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,

C

Something for the Weekend….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘November is the pearl-grey month,

the changeling between warm crimson October

and cold white December,

the month when the leaves fall

in slow drifting whirls,

and the shapes of the trees are revealed,

when the earth imperceptibly wakes,

and stretches her bare limbs and

displays her stubborn unconquerable strength

before she settles uneasily into winter.

November is secret and silent,’

Alison Uttley

November has been a pearl-grey month, if not downright dank at times…there is a word, ‘petrichor (n.)’  – that conjures up that distinctive earthy smell rising from the ground after a rainfall… At present, the ground is so sodden and squelchy there is no chance of the aroma of freshly damp soil…

The damp and dreary weather certainly makes me want to ‘pull up the drawbridge’, close the curtains, light the fire and some candles and hibernate…but someone who went out in all seasons, walking, exploring, observing…was Nan Shepherd…

Born near Aberdeen in 1893, Shepherd spent a lifetime exploring the Caingorm mountains, recording in detail the rivers, rocks, animals and hidden aspects of this landscape. She writes with a beautiful poetic prose…this passage being one of my favourites…

‘The hands have an infinity of pleasure in them…the feel of things, textures, surfaces, rough things like cones and bark, smooth things like stalks and feathers and pebbles rounded by water, the teasing of gossamers, the delicate tickle of a crawling caterpillar, the scratchiness of lichen, the warmth of the sun, the sting of hail, the blunt blow of tumbling water, the flow of wind – nothing that I can touch or that touches me but has its own identity for the hand as much as for the eye…’ (p102-103 The Living Mountain, Nan Shepherd)

…and her thoughts on water…

‘…when a cloud bursts, or rain teems out of the sky for days on end without intermission then the burns come down in spate…the water , which streams down the hillsides, tears deep grooves in the soil, rolls the boulders about,  brawls, obliterates…becomes a moving sea. I love its flash and gleam, its music, its pliancy and grace, its slap against my body…all the mysteries are in its movement. It slips out of holes in the earth like the ancient snake…,’

The Living Mountain is a beautiful  book; it’s not about conquering the mountains, but about living amongst them, learning about the environment and the mountains as a living entity… The book might be slim but there is a whole lifetime of observations and experience packed into its pages…

A nature writer I have recently discovered is Nicola Chester. Living in the heart of the North Wessex Downs, she contributes to various publications as well as writing RSPB Spotlight: Otters. She writes a blog charting the changing seasons and landscape, the flora and fauna of her local landscape…her writing creates provides such a picture of this one small corner, from the overall countryside to the tiny, often overlooked, details… I find it fascinating and it certainly encourages me to look beyond the obvious when I am out and about or by the river…

 

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

My ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ is a very dear on-line friend, Alice Cox Humphreys…Alice lives in New Mexico and, although she dabbled with painting ‘decades’ ago, it is only within the last few years that she has taken up her paint brush again… Working mostly in watercolours, although she does like to experiment – (we often exchange material ideas) – Alice produces the most delicate, ethereal, semi-abstract paintings…

I love this one…such delicate washes, interesting marks…and of course, some of my favourite colours!!

Although this one is more representational it has a loose quality, so expressive…and a wonderful use of a limited palette…as is this one…

…and this one…

Alice also paints the most beautiful floral images…the brush techniques really show through in this one…

I love the way this is almost abstract; there is just enough information but still leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination…

As with all the artists I have featured, or had contact with on-line or in real life, Alice is so generous with her advice, support and encouragement…in my head, when I am dreaming ‘big’, I imagine an actual ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ get-together; a gathering where we celebrate our artistic endeavours and community…one day it would be lovely to meet… In the meantime, I have to enjoy Alice’s work virtually…imagining the landscapes that have inspired her work…

Do go and check out her Instagram feed…it is filled with the most beautiful work…as well as the odd image of blue skies and sunshine…something that is in short supply here this week…

