Now How Did I Do That…?

'The swirling stream in slow eddies flows along,
In bright sun flecked ripples the grey heron wades.
Where water coltsfoot, alder and birch belong
A swift kingfisher darts from the dappled shade,
Its blue cloak's flash in the riparian glade.
And so beyond our powers for us it seems
To recreate Natures most alluring themes
And to imitate her wonders such as these,
That which simple Nature will create with ease.'
The River - Barry Stebbing

The frost, though crisp underfoot in the shade, was melting in the watery winter light… One lone crow, strutting in the meadow opposite, and as I stood smiling at its sergeant-major gait, out of my eye corner, I caught a glimpse of the distinctive blue and orange flash along the river’s surface… In all my time spent by the river, this was only the third time I have spied this elusive bird, and two of those times were so quick you began to doubt your own eyes, especially in the half-light of morning… But this time, it was a wonderful, heart-stopping moment, when I held my breath until that beautiful kingfisher disappeared into the shadows. As we head into the dark winter months, it’s moments like these, that I treasure, especially this year…when all seems topsy-turvy with the world…

With my Sketchbook Auction out of the way, another ‘big rock’ project almost complete (fingers crossed I should be able to reveal all shortly) and my Instagram Santa’s Lucky Dip Sale mostly sorted, there is now a sense of hunkering down, of hibernating, and the time feels right to head into my studio – to mull over ideas for next year (more finger crossing!) as well as to experiment; to try new colours and materials, to try to push my work further…

'Even if you are on the right track,
You'll get run over if you just sit there.'
Will Rogers

This quote made me smile. My small artworks have been relatively successful – although now I have said that, my upcoming Instagram Santa’s Lucky Dip Sale will probably be a flop!! However, much as I love creating these small works, and I’m not saying that I won’t create any more in the future…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…I keep having the desire to paint on a larger scale… And so I am challenging myself, during this time, to work on bigger paper, to use larger brushes and be even more liberal with the mark making and paint – not that this comes naturally to me; it would be much easier to stay creating those small works…but I keep telling myself that if I want to develop my work, I need to push myself…

Apologies for the lighting in some of these images – we’ve had some very gloomy days lately… Am I finding this difficult, yes! Trying not to have any expectations, to just go where the muse takes me, to see what the materials can do if I remember not to fiddle is hard when, in my head, I see wonderful, layered watercolours with interesting marks and washes…and, then having to fight those expectations…especially when you create something you really like…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I love this; there’s just something about the loose, expressive nature of the work, the washes and hints of granulation (not very evident in this photo I admit – and the perils of working on 220gsm cartridge paper are apparent, even after gluing the work to a board…)…As always, I only manage to create this when I truly give in to working intuitively, to not giving a ****! The only thing is, I can never remember how I did it…and that can be a little frustrating! When forced, the work never has the same qualities, and this really annoyed me; time after time I would try to create something similar, and ‘nothing doing’ – I just couldn’t capture that same freedom, and the more I fiddled, the more contrived the work looked. It’s so easy, when results don’t happen straight away and frustrations set in, to give up…however, continuing with the spirit of slightly humourous, but with a point to make quotes…

‘Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus but you don’t have to sit on it,’ – Joyce Meyer

I decided to turn this ‘negative’ into a ‘positive’; no, I may not be able to paint that particular piece again, but I will create something different that I love equally as much…and it’s these differences that make each of my paintings original and individual. And, in framing it in these terms, I counter what could be paralysing frustration, a despondency that sends me rushing back to my comfort zone of small artworks…and, agreeable as that thought is, it won’t help me push myself or my work…so on I go, experimenting with different colours, paper sizes and surfaces…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Experiments that I know, won’t always turn out how I want…but sometimes, just sometimes, that magic happens, and when it does, I will have a smile on my face and be doing a happy dance around my studio!!

And talking of dance – although I can tell you now, watching me dance wouldn’t be anywhere near as mesmerising as this…

As ever, thank you for stopping by…

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, enjoy,

Take care,


(If you would like to follow me on my art journey, and see behind the scenes images and works-in-progress please follow me on social media…

Instagram –

Twitter –

or take a look at my website

or, if you can stand even more of my ramblings and musings, arty news, offers and the occasional extra video throw in, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…)

Take One Picture…

‘The first music you really fall in love with is more than just music. It’s something that clicks in you beyond the song; it’s a message or image that causes you to jump in and not let go’

Taylor Hanson

Of Salt & Sand & Morning Light Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Of Salt & Sand & Morning Light

I don’t know about you, but even though I create lots of work I like, there are always some paintings that particularly resonate with me, that just click, and you can almost hear yourself shout ‘Yes!!’

