Archive for August, 2006

Break Down Here

Well, here I am sitting at the keyboard at home – which is fine except that I should be on my honeymoon right now!

The wedding went without a hitch, we had a lovely ceremony and the company of the most wonderful friends and family. I couldn’t be happier 🙂 After our big day we took a day to relax and do what newlyweds do before setting off on a long road trip the following day.

We left home at around 6.30 a.m. on Sunday. There was a spectacular sunrise to see us on our way, we had some of our favourite “road music” piled high in the car, we had our snacks and refreshment and hubby had his favourite – a pack of Marlboros (OK, I frown on his habit but it was his honeymoon too so I treated him).

All was well as we travelled up through Cornwall and on into Devon and Somerset. We had covered about 200 miles and decided to stop for a late breakfast at a roadside diner. It was a lovely breakfast of eggs, bacon, black pudding, sausage, beans, fried potatoes, toast and coffee/hot chocolate – basically your run of the mill heart attack on a plate, but hey, it was our honeymoon. When we pulled in, darling husband had noticed some drops of water on the hood of the Mercedes and did a little investigation before we went in to eat. He announced that the car was running a little hot and that we seemed to have lost a breather hose from the expansion tank (not serious) He decreed that he would top up the coolant level once the car had cooled down a little.

We came out fully sated and raring to head on to our destination, some 150 miles down the road. Hubby topped up the coolant level and off we went, keeping a careful eye on the temperature guage, just in case. Well, we made another ten miles, before the car decided to try and boil itself to death. Luckily we pulled into a layby before it managed to fry/toast/cook its internal organs. We sat and looked at each other before trying to call our rescue service. He shrugged and we decided it would be best not to try and carry on, just to sit and wait for help.

It was a lovely spot to break down. Great views, and strawberries on sale right outside our busted transport. Things could have been worse, turns out they were. After two and a half hours our knight in a tow truck arrived. Max was his name.

Max poured in a few more pints of coolant, I sat in the car, trying not to jog my impatient bladder around too much. Husband stood looking concerned. Max, walks back to his truck and fetches what looked to me like a turkey baster. (It was actually a head gasket testing device). Sure enough, the verdict soon came in – head gasket gone to heaven, oil in the coolant, coolant in the engine oil…….ooops. Car going nowhere.

We climbed into Max’s truck after agreeing (and paying a hefty additional premium) to be recovered to home. The five hours we had been on the road was now doubled as we headed back home as passengers in the rear of the tow truck, the Mercedes sitting proudly behind us, looking real happy to be getting a “free” ride.

We arrived home at about 8p.m., tired but happy despite our interrupted plans. A few calls later and we had a new plan and a new car. Today was spent collecting said car, giving it a thorough clean and once over, but still unable to leave as we could not licence or insure the new ride (public holiday today). We hope that tomorrow morning the paper work will be sorted and that we can set off again before midday.

(The first song on the first CD we played on the trip on Sunday was “Break Down Here” by Julie Roberts. Great song but on reflection, perhaps that was an unwise tip of the hat to fate not to be repeated tomorrow 😉

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The past few days have been a flurry of worry about the upcoming wedding day. I’m not worried about getting married, I truly have no doubts that it is what I want – these are just worries about the actual day, hoping it will go well, hoping that my new family will love me and that I won’t let anyone down.

My cowboy is so good and so laid back about it all, how he can be so cool I just don’t know. He calms me with his stories when we are lying together at night – and he is a great storyteller and it was some of his stories that led me to the blog of Irish Artist Conann Fitzpatrick.

As well as his love of the western way of life, my cowboy also has a boundless love of Ireland and its people. Before we met he lived and worked in the Bogside in Derry in for a couple of years and I love hearing about all the beauty of its landscape, its often turbulent history and all the photographic memories he seems to carry around of his travels and experiences. He tells me that the most hospitable people he has ever met were in Ireland (both in the north and in the Free State), and in the western US.

