A Leading Question…

That question is this…..

When life serves us lemons

What do you do when life feels a bit prickly …. and serves you up some lemons?

The very shape of this dish inspired this question when I put lemons in to it to create a set up for a still life… interesting…

I ask you this with love….

So what do you do? Make lemonade or wince on the sour juice?

Life is too just short and can be so wonderful… it all depends on our mindset….


Winter Creative Retreat On The Cape West Coast

Paternoster header with coloured text

All-Inclusive Luxurious & Inspiring 5* Winter Creativity Retreat Package 

31st July – 2nd August 2015

At Abalone Boutique Hotel & Spa

Join Artist, Writer and Teacher, Karen Longden-Sarron, on this Unique Getaway and Rouse Your Inner Painter.

Pamper yourself with excellent food and indulgent spa treatments while also igniting your creativity and learning a new skill if you’ve never painted before, or develop new techniques if you have.

This unique and Inspiring event will take place in the quaint seaside Village of Paternoster on the Cape West Coast at the opulent five-star Abalone House & Spa Boutique Hotel, renowned for its effortless blends of old world elegance with eclectic decadence and now the new home to another famous Reuben’s Restaurant and Healing Earth Spa. ahlogo

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Picturesque Paternoster, with its shoreline, unique buildings, boats and other typical scenes of life in this coastal Fisherman’s village are the central subjects for this creative program, structured to accommodate beginners as well as more established artists, we’ll explore a range of mediums and styles of working.

Only 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Cape Town.

Experience sumptuous accommodation.

Enjoy sumptuous breakfasts and lunches and feast at the famous Reuben’s Restaurant in the Hotel.

Indulge yourself with a Spa treatment in the Healing Earth Spa.

What’s Included

  • 2 Night’s Accommodation in a luxurious Suite (or small groups could also opt to select a 2 or 3-bedroomed cottage nearby.)
  • 2 Full English & Continental Breakfasts
  • 2 Lunches (one being an exclusive Beach Picnic – weather permitting)
  • 2 x Two-Course Dinners at the famous Reuben’s Restaurant (situated in the Hotel)
  • 2 x 30 minutes or 1 x 60 minutes Spa Treatment at the Healing Earth Spa (Choice of Back & Neck Massage /Facial/ Pedicure or Manicure)
  • Morning & Afternoon Tea/Coffee
  • Welcome Drink
  • Creative Instruction & Guidance
  • All Artistic Materials & Notes

Additional Activities Included

Participants in this Retreat shall also get to enjoy the following activities offered on this getaway:

  • Inspiring Presentation with Welcome Drink on Workshop Opening
  • A Brandy Tasting
  • 1 Picnic Lunch on the Beach (Weather permitting)

What’s Not Included

  • Transport to/from the Venue
  • Mini Bar in Rooms
  • Refreshments & Alcoholic Beverages other than 1 morning and 1 afternoon tea/coffee per day
  • Specialty Teas or Coffees
  • Gratuities


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Non – Participating Partners

If you have a partner who would like to accompany you on the getaway and share your suite but not participate in the creative program, he or she is welcome to do so at a cost of R790.00, including breakfast. All other meals and refreshments are for their account, although they are welcome to join you in the meals with the participants.


The Cost

Take Advantage of this Exclusive WINTER PACKAGE Offer

All-inclusive Package Deal Price of R4,900 per participant (Sharing or Single) Supplement for Non-participating partners sharing is R790.00, including breakfast, but all other meals are for his/her account.  

The rooms are issued on a first-come-first-served-basis.

Limited Spaces. Booking is Essential.


Book now! Call +27 (0) 22 752 2044
Read more about it HERE

View the Abalone Hotel Website HERE

We Look Forward to Meeting You There!





Process Of Creating An Oil Painting

Today, I would like to show you a step-by-step process of creating a painting in oil using the Alla Prima technique, which means you work wet-in-wet in one session.

This is the scene I set up, a simple still life of some sunflowers and pears in a bowl. I didn’t set it up in a box with a lamp as I wanted the natural sunlight on the table, but I would obviously eliminate all the things surrounding the objects in the painting itself. (I used a 12″ x 12″ canvas)

I loved the simplicity of these sunflowers and pears
I loved the simplicity of these sunflowers and pears

 Step 1:

Firstly, I painted a wash of yellow ochre thinned out with a little medium to cover the entire canvas and then I drew on the composition using thinned burnt umber with a small brush. (I sometimes use a bigger flat brush to draw on the design, depending on the subject matter and the size of the canvas, and I don’t always draw in all the detail at the onset, but I did in this case to better demonstrate the development in case you’re a beginner.)

