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If you have been following my blog you will be aware that in order to ‘regain my mojo’ I set myself some monthly goals – drawing exercises, visiting galleries, workshops…

Well so far, so good! Aiming to visit at least one exhibition a month, I have so far manged to visit ‘Uncommon Ground’ at the Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, the ‘Pop Art to Brit Art’ at the Lakeside, Nottingham, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and most recently, ‘Creating a Scene’ at The National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford – so I don’t feel I am doing too badly with this goal!

I only managed a whistlestop tour of ‘Creating a Scene’ – I was actually at ‘The Hub’ for a workshop but more on that later! This exhibition takes set design as its theme and is a collaboration of all the various disciplines involved in set production. Entering the space between the hanging ‘screens’ it certainly gave one the sense that you were about to set foot onto a stage just as the curtain is about to go up – the dimmed lighting, the expectant hush… the delicate tracery and images, the muted colours on the ‘screens’ really drew you in, just as the designers intended! It was fascinating to see the ideas come to life, from the original sketches, to more detailed designs, through to working models. Reminded me of the work involved in Connecting Threads – my original sketch, the maquette and the video animation – not that I am comparing myself to the artists (Richard Deacon, Derek Jarman, Bruce McClean to name drop a few..) involved in this exhibition, just some of the processes! Wish I had had longer to absorb more of the atmosphere…perhaps a return visit is in order – the exhibition is on until the 20th April.

Creating a SceneAs I mentioned earlier I was actually at The Hub to attend an Artists Development Workshop run by the East Midlands Visual Artist Network (EMVAN). Co-ordinator Elizabeth Hawley took us through a series of exercises and discussions intended to help us reflect upon; profile raising, working practices, networking and connectivity, knowledge sharing, resourcing a practice and markets and audiences. Whilst the exercises were useful in helping to pinpoint the areas I needed to focus on, what was really good was meeting up with other artists – networking in other words – something that I haven’t really been doing! It was great to learn that I am not alone in feeling lost… I came away from the workshop with renewed resolve to be more pro-active rather than re-active – even made a start, I bought a notebook to jot down all these websites I signed up to! I am even going to another workshop later this month – Unpicking Social Media at Loughborough – I might know what I am supposed to be doing with blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter…

The exercises from The Drawing Book certainly helped me overcome my ‘white paper syndrome’, and following a renewed interest in the’great outdoors’ and trees in particular, I have begun drawing my own forest! Here are some of my efforts…

Carolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsFuture ideas involve working these drawings up into larger ones, paintings even – and what would be really great would be to produce some form of installation or intervention in an actual wood. Now there’s food for thought!

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