Anna meets...Ian

This month I'd like to introduce artist Ian Brown who lives and works in Cornwall. Ian doesn't show in my gallery but is married to an artist friend of mine which is how we met. Last month Ian invited me to spend a day in his studio in the role of artist's muse. Well, the show-off in me couldn't resist. Ian paints the human form and is particularly interested in the visibility of women of a certain age. He has various projects running currently, one being swimsuits which I sat for, black and white dresses being another. It was an interesting experience to be involved in the creative process for a change: I've visited artists in their studios many times, but always to view work or to choose pieces for exhibitions. Let's continue with the Q & A section shall we?

How long have you been an artist?
I would say that I have been an artist since my early teens although I did not attend art school until my mid 20’s and I am now 63 so you do the math .

Francisco Goya 1746 - 1828, Portrait of the Duchess of Alba, New York Hispanic Society.   

Francisco Goya 1746 - 1828, The Duchess of Alba in White, Liria Palace, Madrid

What's the story behind the black and white dresses?

The dresses came out of the knowledge that an artist I admire Euan Uglow used to dress his models including wigs to suit his painting so I immediately warmed to the idea of dressing my sitters. I had been looking at Goya and chose the paintings he did of the duchess of Alba as the basis for a series of portraits of women I know of my generation . I then set about finding dresses that had what I felt was some Spanish influence but were also not something my sitters would be likely to have in  their wardrobe . I wanted to convey a sort of body glamour usually the domain of the young .

Have you exhibited any of these paintings yet or do you have plans to?

Ian Brown 1953 -, Valda, artist's studio, Cornwall.

I have not exhibited them yet. One was shortlisted for the National Open Art Competition and a second is shortlisted to be hung at the RWA autumn exhibition in Bristol .

What brought you to live in Cornwall?

My wife the artist Janet Lynch persuaded me away from London although I have continued to exhibit in London through Beardsmore Gallery who represented me until earlier this year until they retired .

I know you're a fellow Scot. Tell me where is your favourite place in Scotland and why?

One of my favourite places is Portencross on the Clyde . It figured initially as an exotic place where a friend of my grandfather kept a boat, and later in my adult life in the years just before art school, a friend and mentor (Alasdair Taylor) lived in a cottage there without electricity although it was the nearest inhabited building to Hunterston nuclear power station.

If you weren't an artist what would you like to be?

Probably a professional sportsman of some kind , I have played golf for Cornwall.

Finally, if you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

At the moment Florence and or Madrid to see paintings of course.

This final shot was taken at the end of the session. I had spotted a painting in the corner of the studio, a women of about my age, wearing these Barbie leggings. Ian and I chatted about how it came about, and lo and behold, the afternoon descended into a bit of dressing up for me. As a girl who spends every day pulling pieces of clothing together to create a-less-than-ordinary outfit, this didn't seem at all unusual. I love the randomness of all of these elements which somehow came together as they did to give me a photograph like no other. Ian has captured the joy of being within this 58 year old body - I'll cherish this forever.

To view more work from Ian follow the link to Newlyn Society of Artists here.
Anna x


More glittery shoes

I'm on a bit of a run at the moment, and it's all about the glitter. But these trainers are proving to be a bit of a problem. I keep bringing them out, putting a few items together, gadding off to work, then half way through the day I decide that this isn't quite it. Take a look, let me know.

I think these sparkly trainers are so cute, but they're proving to be a big style challenge for me. I can't quite visualise what I'm trying to achieve which I suppose is the problem. I've another outfit with these to show you soon, but in the meantime if they inspire you, if you can see what I need to be wearing with them, then please do drop me a line. If my legs were those long, slender ones, then I'd maybe wear a skirt, but hey, that's not the case. 

Diane of Fashion On The 4th Floor see here showcased a fab pair of baby pink trainers earlier on this year, which sent me hurtling off to the shops to find something similar, and since then I suppose I've been hoping to emulate her sleek style (with not much success). She wore them again here, and once more this inspired me to pare down my naturally flamboyant look to acheive something similar. I've not pulled this off yet, and maybe Diane's height is what makes this willowy, sleek look impossible for me to mimic. Imitation, as they say, is the sincerest form of flattery, and I do hope Diane can smile down on me from the lofty heights as I seek to live up to her immaculate outifts.

