Something for the Weekend…

‘The World Turned Upside Down

In the misty habit of a rainy afternoon

a single, ponderous drop of rainwater hangs tenuously

from the curved tip of a leaf

holding within it the world turned upside down

and a moment later falls into eternity.’

Bernadette E. Kazmaraki

…at the time of writing, the weather has been toying with, and teasing us; from scorching high summer days of cloudless blue, to thunderous skies, forerunners of torrential downpours…

…but even when the world appears to be topsy-turvy, and you’re not sure whether to pack the sun-cream or an umbrella…there are small delights to be found tucked away….

Carolyn J Roberts

‘Live quietly in the moment

and see the beauty of all before you.

The future will take care of itself…’

Paramahansa Yogananda

The pure white trumpets of the bindweed (such an unlovely name for a beautiful flower…) pepper the hedgerows, small star-lights in the dark…

Carolyn J Roberts

The story of the river and its wildlife continue to enthrall; hours sat watching and listening, trying to develop my recognition of the birdsong, the flora and fauna…to absorb the experience of the changing moods…to gain an intimate knowledge of the landscape…

Someone who has an incredible knowledge and understanding of his subject is artist Karl Martens…and I was fascinated to watch this short video, hearing his philosophy, seeing his technique…

…his description of preparing himself to paint, to achieve the right frame of mind, of having to ‘let go,’ and how the painting, or should I say ‘bird’, lets him know when the work is done…’hello…..’ There is something about that white, simple, calm studio space with the materials beautifully laid out, that really appeals… (ha – one can dream…)

Much as the weather has been a little up and down, so my creative mojo is equally as variable – at this particular moment, it definitely appears to have gone ‘walkabouts’…but I am aware that this is the pattern of my creativity… and, although it all feels a little lack-lustre now, I know that, at some point, there will be a tiny spark, something that lights the flame of inspiration… In the meantime I have been doing the inevitable scrolling of social media, as well as re-visiting Pinterest… Have to admit to being a little ‘all or nothing’ on Pinterest; at times, I will ‘pin’ like mad, and then go for long periods without looking at it… until it suddenly dawned on me; I have a board called Artistic Inspirations with over 1400 pins on, lots of different artworks and artists,  ‘why was I pinning all these images and then not using them in my research, considering what it was that attracted me to them, was it something I could experiment with or develop in my own work….?’ (what can I say…some things take a while to permeate my little grey cells….) So I am making an attempt to go through some ‘pins’ and analyse why I like them…

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Vignette Study of Storm at Sea, for Campbell's 'Poetical Works'' circa 1835-6 (J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, D...

JMW Turner, Tate

Kitty Sabatier

                                                                 Kitty Sabatier 

daily art journal : Photo

  Mary Buek

Andrew Bird - Artist - Work on Paper                                                                 Andrew Bird

Even in this small selection it is evident there is a common theme; the colour palette and the mark making…so is this is something I want to explore further or should I shake it up – add in pops of colour contrast? Definitely food for thought…and, by continuing to re-visit my Pinterest boards, there could be more areas for consideration…do you review your Pinterest pins at all…..or are you like me…and leave for months on end…overlooking a whole range of artistic inspiration!!

My collage sketchbooks continue to provide a gentle, no pressure warm-up…using scraps of old work, papers, images, ephemera and words or phrases that appeal, I create a composition that I like…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

My Instagram Artist of the Week is someone who also creates books alongside other equally beautiful works of art – Roxanne Evans Stout

Roxanne Evans Stout
Roxanne Evans Stout

Living on the Pacific Northwest amidst the mountains and rivers…(sounds perfect….) she considers herself to be: ‘an artist and teacher, a wanderer and dreamer, a garden dweller, a river walker, a child of the forest, a daughter of the sea…and is always grateful, always noticing, always growing….’

Roxanne Evans Stout
Roxanne Evans Stout

Initially, Instagram being a visual platform, it was Roxanne’s colour palette and use of natural, found materials, that stopped me scrolling…there’s something so appealing about the pop of blue, the natural twine and stone…

Roxanne Evans Stout
Roxanne Evans Stout

Roxanne uses a variety of media and materials, ranging from collage, stitching and sewing, encaustic work, book-making etc, to weave stories… stories that have the ability to touch us…

Roxanne Evans Stout
Roxanne Evans Stout

…and obviously, as soon as I saw her magical collage notebooks/handmade books, I was hooked!!

I love Roxanne’s Instagram feed; it presents such a calmness, a quiet understanding and awareness of what she wants to convey…

Roxanne Evans Stout
Earth Layers – Roxanne Evans Stout

From beautiful layers of artwork, with tales waiting to be revealed, each mark adding to the strand of the story…to gorgeous photographs of her inspiration and work, assembled as a still life, a work of art in its own right…

Roxanne Evans Stout
Roxanne Evans Stout

Roxanne’s philosophy, her way of approaching her work, is one that I feel a connection to, and if she will indulge me, here is a paragraph from her website about how she begins a project:

‘Before I begin a project I love to collect and spread out small objects that inspire me. I take a walk through our gardens and under the trees. I cut a flower, pick up a stick or feather, and find a leaf or stone that calls to me and bring them into my studio. Then I spread them out carefully and arrange them, intuitively and almost without thinking…and shoot some photos…this process helps connect me to the earth, the seasons, and helps me feel renewed,’ (Roxanne Evans Stout)

Roxanne Evans Stout
Roxanne Evans Stout

I too, like to feel that connection to the landscape and to nature, and am also an inveterate wanderer and collector; only the other day, my OH discovered a seashell in a jacket pocket from our trip to Cornwall in February. That one object can trigger a memory; walking along the windswept beach, blown sand peppering our cheeks, spray from the pounding waves hurled far and wide, me picking up stones and shells, interesting driftwood, dried seaweed etc…and as my pockets were full, well…

Roxanne Evans Stout
Roxanne Evans Stout

…and telling stories, recalling memories, finding connections, is what, I feel, Roxanne’s work is all about; through her choice of materials and media, her words, and her assemblages, she transports us to her world…in the most beautiful of ways…

Do pop over to Roxanne’s Instagram feed as well as her website, where you will find much more information about her work, her writings, her collage work, online workshops etc…..

As ever, I would like to extend my thanks to Roxanne for allowing me to feature her beautiful work – it is a joy and a delight!

‘There is music in the wind

and the gentle breeze

carries your song

home.’