I also altered the position of the sunflowers in the blue jug, to adapt the composition to a square format instead of a portrait one.

painting step 1

Step 2:

Next, I started loosely blocking in the background and the tablecloth, the bowl and the blue jug as well as the dark centres of the sunflowers. I also made some amendments to the initial drawing: I realised I had the blue glass rim too high and I decided to extend the tablecloth to the edge to simplify the composition.

Painting step 2

Step 3:

The next step was to start painting in the flowers, which I started doing, but decided I would change the background to cool tomes to contrast with the warm colours of the flowers. I darkened the shadow under the bowl.

Painting step 3

Step 4:

The pears were painted next, as well as details on the bowl and some darkening of the shadows in the bowl under the fruit and on the jug. I also applied some more depth to the flowers and leaves.

Painting step 4

Final Step:

After painting in the rim of the blue glass, I worked all over the canvas, tweaking and adding highlights, deepening shadows where needed.

So there you have it! This is the final painting after about eight hours of work. Unfortunately, one doesn’t see the brushstrokes and thickness of the paint as the camera isn’t good enough and flattens the images, but at least you get an idea of what to do if you’d like to try. Choose a simple set up of anything interesting lying around your home, give it a go and have fun!

Painting final

A Wonderful Film On Cross-racial Friendship

MV5BMTYxNDA3MDQwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTU4Mzc1Nw@@._V1_SX214_I watched a French Movie last night, called “Intouchables”, and I am still reeling from its many messages! I found it powerful and moving.

Sometimes it’s great to have a break from everyday chores and the pressure of work and indulge in something different, and that’s why I am recommending this today!

The Intouchables is a 2011 French comedy-drama film directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano. It stars François Cluzet and Omar Sy, and although it is in French, there are English subtitles, which, because I speak French, are not translated precisely, but more to suit English speaking audiences, but that doesn’t change the story!

The film is based on a true story, where, after he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caretaker.

Like in “Driving Miss Daisy,” it’s about two people who normally would never have met but they develop a strong friendship and trust. It’s about human possibility, which is inspiring even though it is a comedy; fulfilled with some hilarious moments indeed.

Today I researched some reviews on the film, and I must say, they are not all as favourable as I expected, although the movie has been rated 4 stars overall, but I would certainly vote it highly.  I found the contrast of characters endearing and enlightening and although some American reviewers have called it corny, I don’t think it’s any more so than most films out today. It certainly made me feel good, and yet simultaneously moved by the powerful messages it contains.

The film has received several award nominations. In France, the film was nominated for eight César Awards and earned Omar Sy the César Award for Best Actor.

Get a copy of the video and watch it! Let me know what you thought!

Ways to Help You Sell Your Art

Dollar Sign in Space - Illustration
Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Artists are blessed in this Age of Technology as we are not limited to the old traditional ways of selling our work.

As it is currently all about Information, I want to say initially that it is vitally important to establish a presence on the Internet. It is somewhat time-consuming initially, but take the time to join Social Network platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for example. The more you are connected the more outlets you have with which to share your art.

I would like to list a few ideas to consider in the business of selling your paintings, sculptures, photography or crafts.