Cei Bach - Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Cei Bach

Cei Bach was one such painting; as soon as I had finished it, I loved it! The expressive quality, the textures and variations…it all came together to form my interpretation of the beach on the Welsh coast…

Cei Bach Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and I think this love shone through because Cei Bach sold almost as soon as the exhibition opened…

Of Salt & Sand & Morning Light Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Of Salt & Sand & Morning Light is another such painting… I love the north Norfolk coastline and, when we used to live in Lincolnshire, we visited the area regularly… Now we live in the middle of the country our visits are not so frequent, but the area still has a special place in my heart…the big skies and wide horizons reminiscent of my fenland childhood. The creeks and marshes hold endless fascination, with the birdsong and open spaces adding to that sense of space…

North Norfolk – Where the Wind Blows…..

This BBC Radio 4 programme ‘The Tides of the Staithe’ provides an insight into how the coastline is in a constant state of flux and how the communities of the area have adapted to the tides…..

Of Salt & Sand & Morning Light was one of those intuitive paintings; I worked with a sense of freedom, allowing the paint to flow, with only the lightest of brushstrokes…imagining myself out there on the marshes, the tide trickling into the creeks, the distant cry of the birds carried on the wind… It is one of the largest watercolour and ink paintings that I have created and it came together quite quickly. Amazingly, considering how often I ignore my own advice, I managed not to fiddle, just letting the watercolour and ink interact naturally, with the addition of the drawn lines at the end… And for me, the painting works; the expressive quality, the mixing of the mediums reminiscent of the water trickling into the creeks, the swathe of clouds on a vast horizon…for me, this captures the watery landscape of north Norfolk. Now, if only I could paint like this all of the time… (Of Salt & Sand & Morning Light is available on my website….)

'...the western glories fade and pass. The twilight deepens more and more.
A thin mist, like a breath on glass, veils shining stream and distant shore;
And night is falling, still and cool, on each broad marsh and silent pool.

The moor-hen paddles in the weeds no longer, for her chicks are fed;
The heron, rising from the reeds, goes slowly sailing home to bed;
Just now, from off that mossy bank, the little brown rat slipped and sank.

Night comes at length. The last pale gleam of lingering day has disappeared.
On silent fields and quiet stream a few stars shine; the mist has cleared;
The willows of the further shore stand outlined on the sky once more.

A faint dawn breaks on yonder sedge, and broadens in that bed of weeds;
A bright disc shows its radiant edge, the round moon rises from the reeds;
Its level rays of silver glide across the steel-dark river tide...

Extract from: Nightfall in the Fens - Ada Cambridge

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, enjoy…

Take care,


(If you would like to follow me on my art journey, and see behind the scenes images and works-in-progress please follow me on social media…

Instagram –

Twitter –

or take a look at my website

or, if you can stand even more of my ramblings and musings, arty news, offers and the occasional extra video throw in, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…)

‘Persevere’ (v.)…

…to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.’

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Well what a week, and what a steep learning curve; my Silent Sketchbook Auction is finished… As the week progressed and bids were noticeable by their absence, my despondency levels were rising. However, I had said this is what I was going to do, and how the auction would proceed, so I persevered until the end…and was rewarded by a flourish of late bids!! And how lovely was it, that I was able to donate £400 to The Tomorrow Project. I am sure that there are things I could have done better; more high profile promoting, slicker videos, etc…but I will chalk it all up to experience. For now, I am just overwhelmed with peoples’ generosity , especially during these difficult times; so a massive, heartfelt thank you to everyone who placed bids, bought artworks, re-shared social media posts…or gave much needed encouragement…all so very much appreciated.