Nicole Lyons

As ever, I hope you have something to interest and inspire you,

Take care,

arC

(If you would  like to see work-in-progress, general studio ramblings and other things that inspire me, please follow me on social media:

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

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

Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…the morning after the Summer Solstice, the sun climbs high and bright…seemingly quiet, until suddenly, as if on cue, swallows appear dancing over the river’s surface, and swifts, dark arrows against the azure sky, criss-crossing before barrelling along the water, dipping their beaks, drinking the cool, clear water…

…liquid gold ripples across the river, birdsong carried on the breeze, the grass heavy with morning diamonds, glittering over the meadow…with the dandelion clocks, time dispersed, it’s now the turn of the clover to take a starring role; small, white clusters, arms stretched skywards…

Solstice, derived from the latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), a transitioning from one season to the next; Summer Solstice, the longest day…’a time when the normal laws of nature or divinity could be suspended, when spirits and fairies could contact humans, when humans could exceed the usual limitations of their world,’ (Prof. Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol)…reminding me of the work of a previous ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, Nicki Gwynn Jones…based on Orkney…

Nicki Gwynn-JonesNicki Gwynn Jones

…who takes the most amazing images, golden light, with faeries hidden…visible only to those who believe…

The Solstice seems particularly poignant this year; a turning point, looking back, looking forwards, memories, hopes…the year sliding away, the world at a standstill…a crossroads…

‘“I think you will agree that life’s plans are not always tied up in neat little packages. Occasionally we find ourselves at unexpected crossroads with more than one opportunity from which to choose. Time itself is often the best indicator of which decision to make, for it can tell so many things that are now hazy.”
 Linda Lee Chaikin, Tomorrow’s Treasure

…and at such times…

‘In any given moment, we have two options:

to step forward into growth or to step back

into safety.’

Abraham Maslow

In art terms, it’s so easy to ‘step back into safety’, to keep within our comfort zone, creating the same thing on repeat…and that’s what I feel as if I have been doing… I was so inspired by our trip to Cornwall in February; a whole new body of work developed…but since lockdown I have felt my inspiration waning…that’s why, with the slow easing of restrictions, we are at last able to plan a few days away… so many beautiful areas of the country to explore, and this time we are looking to  further explore Northumberland… this short video by Graeme Hare provides a flavour of the landscape and coastline…I can’t wait to be on those wild shores and fells…and hopefully, feel inspiration sparking new ideas….

…but with new inspiration, new ideas, comes a vulnerability… I was really happy with the Cornish works…a few of which are below…waiting to be framed ready for an exhibition in the not too distant future…fingers crossed…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I love the abstract nature of these mixed media pieces, but after weeks of not producing anything remotely as interesting there is that worry that I won’t be able to create the like again…

So this Ted Talk by a favourite of mine, Elizabeth Gilbert, was a timely find…

…I create because that’s what I love, whether that be painting, drawing, writing, making a beautiful garden…or a calm, uncluttered space within which to live…so I just have to keep on creating and not get swayed by success or failure….

Inspiration comes in many forms, and, whilst in this ‘low period’ of my creativity, I have to admit to doing more than my fair share of social media scrolling… I have been following this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ for a while now and her work never fails to inspire and delight…. Janette Phillips is a mixed media artist who lives in the beautiful Lake District…

Janette Phillips
Janette Phillips

It is the fantastic colours and loose washes, the sometimes semi-abstract nature of her work, that stops me scrolling…to peer more closely…

Janette Phillips
Bluebells – Janette Phillips

Inspired by nature, the flora and fauna, scents and sounds, Janette works in a variety of mediums ranging from inks, pastels, oil paints, watercolour and collage… Initially working quickly, intuitively over several pieces at once, she allows the mediums to dictate these early marks and moves…

Janette Phillips
Janette Phillips

Who couldn’t fail to be cheered by these gorgeous, popping colours and washes…!! And even when Janette is exploring tonal compositions there is so much energy and variety of marks and textures; the sketch is a fantastic example  of exploring the subject…

Janette Phillips
Janette Phillips
Janette Phillips
Janette Phillips
Janette Phillips
Janette Phillips

And of course I would like this one above; some of my favourite colours and of course…granulation…..

I adore paeonies…and am fascinated by the way Janette captures these beautiful blooms…the soft washes, the multiple layers…not to mention the colours; a stunning portrayal of a summer delight!!

Janette Phillips
Janette Phillips

 

Janette Phillips
Janette Phillips

She also paints wonderful interpretations of the landscape; I love this palette, the variations in tone, the textural marks allied with the finer detail…so much energy… I can imagine myself standing on the fells, experiencing all the space, freedom and elements they provide….

Betwixt – Janette Phillips (Sold)

I could have chosen many more images from both Janette’s Instagram feed and her website, but why don’t you pop over and have a look for yourself…there is a whole range of beautiful work to admire!!

In the meantime, I will continue my ‘love affair’ with the river…a place where I find inspiration for my ‘writing’ if not for my painting…a place of comfort, a place to find balance…whilst waiting for the smallest of winds, ‘the perfume of wild flowers…’

‘Change comes like a little wind

that ruffles the curtains at dawn,

and it comes like a stealthy perfume of wild flowers

hidden in the grass…’

John Steinbeck

As ever, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you,

Take care,

C

(If you would like to see what’s going on in my studio space – splashes, sploshes, successes and failures, please follow me on social media:

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or if you can stand it, sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter where there will be even more of my musings/ramblings, arty news, offers and the occasional video…..)

Something for the Weekend…

‘…the morning mists are grey,

where the dew-drowned copses quiver…

At the dawning of the day.

O scent of the dewy grasses

In the daybreak calm and cool,

Where the skimming swallow passes

From pool to darkling pool,

And the startled birds go winging

Through the wakened woods a-ringing…

At the dawning of the day…’

At the Dawning of the Day – Cicely Fox Smith

…humid afternoons, oppressive,…evening thunderstorms…mornings heavy with mist…a grey shroud cloaking the landscape, grasses nodding, laden with moisture…the heron slowly emerges from the gloom, stalking the river bank…the air reverberating with the crows’ caws…unseen…

Early morning mist

…a world out of kilter, so it seems with the weather….the grey, drear mornings of this week a reflection of my mood…last week… Uninspired, dispirited; now, I feel as if something is striving to be heard, struggling to the surface…waiting to be discovered, explored, to emerge…tentative steps becoming more positive strides…

…and alongside these ‘whisperings’ of ideas, I feel a need to write…

Blank journal...