Details - Blouse: charity shop, trousers: TK Maxx, trainers: TK Maxx, rings: charity shop, sunglasses: Quay Australia.

Anna x


Leather, tulle and glitter

Understated, moi? Well, certainly not today that's for sure. Some days I feel like it's time for a bit of frothy fun and this was one of them. Polly did me proud with loads of heckling as well as prompts for lots of twirling. This red petticoat has that effect on me, so let's get going!

Apologies if you think you've seen this before, but today has a couple of little changes - the shoes for a start. These are my twinkly, glittery oxfords/brogues which just happen to go superbly well with my biker jacket and this adorable skater dress. Without the petticoat it's way too short, but with it, well I'd say it's pretty perfect!

Hang on! I wasn't quite ready there. 

I love the masculine shape of these shoes offset against the feminine of the blue sparkly glitter. 

And here's the second little tweak - this glitter belt. It's been in my eBay cupboard for at least a year now, so you can imagine my delight at rediscovering it when I was searching for the right belt to wear with this outfit. Well, not just the right belt, but the perfect match for my shoes - can you believe it?

I have a pair of yellow/mustard thick cable tights that I toyed with adding to this combo, but decided that the yellow may have been too distracting to the eye - after all, it's all working so well as it is don't you think? I could have justified the addition as they would have picked up that same hue in the dress, but think there's enough going on already. Knowing when to stop is the thing.

The clocks change here in the UK this weekend which will give us lighter mornings. This helps me with my sunrise swimming and still allows me to get into work on time. However, winter always seems to be more of a struggle, more about juggling chores and time spent on lots of projects. I've got a huge list of things I want to achieve this winter, in particular a fab sewing project which I'll share with you when I get going on it. In the meantime, I may have to move my posts around, or even post less frequently. To keep up with every post why not sign up to follow me by email? Get every single update direct into your mailbox so you don't miss a feature. And for those of you who enjoy the scenic shots I add from time to time, I have lots more of these on my instagram feed so why not follow me there too? Click here.

Outfit details - jacket: TOXIK3 (TK Maxx), dress: Topshop (charity shopped), petticoat: eBay, belt: eBay, shoes: Xti Tentations (TK Maxx), rings: charity shopped.
Anna x


A bit of a round up

I'd like to take a moment to do a round up of the summer months, in particular of my swimming, and the friends who've joined me in this crazy pastime. I'm an all year round sea swimmer, (for those of you who are new to the blog) and more importantly I don't wear a wetsuit. I love the challenge of swimming in the cold Atlantic ocean in just a swimsuit. The daily routine, no matter what the weather, makes me feel good. It takes drive and determination to face something that so many would flinch at. In addition it helps keep my focus throughout the winter months when SAD threatens to settle around me. 

Kate is a dear friend who visits the island as often as she can - this is from her June trip. The joy we feel after our swim is pretty obvious.

And here's fellow blogger Kezzie who visited the Isles of Scilly in August while on a cruise with her mother. We three managed to fit in a quick dip on Pentle Bay together before I gave them a whistle-stop tour of this little island paradise.

Kezzie and Ros were impressed by the endless clean white beaches and turquoise sea.

It's difficult to believe that this idyllic scene is in the UK. I promise - this image hasn't been tweaked - it really does look like this!

September was when I managed to fulfil a long term dream of mine by swimming in the Jubilee pool in Penzance. The beautiful art deco building has recently been rebuilt after severe storm damage in February of 2014. See the details here.

Mid September, and Kate and I were both on Appletree Bay enjoying some late summer sun.

This was taken on the morning on 2nd October which was the day before our 35th wedding anniversary. I had a swim just after sunrise and took some time to contemplate life with my wonderful husband. It's good to stop and count your blessings.

10th October, and one of my daughter's work colleagues, Anna, was on the island for a few days. We had a couple of sessions on Appletree Bay together. (She swims like a fish - I tagged along in her wake.)

And and this was taken on Friday at sunrise on Pentle Bay. I'd just finished my morning swim when the sky and sea turned golden before my eyes. Cold water swimming is scientifically proven to encourage the release of endorphins (our feel good hormones). I suppose that's why I do it again and again. And also for mornings like this.

For more information on the benefits of cold water swimming see the programmes "The doctor who gave up drugs" with presenter Dr Chris van Taulleken available on BBC iPlayer.

