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A Joy Ride in a Paint Box. Monday August 15, 2016

"We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint box. And, for this, Audacity is the only ticket." Winston Churchill.

My Dad and I visited Chartwell - home of Sir Winston Churchill. Unsurprisingly, it is a beautiful house, surrounded by well planned and maintained gorgeous gardens. It seems this statesman, this politician who served for 62 years, was also a budding botanist and a most enthusiastic painter.

It was not his paintings, however, that captured my imagination, but his attitude to his art. He began painting in his 40s - some may say, quite late. But his passion was filled with child-like joy and, 'audacity'. His style is bold and colourful - resisting the attempt of 'professionals' to have him use more muted and pastel shades.

"-on trying to paint a pale blue sky... I cannot pretend to be impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." Winston Churchill.

'Brilliant' is a word rich in ambiguity. I know you're brilliant - you may not have found your passion yet, where your natural brilliance can shine, but this blog is a nudge to encourage you to keep looking - it's there. Sir Winston Churchill didn't discover this particular strand of his brilliance until later on in life, but the important point is that he found it. And then he had a bash! He found joy in a paint box!

The guys and girls in grey will encourage you to 'tone it down' - and you'll get catalogues from 'World of Beige' as you get older. But resist. Be brilliant, be audacious, be creative! Your country, your continent, your civilisation expects you to be the best you that you can be.

A Moodscope member.

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Marisa Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 6:22am

What a lovely thing to read in my inbox today Lex. Thank you! This blog is a wonderful source of inspiration. :)

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 7:48am

Thank you, Marisa. I was genuinely touched by the joy that was evident in Sir Winston's discovery of this latent talent. May we all discover our too. Have a wonderful day, Lx

DAVE Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 7:20am

Hi Lex,
What should we expect from a sufferer of Bipolar, 'Black Dog' as he called it.
Such a brilliant statesman, who gritted his teeth, determined in the face of adversity. What a tremendous weight upon those shoulders, and under unimaginable stress, painting must surely have been pleasure and release from the burden of responsibility.

Take heart we are not alone, as there are many celebrities who suffer this same fate.

I see that brilliance, amongst the members of our Bipolar group who meet every Friday, we who retract in the 'Black Dog' times. A determined lot are we who suffer, just like Winston, we may not rise to the challenges of leading a country, but we strive and survive and may excersise that grit in our every day life.

Don't suffer alone, as we get so much comfort each week, and maybe you could start your own group, ask at the Surgery or put an add in the local rag.
Sharing with those likewise, in both High and Low times, is halved, gives purpose to our ongoing weeks.

It's a 'break' in both good and not so good days, definitely something to look forward too each Friday.

We need each other, as we ourselves need encouragement to bare the burden of this trial.

What do you think ?


Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 7:50am

"Awesome!" That's what I think, Dave. This is a blog, so I know Caroline would delight to have more sharing from you like this - do you feel like writing one on this? Really appreciate your thoughts. Lx

Hopeful One Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 8:14am

Hi Lex- an awesome post.Audacity is a necessary ingredient among the others you mention to launch any action towards a chosen goal. But many are held back as they defer the decision to act. For those in this situation one would remind them not to worry about the how.Abraham Lincoln put it so well.“Determine that the thing shall be done, and then we shall find the way.”

Confucius did not say....

Man who stands on toilet is high on pot.

Wise man does not keep sledge hammer and slow computer in same room.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 8:23am

I love you, Hopeful One!

S Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 9:13am

Love that last one!! This is a good series! Also loved the designated decoy driver one.Thanks HO!

Hopeful One Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 11:01am

Hi Lex and S - thank you for the compliments.

Bearofliddlebrain Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 11:36am

Tee hee...Lurve these HO! Bear x

Skyblue Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 12:27pm

Ho, these really crack me up. Love this series! xx

g Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 5:14pm

HO - you are an institution within an institution and I cannot imagine moodscope blog without your daily wise comment and a great joke or two short ones. Cheers.

Hopeful One Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 7:46pm

So kind -Thank you all .

