Scorched Earth

Strong emotion of any kind

was not viewed favorably when I was growing up

My mother

my grandmother

my aunts

my uncles

my cousins

my teachers

the parish priest

made clear to me

that I was

Too opinionated

Too smart

Too stubborn

Too questioning

Too challenging

Too sarcastic

I would always sigh and think to myself

Too me


I was told not to be angry

about this

or that

or the other thing

The list of things that it was acceptable to be angry about

was a very short  list


My whole childhood I was taught

that my anger

my rage

was a fearsome thing

that must be contained at all times

When it erupted

with teeth

and fire

in my adolescence

I was reminded again that it was to be subdued

wrestled back into its cage

kept under strict lock and key

I couldn’t quite decide if they thought I needed

an emotional chastity belt

or straight jacket


I entered adulthood

still believing that if I ever allowed

my rage to be fully unleashed

it would have the power

the suppressed energy

to ruin all my relationships

level mountains

boil the seas

pull the earth out of its gravitational orbit

destroy life as we know it

Some days

I still believe that.


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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The Craziest (But Best) Week Ever

What a whirlwind this past week has been. Words cannot express how overjoyed I am by your response to the #ChrisellexJOA collection!
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New Favorites: Grete

Quick pause in my Spring 2018 Wardrobe Planning (my workload is requiring me to space it out a bit this time around) to tell you all I’ve fallen in love with a dickey. Or should I say another dickey. When Woolfolk was teasing the pattern above, now revealed as Grete, I instantly fell for the […]
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Bad watercolour news. Good watercolour news.

It feels as if it’s become some form of cathartic therapy now to pass on my ‘latest bad watercolour news’. I received news last Thursday that my two entries to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition had, after the customary ‘careful consideration by the judges’ been unsuccessful in making it to the next stage of the selection process.

The RA Summer Exhibition promotes itself as the world’s largest open submission art exhibition. It also attracts submissions from many very well established artists too so this news wasn’t entirely unexpected. On the bright side, it has given me the inspiration for a future blog post. It’s going to be entitled ‘The price of (watercolour) failure’ in which I tot up how much I’ve spent on fruitless exhibition entries.

This shall have to wait however as I currently have another five works that I’ve recently submitted to the Jacksons’ Open Painting Prize 2018 (JOPP 2018). I’m still awaiting news of the judges’s ‘careful consideration’ and shall, be it cathartic or celebratory, be sharing any news with you shortly.

So, enough of the bad news, what about the good news?

In short, here are a couple of paintings that I’m really quite pleased with. The first is a scene from Barcelona. Remarkably, it’s almost a year on since we went to Barcelona and my photos from that trip are still proving a rich source of inspiration!

Morning coffee, Barcelona

This was quarter sheet was painted quite quickly and quite loosely. Even after I’d reached a point that I could consider it ‘finished’, I wasn’t at all convinced by it. It just felt a little bit ragged. The figures in particular were a little too vague and indistinct for my liking. From a distance, however, I do think it captures the feel and atmosphere that I was seeking – of taking time out for relaxing morning coffee on a bright day.

After my initial scepticism about this painting, and as long as I don’t scrutinise it too closely, the more time I spend with it, the more I like it!

Buoyed by my approach to this painting, my next choice of subject was something a little closer to home: Trafalgar Square, London. I’ve said before that I’m wary of trying to paint well known or famous views so even now I’m a little surprised that I went for this particular scene.

Trafalgar Square, London

My intention was to tackle this using a limited palette of grey-blues using combinations of cerulean, cobalt and French ultramarine mixed with light red. I did manage to stick mainly to this range of colours I but did also lapse into a little yellow, for the greens of the distant trees, and a little turquoise cobalt, which I used with blues for the water in the fountain.

There’s a tremendous amount of simplification of all the background buildings that, in life, are riddled with architectural details. I thought I could get myself tied in knots trying to capture these when, the focus in my mind was trying to capture the sense of light, with the fountain the main focal point, and everything else playing a supporting role.

Most of the white of the fountain is the white of the paper, with only the odd touch of white gouache here and there for the odd highlight. I recently did a painting (or two I think!) of another fountain in Dieppe and, based on what I learnt doing those paintings, I did have a certain plan of action for depicting this fountain. This plan was mainly to do some careful negative painting and some equally careful dry brush painting at the end.

Even with a plan, however, I did on occasion have to have words with myself about getting too tight, at which point I forced myself to move on quickly and work on another element. I’m taking it as a sign of continued progress that these ‘alarm bells’ are ringing earlier and earlier – often when there’s still time to prevent irreparable damage to the painting. It’s not that long ago that I’d be looking at a finished painting and only then realise and bemoan the fact that I’d allowed myself to tighten up too much.

To conclude then, I think after receiving news of my latest rejection (little sad face), these two paintings couldn’t have come at a better time as they have really helped me to keep everything in perspective (really big smiley face).

