Turning Procrastination Into Vorfreude…

There’s just over two days to go before I take part, for the second time, in the Melbourne (Derbyshire) Arts and Architecture Trail (14/15 September), I think I am just about sorted; everything is named, priced, labelled, wrapped and added to my inventory… I have my checklist of ‘stuff’ to take; tablecloths, browsers, easels, bubble wrap etc…and the all important coffee, tea…lunch… It’s just the last minute things such as charging up my card payment machine…(fingers crossed that it is needed!!) that remain to be done…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
Selection of works I am taking to the Melbourne Festival

….and with everything apparently ticked off my to-do list, I finally have some time…and I feel as if I should be painting…but am hesitating…the nerves are beginning to jangle, that critical voice in my head is getting into it’s stride;  ‘Do I want to start anything new?’, ‘What if nothing sells? What’s the point of making more..?’…’You’re not good enough…’ – so I procrastinate…

‘Fear stops a lot of people. Fear of

failure, of the unknown, of risk.

And it masks itself as procrastination,’

Lisa Anderson

…but, but, it’s taken me a while, but I am beginning to learn what to do to help me get over my dithering… (obviously I am a slow learner…) The critical voice is still there, but to paraphrase Elizabeth Gilbert, ‘it might have come along as a passenger on my journey, but it has to sit in the backseat and be quiet…I am driving’…and I hate backseat drivers!! I also know that if I go to my workspace, supposedly just to do a little tidying up, this will eventually have me reaching for the nearest pencil, charcoal or whatever medium is closest at hand, and experimenting, mark making…and before I know it, I am ‘creating’… not masterpieces, or anything worthy of framing, but the very fact I have ‘done something’, that I have worked out how to overcome my procrastinating is priceless…

And that’s what happened this morning, and eventually, after a little faffing around, I carried on with my acrylic exploration…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…still channelling wild weather…thinking of waves crashing on rocks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and added a little more to these ones I started a while ago…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

These are the ones I prefer, but I am trying hard not to have expectations or become precious about them…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I also find that leaving work out in the studio that excites me, that I have enjoyed exploring, is also another way of overcoming my procrastinating…and before I know it, I am itching to get on with creating, experimenting…

‘You don’t have to have it all figured out

to move forward,’


I don’t profess to have all the answers but that is how I turn procrastination into vorfreude; I wrote about this in an earlier post, so I really should have taken my own advice…as I said, I am a slow learner…

How do you overcome procrastination? Do let me know…all advice gratefully received…

If you want to keep up-to-date with my work in progress, goings on and ramblings, follow me on social media, or for further insight into my practice, access to work and other news, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter using the link opposite.

The weather is looking good for the weekend at the moment so hopefully there will be lots of visitors to the Festival…if you do go, please pop into the Assembly Rooms on the High Street and say hello!!






Art Festival…No Worries….!!!

There’s just over a week to go to the Melbourne Arts and Architecture Trail ; taking place over two days, 14/15 September (10-5 each day), this event sees 150 artists exhibiting in 70 venues around the town… It’s my second time participating in the trail, and this year I will be based in the Assembly Rooms on the High Street…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

The last couple of weeks seems to have been non-stop preparation – even though I thought I was reasonably well sorted, there suddenly appears to be lots of ‘stuff’ that needs organising…

My OH, who I cannot thank enough for all his hard work and support, and without whom I wouldn’t have got this far, has been cutting, mounting and framing work in his very limited spare time…even if he does curse because I like most work double mounted as I think it sets it off better…!!

