Daredevil photographer, Steve Brockett gets stunning views of beauty spots from his paraglider


Click this pic to visit his website and follow him at https://twitter.com/stevebrockett1

Brave Steve Brockett, 52, took to the skies to capture breathtaking landscapes normally only seen by birds.

 Daredevil Mr Brockett flies at heights of up to 200 feet above the ground to take his amazing aerial images.

He was shortlisted for a top photography award for his pictures which give a glimpse into a world most of us will never see.

(Mailonline 26th October 2013) 


Stunning: Eroded river forms cut in to the desert landscape in the Altiplano of Baza, Granada, Spain


Salt production, nearr Alicante, Spain


They’ve got the hump: Camel riders trek through the Sahara desert in Morocco


Colour co-ordination: Pictured here is regimented housing southern Spain

Women in Art ~ Day 7 ~ Art Therapy and Women’s Aid

Art Therapy 

My final post of the week is different in that I am exploring art in a therapeutic way as well as aesthetically.  Today it is not about talent, but about how art can help people effect change and grow on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment.  I know from a personal perspective, I enjoy art and although not a talented artist myself feel the therapeutic benefits of enjoying it.


A little more about Art Therapy from The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication.

Clients who are referred to an art therapist need not have previous experience or skill in art, the art therapist is not primarily concerned with making an aesthetic or diagnostic assessment of the client’s image. The overall aim of its practitioners is to enable a client to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment. (BAOT)

..and of course I have to add a ”women” element, so an example of where Art therapy is used and very local to myself is North Derbyshire Women’s aid which is a charity that exists for the benefit of women and children who experience abuse within a domestic relationship.

Here is the link to the Art Therapy info page  http://www.ndwa.org.uk/art-therapy/

”Everyone has the right to live their life free from fear, violence and abuse. Sometimes it is difficult to know what is happening and you can feel confused and unsure about whether you are in an abusive relationship and the options available to you. You may feel frightened, humiliated and isolated…”  (NDWA)

Over in Australia, Art therapy aids trauma recovery…

Please click the picture to see more of this story and more information about this kind of therapy can be found on this blog here http://www.arttherapyblog.com


Click the pic for the story!


I hope you have enjoyed my ”Women in art” week!



Women in Art ~ Day 6 ~ The Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci

The Mona Lisa

I have to include ”The Mona Lisa” in my Women in Art theme this week of course.  The Mona Lisa (La Gioconda or La Joconde)  has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.” -John Lichfield, cited in Wikepedia.


A few of interesting facts about Da Vinci and The Mona Lisa:

Leonardo da Vinci invented scissors.

It took him 10 years to paint Mona Lisa’s lips.

Did you ever notice that the woman in this most of paintings has no eyebrows? It’s true. Look closely. Women at that time were considered more beautiful if they had their eyebrows shaved.

The Mona Lisa wasn’t the only portrait of women he painted, but the one we immediately associate him with.


Lady with Ermine
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Created: 1489–1490
Locations: Czartoryski Museum, Wawel Castle

Women in Art ~ Day 5 ~ Artists of today

Today in my ‘Women in Art ‘ week I am giving some bang up to date exposure, yet still very talented artists.  You never know, one day you may be saying  ”I saw it first on Gemini’s blog” .

The first is a painting for a lovely blog friend of mine Benjamin Prewitt .  He has a wonderful collection of art on his blog http://benjaminprewitt.com, so please visit his page.  I just love the colors and texture in his paintings and I think the color and curves in ”The Green Girl” below create a beautiful calming mood, with the female form being part of the main focus.  I am no expert art critique, and I really believe art should speak for itself and be open to self interpretation.  Benjamin has kindly given me a quote for his painting as you can see below.


”A story of history and birth. A story of strength and restriction. A message of perseverance in the face of subjectivity and objectivity.  When the dust settles are we not all made of simple bits that when composed into a larger picture create a thing of great beauty and respect.”-Benjamin Prewitt.

Thank you Benjamin for this and the pleasure of your art.


In the collage below, Ellie Collins from the university of Exeter, explores the stereotype of ”the perfect body”.


Collage by Ellie Collins, featured in ”Expose” , University of Exeter magazine.
Click the pic for the article

“This piece is centered around the idea of perfection, the ‘ideal body’ and the way stereotypes of women have been continually portrayed throughout art history, and the media today. Women are under continual pressure to look a certain way, often resorting to eating disorders, plastic surgery and other drastic measures to conform, changing their bodies in a desperate desire to obtain this perfect Barbie figure.” -Ellie Collins.


