I read lots of books, from mythology retellings to literary fiction and I love to reread books from childhood, this is a place to voice my thoughts for fun. I also like to ramble about things such as art or nature every now and again.
My first time painting Hogwarts as part of my sister’s Christmas present. I find buildings quite hard to paint because of all the greys, but it was still fun to try. I also gave up with the mountain haha, so I used fake gold leaf and goblet of fire pages to make a wee collage (this part looks better in real life).
This is based on a famous painting I saw in Glasgow by an artist called Scarlett Raven. Hers is obviously much more detailed and beautiful, but as I don’t have £10,000, I tried my best to make my own version!
This is the closest I’ll get to drawing a person because faces are too hard! I love Medusa and patterns so decided to combine them which I think worked fairly well for this one. The first Medusa painting I ever tried genuinely looks like Gladys from friends hahaha.
Earlier in the year I enjoyed using acrylic pens to make wee patterns on some old records.
This one was hard again because of the greys- I’ll have to eventually buy decent acrylics or oils if I’d like to try painting properly- but here is a wee version of the Sagrada Familia to remind me of the fun times where travel was a safe thing to do. Hopefully those times will return! 🙂
Lastly, a quick little pen and ink bright pattern which kept me busy for a wee while during isolation (yesterday was my freedom day, wooo! Feeling very lucky to have only had minor symptoms thanks to having both vaccines).
I love painting using bright colours, please recommend any artists who use bright colours or detailed patterns! If you draw or paint, please link your blog or insta, I always love to get inspiration and see other’s work 🙂
Queenie- Candice Carty-Williams (physical book, new read)
‘Meet Queenie. She just can’t cut a break. Well, apart from one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That’s just a break though. Definitely not a break up. Stuck between a boss who doesn’t seem to see her, a family who don’t seem to listen (if it’s not Jesus or water rates, they’re not interested), and trying to fit in two worlds that don’t really understand her, it’s no wonder she’s struggling.’ (Queenie synopsis)
Whilst I read this book before the murder of George Floyd and the protests, I would again like to address the horrific events and systemic racism that black people are experiencing, specific police brutality and everyday racism at the hands of ignorant white people. I am continuing to educate myself, sign petitions and donate to causes that support Black lives matter, and I will continue to read- and actively seek out books- written by black authors or representing the experiences of black people to enhance my education as I aim to become actively anti-racist. I understand that I will never understand. However, I stand.
I knew nothing about this book going into it, but I instantly loved Queenie as a character and found this very quick and easy to read. This book emphasises the more ‘every-day’ elements of systemic racism and Candy-Williams highlighted the ignorance of white people in denying racism through the dismissive nature of the white characters; Queenie experiences lots of gaslighting from her relationship and there are several examples of her ex-boyfriend supporting the racist statements and assumptions made by his family. As a result of this gaslighting, Queenie often doubts herself and the racism or sexism that she faces throughout this book- I loved the nuanced way that this is addressed as the writer effectively emphasised the doubt that people can feel whilst standing up for what’s right, and the way that dominant assumptions and meritocratic discourse create an environment where racism and sexism can go unchallenged. Queenie will be a very relatable character for readers in her actions and inner monologues. I will note here that there is lots on consent, power and abuse which is extremely well written but may act as a trigger for some readers.
I also enjoyed the realistic and positive depictions of mental health and illness, and Queenies relationships with her family and friends. Themes of reliance on others and the need to work on yourself and learn to love yourself can be seen throughout. It was very interesting to read about the cultural elements of mental health discussions in this book; Queenie and her family reflect upon the often-dismissive reaction to mental illness within Jamaican culture, and reluctance or shame surrounding accepting help.
“It’s not putting black lives on a pedestal, I don’t even know what that means,” I said, my heart beating fast. “It’s saying that black lives, at this point, and historically, do not, and have not mattered, and that they should!” I looked first at Gina, then around the room to see if anyone was going to back me up. Instead, I was met with what I’d been trying to pretend hadn’t always been a room full of white not-quite-liberals whose opinions, like their money, had been inherited.”
The Hate U Give- Angie Thomas (audiobook, new read)
‘Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.’ (The Hate U Give synopsis)
I watched this film when it came out and I was incredibly moved but having never read the book I decided to listen to it. This book is extremely powerful and is still incredibly relevant, the events of this story are exactly parallel within the police brutality, protests, and social media conversations we are having today. The fact that this story was relevant and continues to be relevant is despicable. Starr is an amazing and relatable character and I would recommend that everybody read this story, regardless of age. I’ve been thinking about books that I can read with my class to learn about race and racism, and whilst The Hate U Give is too mature for primary school I highly recommend giving this book to any teenagers and young adults, it is incredible. I would also recommend watching the film, it has been adapted very well and is incredibly powerful.
