Pleased to announce…blog update

I am pleased to announce that I will be participating in the ‘Inspired by Nature’ exhibition at Blue Owl Art, Grantham, Lincolnshire. Running from 30 April – 31 August, the exhibition is for work that has been, like it says in the title, inspired by nature!

Fragile Lands II will be exhibiting a new body of work, which I have called ‘Fragile Lands’: it consists of eight pieces inspired by my love and affinity for the landscape – The Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Moors, the North Norfolk coast and beyond….

Fragile Lands IIGrowing up in rural Lincolnshire I came to love and respect the landscape in all its many guises, whatever the season.  As a child, time seemed to stretch on forever, and although the countryside altered with the farming calendar, the bones of the landscape appeared infinite. Fast forward to the present and we are aware, more than ever, of the earth’s fragility. The mixed media work I will be exhibiting looks to capture this juxtaposition of permanence and vulnerability: the contour lines of the landscape contrasting with the delicacy of the tissue paper and soft ink and watercolour washes.

Fragile Lands IIIThe work is intended to be impressionistic, abstract even, rather than representational: it is my response to the landscapes I love and the issues it faces.

Fragile Lands IVFragile Lands VI am thrilled to be exhibiting at Blue Owl Art again – it’s a great gallery, has a great selection of contemporary craftwork as well, along with an on-site cafe serving delicious food – what more could you want?!

Fragile Lands VIThe Preview Night is 30 April from 7 – 9pm – do pop along if you can, would be great to see you there!!

Fragile Lands VIIFragile Lands VIII

Guilty as charged…blog update

Earlier this week I committed a cardinal sin – unhappy with my first few ‘daubs’ in my new sketchbook, I tore the pages out……….

I had been looking forward to working in my new square Seawhite sketchbook after filling the previous one to the brim and more –














and looking back through it I really felt it was what a sketchbook should be, a record of my sketches, experiments, memories, ephemera, texts, poems etc.

Starting my new book shouldn’t have been an issue then; there it was, open, white pages just begging to be filled…

imageand what do I do? Splosh away, thinking I’m going to create something marvellous, produce (in my eyes) rubbish and subsequently tear the pages out – I really should know better!

imageCross with myself , I made coffee, browsed social media and tweeted about my new sketchbook and ‘white paper syndrome’. Within minutes I received tweets of encouragement and tips from some very kind artists about how they get started! Elaine Phipps in particular has been very generous with her comments, tips and encouragement, along with Mari French and Louisa Crispin – thank you ladies, and to everyone who takes the time to ‘chat’ with me over social media!

So, re-charged, I made another start – sticking in tissue paper and using up old ink and paints – one of Elaine’s tips!

imageimageimageimageNo pressure, just doodles – but what do you know, I’ve broken that duck…

What do you do to get over ‘white paper syndrome’? I’d love to hear from you!

And what do you know, when I framed up one of the pages I tore out…….I quite liked it……


Finding one’s own ‘style’ …blog update

I have many favourite artists ranging from JMW Turner

JMW Turnerand Degas

Ballerinas Sketch Edgar Degasthrough to Norman Ackroyd’s atmospheric prints.

ACK_333_Skellig_Rocks_County_Kerry-copyI also love the work of Beili Liu,

Beili LiuMonika Grzymala,

Monika GrzymalaRichard Long

Stone Circle Richard Longand the wonderful marks of Kitty Sabatier.

Kitty Sabatier 1I could go on – the list is endless! Covering a whole range of artistic mediums, the one thing that all these artists have in common is that they have all found – or should that be ‘developed’ – their own style. Now I realise that finding one’s own particular style doesn’t just happen overnight (unless you happen to be extremely gifted!) – it only comes after hours/years of hard work, experiments, failures, successes…….

At the moment I can’t seem to pinpoint my style – I waver between figurative drawings,

Carolyn J RobertsSilver Birch I

Auchencairn in pastelspencil and ink wash drawings,

Carolyn J Robertswatercolour washes

Carolyn J RobertsCarolyn J Robertsand a little mixed media.


I have been lucky in that I have had both figurative work and a watercolour wash piece exhibited. The difficulty arises when I am asked to describe myself/work in the dreaded artist’s statement as I don’t feel that I have a definitive style!

