Any Old Excuse….

Oooh…definitely a chill in the air today….and that lead me to a realisation….

I can blame any wonky work on my recent diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis….especially in the cold weather as it takes me longer to get the joints working…

So…no need to stress ever again…. I will just say that any c**p work is down to my stiff finger joints 😄

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Inspirational Landscapes, Inspirational Artists…

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During our recent trip to Yorkshire we managed to see two fabulous exhibitions…the first being Lesley Birch‘s ‘Ethereal Moments’ at Scampston Hall… Being a great admirer of Lesley’s work via social media it was wonderful to be able to see it ‘in the flesh’! Gorgeous layers of colour created beautiful, evocative paintings capturing the ever-changing light, scenery and that sometimes indefinable ‘feeling’. Just fantastic….and the cup of tea and scone in the Garden Café was very nice too!

Although I would love to own one of Lesley’s paintings I will have to settle for the above cards…

The second visit was to a retrospective exhibition of Peter Hicks at the Inspired by…Gallery at the Moors National Park Centre, Danby near Whitby. The works covered a 60 year period showcasing his development from student to landscape artist. His work covers both the immense drama of the landscape as well as the smaller details…I particularly liked his wall of several hundred postcard sized works…apologies, no photos owing to gallery policy…

I loved the colours and the marks he used to capture the landscape…it was interesting watching the accompanying DVD to see how he created the large works…sitting on a stool pouring paint from margarine tubs and the like before moving the paint around with brushes attached to long sticks…a technique I might have to try myself given my recent health issues…

Again, not having won the lottery, cards are my reminder of a wonderful, inspiring exhibition…

It was wonderful to see these exhibitions in one of my favourite counties…in the landscape that inspired the artists…

 

It May Be Just A Splodge To You But…..

…. to me it’s a big step….

I try to keep this blog about my artistic journey and not bombard you with personal matters…. however over the last six to seven weeks these two areas have collided…

After struggling for the aforementioned weeks where everything was an effort, at times, unbearable pain, sheer exhaustion and joints that didn’t work as I would like, I have now been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis….  That’s the ‘When Life Gives You Lemons ‘ moment and all the self pity I will allow myself, as I continually remind myself, lots of people face worse…

A management plan has been organised so I am hoping to see and feel improvements over the next three or four months….

…and something must be working because today is the first day in weeks that I have felt like picking up a paintbrush…..

… so as you see, it might be just a splodge….but it means the world to me….!!

Autumn Equinox…

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‘Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile,’

William Cullen Bryant

After enduring yesterday’s downpours and solid grey skies we have been rewarded…

…blue skies, mist, glistening fields, dew like diamond droplets…

‘Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,’

Albert Camus

Glorious waterfalls of colour…

…jewel-like berries…

Swallows and swifts have gone, leaving the fields to the crows, occasional magpie and flapping pigeons…the gentle river meandering, only disturbed by the occasional narrow boat creating ripples that set the ducks quacking in indignation…

‘That time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale,’

Lauren DeStefano

Fits and Starts…

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…lead to a little bit of everything…

An artist’s life I find is very much one of ups and downs…buoyed by recent sales, including those at the Exploring Place exhibition at Blue Owl Art plus a couple of other small works, as well as the positive reception some new work received, I feel full of optimism…I can do this…

…then a week goes by, which becomes two, and I find that I have produced no new work that makes the grade…

This leads me to dabbling in little bits of everything in the hope that, eventually, that creative spark will ignite…

Ink and charcoal…

Watercolour…

.. to no avail…and that’s when the doubts creep in…and it then becomes a vicious circle…

It helps to know I am not alone – I listened to a podcast of the wonderful Maggi Hambling who quoted Constantin Brancusi: ‘To see far is one thing, going there is another,’ and the one I found particularly relevant at the moment: ‘Things are not difficult to make; what is difficult is putting ourselves in the state of mind to make them,’ – how true is that!!

I know however, with my logical head on, that this is just temporary, and soon all will be well again…

 

 

 

Maintaining The Momentum…..