“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
“People like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right.”
My Year of Rest and Relaxation- Ottessa Moshfegh (physical book, new read)
‘It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong? Our narrator has many of the advantages of life: Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend.’ (My Year of Rest and Relaxation synopsis)
This book is a little bit mental hahaha, I’m intrigued to read some of Moshfegh’s other books to see if they have similar surreal plots and characters. Whilst this book touches on elements of grief and depression it is a satirical account of wealth, youth and the sense of dissatisfaction or ingratitude that can come with privilege. I think this is also written as though it is a social commentary of those who perceive ‘Generation z’ to be lazy, entitled, and uninspired due to the perceived ease of life today. The main character is unlikable and Moshfegh writes her sense of entitlement and selfish nature in a very interesting insightful way. This book has a particularly unsettling contrast when read alongside the other books I read this week, with themes of privilege, prejudice, and discrimination. The tone of this book is in parts gloomy and funny and I found it very interesting to read about the caricatures of realistic people (if that makes any sense at all).
Whilst reading, I also noted that the main character has a similar vibe to the narrator of AmericanPsycho and these books gave me a similar sort of feeling (I liked this one more though, American Psycho made me feel a bit queasy most of the time). I was also reminded of The Vegetarian in the last half of the book, the characters ‘transformations’ felt similar.
‘in my frenzied state of despair, I understood: there was stability in living in the past.’
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
I made an entire blog post about this book (basically a rant hahaha, it was not my favourite).
Thank you for reading and I hope you’re all doing okay. Please consider writing to your MP/MSP if you live in the UK, signing petitions, donating if you can and educating yourself to become actively anti-racist.
In thinking about ways to support the black lives matter movement, I made a wee etsy to sell some things I’ve painted or drawn. 100% of the proceeds from anything I sell will be donated to Black Visions Collective, a charitable organisation that supports this movement. Since I just paint for fun they aren’t the best and might not sell, but I thought it would be a start to helping as much as I can. 🙂 I tend to like to paint on a larger scale but I’m unsure if I’m allowed to send huge canvases so I need to figure that out. The link to etsy is below:
I find it relaxing to make little line drawings at times, so I’m going to do more of these as a simple easy thing to send to anyone interested.
I love Japanese style art and hope to look at more examples to recreate beautiful Japanese art.
I painted a mini version of The Wave off Kanagawa with a little collage. I enjoy painting this wave due to the abstract quality and I hope to paint more of these.
This has been quite a struggle and is something I need far more practise in so it’s looking a bit messy, but I found some old vinyl records and after picking the ones I want to keep, I’m left with lots to practise painting. Hopefully this will become more fun and less frustrating haha and I’ll keep trying new designs 🙂
I love sunflowers, they are always a go to when I’m painting.
this is a lot simpler than the paintings I like to do and I struggled to stop here, however, I know that lots of people prefer more simplistic or minimalist paintings (and they take less time if I want to make more) so I managed to control myself haha.
I’m always very critical of things I paint so I feel strange about potential selling them, but I feel better in the knowledge that any proceeds (if any crazy people buy anything) would be going towards an excellent cause. I am very aware of my position of privilege as a white person and I would appreciate any feedback on the ways in which I can actively promote anti-racism. I hope you’re all doing well, thank you for reading.
Thank you everyone who commented nice things on the last post like this that I made, I’ve been painting more things when I feel like it during lockdown (not to get too political, but I will say here I’m Scottish and not happy with Boris Johnson’s announcement at all, I think it’s very dangerous but I’ll not go off in a tangent about that here) and it’s been quite fun to experiment with different little art things (I most recently painted Medusa but accidentally made her terrifying and a bit like the Gladys thing Phoebe painted in friends hahaha).
I painted this beachy landscape last year for my mum. Initially I felt like it was missing something and a bit plain because I’m used to bright colours and abstract patterns, but I think it was a nice change to try something simpler. Any artists reading, please don’t judge my composition, shadows etc hahaha I just do whatever feels fun so it’s never very realistic. This was fun to do but I prefer using drawing inks to acrylics as they’re a bit easier to use and add smaller details.
This was a quick little pen drawing which turned into a strange watercolour collage thing. I think I was inspired by tattoo drawings, I love the look on anatomical heart tattoos and line drawings. I had some carboard to use, so I decided to experiment to make the most of materials and try to be a little bit more sustainable. 😊
This is hard to take a photo of (ignore me waving haha), but this was coloured pencil flower I drew when I was 16 for school (again taking forever, accidentally making it abstract and overall stressing out my art teacher). I love including reds, oranges and purple in drawings. I think this was the first time I added detail through little dots, I do this quite a lot now.