Alex Hook Krioutchkov , born in Russia in 1966 and studied Art in Russia and England.  Alex has enjoyed travelling and exploring painting experiences in the countries of ancient civilisations like India, Nepal, Egypt and Turkey, incorporating colorful, exotic cultures which have inspired the artist for a number of ‘oriental canvases.

He has lived in Mallorca, Spain since 2000 and exhibits much of his work there now.  He has also exhibited in the US and the UK.

Madona of India

Madona of India, Alex Hook Krioutchkov

Alex Hook 2

From his nude collection
Alex Hook Krioutchkov

I just love the sensuality in his nude paintings and I can see a trip to Palma, Majorca, Spain coming up in the foreseeable future  to visit his Art gallery. http://alexhookkrioutchkov.artpickle.com/

I hope you have enjoyed my post today of modern day artists who have each portrayed women in art in their own wonderful and unique way.

Thank you


Women in Art ~ Day 4 ~ David Hockney and his muse Celia Birtwell


Image of David Hockney in his own art

”Has there ever been an artist quite as good at charming the public as David Hockney? Everyone knows the peroxide hair (now grey), the big glasses and the deep-voiced Yorkshire drollness. Hockney has touched the lives of millions of people who his arguably more talented contemporaries have never got near. He became the first British art star of the TV age – his easy-on-the-eye images and deadpan comments beamed into sitting rooms throughout the land – without appearing to do anything, except be himself.” Mark Hudson, The Telegraph, 2011

Although many critics are not impressed by his art, he is very popular with the public. I too have a soft spot for David Hockney and some of you may have seen me post about him in another blog earlier this year.  He is a true ”Yorkshireman”, speaking his mind and being himself.   I am from his home town in Bradford, West Yorkshire and am proud to say I attended the same college as him, but 20 years later and I studied business not art!   I love to visit the Salts Mill Gallery where much of his work is displayed. http://www.saltsmill.org.uk/

Hockney's Salts Mill

Hockney’s Salts Mill
displayed at ”Salts Mill, Saltaire, Bradford-UK”

An important contributor to the Pop art  movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.

Trying not to get too carried away with who he is, I must go on to talk about his muse, Celia Birtwell.  After all my theme this week is about women in art.  As years have gone by, many who enjoy the various arts have a muse, including myself.  Hockney has drawn and painted  many images of Celia and also some with her partner Ossie Clark.  It has never been said he was in love with her, as he is openly gay, however they had a great friendship throughout their careers and I like to hope that they still do.

Celia Birtwell is a highly successful woman in her own right, being the most important textile designer of her generation. More about her can be seen at her website  http://www.celiabirtwell.com.

I hope you enjoy some of these unusual and eclectic pieces of art featuring Celia.




Celia by David Hockney, 1969
Tate Gallery

This above etching of Celia Birtwell is typical of the fine and tender portraits with which Hockney has celebrated his close friendship with the designer over the years. Celia first met Hockney in Los Angeles in 1964. She is most famously represented in Hockney’s large double portrait Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, 1970-1 (below). With her husband Ossie Clark she was at the top of the fashion industry in London in the ‘Swinging Sixties’. Clark designed clothes using Birtwell’s textile designs, and sold them from the shop Quorum in Chelsea’s King’s Road. (Tate.org.uk)


Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, by David Hockney
Tate Gallery

Celia with Green Hat 1984 by David Hockney born 1937

Celia with Green Hat, 1984, David Hockney
Tate Gallery

By the mid-1980s, Hockney was moving away from naturalism, drawing inspiration from early modern artists in his use of brighter colours and looser modelling.

An Image of Celia Study 1986 by David Hockney born 1937

An Image of Celia Study 1986, by Hockney
Tate Gallery

art fashion david hockney

Art Fashion
David Hockney

I do hope you have enjoyed today’s Women in Art.


Women in Art ~ Day 3 ~ Botticelli

I couldn’t do a ”women in art” theme without featuring some of the wonderful paintings by Botticelli from the Renaissance period which can be traced back to Italy as far back as the late 13th century.

Sandro Botticelli (c1445-1510)  was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance. Among his best known works were ‘The Birth of Venus” and ”Primavera”.

It is said that Botticelli never married and suffered unrequited love for Simonetta Vespucci, a married noblewoman. According to popular belief, she had served as the model for ‘The Birth of Venus’ and recurs throughout his paintings, despite the fact that she had died years earlier, in 1476. Botticelli’s wish to be buried at her   in the Church of Ognissanti in Florence was carried out in 1510.