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

The auction was one of my ‘Big Rocks’ for this year, and, having successfully completed the event and taken a couple of days to ‘recover,’ the time seems right for a little retrospection…

What have I learned? Well, my timing could have been better – the second lockdown understandably had an impact, but I had already begun promoting the event before the lockdown announcement. Yes, I could have postponed the event, but who knows how long restrictions are going on for, so I made the decision to go ahead…. My marketing strategy could have been less ‘ad hoc’, my Instagram ‘live’ monologues could have been less rambling, but then, I feel that would have taken away from their authenticity… I have however, overcome my fear of appearing in front of the camera! I also figured out how to create a Google form – another tick in my techno box!! I have also been reminded that you can’t please all of the people all of the time…

One of the biggest lessons I took from this, apart from perseverance, is that the ‘small steps’ are important…

“You would think that taking tiny little steps would seem so trivial. Not true! It is better to take many small steps in the right direction, than none at all. Keep moving and you will pass obstacles that you have defeated before. Even if you don’t see results right away, don’t give up, because every small step you make towards that goal is affecting you in ways you would never imagine.! – Brigitte Nicole

I am very much, a ‘to-do’ list maker, and breaking down the steps needed to bring this event to fruition, even to the smallest, simplest of steps, made it all seem much more achievable…and, going forward, that knowledge, knowing that I can bring something like this together, is how I am going to approach my other ‘Big Rocks’…and I am already feeling much less daunted by the prospect!

It’s been great this week to get back into my ‘studio space’ and splash paint around…literally…

…and also spend time by the river, wandering along its banks, or just contemplating. I was reminded of this extract…

“Like the bowl that has yet to be filled, there is an emptiness that precedes creativity which is alive with potential. With ordinary eyes, it’s easy to mistake this emptiness as stagnancy. But down at the invisible base of things, there is a holy dance taking place. The tension of the polarities are in a constant movement, readying themselves into harmony. Far from dormant, this dance is the active receptivity which calls things into form. We are such a vessel. And these times of rest are actually busy with living into a new capacity.” Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home – Toko-pa Turner

And so, my aimless splattering and wanderings are no longer such a concern to me – whether I liken my creativity cycle to ‘harvest & fallow times’ or ‘waiting for my bowl to fill’, I understand that my creativity will materialise into something more concrete…some time…and in the meantime, this is an ideal opportunity for me to garner inspiration…and I have recently come across the work of Italian artist Sabrina Garrasi

Structures 246 2 – Sabrina Garrasi

Her work is really evocative…and I love the way she lets the pigments interact – something I sometimes forget to do!! Another reminder to take my time, be in the moment….

'I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.'
John O'Donohue

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, take a few minutes to stand and stare….enjoy this moment…

Take care,


(If you would like to follow me on my art journey, and see behind the scenes images and works-in-progress please follow me on social media…

Instagram –

Twitter –

or take a look at my website

or, if you can stand even more of my ramblings and musings, arty news, offers and the occasional extra video throw in, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…)

And breathe…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.’ – Alice Walker

…’And breathe’… such good advice for this topsy-turvy week; with all that’s happening in the UK and further afield, being able to get outdoors and enjoy some late sunshine amongst the beautiful trees of Bradgate Park has been a real tonic…

‘The wild woman has a deep love of nature, a love for the ancient mother, though possibly misunderstood, it has always been in her. When she goes into the wilderness a part of her soul is going home.’ – Shikoba

…not that I am suggesting I am a ‘wild woman’ or that Bradgate Park is the wilderness, although the deer bellowing does add a sense of ‘nature in the raw’ to the park… but without doubt, I always feel more at peace when I am outdoors, sunshine or rain, gale force winds or still, misty mornings…it is as if ‘a part of my soul is going home’.

Having the opportunity to get outside provides a sense of balance for me, much as my creativity does… Not that I have managed much in the way of art this week, the Sketchbook Silent Auction and my Sunday night flash sale taking up most of my time…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…at the present moment, all bar one of the small artworks above sold in the Instagram sale…which is a fantastic result – with half of the money from each sale going towards The Tomorrow Project, a suicide prevention and bereavement referral organisation. I have spent the last two days packaging up all the artworks and posting them off to their new homes – a fantastic feeling! And it’s still full steam ahead for my Sketchbook Silent Auction which runs until 6pm Sunday 8th November…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Again, this is in support of The Tomorrow Project, and you can find further information such as videos of the book and me explaining why this is so important on my website...alternatively, if you have any questions about the auction write in the comments below…

…but for now, it’s back to where I began, outdoors…and this morning was….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…beautiful…the mist hung in the air, the river was like a mirror…the rose gold sun creeping upwards…the grass crackling underfoot…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I am so lucky to have this on my doorstep…