Another school art painting, I’m still very unsure about this eight years later haha but I loved using different tones of brown for the background. Brown is another colour I love using in paintings, especially for collage backgrounds to add an antique kind of look (although it may just look like a child’s teabag treasure map haha).
This was an even earlier school painting using drawing inks, I think I need to invest in expensive inks one day because I’m not sure how I got the pink in the flower to go so light.
This was my attempt at more simplistic, less abstract art for school (to try and reduce my teacher’s rising stress levels), it feels unfinished to me but I’d love to try a sea based painting in the future and experiment with watercolours and ink patterns. 😊 Maybe including mermaids or fish.
I like to doodle little patterns sometimes and I love trying to draw in this style- I’m always in awe of beautiful henna designs and Asian patterns, I think they’re beautiful. It’s quite relaxing to draw using repeat patterns.
This is another old painting that I’d like to recreate one day on a larger scale, experimenting with different colours and patterns to add detail. I’m not sure how well it will go but I’ll definitely try this in the future. 😊
I painted this tiny Winter painting for my mum (and through on some fake snow because I couldn’t resist), I was watching Star Wars at the time which I think influenced the addition of a red moon in the background.
Thank you so much for reading this, please let me know of your hobbies that have been helping you recently, I always love to know what makes people feel happy and relaxed. 😊
I hadn’t heard of this author until this month, when I listened to the Podcast ‘Greek Mythology Retold’ and discovered that Janell Rhiannon is writing a book series called The Homeric Chronicles. I loved this book, it’s an interesting and easy to read account of the events leading up to Trojan wars. I’d recommend this is you like mythology and this might be a good place to start if you’ve never read a Greek myth but would like to- if you google some of the characters and Gods/Goddesses as you go along 😊
I’ve already mentioned Girl, Woman, other this month, but this was another favourite read because of the thought-provoking writing style and the interesting characters.
I rewatched Killing Eve this month before starting the new season, I love this programme. I tend not to like crime programmes but I love the balance of dark humour, well written characters and the atmosphere in this show- the music in Killing Eve has been used so well to create this atmosphere, I love the way music can influence the tone of a show. 😊 I can’t think of anything I’d change about this show, I’d recommend watching it if you’re bored (I also enjoy You for its similar humour).
I LOVE music, I think it’s so important for mental health and can really lift and affect my mood. I end up listening to the same songs constantly and this month (basically this entire year haha) I’ve listened to The Beatles constantly. For some reason I keep listening to I’m only sleeping in particular, this song will not leave my head when I hear it.
The song Spanish Sahara by Foals came on shuffle recently, I’d forgotten how much I love that song, it’s very calming and atmospheric (apparently my favourite word to describe things). I think I first heard it years ago watching Misfits, another amazing programme. 😊 I really should listen to some new songs, please let me know your favourite singers or bands!
I’ve loved being able to get out most days and be around nature. I love riding my bike (very slowly, a man who was possibly 65 years old passed me today and rode away into the distance haha) and getting fresh air. (I know there’s no other way to write, but I feel like I say ‘I’ constantly and I’m very conscious of it now, it sounds very selfish haha). It’s also been good to feel a sense of community and see so many kind acts during the crazy times, even small acts such as clapping for the NHS and getting to speak to neighbours we wouldn’t usually get a chance to speak to- I’d like to say here that I completely understand the perspective of those who feel this is a pointless act and the biggest thing we can do is not vote the Tories. I’ve never voted the Tories and agree that they have made many many mistakes that negatively impact a number of people. I will continue to vote in a way that will hopefully remove the Tories power one day, and hope that we can become more liberal in our politics and actions. I do, however, think small kind acts have a place in maintaining positivity and helping people to feel together in times like these.
Someone has been painting little rocks with kind messages at the loch beside my house and it’s created such a nice sense of community, so me and my family decided to paint easter egg rocks at Easter as a little hunt for the children who live nearby. All of the stones disappeared so hopefully children enjoyed finding them, but a swan may have eaten them all, we’ll never know haha. I’d like to do something with books, like a little anonymous book swap at the loch, I’m unsure how that would work but it’d be quite fun to try 😊. I also enjoyed bringing some books for my gran to read and being able to speak to her (from a safe distance). I feel a bit useless sometimes because I can’t think of something I can safely do (my mum’s in the at risk category) to help or volunteer with, I’ll hopefully find something positive to do soon.