I don’t seem to have done much painting this week; as the end of the year draws near, I have begun to take stock of my ‘annual achievements’, trying hard not to be too negative, too hard on myself for not doing everything I had intended…and this is leading me to make tentative plans for next year…one of which is to change website hosts and re-vamp my site. Now those of you who know me are aware that I am a technophobe, so this is a major plan, one that I am having to break down into baby steps in order that I don’t get so overwhelmed that I don’t even start. I want to include some studio shots – and have therefore spent some time looking at my ‘arty’ photos…and so far, after a dismal week, this is the only one I have that I actually like…

 

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Oh well, as with lots of things, its a work-in-progress…in the meantime…I head back to the river…to read and ponder…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

“I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land…

Are people like that? I wondered. Am I like that? Always me, like the river itself, always flowing but always different, like water flowing in the river, sometimes walking steadily along andante, sometimes surging over rapids furioso, sometimes meandering with hardly any visible movement tranquilo, lento, ppppianissimo, sometimes gurgling giacoso with pleasure, sometimes sparkling brillante in the sun, sometimes lacrimoso, sometimes appassionata, sometimes misterioso, sometimes pesante, sometimes legato, sometimes staccato, sometimes sospirando, sometimes vivace, and always, I hope, amoroso.

Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine to wall so that I only flow where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for their own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land ploughing a valley of my own,” –

‘Aidan Chambers, This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn’

Well that’s all for this week; I hope you found something to interest you, and perhaps some further reading and artistic inspirations…

Enjoy the weekend,

Take care,

C

(If you would like to keep up-to-date with my work, please follow me on social media, or, for more of my ramblings, musings, offerings and other art-related ‘stuff’, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter.

 

 

 

Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love — that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
George Eliot
Autumn, that most melancholy of seasons, is proving to be decidedly capricious; sunrises of glorious light, heralding days filled with the brightest of blues and coppery hues interspersed with watery days – inspiring in their own way, with colour palettes of greys, golds and yellows…
Carolyn J Roberts Artist
Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

 

 

 

 

The trees are the stars of the show…along with the glowing colours, who has not enjoyed walking through a carpet of leaves, rustling and crunching with each footstep….? And in celebration of trees, and another favourite pastime of mine – listening to the wind as it weaves it’s way through the leaves and branches – I came across this BBC Radio 4 programme ‘The Susurrations of Trees’

Listen now

The Susurrations of Trees

Thomas Hardy wrote that people could identify a tree by its susurration, the sound of leaves in the wind. Writer Bob Gilbert listens and hears how poets and musicians capture this…

Presenter: Bob Gilbert
Producer: Julian May

I will certainly listen more carefully to the nuances of their songs…

Along with the visual arts, songs and sounds, another source of inspiration is the written word…which brings me to my ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ – Gabrielle Kingsley a.k.a ‘thistlequiff‘… who creates the most evocative ‘found poetry’ art…

On backgrounds of digital images, some colourful, some muted, Gabrielle uses found text to produce works that are sometimes poignant, sometimes expressive…at others redolent of times, places, emotions…

Gabrielle Kingsley

This one above reminds me of my early morning walks by the river, silvery light edging the clouds as the sun begins to emerge and the mist rolls across the surface of the water…wisps drifting along, weaving and curling their way downstream…

Gabrielle Kingsley
The Sky Goes on Forever and the Wind has a Name – thistlequiff

… this one transports me back to summer, long hot days, skies of the brightest blue…and on the wind, the scent of flowers…punctuated by the sound of bees dancing from blossom to blossom…

…and, as November creeps towards December…

Gabrielle Kingsley
November – thistlequiff
Gabrielle Kingsley
November – thistlequiff

…this poem reminds me that although the days are shortening and winter is beginning to don it’s mantle, nature knows more surely than I, that light and life will emerge once more…

…but in the meantime…

Gabrielle Kingsley

Do go and check out Gabrielle’s work and Instagram feed…you are sure to find a poem that speaks to you…
Just as important to me for inspiration are places that hold special meaning for me… I grew up on the edge of the fenlands of Lincolnshire, as the crow flies, only a few miles from The Wash, a square shaped estuary on the east coast of England, fed by three rivers…bleak, beautiful, an area of mudflats, saltmarshes leading to open water…and so, when I watched this BBC programme (seems to be the week for the BBC…) ‘Into the Wind‘,

Watch now

Into the Wind

Writer and birdwatcher Tim Dee walks the flatlands of The Wash on a quest to capture the elusive sound of ‘pure’ wind. A poetic, mesmeric film from film-maker Richard Alwyn.