…not only to organise my ‘whisperings’, my thoughts and ideas, but to expand on some of the more ‘eloquent passages’ – if there are any – from this blog…. To what end, I have no idea, but there is something pulling at me, equally struggling to emerge…

One ‘thing’ that keeps cropping up in my ‘whisperings’ is my choice of colour palette – it doesn’t seem to matter how many luscious shades there are available, my palette remains fairly limited…

Time & Tide... Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…so it’s always interesting reading how other artists select their colours… Someone whose artwork I am drawn to because of its immediacy, textures, marks, freshness and yes, colour, is Louise Balaam…there is a gestural, intuitive quality to the work that I love…

Soft sky, low light (Ashdown) – oil on panel, 40cm x 40cm – Louise Balaam

Louise recently wrote an article for the Jackson’s Art Blog about how her choice of earth colours helps to achieve harmony and subtlety in her work...’Louise Balaam: Painting with an Earth Palette’. 

I should add, that apart from a week or two at college many moons ago, I haven’t studied ‘Colour Theory’ in any great depth, much preferring to follow my intuition and, if I am honest, use colours that I love…Creeks & Inlets...Carolyn J Roberts Artist

but reading Louise’s article makes me feel as if I should at least re-acquaint myself with the basics…

I also feel like shaking things up with my choice of materials – charcoal is definitely calling…but, there is that ‘whispering’…go larger, more gestural than previous work…

Ink & Charcoal in Sketchbook www.carolynjrobertsartist.co.uk

…and whilst deliberating on the possibility I came across this article… ‘Drawing the Landscape in Charcoal‘ by Rob Wellings on The Landscape Atelier.  I love this by Alexander Hollan…

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 8.44.16 AM

As I write this, we are on Day 87 of the ‘lockdown’…more places are beginning to open…but thoughts of trips and visits to favourite haunts still seems a long way distant… it’s no secret the north Norfolk coast is one such ‘haunt’…

Norfolk

and I can’t wait until we’re able to visit again…but in the meantime I will have to make do with my photographs and programmes such as Open Country – Marshes of Norfolk.… made even more interesting by the inclusion of how artists are influenced by this area…. (I am not sure if overseas readers will be able to access this programme….apologies…)

”As dew leaves the cobweb lightly

Threaded with stars,

Scattering jewels on the fence

And the pasture bars;

As dawn leaves the dry grass bright

And the tangled weeds

Bear a rainbow gem

On each of their seeds…’

Sara Teasdale

As ever, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you,

Take care,

C

(If you would like to see what’s happening in my studio please follow me on social media –

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

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

Something for the Weekend…Take Two…

‘Reflection

Still waters, deep,

surface like glass reflecting green above;

and below are trees, sky,

shadow, leaves, sunlight,

moving and motionless.

Here silent images shimmer now,

and – air breathing suddenly – break.

Unbidden feelings confuse

 

reality and fantasy.

Which is which?

Fantasy and reality confuse;

feelings unbidden break, suddenly breathing air;

and now shimmer images,

silent here, motionless

and moving…

(sunlight leaves shadows).’

Paul Hansford

To be honest, this week, with a combination of factors leaving me uninspired and dispirited, I didn’t feel like writing a post – but, after having a conversation with myself (!!!) I decided that, for me, it’s important to keep sharing great work by fabulous artists, to keep recommending books, or podcasts or YouTube videos that inspire, to keep rambling on about my little spot by the river…to keep showing up, to keep creating… to keep giving…and that’s why I couldn’t not post…something…even if it is ‘second time around’…

…so, and I hope you will forgive me, I have cheated a little by adding a link to the very first ‘Something for the Weekend‘ post that I wrote…(you can judge how much I have/haven’t improved…!!!).

I hope you enjoy my little trip down memory lane, made all the more bittersweet by the fact that we were supposed to be re-visiting Valencia later in the year…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles…’

Tim Cahill

I like to think that, even though we are not able to travel at the moment, through this blog and my social media/newsletter interactions I have made many friends…with whom I can continue to create, inspire and share…

…by next week, I’m sure, ‘normal’ service will be resumed…but for now, thank you; thank you for all the follows, kind words, encouragement and support…treasured indeed….

Take care,

C

P.S. If you would like to read some of the ‘Best of…’ posts click here

(If you would like to see more of the daily ‘goings on’ in my ‘studio’ please follow me on social media –

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

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

Something for the Weekend…

‘Beneath the rust and grime

which dulls the shine of

our weathered hearts,

joy patiently waits to be

rediscovered.’

John Mark Green

…June already, not much longer and we will be half-way through the year…where did that go… Much as I imagine it to be only Spring, I see, from the activity by the river, it will soon be high summer…longer days, grass drying, waiting to be baled, nesting swans, house-martins swooping back and forth, feeding twittering young…sightings of the first swifts, dark arrows, banking and barrelling across the sky…waft of wild ‘dog’ rose perfume carried on the breeze…willow trees, now fully clothed in green, dipping branches into the water…gently trailing leaves…the changing of the guard in my own garden; spring bulbs  replaced by foxgloves, aquilegias…lavender, buzzing with bees…the colours of summer… And talking of colour…

…that is what drew me to this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, Elis Cooke

Elis Cooke
Elis Cooke

I use, what I consider to be a fairly muted palette in my own art, rarely using pinks, purples etc…and yet I love to see how other artists incorporate and use these colours…and Elis’s abstract works filled with textures and mark making, along with the colours really appeals…even in these small studies…

Elis Cooke
Elis Cooke

As a lover of sketchbooks, I am obviously drawn to Elis’s journals…I love how she adds thumbnails, colour samples, quotes etc.. definitely looks like my kind of sketchbook!!

Elis Cooke
Elis Cooke

Elis admits that her creative journey has been ‘kind of long and round about’. She began making clay jewellery before moving onto mixed media  pieces, making her own paper that she ‘cast into sculptural forms’ before painting with acrylics. Gradually her interest in painting grew, alongside printmaking and collage.

Elis draws her inspiration from nature, ‘organic forms especially,’ but prefers not to paint realistic images; rather, she sees her work as ‘a process of exploring how the paint interacts with various tools and materials such as collage, water and texture mediums,’ working until she creates ‘something interesting.’