'When the leaves dance, and
A new wind blows;
When the birds sing, and
A new song is composed;
When deep within the rivers of my soul
I begin to hear the approaching sea,
I pause and bask in sweet unity.
I cannot bear but to see
The unshakeable connection to
Everything around me.'
New but Old - Jennifer Williamson

Whatever you’re doing this weekend,

take care,


(If you would like to follow me on my art journey, and see behind the scenes images and works-in-progress please follow me on social media…

Instagram –

Twitter –

or take a look at my website

or, if you can stand even more of my ramblings and musings, arty news, offers and the occasional extra video throw in, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…)

‘Everything worth doing…

…starts with being scared’

Art Garfunkel.

Morning Sunshine Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Too many people use being scared as an excuse for not trying. You may fail…try anyway. That’s how you grow. That’s how you do incredible things’ – Kurt Uhlir

I will admit this week, as I have been finalising the details of my Sketchbook Silent Auction and promoting it via social media and my newsletter, I have been scared. Scared that I will fall flat on my face, scared that the auction will be a resounding flop, scared that no-one will bid… Every unsubscribe from my newsletter compounded that fear…

Sketchbook Silent Auction Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I think it’s only human to want to be ‘liked’, and each unsubscribe felt so personal…’don’t they like me, don’t they like what I am doing, putting out there…?’ And then, I rationalise it; not everyone will like me, or will like what I do or say…but those who are genuinely interested in my work or what I have to say will stick around…so if you have got this far, thank you!

And so, despite the doubts, the ‘what if no-one bids?’ scenario playing in my head, I have continued to promote the auction on my website and on social media…

…even to the extent of doing a couple of ‘live’ Instagram stories – definitely a case of being out of my comfort zone – as well as learning about google forms, YouTube channels and adding a page to my website, so…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

In aid of The Tomorrow Project, a suicide prevention and bereavement referral organisation, that offers support, guidance and comfort, not only to those individuals experiencing mental health crises, but also to their family and friends, the auction will run from Sunday 1st Nov – Sunday 8th Nov and there are full details on my website page….

In addition to the sketchbook auction I will also be holding a flash sale over on my Instagram feed of small original artworks…

The square artworks will be for sale at £20 each plus p&p, whilst the smaller ones will cost £15 each – half of the money raised from each sale will be donated to the charity. In this way, even if bidding on the sketchbook is not an option, you can still support the fundraising event. The flash sale will take place at 6pm on Sunday 1st November on my Instagram feed and will be on a first come, first served basis…so make a note in your diary!!

I would like to thank everyone for all of the kind words of encouragement and support for this event; the sharing of stories and discussions around the issue, although difficult, have been heartfelt. As humans we thrive on ‘connection’ and this has been, and continues to be so difficult at the moment. So whether you place a bid, purchase an artwork, leave a kind comment, repost, share or simply ask the person next to you how they’re doing, thank you…

And just in case you’re thinking I haven’t been painting…well, I have managed to squeeze a few splodges in…

…as well spending a little time in one of my favourite places…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Take time to gaze at a sunset sky
Where colours blaze to dazzle the eye.
Take time to watch a moonlit sea
And look in awe at a towering tree.
Take time to look in the heart of a flower
Adorned with diamonds from a gentle shower.
Take time to view a mountain high
With snowy peak 'gainst bluest sky.
Take time to listen to the song of birds -
A paean of joy without need of words...
Take time to stop and stand and stare
At wonders round you everywhere...
Take time to make time...

Thank you, as always, for reading,

Take care…


(If you would like to follow me on my art journey, and see behind the scenes images and works-in-progress please follow me on social media…

Instagram –

Twitter –

or take a look at my website

or, if you can stand even more of my ramblings and musings, arty news, offers and the occasional extra video throw in, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…)

It’s Important…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Last week’s post, ‘Embracing Vulnerability,’ was a single step on my journey… accepting that things were never going to be perfect, and letting that need for perfectionism go, felt like a release. I could ditch the procrastinating, the ‘I can’t because…,’ and move forward with my Sketchbook Silent Auction. So what if my videos aren’t the slickest, smoothest bit of filming/editing you’ve ever seen, what if my promoting/marketing skills aren’t a patch on a Saatchi & Saatchi campaign – I can learn and improve these areas as I go. The important thing is to get out there, to step ‘into the arena.’