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Beautiful and Bold: Tips to Give Your Best Impression

First impressions last when it comes to working with someone new. You might think that the primary features that’ll only be looked at are your face and body, but the devil is always in the detail. Every detail from your loose eyelash to over-powdered blush and even your nail polish can reveal how much you aren’t as meticulous as you try to present yourself to be. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to presenting yourself and making sure that you’re presenting your very best.

Look the part
Nothing says ‘you’ more than showing a little bit of professional and stylish creativity. Don’t back away from looking your best on the first day. Don’t be ashamed to look better than the rest; it’s not about a competition with your co-workers, it’s a competition that you have against yourself, to bring the best you that you can be in the workplace. Don’t forget your nails. With press-on nails coming in a wide array of colors and styles you can find the perfect set to match any outfit. Press-on nails from imPRESS Manicure are affordable enough that you can mix it up and change your nails to match your outfit any day of the week. Dare to be different but professional in the workplace, but never too much to attract unwanted attention. Dress your best and it’ll be sure to boost confidence in yourself in approaching the day.

Act the part
Symmetry can be found in all things. From the formation of a leaf to the pattern of a snow flake, balance is a great presentation of beauty. Never forgot to present yourself in a professional but fun way. Don’t be the strict and uptight newcomer; show yourself to be the confident and open team player. A good first impression is showing that you are capable at what you do but at the same time versatile and flexible in facing any challenge. This will not only show that you have confidence in yourself and what you can do, but it will also boost morale among fellow workers regarding being around you.

Embrace the part
Whether it is your first day on the job or your first appearance in a company meeting, it’s always good to put your best foot forward. Know how to dress appropriately for which meeting or which dinner, which heels to use for formal or casual gala events. Showing that you can still bring out your personality even in the confines of a professional setting shows a lot of what you are about and what you’re willing to bring to the table. But with all things, always learn to keep a balance. It takes someone with talent and confidence to show the best that they can be, but it takes a seasoned veteran to know when too much is too much. And lastly, don’t forget to compliment and recognize those who do the same. A good work environment is a friendly work environment.

The post Beautiful and Bold: Tips to Give Your Best Impression appeared first on Blog and The City.

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Thought of the Day: Sylvia Plath

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She had accumulated a certain

amount of “baggage”

she was forced to

take with her

where ever she went

It would be



to leave it behind

make the care, keeping

of her personal baggage

someone else’s responsibility


She pictured her baggage as

brightly colored balls

floating in a swimming pool






She avoided touching the

black balls with her

bare skin

they had a tendency

to snarl


braw blood

crunch bone


Neat, tidy labels identified them

recurrent nightmares






unrequited love


The list went on

there was a white ball

for each of her dead

She did not like to

count the white balls

It made her too sad


She discovered that

it was hard to go about

her day to day business

with these balls

pushing their way to the surface

penetrating her consciousness



wanting her to curl

up in a corner

for days at a time

examine them carefully


She learned to stretch

herself thin

laid herself over the balls

using her body weight to keep them

below the surface


out of harm’s way

out of her way

so she could continue the

day-to-day business

of being a functional adult


It was a successful detente most days

as long as new balls

were not unexpectedly

lobbed at her

The occasional ball

she could catch deftly

tuck it under a knee

an elbow

quick introductions made

to its companions

before turning her attention back

to the living at hand


There were days-

thankfully rare-

where she was


pelted with new baggage

and could not submerge

these new issues

securely under her in time

and they would rise

to the surface


While she would struggle

to subdue these new balls

these new issues

she would lose her


her careful hold

of her other baggage

Suddenly balls

would be popping up

all over the pool

breaking the surface

careening over her head

whizzing past her ear

bouncing off the ceiling

in a chaotic symphony

of movement



It would take her



sometimes weeks

to gather the balls back

under her control

wrestle them back under

the surface

leaving her soaking wet





black and blue

sometimes bleeding

occasionally broken


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved


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The Spring Trends You’re About to See Everywhere

With some major Spring fever traveling around the office, the CINCteam and I put together the spring trends we’re loving this season!
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Spring ’18 wardrobe planning: Mood and strategy

In really starting to think about dressing myself for Spring — or the most important part: what I get to make! — I of course started a spring 2018 mood board at Pinterest, and thought it’d be a good idea to go back through last year’s spring planning posts … but alas, there are none! […]
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Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge- March 20, 2018

Check out today’s quick & fun writing prompt at the Go Dog Go Cafe!

Go Dog Go Café

Writing Prompt Tuesday

Christine is known for her writing prompt challenges on her blog Brave and Reckless.  She is now hosting a Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge at the Go Dog Go Cafe.  The prompts are designed to be quick challenges that can be written in 10 to 15 minutes,  inspire you creatively, are fun, and get everyone interacting.  Please post your response to the prompt in the comments below and show your fellow posters some love and support.  All members of the Go Dog Go community, including Baristas, are welcome to participate.  Feel free to share this post on your own blogs and/or Facebook.

Christine is always looking for cool, quick writing prompts.  If you have a great idea for a future Tuesday prompt challenge, send it to her at

Today’s prompt: This is an exercise in concise expression. Rewrite a famous book or movie in two sentences.


Star Wars:

He wanted off…

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