Sketchbooks, Sketchbooks, Sketchbooks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘OF waters, forests, hills;
Of the earth at large, whispering through medium of
me;
Of vista—Suppose some sight in arriere, through the
formative chaos, presuming the growth, fulness,
life, now attain’d on the journey;
(But I see the road continued, and the journey ever
continued;)
Of what was once lacking on earth, and in due time
has become supplied—And of what will yet be
supplied,
Because all I see and know, I believe to have purport
in what will yet be supplied,’

Walt Whitman

 

We have had some glorious autumn sunshine recently; misty mornings, golden hues, the last of the swallows performing their aerial acrobatics, dew covered webs…mornings where the sun still feels warm to your skin even though the leaves are beginning to remind us there is beauty in decay…

I have been re-charging my batteries since the Melbourne Festival; having completed all the post-event jobs, I have taken time to rest, relax, enjoy the sunshine, read, scroll through the inevitable social media…doodle in my sketchbooks, putting no pressure or expectations on myself to produce any work let alone any masterpieces….

…and the ‘no pressure’ showed in my choice of materials – charcoal and an Art Graf block – a monochromatic scheme as I didn’t even want the trouble of choosing colours…yes, totally lazy I know…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Even though, outside the skies are blue, I was definitely channelling a moody, atmospheric, stormy weather kind of vibe…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I also used a pencil along with a Derwent water-soluble graphitone 8B pencil..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

It has been great experimenting and exploring, especially with the Art Graf; using water and paper towels to gently move it in directional sweeps suggesting rainstorms…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

My sketchbooks garnered lots of interest at Melbourne – a great talking point…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

….so much so that, considering how many people enquired about workshops, I am wondering if a sketchbook workshop is the way to go…a gentle way in for me to gain confidence, a workshop not focussed on outcome so much, more on process…about how I go about overcoming the fear of a new sketchbook, how I use my sketchbooks – having a few on the go for different ideas, materials, experimental work…what do you think? Any thoughts, ideas or advice? Any pitfalls to avoid? All tips gratefully received!!

A way to go yet – I need a lesson plan for one thing!! I have been checking venues – prices, car parking, suitability (some have rooms with carpeted floors – not ideal for splashing paint and ink around on..!!) – average cost around here seems to be between £10 – £12/hour…I had thought a 3 hour workshop might be long enough for my first one… also, will I be providing some/all materials…tea/coffee/refreshment budget… lots to think about, and that’s before I start marketing it….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

What’s that story about Robert the Bruce and the spider…..? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again…. well I haven’t tried at all yet…mainly owing to lack of confidence in my abilities, fear that no-one would be interested or want to attend…but if I don’t try I will never know, there will always be that ‘what if?’…so I am going to come up with a plan, work out costs etc, perhaps have a trial run…and watch out 2020 I might just have a workshop programme….

‘You can only grow

if you are willing to feel

awkward and uncomfortable

when you try

something new,’

Brian Tracy

If you want to see more of my work-in-progress please follow me on social media, or for even more ramblings, in depth details about my process and general art inspiration, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…thank you…

(This page contains some affiliate links which means that if you click on one of the links and then buy, I could receive a small percentage commission. I only recommend products that I use and love….)

 

Melbourne Festival Review….

It’s now the Monday morning after the Festival weekend and I am catching up on all those post event jobs; updating inventory, accounts, subscriber list, social media header pages etc…as well as having a well-earned rest…

We arrived early morning at the Assembly Rooms in Melbourne to set up to find out that, as another artist had to drop out, I had been moved to be in the Studio Room alongside five other artists; I was quite pleased with this as the room I was supposed to have been in felt slightly tucked away and a little isolated from the main event… Also great was the fact that we could park the car close to a side door which made unloading much easier. Just over an hour or so later, we were set up, ready to go…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I had four boards to display my framed pieces on and initially, one table but it was no problem sourcing another table once I had spoken to one of the organisers… Just time for a quick coffee before the event opened…

Throughout Saturday there was a steady stream of visitors…. Considering that 99% of my working life is spent on my own, to suddenly have to spend two days constantly talking, at first appeared overwhelming, but after a while I overcame my reticence and had lots of great conversations; talking about my work, colour palette, materials, techniques as well as just general chit chat…

