Hot Pink Wheels + Hyde Park

Do you ever get the feeling that you are, perhaps, a little unusual?

I get that feeling a lot.

It happened to me on Sunday : the moment I left the house with my roller blades in hand I thought to myself “now look here Bella, taking your roller blades for an outing is unusual. If you want to fit in with the crowd, divert straight to the Breakfast Club & order avocado on toast ..”

However, the park was looking so lovely & I felt my blades needed some fresh air & some TLC so I said no-to-avo.

My companion for the day:IMG_7011

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Bella’s Bits & Bobs Video Diary

There are many things in life that I love, but I am going to simplify my favourites for the sake of a new venture :

Bella’s Bits & Bobs video diary.

Or, as one might call it in this modern day, my Vlog (there’s something about a ‘v’ & ‘l’ written consecutively that doesn’t sit well with me, but if the internet says it’s a word, what can we do?)

So here’s my love list :

Naked people & drawing : life drawing

Exploring + adventure

People + people’s living spaces

Colour + inspiration

‘Organised fun’ (I am a Virgo, to be fair)

Teaching + sharing what I know with anyone who will listen!

And thus the outcome : I bring life drawing classes to people’s living rooms & am making videos as I go.

It’s set to be a very exciting journey (for me, the guests & of course my MEGA FAN vlog watchers. Eg. my mum)

To give you an idea of where the journey will go, these are a few of my favourite living room life drawing hotspots : a rocky houseboat in the Towerbridge Moorings, a leafy warehouse in Hackney Wick, a cosy spot by the fire in Peckham Rye, an old billiards room in South Kensington .. and many more!

Follow my journey, and if you like it – perhaps one day I can come to your living room?

Now that would add something else to my love list. No doubt.

HELLOOOOO WELCOME TO BELLA’S BITS & BOBS….

Bella’s Bits & Bobs Trailer

I am very excited to have officially launched :

Bella’s Bits & Bobs: Pop-up living room life drawing

I have been running these ‘fun, relaxed & sociable evenings’ (to quote myself..) for 3 years now and so I decided it was about time to let the very secret nature of them out the bag. To ‘spread my bits & bobs’, so to speak..

Welcome to what is sure to be an exciting, colourful & surprising ride – brought to the online world through video blogs & unusual musing from me and my many bits & bobs.

Become my friend : @bella_franks

Follow my classes : #bellasbitsandbobs

Check out my art : #bellafranksart

BBB over and out.

Drawing Circus – Matisse

If you love an artist, what could possibly be better than becoming them for a while? Nothing, I’d say.

Henri Matisse is one of my favourites ever. He said something quite wonderful to which I can certainly relate:

“From the moment I held the box of colours in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves”

I simply love colour – from the clothes I wear, the paintings I paint to the thoughts in my head – I am surrounded by a delightful mix of red, green, blue, yellow, turquoise, pink…to keep me from falling into dark and uncomfortable places.

I was recently asked to write a few words of life advice to a friend for a book being made for her. For me, all it comes down to colour. This is what a wrote:

Bella’s life advice

Always seek colour in life. Ask JMW Turner to help you find deep purples in the stormy sky & Van Gogh for warm blues in the dark of night. Allow your eyes to search amongst piles of rubbish for the red Ruby & pick the yellow bud from a bunch of dead daffodils. 

Always pick up a penny. Search for that copper glint as you march down the street and grab it while you can. One day it will help you at the Tesco self checkout.

Don’t forget to collect shells. Nestled on soft beds of sand, there are millions of natures creations to discover.

Seek colour in those around you. Henri Matisse will show you this purity in his paintings and Mondrian shows it with balance. Mark Rothko explores it’s depth & let it remind you that everything in this world has so many exciting levels of colour to reach.

My advice is to always be colourful. Red is the colour of love. When you see red let it remind you to love yourself in amongst the colour – no matter what dark tries to get in the way.

SO back to my original point – when I was asked to run a Matisse themed drawing circus, I rejoiced at the chance of morphing into Matisse for a while to create three sets full of colour & fun for The Drawing Circus event in April.

The first set was full of Matisse cut outs – painted chairs & tables, colourful felt cut-out pillows, foam board cut-outs displayed on easels.. & the like.

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For the second set, I painted (with the help for wonderful Mary Martin) Matisse’s cut-out blue nude. We found a big white sheet, found a pot of blue poster paint & brought her into this world to be the backdrop of an actual blue nude. Indeed, for this set the model who posed PAINTED HERSELF BLUE. Quite extraordinary.

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For the final set, I was keen to recreate Matisse’s studio. He loved colourful, pattered materials which he collected from here & there, creating magical sets for his models to pose…

IMG_8369The event was wonderful! Lots of artists came with fully Matisse inspired energy – bright and colourful, just as I like it.. Here are some photographs taken by Mary & a few of my own drawings. The next Drawing Circus event is part of Artist Open House: Fugitive Ink at 25 Compton Avenue – pop in on Saturday afternoon to draw some of our marvellous circus models while they pose in spectacular costumes..

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Jaunt to the North – Skeg-VEGAS

I awoke in Mablethorpe (despite being sandwiched between two rather large – 6ft 4 to be exact – chaps) very happy indeed – I had spent the previous evening bowling, eating fish & chips & drinking pints in the pub.

Day two was equally as exciting – much of the same magical merriment with included country walk & an evensong service at a local church. The unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate, depending on how one views such things) we went from the first activity to the other without the opportunity to get changed in the interim & I therefore turned up to the the church service in my walking attire – namely my brand new hoodie with the pink fluorescent word SWAG across the chest. Swag in the house of God..I guess it has a sort of ring to it.