Adding titles to work, pricing, labelling, adding to my inventory…it all takes time, especially the pricing as I find this such a difficult area…

Fading Light, Water's Whisperings Carolyn J roberts Artist
                                                                    Fading Light, Water’s Whisperings

All this ‘stuff’ is the other side of being an artist; I am sure the more events I do, the more organised I will become – it will be like a well-oiled machine…proper systems in place, countdown schedules to work to…but for now, I am making do with writing lists, endless lists…and checking and double-checking…

….the box of ‘bits’; scissors, Sellotape, drill, picture hooks and wire, pins, business cards, sign up sheets, pens, receipt book, table cloths, notebook, extension lead, payment machine, browsers, easel…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…plus bubble wrap and gift bags, with my handmade tags..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…my basket containing a range of printed cards…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…a whole crate of works…some of which still require price labels….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…along with all the works sitting on the dining table/floor that either need wrapping or packing…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

On top of all this, the nerves are beginning to jangle; what if no-one likes any of my work, what if I don’t sell anything, not even enough to cover my costs, the old ‘who am I kidding, call yourself an artist’ voice in my head…the comparing game when you see all the other fantastic work on display… BUT…I am determined to quieten that niggling voice and hold my own… I know that once I get there and set up, hopefully had a chat with some visitors, I will be fine…and, if nothing else, it will be another step on my journey…

‘Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see

the whole staircase, just take the first step,’

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For now, it’s back to checking my lists, making more bookmarks and tags…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…packing and wrapping…

If you have any tips about taking part in arts festivals please let me know…. (yes, foldaway chairs, comfy shoes, endless supply of tea, coffee and cake are on my list…)

To keep up to date with all my latest works in progress – hopefully I will be able to get back to creating art after the festival – please follow me on social media, or sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter using the link opposite….

It would be lovely to see some of you at the festival…if you do visit, please pop by and say hello…

‘Sometimes the greatest adventure is simply a conversation,’

Amadeus Wolfe



Searching for Simplicity….Cont’d….

It’s been a bit of a stop/start couple of weeks – what with the ongoing family issues and preparations for the Melbourne Festival, Derbyshire on the 14th/15th September – my search for a simpler life as well as for more clarity in my artwork has taken somewhat of a backseat…such is life…

To-do lists, mounting, framing, pricing, cataloguing etc., let’s be honest, not the most glamourous side of being an artist…but all jobs that need doing…and it will all be worth it, fingers crossed…

However, even whilst making a prototype ‘book’ of my watercolour, charcoal and ink mark making studies…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

….the urge to splash ink, make marks and generally just experiment, was too strong…even if it was just a couple of pages in a sketchbook…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

It felt so good to be creative, experimenting…and to know that, when I finally have more time, I am conscious of the direction I want to go with my art….

(And by the way, regarding the prototype, I have decided to make the ‘covers’ out of heavyweight rough watercolour paper rather than mountboard…we shall see…)

If you want to keep up-to-date with my work in progress, please follow me on social media…or for more ramblings, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…

In the meantime…..

‘Start where you are.

Use what you have.

Do what you can,’

Arthur Ashe

Sketchbooks…Part One

I have just spent a very cathartic couple of hours…clearing, sorting, cutting and sticking… Regular followers will know that I am going through somewhat of a transitional phase, part of which includes getting rid of ‘stuff’, both physically and mentally… De-cluttering is the order of the day so…

I am sure I am not alone in having a pile of reject artworks sitting in the corner of my work space; experimental pieces, offcuts of work, quick sketches, odd mark making exercises…at the time, they all served a purpose, now they just sit there, glaring sullenly at me from the corner, taking space…so, armed with my latest acquisition, a guillotine, I set to work…

Some went straight into the recycle bin…others were sliced and diced until I found a composition or a mark I liked, and duly stuck into a sketchbook…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I can’t tell you how good it felt, clearing out, sorting, saving the areas of work I liked for future reference…all in one sketchbook rather than just having a huge pile of ‘also rans’…even the slicing and dicing was therapeutic…there is something strangely satisfying about the ‘snap’ of the guillotine from one end to the other….or is that just me?