When he first showed me pictures of the Derry murals in the Bogside and told me the stories behind them I was fascinated and appalled but impressed with the work of the Bogside artists. Nowadays the Republican murals are a big part of Derry’s tourist sightseeing itinerary, but there was a time when even photographing them was forbidden. The site includes photographs of some of the Loyalist murals located around the City too, in places such as The Fountain and the estates around Nelson Drive.

Browsing around Conann’s site was a wonderful education and a way of connecting with the past life of the man I am marrying.

As well as his photographs, Conann showcases some of his original oil paintings and he skillfully captures the brooding skies of his homeland with his atmospheric landscapes and seascapes. (I have never visited Ireland, but I have seen enough of my husband’s photographs to be able to judge). This is one of my favourite pieces from his portfolio, entitled ‘Sutton Ireland’s Eye and Lambay Island during flooding’.

Sutton Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island during flooding

There is a whole lot more to see including digital art, drawings, community art and articles covering a wide variety of topics, favourite works of the author and reviews of all kinds of art content. I hope that my readers will enjoy their visit to this quality blog and please let the author know we sent you 🙂


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ArteccentrixWell, once again not much time to blog in the past week but I have managed to update some of the pages a little with some paintings and the beginnings of the photo page.

I did promise to let you know the results of the poll about art scams posted at the old blog. Although voting was slow, it would appear that 40% of respondents have never had a scam email regarding their art – lucky them! At the opposite end of the spectrum an equal number confessed to receiving emails from scammers every week – unlucky them. The remaining 20% told us that they had had more than one scam attempt in their inbox but less than 5.

I myself would fall in the final 20%, but I expect as time goes by I will receive more and more of them. Sadly it would seem that the more you advertise your art (or indeed any saleable commodity) online, the more fools will come out of the woodwork and bombard your inbox with stupid attempts to scam you. The only advice I can give is to be careful – the signs are easy enough to spot and doing a search online for “art scams” will give you all the information you need to decide if that buyer from Nigeria is genuine or not ha!

Anyway, thanks to everyone who took part in the poll. I’m not sure when I will be able to include another one as WordPress do not allow any javascript on their blogs. If I manage to find someone offering polls that do not use java I’ll let you know – then again if you know of anything out there, let me know, please.

I had another email from Oleg this week, (you may recall my previous post about Oleg here) and it seems that I have been included in an abstract art directory at a place called Abstract Art As The Method Of Life

I’ve had a quick look round and there is quite a variety of work on display there, so I’m pleased to be listed alongside artists from all around the world. Thanks Oleg 🙂

On a personal level, I will be getting married at the end of next week – 25th August to be precise – and I will be off travelling for a couple of weeks after that so things may get even quieter around here for a while. When we return, I hope to be working on the Cayman Art page that I want to add to the blog. I’m looking forward to showing off the talent from some of my countrymen/women and I am sure you will enjoy viewing their work and hearing their stories.

Ok, artist submissions – I’m always looking for good artists websites and blogs to feature here at the humble Arteccentrix blog. If you would like to see your name in lights and some of your work featured here, just send me mail, telling me a bit about yourself and your place(s) on the web. I can never promise how quickly I’ll get around to featuring any particular artist but I do love to hear from you so don’t be shy.


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I am really excited about this article, which is once again allowing me the pleasure of diversity in the artworks featured on the blog. I came across the work of this gentleman initially on Flickr – this time we are talking photography, but I think this is photography with a real difference and although I don’t know a great deal about the medium, I can honestly say these are some of the most striking pictures I have ever seen. For anyone who has never seen “High Dynamic Range Photos” do please explore Dave’s wonderful portfolio.

Dave Kozlowski is an artist from the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex in Texas who describes himself rather modestly as an “amateur” and visiting his profile on Flickr, the testimonials bear out the fact that not only is he extremely talented but a thoroughly helpful and enthusiastic guy.

