance and have fun; I just won’t feel like my cheeks are on fire, and can drive home at the end of it. 🙂

On the other hand, I’ve also learnt that black-and-white goal-making is not so helpful for a person who is already extremely ambitious and has high expectations of herself. So sometimes ‘I will do a bit of x every day, and just so long as a bit of x gets done, I will have succeeded’ is more helpful as a goal than ‘I will do precisely y amount of x everyday, so that by z (where z = an unrealistically short term), x will be completed’. You all know I’m talking about my writing. And that I will probably still aim to do y most days. It’s just that I’ll be kinder to myself if I don’t manage it, so long as I’ve ‘shown up’ and done something. (But see ‘free to finally focus on what I want to focus on’, above.) 🙂

…Wishing everyone a happy and peaceful final few days of 2012… and a fresh, bright and hopeful start to 2013!

Ourania ascending Mount Wilson

I have some stunning new artwork to share with you this early Friday evening before I go out, courtesy of photographer and digital artist Jeff Wack. Based in LA, Jeff’s work has been used in some major international advertisements and campaigns, and his personal work includes this ‘Sensuous Muse’ project, which depicts a variety of muses and goddesses from various mythologies, more of which can be seen here. With me on this shoot was the delightful Aussie model Anoush Anou, who will be heading to the UK in the early summer time… (photographers take note!). 🙂

The image below is inspired by the painting ‘Ein Wiederfinden’ (A Reunion), by Eduard Veith, along with the stories of Ourania, one of Zeus’ daughters who became known as the goddess of astronomy.

As for the significance of the LA landmark, Jeff tells me that there were some important astronomical discoveries made there long ago. The growing city lights obscured the viewing and the older observatories there have long taken a back seat to the more modern communication towers you see in the scene. The area is prone to bush fires, and in terms of intent, the idea is to play on releasing the past with ties to the present…

So, here I am as Ourania, ascending Mount Wilson.

Busy Bees and Alien Zebras

I’ve had a mad little day so far today, writing all morning then busy organising everything in the entire world ever (aka up and coming modelling trips to Germany, Holland, Scotland and now Dublin, since my postponed trip seems to have resurrected itself!). Flippin’ ‘eck, I feel like I spend most of my life on skyscanner.net. (In related news I am now the proud owner of a 4-wheel-drive suitcase, which means I will swivel marvellously through airports, in theory, and not get grumpy.) Off to zumba later (after a quick phone call later about another Paris visit that’s happening in June… I know, I’m just showing off now) and have also managed to get in an enquiry about a local life drawing class I’m thinking of trying out. I didn’t get to study art at school, since it clashed with music on the timetable, but I’ve always found drawing really relaxing on the rare occasion I’ve had a go. I wonder if I’d be any good at it – I really have no idea and could almost definitely be terrible, but I used to enjoy it a lot and I think it would be really fun to try. I’ve also never ever modelled for a life drawing class, only one-to-one when it comes to traditional-media artists, so it will be interesting to see what it all feels like.

Anyway, I modelled again for the brilliantly inventive Colin again recently. We had lots of fun trying out various projector themes on me. (I’ve written about his methods previously here.) I also suggested during the shoot that we try movement/motion blur, something I don’t think Colin had really worked on before, and it produced some really really cool (and surprising) effects, we thought, and required the invention of an alien zebra dance which amused me greatly. You feel off in your own world a bit when modelling for these projections; everything seems pitch black or blinding; with the heater on loudly as well, communication between photographer and model isn’t the easiest! Maybe I’ll be able to show some more movement-y ones at some point, but anyway, here are some good ‘uns to be getting on with! Thanks Colin!

Magazine Appearances

Thanks go to Mark Davy-Jones for alerting me to appearances of my face in various magazines. Practical Photoshop have been featuring me a lot for the last few issues, with big spreads full of my face over and over again (but, less interestingly for my blog readers, it’s often the same pose/mugshot, showing photoshop techniques step-by-step for its avid, digitally-enthusiastic readers!) So I won’t bombard this blog with the full number of pages, but just a few (from December and Feb issues).

Swirly:

Being cut away:

I’ve been busy packing today for my jaunt around Cambridge. The last time I went there it was to be interviewed to study English at the university. I wasn’t convinced I wanted to study there, as I wanted to do a more modern, wide-ranging course, and in the end they rejected me anyway – think my question ‘what dance classes are there here, do you know?’ (directed at a professor of literature) wasn’t received brilliantly. Ah well… Nice place, nevertheless!
In other news, my flights to Scotland are now confirmed and I’ll be available around Edinburgh, Dundee, Fife and Glasgow between 9th-16th May. Can’t wait to visit!