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist



Now I realise that this idea is not revolutionary, I haven’t re-invented the wheel or anything, and many of you will already do this – I’m just a late-comer to the party…. And I can see the benefit of it…not only am I de-cluttering, the process is making me assess and evaluate which bits of my practice I prefer; the mark making, the colour palette, the empty spaces…and clarifying these elements is all part of my artistic journey…speaking of which…I came across this poem by David Whyte recently, aptly called ‘The Journey’…

‘Above the mountains

the geese turn into

the light again


Painting their

black silhouettes

on an open sky


Sometimes everything

has to be

inscribed across

the heavens


so you can find

the one line

already written

inside you


Sometimes it takes

a great sky

to find that


first, bright

and indescribable

wedge of freedom

in your own heart


Sometimes with

the bones of the black

sticks left when the fire

has gone out


someone has written

something new

in the ashes of your life.


You are not leaving.

Even as the light fades quickly now,

you are arriving.’


Carolyn J Roberts Artist


This process  of clearing out, sorting through, pinpointing likes and dislikes, is just another step along my path…

What do you do with old work, experimental pieces….I would love to know!!

If you would like to keep up-to-date with what I am working on please follow me on social  media… I am also in the process of writing my August newsletter; have to admit it’s longer than usual, but it explains a little about the shift in my creative thinking…if you are interested in learning more, plus hearing other news, please sign up via the link opposiste…

Searching for Simplicity…..

I am of an age where I can look back and remember a time when there were no mobile phones, nothing called ‘the internet’, home computers were unheard of, cars still had chokes and vinyl followed by cassette tapes were the norm; having 24/7 access to news feeds, being ‘available’ to work 24/7, living life at what seems breakneck speed was inconceivable…. and before you all say that I am looking back through rose-tinted spectacles, I do also recall that it wasn’t all sweetness and light, and yes, some things have improved… But the notion of being ‘go, go, go’ all the time, living life ‘virtually’…is growing less appealing the older I get.

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

This idea of simplicity is perhaps one of the reasons I am intent on de-cluttering the house; getting rid of things I no longer use or want, items that don’t bring me joy….why am I keeping it? And I find, with less clutter, less ‘stuff’ I feel more settled…more ‘grounded’….and then there is the added bonus of the housework taking less time…

….and similarly, as I progress and assess my work, I find, more and more, I am searching for simplicity; simplicity of line and mark…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Charcoal Drawings

I feel as if I am developing my distinctive style; atmospheric work, where the line and the mark as well as the white space of the paper is key… and just as this applies to my charcoal drawings, watercolour and ink and mixed media pieces…I am working to establish these elements in my acrylic experiments…

Whilst these initial endeavours have some interesting textures and marks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist acrylic painting

Carolyn J Roberts Artist acrylic painting

….I somehow felt they were too ‘busy’, too much going on…I wanted to keep the work simpler, to exemplify, to give clarity to the elements that are important to me….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

With memories of a windswept beach on the Scottish coast, I wanted to create work that captured that sense of ‘wildness’, the rush of the wind, the scudding clouds, the swirling sand, the seabirds’ spiralling flight…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I have tried to pare back this work to its simplest forms, trying the ‘less is more’ approach, and as with anything apparently simple, it is anything but… my work is intuitive, gestural and expressive, and in these works, the marks and line have to be more ‘considered’. The black ink marks especially required me to be definitive, positive with the stroke… I do feel though that I am making progress towards what I am aiming for….and importantly, I am enjoying playing, experimenting, learning…simplifying…

Carolyn J Roberets Artist


‘The ability to simplify means to eliminate

the unnecessary so that

the necessary may speak,’

Hans Hoffman


To keep up with more of my musings and ramblings, please follow me on social media or sign up to receive my monthly (is) newsletter via the link opposite…





Painting Challenges…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

This transition period is a time for me to relax, experiment, research…. and I recently read this article,  ‘Amateur vs Professional Artist: 7 Questions To Ask Yourself’‘  I could certainly identify myself in the opening paragraph: yes, I have been painting for a number of years, have participated in group shows, fairs, etc and yes, I have been lucky enough to have sold work…does that make me a professional artist? I began to doubt myself after reading that, although there are highly successful professional artists who use watercolour and/or paint landscapes, in some quarters, these are seen as the medium and subject of the amateur artist…oh dear what did that make me then…? Undaunted, and up for a challenge, I thought I had obviously better get to grips with acrylics…again….