Sales were slow to begin with, especially on the Saturday, and not just for me; the other artists in the Studio said the same…but I understand that sometimes people want to have a look round before making purchases… However, I have to admit that my inner critic was beginning to surface by the middle of Saturday afternoon…doubts were creeping in, as well as a case of ‘Imposter Syndrome’…

A few cards and bookmark sales later, I had a major wobble and for two pins could have burst into tears…until I thought how ridiculous that would have been…. And then a lovely lady, who had purchased a piece from me last year, came by…she told me that she has that painting displayed in her bedroom and it is one of the first things she sees.. She also talked about my newsletters which cheered me up as well… To top it all off, she bought another watercolour from me…. Sycamore Gap…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
Sycamore Gap

So I was off and running although I didn’t take as much this Saturday as I had at last year’s event… but it was a start…

Sunday was more overcast but it felt much busier; again, lots of compliments, great feedback and conversations… Not long after the day started a couple came along and after spending time looking at work in the browser remarked that with ‘ the combination of Lincolnshire and Loughborough, how could they go wrong?’…it transpired that the gentleman was from the same neck of the woods as I was and his wife knew Loughborough Uni…what’s all that about six degrees of separation…? Anyway, after a bit of a chat they bought two small works…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
Golden Storm

 

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
Storm Over Sand

The rest of the day seemed to pass very quickly; more sales…some bookmarks, cards as well as a mixed media piece…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and one of my handmade books; Marshlands…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…in fact, the books garnered lots of interest, so I wonder if it is worth making some more…?

I also displayed one or two of my sketchbooks and these drew a lot of attention, great compliments and feedback, as well as questions about materials and techniques…a real talking point…

A lot of people took business cards and added their names to my newsletter list…as well as enquiring as to if I ran workshops…a lot of thinking needed there but definitely food for thought…

By the end of the weekend my sales figures were up on last year so very much a boost…and lots of positives to reflect on…

It was great to have the company of Zoe Marsh , Paul Johnstone, Lucy Stevens, Maria Boyd and Lesley Nason …generous with their advice and tips, sharing their knowledge, coffee runs and generally keeping spirits up..! It was also great to meet a fellow artist Instagrammer Brigitte – wonderful to actually meet in person!!

Obviously sales could always be better and we will see if anything comes off the back of the Festival… but it’s another small step on my journey, to getting my work seen by more people…more experience and lessons learned…and things to develop…

‘A little step may be the beginning of a great journey,’

Jennifer DeDonato

So, as I say, lot of things to think about, lots of things to consider, workshops being one of them…what do you think? I am also wondering whether to participate in more fairs or festivals – any great recommendations?

A big thank you to the Festival organisers for all their hard work!!

For more ramblings and musings, please follow me on social media or sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite…

 

 

Turning Procrastination Into Vorfreude…

There’s just over two days to go before I take part, for the second time, in the Melbourne (Derbyshire) Arts and Architecture Trail (14/15 September), I think I am just about sorted; everything is named, priced, labelled, wrapped and added to my inventory… I have my checklist of ‘stuff’ to take; tablecloths, browsers, easels, bubble wrap etc…and the all important coffee, tea…lunch… It’s just the last minute things such as charging up my card payment machine…(fingers crossed that it is needed!!) that remain to be done…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
Selection of works I am taking to the Melbourne Festival

….and with everything apparently ticked off my to-do list, I finally have some time…and I feel as if I should be painting…but am hesitating…the nerves are beginning to jangle, that critical voice in my head is getting into it’s stride;  ‘Do I want to start anything new?’, ‘What if nothing sells? What’s the point of making more..?’…’You’re not good enough…’ – so I procrastinate…

‘Fear stops a lot of people. Fear of

failure, of the unknown, of risk.

