‘A first blush below the horizon,
as the first kiss from the Sun wakes the Earth from its slumber,’
And so the year ebbs slowly away; in the northern hemisphere we anticipate the winter solstice, darkness into light…times of festivities as well as reflection… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…for all there is to look forward to, we shouldn’t overlook the here and now… Mother Nature, in all her inherent capriciousness, has rewarded us for enduring days of pearl-grey shrouds with sunrises of rose gold…
‘Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again…’
Robert L. Stevenson
…and carpets of crisp, frosted pile…
Even though it is more difficult on some days than others, I find there is a beauty in the changing seasons, the mercurial weather and it’s effects on the landscape…and someone else who is influenced by the countryside in all of it’s guises is this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’…Emma Cowley…
Citing Robert Motherwell, Cy Twombly and Howard Hodgkin amongst her favourite artists, along with a love of abstract expressionism, Emma works mostly with inks, acrylics and lots of water, focusing on form and mark making to capture the shifting light, weather and seasons..
It is her use of ink and mark making – (two of my favourite things) – that attracted me to her work…I love these two…so atmospheric… The use of the limited palette, subtlety of tone and form providing a suggestion of the landscape is wonderful…beautiful examples of conveying so much with minimal gestures and colour…
…again, in the example below, Emma’s use of materials exhibits a sensitive and expressive quality…
Equally the monochrome nature and gestural marks in these works below invite the viewer to look further…
If you are a lover of mark making and use of tone, then Emma‘s Instagram feed is definitely worth a look!!
I have previously acknowledged that my creativity is cyclical; ups and downs, waves, rhythms…harvest times and fallow times…whether this is a reflection of winter’s ‘hibernation’ or that family dramas have affected me more than I realise, now most definitely feels a ‘dormant’ season… but it’s important, during these periods, to remember to trust in myself and my process…something that is easy to say but hard to do…we all need a little help at times like this so my latest purchase is this:
…and already there are ‘aha’ moments:
“The process is…more unpredictable, complex, perverse, subtle and intimately associated with the idiosyncratic landscapes of the personal imagination. Creation thrives on inspiration and affirmation rather than direction….” (Shaun McNiff)
Of particular interest is the chapter on ‘Blocks’…
“Expectations are blindfolds. They come from thinking that we need to be somewhere other than where we are. Start working right now from the immediate place, with the feelings you have at the moment. Depression and low self-confidence are the most debilitating blocks…the only way to change the energy is to begin working…” (Shaun McNiff)
I look forward to reading more, seeing if any nuggets of wisdom permeate my consciousness…
In the meantime, in between bouts of artistic activity, I shall continue my daily walks along the river…and one of the things I frequently acknowledge is my inability to identify some of the birdsongs…so one of my missions is become better at this…and have taken to listening the Woodland Trust website section on just this subject…hopefully, in time, I shall rectify this omission in my knowledge…
I have commented previously about how the river keeps me grounded and gives a sense of perspective…
…and in the early light, where the last vestiges of foliage cling stubbornly to the branches…I take comfort in…
‘Don’t dismiss the
soothes and heals.
Air refreshes and
grounds and holds.
Fire is a burning
reminder of our
own will and
Breathe them in.
Swallow their spells. There’s
a certain sweet
comfort in knowing
that you belong to
Enjoy the weekend,