…I was taken back to my childhood; the landscape in this film is so familiar…walking atop the banks, looking across the arable lands edged by dykes, man-made lines (lines that I find creep into my work…), hearing the wind and the birds, intermittently drowned out by the jets screaming overhead…and the light… This film really provides an insight into the landscape where I grew up…and the influences that emerge in my work…

(This film is only available for around three more weeks…)

I very much seem to be in an exploratory stage with my practice; trying different materials, practising, practising, discovering how mediums work, finding whispers of things I like, possibilities…

From a spot of mono-printing:

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

to experimenting with acrylics/mixed media resulting in lots of ‘collage material’…and one I like..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…along with watercolours, shades of blue; again, lots of experiments…and eventually, something emerges…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I have no idea how I will develop these …but that’s all part of being an artist; taking risks, making mistakes, failing…and yet still carrying on, practising, evolving, continuing to explore, to experiment…searching for that elusive moment when my intuition goes…’Yes!!’

And so, as Autumn colours fade…and nature slows…I look for beauty in the seemingly lacklustre…

‘Not everything is black or white

Some things are lonely grey

Like windows looking out on rain at dusk

Or the bitter pain in winter skies

when all the birds are gone…’

H. Joanne Hardee, from “Some Things Are Grey”

Have a great weekend,

Take Care

Cx

 

If you would like to keep up-to-date with my work-in-progress, please follow me on social media, or for more art-related matters, offers and general ramblings, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter.

Something for the Weekend…

‘Also at times, on the surface of streams,

Water bubbles form

And grow and burst

And have no meaning at all

Except that they’re water bubbles

Growing and bursting,’

Alberto Caeiro, ‘The Keeper of Sheep’

Life can seem overwhelming at times; advances in technology mean that we live in a 24/7 society…always able to access the latest news, always on call…always busy, busy, busy, and even if we’re not physically doing something, we are planning, organising, analysing…over-analysing…  If we say we are doing ‘nothing’ people assume we are bored, boring, out-of-work, lazy, idle, dull…insert your own description as you please…  Doing ‘nothing’ every now and again, is becoming less and less acceptable… And yet, and yet…I find the need to spend time doing ‘nothing’ increasingly necessary…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Having ‘focus’; work, plans and goals…and doing ‘nothing’; taking time to ‘switch off’ and ‘tune out’…are important, but it’s vital to achieve a balance…the difference between city and cabin…

“The city (regardless which one it is) does provide a certain degree of sophistication and intellectualism. It offers the challenge of professional matters. It throws new and interesting people in one’s path. There is a dynamic and an energy in cities which is diametric to the life-forces of the forest.

Still the cabin is the wellspring, the source, the hub of my existence. It gives me tranquillity, a closeness of nature and wildlife, good health and fitness, a sense of security, the opportunity for resourcefulness, reflection and creative thinking…” – Anne LaBastille

I find I do ‘nothing’ best when outdoors in nature; taking time out to sit, to unconsciously absorb the sights and sounds…and one area that looks a great place to do this leads me nicely to my ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’…Bisera…a media artist who posts the most wonderful images of Nova Scotia, Canada on their feed…

Bisera, Instagram feed

 

Bisera, Instagram feed

I love the moody black and white images of this maritime province…and I love the way both the grand vistas and the small details are given equal focus; from coastal scenes…

Bisera, Instagram feed

..to ice…

Bisera, Instagram feed

and delicate cobwebs and seed heads…

Bisera, Instagram feed

Colour does play a part, but usually of a limited palette…which obviously appeals to me…

 

Bisera, Instagram feed

 

 