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Although I don’t create art in the expectation of making lots of money…(I love making marks and splashing colour around!!!)…for a number of reasons it is important to me that this artistic journey at least pays its way…

I am in the lucky position of knowing the owners of Blue Owl Art who have kindly invited me to take part in several exhibitions in their gallery space, the most recent one being ‘Exploring Place’. This has been the most successful exhibition for me – out of the twenty pieces I submitted, nine have sold….still a little shocked… and there is still a couple of weeks to go…so still time for another cheeky sale or two..!!

Alongside this exhibition I have also set up my website carolynjrobertsartist.co.uk  – this is still a work in progress, with new pieces/sections being added…

The problem I am faced with now is maintaining this momentum…as I said, I know the owners of Blue Owl Art so have no difficulty in approaching them…the same cannot be said of other galleries/outlets…I have read that galleries don’t like ‘cold callers’…so I would be interested to know how other artists have overcome this problem…

A Change Is As Good As A Rest…

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‘A change is as good as a rest’ goes the saying although in my case I think I am using it as a way to procrastinate….

With lots of new inspiration from recent travels I should be splashing away creating wonderful new pieces… but, yet again, I find the pressure I put on myself is stultifying any spontaneous creativity…

So I am procrastinating…after drinking copious amounts of coffee, trying to distract myself with the ironing (must be desperate) and even attempting to formulate a Christmas list, my thoughts turned to Christmas cards…(told you I was desperate!!)

Having made the foray into the greetings card market… with a little success…

… I thought I would have a go at a Christmas card…just to get the juices flowing…

…not very original I know…but it’s a start…

Now for another coffee whilst watching paint dry…

Ancient Lands….New Beginnings

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I am always worried and excited in equal measures when beginning work from fresh inspiration… Remembering the old adage ‘you’re only as good as your last success’, I worry that I will never again be able to produce any work that I am as happy with as my last ‘successes’…

…and the inspiration came thick and fast in our recent trip to Northumberland and the Yorkshire Dales..

… so I have begun with baby steps…watercolour thoughts in my sketchbook…which, when I frame them using virtual Photoshop, give me some hope that I will be able to produce work that I am happy with…

…now I just need to carry on and see where this inspiration leads me…

Watching The Process…

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Last night I attended a demonstration by artist Paul Talbot-Greaves…hosted by The Leicester Sketch Club. I am not a member of the club but some of their events are open to non-members for a small fee, this being one of them. I became aware of Paul through social media,( it does have its uses!!) and liked his use of colour as well as the way he captures the light and shadows in his work, so jumped at the chance to see him in action!!

I was made very welcome by the club and a packed house settled down to watch the demonstration…

…(apologies for the photos, trying to catch shots amongst a crowd is not easy…)

… I definitely had a better view than this image portrays, the OHP being great for watching the process..

Punctuating his demo with humour, answering questions as they arose and quoting his mantra…’Start with a mess, end with success’ Paul took us through his way of working, from outline sketch, through initial washes to the final layer…and like many accomplished artists, made it all look so simple…..although I am sure the whole audience appreciated that this level of painting is achieved through hard work and practice, practice, practice….

Paul’s finished demonstration piece above…. the image doesn’t do it justice as you can’t see all the detail, the nuances of dark and light and texture… if you get the chance to see Paul demonstrate in person I highly recommend you do so!!

 

Couldn’t let the evening go by without a couple of souvenirs….

As mentioned earlier The Leicester Sketch Club were very welcoming and looking at their programme of events, from monthly meetings, workshops, outdoor sketch days, critiques…it appears to be a very active club. I am tempted to apply to become a member but dread having to submit work to be judged…how would I feel if I wasn’t deemed to meet their standards…? One to ponder….

Oh To Be A Poet….

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Ancient walls

Distant moors

Silver lined clouds

Ribbons of green

Purple haze

Charms of goldfinches

Ethereal thistledown

Dark loughs

Shimmering crags

 

I love words but do not, in any way, shape or form, profess to be a poet… however recent travels to Northumberland and the Yorkshire Dales inspired me to jot down my thoughts as we walked along Hadrian’s Wall and across the moors…

Now to see how the purple, silver, bronze and rust shades influence my work….