Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘The River’s Tale’

‘Twenty Bridges from Tower to Kew –

Wanted to know what the River knew,

Twenty Bridges or twenty-two,

For they were young, and the Thames was old

And this is the tale that River told:-


“I walk my beat before London Town,

Five hours up and seven down.

Up I go till I end my run

At Tide-end-town, which is Teddington.

Down I come with the mud in my hands

And plaster it over the Maplin Sands……”

Rudyard Kipling


Another river, one with a richer history than ‘my’ small waterway; The Thames, lifeblood of London, with stories of seafarers and armadas, traders, tales of murder and mystery, mud-larkers and much, much more woven into its tidal waves…inspiration for poets, artists and musicians alike…

From James Abbott MacNeill Whistler’s Nocturne: Blue and Gold...

….to Ewan MacColl’s ode to a lost love in ‘Sweet Thames Softly Flow‘…

It’s always good to have a change of scenery, even if just for a short while; London is so very different from my ‘everyday life’…vibrant, bustling, dynamic…all the usual traits of big city living…so much to see, to do…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist                                                                      St.Paul’s Cathedral

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
The British Museum
Tate Modern
Fons Americanus – Kara Walker

Above video is a work by Peter Sedgley at the Tate Modern….

…and there’s the opportunity to reacquaint myself with an old favourite at The National Gallery...

Rembrandt, Self Portrait at The National Gallery
Rembrandt, Self Portrait at The National Gallery

Portraits aren’t usually my ‘thing’ but I love, love, love this one, and sat quite happily…as I say, reacquainting myself with the quality of Rembrandt’s work, the luminous nature of the face (my photo really doesn’t do it justice)…waiting for him to speak to me, to impart some nugget of wisdom…if I could have one portrait on my walls at home, this would be the one….Whose portrait would you love to have on your walls?

There’s also the chance to be part of history…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…watching the… Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…performance of Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap‘, the world’s longest running play…. I cannot  possibly reveal ‘whodunnit’ as we are all sworn to secrecy…..

Arrivals and departures are part of each journey; one filled with anticipation, the other with a tinge of sadness….and St. Pancras Station, London has its share of artistic homages to these poignant moments…from Tracey Emin’s ‘I want my time with you’…

Tracey Emin

…to Paul Day‘s gigantic sculpture ‘The Meeting Place’…a 9 metre high bronze…evoking that sense of romance as the couple embrace under the giant clock…(remind you of something….?)

Paul Day, The Meeting Place

…with a relief around the base depicting images from the history of the train and the Tube network…

Paul Day

And no round up of the artwork on display at St. Pancras Station would be complete without Martin Jennings‘ statue of Sir John Betjeman, poet and long time admirer and advocate of Victorian architecture…(if you click on the link to Jennings’ website you can see a much clearer image than my poor attempt below…my excuse is, it was night, the lights were bright…shadows cast everywhere…)

Martin Jennings, Sir John Betjeman

Consisting of a 2.10 metre bronze sculpture on a Cumbrian slate disc inscribed with some lines from a poem by John Betjeman…

‘And in the shadowless unclouded glare,

Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where,

A misty sealine meets the wash of air…’


Where do you love to visit for some ‘big city’ inspiration?

The saying  ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is certainly appropriate for this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’…Rachel Cronin

Rachel Cronin
Rachel Cronin Artist

Drawn to her Instagram feed by the expressive, loose quality of the work, the mark making plus her sketchbooks, it was when I read the ‘About‘ section on her website that the dots began to connect as to why I was so attracted to Rachel’s work; she loves  watercolour too, but she’s not a purist either, loving to combine the medium with ink, gouache and crayon…she follows the seasons too, and talks of fallow and fertile times…which, as those of you who follow me on social media will know, is something that resonates with me also…

Rachel Cronin
Rachel Cronin

Rachel cites artists such as Kurt Jackson, Joan Eardley, David Tress, Barbara Rae, John Piper and Cy Twombly as her inspirations, although she acknowledges that it could be any number of different people – she is drawn to work that shares ‘a sense of unencumbered paint application and free mark making…’ which is something she strives to achieve in her own work.