And so the dates are set…..

Sketchbook Silent Auction Carolyn J Roberts Artist

The germ of this idea began way back in the spring when the Mental Health Awareness week took place…

Long before the Covid pandemic, the issue of mental health was already part of my life… Witnessing someone struggle with severe depression and suicidal thoughts brought the subject sharply into focus for me. It was only with the support of family and friends, and the invaluable assistance of a trained counsellor, that this person was able to step back from the brink – without such help, the story might have had a very different outcome.

Being involved in supporting this person, seeing how difficult it was for them, not only to reach out and ask for help, but also to access professional assistance, highlights the ongoing need to raise the profile of mental health issues, and to support charities and organisations that offer guidance, advice and comfort.

And this is why I am organising this Sketchbook Silent Auction; in my own small way, I am aiming to raise money to support a local suicide prevention charity, The Tomorrow Project. Set up in 2012 after a spate of suicides in the local area, the Project offers three tiers of support: prevention, intervention and postvention, working with local communities to try and drive improved services across the UK and to reduce suicides and to reach out to the bereaved.

Sketchbook Silent Auction Carolyn J  Roberts Artist

Initially I didn’t know what I had to offer. What could I auction that has a real value and meaning to me? And that’s when this idea of auctioning one of my sketchbooks sprang into mind…. Like most artists, my sketchbooks are like my diaries, personal books where I experiment and explore, jot down thoughts, quotes, stick in ephemera, rework old snippets…they are a reflection of my moods, good and bad, happy and sad, and as such are very personal, precious and treasured books… Although they elicit a lot of interest, they are not usually for sale, so to offer one in this auction provides a rare opportunity for someone to acquire a beautiful work of art, that reveals my thoughts as well as individual ways of working…

Sketchbook Silent Auction Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I realise that we all have causes and charities that carry their own special meaning, and that it is impossible to support them all but…if you are in a position to support the auction it might just make a difference…even if only to one person…

But even if you are not able to bid, just by reading this post and by talking about mental health, the issue has been highlighted and that’s so important….

The auction is going to run from Sunday 1st November – Sunday 8th November; full details on how to place a bid etc. will be announced in the coming days… I do hope that you will be able to participate, but if not, could I ask that you spread news of the event, it would be very much appreciated!

‘Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.’ – Howard Zinn

Whatever you are doing this weekend, keep safe and well,

Take care,


(If you would like to follow me on my art journey, and see behind the scenes images and works-in-progress please follow me on social media…

Instagram –

Twitter –

or take a look at my website

or, if you can stand even more of my ramblings and musings, arty news, offers and the occasional extra video throw in, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…)

Embracing Vulnerability…

This is the time to be slow

Lie low to the wall

Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let

The wire brush of doubt

Scrape from your heart

All sense of yourself

And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,

Time will come good;

And you will find your feet

Again on fresh pastures of promise,

Where the air will be kind

And blushed with beginning.

John Donohue

…the autumn equinox has passed, clocks will soon be going back; this uncertain year seems to be disappearing fast…but days pass slowly…

…and I have clung to my spot by the river, my walks along its banks, to provide some semblance of life continuing… I have talked before about how, like all of you, my 2020 was filled with plans. My art calendar was beginning to fill with events, art fairs and exhibitions; I was gaining momentum, going to be more visible…. Now, I will be the first to admit that I would have been a bag of nerves at each and every one of these events (at my very first Melbourne Festival event I was so nervous, it was hours before I let my OH venture out for a ‘comfort break’, so terrified was I about talking to people…..), but that’s the thing, once there, once set up…whatever happened, I just had to get on with it… and, hopefully, they all would have turned out okay, even if not everything was perfect!