And it masks itself as procrastination,’

Lisa Anderson

…but, but, it’s taken me a while, but I am beginning to learn what to do to help me get over my dithering… (obviously I am a slow learner…) The critical voice is still there, but to paraphrase Elizabeth Gilbert, ‘it might have come along as a passenger on my journey, but it has to sit in the backseat and be quiet…I am driving’…and I hate backseat drivers!! I also know that if I go to my workspace, supposedly just to do a little tidying up, this will eventually have me reaching for the nearest pencil, charcoal or whatever medium is closest at hand, and experimenting, mark making…and before I know it, I am ‘creating’… not masterpieces, or anything worthy of framing, but the very fact I have ‘done something’, that I have worked out how to overcome my procrastinating is priceless…

And that’s what happened this morning, and eventually, after a little faffing around, I carried on with my acrylic exploration…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…still channelling wild weather…thinking of waves crashing on rocks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and added a little more to these ones I started a while ago…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

These are the ones I prefer, but I am trying hard not to have expectations or become precious about them…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I also find that leaving work out in the studio that excites me, that I have enjoyed exploring, is also another way of overcoming my procrastinating…and before I know it, I am itching to get on with creating, experimenting…

‘You don’t have to have it all figured out

to move forward,’

(Anon.)

I don’t profess to have all the answers but that is how I turn procrastination into vorfreude; I wrote about this in an earlier post, so I really should have taken my own advice…as I said, I am a slow learner…

How do you overcome procrastination? Do let me know…all advice gratefully received…

If you want to keep up-to-date with my work in progress, goings on and ramblings, follow me on social media, or for further insight into my practice, access to work and other news, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter using the link opposite.

The weather is looking good for the weekend at the moment so hopefully there will be lots of visitors to the Festival…if you do go, please pop into the Assembly Rooms on the High Street and say hello!!

 

 

 

 

 

Art Festival…No Worries….!!!

There’s just over a week to go to the Melbourne Arts and Architecture Trail ; taking place over two days, 14/15 September (10-5 each day), this event sees 150 artists exhibiting in 70 venues around the town… It’s my second time participating in the trail, and this year I will be based in the Assembly Rooms on the High Street…


Carolyn J Roberts artist

The last couple of weeks seems to have been non-stop preparation – even though I thought I was reasonably well sorted, there suddenly appears to be lots of ‘stuff’ that needs organising…

My OH, who I cannot thank enough for all his hard work and support, and without whom I wouldn’t have got this far, has been cutting, mounting and framing work in his very limited spare time…even if he does curse because I like most work double mounted as I think it sets it off better…!!

Adding titles to work, pricing, labelling, adding to my inventory…it all takes time, especially the pricing as I find this such a difficult area…

Fading Light, Water's Whisperings Carolyn J roberts Artist
                                                                    Fading Light, Water’s Whisperings

All this ‘stuff’ is the other side of being an artist; I am sure the more events I do, the more organised I will become – it will be like a well-oiled machine…proper systems in place, countdown schedules to work to…but for now, I am making do with writing lists, endless lists…and checking and double-checking…

….the box of ‘bits’; scissors, Sellotape, drill, picture hooks and wire, pins, business cards, sign up sheets, pens, receipt book, table cloths, notebook, extension lead, payment machine, browsers, easel…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…plus bubble wrap and gift bags, with my handmade tags..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…my basket containing a range of printed cards…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…a whole crate of works…some of which still require price labels….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…along with all the works sitting on the dining table/floor that either need wrapping or packing…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

On top of all this, the nerves are beginning to jangle; what if no-one likes any of my work, what if I don’t sell anything, not even enough to cover my costs, the old ‘who am I kidding, call yourself an artist’ voice in my head…the comparing game when you see all the other fantastic work on display… BUT…I am determined to quieten that niggling voice and hold my own… I know that once I get there and set up, hopefully had a chat with some visitors, I will be fine…and, if nothing else, it will be another step on my journey…

‘Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see

the whole staircase, just take the first step,’

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For now, it’s back to checking my lists, making more bookmarks and tags…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…packing and wrapping…

If you have any tips about taking part in arts festivals please let me know…. (yes, foldaway chairs, comfy shoes, endless supply of tea, coffee and cake are on my list…)

To keep up to date with all my latest works in progress – hopefully I will be able to get back to creating art after the festival – please follow me on social media, or sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter using the link opposite….

It would be lovely to see some of you at the festival…if you do visit, please pop by and say hello…

‘Sometimes the greatest adventure is simply a conversation,’

Amadeus Wolfe