Being the visual platform that Instagram is, I was immediately attracted to Rachel’s colour palette and mark making…and I love this combination of two of my favourite shades, along with the marks and textures…

Rachel Cronin
Rachel Cronin

Equally, in the work below, the soft tones contrasted with that bright splash of turquoise, the expressive marks… I find so appealing…

Rachel Cronin
Rachel Cronin

Rachel is inspired by the gentle, rolling landscape of north Oxfordshire, in particular the northern tip of the Cotswolds, with its patchwork fields and bridleways, as well as the more rugged coastline of west Wales, e.g. Borth, with its long, wild beach punctuated at extreme low tide by the petrified tree stumps, Harlech and the Ynyslas nature reserve… She finds the contrasting landscapes equally inspiring, reminding her that ‘we are merely visitors here and that, if we stand still for a minute, the ancient past is only a footstep away’…and that her ‘painting process is a way of making that footstep’….what a beautiful, evocative description…..

In this work, the soft washes and hues transport me to a summer’s evening amongst the heather and bracken strewn hills…

Watercolour gold and purple.jpg

Rachel Cronin

And who doesn’t love a peek into an artist’s sketchbook…..? Talking of books, (a very loose link I admit…..)  Rachel admits to being a bit of a bookworm, with eclectic tastes and a host of ‘comfort reads’ including the Merrily Watkins novels of Phil Rickman, The Secret History  by Donna Tartt and The Rivers of London  books by Ben Aaranovitch. Too many art books to name her favourite, the one that Rachel says ‘keeps her grounded, keeps her thinking about her process and working through the many blocks’ she places in her own way is The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. Rachel finds the technique books by Ann Blockley, Linda Kemp and Cas Holmes great practical guides.

Sketchbook Landscape.jpg

Rachel Cronin

Rachel also works in mixed media, including acrylics, gouache and dry media. She states that she ‘could not be without her Inktense crayons or her Caran d’Ache wax crayons as she finds them fantastic for adding ‘pops of colour to any kind of painting’. Rachel also admits to having a ‘very special stick that came from a tree in the garden’ which she uses to scratch into her work, as well as for applying ink and paint – ‘it’s only a stick but I would be devastated to lose it’ – I know how she feels; I have certain tools that, although nothing out of the ordinary, are like putting a glove on, they feel just right in your grasp, and you know intuitively the kind of marks they make…

I love the soft, gentle feel to this work below…and I also love the way she has co-ordinated the image setting…an idea I might just have to try…

The Quiet of Winter (2018).jpg

Rachel Cronin

I am endlessly fascinated to see and hear about artists studios and Rachel’s is no exception; she works in her parents’ conservatory where, initially she attempted to keep the ‘mess’ to a minimum, but now admits to having things ‘spilling off the shelves’… She is an ‘advocate for using whatever space you have – you don’t need a big studio space, although that would be lovely and I wouldn’t turn it down.’ Rachel has ‘painted on a table in the living room, the kitchen and in the garden’…even on her bed, although she wouldn’t recommend this, discovering that indigo does not wash out of a white linen duvet cover….

Rachel Cronin
Rachel Cronin

Do take a look at Rachel’s Instagram feed which is full of wonderful images of her work in progress, and her inspirations, along with her website…where you can see more of her finished works, plus a further peek into her sketchbook….

I would like to thank Rachel for taking the time to answer my questions, it’s very much appreciated!!

New art materials are always exciting and I can’t wait to experiment with the Art Graf graphite powder from L. Cornelissen & Son and the Nitram Liquid charcoal from Cass Art…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Something else that is inspiring me is my small collage sketchbook… along with lots of others it would appear from the viewing figures on Twitter…

So inspiring I have started another such sketchbook…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Back from the ‘Big Smoke’…my small river flows on, under rose-hued mornings, crisp with the crackle of frost…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist‘This morning the ground was sparkling

With thousands of gritty jewels

In the lowlight they were gleaming

Amongst the frosty icy pools…’

Elia Michael


I hope you have enjoyed this week’s post and have found some ideas to inspire you…and maybe have a change of scenery…if so, please let me know…

Enjoy your weekend,

Take care,



(If you would like to get up-to-date studio news, art info, offers and more of my ramblings please sign up, via the link opposite, to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter.)





Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist


‘Bare branches of each tree

on this chilly January morn

look so cold so forlorn…

waiting for each who wait to see

new life as warm sun and breeze will blow,

like magic, unlock springs sap to flow,

buds, new leaves, then blooms will grow.”

–  Nelda Hartmann,  January Morn

….and in the blink of an eye, here we are, more than halfway through January, with its usual mix of weather; dreary, dank days interspersed with mornings of the brightest blue…each highlighting the filigree fingers of bare trees…waiting for the magic…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Those of you who read my last ‘Something for the Weekend‘ post will have noticed the watery theme running through it…and one of my links this week continues this connection…(again, this is via BBC Radio so I am uncertain as to whether you will need to create an account/sign in…apologies)

A lot of my work is inspired by my love of the north Norfolk coast; when we lived in Lincolnshire, it was only a hop and a skip away, so was a place we often visited…a watery landscape; marshlands, sea lavender, geese, clinking of the boat rigging, big skies, tides…

Norfolk Memories Carolyn J Roberts ArtistNorfolk Memories – Carolyn J Roberts

The BBC Radio programme – ‘Art of Now, episode; The Tide of the Staithe’ relates both the beauty and danger of this stretch of coastline…in the programme Kevin Crossley-Holland brings a taste of what this landscape offers – from the sand dunes, salt marshes, shimmering creeks, wind song and bird cries through to the people who live and work alongside the time-clock that is the tides…with their tales of the hazardous nature of the coast, as well as the delights… A truly evocative programme that conveys a sense of what I find so inspiring…

Someone who is equally inspired by the landscape that surrounds her is this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ Cheryl Ann Williams

Cheryl Ann Williams

I was drawn to Cheryl’s feed by her colour palette, mark making and use of collage…all things close to my own heart…

Cheryl Ann Williams                                                    Cheryl Ann Williams

What’s not to love – favourite indigo, rich green gold, turquoise, mono-printing, collage and torn edges…?

Cheryl generously agreed to answer some questions from me – a random Instagrammer – so I am very appreciative, thank you!!

Cheryl lives in the Clun Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Welsh borders, a land of rolling uplands and river valleys, ancient earthworks and drovers’ pathways…. She states on her website that her work ‘is inspired by the Welsh border landscape of her home and aims to capture her experience of walking in its beauty.’ Coincidentally, her current project focuses on a stretch of river around five miles from the Welsh border – a lady after my own heart, we have much in common…

Cheryl Ann Williams                                                    Cheryl Ann Williams

I find this colour palette so fresh and vibrant and love the marks she makes by dragging through the acrylic paint….

Cheryl lists Richard Diebenkorn as one of her favourite artists, indeed, there is a quote by Diebenkorn on her website – ‘Appreciate the conflict between abstraction and reality.’ Alongside Diebenkorn, she also cites Willem de Kooning as another influence, particularly with regard to his application of paint, and Pierre Bonnard and Barbara Rae for their handling of colour. Exhibitions by Ivon Hitchens and Elizabeth Cummings have also inspired Cheryl to experiment further with her work, both in terms of composition and abstraction.

                                                                                              ‘Restless Edge 1’ – acrylic on canvas

Cheryl Ann Williams

Like me, Cheryl loves to read (as I say, so much in common…) and has a large collection of art books. She is currently reading ‘Ninth Street Woment’ by Mary  Gabriel- the story of five women who dared to enter the male-dominated world of twentieth century abstract painting, not as muses, but as artists…Cheryl says that, although huge, it is very good – another one to add to my list!

Cheryl Ann Williams                                                   Cheryl Ann Williams

Cheryl uses sketchbooks for a variety of purposes, she admits to having several on the go; pocket-sized ones she takes out on her walks, project books where she develops her ideas, random ones for playing and larger ones for life-drawing. I love this image of one of her sketchbooks – mark making, textures, experiments and the useful notion of using paint sample cards to test colour combinations…

I always love a peek into artists’ studios…

Cheryl Ann Williams                                                    Cheryl Ann Williams

I too, have Ikea shelving, but I must admit to having ‘plan chest’ envy on seeing Cheryl’s – I think I will have to trawl around the second hand stores!

Cheryl Ann Williams                                                    Cheryl Ann Williams

Cheryl works in a variety of mediums – mainly acrylics or oils for large canvas pieces – but she also loves Daniel Smith watercolours (!!!) on rough watercolour paper, especially the way they granulate. She is also exploring the properties of some  recently acquired Liquid Charcoal – something I am keen to try!