I love the hint of pink in the mixed media work below, suggesting florals to me; the combination of the pink against the blue is fabulous, with the lines of pink around the white adding extra detail and interest…

Elis Cooke
Elis Cooke

That’s not to say she doesn’t work in darker colours at all…but there is always that hint of colour, be that pink or purple…or a bright blue…

Elis Cooke
Elis Cooke

…and, as ever, with abstracts, I love how the viewer can interpret the artwork in their own way… There is something about the broad swathes of colours and energy of mark making that holds my attention…

Growing up in a remote area, access to art galleries etc was limited, so Elis is mostly self-taught, apart from a few short classes. She spent a lot of time looking at books, trying to figure out how to create certain effects. Learning by trial and error, Elis accepted early on, that failure is part and parcel of the creative journey.

Favourite artists include JMW Turner, Stephanie Rayner, Edward Betts, Patricia Frederick, Helen Frankethaler, Joan Mitchell and Robert Motherwell.  

Like many artists, Elis’s studio space is in her home – something she is grateful for, during the current lockdown situation. Her ‘mess is in the basement,’ a pretty chaotic space as, alongside creating her art, she also makes books and journals.

Elis has eclectic tastes in both music and books. She likes a wide range of music genres but her favourite is blues and jazz. Equally her reading material includes ‘mythology, spiritality, women studies, poetry, and for guilty pleasure, sci-fi and fantasy.’

Elis Cooke
Elis Cooke

Elis love of experimentation with the materials and their properties, leads her to create work that is ‘ambiguous and suggestive, hoping to engage the intuition and imagination of the viewer’… Well, I for one, can see all manner of ‘landscapes/florals/seascapes etc ‘ in her work, with the textures and marks adding to the nuances of the piece as a whole… her colour combinations are fantastic – as in the orange lines against the sea of blue above!!

As I always say, do pop and take a look at Elis’s Instagram feed, along with her website – where you can see more of her wonderful abstract work. Thank you Elis, for allowing me to feature your fabulous work on my blog; it is very much appreciated!

Talking of materials and their properties, the Jackson’s Art blog has compiled a list of their seven favourite YouTube instructional videos, ranging from portrait painting in oils, to selecting paper for print-making…

I was lucky enough to watch Laura demonstrate at Patchings Art Festival…and I have always been a big fan of Maggi Hambling…

Inspiration comes in all shapes and forms; sometimes it directly influences my art…other times, ‘inspiration’ affects me as a person… I still find saying ‘I am an artist’ difficult; self-doubt, lack of confidence, imposter syndrome, whatever you call it, kicks in and I can almost feel myself retreating internally, stumbling over the words… So I have been trying to address this issue, listening to various podcasts, Ted Talks etc and reading various authors, one of whom is American professor Brene Brown…and I came across this Ted Talk that she gave back in 2013…

I laughed, I nodded in agreement…I identify with so much of what she describes; especially with regards to that person who sits in the fourth chair, who I have spent so long trying to please, to gain their approval… To think of that person in terms of the quote by Theodore Roosevelt – that if they are not in the arena ‘daring’, trying, as I am, then their feedback isn’t worth anything… that is such a game-changer…  And I have been practising standing tall, well as tall as my 5′ 2″ will allow, pulling my shoulders back, and proclaiming loudly ‘I am an artist’….

 

‘The Skylark

And as I paused to hear his song,

While swift the sunny moments slid,

Perhaps his mate sat listening long,

And listened longer than I did.

 

The earth was green, the sky was blue:

I saw and heard one sunny morn,

A skylark hang between the two,

A singing speck above the corn;

 

A stage below, in gay accord,

White butterflies danced on the wing,

And still the singing skylark soared,

And silent sank and soared to sing.

 

The cornfield stretched a tender green

To the right and left beside my walks;

I knew he had a nest unseen

Somewhere among the million stalks….

Christina Rossetti

 

I hope, as always, that you have found something to interest and inspire you!

Whatever you do this weekend…enjoy!

‘If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy,

if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has the power to move you,

if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand,

rejoice, for your soul is alive.’

Eleonora Duse

 

Take care,

C

(if you would like to see work-in-progress please follow me on social media;

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or, if you can stand even more of my ramblings, arty news, discounts along with the occasional extra video, please sign up via the form opposite, to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter….)

Something for the Weekend…

‘Looking forward with an eternal perspective gives one hope,

a reason to look up and feel gratitude

for even the smallest bit of light…’

Rosemary M Wixom

…another week gone, and we remain in this ‘confinement’…and each day I thank my stars that, in minutes, I can be by the river…connected to nature… As you know, sitting on the riverbank watching the daily ‘comings and goings’, is my way of finding balance; marvelling at the aerial acrobatics of the swallows and house-martins, skimming the water, drinking on the wing…seeing the yellow water-lily leaves emerging, unfurling on the surface, creating rafts upon which the moorhens balance unsteadily…as if learning to walk on stilts… And again, what I have noticed during this ‘lockdown’ period is this sense of ‘heightened awareness’…both the bigger picture and the smaller details; the river and the meadow as a whole, as well as individual elements, each plant, each bird…how the breeze, rain or sun affects the flora and fauna… Raindrops on the water’s surface, gentle ruffles of the meadow grass, early morning dew on the buttercup goblet…

…and this focussing on one particular object, noticing the finer details is a passion of this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, Deborah Wastie – Instagram account @alchemyofordinarythings…. I was drawn to Deborah’s work by the beautiful detail and simplicity of her images (although i appreciate, achieving this simplicity can be anything but…)

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

Deborah lived in Cornwall from the age of 12; her mother was a landscape artist, seeing the landscape as a whole, whereas Deborah focused on drawing and designing flower images in a very graphic style.

Deborah Wastie
A Circle of Life – Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

Deborah did an art foundation year, and was undecided between pursuing graphic design or photography. Graphic design won out, but she continued with her photography…

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

Life in London beckoned, working as a designer and art director, until a few years ago when a change in her personal circumstances resulted in a re-focus…

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

A food photography course in India followed; even there, Deborah shot lots of flowers and leaves…and despite shooting many food images, her real passion is flowers or single food items…she likens the details of the flower/food item to a piece of graphic design…

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

I love the simplicity of the image; the colours and textures, the intricacies are just fabulous…

Deborah’s ‘studio’  sounds wonderful; a space at the top of the house, full of her props; vintage crockery, flowers, both dried and fresh, sticks and twigs, and lots of foraged ‘items’ from her travels – definitely sounds my kind of space!!

