Friday Round Up…..

Well it’s Friday…and the glorious autumnal weather of earlier in the week – early morning mist, blue skies, golden and russet leaves, luscious berries – has given way to wind and rain, grey skies…definitely a day to hunker down indoors, coffee pot gurgling, radio on…..

After posting my daily ramble..

I thought I would take stock and look at what I have done this week… I had produced a lot of work for the Melbourne Art Trail and after that was over I had a couple of weeks break…a time to recharge the batteries…but when I picked up my brushes again it was a case of ‘what now?’ I felt as if I should move on, develop new work…but what…

I am learning that this is all part of my process – I flounder about, dabbling at this and that, until suddenly I alight upon a colour combination or find myself inspired by a feature of the landscape – and start exploring…

….working across several images at once in an attempt to stop me from fiddling…

The inspiration for this work is memories of my rural childhood in Lincolnshire, especially the winter palette of ploughed fields and big skies…

I also began exploring different compositions; either four small works or two portrait ones…

….and as usual, I have become obsessed with the colours – Payne’s Grey, a touch of Indigo and Sepia..

….producing quite a lot of ‘variations on a theme’….

I have also been experimenting with a Winsor and Newton Professional watercolour stick (Sepia)….

It can be applied in a variety of ways; drawing with it, shaving off small flecks directly into water, taking pigment from the stick with a wet brush…it’s proving very versatile….so much so, I think I will have to treat myself to some more…in different colours…

When gathered together, it was amazing to see how much work I had produced….

….feels like the start of a whole new body of work…a small success…now if only I could feel the same sense of achievement with regards to the business side of things..

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Ebb & Flow….

It’s been two or three weeks since my last post – time taken for family plus a fabulous break to Seville – time for reflection…

After participating in September’s Melbourne Art Trail with some sales and a reasonable amount of interest, I hoped it might be the beginnings of ‘something’….. and…..so far….nada, nil, nothing…. I have read that sometimes it takes two or three months after an event for ‘interest shown’ to develop further, so I am probably being unrealistic…. It also re-iterates that I have to do more to promote myself….not a concept that comes easily to me…. definitely an ‘ebb’ moment…

So much so that I began to question what I was doing, thinking….why I was bothering….however, one of my attributes is stubbornness so I showed up in my studio space – well, that was the first step achieved!! I pondered what it was about creating art that kept me coming back to it…and I came to the conclusion it’s because I love playing with colour, making marks, combining materials in such a way that says something…..to me…and I think that’s what I need to remember as being the most important thing.

So it is back to my routine…starting out in my trusty Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook, using materials I love; inks, for the tonal qualities you can achieve, Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolours for their vibrancy along with Derwent Inktense blocks and Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour Sticks…

…..before working on paper, in this instance it’s Cass Art mixed media paper…

Although it’s been glorious autumnal weather outside I have been channelling the winter palette from my childhood growing up in rural Lincolnshire – big skies, ploughed fields, stubble….

….and slowly I begin to get in the ‘flow’….just exploring, experimenting….discovering what I feel works and what I don’t like ( such as the indigo sky on the top sheet – definitely needs something doing to it…)….although I don’t mind the one below…and no, I can’t help but try it in a mount – even though I am supposed to be just playing….

Some time ago I came across the following quote by Teresa R Funke – ‘Spend one day in pursuit of art that only you can produce, and somewhere, someone is enjoying your courage to do just that’…

This really resonates with me – if I produce the work that I love, that I have an emotional attachment to, that speaks to me – then that is the works’ true value… hopefully, eventually, the right people will come along and love it too, whether they buy it or not….that’s not to say I will be giving up on the marketing side of things (if I am doing this as a business then money plays it’s part)….but I need to stop piling the pressure on myself and remember why I am doing this in the first place….

….as with everything, it’s a work in progress….

Keeping Creativity Interesting….

September is slipping away with indecent alacrity; shortening days, a definite chill in the early mornings….although to offset this we have autumn’s last flourish…glorious colours, berries, seed heads…season of fruitfulness…

After the exploits of the Melbourne Arts Trail, this last week has seen me have a little R & R – family time, with little artistic endeavours…

So relaxing was it that I needed the proverbial ‘kick up the backside’ to get me into my little workspace this morning…to be greeted with a bit of a tip….which just added to my feelings of lethargy and sense of staleness in my work…

What to do? When I feel like this, I find a change of materials is as good a place as any to make a start….