The Birth Of Venus (1485-86), by Sandro Botticelli, currently in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence

I love that the naked women portrayed in Bottecelli’s time were curvy and voluptuous.  The artists and their patrons liked their women naked in the paintings  and with a bit of meat on their bones. I like to think that the skinny models of this period would have been told to go home and eat a few slap up meals!


From naked voluptuousness to fully clothed and modest  ”Annunciation” was commissioned in 1489 by the church of the Florentine convent of Cestello which is now known as Santa Maria Maddalena de’Pazzi.


The Annunciation, also known as the Cestello Annunciation, Botticelli, circa 1489-1490, housed Uffizi Gallery of Florence.

Underneath the painting on its original frame are words in Latin from St. Luke’s Gospel 1:35 “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” (Wikipedia).


”Primavera” also known as ”Allegory of Spring” is described in Culture & Values (2009) as one the most popular paintings in Western art. It is also, according to Botticelli, Primavera (1998), “one of the most written about, and most controversial paintings in the world. While most critics agree that the painting, depicting a group of mythological figures in a garden, is allegorical for the lush growth of Spring, other meanings have also been explored. (Wikepedia)


The Primavera, also known as the Allegory of Spring, Botticelli  (circa 1482) housed Uffizi Gallery of Florence.

This is my favorite and I can appreciate why various meanings have been explored.  I myself wonder at the male on the left being tempted by the fruit and not the beautiful women by his side and then what is happening on the right? I will leave you to your own interpretations.  I would be interested to hear them.

I hope you have enjoyed my ‘women in art’ today.


Women in art ~ Day 2 ~ Portraits of Jane Austen

Being a big fan of Jane Austen and her works I had to include her in my week of women in art.  I like a good mystery and the following  portrait has caused a mystery  for several years with regard to whether or not the young girl is actually Jane Austen.


A young Jane Austen? painted by Ozias Humphry

One of Jane Austen’s cousins gave the painting to a neighbour a fan of Jane’s work, and told her it was a painting of Jane Austen by Zoffany. at the time and until last century, it was accepted as a portrait of Jane Austen as a young girl, and was included by Lord Brabourne in his edition of Jane Austen’s letters.

In more recent times the painting came under more critical scrutiny, and it was determined that Jane Austen would have been around thirty years old when the painting was done, obviously much older than the girl in the portrait; it has further been determined that the painting is certainly not by Zoffany but by Ozias Humphry.  It was thought that the painting could have been Jane Austen’s cousin also called Jane and that when the gift was given it was on a misapprehension.

However, several Austen scholars have become convinced that the painting could have been done at the time that Jane Austen was at the age of the girl in the portrait, and that other considerations, including some paperwork related to the painting as well as the resemblance of the girl to known portraits of Austen family members, showed that it was very possible that the painting was of Jane Austen. In 2007, Henry Rice, the late owner of the painting, attempted to auction the painting through Christie’s, advertising it as the only known real portrait of Jane Austen. Unfortunately for the Rice family, buyers apparently felt the provenance of the portrait did not match the price asked, and the auction did not reach the reserve price.

Ann Winston Rice, the wife of the late Henry Rice has a mission to tell the true story of the painting in her website here, which I found very interesting. http://www.janeaustenriceportrait.com/

There are few images of Jane Austen, but here are a some more..

Jane Austen 3

Siloutte of Jane Austen?

One of the best-known images of Jane Austen is the well-known silhouette found pasted into a copy of Mansfield Park, bearing the legend “L’aimable Jane” (the amiable/pleasant/nice Jane) . There is no evidence to prove it is actually Jane. It is owned by the National Portrait Gallery.


Jane Austen 1

The Watercolour Portrait of
Jane Austen, painted by James Stanier Clarke in 1815 and contained in his Friendship Book

This portrait of Jane Austen makes Clarke’s Friendship Book a literary treasure of inordinate rarity. The National Portrait Gallery in England incorrectly claims an absolute monopoly in Jane Austen portraiture by owning the only depiction of Jane Austen in the world which (they say) “can be authenticated”: (ie by the Gallery themselves). The National Portrait Gallery’s claim to a monopoly is now said to be incorrect. There are now three portraits of the novelist (including Clarke’s) which are known and claimed to be authenticted . It would seem almost as difficult as finding a true portrait of portrait-less William Shakespeare. (http://www.artworksgallery.co.uk/)

NPG 3630,Jane Austen,by Cassandra Austen

The only authenticated image of Jane is a small pencil-and-watercolor sketch done by Cassandra Austen, currently on display in the National Portrait Gallery in London

I hope you have enjoyed my post today for my week of women in art.  Sorry for the delay I had a hectic day yesterday.