‘Feel the Beat’ – acrylic on board – Cheryl Ann Williams

Along with her use of colours, textures and mark making, I find Cheryl’s work has a lyrical quality to it, redolent of the rolling landscape she loves so much – so do take a look at her Instagram page or visit her website for more information!!

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Promise of Spring’

“The sky is dark and sullen

The trees look so forlorn

The days are short, a chill sets in

A winter day is born.

I yearn for spring so long ago

A day spent in the park

Among the blooming daffodil

The wren and meadowlark.

I long for gentle days of rain

A warm breeze in the air

The fragrance of a lilac tree

A day so ever fair.

Beneath the dead decaying leaves

A bud does wait anew

To reach its arms up to the sky

When winter days are through.

Beyond the bitter winds that blow

A breeze awaits to greet

To bring in sun-kissed goldenrod

And tender grass so sweet.

Just as the winter fades away

To this one hope I cling

Our God who brings the winter wind

Will surely bring the spring.”

Marilyn Ferguson

Anticipation is growing of the coming Spring but it is important not to overlook the beauty that can be found in the apparent ‘dormant winter’….small, perfectly formed jewels, often unnoticed, but always shining….

Carolyn J Roberts


Thank you for reading; I hope you found something to interest and inspire you!

Enjoy the weekend,

Take care,


If you would like to receive more arty news, offers, studio talk or just more of  my ramblings, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter using the form opposite.

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A Gentle Start….

‘Our intention creates our reality,’

Wayne Dyer

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

December, a month filled with my Instagram Advent Calendar sale, the usual Christmas preparations, festivities and quiet remembrance, has passed, and already January is making inroads into the new year….

I have been slow to get back into making art, only managing a little intuitive splashing of paint…

Time seems to have been spent contemplating, wishing, daring, hoping…planning, setting ‘big rocks’ and intentions, deciding on a ‘word’ for 2020…

One of my ‘big rocks’ for the year is to re-do my website. In the interests of honesty, I noticed that, even after being more active on social media and Pinterest, no sales were achieved from my website bar one, leading me to the conclusion that something needed to be done, hence the re-build… So I have spent time researching options and planning ‘page layouts’….drafting and re-drafting copy, re-taking images of my work, ‘studio shots’ – (huge thanks to my OH), investigating room-setting apps…and, something I really don’t like, looking to take images of myself… I am ‘breaking myself in’ slowly as you can see…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Not being very tech-savvy, this re-building is taking a while…but eventually I will get there…

Other ‘big rocks’ include planning and running workshops and, something that is easier to achieve, the continuing de-cluttering/re-modelling of my studio space….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Deciding on a ‘word’ for 2020 requires reflection, consideration of what I feel holds me back and what I need to move forward, and one of my biggest issues is lack of confidence, so this year the word I have chosen ‘self-belief’…and I recently received an email that demonstrates how I need to have more ‘self-belief’…

Carolyn J Roberts ArtistI had filled the application form in, pressed send and promptly forgot about it, not having any expectations of being successful…just goes to show!

So it’s onwards, making plans, noting dates for applications…as well as developing my art, which is what I want to get back to tomorrow…

If you want more art news, offers or more of my general ramblings, please sign up to receive my monthly(is) newsletter via the form opposite.

Something for the Weekend

Carolyn J Roberts Artist‘January

The days are short,

The sun a spark

Hung thin between

the dark and dark.


The sky is low,

The wind is grey…’

John Updike

….yet, there are hints of colour even on the dreariest of days…

And so a new year, a new decade begins…time, a human concept; the river continues to flow…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist‘Time has no divisions to mark it’s passages, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire pistols’,

Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

The festivities are over, the decorations packed away; intentions for the coming year are set…January…

“The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer.  Minute by minute they lengthen out.  It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change.  It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a
twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour,”
–  Vita Sackville-West

As ever, one of my intentions is to read…and this week’s book is…

The ‘blurb’ on the back cover reads – ‘Accompanied by whales and birds and seals Philip Hoare embarks on an odyssey from suburbia into the unknown, to discover human and animal stories of the sea.

