First Night Design:

I was so struck by this poem from Dax Christopher that I had to re-blog it.

Originally posted on aliisaacstoryteller:

Justice in Winter
(The Goddess of Wind and Rain)

Deep in the woods off a long, winding road, and finding no reasons for where she now lay

Was a broken young woman half buried in snow, just married, half clothed in torn rags and the gray

Of the season that later would prey on her heart and remain there until she had seen her last day.

Dismayed eyes spoke of betrayal and hurt and had frozen, uncertain of why she was slain

In a portrait of ice and without any warning, but morning would yield all the answers she’d need.

If only she’d known of the meeting of late she might not have died there under the tree.

But as is often the case, we see everything clearer in the mirror when everything’s done and behind us.

When life gets too warm and cozy it goes without notice until something…

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Originally posted on The Last Post:

enchanted castleClaude Lorrain, Landscape with Psyche outside the Palace of Cupid, 1664
National Gallery. Image source: National Gallery

“You know the Enchanted Castle, – it doth stand / Upon a rock, on the border of a Lake, /
Nested in trees….” (Epistle to Reynolds)


Claude’s Landscape with Psyche outside the Palace of Cupid, inspired by Apuleius’sstory, which Keats sourced for his Ode to Psyche, is a late work of the painter’s, an elegant baroque fantasy with less than the usual “incessant observation of nature” and quality of “Brightness [that] was the excellence of Claude, brightness independent on colour…the evanescent character of light”[1] that Constable valued above all other artistic attributes.

The picture’s shortcomings, its dark, sleeping stillness, as if waiting for someone to step in and breathe life into it, gave literary advantages to Keats. The glimpse of the stone…

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Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe [1887-1986] by Alfred Stieglitz

“I found that I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way — things that I had no words for.”

Blue and Green Music 1921

Blue and Green Music 1919-1920

“I have things in my head that are not like what anyone taught me — shapes and ideas so near to me, so natural to my way of being and thinking.”

Take care and keep laughing!


First Night Design:

One from the archive, an article about the artist John Craxton, taken from the New Statesman.

Originally posted on First Night Design:

via The world of private mystery in John Craxton’s paintings.

They may not like it but it is the fate of artists, as with all interesting creatures, to be labelled. John Craxton, a friend of Graham Sutherland, Paul Nash and John Piper, has duly been filed under “neo-Romantic”. These were the painters who in the years before the Second World War rediscovered the mystical work of Samuel Palmer and William Blake and reacted to the lowering mood of the times by conjuring up a British Eden of shepherds and overgrown green lanes among billowing hills that could be pulled close like an eiderdown. Craxton refuted the label, but grudgingly accepted a more accurate one: “Arcadian”.

This separation from his fellows was not just a question of taxonomy. From 1946 he lived largely in Greece…

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The Little Glass Slipper 3 Cards
The Little Glass Slipper 3 Cards

This is taken from the cover of a charming 19th century booklet of the Cinderella story. The original cover is actually more of a cardboard colour, though it may once have been cream or off-white! I created versions in shades of pink, blue, orange and green, which you can see here.

Take care and keep laughing!


First Night Design:

It was a treat to answer Sally Cronin’s questions for her Smorgasbord blog and this was the result. Thank you, Sally, for allowing me to burble at length!

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:

My guest today epitomises the meaning of creativity. An actress for over 30 years on screen and stage, Sarah Vernon is also a very talented artist and writer.

Sarah comes from a long line of sailors on her father’s side and in the more recent past a renowned theatrical family. Her father was the stage and screen actor Richard Vernon and her mother Benedicta Leigh, an actress and author.

After completing her Acting Diploma at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art Sarah has worked in the theatre and television for the last 30 years. She was diagnosed with Limited Cutaneous Systemic Sclerosis in her early 20s, and whilst this might be physically restricting it has certainly not inhibited her creative process. For those of us lucky enough to have discovered her blog and websites, we have been treated to her original and elegant First Night Design creations which adorn…

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My own textures and photographs, along with some Photoshop brushes, went into creating this image which, you will not be surprised to learn, is geared for a spooky Halloween!

Take care and keep laughing!


Update 21-10-14: Alas, the Wilde family have very strict control of their famous forebear’s work and this wonderful image has not been allowed so is no longer for sale at my Zazzle vintage store.