Bisera, Instagram feed

Wild, moody, windswept, atmospheric… colours I love…definitely a place to add to my ‘bucket list’…do go and check out their feed www.instagram.com/bisera____._._._

And keeping in mind ‘wild landscapes’…my book this week is… ‘A Hebridean Notebook’ by Norman Ackroyd

One of my all time favourite artists, I was lucky enough to see his exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (now finished)… including wonderful prints and watercolours. This book provides a glimpse of his sketches, made in-situ; immediate, dynamic or calm, with an almost printerly (is that a word…?) quality about them…

Norman Ackroyd

Norman Ackroyd The book gives an insight into what inspires his work… and is just fabulous for looking through and dreaming, of wild spaces, wild places… and of course, of wishing that my sketchbooks looked like this…..(ha ha…if only!!)

A podcast I dip in and out of is ‘The Messy Studio‘ with artist Rebecca Crowell… A broad range of topics are covered; from the creative through to the business side of art, to interviews and insights with guest artists…Eclectic, topical, thoughtful, filled with suggestions and advice, all interspersed with anecdotes…you’re sure to find something of interest…

My own practice this week has consisted mainly of experiments and exploration…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…thoughts on my recent trip to Suffolk…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…ink experiments to reflect a moody, grey day…and the odd foray with acrylics…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…no real focus, but that’s okay…I know this time is not wasted; exploring with inks, watercolours and processes enables me to pinpoint what I really love – expressive mark making and line being one passion…and continuing to experiment with acrylics means that I am learning all the while how to handle this medium, adding another dimension…forever practicing, developing, evolving…

…and as the weekend approaches, it’s time for me to practice doing ‘nothing’..

‘You do not have to be a fire

for

every mountain blocking you.

You could be a water

and

soft river your way to freedom

too,’

‘Options…’

If you would like to keep up-to-date with my work-in-progress, please follow me on social media, or if you would like more of my musings, art related matters and news, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter.

For now,

enjoy the weekend

&

take care…

Something for the Weekend…

‘If a year was tucked inside of a clock,

then Autumn would be the magic hour,’

Victoria Erickson

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

As October slips into November, ancient festivals are celebrated; liminal times marked by fire and crossing of thresholds…and in truly wondrous ways, nature puts on her own pageant…misty mornings, golden hued sunsets, leaves ablaze with autumn colour swirling in wild winds and honking geese…skeins knitted across the sky, heading for winter solace…

Inspiration comes in many forms, none more so for me, than travelling, visiting new places…and a recent trip was to Suffolk…gently undulating land, marshes, watery landscapes leading to the sea…what is it about the swoosh of the shingle in the surf that is so infinitely satisfying…?

Sculpture, particularly site-specific ones, have always held a fascination for me…and a walk along the shore at Aldeburgh to view Maggi Hambling‘s ‘Scallop’, a 4 metre steel work dedicated to composer Benjamin Britten, was a must…

'Scallop' by Maggi Hambling
‘Scallop’ by Maggi Hambling
Scallop by Maggi Hambling
‘Scallop’ by Maggi Hambling

Not without it’s controversies, ‘Scallop’ is described by Hambling as ‘a conversation with the sea’ and wanted to create a work where the visitor could sit and contemplate the ‘mysterious power of the sea’ – very tempting, if not for the multitude of people…

Another place I found equally as absorbing was Walberswick (and slightly less crowded…!!) …and the black coastal huts…simple, uniform…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist…close to the edge, looking out to sea, hunkered down, framed against the big, brooding sky…no jarring, bright colours here…

Muted palettes are my ‘thing’ and it was such a palette that drew me to this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ – AyakaMP Art

AyakaMP Art
AyakaMP ART

I love Ayaka’s choice of colours, the tonal variation and the use of stitched line in her work…

AyakaMP Art
AyakaMP Art

…and I am a sucker for these shades of blue…

Ayaka grew up in Japan, spending her childhood creating art and making dolls…a move to America when she was 11 saw her realise the universal nature of art…

Her work is a mixture of the human emotion, the imperfections of our beings, combined with the organic shapes and natural forms of the landscape. She likes to balance opposites; planned/unplanned, controlled/uncontrolled…to depict the beauty of the imperfect…