Along the way, he encounters drowned poets and eccentric artists, wild utopians and national heroes – humans who challenge their landbound lives through the animal and the elemental, always drawn back to the water, sometimes fatally, forever lost and found on the infinite sea.’

Regular readers of my posts will know that I love the sea and so understand why this book might appeal to me! Especially when you read descriptive passages such as this:

‘The geese lift off into the sky, sharp black shapes against the white-grey. As they fly across my field of vision, the vapour rolls below them, driven by the light. Layers of mist move one way; others in the opposite direction. Dissolving and reforming, resolving and dissipating, they swirl and dance like the mist on an English river on an autumn morning.

They might be airy icebergs, or the spoutings of spectral whales, or the ragged sails of a ghostly armada. They seem to echo the currents blow. Then behind the white wisps even more attenuated plumes rise and twist like water spouts. There’s so much smoke on the water it looks as though the sea is on fire,’ (p.114, RisingTideFallingStar, Philip Hoare)

Partly biographical, the book is also full of tales and adventures of the sea and insights as to how the water has influenced poets, artists and authors alike!

There appears to be a theme in my selections this week, as my ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ is Nicki Gwynn-Jones…a photographer who, in 2016 moved to Orkney, an island on the 59th parallel, where the wild Atlantic Ocean collides with the equally stormy North Sea… On her website Nicki describes Orkney as a place where ‘life has always been shaped by wind and water.’ She is drawn to the elements; to the tempests, the sea-haar, the flora and fauna…and it was her stunning images that drew me to her feed…

I can only imagine the hours of waiting, crouching, no doubt often in inclement weather, to capture these photos…

Nicki Gwynn-Jones            Nicki Gwynn-Jones

Nicki Gwynn-Jones             Nicki Gwynn-Jones

I love the way Nicki has captured the power, the dance of the waves, in beautiful close up, with the light reflected on it’s mirrored surface…

She also explains on her website how Orkney is a land steeped in mythology and folk tales…and in her images of flowers I can almost imagine the faeries hiding amongst the delicate blooms…

Nicki Gwynn-Jones             Nicki Gwynn-Jones

Nicki Gwynn-Jones             Nicki Gwynn-Jones

Being so far north, Orkney experiences a perpetual twilight in summer; the colours and hues beautifully reflected in Nicki’s work…

Nicki Gwynn-Jones             ‘Sparkles and the red hour’ – Nicki Gwynn-Jones

Nick Gwynn-Jones             ‘…the magic of the red hour…’ – Nicki Gwynn-Jones

January, a time of hibernation, a time to hunker down, but also to anticipate the small signs of Spring…and this photograph is therefore particularly apt…

Nicki Gwynn-Jones             ‘Spring is coming to Orkney!’ – Nick Gwynn-Jones

….and yes, I can also see faeries dancing through the ethereal mists…

My final selection from Nicki’s Instagram feed is this image – whenever I get the opportunity I love beachcombing, gathering treasures… I particularly love the way Nicki’s work highlights the often overlooked details of the landscape, the beauty in the mix of textures and colours…I can almost smell the ocean…

Nicki Gwynn-Jones             ‘Ice on the beach…’ – Nick Gwynn-Jones

Do pop over and follow her Instagram feed as well as her website, where there are galleries including, not just Nicki’s photographs of Orkney, but also images from Harris, the Caingorms as well as Florida!

And the connection between my selections continue with this BBC Radio programme ‘Wild Music‘ – (it’s only available for a limited period; also I am not sure whether you will need  sign in to listen or if it’s available overseas – apologies) – a collaboration between composer Erland Cooper and poet John Burnside…

“Earlier this year, the Scottish poet and writer John Burnside received a CD of Solan Goose by musician and composer Erland Cooper. These “sonic postcards” of Erland’s native Orkney are inspired by local dialect, birds, landscapes and the sea. For John Burnside, it reconnected him with nature in a profound way.

The two meet for the first time on Orkney while Erland is working on the final album of his Orkney trilogy. Braving heavy rain and gale-force winds, Erland takes John to locations that inspire his work.