LillyPet Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 10:51pm

Hellooo Bear! Xx

Orangeblossom Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 8:22am

Thanks for the encouragement Lex. A good way to start the day.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 8:25am

Hey, Orangeblossom, if I could get to the end of my time here and know that people said, "He was an encouragement to me," I would feel life's been worthwhile. Thank you for encouraging me with your kind words, Lx

Sally Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 8:44am

Brilliant, Lex. Your blogs always give me lots to think about.thank you.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 8:48am

Thanks, Sally. Actually preparing them massively helps me manage the 'Black Dog' that Dave and Sir Winston mention. I'd really encourage as many of our community as possible to write their thoughts down. Knowing that you find this helpful really motivates me to think positively. Lx

patricia Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 8:52am

Morning Lex
A beautiful morning here good to be alive feeling, wall to wall sunshine.
If only I could paint, it all went to my brother he's the artist. Graphic designer. I've often thought to be able to absorb onesself in painting away from it all lovely, my brother says to me if you practiced as much as I do, you could do it, no way, have a job even to draw a straight line etc, ha ha. As a child couldn't draw the cat, which most children atart with? Even artists have too much self criticism. which us Bi Polar seem to be ace at.
Thank you Lex a very good blog.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 8:58am

Thanks Patricia! I had a lesson a couple of years ago, just learning to do a solid block of colour. It was awesomely absorbing. I'd say, just have a go again. Maybe it's your time??? Lx sunny thoughts!

Hopeful One Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 10:46am

Hi Patricia- 'If only I could paint...." You could have taken those words from my mouth. I said those very words to a befriender volunteer in the Alziheimer group my wife attended . And she said anyone can paint . So I turned up at my local painting group the befriender suggested one Monday with not even a paint brush,paint or paper. As soon as the group found out I was interested a set of spare brushes, paints and paper miraculously appeared. They showed me how to do washes on that day 3 years ago .... The rest is history. Make the decision to do something about it and your subconscious will do the rest.

g Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 5:15pm

so true HO

Andrew Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 9:11am

Hi Lex - I echo your thoughts 100% - well put! We all have our 'paint box' (although in my case, it's a voice box, as singing is my painting)... and boy is it therapeutic. And like Sir Winston, some chords are decidedly more 'brilliant' than others, and enjoyed all the more for that!
I have also found a great deal of comfort in the preparation of, and participation in these blogs and the discussion that they engender....
We are all individuals, with our own individual sacks of lifebaggage that we drag around with us, and we are all able at times to feel completely defeated by their weight, and at others, delighted at how light and easy they are to lift (sometimes even dare I say it, easy to leave behind altogether, if only temporarily)...but we all as humans share the ability to find enjoyment - it's there...we know it is there, we forget (often) where it lives, but we know it is there. And when we find it, we should learn to hang on tight to it. Painting, singing, golf, looking at sunsets, cooking, walking, playing with grandchildren, reading, writing, taking phots...the list is endless...and if we are honest with ourselves, we know we can find enjoyment somewhere....
Thanks for that reminder!

Andrew Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 9:16am


Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:25pm

Hi Andrew, I'm so glad you've found your 'paintbox' in singing... and I was really interested in your comment about some chords being more brilliant! I wonder if this extends to time signatures too? I've been listening to a song in 6/8 over and over - and am delighted at the positive impact the time signature seems to be having! What do you think? Are some time signatures and keys more uplifting than others? Lx

Andrew Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 7:54pm

Absolutely! Sounds, rhythms, harmonies, melodies... This is the musician's paint palette!

LillyPet Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 9:12am

Hi Lex, facinating to learn about the person behind the image of Winston Churchill! Who would have thought it?!
I used to enjoy art at secondary school and later would take pencils and water colours on holiday, nothing "proper" just for fun really. How nice the idea to let go of expectations and go with where your spirit takes you!
In the same way that I have needed to be in a relaxed frame of mind to read. I havent dabbled with drawing and painting for ages. Now would bea good time as I've been off work for a while and am reading again. Walking through the park the other day I looked across an area of marshland over to the entrance to the wood, the circle of trees " holding hands around an old bandstand and the slope of the small golf course to one side and thought what a nice picture it would be to have a go at. Theres a beautiful brook bubbling over stones with weeping willows there too.
Maybe I'll go with it and have a go this week!
Thank you for a really inspiring blog Lex! Love to all LP xx

