Getting In The Mood…..(!!)…

There are days when I don’t feel like drawing, doodling or painting, and at times like this, there is a lot to be said for just getting in the studio and ‘doing,’ even if it’s just pottering – and, eventually something happens, even if it is only a tidy up…but even when I have ‘done something’ artistically speaking, it’s not usually my best….I definitely wasn’t ‘feeling it’ with this sheet…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

For me, I find my creativity works best when a combination of things come together…. my mood, environs, observations, images, words…space to reflect…find my rhythm…

Regular readers will know that a favourite place of mine to just ‘be’ is the river…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….I take a notebook to jot down any observations or thoughts…and when combined create poetry (of sorts….)…..

Cloudless blue,

Iced grass,

Mist rolling over the river’s surface,

Mirror’d sun, glinting,

Upended branch, drifting like a submarine’s periscope,

Crows flapping overhead, calling,

Glittering ribbons of quicksilver at the water’s edge,

Indignant moorhens, neighbourly disputes….

I find this ‘creativity’ enormously rewarding, and, although I wouldn’t call myself any sort of poet, these jottings create a ‘poetic’ diary of the river…..this one is my snapshot of a May day last year….and evokes memories of that day…sights, sounds, smells…

Dark, flowing river,

Ripples, slowly winding their way downstream,

Smaller ribbons forming a stationary pool within the ribbon,

Heron gliding in on arched wings,

Reeds, bending in the breeze,

Lily pads floating in circles, anchored,

Cow parsley swaying,

Swallows performing aerial acrobatics,

skimming the water.

Willow dipping her branches like a washerwoman,

Buttercups, lifting their goblets, drinking in the sun,

And always, the incessant chatter,

Swallows, swifts, house-martins,

Swooping criss-cross over the meadow,

And desire paths,

Worn flat by people – dog walkers, fishermen, children,

Hiding in the shadows, like a shoal of fish, lily pads,

Furled, waiting to uncurl,

As the heron performs another leisurely flypast…..

I find that by spending this time by the river, being outdoors, connecting to nature and the landscape, this ‘writing,’ puts me in a creative frame of mind before even contemplating making ‘artistic’ marks on paper….

And then there’s my studio ‘space’…it used to be the kitchen, but has now migrated to the smallest bedroom….and even though it’s far from perfect, it’s my ‘Space for the Spirit to breathe’ – Rainer Maria Rilke…

‘Gather and hoard your inspirations as you live,

then recapture them as needed in the studio’,

Nita Engle

Cards/artwork on show by: Lesley Birch, Peter M. Hicks, Jo Sheppard, Norman Ackroyd, Ray Ogden, Sue Vize, Lesley Lillywhite, Joan Eardley and Paul Talbot-Greaves

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Gathered inspirations and memories…..

Crolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

…. wall of quotes…..artwork by yours truly and Maryanne Hawes..

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….shelves of books, collection of sketchbooks….

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….favourite materials….

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….my notebooks filled with quotes, poetry, words…..

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….my studio,a room where I surround myself with objects, items, words and images that fill me with joy….

‘Here in a little lonely room I am master of the earth and sea,

And the planets come to me.’

Arthur Symons

I usually find that spending time outdoors, by having my ‘Space for the Spirit…’ lifts my mood and consequently enhances my creativity….resulting in work that I am happier with….

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

‘Life isn’t about finding pieces of a puzzle.

It’s about creating and putting those exceptional  pieces together.’

Glen Van Dekken


What do you do to ‘get in the mood’? What helps your creativity flow?

The Unknown & ‘Happy Accidents’….

I knew it was going to be one of those days when I woke with the beginnings of a cluster migraine – which I have only suffered with since taking my rheumatoid arthritis medication….but, soldiering on, I went to my ‘studio’…

The feeling of ‘one of those days’ was compounded by my continuing efforts on this…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….I just wasn’t feeling it…. so in an attempt to shake things up, I tried collaging in my daily doodles…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….I cut random words and phrases out of magazines etc….ones that appeal to me, strike a chord…and this one ‘take a peek into the unknown’….just seemed appropriate….. and a happy accident, the colour combination of slate blue/grey and sepia, I just loved….so I got another sheet of paper….

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….and I quite like the end result….

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….so I am leaving it at that, finishing on a positive note…..and going for a lie down….

Feels Like March…..

‘With rushing winds and gloomy skies,

the dark and stubborn Winter dies.’