It was my partner who first came across his pictures, obsessed as he is with all things western and anything with cowboy in a search string will grab his attention! Thus we found the amazing portfolio from which Dave has kindly allowed us to reproduce some images here. dkphoto1.jpgI think this first portrait is absolutely stunning. Like much of Dave’s work it seems to somehow combine a tangible retro with the modern. In this picture you can almost feel the fabric of the subject’s work shirt beneath your fingers and as one commentator said, it looks like something from the 1800’s aside from the fancy wristwatch. I agree.

Dave’s choice of subject matter is diverse to say the least and a visit to his website at Dallas Photoworks or his Flickr page demonstrates the great variety in his work, from western themes, architecture, decay, portraiture and landscapes. I really have never seen anything like it before and in my humble opinion, for an amateur, Mr Kozlowski is a master at his chosen artform.

In addition to his photography, Dave also acts as the Director of an organization called “Exposure Dallas” which organizes exhibitions by amateur photographers in the Fort Worth area. dkphoto2.jpgIf you are lucky enough to live nearby, there will be an exhibition by the group on Saturday September 7th 2006. I for one wish I could go along. This is the third exhibition Dave has organized for the group and in addition to his work you can view some of the photos by his fellow collaborators at Dave’s Flickr pages.

I am really pleased to have been able to give a little more exposure to Dave on this blog and to grace these pages with a very small selection of his photographs. Here at Arteccentrix we think Dave is a true artist, with a great eye, original thought and true technical and artistic ability – thank you for sharing your pictures with us it’s been a wonderful journey of discovery and we wish you good luck with all your future ventures. We’d like to leave readers with a couple more of Dave’s images if you want more you’ll just have to visit him online.126604314_74ca55db24_m.jpg

If anyone out there would like to be featured in future articles just drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do. And remember, our first featured artist Francois Vaillancourt’s exhibition is just around the corner now 22/8/2006 – 9/9/2006 and once again we wish him success with his first show.

(All the images reproduced in this article with the kind permission of David Kozlowski all rights reserved)


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As I posted last time out, I’m a bit pressed for time but the blog update is going pretty well. Over the next few days, and subject to permission, I will be featuring the work of another artist whose work I think you will find extremely interesting. Look out for that over the next week or so.
There will also be some more on the last poll I conducted about art scams online and a few more snippets about art galleries and representation for artists.

In the meantime, I have been thinking about additional pages for the blog. There will ‘soon’ be a page dedicated entirely to art and artists from the Cayman Islands, plus some articles about individual artists from the islands with whom I have worked and who continue to inspire me.

I have decided too that a photo album might be a nice idea and I have added a page with that in mind. The first picture has been posted and I’m looking for a caption so if you have any smart comments to make please leave me your pearls of wisdom in the comments field. Did I mention a prize for the best effort….well, don’t count on it but have a go anyway.

Thanks to everyone for bearing with me through the transition, things will soon be back to normal – knock on wood.


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A Warm Welcome To You All

Welcome to the new home of Arteccentrix – an artist’s blog by me, Nickola McCoy. I decided it was time to move on from Blogger while the blog was still relatively young and before I became too entrenched.

I hope that my existing readers will stay with me as I start the next chapter of my blogging life – please update your feeds/live bookmarks and most importantly those special links that you have all been kind enough to give me in the past.

I have to say that my time with Blogger was trouble free and enjoyable and it was a great service for a beginner like myself. Please bear with me while I come to terms with my new environment here at WordPress and forgive any bloopers that may appear on some of the old posts that have been transferred across from the previous site – I’ve done my best to tidy up but there may still be some lingering faults.

The next few days will have to be spent re-submitting to all the directories and corresponding with some of you to make my transition as smooth as possible so, if I don’t post for a spell you know why!

Thanks to everyone who reads and I hope you will continue to do so for a long time to come.


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Thank you! Danke! Gracies! Merci! Tai merbani! Rekhmet! Doh je! Merastawhy! Mese! Ta! Mahalo! Toda! Jamadi! Takk! Barkal! Grazie! Dan san! Sipas! Mèsi!

I always wanted to try to have a variety of artistic formats aired on my blog. Today I want to deviate a little from previous postings with a letter of thanks to my partner.