Mono-printing is a process totally different to my loose watercolours and ink…

….and I therefore have no expectations which immediately takes all the pressure off leaving me free to play, experiment, get those creative juices flowing again…

Even though my expectations are low, there is always a sense of excitement (that feeling is one of the reasons I keep creating) when peeling back the paper to reveal…

Interestingly, I find the pieces of paper used to block the shapes as fascinating as the actual ‘finished’ print..

Whether I will develop mono-printing further I am not sure, but it’s certainly kickstarted my creativity….and, if nothing else, I have lots of collage material….

What do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

 

Trial and Error…

I was going to call this post ‘Process, Process, Process’….but whilst I do have a process, a way of working, there is also a large element of ‘trial and error’ as well…

I usually start the day by doing all those little household chores but I try to find time to go for a walk, even just a short one say down to the river…

….this provides that connection to the natural world that is so fundamental to me and my work…

In my studio, a.k.a. third, tiny bedroom…

I usually begin by doodling in my sketchbook with whatever materials come to hand – but mainly watercolours and inks….Daniel Smith Extra Fine watercolours and Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Inks…with the addition of Derwent watercolour pencils, Posca Pens and ink pens…channelling my experiences of being in the landscape whether that be the Dales, Moors or coast…referring to my notes, photographs and quick sketches done in situ…

….going with whatever I feel or whatever mishaps happen…such as the Posca Pen blobbing a huge amount of white paint…

I experiment with colour combinations (which have a basis in the colours I see in the landscape)…finding what I like…in this case Daniel Smith Perylene Green and Rich Green Gold…

….with the addition of some Sepia ink…and Winsor and Newton Granulation Fluid….

I will then move to working on paper…in this case Cass Art mixed media paper – 250gsm –

….step by step…

….until I get to a stage when I can experiment further with those little additions that bring a piece to life…


….trying turquoise ink, orange oil pastel and Posca pen….

….then comes the decision making….what I feel works and what doesn’t…


….for me personally, I don’t like the oil pastel, preferring the other two…so these are the colour combinations I will continue to work with and develop…it might lead somewhere or it might not…it’s all a case of trial and error you see…

 

 

 

Festival Feedback….

….and breathe…

Well I’ve only gone and done it….taken part in my first ever Arts Festival Trail…!! (The Melbourne Art and Architecture Festival)

Popped over on the Friday night to meet one of the organisers and the lovely hosts at Doves Garage who couldn’t have been more welcoming and helpful – bringing us cups of coffee….thank you!

Arrived at 8.00am Saturday morning to set up – boards and tables were all in place – so it was relatively straightforward.  Met the other two artists who were exhibiting alongside me; the lovely designer, maker, painter and illustrator Erica Just and the equally lovely Connie Wan-Docksey (the Tiny Maker) who creates beautiful bespoke papercuts. Doves Garage Showroom is a fabulous light space and we all thought that our differing artworks made for a varied exhibition.

I will admit to being extremely nervous, definitely lots of butterflies, but both Connie and Erica had taken part in Trails/Fairs before so were very generous with their tips and support…

I was looking upon this first experience as a learning curve, not knowing quite what to expect in terms of levels of interest or sales…Having been round lots of this type of event as a visitor, it was very interesting being on the other side of the table… art is so subjective, some people came in, looked round and went out all in a matter of seconds, others made beelines for the more illustrative work of Erica or the papercuts of Connie – people watching is fascinating….

As Saturday progressed visitor numbers increased and people began taking an interest in my work – lots of compliments about my colour palette, use of materials and energy and mark making… one lady wrote ‘Really enjoyed your work, really felt the weather’ and another gentleman, who visited twice, wrote ‘Wonderful, expressive, playful use of colour and texture’… Those of you who advised me to take my sketchbooks along, thank you, they created a lot of interest with people looking through them, asking questions about materials and techniques – one lady said she would love to buy one….

….and, eventually, I broke my duck and made a sale of some cards and then…a small mixed media piece – Singing Hills…

…..whew…..that made me feel so much better…

I managed to pop out early on Sunday….when the streets were quiet…

…before heading back to the Showroom… After a slow start, it was Sunday after all, we had more lovely visitors… Again, lots of interest, and yes, it was great meeting and chatting to people about my work… and I made more sales; more cards and ‘Where The Wind Sings’ – a medium sized mixed media piece….to a lovely lady from North Wales…she even came back for a second look as she loved my work…

I did manage a brief walk round…just before the showers…. music, smell of food, people, great art – all the hallmarks of a fabulous festival…

And what of my learning curve….practical issues such as another browser or easel would have been useful as would a larger table…perhaps a more diverse selection of cards and even some prints just to provide more of a range of prices…

Several people suggested a book of my sketchbook images as they loved them so much – something to think about…? Lots of people asked if I ran workshops or did demonstrations/videos/YouTube clips – (something else to ponder) – although I think the cutting room floor would be full of the deleted clips of me faffing about and, as for the demos, I would definitely need to get the hang of painting and talking simultaneously…

Would I do another Fair/Festival…? Several artists have said that festivals can be a bit of a slow burner, so perhaps judging after only one seems a little unfair… it certainly helped promote my work to an audience who aren’t necessarily avid social media devotees. Having said that, social media obviously has its uses; one lady made a bee line for my stand saying she follows me on Twitter and loves what I do…and another lovely young couple have already messaged me via Instagram because they loved my work – horses for courses as they say…

I covered the cost of the stand which is a plus, and made a bit more as well….it will be interesting to see if I get any sales as a result of being at Melbourne – time will tell…

Participating in the Festival is a welcome addition to my resume and helps to start building a track record if/when I apply for more fairs/exhibitions etc….

As for today, well possibly a bit of doodling along with some R & R…

I would just like to thank the Melbourne Festival organisers for all their help, Dave and the staff at Doves Garage for being so welcoming, Connie and Erica for making the weekend so nice, all the lovely visitors, especially those who kindly purchased a card/painting/stopped by for a chat….and last, most importantly of all, my wonderful husband without whom none of this would be possible…..

 

 

 

 

First Time Festival Goer….Any Tips?

Regular followers of my blog/social media will know that this weekend (15/16 September) I will be participating in the Melbourne Arts and Architecture Festival in Derbyshire. I will be at venue 44, Doves Garage, High Street, Melbourne, DE73 8GF, along with artists Erica Just and Connie Wan-Docksey.  This week therefore, has been spent mounting, wrapping, pricing and labelling work…along with getting together all the things I think I might need…

Artwork packed for Festival

Artwork wrapped for Festival

Arts Festival Supplies

….items such as scissors, Sellotape, pens, hammer, drill, hooks, bags, bubble wrap, card reader, cash box, float, receipt book, table cloth, tape, extension lead, charger….

I have also printed ‘back of work’ labels…..

Back of Work Blurb

My hamper of greeting cards is packed….

Greeting cards

….and my business cards, flyers and sign have arrived….plain and simple like me….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

….not forgetting lunch, nibbles and an endless supply of tea and coffee…

Do you have any tips for this first timer?

The Creative Process…

‘The Creative Process’….sounds so grand…for me it’s about exploration, experimentation….playing, trying not to put pressure on myself…

Reading, visiting exhibitions, viewing other work all helps…but when all comes to all, to create work …. you have to ‘do’ work…

 

‘I experience a sense of accomplishment when I complete a work, but it is the perpetual love of the creative process that drives my artistic growth,’ – Lisa Renner

‘All the best ideas come out of the process, they come out of the work itself,’ – Chuck Close

 

Preparation for the Melbourne Arts and Architecture Festival is well on its way….work has been mounted, framed, packed, labelled, priced… and it seemed as if I had come to a hiatus…. ‘What do I do now?’ Answer…’Keep going, make work….’

So out with the sketchbook, materials, and inspired by my favourite places i.e. The Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Moors and Glen Coe along with colours inspired by the seasons….

….here is the process from the beginning….using a watercolour pencil….

…..the addition of Daniel Smith Paynes Grey…

….next Quinacridone Gold….


FW Acrylic ink – Sepia – is the next material…along with some granulation fluid…



With the final addition of some white Posca Pen…..see above…

I go from working on paper to working in my sketchbook… the hardest part for me, is waiting for the paint to dry, so switching back and forth keeps me in the flow…

I am not sure where this playing will take me, trying different colour combinations is exciting and I can see a whole new series of work, perhaps, after a lot more ‘playing’…..

What is your ‘Creative Process’?