  1. Galleries – it is still a good idea to get your work on display in galleries. This certainly assists in creating a name for yourself in your area and beyond, although galleries add-on a huge markup or else they take a commission as high as 60%. You can also look for an Art Agent to represent you to galleries.
  2. Private Commissions – advertise your skills in newspapers, art publications or in free online classifieds (Google “free classifieds” and follow the lists which will pop up.) You can also utilize Social Networking like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to create awareness.
  3. Art Markets & Fairs – look for events happening in your area and approach the organisers to enrol.
  4. Advertising – Create a simple advert and place it in the media publications or on free classifieds online as discussed in 3.
  5. Exhibitions – Creating an exhibition to showcase your art could be a feasible exercise, although you will need a little money to finance it. (I will do an article on how to organize an exhibition soon.) You can decide to create a solo exhibition or to join forces with another artist or a few at the same occasion to share the costs.
  6. Auction and Shopping WebsitesE-bay, Gumtree, Bid or Buy are examples of these sites that are booming on the Web. However, you can expect to receive less money for your art at sites like these than in galleries or online portals, but you can sell regularly.
  7. Online Portals – Register with Online Galleries to showcase your art, upload your photos and details of your work, set your price and link to the Social Networks like Twitter, Facebook etc. Try places like Etsy or Art Portfolios, Wet Canvas, Absolute Arts, Art RisingFine Art America or DeviantArt to mention but a few. By registering with these portals you also get the option to join art groups and forums discussing issues pertaining to art. They also hold contests and have reviewers who would be able to assess your work and create a written review.
  8. Your Own Website – Creating a personal website is indispensable for any Artist serious about selling their art. Add Paypal or another online payment service to enable buyers to purchase art directly from your site. You can add any number of e-commerce solutions to include a shopping-cart on your site, at a host of varying prices. OsCommerce is an outsourced solution and is free.
  9. Your Own Blog – It is really worthwhile to have a blog as an artist, as it not only serves as an opportunity to share your knowledge with others and thus give back a little, but it also attracts new viewers to your art and other places where you sell art. The more connections you have established with Social Networks the more exposure you will get. You can pay for a blog, or you can get free ones like at Blogger or WordPress. Alternatively, you can also post on Art Websites that sell art.
  10. Licensing Your Art – You can make one piece of art really work for you by licensing certain pieces to be sold as prints. Sites such as Saatchi (part of the Saatchi gallery in London) or Fine Art America for example offer these services, where they pay the artist 70% of the profits on sales. The artist enters a non-exclusive  agreement, (where you always hold the rights to the work) and they print the orders on demand. They handle the orders, payment, printing and delivery and you have no outlay whatsoever to pay upfront. You can register with these sites for free or subscribe for a premium account that costs about $30 per annum. You can get a website of your own on Fine Art America also. They offer art print on canvas or paper and as greeting cards. You can license your art to be printed on T-shirts mugs and other items for retail also. Websites such as Zazzle offer these services.
  11. Public Places – offering to display your art for sale in places other than Galleries can also pay off. Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Banks or Interior Design shops for example will accept your work, especially if you offer the owner a commission on any piece he/she sells and promise to replace it in the event of a sale.
  12. Art Rentals – Have you ever thought of making your art pieces work for you? By proposing to display your art in Hotels, Banks, Corporate Offices or for Film and Television sets for a rental fee has proven very profitable to some people I know. You can agree to allow the owner to sell it for a commission and promise to replace it, over and above the monthly rental, but it can also bring you piece of mind knowing your art is making money while you can continue painting and you would still have the piece to sell at a later date. It is preferable to draw up a contract to be signed by both parties on the agreement of length of lease (6 months, a year, 18 months or 2 years for example) and the insurance matters to cover your work.
  13. Open Studio – Why not offer an Open Studio day or event where visitors can freely come and view your art. You can offer lemonade or Tea/Coffee and still not have the expense of organizing a formal exhibition. You simply need to tidy up your work area and spread the word! Flyers, adverts etc can create awareness. Visitors would feel far more relaxed too, and not so much under the obligation to buy from you as much as just to meet you. Most people are fascinated with artists and it’s proven they buy more when they have actually met the artist in person. You would also be able to discount your sale by informing the prospective buyers they save on gallery commission by buying from you directly.
  14. Barter – it’s not really a sale, but to barter a piece of your art in exchange for something you need in return can work beneficially for both parties.
I hope these ideas are helpful and I look forward to hearing what works for you or if you have any other ideas of ways to sell your masterpieces!

Art Rocks & That’s What Makes Me Roll!


I believe we are all here to create – even those who think they can’t. I cannot say I can’t play golf if I have never tried! This is true for creativity too. Whatever we wish to create. Cooking is creative – so is gardening.

I am passionate about Art! Truly addicted and single-mindedly attached to anything to do with Art. I love to talk about Art, write about it, follow other people’s Art, read about it and most of all I love CREATING it!

Whatever a person’s field they are being creative all the time. Even in business, people are finding innovative ways to become more successful. That’s an art too.

There are a multitude of reasons I love creativity and here are just a few:

* Creating Art makes me feel alive! It instills a sense of belonging to the bigger scheme of things – a bit egotistical perhaps but it is in the process of painting that I find a connection to the Divine and an intrinsic sense of BLISS.

* Creating Art has taught me to see and appreciate things differently. I not only value beauty in pretty things but also in ugly things.

* Creating Art challenges my brain! As tough as this is sometimes, I love the excitement that comes after the painful process of probing and imagining and experimenting with ideas until that one answer is revealed. It’s a high like no other.

* Creating Art helps me to learn more about myself – about my preconceived boundaries or characteristics of my personality. I have learned where my fears lie and why I procrastinate, which as helped me grow.

* Creating Art has taught me to enjoy my own company – all those solitary hours alone painting and writing have made me somewhat less sociable but less dependent on others also.

* Creating Art has enabled me to express my innermost joys and sorrows.

* Creating Art has taught me about value and about money. About self-worth too.

* Creating Art has taught me that while I hope my work brings joy to others who view it or read it, the truest joy of all is the creative process itself. The Do-ing and the Be-ing are what drive me.

* Creating Art has taught me to hone in and develop my interests and talents. That’s what I can do, that’s what I love doing and that is every reason to learn to do it the very best way I can!


