Wednesday, August 02, 2006

a dance to the music of time

Inspire me Thursday 27.07.2006. This week's challenge was to create a piece inspired by a non-visual art form, so this week let us find inspiration in music… a song, lyrics, a melody.

The background is made up of bits of music from different eras together with a depiction of "choreography or the art of describing dance" from a dance manual dated 1700 and an image of a metronome beating the time.

You can see more of my work at:

Saturday, July 22, 2006

inspire me Thursday - 20 July - child's play

The instructions were to produce art like a child, using wax crayons, stencils, gold stars, etc. etc.

Friday, July 21, 2006

inspire me Thursday 14 July - numerals

It's time to play the numbers game

Sunday, June 11, 2006

drainspotting - altered CD

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"To All Clock Watchers,
The White Rabbit was always in a hurry and running because he was "late for a very important date." But he kept going down holes, and getting sidetracked.
Sometimes our clocks imprison us, and give us the impression that what we are doing is very important." -Mervyn Brady

My manhole has the white rabbit standing in the foreground. The clock in the picture is broken, it has no hands for my clock has no time on it. I am the white rabbit who complains "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date, no time to stop and ...... I'm late, I'm late, I'm late". But instead of exiting my manhole I am forever falling down my own rabbit hole.

There are just not enough hours in my day. I try to combine a full time job, which regularly takes me away from home, together with running our home. I enjoy reading and singing as well as my artwork, all of which I try to fit into an average week. As part of my job I am learning another foreign language. I should do some sort of physical exercise but how can I fit all this in? My artwork, when I sit down to it is not created in an instant. Perfectionist that I am, I'm always searching for the right image, the right placement, etc. I get frustrated when I can't create although inspiration doesn't always come easily either. I find it difficult to think "outside the box" and just let myself go. I cannot release myself from my own constraints.

I have never been down in the sewers although guided tours are possible in my hometown, where there is an extensive underground passage system. I have, however, been potholing - once - and imagine that there must be a similar sense of claustrophobia and damp! The cave that I went into, aged 17, had a river running through it. Entry was through a sort of manhole cover - designed to protect the entrance - and from then on we were in the stream. We were soaked immediately but it was with a sense of exhilaration that we completed the trip. This was the only time I have ever really followed in my father's footsteps for he was a keen pot-holer when he was a student and was responsible for the discovery of a passage that was to be called notoriously "the ooze" because it was so narrow to get through.

Sometimes that's what my life feels like - squeezing past obstacles into chambers of wonders and then into narrow passages again - the dark and light moments of our lives, where the caves are lit by exciting, happy or important events. Funny that - I'd never thought of life as being the journey through a cave but now I can see the analogy.


It wasn't so much the length of time that it had been raining but the quantity of rain that had fallen that day. Water poured down the hillsides as the, usually invisible, springs gushed forth. Rivers literally ran in the streets and we were driving along in water that must have been 6 inches deep. As we entered the old part of town brown water flowed downhill through the streets and the locals endeavoured to skip from stone to stone in an effort to keep dry. Brown flood water gradually stained the blue of the sea and furniture floated in in the water that had flooded the seashore cafés. Appalled and fascinated, I got out of the car to watch. It was obvious that even the storm drains couldn't cope. I left the car and, armed with a brolly, walked down the hill towards the sea. With my umbrella held tightly to my body I kept my eyes on my feet.

I turned the corner near the bakery and came across a manhole cover that was ajar. I'd always been fascinated by the subterranean and bent down to take a closer look. There was a loud caw and the raven, which I'd noticed earlier, pecking at the crumbs which had been scattered in front of the bakery, landed at my feet. I looked questioningly at it and it was obvious that it was suggesting we go below together. I heaved the manhole cover to one side and slowly climbed down the ladder with the raven hitching a lift on my shoulder. The ladder rail was cold and slippery to my touch. I must have gone down a dozen steps and landed in a flat area. I stood at the bottom waiting for my eyes to become accustomed to the darkness. Green ferns had given way to fleshy liverworts where only the dimmest of light filtered through. I could hear water dripping somewhere and long whitish tubes hung from the ceiling - much too young to be stalactites but they had a life of their own (we used to have them in our coal cellar at home - they were called straws). The tunnel appeared to stretch away in the distance on either side of me.

The stonework under my feet was damp and slippery and there was nothing I could hold on to so I had to tread carefully in order not to fall. An additional drain had been hollowed out in the floor so that a walk way ran along the side of it. Occasionally I could a plopping sound as if some animal, maybe a water rat, had dived in. The walkway sloped downwards.

