Being a ‘Warrior’….

Just as the Christmas and New Year celebrations flew by, I can’t believe it’s almost the middle of January….I know as you get older ‘time flies’…but seriously….

‘Time flies. Time flies faster every year. Time flies whether you’re having fun or not, whether you’re living your life big or small, whether you surround yourself with fear or laughter,’ – Claire Cook

I talked in my last post about setting a word for the year, finally settling on Rhythm….recognising that life is full of rhythms, cycles…and not to get stressed if things aren’t necessarily progressing as I would like…just like quelling my inner critic, this is a work in progress…

I also said that January is a fallow time, a time for planning, a time for gaining inspiration, a time for experimenting…

It’s no secret I love the landscape but another love of mine is reading/books and in my Christmas stocking was this wonderful selection…


My OH knows me so well, along with my lovely niece who bought me the ‘How to…’ book…  I am really looking forward to reading these, learning and getting inspiration… a quick browse through Olivia Laing’s ‘To The River’, reading snippets such as ‘…the wheat on either side of the chalk track was at different stages of ripeness: on the west clenched and blue and on the east a fuzzy gold-green that was full of larks’ and ‘But that’s how we go, is it not, between nothing and nothing, along this strip of life, where the ragworts nod in the repeating breeze?’ I know I am going to love it….

Experimenting is ongoing, trying to mix up my materials, nudge me out of my comfort zone…hence I am attempting to introduce more colour…

I am going on a Lewis Noble workshop next week…I know that I will be pushed way beyond what I am comfortable with, which is a good thing, but also terrifying….and with that thought in mind, and not wanting to look a total numpty, I thought I had better have a play with acrylic paints…a material I dabble with but am not very confident with…

….and, it is clear from the above image, that I have no idea what I am doing…but the positive in that is that I have no expectations…

….and whilst I know these are not ‘all that’ I am quite pleased with one or two of them….definitely something to work on…

And so I continue to ‘paint my life on the canvas reality’….(Cristen Rodgers), trying, failing, trying again…

Warrior

Watch me.

I will go to my own Sun.

And if I am burned by its fire,

I will fly on scorched wings.

Segovia Amil

 

 

 

It’s That Time Time Of Year Again…Part 2

‘January is the month for dreaming’

Jean Hersey

….and there it is gone, Christmas….in what seems no time at all, it is over and ‘packed’ away once again…and we head onwards into January;

‘The days are short

The sun a spark

Hung thin between

The dark and dark…

The river is

A frozen place

Held still beneath

The trees of lace.

The sky is low.’

John Updike

I am not one for resolutions; I give myself a hard enough time without setting myself up to fail by concentrating on all the negative things. Instead I focus on a ‘word’ to set my intentions….this year I had thought about Persistence, but the lovely Alice Sheridan (who, by the way is so generous with her encouragement, advice and support) commented that this felt as if I expected things to be hard going, so suggested Rhythm instead…this has much more appeal to me…a country girl at heart, used to the natural rhythms of the seasons…the fallow times, the growing times…the harvest times…

Now is a fallow time, a resting time, a gentle time…a time for planning yes, but a time to be kind to oneself…and today I finally began doodling again, the first time for a few weeks; firstly because of a family emergency, and secondly, but enjoyably, because of the Christmas festivities…

Carolyn J Roberts artist sketchbook work

One of my aims for January is to focus on experimenting in my work, to really define what it is I like and try to develop it…

….and something always present, somehow, somewhere in my work is lines….I love this initial mark making….

….and there have been times in the past when I wish I had left work at this stage, listened to my inner authentic voice, rather than my inner critic…

…..and that is another aim – to quieten my inner critic…to acknowledge it, but not to let it climb into the driving seat….I have a feeling this will definitely be an ongoing ‘work in progress’….

January got off to a positive start for me. I decided to hold a ‘flash sale’ of some small works mounted on A6 watercolour postcards over on my Instagram page – I only posted 6 pieces….and I sold them all!!!

I am always amazed and very appreciative when anyone purchases one of my works…and it was definitely a confidence booster!! It has certainly encouraged me to hold more of these sales…

On the way back from the Post Office I took a walk along the river…

….glimmering light producing an almost pewter sheen to the water’s surface…

The river is a favourite place for me; the  gently flowing water elicits a contemplative mood, a time for reflection…so I went again today…

….a different day, a different feel, blue sky, colder air, brighter light…

….but still exuding that sense of just ‘being’….