AyakaMP Art
‘In the Wind VII’ AyakaMP Art

‘Whispers’, watercolour and thread, AyakaMP Art

The variations in colour and tone, the torn edges of paper, the use of stitch adding further textures, all combine to create abstract landscapes that I find absorbing and calming in equal measure…the eye travels around the work, taking in the forms and shapes, the details…

‘Breath II’, watercolour and thread, AyakaMP Art

…and the muted colours make for a calming experience…I find the work beautiful in its apparent simplicity, aware that it is anything but simple to create art imbued with such qualities…

Do check her website out as well as her Instagram feed…where you can watch Ayaka weave her magic…

Further inspiration came in the shape of this book, a birthday gift…

Recently I have been focussing on ‘upping’ my Instagram profile; posting the time lapse videos has been successful but I am always open to more suggestions and information, and hopefully this book will provide just that…and if not, well, it has some fabulous photos…

My own practice has been on hold this week whilst on my travels, but I have got my fix by visiting galleries, one of which was the fabulous Snape Maltings…a fabulous space, where along with a small exhibition by Maggi Hambling, there was a variety of creative talent on show, from paintings, to prints and ceramics etc…Lots to admire but limited funds meant I settled for a couple of cards by artist  Sara Johnson

Bircham Gallery at Holt was another port of call…inspiring works by Chris Prout, Ross Loveday and Andrew Bird to name drop…take a look at their websites…fabulous, expressive works!!

I did purchase some more watercolour and cartridge paper, along with a Seawhite of Brighton concertina sketchbook…I already have one but didn’t realise (d’oh…)they came in a larger size…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist…so I am looking forward to seeing what I can create in this one…

Travelling, seeing new places, new landscapes, art ‘in the flesh’ – not just via social media – is so important to keep the creative juices fresh and inspired…

‘Being in another place heightens the senses,

allows you to see more, enjoy more,

take delight in small things;

it makes life richer.

You feel more alive, less cocooned,’

Jane Wilson Howarth

…and for me, the coast is always a good place to go, not just for my creativity, but for my soul…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

‘We are tied to the ocean. And when we

go back to the sea, whether it is to sail

or to watch – we are going back from

whence we came,’

John F Kennedy

 

Where is the place you love to go to? For peace, solace, inspiration…..?

If you have enjoyed my ramblings, please follow me on social media for up-to-date works in progress, or for even more of my musings and other art related stuff, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…

Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘How bravely Autumn paints upon the sky
The gorgeous fame of Summer which is fled!
Hues of all flowers that in their ashes lie,
Trophied in that fair light…,’

Thomas Hood

The clocks have gone back, darkness comes earlier, curtains are drawn sooner…and although the days are shorter, the longer evenings provide time for reading, listening, thinking…dreaming…

My own practice has been somewhat stop/start this week…more stop than start if I am honest, but I am continuing to read, research, listen, write…being creative in other ways…being patient and gentle with myself…acknowledgement and acceptance that creativity has it’s own rhythms…

I first tried my hand at ceramics many moons ago when I was in the sixth form at school; many afternoons spent trying to get to grips, quite literally in some instances, with the potter’s wheel… Another lifetime passed before I found myself grappling with clay again…at Grantham College during my Foundation course…slab pots, freehand sculpting (which I was rubbish at..) and some slip casting…where I managed to produce a pot I quite liked…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…my one small triumph… and so, although full of appreciation for those who master the art of painting, I have a sneaky admiration for artists who can coax the most beautiful objects from a wedge of clay…hence, my ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ this week is Elaine Bolt, a ceramicist living on the south coast…

Elaine Bolt

Two things drew me initially to Elaine’s Instagram feed; her muted colour palette along with her use of natural found materials in her work. Inspired by the colours and tones of the landscape that surrounds her, she creates wall pieces and thrown vessels, each one individual, with the aim of blurring the boundaries between the natural and the made…

Having my own collection of found natural objects, each one a memory of a time and place…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…I am fascinated with the way in which Elaine combines the two elements…