I managed to keep myself somewhat hidden until the end of the service when the most enthusiastic woman who’s surname – no joke – was TOOGOOD came bounding up to me in utter excitement that a group of youths were at a church who’s regular congregation was predominantly over the age of 70. It thus transpired that for the week she was the official Church of England ‘tweeter’ & I therefore had to pose – SWAG hoodie in full view – for her evening tweet. Yes my friends, I am now world famous in the twitter world of the Church of England. How ideal.

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On the final day I awoke in sadness at the prospect of leaving slot machine paradise. I tried not to moan too much about this, but rather adopted a glum & downcast expression until the boys suggested we go to Skegness in advance of our train for a final fix of seaside tack. My frown was turned upside down, as you can imagine.

Skegness, or more commonly known – Skeg-VEGAS – really felt just like Vegas (although perhaps a little more chilly)..In the best possible way, of course. I was so taken with the place I almost suggested a slap-dash wedding with the man who sold me a bag of popcorn in Skegness market. However, before I could propose, I was swept off my feet by my companions who had ‘the best surprise’ for me: a cafe called ‘The Coffee Owl’. Yes, my friends, an owl cafe.

It was magical: owl-shaped cupcakes & chocolate tarts, owl-shaped chocolate powder sprinkled on coffee foam, owl paintings & photographs on the walls and so on. It really was such a hoot. As a result of this wonderful spot, we understandably almost missed our train – but I’m sad to say we did hop on it just in the nick of time & I’m back from the North with a bouncy ball, panda bear stickers & mind full of happy memories of bowling. Indeed, this help to carry me through those tough days were all I want is to watch my 2p coins fall through a slot into a pit of their identical friends…

Jaunt to the North – Mablethorpe

Doesn’t a jaunt to Mablethorpe sounds rather appealing to you? Yes? YES? Um, no? Well, it’s a YES from me, that’s for sure.

I have a real love or seaside towns. One might assume this is because of the ‘sea’ aspect & of course one would half be right – however for me, much of the appeal is in the ‘SIDE part – all that dwells beside the sea.

By that I mean the tack, the tatty & the tacky. The more tacky, the more wonderful, in my opinion (& I’m sure in your opinion too, right?). So in order to find tackiness at it’s finest, I schemed with my chums Ben & Hector to visit Andrew who works as a vet in Mablethorpe.

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We went under the guise of visiting Andrew to provide him with some entertainment for the weekend, but of course the main attraction for me was the promise of Bingo, slot-machines, bowling & bright blue ice-cream.

Our journey consisted of trains & buses & so by the time we arrived we were desperate to get to the beach. We picked up beers & £1.57 towels from Co-op (the finest quality, of course). Andrew cheekily took us to a very attractive spot – I couldn’t let on that I was there solely for the tacky parts, so decided to embrace the beauty & jump around with the others.

OFF WITH YOUR CLOTHES MY BEAUTIES…

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After our 1 second swim it was time to take on the town, what a joy! £1 shops, chippies & arcades lined the streets & I quite frankly had the time of my life in awe & wonder at all the bizarre things. I got straight to purchasing myself a SWAG hoodie (which aptly says WAG when my hair sweeps down my shoulder in a certain way) & felt thoroughly happy indeed.

We bought fish & chips & watched the sun rapidly fall below the sea & headed onwards to the arcade to try our luck on the slot-machines…

…Those pesky games! They draw you in with promise of shiny plastic prizes & eat all your money! Alas, I persisted & after a heated game of bowling we had just enough tickets to win a set of panda stickers & a bouncy ball.

I understandably felt very smug indeed.

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Drawing Circus – Wes Anderson

 

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Oh blogging, how I’ve missed speaking to such a captivated (yet non-responsive & silent) audience about the tales of my life! Speaking without interruption? What could possibly be better.

I wrote a blog for about 2 years called Bella’s Bits & Bobs – taking the virtual world through an usual adventure of life according to me.

So much art, so much colour!

For the last few years I havebeen determined to launch a website. It became fixed in my mind that in order to become a ‘legitimate & credible’ person, I needed to gain an online presence in which I could talk about my self in the third person & sound official. However, due to my severe lack of IT skills & the fact that I spend all my free time drawing naked people, it has only just managed to launch. To the utter delight of theinternet, I am sure.

So let’s start with a little story about an event I was involved with in Brighton called The Drawing Circus (as my blog progresses you will discover that half my life takes place in Brighton – I flit back & forth like there’s no tomorrow. I just want to see the sea!). The Drawing Circus is run by a super cool troupe of artists, musicians, models, tutors and performers & seeks to promote a sense of wonder at the visual world through innovative drawing classes. My amazing artist chum Mary made this months event Wes Anderson themed & created four sets inspired by his films. From an axe stuck in a tree trunk in the Royal Tenambaums set, to draped Indian material & charms in the Darjeeling Limited set – attention to detail was brilliant.

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And this my friends, is where I come in – amongst a gruesome pile of twigs & feathers from a chicken massacre, I twisted & turned as Fantastic Mr Fox in terrifying poses for artists to draw. My head was amazing crafted by Mary from furry material & a solid internal structure that allowed it to be places securely on my head with my own eyes just glaring out. If I were a chicken I certainly wouldn’t want to come across me in the dark of night..

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The Drawing Circus takes place in Brighton at Tom’s Bar in the Old Market. The evening runs from 7-11pm and only costs £5 entry.

I am excited to be running next months event on Monday 20th April which will be Matisse themed. Expect my colour, cut-outs and creative fun!