Try, Try & Try Again….

Having almost run out of white acrylic paint – obviously calls for a shopping trip – I have returned to the watercolour and inks… I love working with these; the way they flow and pool, the way they interact and the ‘happy accidents’ that arise really get my creative juices flowing…

I am slightly obsessed with indigo and the sepia FW Acrylic Ink and in my favourite square Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook I feel free to relax and let go, creating loose spontaneous work…

…then I try to do the same on ‘proper’ paper, you know, heavyweight watercolour paper……and everything goes out of the window…my arm feels constrained and all that spontaneity is gone….. It doesn’t seem to matter how often I tell myself it’s just a piece of paper there is a voice in my head screaming ‘yes, but it costs £6, £7, £8/sheet or whatever…’ so immediately there is the pressure to create something worthwhile….and the creative juices dry up….. I know I am not alone in feeling like this and I know it’s all in my head…. (just to say I am trying really hard not to add a ‘but’ here…)

However, having been accepted to take part in this September’s Melbourne Festival, the need to produce work has spurred me to keep on trying…practice makes perfect as the saying goes…. so another day, a different paper….

This time I am using Cass Art mixed media paper…

… I know the paper is not as expensive as single sheets of say Saunders Waterford or Arches watercolour paper, but it is still a decent quality and weight…so I continued…but I couldn’t understand why the colours weren’t matching my sketchbook work…. until I realised that although I was using Indigo, the sketchbook studies were done using Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour whilst I was working with the Daniel Smith Indigo watercolour on the paper…. same name but different…

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the vibrant Daniel Smith watercolours…but in this instance I prefer the Winsor & Newton shade, especially the way it reacts with the sepia ink… so change of pigment and on I go….trying…

 

…here’s a Daniel Smith Indigo study…

…and here is a Winsor & Newton Indigo initial wash…which I like as it is…

….I will keep on trying…and eventually I will produce some pieces I am happy enough to mount and frame…..meanwhile…..I will add the rest to my ever-growing ‘reject’ pile or should that be ‘learning’ pile….

 

 

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Another Day, Another Medium…

A new day, a different medium…yesterday was experimenting with mono printing (I will keep trying with this…), today I am continuing to experiment with acrylics… Until very recently I worried about this flitting from one medium to another, worried that it would appear I hadn’t found my artistic voice, whatever that is, but I have come to realise this is all part of my make up… I have always been a ‘heart on my sleeve’ kind of person (my Mum always says that my face gives me away…whatever mood I am in…).  My work is all about my experiences of the landscape, my response to it….and my mood…which leads to my choice of medium…watercolour, ink, charcoal or acrylics…so I am learning, slowly, to let this particular hang-up go….

Anyway, onwards with today’s efforts…. (with apologies for the photos, it is very dull here today…)

I might start with a plan but that usually goes out of the window and the work becomes more of a reaction to the marks I make…

 

I do find working on several pieces stops me from fiddling…..

 

 

I even tried different sizes…

…definitely need more practise with the larger sizes…..

Anyhow, this is today’s progress….one or two might make the cut for the Melbourne Festival….

I should add that whilst painting I have been listening to artist Rebecca Crowell’s podcasts via  The Messy Studio…. not sure what my choice of episodes says about me… ‘Habits of Successful Artists,’ ‘Being Professional,’ ‘Finding Personal Voice’ and ‘Cleaning Up Your Mindset an Attitude’….

What do you like listening to whilst working?

 

A Change Is As Good As A Rest…(and all that..)

Having been accepted to take part in this September’s Melbourne (Derbyshire) Festival I need to get creative…..! However, after having had a little break from my artistic endeavours – and it doesn’t seem to matter how short or long the break – that fear of ‘I will never be able to create anything worthy again’ kicks in…so rather than jumping straight in and picking up my paint brush (and produce work not up to my expectations….) I decided to take a different approach, to have a change…

I had seen this low budget mono printing tutorial on YouTube and thought I would have a go…..something different, no pressure, no expectations…

So here’s my attempts..

Getting ready…..

 

First attempt…

I found it worked best with a clean piece of greaseproof paper for each print…

 

I prefer these…

 

and this one is okay once I had rotated it….

Not sure if this will  lead to anything but at least I went into the studio and got creative…onwards and upwards now!

