Saturday, 22 December 2012

Inspiration down town - perfect ingredients.

What has shopping got to do with painting? Well, perhaps the actual shopping part has very little, but BROWSING - that is invaluable. Just as a walk in the woods will bring visual treats, the mm and ooh and aha moments, as well as the exercise and deeper breathing, which encourage us to get back to the drawing board, the shop that tickles your fancy will have the same effect.

Luckily for me, my two best art shops have some great shops/inspiration raisers, nearby - extra reasons to get supplies in. One of them, The Flower Rooms, is brand new, and I happened upon it by accident (honest), while walking the dog. Which meant I had no money on me, probably just as well..

The front door is flanked by potted Bay trees, and inside, one room is filled with fabulous flowers (mmm, the scent), another with hearts, pixies and angels, wooden crates and galvanised buckets. It is, well... heaven.  On the edge of Holywood High Street, (the opposite end to the art shop, Art & Home) its well worth a visit. Visual and sensory delights. 
The very welcoming Kathryn Millar, from The Flower Rooms, Holywood

I discovered recently that one of my other favourites has.. doubled in size! Oh, Yes!

 Sawers, a deli round the corner from the art shop in Belfast (Bradbury Graphics), is an Aladdins cave of gourmet treats, guaranteed to cheer up even the most grumpy browser, with their jars of Devilishly Hot spices, and amazing-sounding things in the freezer.. 'Scorpion in candy', 'chocolate covered ants', 'BBQ flavoured worms'...

The Boss, Sawers

'Snake's bite' and 'Satans Sweat' sauces... 

While I'm at it, I might as well tell you about the fantastic little wool shop, 'Selections' in Carrickfergus! This place is so filled with blocks of COLOUR I wonder sometimes if I'll ever be able to leave! And the lovely staff - well, they even came outside to take a photo in daylight to help me decide what colour.. In fact, Isa wanted to teach me to crochet right there and then, so I could become one of their 'hookers'. em.. Haven't laughed so much in a wool shop, ever! Hooked is right. 

What's the common denominator here? 

All these shops are small, personal, friendly and intimate. Add to that,  colour, smells, textures, tactile, sensory enrichment, communication, interaction, engagement and enrichment. Sounds like the perfect ingredients for an art class. 

Upcoming workshops: Drawing, Oils, water colour, portrait drawing, portfolio weekends and weekly session. For info email

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