‘Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.

The most certain way to

succeed is always to try

just one more time,’

Thomas Edison


Every so often I do have the occasional foray with the medium…this ‘in-between’ period seems the ideal time for me to have one more try – I am just a little stubborn by nature….

Early attempts were not encouraging…..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Landscape is obviously very much in the fore front of my mind when I paint….so, on I go…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Results were slightly more abstract…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

….and cropping one of the bottom ones…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

….appeared reminiscent of a summer’s day by the reeds and river….okay, go with me on that one….

And I persist…I think I did mention the word stubborn…


Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberets Artist

I have no idea where these are going…but there are things I like about them….the textures..

Carolyn J Roberets Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

….scratching through the layers of paint… using a wipe to blend the ones I didn’t like to create a base for further work…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I have left them for today; they are still more landscape than what I had originally intended but I will look at them again tomorrow, add more to them….and then comes the moment when you remove the tape and see what you have…good or bad….probably bad, but you don’t learn if you don’t at least try….one more time…

I don’t look upon acrylics as a replacement for my watercolour, ink or charcoal works; more, another string to my bow…however, dire the tune…..at the present moment….

With regards to the remaining questions in the article; well, I do like to present my finished work in a professional manner, double mounted in the main, framed where I can…. I think I do have a style, a voice, marks that I like to make and use; my motivation is that I want to become the best artist I can be… Yes, I could be more active in my local art community but that doesn’t stop me from creating art…and I am definitely becoming more professional and business like in my approach ( I actually keep accounts now…..!!)…Whether that makes me a ‘professional’ artist, I don’t know….but I am definitely an artist…

Please follow me on social media for more updates and work in progress, and if you would like to sign up to my monthly(ish) newsletter for further insights, offers etc,  please use the link opposite…

Until tomorrow, and the next instalment…..

‘When there’s no experimenting

there’s no progress. Stop

experimenting and you go

backward. If anything goes

wrong, experiment until you get

to the very bottom of the


Thomas Edison



Clearing Out…

‘Move on. It’s just a

chapter in the past.

But don’t close the book’

Just turn the page.’


Regular followers of my blog will know that I am in a period of transition….moving on with my art practice…(you can read about the beginnings of this transition here…) debating where to go, what to do next….. Time out, away from day to day living, is great; a chance to breathe, stop, look, take stock…get fresh perspective….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Yorkshire Dales

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Yorkshire Dales

….make plans…and a weekend spent in one of our most favourite places, the Yorkshire Dales, enabled me to do just that…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

So I have returned home with a plan, of sorts…more ideas of where I want to go, things I want to try in my practice and how I want to move my art business forward…I am not sure how all this will work out, how my work will develop…if my fledgling art business will succeed, but I have to give it a go….

I know I want to try working on a larger scale which requires more room than I have at present….and as we are not moving any time soon, this means a radical de-clutter of my present space…which means I will be clearing some of my older work by holding a sale on social media…During August I will be posting work for sale with 20% off my normal price…so if you’re interested in this, please keep following me on Instagram….www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

This sale is a small part of moving on…I have lots of ideas and things to try…but, as with all things, going forward is with baby steps, especially where some of the tecchie stuff is concerned…. I will be re-doing my website, but bear with me, it might take a little while…

Please follow me on social media or via my website (sign up link opposite) for work in progress, sale details and new works…..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Some stories don’t

have a clear beginning,

middle, and end. Life

is about not knowing,

having to change,

taking the moment and

making the best of it,

without knowing what’s

going to happen next.

Delicious ambiguity,’

Gilda Radner