And as I continue along my journey, following my rhythms this quote by Cristen Rodgers resonates strongly with me….

‘We are all artists, painting our lives upon the canvas of reality. Mix the colours your own way and apply emotion liberally. Don’t be afraid to let your brushstrokes show, and above all else, make sure your art has soul.’

 

It’s That Time Of Year Again…

It’s obviously a sign of getting older, but in the blink of an eye, Christmas is upon us and 2018 will soon be giving way to a new year…

The passing of the old year and welcoming the new, is often a time of reflection and planning…

Taking part in the Melbourne Arts Trail was definitely one of my highlights and I would never have considered applying for this if I hadn’t been encouraged to in my mentoring session with Helen Hallows

I have also got my website up and running, started sending out a newsletter and am increasing my social media audiences… It would be great if I had a few more sales…..but as the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’….

I am in the process of setting my intentions and goals for next year; getting more connections locally and taking part in workshops to develop my confidence are two areas I want to focus on and I am pleased to report that I am already seeing results in these.

I am happy to announce that I have been accepted as a full member of the Leicester Sketch Club. I look forward to getting to know everyone and being part of this great club!!

I also took part in a Lesley Birch painting course at the weekend…having a wonderful time experimenting with different mediums and papers, discovering new ways of thinking about our mark making, of applying the ink/paint and generally enjoying the day with fellow artists….helped along by copious amounts of tea, coffee, mince pies and chocolate plus the beautiful sound of the choir practice taking place next door….

I have been a fan of Lesley’s work for a long time and it was great to finally meet her along with Louise Fletcher, another artist who I admire…

…and whilst in York it would have been rude not to take in the sights and sounds….although getting through the crowds at the Christmas market and along The Shambles took a while…so had some time out and visited the York Art Gallery

 

All that remains is for me to thank everyone who has supported me during 2018 and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

 

A New ‘Obsession’…

I love Daniel Smith Indigo watercolour paint and Sepia Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Ink! I am obsessed with them…I could use them all day, every day…but…every so often a little voice in my head, (you know the one), says… ‘Come on, you’re just playing safe, being boring, not moving on with your work…’ – I could go on…

So, determined to break free, I decided to experiment with different mediums, to get myself out of my ‘artistic rut’…and, after ‘digging’ about in my cluttered studio, I discovered some forgotten oil pastels…and thought I would give them a go…

I started out in my sketchbook, laying down the oil pastel first before adding washes of watercolour… quite surprised myself with the depth of colour I used, not like me at all…

I got more and more into this mixed media work so taped up a large piece of Cass Art mixed media paper… and, if you are interested, here’s a look at my process….beginning by making marks with the oil pastels…and yes, I have favourite colours in these too…

….before adding the watercolour washes…

….working across the sheet….in a vague attempt to stop me fiddling…

I can’t let go of my Sepia ink obsession totally, so used it to add some highlights….which I am not sure you can see in the photos – it was an awful day for taking images – but I can assure you it is there….!!

Then comes that moment when you take the tape off to see what you have…


Not saying that these will all make the grade ( I like the middle two and top right ones best), but have to admit, I am quite pleased with my efforts…. so much so, I can see this becoming my latest ‘obsession’…

What ‘artistic’ obsessions do you have?

Keeping On Going….

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post; I would love to say that’s because I have had a massive artistic break through, fabulous run on sales, invites to exhibit….sadly the reality is none of the above…

In need of a lift my OH, who also works incredibly hard and was in need of some R & R, and I took off for a long weekend in the Yorkshire Dales – one of our favourite areas, definitely one of my ‘go to’ places for inspiration. The weather was very kind and we managed to get out and about, going for some lovely walks around Scar House Reservoir, Gouthwaite Reservoir and along Nidderdale…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘If we won the lottery…we would love to move here’ is our frequent cry…being outside in the elements with all that space, freedom, time to just be…a definite fillip for my artistic soul… and there are lots of creatives who think likewise…lots to do and see…

Bought this lovely hand made, hand printed sketchbook by textile artist Sheila Smith from Fleece in Reeth. Fleece is a co-operative of arts and crafts people who make a diverse range of products….definitely worth a look!! Also worth a visit is  The Old School in Muker; a gallery and craftshop showcasing  both regional and nationwide arts and crafts. To add to your visit there is also a relaxed self-service café and a lovely walled garden – a great place to sit (if the weather had been a little warmer!!)