I would be really interested to hear how other artists (why do I still feel awkward calling myself an artist?) ‘found’ their style – let me know!

Meanwhile I will keep persevering…..


International Postcard Show update…blog update

The International Postcard Show 2015 at Surface Gallery, Nottingham draws to a close this Saturday, 14th February. They had a record number of submissions covering a wide range of mediums; everything from painting to photography, drawing and illustration, through to collage and text. There’s a great review of the Show by Megan Bonser on the gallery’s blog – I may be a little biased as she makes a lovely comment about my work with a feature photo!

It’s been great to be part of this exhibition – a chance to promote my work and connect with other artists. I’ve already been contacted by an artist regarding the possibility of a future collaboration!

Obviously it would be nice if my work, ‘Blue Rhapsody’, sold – there’s still time – contact the gallery if you are interested! However, even if they don’t sell, I am thrilled that I have been awarded one of the 20 Runner-Up prizes – woohoo!

Carolyn J Robertsimage

Learning not to compare…blog update

It’s taken a while but I finally got around to treating myself, using a Christmas present to purchase ‘Drawing and Painting’ by Kate Wilson.

imageAdmittedly I haven’t read it from cover to cover yet, but the bits I have read and the artists that are featured are providing me with a metaphorical ‘kick up the…’ to stop fiddling and procrastinating and just get on do stuff!

Here’s my pick of the artists so far (just my own – you might have a different opinion!)

I’ve alsways been a big fan of Tacita Dean ever since I saw some of her work in MoMA –

imageHer huge charcoal works on boards are just beautiful; the marks and subtle tones draw you right into the work.

The work of Jonathan Delafield Cook is also featured in the book; I am amazed at the detail he obtains in his charcoal works –

imageIn contrast, Zheng Chongbin‘s work in ink has some fabulous marks –

imageMarion Thomson’s collage with granulated gouache washes also appeals to me: I like the subtleness of the tones – imageI think one of the hardest lessons for an artist to take on board is not to compare your work with others – I know I am guilty of this! It only leads me to doubt my own ability and worth and I find it a real stumbling block to creativity. But looking at the artists above and the variety and style of their work just goes to prove there is no right or wrong way or style – it’s up to the individual to develop their own path!

I have been nominated on Twitter by Liz Doyle to take part in the art challenge – 3 pictures every day for 5 days… I was nominated before but failed miserably (you’ve guessed it – comparing my efforts to others). However I am determined to succeed this time and here are is my first day’s efforts – imageimageimageI restricted myself to 3 minutes/work – no time to fiddle! Just get on with it, take the photos and post!

Hard as it may be, I am determined to be inspired by other artists – not discouraged!

Catch 22?…blog update

Readers of my last post will be aware that I am developing some new work based on my love of the landscape – the contrast between the apparent permance of it and it’s fragility particularly appeals to me. Inspiration comes from the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and the North Norfolk coast – these areas are very special to me, I always feel ‘home’ when I’m there. I also love words, and for this new work I was also inpired by an extract from Robbie Burns’s ‘Tam O’ Shanter’ beginning ‘But pleasures are like poppies spread..’ (see previous post if you want to read the extract).

imageimageAnother poet was brought to my attention (again via Countryfile) – Simon Armitage; in particular his Stanza Stones poems which have been carved into rocks around a trail from Marsden to Ilkley. Not being sure about the laws of copyright (with regards to living poets) I am not reproducing the poems here but if you check out the websites you can read them. Armitage’s observations about the landscape and weather are magical, evoking a real sense of place.

So, suitably inspired, I have carried on developing and experimenting!

imageimageExperiment with different coloured tissue paper below – reserving judgement at the moment!

imageimageSome pieces I’m happy with and others I’m not so sure, so experimenting with cropping them.


imageI do feel as if I am putting together a body of work –

imageand therein lies the rub! To be able to show potential galleries/sell them, the works need professionally mounting and framing (when will I learn to make my work a standard size!) but how do I afford that without selling some…..Catch 22! Any tips from you guys would be greatly appreciated!

Meanwhile, on with the work…..