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

Deborah’s inspiration for simplicity and single-mindedness in an image is American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe….but she has also shot images styled in the ‘Still Life’ traditions of the old Dutch masters…  Her influences come from near and far; the countryside, the beach…’Everything is an image no matter how seemingly ordinary…’

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

I am trying, but not always succeeding, in de-cluttering, living with less, being minimalistic – I think this is why I am drawn to Deborah’s work; looking for the wonderful in the everyday, focussing on the beauty of ‘simple’ things – a wooden platter, a spice jar, a furled leaf…a branch of honesty…a fabulous example of ‘less is more’…

Do take a look at Deborah’s Instagram feed; it really is full of the most beautiful images; old doors, dried hydrangea flower heads…shadows, patterns, a spoon and plate….

Again, my thanks go to Deborah, for allowing me to feature her in my blog and to use her images…and for her ‘ramble’ in response to my questions….always appreciated!

Obviously we are still, for the foreseeable, unable to travel, so many galleries and exhibitions are going ‘on-line’; portraits are not usually my preferred genre, but it’s always good to broaden ones horizons…so I have had a virtual wander around the BP Portrait Award 2020

Image result for bp portrait award 2020

I haven’t got or read this book ‘Keep Going‘, but I have read his other book ‘Show Your Work’ – … a quick, to the point read…so I am wondering if any of you have read this one or would recommend it…

Image result for austin kleon keep going

I found this quote by Austin Kleon, which I thought quite appropriate, lockdown or no lockdown; ‘ The creative life is not linear. It’s not a straight line from Point A to Point B. It’s more like a loop, or a spiral in which you keep coming back to a new starting point after every project.’

Regular readers will know that I am a fan of Erland Cooper, a Scottish musician very much influenced by nature… He has recently been working with BBC Radio 6 to produce a piece of music that highlights how sound and music can help our mental health. Listeners were invited to send in recordings of the sounds that have become more noticeable owing to the lockdown situation; Cooper then composed music incorporating these ‘field recordings’ resulting in ‘A Nightingale Sings Outside Our Window’….

If I can take a positive from the current situation, it is this widespread ‘heightened noticing’ of both the sights and sounds of our surroundings, and the more aware we are of the beauty and wonder in the smallest of things, the more we treasure them….

‘The Four Conditions of Happiness: Life in the open air, Love for another being,

Freedom from ambition, Creation…’

Albert Camus

As ever, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you in my musings…

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, take care,

C

(If you would like to see work-in-progress, please follow me on social media:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter: www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or for more of my ramblings, arty news, discounts, offers and the occasional video, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…)

Something for the Weekend…

‘Nourishing

You’ve got to take care of yourself. And not just once in a while or only when you realise

how desperately you need it, but every single day. Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to mean fancy

baths or face masks. It doesn’t have to mean travelling far or turning your whole life upside down.

It certainly can, but everyone is different. Truly taking care of yourself simply means

nourishing your mind, body, and spirit in ways that work for you. It means finding a balance

within your every day life that allows you to do the things you love and feel at peace.

It means nourishing yourself within to be able to take on the world out there.’

Walk the Earth – Nikki Banas

…time passes, and in this crazy, mixed up world, even that seems to be confused…days appearing to last much longer that 24 hours, but weeks skipping by, as if playing on some speeded up video… Without a schedule of art fairs and events, with nothing filled in on the calendar, the impetus to create slows…and, then, all too easily, that vicious circle begins…’will I ever be able to make art again, will it be any good, what if I can’t do it any more…’

…and that’s when it’s important for me to ‘nourish’ myself…to find a balance…  I settle by the river, coffee and notebook to hand… breathing in that early morning, hearing the birdsong, watching the heron flap slowly by…noting the pewter sheen to the water’s surface, disturbed by squabbling ducks and moorhens; house martins and swallows perform aerial displays…sparrows and blue tits hop amongst the tangle of blackberry thickets, a lone magpie dances above the lace blanket of cow parsley… I laugh at the antics of a crow, unsettled by a buzzard sitting on the wires – the crow hopping, harrier jump jet style either side of the larger bird…until, eventually the buzzard lazily departs, with a final circular salute… A gentle breeze ruffles the grass, sending dandelion seeds scattering…time goes on its way… and I find my balance…and head off to ‘create’…

…and in this time of ‘heightened noticing’…it seems appropriate to re-read Kathleen Jamie’s book ‘Findings‘…

Weaving domesticity and nature, walking both near her home and farther afield, Jamie describes her travels, following peregrine calls or beach-combing on wild Hebridean shores, creating a narrative alive to her surroundings…

‘Keeping the sea to my left hand I walked northwards, the way the gannets had indicated. The clifftop land dipped into damp troughs and then rose onto promontories where bedrock broke through the thin earth. There were pools of peaty water between rocks, and foraging parties of golden plover….. ‘ (p.165, Findings, Jamie)

It’s a beautifully descriptive book combining landscape, nature, history…and domestic life… I love Jamie’s expressive style, transporting me as it does to these wild places…exploring corners I am unable to visit, at least for the time being…

Someone else who loves exploring, both the landscape and with creative materials, is this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ is Marie-Michelle La Rue

Marie-Michelle La Rue
Marie-Michelle La Rue

It was the colours and washes of her work that first caught my attention…

Marie-Michelle La Rue
‘Le Rang Croche’ – Marie-Michelle La Rue

Although always creative, Marie-Michelle admits that she never took it seriously, apart from expressing her love of colour etc with her hair and clothes!! It wasn’t until last year that she tried watercolours for the first time…after trying acrylics…and being intimidated by oil paints – owning a brand new set of oil paints that she has yet to open!!

Marie-Michelle La Rue
Disgrace – Marie-Michelle La Rue

Marie-Michelle loves watercolours; the unpredictability of the medium, watching the pigment interact with inks…she finds it all fascinating…as do I…

Marie-Michelle La Rue
Caleb – Marie-Michelle La Rue

Marie-Michelle’s inspiration comes from the landscape and her surroundings, including a nearby forest…which, much as I find with the river, provides her with a sense of balance and calm from the myriad of things buzzing around in her head… Painting also helps maintain her sense of peace, finding it easier to express herself through her art than through words…

Marie-Michelle La Rue
Au Lac Creux – Marie-Michelle La Rue

I love the loose, expressive quality in Marie-Michelle’s work – and of course, her choice of colours is fabulous.. The variety of washes and marks appeals also – even the ones with a more calligraphic feel to them…it’s all about the brush stroke and pigment, the splatter and interaction…

Marie-Michelle La Rue
Apostrophe – Marie-Michelle La Rue

In common with many artists, Marie-Michelle’s ‘studio space’ is a small area in her living space… that pre-Covid 19 was beautifully organised, but has now become somewhat of a storage space..