Once it became apparent that these events were not going to take place there was a period of readjusting, of ‘time to be slow’, but also, of ‘what now?’ Eventually, ideas began to take form, vague plans started to take shape, I sought out other peoples’ opinions as to whether they thought my ideas were viable options…’great idea’, ‘wonderful’, ‘yes, go for it’…all to the good…. And then… I fell ‘ill’ with two common ‘ailments’…

Comparison (itis); a consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people


Perfectionism: the wish for everything to be correct or perfect

As I researched my ideas, formulated my plans, I began to see what other people were doing, were achieving…and, yes, even at my age, when I should know better, I started to compare myself…and, obviously, in my head, the comparisons were not in my favour… so, in order to compare, or should that be compete, with others, I had to make sure that everything I did was perfect... You can see where this is going…

Ideas that I had, things I wanted to do, to offer, weren’t happening because it all had to be perfect and… nothing was perfect; my art wasn’t perfect, my social media campaign wasn’t perfect, my videos weren’t perfect , I hadn’t got my marketing strategy perfect etc., etc., etc…and that’s when my third ‘ailment’ struck…

Procrastination: the action of delaying or postponing something

The more that I viewed my efforts as less than perfect, the more I kept postponing them…they were forever carried forward on my ‘to-do’ list…some things that I would do, once everything was…you’ve guessed, perfect

Books I am reading - Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Now, before you start rolling your eyes in frustration at me, there is light at the end of this tunnel… One of my lockdown aims was to read more, and having read Anne Lamott’s ‘Bird by Bird’ and Todd Henry’s ‘Die Empty’ – I have just started Brene Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly’. Now I have been a fan of Brown’s since watching her TED talk…

so was interested in reading more…and I hadn’t even got passed the introduction , where she quotes the Roosevelt speech, when I read this passage:

‘When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.’

Brene Brown

‘Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking that it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight’ according to Brown and ‘Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgements and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.’

clear glass bulb on human palm
Light bulb moment
(image by Rohan Makhecha –

And so, having had a bit of a light bulb moment and, in the spirit of ‘daring greatly’, of being vulnerable…

Sketchbook Silent Auction Carolyn J Roberts Artist

As you can see it’s not finished i.e. it’s not perfect, BUT you can see, admittedly in small print, that I have actually put some dates to this project, and by posting it here, have made myself accountable to you… This feels a major step forward, and yes, I admit, I am feeling quite vulnerable at the moment but a) the reason why I want to auction a precious sketchbook is very special to me and b) I don’t want to be in a position of wondering ‘what if….?’ in the future ; to further quote Brown…

‘Nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.

…so I must take these baby steps if this project is to come to fruition. (Keep your eyes peeled for more information in the coming days and weeks…..)

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
John Donohue

Sometimes, writing these posts is cathartic for me; I thought this one had all the hallmarks of being downbeat, melancholic even…but after wading through all the doubts, the why nots, should I, could I etc., I feel as I have taken one small step forwards…and it’s always good to end on a positive note…

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope you embrace your vulnerability, dare greatly and take a small step on your own journey…

Take care,


(If you would like to follow me on my art journey, and see behind the scenes images and works-in-progress please follow me on social media…

Instagram –

Twitter –

or take a look at my website

or, if you can stand even more of my ramblings and musings, arty news, offers and the occasional extra video throw in, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…)

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things…

No, don’t worry, I am not about to burst into song…it’s rained quite enough these past few days!! Rather, I thought that I would tell you about some of my favourite things…

One of the questions that I get asked on a regular basis is ‘Which sketchbooks do I use for my collage sketchbooks…?’

Collage Sketchbook - Carolyn J Roberts Artist

My preferred sketchbooks are the Seawhite of Brighton travel journals, (in fact, Seawhite sketchbooks are my favourite sketchbooks in any shape or form…). I find their 140 mm square ones ideal for my small collages; just large enough so that I don’t feel overwhelmed, and the paper, at 130 gsm, takes a reasonable amount of water/paint/ink/glue…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Sketchbooks

I have also been known to use a Talens sketchbook…but this one is slightly smaller than the Seawhite one…

And talking of drawing materials/paint/ink/glue…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Favourite Materials

I love my 8B Derwent watersoluble graphitone pencil (the half sized one in the above image – it does come in 2B, 6B etc); used dry or wet, it produces some interesting marks, hard or blurred…and works well with the watercolour and ink… as does the Ivory Black Derwent watercolour pencil…

It’s no secret that I love the Daniel Smith range of watercolours – Indigo being a particular favourite, along with Rich Green Gold...and Moonglow…and Lunar Blue… I could go on, but you get the picture; as with everything, we all have our own likes and dislikes, it’s just a case of experimenting until you find your preferred colours…

I also like the Sepia Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Ink…it works beautifully with the Indigo watercolour, and granulates fabulously with Winsor & Newton Granulation Fluid.