Well, here I was with the raven and the only thing to do was go forwards into the unknown. The water continued to drip, sometimes on to my head and startling me. The raven huddled closer to my head as if seeking protection there or maybe it was just so that it could "talk" to me better by nudging its head against my ear. In the distance I thought I could hear the sea. "Logical" I thought to myself since this was a storm drain it must come out somewhere near the sea.

I continued, hoping to see light in the distance but soon the tunnel forked. "Which way do you think we ought to go now?" I asked aloud, not expecting an answer. The raven flew down to the ground and hopped off down the right hand fork. So I followed. I don't know what, if anything, I was expecting to find but the tunnel turned a corner and all of a sudden I/we were in a brick-lined chamber and someone had been there before us; someone who had decided that the bricks would make a perfect canvas for a picture. It was a huge seascape that covered the walls and ceiling, filled with monsters, huge fish, mermaids and sea birds diving into a foaming sea. What's more the picture seemed to move. I stood entranced at the beauty of the picture and thought what a shame it was that no-one would see it.

I could now hear the sound of waves and could see a circle of light. I hurried towards it and came out on to a small ledge. That's when I began to wonder if I was really imagining things for the scene in front of me resembled that which I had just seen back inside the tunnel and then I realised what it was. It was a natural camera obscura and, by a curious trick of the light and the height of the tide, the scene outside was reflected onto the walls and ceiling. Someone had created their own version of a camera obscura where they could watch the changing patterns of light and dark, rough and calm seas without having to go anywhere near the water at all. Except for one thing. Where did all those mythical birds and monsters and mermaids come from .......

alphabet pieces - I, N and R

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

cows on parade

I have just completed a swap where each of us was given 3 outlines of cows which we had to decorate and put on an ATC. Here are my offerings

in 2001 Luxembourg hosted its own "art on cows" festival and the resulting decorated cows were auctioned for charity. Some of the cows can be seen here:

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Alphabet Art - Letter M

M is for climbing mountains
and for making journeys
along the Soul Food roads.
copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Inspire me Thursday - monochromatic - blue Bella

Monday, March 20, 2006

Thinking Big - Inspired Thursday

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The bollards on the quay at Owl Island are 'big'.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

For Heather

A couple of coats of sealer over the weekend and I will have your Chinese New Year/Dragon mail art in the post on Monday. I hope you like ;-)


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Danny Gregory Weekly Challenge

Everyday Matters has a huge group and I have joined to get some ideas to bring back to Soul Food and share here. After struggling with the Inspired Thursday Challenge this week I found the challenge to draw someone or something you love - and journal about it a bit easier. You will find a list of the challenges at Danny Gregory's site.

inspire me Thursday - senseless

This was the first time I have used acrylics so it was very much an experiment. It was difficult to make it completely sensless as my eyes were used to choose the colours. First of all I folded a piece of watercolour paper in half and covered it with water. I then put dabs of acrylic paint on to the surface without trying to make any conscious pattern or design and tried to get some of the paint to run. I folded the paper in half and brayered it flat. (This was something we used to do with coloured inks and which I wanted to try again but couldn’t find my inks in my crowded craft room). Then I spritzed it with silver moonglow and sprayed fixative (which did smell) on to the surface which made the moonglow move across the paper. No sounds in the house – just the twittering of birds outside the kitchen window.
I had no idea of what the end result would be and I now have the perfect background for a future piece of work and I have the feeling that there is a ghostly figure lurking in there somewhere.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Another Muse Outing

Here are the pics of two of my favourite books that I got today at the Library Discard sale.

This one is in greek language but it will make a great altered book.

This one has some beautiful images of plants.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


This rather unremarkable drain, photographed by Monika, in the botanical gardens has been enlivened by the judicious planting of some winter hellebore, cyclamen and wood sorrel

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Alphabet Exchange Collaborative Book

A group of us in the Soul Food Mail art group are going to be working on a collaborative alphabet book exchane. This is an invitation for anyone who would like to participate to join us. Below are the instructions so far.

Each participant makes an original artwork depicting their letter/s (this can be collage, drawn, whatever medium you prefer working in). This page is then colour copied the number of times equal to the number of participants. These pages will be mailed to me and I will collate them into a book.

I have decided to do an accordian style book, so all your pages will be adhered to the folds in the book. The pages need to be 6x4 and decorated on one side only.
Alphabet Swap Participants:
Heather (letter - E & P)
Megan (letter - A)
Bobbi (letter - S)
Gail (letter - C)
Winnie (letter - W)
Gwen (letter - B & G)

If you are interested in participating please let me know.