* Creating Art has taught me commitment, dedication and determination. It has taught me the resolve and fortitude to carry a project through to the end – whatever the result.

* Creating Art has taught me to live a life of Passion and that must be the most important reason of all! Art is just amazing! Art is the Alpha and Omega in my world – ART Rocks and it’s Art that makes me roll!

From Wannabe to Gonnabe

Joining the WordPress “Post A Week Challenge” created another idea  – one I hope you’ll join me on!

It all started with two questions:

  1. What do I really want to be?
  2. How am I really going to get there?

Seeing that creativity is what really drives me, what I really want to be is the best I can be creatively. I know that by succeeding here I will be living the best life possible. “Great!” I say excited at this promising potential, (where success for me means making my living from my artistic endeavours, not necessarily becoming famous, although that would be a bonus!) but immediately another question springs into my mind: Where does my strength truly lie and how do I find my own voice, so unique and original and yet authentically me?

I am sure you’ve asked yourself these same questions and I understand the very pain lurking in your innards while the question whirrs around in your mind.

Remembering my words in a previous post “To be A Winner You Need A Mission,” I set about deciding what that mission is and wrote pages of notes on every aspect of how to achieve the success I want for myself. These notes gave birth to the idea of breaking it down into small bite-sized tasks in order to start a step-by-step program, rather than an overwhelming task at the onset, which I doubted I would manage.

From there I decided to write these steps in weekly posts, which may be helpful to readers on their own, but the idea and prospect of having others on the journey with me filled me with excitement and anticipation, so I decided to create a challenge – the CreativeJoyRide Challenge.

Although creativity is a personal journey and we are all passionate about different aspects of creativity – some like Cooking or creating Crafts while others are passionate about SongwritingCreative Writing or Painting or do Woodwork or a myriad of artistic and inventive activities, the basics to getting started and following a road to achieving the goal of creating something is the same. I am going to give you tips and hints and questions to ask yourself in finding your own voice through the weeks that follow. I will suggest projects and activities to develop and strengthen your creative and intuitive traits, teaching you to trust yourself and therefore reach your creative potential. What a Joy Ride!!

All this said, I now give you The Challenge:

The CreativeJoyRide is a 10-week Journey – a ten-week Guided Tour as it were to leaving the “Wannabe” behind and reaching the “Gonnabe.” What an Adventure! (If it proves well supported I may extend it by adding an advanced program.)

This week is the introduction week – giving “Wannabe’s” a chance to enroll and prepare for the journey! We set off next Tuesday with the first Creative Joyride information and activity guidelines.

Each “Joyrider” embarking on this adventure challenge with me can pledge to commit to the program. All you have to do is to add your comments on this post telling me these two things:

  1. Which area of creativity are you passionate about? What do you “Wannabe”?
  2. What do you wish to achieve? What are you “Gonnabe?”

I offer my services to interact with you personally  over and above the blog posts if you wish for assessment on your assignment or any further advice. My goal is to get as many to reach theirs as possible. And it’s FREE – because I love creativity and I love helping others!

I am looking so forward to ‘travelling’ with you! It’s so much more fun with others rather than alone, so go on –  become a Creative Joy Rider and get enthusiastic about changing your life! This trip could take you far without even leaving home!

I’m Joining The Post A Week Challenge!

Yes, I have decided to give myself a challenge! I am joining the PostAWeek2011 challenge! Starting a bit late in the year but it can go beyond…

I was tempted to go for the Post A Day challenge, but then thought I’d start by giving myself a little slack at the onset and see how it goes. I’ve already been trying to post every Friday but sometimes I have slackened, or life has got in the way…but now I  thought if I commit to a challenge such as this one, then I will be more motivated.

I really want to build up my blog into something substantial and well-followed – so no time like the present! No more excuses! I even intend to join the Write a Novel in a Month in November challenge – 50 000 words in 30 days! This will be excellent practice – and blogging really does improve one’s writing skills.

I have found blogging quite addictive! In fact on the day the posts are published is a very exciting day indeed as one waits to see how many readers came to the post, if you would attract any comments or even a subscriber or two! It is fun, but I know it’s not going to always be easy as the standard of the content has to be constant and remain interesting and varied.

Therefore I’m promising to make use of The WeeklyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way and to New-comers – I hope my words inspire you!

Warmest regards to all you on CreativeJoyRiders!

Karen Longden

Hello world!

Welcome to my new Blog! I am so excited to at last be learning the ropes of WordPress and joining the world of blogging!

I have the next few posts already clear in my mind and can’t wait to get cracking! Hoping I will attract some followers to share my words. I look forward to meeting you all online!