You see, I am marrying my partner at the end of this month for one very simple and selfish reason. He is my muse. He inspires me and ignites my inner creative spirit like no one I have ever met. From the day I met him my creative self has been in overdrive. Proof of this was the production of the series of works entitled “Black Hat”. Which eventually ran to over 40 original paintings. The LetterThis painting from the series is entitled “The Letter” and it depicts the hours spent writing letters and wishing to be with this new and exciting person who had entered my life. I later did a quick pastel negative of him and this is what it looked like.

Lonesome Cowboy

That hat first caught my interest almost as if it was something from another planet. I began drawing it all over my desk. I could not get it out of my mind. In this day and age where most of my male contemporaries are busy wearing the gear of the day -the forever present baggy pants or track suits (even the ones without any sort of athletic association) and firm aversions to the use of belts, here was this man who couldn’t give two shakes of a leg. He wore boots, jeans that fit, and fit well, shirts that fit and that hat. I was hooked!

I began painting in a frenzy that would make Jackson Pollack proud. At the end of my Tasmanian devil whirlwind, I had a series unlike any I’d ever attempted before. To my amazement, all of the paintings sold, many before they were even completed. However, there was more to this man than the laid back exterior. He wooed me in the most unlikely way – with country songs (the hat should have been a clue). I must confess that I was not a big fan of country music nor any of the aspects of that way of life. Strange things began to happen; I found that the music touched me in an even more moving way. Before meeting him it was strictly hard rock and frenzied classical music that I worked to. This new music created a most unusual mood, one that kept me in touch with my emotions, as opposed to my previous soundtracks, which allowed me the freedom of escape from my surroundings. These new (to me) songs evoked very human emotions. I was grounded in reality as I painted.

As I got to know my partner it was like peeling an onion, as I uncovered a man of many layers. I’m sure he will not take kindly to the onion analogy, because he knows that onions make me cry. But then so do the poems that he writes. During spring-cleaning I stumbled on a little booklet of poems that he had written some time ago. I read every one and sat there stunned at the beauty and complexity of them. (He has always maintained that he had NO artistic bones – well I had found proof to the contrary). Before you get the idea that I am publishing these poems without his knowledge I am not. I have received his permission to use them, though I’m not sure if he realized I meant to use them in this kind of forum. Here is the one that touched me the most, as it reflected the emotions of a person alone and searching. Just as I was before I met him. I was searching for personal inspiration and creative inspiration. I found both in him!


Memories entertain my mind
While shadows fill this room,
As daylight finds it’s left behind
My thoughts find time to bloom.
You smile at me from darkened skies
And stars become your crystal eyes
That haunt the winter gloom.

Clouds that race beyond my reach
And seem to laugh at me,
Windblown sand from some lost beach
I doubt I’ll ever see.
You speak to me through rustling leaves
A man who hears what he believes,
But knows will never be.

Darkness will not help me sleep
And sunlight hurts my eyes,
I flounder in the lonely deep
Of evening’s saddened cries.
Wakefulness torments my night
Your memories drain my will to fight
So worthless seems the prize.

Enveloped in my quiet cocoon
The hours always last,
My nightly vigil with the moon
Is never over fast.
I hear you laugh to set me free
Though reminiscing tortures me
With shadows of the past

Shadows fade, I’m so alone.

Copyright 1980 M.J. Snell

I only hope that now his searching is over as is mine. I also want to thank him for his support in everything that I do. It has not always been easy as I am not the healthiest of people, and he has had to reschedule our life plans on several occasions in order to accommodate the complexities of a number of inconvenient bouts of ill health. He always gives me a sardonic smile, shrugs and winks and tells me we’ll be just fine.

Thank you! Danke! Gracies! Merci! Tai merbani! Rekhmet! Doh je! Merastawhy! Mese! Ta! Mahalo! Toda! Jamadi! Takk! Barkal! Grazie! Dan san! Sipas! Mèsi!
For always being here, for your love and devotion!

Shadows fade, but we are alone no more.

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