 

Marie-Michelle La Rue
Champagne – Marie-Michelle La Rue

 

I love the combination of charcoal and watercolour in the above work; in her Instagram post Marie-Michelle describes seeing a falcon near her house…and I imagine the circular charcoal marks to be an echo the bird’s flight…or it could just be the bubbles from champagne…

Marie-Michelle gets lots of her inspiration for ideas, techniques and mediums from Instagram, being particularly drawn to @vintagefables and @juliarehme… She also likes reading, when she has the time; her favourite authors range from Michel Tremblay to Christina Rickardsson, whose autobiography ‘Never Stop Walking’ Marie-Michelle has just finished…

Marie-Michelle La Rue
L’Apogee – Marie-Michelle La Rue

As artists, we all create work, and the work that we put out into the world is the work that we are most satisfied with…but every so often, we produce a painting that really speaks to us…for me, the one below is a favourite work of mine; the freedom and expressiveness speaks volumes to me…just as ‘L’Apogee’  (above)does to Marie-Michelle, ‘there’s something in there that touches me, that makes me happy.  At the moment, it’s the only painting I did that is not for sale. I want to keep it to myself’…a feeling I totally empathise with!!

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
Stormy Harbour – Carolyn J Roberts

Do take a look at Marie-Michelle’s Instagram feed – there are many more works to see – fluid, expressive watercolours where the colours sing… She also has a Facebook page – marie-michelle creations where you can see her work too!!

As always, a big thank you to Marie-Michelle for allowing me to feature her in my blog, for letting me use her images and answering my questions – I am forever amazed how forthcoming and generous people are when I randomly message them – thank you!

With the media, radio and television, seemingly broadcasting wall to wall Covid updates, I have turned more and more to podcasts…and a recently discovered one is The Lonely Palette…hosted by art historian Tamar Avisha. Each episode she ‘selects an ‘objet du jour’, interviews unsuspecting passers-by in front of it, and then dives deeply into the movement, the social context, the anecdotes, and anything and everything that will make it as exciting to you as it is to her…’

Image result for georges seurat a sunday on la grande jatte

A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte (1884) – Georges Seurat

The latest episode concerns the painting above by Georges Seurat…but the podcast episodes cover a wide variety of artists and artworks ranging from Mark Rothko, Mary Cassatt, Ansel Adams, Jasper Johns, Yoko Ono and Richard Serra… I have always loved history, and placing the work in context brings it so much more alive…. (One of my secret wishes is to go on a gallery tour of Florence with art critic and journalist Andrew Graham-Dixon….!!!!!)

‘On Nature

When you find yourself in gloom

Take time to watch Nature in bloom

The beauty around can give you delight

And your soul will slowly open to light!

 

Watch the loveliness of the clean azure sky

Enjoy the V formation of birds flying high

Sit back and listen to Nature’s delightful sounds

In her company, all your sadness drowns

 

Look at the trees with fluttering leaves

Feel the breeze that roams through fields

Count the bees that carry the cargo of honey

Thrilled you’ll be by Nature’s magic symphony!’

Valsa George

As ever, I hope you have found something of interest and to inspire you,

Take care,

C

(If you would like to see work-in-progress please follow me on social media:

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or for more of my ramblings, arty news, offers and the occasional extra video, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…)

 

 

 

 

 

Something for the Weekend…

‘The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?

Alice: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret.

All the best people are.’

Lewis Caroll

…and so this strange time goes on; life is taken one day at a time…no plans made, no anticipation of forthcoming delights…confined as we are to our immediate surroundings… I am lucky in that, for the most part, my daily routine has changed little, although I will soon know every blade of grass, clump of cow parsley and stand of reeds…let alone, being enthralled to the ongoing weird triangle that is the two swans and a goose that have taken up residence along my stretch of river…

Always happiest out of doors, be that by the river, or, when we are able, further afield to such inspirational places as Morston, Norfolk… My art reflects this love; loose expressive mark making and washes, capturing the experience of being in the elements…as in these small artworks inspired by the wild Cornish coast…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I am not usually drawn to ‘interior’ subjects; however, the limitations on our movements has brought this genre into focus…and for me, someone who captures the small moments, the everyday scenes, the details and most importantly, the light, is Johannes Vermeer..

Image result for Vermeer Pouring Milk

          The Milkmaid – Johannes Vermeer 

and I found this documentary fascinating – seeing his use of colour and highlights, and his manipulation of composition to direct the viewer’s eye…(admittedly the introduction seems to go on a bit, but there are wonderful images of light and reflections so bear with it….)…

Someone who is most definitely inspired by the outdoors – the ‘lines of the landscape’, the textures and details is this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ Sarah Broome

Sarah Broome
Sarah Broome

Sarah loves exploring…often highlighting the ‘overlooked’ features such as the lines of the ‘wheelings’ (as I call them) which remind me so much of my childhood…

Sarah Broome
Sarah Broome

Creative from an early age, the only formal art education Sarah has is a GCSE in Art & Design – most of what she now makes or does is entirely self-taught. Photography was her main passion until around four years ago, when she decided to pick up a paintbrush…and the rest is history as they say…(although she admits that photography will always be her favourite medium because ‘it’s a here and now moment, capturing time and places.’

Sarah likes experimenting across a whole range of mediums – including textiles…and as someone who can’t sew, stitch or embroider for toffee, and whose only attempt at ‘felting’ ended in disaster, I am always hugely admiring of those who master the art… And, depending on what medium/process she is using, determines whether she works in her studio, a little shed at the bottom of her garden…or her comfy sofa…!!

Sarah Broome
Sarah Broome

I love the way Sarah has combined the soft washes with the thread – highlighting the detail with a fabulous colour selection…the composition invites the viewer to try catch a glimpse through the ‘foliage’…

Sarah Broome
Sarah Broome

When asked who her favourite artists are…well, like most of us, Sarah’s list is long; from Picasso to Man Ray, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the MacDonald sisters…to a favourite of mine also, Joan Eardley. Current artists that Sarah admires range from her brother Stephen Bithell, Clare Wellesley-Smith, mixed media artist Harriet Peachy, Henny Latul and Dana Ingesson

Sarah Broome
Sarah Broome

 

Sarah Broome
Sarah Broome

I love the idea of combining mono-printing with stitching – it might even tempt me to have a go…which, bearing in mind I can’t even sew buttons on, is saying something….