Cooking/baking seems to be everyone’s go to just now (I’ve managed not to make banana bread yet haha), its been fun trying to make new things- I’m a kind of possibly okay as long as it’s just me eating it type of cook, but I cannot bake hahaha. I like giving myself little challenges, so I’ve been trying to make creations from the food I’ve bought and I’m only shopping around once every three weeks. A quicken nugget (quorn) katsu curry has been my favourite creation, and my homemade pizza was not what I’d call edible. Homemade vegan brownie recipes are also pretty good! 😊
I really hope you’ve all felt okay this month, thank you for your comments and I’d really like to know what books, films and shows help you to feel better 😊 I’m ending this with a picture of Dusty because she’s always my favourite wee thing.
I like to draw and paint sometimes, typically flowers and I love using drawing inks. I’m not a professional at all (and I’m quite lazy haha so I go through phases of painting) but I just thought I’d put some here for fun.
I recently painted this abstracty tiger thing- which turned out to be very relevant as the tiger kind started to appear everyone hahaha (still haven’t seen it). I don’t purposefully paint things in an abstract way, but they usually turn out this way because I like bright colour and I’m not great at proportion. I also included a picture of wee Dusty here as I am the crazy cat lady yet she has somehow not appeared in this blog.
I occasionally like to try and create a version of famous paintings like The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai– I love picturesque delicate Japanese art and think it’s really beautiful. I used drawing inks and made a little collage for the background, adding some pink which reminds me of cherry blossoms 🙂 I also used easter egg wrappers for the gold border haha (and little lyrics from across the universe because I love the Beatles)
this little sunflower started the collage backgrounds- partly because I think they’re pretty and like the old fashioned sepia tones, but also because I’m lazy and it makes for an easier background that painting would.
I wanted to try another sunflower collage on a much larger scale; this doesn’t photograph well at all but I used drawing inks again which create interesting colour changes depending on the light in the room (Dusty features in this one too hahaha). Again used easter eggs wrappers and made a collage- I like that collages also let me be a bit more sustainable, using old magazines and paper.
I think this is one that looks best at a glance and should definitely never be compared to the actual picture haha. I tend not to use coloured pencils or draw portraits, but the colours attracted me to this (and I LOVE Joker, it’s my favourite film of 2019 and Joaquin’s acting was absolutely beautiful) so I decided to give it a go. I need lots of work in this area but it was fun to try 🙂
I paited this flower a good few years ago (can you see the Christmas wrapping paper haha) again using my old favourites, the drawing inks.
This is another one that needs improvements and doesn’t photograph well, but I made this a fun challenge to try and finish it within 24 hours (because I had essays that I should really have been doing instead). I love flowers, I’m always drawn to painting them.
This was my school art final and I remember the stress of finishing this the day before the deadline haha, my art teacher must have absolutely hated me. I also remember that my mum accidentally spilled white paint all over it halfway through hahaha- I would say the benefit of paint of inks over pencil is the ability to fix mistakes. I think this was when I started to love drawing sunflowers 🙂
I love bright colours, but it’s sometimes quite relaxing to doodle with a pen whilst watching 27 episodes of game of thrones of listening to music, I enjoy little patterns and find it quite therapeutic, so this is maybe something I’d recommend in times of stress 🙂
I also love geometric and line drawings although I prefer looking at others black and white drawings as I’m not very good at them (because of my inability to draw proportionally haha). I did like practising line drawing and water colour on this little bee and I’d maybe like to draw more insects in the future as I think it’d be fun trying to get translucent wing colours through drawing inks. I’d also love to try a stained glass style painting in the future.
Another last minute school painting- I fondly remember crying at 2am hahaha- with my first time practising acrylics. The flowers could be better, I find it much easier to paint on a larger scale. Ironically my teacher got me to paint lots of skulls when I love animals and don’t eat meat haha (I would recommend animal skulls if you are practising painting as it’s very hard to tell if a mistake has been made with the composition).
I painted this quite recently, really letting loose with the bright colour and psychedelic patterns haha. I definitely copied a famous artist’s style for this painting but I feel bad because I can’t find the original at all! If you know who paints like this please let me know! I’d also like to try and paint a sun and moon in a tarot card style, I love that style.
I’m not sure what this was really all about, but thank you for reading! I know lots of people make it feel stressful to paint or draw if it’s not something you do often, but it’s so fun just to paint and mess around trying new things so I’d definitely recommend trying if it’s something you’d like to do 🙂 and if it goes wrong you can just tell people it’s abstract like I do hahaha. I hope you’re all well in the crazy lockdown times make the most of having time to try new things 🙂 (I say that, I’ve been painting Medusa for about six months and I’m too lazy to every finish it)