Bayard Taylor

With all the gales we have been experiencing lately, the weather certainly feels more in keeping with mad March winds rather than February…and recent heavy rain has seen the river swell which…

Carolyn J Roberts artist River Soar

….combined with the cutting down of the reeds and rushes on the far bank, has seen it’s flow increase….

….sweeping away all the debris… well as the nest a pair of swans was constructing on a promontory of rushes…I tried taking their photo but I think they were so disgruntled at the destruction of their home, they paddled furiously after me, ”chuffing’ their annoyance…. I didn’t loiter….

This last week has seen me have a break from the usual studio routine…life has a habit of taking over at times…

I did however, manage to pop over to Blue Owl Art gallery last week for the opening of their new exhibition ‘Butterflies and Nets’ by artist Linda Holloway…. The work on show was a recognition of the altering and diverse state of mental health….

Mainly pen and ink, with additional watercolour and the odd oil painting for good measure, the work is an exploration of our human frailties and fragility…there were certainly pieces that I am sure we could all empathise with at times…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….unravelling minds portrayed with fine lines, figures caught in nets, lines representing neural pathways which sometimes break and need re-wiring…

….and memories, that recede with time, becoming more fragile…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artistCarolyn J Roberts artistCarolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

A timely exhibition, mental health is one of the issues of the 21st century; one that affects us all, either directly or indirectly…..and Linda has captured the complexities of the mind in her thought provoking, beautiful work. The exhibition runs until May and is well worth a visit…but do hurry…lots of red dots appeared during the evening!!

Hopefully, from tomorrow, my usual routine will resume…but for now, keep warm, be kind to each other and to yourself….

‘May your heart

always be kind

even though

the world out there

could shatter you

for being kind.

It is kindness that makes you brave.’

Najwa Zebian



Hibernating But Not Sleeping…

Despite the unpredictable weather, occasionally Mother Nature provides moments that fill you with joy as well as imbuing you with a sense of anticipation….

‘The light of winter is the poetry of patience’

(I love this quote but am unable to determine its author – any help would be appreciated)

The morning light, blue sky….the mist rolling along the surface of the river, the beauty of the trees, skeletons stretching their arms as if to salute the sun…

‘Winter crystalline flakes resting on ice-kissed trees’ – Dani Burtsfield

Carolyn J Roberts artist

For me, these winter months are a time for planning, setting goals, and, on those dull, dark days, not conducive to venturing outside, spending time experimenting with materials, reading, listening to podcasts, looking at art, discovering new artists….

Art is not created in a vacuum…

‘Art is not always about pretty things. It is about who we are, what happened to us and how our lives are affected’ – Elizabeth Broun

‘Artists have no choice but to express their lives’ – Anne Truitt

As an artist I am influenced by my life, my experiences, my surroundings, the landscapes I love, as well as by people, books and words, other artists…

                                                                         JMW Turner

                                                                         Edgar Degas

                                                               Norman Ackroyd

                                                             Monika Grzymala

                                                                    Beili Liu

….the list is endless….Tacita Dean, Richard Long, Kitty Sabatier, Joan Eardley, David Tress, Barbara Rae…I could go on….   and each artist inspires in different ways, whether that be colours, composition, marks…

….and regular readers can’t have failed to notice how much I love poetry and quotes…an avid reader, words never cease to inspire, evoke a memory…

‘The western glories fade and pass. The twilight deepens more and more.

A thin mist, like a breath on glass, veils shining stream and a distant shore;

And night is falling, still cool, on each broad marsh and silent pool.’

Extract from ‘Nightfall in the Fens’  by Ada Cambridge

….my childhood spent in the fenlands of Lincolnshire….

My art is a distillation of all my experiences, the inspirations…the work encapsulates my inspirations, emotions and memories…..whether that be the autumn fields, ploughed ready for their winter sleep…

Carolyn J roberts artist

Lines, Levels & Lapwing Cries

(Currently at Blue Owl Art Gallery)


…. or fields of golden barley, swaying in the breeze…

Field of Gold Carolyn J Roberets artist

Field of Gold

(Available on my website)

….or windswept days by the coast…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Stormy Harbour

(Available on my website)

As an artist, it is a great feeling when someone connects with one of your paintings because it conjures up memories of a place or a moment in time….and together, image and thought, brings joy…

‘…reeds and river, weaving the mist together…’

Michael McClintock


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