Bearofliddlebrain Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 11:37am

Hi LP...glad you're enjoying reading on your hols...have a go at painting and tell us about it! The area you have described sounds wonderful! Bear hugs xxx

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:28pm

Yes LP, please have a go. If you venture towards Facebook, we do have a page there, so we could actually see your art. Lx

LillyPet Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 10:52pm

Will do Hunny Bear! :) xx

LillyPet Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 9:12am


S Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 9:16am

Lex, what an inspiring blog. I often think about doing some arty things but hold back (sometimes also I try and do too much). I hadn't really thought about audacity before apart from its negative associations 'she did what, she had the audacity to .....'. I can see that it can be much more positive that that! Going to look up Chartwell too. Thanks, Sx

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:39pm

Hi S... if you get a chance to go to Chartwell, check out General Wolfe's house very nearby. The National Trust team there were simply amazing. It was the best NT experience I've ever had. So, you could let Sir Winston's art inspire you and then pop down to Quebec House for tea! I believe that on Sundays they do backing too! Lx - as for "Audacity" - the word switched for me when I heard David Suchet use it quoting it in the Gospels in a 'good' context - 'shameless audacity' was used in a message on prayer - which I thought was awesome! Be ABC, Dear S, Audacious, Bold and Courageous! Lx

Peter Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 10:25am

A really positive and inspiring post, thank you!

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:40pm

You are very welcome, Peter. Thank you for saying that. Lx

The Gardener Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 10:38am

Lex, lovely - coming on a morning of brilliant weather and I've been driven crying into the street and been picked up by neighbours.I am ashamed - but also delighted that someone cares, from 11 year old to 80's. HO - last joke crowning glory - we had a semi-gypsy who went mad with his old 500 fiat and took a 14 pound hammer to it - impressive but the temper being it scary. I am a dud at drawing or painting - but I am looking at all my knitting creations - called 'Flamboyant'. My paint box is garden design - huge range of photos - group them together to see what goes with what - just like a paint box - just as frustrating - the painter who can see a picture but can't achieve it, and the gardener who has chosen flowere which die next to neighbours they don't like, or are so strong they strangle their neighbours. Wish me luck - I am getting hugs from neighbours (2 people I have met have coped with Alzheimers, to they know what is happening) this is, really, one of the worst week-ends I've lived through - huge fete day today, the Assumption - deafening church bells.

Hopeful One Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 10:59am

Hi Gardner- thank you for appreciating my modest effort. . But yours? I salute you!

Bearofliddlebrain Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 11:41am

Hi TG...never be ashamed of crying in front of others - you do so much in your community that I'm sure all who know you and what you and Mr TG are going through are more than happy to hug you and help you through such difficult times. I picture you in your garden with the most beautiful, colourful plants...I know you're in France but I always imagine a typically English country garden!! Take some time to sit and enjoy the fragrance and the colours today and rest. Big Bear hugs to you xxx

g Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 1:12pm

is it a curse or a good wish - " have an interesting life " ? Like HO I salute you. I do admire your ability to squeeze so much information into such a paintery ( my word i hope ) picture for us.

g Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 1:14pm

I was addressing the above to TG - obviously.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:42pm

Dearest Gardener... I think I am beginning to truly understand how important the garden is for you. I, too, salute you and your ability to keep going in all seasons. Lx

LillyPet Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 10:59pm

Am thinking of you too TG. It's good that your neighbours were there to support you. Big hugs, LP xx

Bearofliddlebrain Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 11:35am

Morning Lex and Moodscope peeps! I'm wearing red today! I'm a red Bear and it's sunny and colourful in Bear world!!

I can't paint very well, but have tried when daughter was young and encouraged her to try. Can draw a wee bit, but my singing voice is my paint box same as Andrew, above.

Building work going on at Bear Towers and going awry...but sun is shining, I've just finished the ironing mountain so the world is good!