One of my other favourite pastimes is browsing through magazines, supplements, newspapers etc for images and text or anything that I find appealing…which I ‘file’, along with other ephemera in my ‘collage filing system’… Quotes or lines from poetry or words that resonate are kept in an old ice cream container (see above)…as you can see, all high tech here!!

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Collage Material

Along with all of the above, go the usual mark making tools; sticks, credit cards, sponges, paper towel – anything and everything that can make marks including fingers…and I use them all at some point to create my collages….definitely one of my favourite ways to create!

Reeds & River - Collage Sketchbook Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Finding your favourite products, materials, tools of the trade is really a matter of experimentation and taste; for example, I prefer heavyweight cartridge paper or hot pressed watercolour paper rather than the rough surfaced paper such as Khadi; I find the rough surface doesn’t respond as well to the way I work…but in the end, it all comes down to individual preferences… These are just a few of my favourite things….

And just in case you felt this was all beginning to feel a little like a shopping list…here’s another of my favourite things…

‘The beach has a language of its own, with its undulating ribbons of silt, the imponderable hieroglyphs of bird tracks. The receding waves catch on the innumerable holes in the sand. Bubbles form and fade. A new language, with a new alphabet…’ Franny Billingsley

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope it includes some of your favourite things!



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(If you would like to follow me on my art journey, and see behind the scenes images and works-in-progress please follow me on social media…

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What’s Your Favourite Colours…?

Let me just state, here and now, the chances of seeing me in a bright red dress or a shocking pink top are rare to non-existent…I have been known, on the odd occasion, to sport a vivid orange scarf, but on the whole my wardrobe is an homage to dark blues, blacks, browns and beige…and as for my home decor…

Favourite colours - Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…l’ll leave that for you to decide….

Where’s all this going…? Why am I telling you about my wardrobe choices and showing you a random photo of mugs and decor….? Well, hopefully, by seeing the palette of choice in my home, you will understand why I have such a love for the blues and browns in my artwork…

Reeds & Sea, Woven Strands Carolyn J Roberts ArtistReeds & Sea, Woven Strands – Carolyn J Roberts Artist

This muted palette suits my character – naturally introverted; although I post regularly on social media, it’s mainly images of my work/inspiration, and then, not in a ‘shouty, look at me’ way – at least I don’t think it is….I mean, how many photos of yours truly have you seen? Drawing attention to myself doesn’t come easily, that’s why I have been procrastinating over some projects, where I know that more overt marketing will be required. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a total cowering mouse – when necessary, I do ‘speak up’, but on the whole, I prefer to be quiet, in the background, and that is what I strive for in my artwork; understated beauty…well, hopefully…

Stormy Harbour

                       Stormy Harbour – Carolyn J Roberts Art

I am inspired by nature, and every so often a fresh colour will catch my eye…

Cornwall scenery Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and will find it’s way into my artwork…but again, not in an overt fashion, sometimes it’s just the merest hint…Favourite Colours Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Favourite Colours Carolyn J Roberts Artist

There Lives the Echo of the Sea - Carolyn J Roberts Artist
There Lives the Echo of the Sea – Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and just in case I forget what my favourite colours are I have a Pinterest board dedicated to them…

Favourite Colours - Carolyn J Roberts Artist


What’s your favourite colours….? And are they reflected in your wardrobe, home decor or personality…? I would love to know…

As ever, enjoy your weekend,

Take care,


(To follow me on my art journey, and to see behind the scenes images and works-in-progress please follow me on social media…

Instagram –

Twitter –

or take a look at my website

or, if you can stand even more of my ramblings and musings, arty news, offers and the occasional extra video throw in, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…)


Something for the Weekend…

Early morning cobwebs - Carolyn J Roberts Artist
“September is different from all other months. It is more magical. I feel the
strange chemical change in the earth which produces mushrooms is the cause, too,
of the ‘extra’ life in the air – a resilience, a sparkle.”