Sarah Broome
Sarah Broome

Sarah began wet felting last year; a spin-off from her experiments with eco-dyeing and printing…and she makes the most beautiful objects from the felt – I particularly like the colour combination of the right hand small pot, as well as the image as a whole, (her photography skills put to fabulous use…unlike my ‘click and hope’ approach…), the blue of the background and the wicker basket highlighting her work to great effect! (A trick I might have to pinch…)

Sarah Broome
Sarah Broome

…and you have to love the small details and choice of colours above…

Sarah Broome
Sarah Broome

…and, always a sucker for a beautiful scarf or shawl, this one Sarah made is fabulous…

Do take a look at Sarah’s Instagram feed where you can see more of her beautiful work and wonderful images, including her photo of a jar of ‘gobstoppers’…it’s not what you think!!

And, as ever, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sarah for allowing me to show her work and for taking the time to answer my questions, it’s always appreciated!!

Well, we have had ‘interiors’ and landscapes: another subject that I dabble in occasionally is ‘florals’…inspired by the wonderful Jean Haines (I was lucky enough to attend one of her workshops a couple of years ago…)

Every so often I daub,closely following Jean’s generous teaching methods…

…and when my mother asked for a painting as a Christmas present…

So it’s always fascinating discovering other artists who paint floral in this loose, expressive manner…and I have recently become addicted to watching Fabio Cembranelli’s YouTube channel and his various demonstrations…

…and talking, as I was, of the ‘overlooked’ and flowers…

‘What a diversity of creative wanderers – Weeds. I enjoy their beauty and variety, and do nothing

to reap their rewards. I neither hoe, nor plant, nor water, nor fertilise, nor prune. They

come and go in lovely profusion as the seasons move. Often a pleasure, sometimes a pain in

the wrong place; and always an example of the wondrous assertion of Being.’

Mike Garofalo

As ever, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you….

Take care,

C

P.S. I have just looked back to see that I have written over thirty ‘Something for the Weekend’ posts – that’s a lot of fabulous artists to check out, books to read and podcasts, videos, poems and radio programmes to inspire you…why not have a browse through my back catalogue of posts….

(If you want to see work-in-progress please follow my social media;

Instagram: www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter: www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or for even more of my ramblings, arty news, offers and the occasional video demonstration, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…)

 

Something for the Weekend…

The river itself portrays humanity precisely, with its tortuous windings,

its accumulation of driftwood, its unsuspected depths, and its crystalline shallows,

singing in the Summer sun. Barriers may be built across its path, but they bring only power,

as the conquering of an obstacle is always sure to do.

Sometimes when the rocks and stone-clad hills loom large ahead, and eternity itself

would be needed to carve a passage, there is an easy way round. The discovery of it

makes the river sing with gladness and turns the murmurous deeps to living water,

bright with ripples and foam.’

Old Rose and Silver – Myrtle Reed

…another day, another week passes…as I write this, we are in ‘day 42’ of the lockdown… Hands up, I have to admit to not watching the news; not the short bulletins, the corona updates nor the rolling news channels…trying to determine what is accurate reporting and what is fake news or just scare-mongering is just too ………… (I’ll let you fill the blank in…) so I walk to the river…with all of its ‘windings’ and ‘unsuspected depths’…to listen to it ‘sing’…

I count my blessings; the ability to walk daily by the river…to sit awhile, to observe…to listen… Apparently last Sunday, 3rd May, was ‘International Dawn Chorus Day’ – there seems to be ‘Days’ for some pretty random stuff nowadays but this ‘Day’ is pure joy…..

I continue to flit from one thing to another, butterfly-like, well, perhaps not as graceful, but you know what I mean, unable to focus for long.. from daily collages in my sketchbook…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…to dabbling with individual collages…with the idea of float mounting…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…to dabbling with watercolour and inks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
‘Morning Mists…’ – Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Just about the only thing I haven’t dabbled with is acrylics… I love watercolour and inks, even charcoals, pastels and collage, but every so often I think I should attempt acrylics again – (I know, it makes no sense…)  but then I procrastinate, saying ‘oh well, I really would need to cover the carpet with plastic, I haven’t got the space (???)’ when really it’s because acrylics are a medium I struggle with…. but I love some of the work created with acrylics and discovering artists who utilise the properties of this material, (along with other mixed media) in ways that I can only dream of…

…which is where this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ Joanne Last comes in…

Joanne Last
Joanne Last

 

Joanne Last
Weathered Series – Joanne Last

 

Joanne Last
Joanne Last

Joanne is inspired by her surroundings, whether that be a wild coastline, or a building site with its attendant scaffolding and hoardings etc… She aims not to produce a representation of the view, but to produce her ‘experience’ of the place ‘enhanced by degrees of abstraction and an emotive use of colour.’ Equally, the tactility of the materials plays an important role; ‘the physical application’ and the ‘mark making’ and the picture surface.’

Joanne Last
Joanne Last

The colours are so luscious… Joanne’s choice of palettes; from the more earth tones brought to life with the flashes of orange, through to the blue hues, immediately transport me to different locales…

Joanne Last
Joanne Last

Joanne works intuitively, often experimentally, using additional material such as sand, silver and gold pigment, tissue paper and collage elements – (I knew there was a reason I was drawn to her work) – to enrich the surface, ‘as if I were trying to sculpt the image out of the canvas…’  You’re in good company Joanne; wasn’t it Michelangelo who said ‘The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material…’

Joanne Last
Joanne Last

And no scroll through Joanne’s Instagram feed would be complete without a peek into her sketchbook…

Joanne Last
Lilac Landscape – Joanne Last

And although ‘Lilac Landscape’ is a pastel work…I LOVE it !! The colours, the textures, the suggestion of the landscape…fab-u-lous…

Do take a look at Joanne’s Instagram feed and website where you will find work-in-progress and her latest works for sale…

As ever, I would like to thank Joanne for agreeing to participate…I am always very appreciative of all the featured artists’ generosity…

Unable to get outside; to walk in the countryside, to explore, to visit places, I am, like a lot of you I am sure, ‘visiting’ places via the internet… I always like to see what painting is ‘Picture of the Month’ on the National Gallery website…and May’s artwork is Van Gogh’s ‘A Wheatfield, with Cypresses’…

…which reminded me of my visit to the ‘Meet Vincent van Gogh’ Experience last year when we were in Valencia…

Surrounded by images, sitting, or laying on bean bags in my case, immersed in the works and words…(forgive my wonky camera work…it’s not easy holding the Ipad whilst lying down, trying to look around and take it all in….)

For a much clearer idea….here is the Van Gogh Museum website page….