Bear hugs to

Skyblue Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 12:29pm

Hugs to you, Bear. Red suits you! xx

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:45pm

All in red - a happy bear atop the mountain of ironing, victorious. Sing, Bear, Sing! Lx

Skyblue Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 12:24pm

Hello Lex, this is a beautiful piece. I used to paint but my canvases remained blank due to depression. With that having lifted, the creativity is slowing creeping back and I've just started posting on Instagram (photography was another passion). Your message is encouraging. Btw, I always imagine your energy as displaying an array of paint-box colours! lovely. Thank you. xx

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:48pm

Thank you, Skyblue... I shall seek you on Instagram. I was SO excited this weekend to be inspired by an Estate Agent! This was an agent new to me, and they had chosen the simplest of signs - block colour and then simple white text. It worked so brilliantly that I came back to Dorset and reworked my own branding. Why am I rabbiting on? Well it came down to a choice of a Pantone colour (which I found immediately) and a font, which I'd chosen before. Awesome! My reason for sharing this is your comment about "your energy" - I think I've found my colour! I wonder what's in your swatch, Skyblue? Lx

Wyvern Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 12:24pm

I recently bought myself a 'proper' drawing book with a lovely purple cover, and some good coloured pencils ... and am now amusing myself with scribbling bits of things. I don't suppose anyone would call them 'art', at least not to hang on the wall, but that's not the point. It's fun for me to try and observe something in detail and then to interpret it on paper. And calming to take the time to sit and look. I have hundreds of photos and I'm going to use them to help me learn how to 'see' things and represent them in 2D. Even blurred photos can be interesting as a basis.

g Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 1:05pm

I have news for you Wyvern - it is THE ART so be proud of it . A very good friend told me that life consists of two parts : consuming and producing and we should definitely do more of the latter for our mental health or at least keep a good balance.

Wyvern Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 1:21pm

Hi g :-) THat's why I decided to honour my efforts and myself by having a beautiful book to draw in. Just seeing the outside makes me want to open it and draw.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:49pm

This is beautiful to read, both Wyvern and g Lx

g Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 12:57pm

I have been away and found this excellent blog on return - the bar goes up and up and the apparent talent is not always the bringer of greatest joy but torture - in my case . I had it easy with words although this is not my mother tongue and this "talent" precisely put the biggest stopper on output ... long story ... however recently I have found my place in the art studio and love playing with all sorts of materials and means of wordless expression . I am surprised how many do include words in their pieces and this time may come for me but for now i am really enjoying the process of breaking all the rules i do not even know exist , finding my own way of doing things and learning and laughing that all my inventions are old hat and done better , easier ... who cares ? i am having fun ! bouncing my ideas of fellow artists , some with lots of titles , art therapists and even if this pottery is potty , painting childish , collage messy it is mine , it exists , produced with my own hands and head and heart and every sinew healing them all in the process.
who says one needs to know how to draw a cat ? actually it is a wrong question . the question is : who knows how to draw a cat ? as everybody's cat is different and if it looks like a cat it would work better as a photograph and if it looks like a lion it is still a cat ... and the most famous of artists cannot " draw " like Tracy Emin and maybe for the lack of ability her attempts at drawing are so endearing ....
i cannot draw anything and guess what ? live drawing is my favourite 2 hs
so exciting ! who wants to draw an apple when there is this breathing creature ? but i do understand others see a living soul of a flower.
maybe i am running away from writing ? after all Jonathan Franzen ties his legs to a chair for nothing . ..
maybe my youthfull courage will return - it is a sin to squander talents , hide talons under a tree....

Lex - seriously - your writing is of such a standard that it deserves much wider audiences and a book or many books could be easily put together from these blogs but even better their essence could become such an excellent book I would love to read - no pressure and a big thank you.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:52pm

Hi g, Hug... I hope, one day, to share with you, more specifically, how timely and 'perfect' your words have been for me today. Deeply grateful. More than you yet know... and your gift with words is a talent to unleash further... please. Lx

g Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 5:35pm

Your above words , Lex , are great praise , encouragement , acknowledgment , promise , mistery , computer says wrong spelling of the word which is another mystery (?), no more , to me ... lol .. ( how this blog is helping on so many levels amazes me as in the past I could have not been able to post something with a spelling mistake or would have been the first one to correct all the typos and I am able to smile about it all now ) .. puzzle - to continue the thread . I will wait with patience .