Scattered across the Orkney islands are some of the UK’s best preserved neolithic monuments, designated a UNESCO world heritage site. John feels a direct connection to the stone-age communities who lived here 5000 years ago, and a sense that those people lived really close to the earth, the sea and the sky. We visit the mysterious Ring of Brodgar, the neolithic village of Skara Brae, a sacred cairn, and the Bay of Skale. John responds by composing five new poems.

Sheltering from the storm, Erland and John entertain each other by swapping their favourite Orkney myths and legends – featuring seal people, a trip to faerie land and disappearing islands. These stories also weave their way into both artists’ work.”

Produced by Victoria Ferran
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Seeing the images from Nicki Gwynn-Jones, hearing Erland Cooper’s haunting music along with John Burnside’s evocative words has made me add Orkney to my bucket list of places to visit!!

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Of winter’s lifeless world each tree

Now seems a perfect part;

Yet each one holds summer’s secret

Deep down within its heart,’

Charles G. Slater


Something for the Weekend…

‘The spirit-world around this world of sense

Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere

Wafts through these early mists and vapours dense

A vital breath of more ethereal air,’

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


And so the year draws slowly to a close; the shortest day approaches…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘No more hurry, hurry,

time now for firelight and for dreaming,

for church bells mingling

with the cold quiet sunlight

And somewhere deep inside of you

a kernel of courage – unfurling

each day, more light,’

Irene Latham


The days become longer; we look forward to the light, to awakening from our winter ‘hibernation’… a hibernation that, for me, involves experimenting, researching, reading…and the book on my reading list this week is…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

American painter Rutenberg takes you behind the studio doors, to explore the making of a painting. He tells of the places, people and experiences that lead to his work. The book also contains techniques, ideas and career advice…always useful!!

I especially love the chapter  ‘Why Landscape?’ – where Rutenberg discusses knowing ‘…your origins. Where do you come from? What place stacked your bones into the shape of you?….My connection to the landscape of South Carolina has nothing to do with nostalgia; it’s much broader than memory. It’s my clear seeing place. A career has many moving parts, but there must be a cable that runs from your soft tissue directly to your clear-seeing place. Every artist needs such a place, for this is where your muse resides…’ Rutenberg, p95, Clear Seeing Place.

The fenlands of Lincolnshire are where I grew up and it is the place that ‘stacked my bones’; I often wonder if these flatlands, that are my ‘clear-seeing place’, are why I feel such affinity for the marshes and coast-line of north Norfolk…lands that stretch to the far horizons… And why, whenever I visit, there is a ‘settling’, an ‘ahhhhhh’ moment…and suddenly, everything becomes much clearer…

My ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ is Lynn Hardaker, a Canadian who lives in Germany and creates journals and collages as well as writing and paintings… Lynn was very generous in answering a few questions, explaining her inspirations and processes…

Lynn Hardaker

I was drawn to her feed because of the muted colour palette of her work, the story telling nature of her collages, the images of barley, (me being a country girl and all…) her collection of stones… (a lady after my own heart)…so it wasn’t a surprise to learn that Lynn draws her inspiration primarily from nature, which she incorporates directly into her artwork; feathers, flowers, bracken…  She also takes inspiration from the places she visits including the north east coast of England where ‘the rocky cliffs, the ever changing sea, and the fossil-filled ground have been a starting point for numerous works.’

Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

I love Lynn’s choice of collage materials; the  mixture of the natural and paper, the calligraphy…plus the limited palette…definitely appeals to my sense of aesthetics…and evokes a sense of history – ‘hinting at what stories might be hidden within.’

Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

When asked which artists inspire her, Lynn named Mark Rothko as one of her all-time favourites, ‘I still remember the punch-in-the-gut I experienced when looking at some of his huge works in person for the first time.’ She also admires a host of contemporary artists, mainly women, quoting Cathy Cullis as an artist whose work ‘has long inspired me. I love that she uses different media and plays with different subject matter. There is an integrity there which I admire.’


Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

I love the muted colour palette of Lynn’s paintings and the layers and textures, the scratchings and scrapings, so I was interested to hear of her process:

‘For years I focussed on painting with oil and cold wax medium on wood panel. I loved the way in which I could replicate the effects of nature on surfaces: erosion, depositing, abrading. But last year I starting suffering headaches from the cold wax medium (actually from the solvent in it, which I tried to control since I made it myself, but was unable to come up with a mixture which didn’t affect me), so I focussed more on collage. I adore making collage and have drawers filled with items I’ve collected on my walks and travels: pebbles, shells, flowers, leaves, feathers, as well as antique letter, and papers which I paint. Recently, I’ve been attempting to incorporate collage techniques into larger works. This has been a challenge, but a rewarding one. As is always the case with art, it’s the process that counts, that’s where we learn and grow as artists.’


Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker


Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

And who doesn’t love a concertina artwork…?


Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

Do pop over and have a look at Lynn’s website to see more of her paintings- definitely worth a visit!!

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s slightly more in-depth ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, and I would like to thank Lynn for allowing me to show her pictures and answering my questions, it’s really appreciated!!

As far as my own work this week – well, I have been concentrating on my Instagram Advent Calendar Sale...

Carolyn J Roberts Artist


Carolyn J Roberts Artist

There has been a lot of interest and some sales, and I would like to thank everyone who has supported me, either by purchasing work or by liking, sharing or re-tweeting, it means such a lot…

This will be the last ‘Something for the Weekend’ post for 2019; I will be taking a break over the festive season but I will be back in January…so for now, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and interest and all the positive feedback and encouraging, kind comments; it is all so very much appreciated!

It just remains for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!!


Best wishes,



And one final poem…

“after John Donne’s ‘A Nocturnal on St Lucy’s Day’

At midday on the year’s midnight
into my mind came
I saw the new moon late yestreen
wi the auld moon in her airms

though, no,
there is no moon of course –
there’s nothing very much to speak of anything to speak of
in the sky except a gey dreich greyness
rain-laden over Glasgow and today
there is the very least of even this for us to get
the light comes back
the light always comes back

and this begins tomorrow with
however many minutes more of sun and serotonin.

there will be the winter moon for us to love the longest,
fat in the frosty sky among the sharpest stars,
and lines of old songs we can’t remember
why we know
or when first we heard them
will aye come back
once in a blue moon to us

and bless us with their long-travelled light.”

Liz Lochhead


Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Winter Trees

All the complicated details

of the attiring and

disattiring are completed!

A liquid moon

moves gently among

the long branches.

Thus having prepared their buds

against a sure winter

the wise trees

stand sleeping in the cold,’

William Carlos Williams

The bones of the landscape are slowly revealed, notwithstanding the last leaves clinging stubbornly to bare, skeletal fingers… Interspersed between days of wind and rain, are mornings of clear light…

“Aurora hail, and all the thousand dies,

Which deck thy progress through the vaulted skies:

The morn awakes, and wide extends her rays…”

‘A Hymn to the Morning’ – Phyllis Wheatley

Wind ripples the water’s surface, changing hues, shifting patterns…drifting downstream…mesmerising…

And equally as mesmerising is this short video by Nick Dunlop: ‘The Starling and Falcon Dance’… although the starlings’ are swooping, diving and soaring to avoid the falcon, their dance is hypnotic, fluid…spellbinding…

Similarly, my book choice this week – ‘Markings’ by Maxwell MacKenzie – is full of stunning aerial photography…

Markings by Maxwell MacKenzie

American MacKenzie takes to the air in his ultralight aircraft, photographing the wonderful and mysterious patterns and markings on the earth… His photographs are accompanied by quotes and poems by such luminaries as Robert Browning – I particularly liked..

‘The grey sea and the long black land;

And the yellow half-moon large and low;

And the startled little waves that leap

In fiery ringlets from their sleep,

As I gain the cove with pushing prow,

And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand,’

Meeting at Night – Robert Browning

… along with other favourite poets and authors: Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Frost, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and W. B. Yeats to name a few…and who could not love this quote by Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfoot Nation: “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset’…..

Someone else who takes inspiration from the colours and patterns of the natural world is this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ – Gilly Boulton…a Leeds based artist, designer and printmaker…



Gilly Boulton

I was drawn to Gilly’s Instagram feed by her use of collage and typography…


Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

(I have a sneaky affection for the old typewriter font…..)

Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

…and the witty, wise sentiments she conveys in her work…

Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

…along with its delicacy and fragility…

Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

Equally, the colours Gilly uses in her landscapes appeals to my love of limited, muted palettes…I also like the way she uses the torn edges of the paper to depict the topography of the land – and, as a fan of the ‘line’, I love her use of the stitched line…making the work appear very tactile in nature…

Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton


Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

Gilly’s feed is filled with work, both landscape and nature inspired, along with more ‘graphic’ pieces…as well as her ‘book of shadows’,  a cut out sketchbook…so interesting… Do pop and have a look at both her Instagram feed and her website

Life gets so busy, especially at this time of year; I find it so important to recognise that, whatever knots I am getting myself into, however stressed I am becoming…

“The poetry of earth is ceasing never…”

‘On the Grasshopper and the Cricket’ – John Keats

Enjoy the weekend,

Take care,


Something for the Weekend…

‘A first blush below the horizon,

as the first kiss from the Sun wakes the Earth from its slumber,’

Meeta Ahluwalia

And so the year ebbs slowly away; in the northern hemisphere we anticipate the winter solstice, darkness into light…times of festivities as well as reflection… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…for all there is to look forward to, we shouldn’t overlook the here and now… Mother Nature, in all her inherent capriciousness, has rewarded us for enduring days of pearl-grey shrouds with sunrises of rose gold…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again…’

Robert L. Stevenson

…and carpets of crisp, frosted pile…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Even though it is more difficult on some days than others, I find there is a beauty in the changing seasons, the mercurial weather and it’s effects on the landscape…and someone else who is influenced by the countryside in all of it’s guises is this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’…Emma Cowley


Emma Cowley Artwork

Citing Robert Motherwell, Cy Twombly and Howard Hodgkin amongst her favourite artists, along with a love of abstract expressionism, Emma works mostly with inks, acrylics and lots of water, focusing on form and mark making to capture the shifting light, weather and seasons..

It is her use of ink and mark making – (two of my favourite things) – that attracted me to her work…I love these two…so atmospheric… The use of the limited palette, subtlety of tone and form providing a suggestion of the landscape is wonderful…beautiful examples of conveying so much with minimal gestures and colour…

Emma Cowley Artwork


Emma Cowley Artwork

…again, in the example below, Emma’s use of materials exhibits a sensitive and expressive quality…


Emma Cowley Artwork

Equally the monochrome nature and gestural marks in these works below invite the viewer to look further…

Emma Cowley Artwork


Emma Cowley Artwork

Emma Cowley Artwork

            Emma Cowley Artwork

If you are a lover of mark making and use of tone, then Emma‘s Instagram feed is definitely worth a look!!

I have previously acknowledged that my creativity is cyclical; ups and downs, waves, rhythms…harvest times and fallow times…whether this is a reflection of winter’s ‘hibernation’ or that family dramas have affected me more than I realise, now most definitely feels a ‘dormant’ season… but it’s important, during these periods, to remember to trust in myself and my process…something that is easy to say but hard to do…we all need a little help at times like this so my latest purchase is this:

…and already there are ‘aha’ moments:

“The process is…more unpredictable, complex, perverse, subtle and intimately associated with the idiosyncratic landscapes of the personal imagination. Creation thrives on inspiration and affirmation rather than direction….” (Shaun McNiff)

Of particular interest is the chapter on ‘Blocks’…

“Expectations are blindfolds. They come from thinking that we need to be somewhere other than where we are. Start working right now from the immediate place, with the feelings you have at the moment. Depression and low self-confidence are the most debilitating blocks…the only way to change the energy is to begin working…” (Shaun McNiff)

I look forward to reading more, seeing if any nuggets of wisdom permeate my consciousness…

In the meantime, in between bouts of artistic activity, I shall continue my daily walks along the river…and one of the things I frequently acknowledge is my inability to identify some of the birdsongs…so one of my missions is become better at this…and have taken to listening the Woodland Trust website section on just this subject…hopefully, in time, I shall rectify this omission in my knowledge…

I have commented previously about how the river keeps me grounded and gives a sense of perspective…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and in the early light, where the last vestiges of foliage cling stubbornly to the branches…I take comfort in…

‘Don’t dismiss the

elements. Water

soothes and heals.

Air refreshes and

revives. Earth

grounds and holds.

Fire is a burning

reminder of our

own will and

creative power.

Breathe them in.

Swallow their spells. There’s

a certain sweet

comfort in knowing

that you belong to

them all…’

Victoria Erickson

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Enjoy the weekend,

Take care,