Magna Challenge

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Hello again, and welcome to Jennifer, my new follower.

This week, I have begun probably my final pastel picture, perhaps my most challenging subject to date. It is a picture of “Magna” near Rotherham, South Yorks. Magna is an industrial museum, built within a large disused steelworks plant. We took the little one there yesterday, having only a vague idea of what to expect – we’d heard it had interactive displays, and I’d seen photos of people having a go on the earth moving machinery. It has four main sections based on themes of air, fire, water and earth, plus other exhibition rooms.

It was dimly lit and, with lots of echoey sound effects, they had really gone to town on making it feel eerie. What a shame our little ‘un doesn’t like the dark - he was particularly spooked by the the first floor lift room with its display of large flashing, crackling valves. First stop was the air section, an air ship shaped room, with a wind tunnel and mini tornado in a see through tube. He doesn’t like loud noises and it was the noisiest part of the museum, so amid cries of “go home now” we headed for the water section. This was quieter, warmer and better lit, and he was happiest there, so most of our time was spent in that part.
It was the melting shop that caught my interest. It looked as if the original fittings had been left in situ from when the place closed in 1983. Everything is rusty now, dimly lit, very atmospheric and I suppose a bit nostalgic, as there’s so little steel being produced in Sheffield now – almost a relic of the past. I took my time trying to get the construction of the various plant, pipes, and machinery right. The colours I’m using are mainly burnt umber, shades of orange and yellow, white and – unexpectedly - an azure blue, for the metal surfaces around where the white heat reflected from the furnace.

At art group, we had a rather sweet little dog, a “Parsons Terrier” according to Sue, whose granddog it is – she was dog sitting for a few minutes for her daughter. The way it growled almost had me expecting it to say “sausages” - UK readers might remember the talking dog on “That’s Life”.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth visited with 6 more paintings this week, which I’ve added onto the AOD site. Her work is more subtle in tone and contrasts nicely with Maggie and Sue’s more colourful oils. Anyway that’s all for this week.

Bye for now,

Trade Fair 1

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This week I have been busy preparing for a forthcoming trade fair in March. A 6’ folding table has arrived, amid much excitement from my LO, who thought it was for him, and immediately put all his cuddly toys on top! He also wanted us to have our lunch on that table, but I drew the line at that, as I wanted to keep it clean. I have put together contact sheets for all the artists and have been preparing some greetings cards featuring some of my paintings. I’ll also put together Power Point type display on our laptop, featuring many of the paintings.

I also took part in a similar fair at the end of last year, at the same place. I belong to a support group for local businesses, and the fair had been organised by the very helpful man who runs it, Paul. I was the only “arty” person there, but there was a variety of other trades people, about 15-20 of us altogether, including an author, a milkman, a sports masseur and a few IT folk. This time, we will have some new faces, including an undertaker.

The previous two weeks had been extremely busy preparing for an art exhibition the week before (I was the organiser), getting the website completed, preparing my displays and promotional materials for the trade fair weekend, combining all of this with the usual home stuff – all very tiring. I had plenty of interest from people looking at the displays I’d done – one showed different stages involved in a watercolour painting, the other featured small copies of paintings by us three artists, on a palette shaped card background. These took several weeks to do, and seemed to catch people’s eye, so I’ll be using them again this time. I didn’t find that trade fair did much to get paintings sold, but there had been an accident on the motorway on that day, so Dobbies were short of visitors. It was still a good opportunity to let people know the site existed, and I’m hoping for better attendance this time. I am also going to try the greetings cards to see if people go for them if they don’t want a painting. If they don’t, I can use them myself!

I have also added a new artist, Elizabeth Chater, to the site this week. She has been a member of the group for two years now and continues to try out new subjects and media. She seems to have a soft spot for Hardwick Hall for some reason. It was Elizabeth who took the photos of Venice that I used for some of my recent artwork. Her first ten paintings are on now, but she’s coming round with more tomorrow, so look out for those new ones in her gallery.

I’m beginning to prepare for the art group’s Easter exhibition, the main one of the year, and am about to frame several paintings for that. I’ll also take along the greetings cards to see if they get much interest. Oh and I’ll need to bake a cake (will have to warn the family that it is “earmarked” and not to be eaten – which happened once before).
All for now.



Send out your work for publication!!!!!