Linking with -
Cherie of Style Nudge
Anna x


#Ping Pong Post no 8

Welcome to another edition of Ping Pong Post, the feature where one well travelled item of clothing brings me and my blogging friends together for our monthly style challenge. This month I'm delighted to announce two additional guests to the feature by way of fellow bloggers, Sheela of Sheela Writes and Greetje of No Fear of Fashion. Both Sheela and Greetje have followed the feature with great interest since it started (see here) and were very keen to join in for this special edition.

The dress/tunic this month is from my wardrobe and started its journey from the Isles of Scilly to Holland in April, then travelled to Texas, Hong Kong and finally on to bonnie Scotland a couple of weeks ago before heading back home to me. So let's see what this diverse collection of bloggers made of the green shaggy beast shall we?

Here's Samantha from Fake Fabulous, one of our regulars. This shaggy dress caused quite a dilemma for her, but in the best possible way (I think) as it presented so many possibilities. She opted for a simple, neutral palette to offset what is quite a flamboyant, fuzzy top. Samantha has given this green monster a classy, chic look that I wouldn't have thought possible. Bravo, my dear! Follow Samantha on Instagram here.

Details -
DRESS: H&M (Anna’s)
TIGHTS: Levante
BOOTS: Duo (now Ted and Muffy)
CARDIGAN: Urban Outfitters
NECKLACE: Oliver Bonas

Our other regular, the very creative Ann, of Kremb de la Kremb has done her typical Ann thing and turned the piece right on its head, and oh how gorgeous does she make the shaggy shawl look? (Such glowing skin - it shouldn't be allowed!) I love all of the ornate jewellery she has accessorised it with. Go to the top of the class girl! Follow Ann on Instagram here.

Details -

Sunnies--Forever 21
Earrings--Ben from Jardines Bazaar, Hong Kong
Shrug--Anna's dress
Brooch--Banana Republic
Leather Shorts--Forever 21
Jungle Bag--Louella Odie
Anklets--La Jolla Beach, California 
Booties--DIY on an old Forever 21 pair (

And here we have the ever so cool Sheela of Sheela Writes. Sheela lives in Houston, Texas where she exploits her stark,urban backdrop to contrast her downright outrageous outfits. My readers may well think I have an extensive shoe collection, but they really need to check out some of the amazing footwear lurking in this lady's closet! Follow Sheela on Instagram here.

Details -

Leather Top - StitchFix
Belt worn as necklace - JCrew
Clutch, Booties, Sunnies & Leggings - thrifted
Ring - a gift from Eve
Yellow Cuff - courtesy of Unearthed

This vision of elegance is Greetje of No Fear of Fashion. Greetje too, has a rather amazing collection of shoes and boots, and these are a particular favourite of mine - those heels are something else aren't they? Greetje features not only her fabulous clothes on the blog, but also the local sights both in Holland as well as on her various trips away with girlfriends that seem to be a regular occurrence (lucky lady). Follow Greetje on Instagram here.

skinnies: Closed
booties: Eijk Amsterdam
shirt: Marco Polo (old), 
pendant: through Heleen Tuinman.

So here we go with my take on this shaggy beast of a top. These shots were taken at the end of March and seemed to be my typical mix of elements that made the outfit very me. However, the fly in the ointment was when Samantha diligently returned the top last week which was a terrible trial for me. You may well have noticed a couple of pairs of jacquard boots making their debut on the blog recently... Well, I really wanted to re-shoot wearing a pair of those, but time and weather put a stop to that. Maybe another day. In the meantime here's how I styled it -

This extended edition has been such great fun. Thanks to all of my blogging friends for taking the time and effort to present their own version of this crazy green top/dress/shawl. It's been really interesting as usual, and I do hope it was worth a visit for you, the reader. Next month we have an offering from Samantha which is currently under the care of Ann as she considers her options. I fancy her creative juices are already flowing with some marvel or other. If you'd like to, then please follow me on Instagram here.

My outfit details are -
Dress: H&M
Disco pants:H&M
Polo neck: eBay
Shoes: Office
Pendant: Vivienne Westwood
Sunglasses: Quay Australia
Watch: Michael Kors
Rings: old.

I'm asking if I may be excused games tomorrow Miss! Well, what I mean is, I'm having a day off from my regular Friday post, but will be back again on Sunday. Amuse yourself with a dip into some old posts I say, as I'll be setting questions for your assessment soon!

Anna x

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