On our way home we popped into the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where we saw the most fabulous Norman Ackroyd exhibition.. here are a few photos (apologies…it was difficult to get great photos owing to the lights, reflections etc)

 

 

My purse wouldn’t stretch to one of his works so I had to settle for a card plus his Hebridean Sketchbook…

There was also a great exhibition by Sean Scully in the park and up in the Longside Barn…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works by Guiseppe Pennone were also in the park and exhibition space…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All too soon I was home again, trying to keep on going…back to working on the series based on my memories of the north Norfolk coast…


Again, apologies for the photo quality; it’s a very grey day here and even with my daylight lamp it’s difficult to get great shots without shadows….  The last image is an experimentation using different paper; the LH one is on 250gsm mixed media paper whilst the RH one is on Fabriano Artistico watercolour paper (fairly heavy but I can’t remember the exact weight). I have to admit I prefer the LH one mainly because I left more of the white paper showing… a learning curve indeed as they are larger than I normally work. I feel that this next series should have one or two larger ‘wow’ pieces so am increasing the size of the work incrementally – don’t want to scare myself….

So I keep on trying, keep on going, trying to be positive…

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgment, Acceptance……Permission…

Well, three weeks down the line and I still I haven’t written my first newsletter….partly because I feel awkward at self-promotion, partly because I don’t feel as if I have anything to say and if I did….why would anyone be interested?? (I do see the irony in me writing/publishing this blog….)

So I have spent some of this week soul searching, navel gazing…….staring into space… (and I call this work……..?)  What would people like to know? What interests people about my work? And this led me back to the conversations I had with visitors to the Melbourne Arts Trail…

Inspirations, materials, process…some concrete, some less tangible….and the need to articulate these has made me focus on what precisely drives me…..so I have been jotting down thoughts….

Inspiration for me comes from the landscape and the emotions and feelings it evokes – that sense of freedom and space, the connection to nature, the changing seasons….

…. the textures…

….and the sounds; the wind, birdsong, bark of the fox or deer, raindrops and the sound of water…

….and along with this, words inspire me…

‘…there are jewels

to gather, but with the eye

only. A hill lights up

suddenly; a field trembles

with colour and goes out.

In its turn; in one day

You can witness the extent

of the spectrum and grow rich

with looking.’

R.S. Thomas

 

….and all these influences inspire me to paint in a loose, expressive style….I tried other styles but I always return…

 


So I persist with the watercolours and inks that flow and swirl, pool and splatter….allowing me to convey that sense of freedom I get from being out in the landscape…

….and in acknowledging my inspirations, accepting my style or ‘voice’ I am at long last giving myself permission; permission to be myself, to love how I paint, my style…to feel comfortable….and this, in turn, is making me more relaxed, not worry about being faced with that sheet of white paper…not stress if I don’t produce a masterpiece every time…

And in crystallising my thoughts…..I think I might have the beginnings of a newsletter…..

Taking Time….

The clocks have changed, the nights are drawing in….and  ‘Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile’ (William Cullen Bryant) is giving one final, brilliant display…before winter takes hold…

The land, having yielded its harvest is beginning its slumber…natural cycles…natural rhythms…

My creative process has a rhythm to it, a cycle…and at the moment I too, am in a fallow time, a quiet time….resting…but not unproductive…

 

….spending time in nature, creating without pressure, exploring with my favourite materials…reading…

I find such inspiration in words… how can I not when stumbling upon the work of Susan Lynch;

‘…murmurous sedge stand sentinel

as jack snipe bubble in the fen

in feathered hauberks, crouched

near dawn. Flown, the rock doves

from barrow and cairn.

A masterpiece of wrens.’

 

My creative process is one of obsessions….The Peak District, gritstone, Yorkshire Moors…and my current ‘obsession’ – the flat farmlands of Lincolnshire where I grew up…particularly the autumnal landscape  of this area – ploughed fields, furrows, stubble and field edges of hedgerows…and I am ‘obsessed’ with depicting these memories in my favourite materials…. Sepia Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Ink, Carbon Black Liquitex Ink and Winsor and Newton Granulation Fluid…..

 

Funny how, as a visual artist, I find words so evocative……

‘Field flat and fallow, crow’s cries load the sunset’ – Jonathan Falk

‘Where the land forgets its name,…..fallow, pasture, ploughland’…Gillian Clarke

….I am immediately transported to the flat lands and big skies, raucous crows, lapwings…

Taking this time to rest, read, create without pressure is my ‘slumber time’….replenishing my creative soul….

Now, if only the same could be said for the business side of things…