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Deadline: 03/01/10. Submit to: Thema. Gail Howard, Poetry Editor, or Virginia Howard, Prose Editor. Box 8747, Metairie, LA 70011-8747. Theme: The trip not taken. Be sure to specify theme on cover letter. (NO adult language or sexual material.) Type: Poetry (3 titles MAX) and short stories (20 pages/5,000 words MAX). URL: Deadline: 03/08/10. Submit to: The List

Anthology. E-mail to: Theme: Poetry that must use these six words: Anteros, crippled, spindles, stairwell, threshold, and whirligig. Type: Poetry (3 poems MAX). URL: Deadline: 03/09/10. This one sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Submit to: Flashlight Memories Anthology. Silver Boomer Books, 3301 S. 14th, Suite 16, PMB 134, Abilene, TX 79605, or e-mail (via pasted-in text) to: Theme: Childhood reading. Type: Poetry (1 poem, 50 lines MAX, prefers shorter) and prose (1,500 words MAX). URL:

Deadline: 03/31/10. Submit to: Becoming Anthology. Send via e-mail: Theme: Women's stories. Type: Personal essays (1,000 words MAX) or one poem. URL: Deadline: 04/01/10.

Submit to: Witness. Submit via online form: Theme: Blurring Borders. Type: Poetry (5 poems MAX), short stories, and essays. URL:

Deadline: 04/20/10. Submit to: A Cup of Comfort. Submit via online form: Theme: For Couples. Type: Personal essays (2,000 words MAX). URL:

Deadline: 05/01/10. Submit to: The First Line. E-mail (via MS Word or WordPerfect attachment) to: Theme: Every story starts out the same: Paul and Miriam Kaufman met the old-fashioned way. Type: Short stories (3,000 words MAX). URL: Deadline: 06/01/10. This sounds like fun, too. It forces you to get off what you think of as your own material and leads you to surprise yourself.

Deadline: 06/30/10. Submit to: Cancer Anthology. E-mail to: Theme: Your journey with cancer, the journey of a loved one, or your secondhand experience as caregiver or medical professional. Type: Personal essays (500 to 1,500 words MAX). URL:

Deadline: 08/01/10. Submit to: Rattle. E-mail (via pasted-in text) to: Theme: Masters of Mental Health. Type: Poetry and essays (5,000 words MAX). URL:

Deadline: 12/31/10. Submit to: The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets. The Backwaters Press, PO Box 8067, Omaha, NE 68108, or e-mail (via attachment) to: Theme: Contributors must be Nebraskan women, which includes all women born or currently residing in Nebraska. Poets who have previously lived in Nebraska for a period of not less than 10 years will also be considered. Type: Poems (3-5 poems, 10 pages MAX). URL: Deadline: N/A. Submit to: Theme: Various topics based on one of 15 themes. See for more details. Type: Personal essays (500-5,000 words MAX). URL:


In Soho

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With me is my friend, Ann, captured by one of my favorite photographers, her husband, Paul. My hat was designed by a couple of young Fashion Institute of Technology grads who struck out on their own. Whenever I wear that hat, people photograph me with or without my permission. I thought it was because I'm such a knockout. Alas, I found out it was other designers looking to make knockoffs of that hat.


Cold climate at Art Group too

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Hello again, and welcome to my new blogging friend on Blograma. I have received an e-mail today to let me know about them, and I’ll have a proper look at their details later this week.

This week’s posting starts at the end of last week (if you see what I mean).

“You’ve already had a Valentine?” On closer inspection, it was obvious that the pink, heart shaped confection on the mantelpiece had been made by our little ‘un. I’ve had a large boxful of Valentines chocolates and a small pudding (that he didn’t like) to get through before Lent begins tomorrow. The chocolates were Tescos own brand, and had the information on what they were printed underneath, causing a family member (who shall remain anonymous) to tip them upside down, dropping a few onto the kitchen floor – durr! From midnight tonight I’m on the wagon, but for today it was “chocs away”. Note to husband if reading: please can I have flowers instead next year?

Meanwhile at art group, the radiators were just about lukewarm, and so we all sat shivering, and Gill tried jogging on the spot to warm up – it didn’t work. I’d ditched the leggings I’d been wearing under my trousers for the past two months, and was regretting it. The water from the hot tap is always roasting hot, though, so perhaps we should all bring hot water bottles and fill them from the tap. I have tried to put some finishing touches to my balloons picture, I’ve put the basket right, but in doing that have discoloured the sky around it. Boo hoo! Perhaps one more session will sort it out. What I really need is a good run at it, but I never get long, I have too many other calls on my time.