 

Peaks and Troughs… Take 2…

Well if yesterday was a ‘trough’ day creativity wise…today is most definitely a bit of a ‘peak’ moment confidence wise….. My application to take part in this year’s Melbourne Festival has only gone and been accepted!!!!!! Am sitting typing this in a state of disbelief….although I will admit to running round the house shrieking when I got the email….

 

 

Must admit now though, that blind panic is setting in…..

Having never done a festival before have you any tips for this first timer……????

Peaks and Troughs…

With all the travelling over the past few weeks, I have, at times, felt like an itinerant salesman…living out of a suitcase…. That’s not to say that some of the travelling wasn’t enjoyable… a week in Scotland…bathed in glorious sunshine, followed by a few days in the Lake District with equally good weather was wonderful…

…and with all these fabulous vistas I should feel inspired to draw, paint, create….. but…. I am definitely in a creative trough… I know it is all part of the cycle, of the process so I am trying not to give myself a hard time…..but…..

Anyways, after landing back home for a few days and catching up on all the inevitable chores, I took myself down to the river…trying a different sort of creativity…jotting down notes about what I saw and heard…

Dark, flowing river,

Ripples, slowly winding their way downstream,

Smaller ripples forming a stationary pool within the ribbon..

Heron gliding in on arched wings,

Reeds bending in the breeze,

Lily pads floating in circles, anchored

Cow parsley swaying,

Swallows performing aerial acrobatics

Skimming the water,

Willow dipping her branches like a washerwoman.

At first I thought it was oilseed rape but no…

Buttercups, swaying, golden, drinking in the sun…

And always, the incessant chatter…

swallows swooping across the meadow…

…and desire paths…

Worn flat by people…dog walkers, fisherman, children…

…and hiding in the shadows, like a shoal of fish, lily pads,

Furled, waiting to uncurl…

Pure white dead nettles…clinging on

Despite the detritus of humans…

Moorhen, or is it a coot, gathering material,

Nesting along the river bank,

Hidden amongst the grasses, reeds and nettles,

As the heron performs another leisurely flypast…

 

At least I feel as if I have done something creative today…

Further Friday Fun….

I know….my posts are like buses… you wait ages for one and then two arrive almost together…

Anyhow,  remembering that Friday is supposed to be my ‘play day’…although I actually started dabbling with these yesterday… I have continued experimenting…

Working in mixed media I am looking at ways of capturing the ethereal quality of sky and water, interspersed with bird flight/song… apologies for sounding pretentious…

I began in my trusty square sketchbook from Seawhite of Brighton using Daniel Smith Indigo watercolour and sepia FWAcrylic ink applied over white oil pastel…

Going darker…

Today I have been working on Cass Art Mixed Media paper 250gsm…

…tearing it up to make the similar portrait style…

I do work with quite a lot of water and I found the paper started to curl which made it a bit awkward when applying the ink…(I am lazy and don’t stretch, hence I like 250/300lb paper)…however, I like the high white, slightly rough textured surfaced and the curling did result in some interesting effects…and they are drying flat.  Not sure where these are going but will continue to experiment!!

What is your preferred surface/paper…?

Fingers Crossed…..

Well I’ve done it…

I recently had a mentoring session with the lovely Helen Hallows – I have been on one of her sketchbook courses and I like her style and philosophy – and as I had been stuck in a rut I thought I would give the mentoring a whirl….. and what a session it turned out to be….informative, constructive, supportive and encouraging…

Besides making me question and consider my art practice Helen was very generous with her advice, critique and suggestions…..one of which was to encourage me to apply to take part in the Melbourne Festival – 2018 Art & Architecture Trail on 15th/16th September…. so this morning I have submitted my application along with some images of my work…

 

‘Blustery Dale’ – Acrylic

‘Snowstorm’ – Acrylic

‘Storm Rising’ – Acrylic

 

‘Upland Squall’ – Acrylic

‘Gritstone Sentinel’ – Watercolour & Ink

 

‘Path to Higger Tor’ – Mixed Media

 

‘Carl Wark’ – Mixed Media

I will now have to wait until the end of May to hear if I have been successful…..so I have a nervous wait ahead of me…    but it’s all part of the plan to get my work ‘out there’, to push me out of my comfort zone, to hopefully get a few sales…..and to have more faith in myself!!

(P.S. with my usual technophobia..I have no idea why the titles aren’t centred below the work…they are on my page…..)