Katherine Mansfield

…how I agree; there is something truly wonderful about September, especially as, at time of writing, we are being treated to some glorious late sunshine… My morning walks along the river are bathed in the sun’s rays, highlighting the glistening dew, which is, at times, so heavy, the grass appears to steam in the warmth…the bronze stems turn golden in the light. The blue, cloudless skies, punctuated only by a lone mewing buzzard, turning lazy circles… It feels as if nature is enjoying this last hurrah before the winter hibernation… hedgerows are peppered with hips and blackberries, horse chestnut conkers dangle like Christmas baubles…and the animals seem content to bask, to doze, to stand and stare…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…this heron posed so beautifully before slowly strolling further along the bank, without, apparently, a care in the world, although I am sure that isn’t so…

I am just enjoying each day, each walk, each pathway leading to new delights…

Pathway Carolyn J Roberts Artists Artist

Although walks are part of my daily routine, I have recently re-discovered my love for the actual physical activity of walking; of putting one foot in front of the other, measuring my passage in steps taken, journeys made – if you have read my post ‘A Bend in the River’, you will know that recording my progress is the impetus for me to keep on going, moving forwards…and, making strides, no pun intended, in this area, the physicality of walking, being out in nature, is helping me, not only just by feeling better for the exercise, but in being even more attuned to my surroundings. This increased sense of awareness is also feeding into other aspects of my life – home, family, and of course, my art… And all this was prompted by reading Todd Henry’s book, ‘Die Empty’

Setting myself goals in September might seem a bit odd, usually January is the time for such things, but, having read Henry’s book, there seemed no time like the present – why not start now? So…goals have been set – with the proviso that they can be reviewed and adapted, no giving myself a hard time if things don’t go to plan…a valuable lesson…

One goal was to get back to reading…growing up, I loved reading, but these last months have seen a definite dip in the amount of reading I am doing…hence my goal…and some new purchases, plus my copy of ‘Die Empty’… Anne Lamott’s book, her thoughts and philosophy, although related to ‘writing,’  can equally apply to life…and making art…

“You couldn’t have had any way of knowing what this piece of work would look like when you first started. You just knew that there was something about these people that compelled you, and you stayed with that something long enough for it to show you what it was about.” (p.71, Bird by Bird, Lamott).

How often have you started a painting or drawing, not really knowing where you were going with it…but by sticking with it, by exploring the characteristics of the mediums, you discover what the work is telling you……

Brene Brown’s Ted Talk ‘Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count‘ really struck a chord with me, struggling as I do with confidence,( or lack of), and in dealing with critics, both inner and outer…I definitely need to print out parts of Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘The Man in the Arena’ speech:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…..”

It will be interesting to delve further into Brown’s theories and insights…..

And ‘The Salt Path’ was a spur of the moment purchase; I have read both good and bad reviews, so we’ll see what I make of it…

I have to admit to having had a dip in my creativity in recent weeks, but, spurred on by my goal setting, I feel I am slowly feeling my way back… and I am taking steps, (there’s that reference to walking again….), to refuel my creative tank…listening to radio programmes is one way…and any that includes Robert MacFarlane, one of my favourite authors, has to be a must….so here is an interview with him on Front Row with Kirsty Lang…discussing books, collaborations and works in progress…

And, following Todd Henry’s advice that anything that interests you will, somehow, feed into your work, we took a long overdue trip to Bletchley Park…home of the Enigma codebreakers….

Alan Turing’s office, Bletchley Park

A fascinating place, with lots to see…and read…but I am still not sure I understand exactly how the codes were broken…much to my OH’s exasperation – he being an engineer and much more mathematically minded than I…

If you love history, as I do, this place is well worth a visit… And it’s not all about the past; current exhibitions detail how the technology invented during this period has developed further, and looks at ways it is utilised today, not always for the better in some cases, (tracking devices on jeans…..?), but that’s just my opinion…. Anyway, its a great place to spend a day…. Remains to be seen as to how this will feed into my work…?

For now, I have my fingers crossed that this beautiful late sunshine will continue for a little while longer, and I get to enjoy more early morning walks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

“By all these lovely tokens September days are here,

With summer’s best of weather,

And autumn’s best of cheer.”

Helen Hunt Jackson

“Sit and talk with me a while,

said the sky,

clouds passing by,

peachy in the afterglow of late summer rain.

Sit with me a while, in peace,

release the tension that holds you

and trust that as I dip below the horizon;

we will rise tomorrow.”

Anna D Invernizzi

However you’re spending the weekend, have a good one; try to do one thing that feeds your creative soul…..

Take care,


(For behind the scenes images and works-in-progress please follow me on social media…

Instagram –

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or, if you can stand even more of my ramblings and musings, arty news, offers and the occasional extra video throw in, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…or hop on over to  my website to see a selection of my work).