I’ve begun preparing for the trade fair by printing off small versions of two of my paintings and making them into greetings cards. The butterfly design was a perfect fit for some squareish envelopes I already had. I am experimenting with my “Poppies” painting to find the best size to print out (this one is on the Artists of Derbyshire fan site on Facebook). Finally, I was hoping to have the Balloons one made into a card, but my hopes are fading a bit now ….

All for now


Hello again, and and a warm welcome to my new follower!

Yesterday a new artist, Elizabeth Chater, came round to discuss putting her paintings on the site.

“Liz” has been a member of the group for over a year now, and I already had copies of most of her work on our computer, from when Karen was producing a slideshow for the last exhibition we had.

She’s not on t’internet at home, so I showed her the site, and we discussed what paintings she will be putting on. I’ve left it with her to work out prices and postage and packaging and hope to see her again soon.
Meanwhile at the weekend, a slight thaw in the permafrost enabled me to do some tidying up in the garden. It is remarkable what can be revealed by a lack of foliage in winter. Underneath just one bush I found the following things, mostly belonging to my little one: marbles (2); pink bouncy ball; plastic ball; door key (long lost); pair of red underpants. No I don’t know how they got there either. Let’s hope they blew off the washing line.
We are back to frost and snow again now, but I keep thinking how many bugs are being killed off by it all. Unfortunately, it also seems more shops are being killed off by the cold economic climate – Ethel Austin the latest victim a couple of days ago. I used to like to visit “Old Eth’s” when I lived in Sheffield, but perhaps Primark was too much competition for her, who knows?

I am going to be at a trade fair soon, so read about my preparations for it in the next posting.

Three coyotes were spotted in front of Lewison Hall. How did they get there? The followed the railroad tracks from Westchester County. It's their mating season. They are hot-blooded and hungry. Letterman said, "The coyotes are getting so brazen that he saw one putting mustard on a dachshund." Coyotes are usually scared of humans and will only bother a person if he gets in the way of his food or bothers him in some other way. What's more dangerous about coyotes being on the loose is that they mate with dogs. Coydogs have the same predatory nature as coyotes, but they aren't afraid of humans, which makes them dangerous to us. Also, coyotes only mate once a year. Coydogs can mate every few months. I'm sure somone out there has a tame and adorable coydog who brings him his slippers each night, but for the rest of us, what is the solution?



Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa 0 comments
Upcoming Anthologies

Deadline: 02/15/10.Submit to: Milk Money Magazine. E-mail (via attachment to): Literary and experimental.
Type: Poetry and short stories (5,000 words MAX).URL: 02/15/10.Submit to: Diverse Voices Quarterly. E-mail (via DOC, RTF, or WPD attachment) to:
Theme: Writing from all ages, races, religions, and sexual orientation.Type: Poetry (5 titles MAX), short stories and essays (3,000 words MAX), and artwork/photography (.jpeg attachments, 2 images MAX).URL:

Deadline: 02/20/10. Submit to: Align with Global Harmony: Rainmaker’s Prayers. E-mail (via attachment or pasted-in text) to To be published by Hazel Heron Press. Contributors receive a free complimentary copy, a 50 word bio with contact info both in print and on web site and the opportunity of being in print with such notables as Mary Oliver, Barbara Kingsolver, Jose Stevens, etc.Theme: Co-creation of Spirit, Nature & Humankind.Type: Short personal essays, 500-1000 words. Environmental topics: Ban the Plastic Bag; Green Teens, Restore a River; Sustainability; The Heart as Sacred Space; Dance as Prayer; Personal Responsibility; Bios of Environmentalists; Sustainable Towns; Living in Harmony with Mother Earth; Indigenous Wisdom & Climate Change; etc.URL:

Deadline: 02/28/10.Submit to: Quest for Atlantis: Legends of a Lost Continent. E-mail submissions to: Please put SUBMISSION - Title of Story in the subject line.Theme: Stories that celebrate the legend of The Lost Continent of Atlantis. Type: Short stories (10,000 words MAX).URL: 03/08/10.Submit to: The List Anthology. E-mail to: Poetry that must use these six words: Anteros, crippled, spindles, stairwell, threshold, and whirligig.Type: Poetry (3 poems MAX).URL:

Deadline: 03/09/10.Submit to: Anthology of Memories of Hispanic Grandmothers as Remembered by Their Grandchildren. E-mail to: and See title. Type: Short stories, poems, songs, essays, interviews, recipes, folk stories, nonfiction writing, and drawings in black and white along with a short narrative (10-12 pages MAX).URL: Google for more information.