Oscar Wilde by Napoleon Sarony 1882 © First Night Vintage

Oscar Wilde by Napoleon Sarony 1882 

New to my vintage store on Zazzle is this glorious sepia photograph of the inimitable Oscar Wilde. It was taken in 1882 by Napoleon Sarony and hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was able to use it as the image is in the public domain on Wikimedia.

“Ah, every day dear Herbert becomes de plus en plus Oscarié. It is a wonderful case of nature imitating art.” Wilde commenting on actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree’s unwitting acquisition of certain on-stage character traits in a Wilde play in his off-stage life.

Take care and keep laughing!


First Night Design:

Bullying is very damaging. This is a simple message but explains in no uncertain terms the lasting effects. It has to stop.

Originally posted on Callum McLaughlin:

Anti-bullying awareness

Anti-bullying awareness

October is anti-bullying month. The fact we even need to set aside time to raise awareness for this saddens me and this is a topic I could ramble on about for hours, but sometimes simplicity is best. In light of this, all I am going to say is that while bullying may seem to some people like a meaningless or even fun moment of frivolity, the mental scars you give others will never leave them. Never.

Happiness is a wonderful gift; please don’t ever be the one responsible for taking it away from someone else.

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Originally posted on The Last Post:

“…..every man whose soul is not a clod
Hath visions, and would speak, if he had loved
And been well nurtured in his mother tongue.”
(Keats, The Fall of Hyperion – A Dream)

turner sunriseTurner, Norham Castle Sunrise, 1845, Oil on canvas, Tate Gallery, London. Image source: WGA
“Oh God, not another f******* beautiful day”. (Alice de Janzé quoted in White Mischief, novel by James Fox, 1982, and in the film adaptation, 1987, screenplay by
Michael Radford and Jonathan Gems.)

At the climax of Hyperion, tremors are passing through golden-haired Apollo’s classically beautiful body like electric shocks . He shrieks while “Creations and destroyings, all at once / Pour into the wide hollows of my brain”. Empathizing with all this random suffering and emotion is too much for a god to bear, let alone an artist or poet, striving to render teeming images exactly as they were when originally experienced.

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Some fun for all us cynics at Halloween. The bird is from The Graphics Fairy and the words are mine own!

And here are few others made in earlier years to choose from.


Take care and keep laughing!


First Night Design:

I love chocolate and I love pears. Combine the two and I’m in seventh heaven.

Originally posted on food to glow:

chocolate and pear quesadilla by food to glowIf you live in the UK it will not have escaped your notice that it is #NationalChocolateWeek. Not that most of us need an excuse, especially considering that we in the UK collectively gorge on 660,900 tonnes of the stuff each year. No doubt this is small beans {cacao beans} compared to the US, what with it apparently snaffling almost half the world’s chocolate supply – at an astonishing rate of 100 pounds a second. That’s a helluva lot of KitKats…

I’m not quite sure why we need a whole week celebrating chocolate, but at least it is a nice distraction and has made social media less about navel-gazing and more about face-stuffing. My Facebook feed is currently one long scroll of chocolate-related links. The added bonus is that pictures of chocolate creations tend to be nicer to look at than those of green smoothies and kale what-not {guilty, m’lud}.

I’m not always one to get on…

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First Night Design:

We miss you, Maya.

Originally posted on WRITER'S BLOG:

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t…

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The Lynx Has Landed © Sarah Vernon

The Lynx Has Landed © Sarah Vernon Click to buy from Crated. 10% discount available until end of October

The lynx is from Vintage Printable. I created the background by blending a couple of  2 Lil’ Owls textures with one of my own concoctions.

The lynx is mostly found in Eurasia and North America, although I’m sure I saw one in the shadow of the olive trees in our garden just the other evening. Okay, I’m lying. It was next door’s cat but you would have thought it was a lynx by the noise our dog made.

Take care and keep laughing!


At this rate, I shall be a millionaire before Christmas! Teagan of Teagan’s Books, has just bought this tote bag and I’m thrilled to bits. If Teagan’s work is new to you, I can recommend her blog highly. She is just coming to the end of a delightful YA serial set in the 1920s in which each episode incorporates three ingredients provided by one of her followers. Start at the beginning of Three Ingredients Cookbook-2, a Ghost in the Kitchen and I doubt you’ll be disappointed. And if you are, tough!

Just for good measure, here is Get Me to the Church in a frame.

Take care and keep laughing!


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Sarah Vernon

Sarah Vernon

Artist, Actress, Writer

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