Elaine Bolt

Elaine Bolt Ceramics, Woodland Utensils (photograph by Alun Callender)

  Elaine Bolt Assemblage

Shoreline Cascade by Elaine Bolt

  Elaine Bolt Cascade/Clusters

Wire and Willow Vessels by Elaine Bolt (photography by Yeshen Venema)

    Elaine Bolt Wire and Willow Vessels

I only wished I lived closer so that I could attend one of her courses….do go and visit her website and Instagram feed…it’s beautiful and inspirational…

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that one of the podcasts I listen to is ‘Artjuice’ by artists Alice Sheridan and Louise Fletcher…last week’s episode was a conversation between Alice and her mentor/coach Judith Morgan…it was a really interesting and frank discussion, addressing lots of issues… and whilst I don’t feel ready for full on coaching, I did purchase Judith’s book…

(apologies for the photo…the light was terrible…) I am only just beginning to dip into it, but already Judith’s approach is evident; direct, no nonsense, insightful…and funny…

Along with podcasts, I listen to music when in my studio; sometimes the radio, sometimes playlists…depending on mood, some are up-beat, whilst others are more meditative… I recently came across this article which has a plethora of playlists; from meditative and reflective through to energy builders…what do you like listening to when working?

And so the week slips by; the odd splash of paint, a solitary walk by the river…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘The gentle Lady Twilight is coming

let her pass

she scatters from her basket

the dewdrops on the grass

She closes up the lilies

and sends the bees to bed

And puts a veil of silver

upon the rowan red,’

(Anon)

Enjoy the weekend,

Take care,

C

(If you would like to see more of my work-in-progress please follow me on social media, or, if you would like more in-depth ramblings, art related insights and offers, please sign up via  the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…)

 

 

 

 

 

When The Muse Goes Walkabouts…

‘But the muse won’t always

co-operate and she will never be

coerced. Sometimes she’d rather

take a nap or see a mid-afternoon

movie,’

Jonathan Tropper

I have written before about the rhythmical nature of my creativity; sometimes, everything flows – from inspiration through exploration to producing finished work… At other times, the creative muse wanders off…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and no matter how much I try, get into the studio, splash paint around…somehow, my heart isn’t in it…the motivation has gone… Now sometimes it’s because life gets in the way, and there has been a lot of that this year…other times, well, I am only human, and I have mood swings the same as everyone else… And then there are the times when it’s a mindset problem…and I know that’s mostly the issue this time…

Since participating in the Melbourne Arts Trail, sales have been non-existent…

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

…and, with no sales, comes a reluctance to spend money on materials…so I ‘make do’, not following my own advice to use the best quality materials…and then, no surprise, I am not happy with the results…and so the circle continues.. And yes, with my logical head on, I know continuing to develop my practice, to produce quality work, will build up engaged audiences, will build relationships with potential buyers etc…so I realise this is where I need to change my mindset, my approach – but as with all change, it’s easier said than done… The books and podcasts are helping…but it is a work in progress…

And so, rather than keep beating myself up over ‘reject’ work…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

and, working on the principle that ‘a change is as good as a rest’…I decided to spend an afternoon or two considering other avenues of creativity… I have spoken before about the idea of running workshops, and this is still an aim for next year, once I have ‘workshop plans’ sorted. Another idea, bearing in mind the interest shown in them, was to compile a book of some of the pages from my sketchbooks…along with the odd photograph and some of my musings…

I have been jotting down words that inspire me…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and debating which images to include…

What do you think?

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Our paths in life are rarely straightforward, so it seems unrealistic to expect that my artistic journey will be without deviation…without ups and downs…sideways moves…but my commitment is there…

‘Commitment

 

The moment one definitely commits

oneself, and then providence

moves too.

 

All sorts of things occur to help one

that would never otherwise have

occurred.

 

A whole stream of events issue from

the decision, raising in one’s favour all

manner of unforeseen incidents and

meetings and material assistance

which no man (or woman) could have

dreamed would have come his (or her)

way,’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Fingers crossed!!

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