Deadline: 03/15/10.Submit to: Flashlight Memories Anthology. Silver Boomer Books, 3301 S. 14th, Suite 16, PMB 134, Abilene, TX 79605, or e-mail (via pasted-in text) to: Childhood reading.Type: Poetry (1 poem, 50 lines MAX, prefers shorter) and prose (1,500 words MAX).URL:

Deadline: 03/31/10.Submit to: The Way of the Wizard. E-mail your story as a DOC file (preferred) or as an RTF file to Include the words “Wizards Submission” and the title of the story and your byline in the subject line of the e-mail.Theme: Wizards, witchs, sorcerers, sorceresses, magic, fantasy, etc.Type: Short stories (5,000 MAX).URL:

Deadline: 04/01/10.Submit to: Witness. Submit via online form: Blurring Borders.Type: Poetry (5 poems MAX), short stories, and essays.URL:

Deadline: 04/15/10.Submit to: A Whodunit Halloween. E-mail submissions to: Please put SUBMISSION - Title of Story in the subject line.Theme: Halloween mysteries.Type: Short stories (15,000 words MAX).URL:

Deadline: 04/20/10.Submit to: A Cup of Comfort. Submit via online form: For Couples.Type: Personal essays (2,000 words MAX).URL:

Deadline: 05/01/10.Submit to: The First Line. E-mail (via MS Word or WordPerfect attachment) to: Every story starts out the same: Paul and Miriam Kaufman met the old-fashioned way.Type: Short stories (3,000 words MAX).URL:

Deadline: 06/30/10.Submit to: Cancer Anthology. E-mail to: Your journey with cancer, the journey of a loved one, or your secondhand experience as caregiver or medical professional. Type: Personal essays (500 to 1,500 words MAX).URL:

Deadline: 08/01/10.Submit to: Rattle. E-mail (via pasted-in text) to: Masters of Mental Health.Type: Poetry and essays (5,000 words MAX).URL:

Deadline: 09/10/10 or until issue is full. Check Web site below.Submit to: Workers Write! E-mail to:, or send a hard copy to: Blue Cubicle Press, PO Box 250382, Plano, TX 75025-0382.Theme: Tales from the Courtroom.Type: Short stories (5,000 words MAX).URL:

Deadline: N/A.Submit to: editor@dreamofthings.comTheme: Various topics based on one of 15 themes. See for more details.Type: Personal essays (500-5,000 words MAX).URL:

Lygia Ballentine studied Writing the Personal Essay with me and has since published essays in (an ezine for older women) and now in, an ezine with eclectic taste that has something for everyone. I LOVE to hear these things. Please send me your successes.

Hello again and welcome to any new followers, perhaps some of you may be reading via “Blog Cagalog”, where this blog has now been listed.

This week, I went to a talk on pricing art, particularly during a “cold climate” – and I don’t think they meant the weather! For overseas readers, we are just coming out of the UK’s longest recession at the moment, and are also having a cold winter with snow from time to time. The event was organised by “The Greenhouse”, a support group for local artists in the area, and was very well attended, with double the number of people who had registered, actually attending.

I hadn’t realised there’s so many different approaches to putting a price on artwork, and so many variables behind it all.

The speaker also told us not to try and compete with amateurs’ prices. This set me wondering where you draw the line at what makes someone an amateur or professional – after all most of our group members have an art qualification or have been painting for many years (or both), but they mostly have non-arty day jobs, although some are or have been designers or draughtsmen. Also we seem to set a high standard, as amateurs go. How on earth would this affect our pricing? It seems to me that pricing of art is one of the most irrational things I’ve ever come across, and there seems to be no right or wrong.

At the group itself, we are beginning to gear up for our annual Easter exhibition, with new banners being ordered and people starting to think about what paintings they will put on show. I am having some greetings cards printed. If folks don’t want to splurge on a painting, most of us need greetings cards sometimes, and mine won’t be one they have seen already in “Clintons”. I am considering taking some self adhesive lettering along, to make the cards into “Happy Birthday” or “Anniversary” while people wait.

I have begun a picture of a courtyard in Venice, and it is a bit too detailed for pastels, which are usually quite chunky. It might therefore become a mixed media picture of both pastel and pencil crayons. I’ve never done anything other than painted pictures in mixed media, so this should prove interesting. I’ve drawn it our carefully, aiming to get the perspective as accurate as I can.

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