So, for now, I shall continue to flit from sketchbook to collage, from watercolour….to taking photos, writing…feeding my creativity when and where I can…

‘If the river has a soul, it’s a peaceful one. If it has a lesson to impart, that lesson is

Patience. There will be drought it says; there will be  floods; the ice will form; the ice will melt;

the water will flow and blend into the river’s brackish mouth then join the ocean…

endlessly, forever.’

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – Therese Ann Fowler

As always, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you…

Take care,

C

(If you would like to see work-in-progress, please follow me on social media:

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or if you would like more of my musings, arty news, ramblings, discounts and the occasional extra video, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter….

 

Something for the Weekend…

‘History, you see, is like the interlocking wheels turning in a ticking-thing.

Something unexpected happens, some sort of hiccup

the wheels are jogged…and then they set off again,

beating out the time in a new pattern.’

How to Break a Dragon’s Heart – Cressida Cowell

‘…some sort of hiccup…the wheels are jogged…’ seems an apt description of the world at the moment (yes,I know, it’s a big hiccup…) New routines, new ways of ‘doing’… In some respects, our worlds have shrunk, confined to our own locale; in other ways, the internet and social media are expanding our horizons…discovering fresh methods of connecting… all of which, at times, can become overwhelming… Exhortations to use ‘this time’  to be creative,to learn new things – a language, to play an instrument, to bake, to be painting and creating nonstop – can be both a blessing and a curse, to coin a phrase…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Almost a ritual, my daily ‘river’ walks are my comfort; life goes on,…things change – ‘beating out the time in a new pattern….’ (Cressida Cowell) I am aware of a heightened sense of ‘noticing’… rose-hued mornings, blankets of diamonds scattering with each stride, ripples of sun and clouds…dandelion seeds, soft as kisses blown on the breeze…reeds quivering with the water’s drift…each a part of the whole…

‘When we try to pick out anything by itself,

we find it hitched to everything else

in the Universe…’

John Muir

The ‘noticings’  emerge in my work, be that in my writing, or art – colours, marks, textures…details…intuitive responses… A favourite artist of mine, Andy Goldsworthy responds to the landscape in a much more ‘hands on’ instinctive way…

Natural materials, wood, stone, shells etc and their attendant muted colours appeal to me; most of my work is in a limited palette, none of which is bright…so it might appear odd that what first attracted me to this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ Sarah Jennings, was her use of colour…

Sarah Jennings Artist
Sarah Jennings Artist

Sarah has always been creative, loving to draw and paint. Although she took Art ‘O’ level, and yes, I remember them, the law beckoned and Sarah went on to become a solicitor – which left little time to paint… It was only after the birth of her daughter and subsequently working part time, that she took painting up again as a hobby. Twelve years ago, after the birth of her son, Sarah took a career break and was able to focus on painting more seriously… going to classes both local and regional.

Sarah Jennings Artist
Sarah Jennings Artist

Sarah admits to having lots of favourite artists, and to discovering new ones almost daily! Cezanne ranks highly on her list of favourites, whilst contemporary artists David Mankin, Kurt Jackson, David Tress and Lewis Noble also feature strongly. She particularly likes their ‘connection’ with the landscape.

Sarah Jennings Artist
Sarah Jennings Artist

I love the zingy freshness to her Sarah’s work, it really pops!! And what fabulous colour contrasts; that mauve/lilac against that almost lime green!!

Sarah’s inspirations come from the landscape… ‘rural landscape, allotments and gardens all appeal. I like to be in the landscape and enjoy the changing light and seasons. I am not interested in making a representational copy of the landscape, being more interested in the mood and atmosphere. I’m a great fan of trees and rivers. I love organic shapes, colour and texture.’

Sarah Jennings Artist
Sarah Jennings Artist

The bright blue in the work above is fab – just enough to really make the painting sing! And I am always a sucker for interesting marks and forms…

Like many artists, Sarah initially worked at the kitchen table, before migrating to the ‘spare room,’ eventually upgrading to a studio at the bottom of the garden…(sigh, I can but dream)…. She admits to being a messy artist, but says that if you check out her Instagram page, there is a video of the studio looking all neat and tidy, with work on display – ready for visitors;  she regularly opens it up during the summer for both the Rutland and Peterborough Open Studio events…

Sarah Jennings Artist
Sarah Jennings Artist

I usually shy away from using yellows in my work, but this one is just so joyous, I can’t help but smile at it…

Away from art, Sarah likes to listen to lots of different genres of music – classical, jazz and folk, as well as some that is on her daughter’s current playlist…. Equally eclectic is Sarah’s choice of reading material; from novels for her book club, through a fair amount of non-fiction and poetry, particularly in relation to the landscape or environment. Robert MacFarlane is a favourite author, along with Alexandra Harris, whose book Weatherland about, unsurprisingly, the weather and literary/artist responses to it, is also on Sarah’s chosen reading list, along with a myriad of art books: ‘there are never too many art books….’ – a sentiment I whole-heartedly agree with!!

Sarah Jennings Artist
Ocean I – Sarah Jennings

Do take a look at Sarah’s Instagram feed and website, where you will find many more examples of her fabulous work…

As always, I would like to say a huge thank you to Sarah for agreeing to be part of this feature and for taking the time to respond to my questions…it is very much appreciated!!

Unable to venture far, I have taken to re-visiting my small library; this week’s book of choice is…

(Apologies for the lighting, it was a very dark, dank, grey, wet day…)

The book is designed to appeal to both beginners and more experienced artists in this medium. It includes an appreciation of the materials and techniques of some of the masters, including Turner, Constable, Lorrain etc, plus step-by-step instructions based on the methods and an insight into the principles…

Jointly written by Joyce H. Townsend and Tony Smibert, it was Smibert’s work that appealed to me… An Australian artist, he blends both western and eastern traditions: although he does paint in the ‘old masters’ style, it is his more minimal and contemporary work that I am drawn to…

Image result for tony smibert images

Tony Smibert

Image result for tony smibert images

Tony Smibert

Do take a look at his website to see more of his work…and read about the philosophy of art from aikido… I also like this quote on his site; ‘ See a thing clearly and state it plainly,’ – John Ruskin

‘If we move too fast,

we’ll break things.

If we move too slow,

we’ll miss things.

And if we don’t move

at all, we won’t see things

for how truly beautiful

they are.’

R. M. Drake

As ever, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you; if you have a favourite place to walk, please drop me a line and let me know why you love it!!

Take care,

C

(If you would like to see work-in-progress please follow me on social media..

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or for more arty news, ramblings, inspirations, discounts and offers, plus the occasional video, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter)