Reflective Ruminations…..

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that whenever I attempt to create art my brain should remain firmly in neutral…

This week has definitely been  ‘one step forward, two steps backwards’…

Spontaneity is key in producing the work I like…freedom of washes and ink splatters, dynamic mark-making… I managed to create some ‘okay’ pieces…and that’s when the problems set in..

…consciously trying to recapture that freedom resulted in less pleasing work..

…and the more I tried the worse it became…I began to include more and more mediums until it all got a bit ‘busy’…

So I made an effort to simplify things and to try not to fiddle..

…now I know I am my own worst critic, but I don’t like these pieces as much as my very first attempts…  I think I have become too fixated on a particular image and that is having a stultifying effect on me… so for now I am putting Higger Tor to one side…and trying to find a fresh perspective…obviously one where I don’t have to think too much…

(..whilst still enjoying those first pieces…)

…someone else liked the one below so much…they bought it…(!!!)

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It’s A Funny Thing…

I am really enjoying developing the inspiration and ideas I garnered from our weekend walk around Carl Wark and Higger Tor in the Peak District…

‘Paths gone to heather

Grasses silver underfoot..’

from Hob Hurst’s House by Chris Jones

 

…the colours, the light, the gritstone, the elements… and it is these very things that have inspired me to break out of my comfort zone…I am very happy using ink and charcoal, but the images just shout out for colour, and the strong lines of the tors call for brave marks…..

…and initially, when I have no idea what I am doing, I somehow manage to produce some work I actually like…

 

…and it’s then that that funny thing happens…ooh I think to myself, I like that…lets try and do it again…and all that freedom and spontaneity is lost…and I end up with work that I am not happy with…and the more I try, the less it works…

…so today I have been reminding myself of what it was like to stand atop Higger Tor, in the wind and the rain, that feeling of freedom, exhilaration, of insignificance – the Tor will be there long after I have shuffled off…

…and somehow, somethings have worked…

…so it’s simple then (!!??), just don’t worry and don’t try so hard; that’s all there is to it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Colour Purple….

Life is all about balance, finding the time to re-charge the batteries, gaining inspiration…and Saturday saw myself and P do just that, re-charging the batteries for P and gaining inspiration for me….

We headed for the hills, The Peak District, Derbyshire, parking up at The National Trust Longshaw Estate and walking round Carl Wark and Higger Tor, before skirting Burbage Bank.

Blustery winds brought fast-changing weather; sunshine one minute, dark clouds and rain the next…but it was beautiful… the light reflecting the predominant colour ….purple…

…purple as far as eye could see….

Contrasting with the heather was the stone and the bracken, rippling in the breeze like some silver sea…

 

…and even though I didn’t get round to sketching ‘in situ’ – something I must do – the walk, the colours, the elements all inspired me…

So today I tried to capture some of those in some quick studies…

…as with all experiments, I feel some work better than others…

…whether these lead to anything, we will see, but the fact that I have found inspiration again is such a good feeling…

The River, The River…

After two days of seemingly non-stop rain it was good to wander to the river…..

River, river, little river!

Bright you sparkle on your way,

O’er the yellow pebbles dancing,

Through the flowers and foliage glancing,

Like a child at play.

(C.A.Bowles)

Sunlight reflecting off the lily(?) leaves, creating strips of silver near the water’s edge…reeds trembling in the breeze…

The meadow opposite is now feeding station central as swallows and swifts swoop and dive, performing aerial acrobatics the like of which we can only dream of, all the while chattering…preparing for their departure…

The passing narrow boat disturbs the water…

…and the birds skim the surface….

Buzzards call, circling upwards….geese fly past, honking…announcing their presence…a hidden heron lurches skywards…disturbed by the approaching passer-by…

The river banks’ foliage, hinting at autumn, weighted down with developing seed heads, rust-coloured, a magnet for sparrows…a wren…

Ode To A Summer Day

Memory circumscribes me…immediate and absolute

When I breathe the scent of a summer day,

My senses tuned in harmony and grace

To the subtle essence of things growing…the soft murmur

Of foliage unfolding…a whisper

Of organic particles in a fugue of decay

I remember now…a special moment near a winding road

By a river stream,

The lingering odour of late summer in the wind

Surrounding me like smoke in a slow pavane of green

The music of the air weaving every nuance of sound

Of patterns arabesque like leaves on fine cut-glass,

Leaving echoes in my mind

Of a sonic tapestry now

Forever stilled…

(Joe G Trevino Jnr)

 

Trials and Tribulations…

A couple of things have become patently obvious to me on this wet August morning…..I never realised how important space was and…..I am definitely a technophobe….

Trying to build on the process driven ‘Abstracted Landscape Workshop’ run by artist Caroline Chappell that I recently attended, I set to work with inks and charcoals…only to discover that I was not achieving the same freedom, the same spontaneity in the work… Couldn’t think why until I remembered how liberating it was having two tables all to myself and lots of space to move around in at the workshop…

Working in my tiny back bedroom, I felt constrained…hence the work didn’t have the same qualities…

..what you can’t see in the above photo is the crammed bookcases, stacked boxes and a ‘walk-in, reverse out’ route to the workspace… It was so lovely during the workshop to have all that SPACE!! I feel a major tidy up, clear out session coming on…..

The other thing that is obvious is that me and technology are not soulmates…. I am trying (very…) to set up a website…and even after my patient husband has shown me what to do, left to my own devices I have now got headings where I don’t want them, photos uploaded to heaven knows where and unwanted words….It all seemed such a good idea at the time…

Having had cards printed that I was hoping to sell …

…and an ink & charcoal study that I was going to give away as part of the launch of the website..

…I will now have to wait until said husband returns from work and rectifies my many mistakes….

Feel the need for caffeine…

It’s All About The Process…

Inspiring, thought provoking, enjoyable, challenging, immersive, creative…some words that describe the two-day ‘Abstracted Landscape Workshop’ run by artist Caroline Chappell that I recently attended..

In a village hall, down a leafy lane, eight workshop participants (including yours truly) were gently encouraged by Caroline to concentrate  on the process rather than the outcome. She quoted Bruce Mau, ‘Process is more important than outcome. When outcome drives the process we will only ever go where we have been. If process drives outcome, we may not know where we are going, but we will know we want to be there.’

I found this a liberating thought, having found myself in an artistic rut lately, doing the same things, with the same results, staying firmly within my comfort zone….

Through discussion and demonstration Caroline inspired us to think about the materials, the marks and our feelings…to move past our ‘default’ habits…to focus on the process of making rather than on a desired outcome…

 

I seem to have no problem filling a sketchbook (mostly rubbish…) but with no idea how to develop the doodles…so it was fascinating to watch Caroline’s process…and to then have a go myself…

Although used to the materials employed on day one, (inks and charcoal being my go-to media), the day was thought-provoking and at time, intense…the endless supply of tea and coffee was much appreciated!!

Day two was definitely challenging for me…I hadn’t used acrylic paint since my Grantham College days, many moons ago, hence the reason some of my paints were ‘solid’ tubes….

Thinking about colour and creating palettes were first order of the day…

..I’m obviously a ‘muted’ kind of girl!!!

Using the studies from the previous day, the idea was to develop them into paintings..

…I must admit to feeling a little ( no make that a lot) out of my depth… but with Caroline’s suggestions, support and encouragement, managed to produce two ‘paintings’…

…not sure they are ‘Abstracted Landscapes’… but for my first attempts at acrylic landscapes I’ll take them…

The whole experience was fabulous…it was great to be part of a small group, to have lots of room to work…

…to discuss art…have inspirational books available…

…and Caroline’s support and encouragement….

If you’re finding yourself in a rut, needing an artistic ‘shake-up’ I would definitely recommend the workshop….

..now where’s that catalogue…in need of some more acrylic paints….