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 6:51pm

Oh g... I LOVE spelling mistakes, or, as I prefer to call them, "smelling mistooks"!!! Many of us here in the Community of Moodscopers are fans of Neil Gaiman. He tells of the wonderful creative power of mis-spelling "Caroline" - and thus creating his much loved character "Coraline". Also, in terms of perfectionism, I've been 'converted' by Seth Godin and Dan Sullivan - 80% is good enough; it is way more important that one's "Art" ships. Hugs on hugs, Lx

g Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 11:51pm

smelling mistooks had me in stitches for a long time just after somebody upset me - such an immediate mood remedy - thanks a lot - I do make a choice nowadays not to revel in misery of selfvictimazation but push on with my goals regardless of obstacles being constantly thrown in front of my plans by loving caring invdividuals seeing danger everywhere and trying to warn me of and protect me and for these reasons I do try to keep them ( plans ) mostly to myself and realise them quietly . 80% full is the best meal plan Japanese style me thinks and believes.Is Neil Gaiman the guy with most quotes in the universe ? I will google the other two. Coraline - what a beautiful name reminding me of corals I had seen earlier today in the aquatic centre... I do hope that they will fill my dreams tonight ... good night sleep tight too oh, what a day !!!

the room above the garage Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 3:27pm

Hello one and all! Challenged by weak wifi on holiday I am reading if not replying. I would very much have loved to chat with Winston over an afternoon tea and perhaps a g&t. Thank you Lex, I ADORE 'we must content ourselves with a joyride in a paintbox' and may I use that frequently? Love this today. I've been low, very low, for months and today feel a little of myself returning. Thank you Lex, love ratg xx.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:55pm

Ah ratg, we love you. Yes, I'm sure Winston would be happy for you to use his great, liberating phrase over and over again. I think I will have it made into a poster just to keep me thoughts elevated to art when needed! Lx

LillyPet Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 11:06pm

Good to see you Ratg and as always, rooting for you! LPxx

the room above the garage Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 3:28pm

Yahoo! Able to post!!!

Graeme Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 3:40pm

This post is so wonderful, Lex! What a joy you are! I will treasure the quotation.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:56pm

Thank you, Graeme. I'm feeling very moved by your words today and so many positive encouragements to continue to write. Actually feeling very emotional - in a lovely way. Lx

The Gardener Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 4:41pm

My garden is a paint-box today - a hibiscus flower, pink, perfection - on the terrace a begonia - so unusual - almost copper leaves with tiny delicate apricot flowers - on the screen beside me photo of garden in early autumn - a drift of pinks and mauves. The afternoon has been spent trying to cheer myself up with Alan Coren with Mr G (he has to be with me all the time, scared of being alone, understandable) keeping up non-stop yelling for me, insults, sarcastic comments on all I won't do for him - depression is really kicking in - how can I withstand this endless barrage of taunting. It is petty and childish, as I had been warned - but I'm still not coming to grips with the character change. 'A joy ride in a paint box' - flight of fancy - in a toy wooden train, brilliant colours - going through a forest of what - bougainvilleas? Add some Indian women in brilliant saris - move on to a toy boat - over a coral reef teeming with clown fish and angel fish (did you know parrot fish bite) a drive through fantasy land where nobody grumbles - I have that fantasy land - but it's real, all on my computer - risk is, floods of tears again - live in the past till the present is liveable and the future clear. From the above, need to get my brain back into gear.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 5:00pm

Ah, Dearest Gardener, I was reading about Surrealism at the weekend and how a Surrealist's thoughts might flow unhindered... then I read your words and they transported me to idyllic three places: the garden, your colourful and animated adventure, and to Gerald Durrell's "Three Singles to Adventure." You have a phenomenal power to influence others for the good - and in the midst of so many personal challenges. Thank you. Lx

Anne Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 5:22pm

An excellent blog Lex, I always smile when I see your name on the bottom of the Moodscope blog...
Today's share really spoke to me and encouraged me to be BOLD to be BRAVE - to show up and live all of me!
Thank you for the nudge to embrace all of colour...and to be bold x

g Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 5:49pm

Thank you for your comment Anne .Reading it I have realised that all of colour or sum of all colours is just white - the colour of peace , or is it ? Peace and love to all anyway.

Lex Mon, Aug 15th 2016 @ 6:47pm

Anne, thank you for your BOLD, BRAVE and LOVING words. As g says, "Peace and love to all..." Lx

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