Something for the Weekend…

‘The spirit-world around this world of sense

Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere

Wafts through these early mists and vapours dense

A vital breath of more ethereal air,’

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

And so the year draws slowly to a close; the shortest day approaches…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘No more hurry, hurry,

time now for firelight and for dreaming,

for church bells mingling

with the cold quiet sunlight

And somewhere deep inside of you

a kernel of courage – unfurling

each day, more light,’

Irene Latham

 

The days become longer; we look forward to the light, to awakening from our winter ‘hibernation’… a hibernation that, for me, involves experimenting, researching, reading…and the book on my reading list this week is…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

American painter Rutenberg takes you behind the studio doors, to explore the making of a painting. He tells of the places, people and experiences that lead to his work. The book also contains techniques, ideas and career advice…always useful!!

I especially love the chapter  ‘Why Landscape?’ – where Rutenberg discusses knowing ‘…your origins. Where do you come from? What place stacked your bones into the shape of you?….My connection to the landscape of South Carolina has nothing to do with nostalgia; it’s much broader than memory. It’s my clear seeing place. A career has many moving parts, but there must be a cable that runs from your soft tissue directly to your clear-seeing place. Every artist needs such a place, for this is where your muse resides…’ Rutenberg, p95, Clear Seeing Place.

The fenlands of Lincolnshire are where I grew up and it is the place that ‘stacked my bones’; I often wonder if these flatlands, that are my ‘clear-seeing place’, are why I feel such affinity for the marshes and coast-line of north Norfolk…lands that stretch to the far horizons… And why, whenever I visit, there is a ‘settling’, an ‘ahhhhhh’ moment…and suddenly, everything becomes much clearer…

My ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ is Lynn Hardaker, a Canadian who lives in Germany and creates journals and collages as well as writing and paintings… Lynn was very generous in answering a few questions, explaining her inspirations and processes…

Lynn Hardaker

I was drawn to her feed because of the muted colour palette of her work, the story telling nature of her collages, the images of barley, (me being a country girl and all…) her collection of stones… (a lady after my own heart)…so it wasn’t a surprise to learn that Lynn draws her inspiration primarily from nature, which she incorporates directly into her artwork; feathers, flowers, bracken…  She also takes inspiration from the places she visits including the north east coast of England where ‘the rocky cliffs, the ever changing sea, and the fossil-filled ground have been a starting point for numerous works.’

Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

I love Lynn’s choice of collage materials; the  mixture of the natural and paper, the calligraphy…plus the limited palette…definitely appeals to my sense of aesthetics…and evokes a sense of history – ‘hinting at what stories might be hidden within.’

Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

When asked which artists inspire her, Lynn named Mark Rothko as one of her all-time favourites, ‘I still remember the punch-in-the-gut I experienced when looking at some of his huge works in person for the first time.’ She also admires a host of contemporary artists, mainly women, quoting Cathy Cullis as an artist whose work ‘has long inspired me. I love that she uses different media and plays with different subject matter. There is an integrity there which I admire.’

 

Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

I love the muted colour palette of Lynn’s paintings and the layers and textures, the scratchings and scrapings, so I was interested to hear of her process:

‘For years I focussed on painting with oil and cold wax medium on wood panel. I loved the way in which I could replicate the effects of nature on surfaces: erosion, depositing, abrading. But last year I starting suffering headaches from the cold wax medium (actually from the solvent in it, which I tried to control since I made it myself, but was unable to come up with a mixture which didn’t affect me), so I focussed more on collage. I adore making collage and have drawers filled with items I’ve collected on my walks and travels: pebbles, shells, flowers, leaves, feathers, as well as antique letter, and papers which I paint. Recently, I’ve been attempting to incorporate collage techniques into larger works. This has been a challenge, but a rewarding one. As is always the case with art, it’s the process that counts, that’s where we learn and grow as artists.’

 

Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

 

Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

And who doesn’t love a concertina artwork…?

 

Lynn Hardaker
Lynn Hardaker

Do pop over and have a look at Lynn’s website to see more of her paintings- definitely worth a visit!!

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s slightly more in-depth ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, and I would like to thank Lynn for allowing me to show her pictures and answering my questions, it’s really appreciated!!

As far as my own work this week – well, I have been concentrating on my Instagram Advent Calendar Sale...

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

There has been a lot of interest and some sales, and I would like to thank everyone who has supported me, either by purchasing work or by liking, sharing or re-tweeting, it means such a lot…

This will be the last ‘Something for the Weekend’ post for 2019; I will be taking a break over the festive season but I will be back in January…so for now, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and interest and all the positive feedback and encouraging, kind comments; it is all so very much appreciated!

It just remains for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!!

Enjoy,

Best wishes,

C

 

And one final poem…

“after John Donne’s ‘A Nocturnal on St Lucy’s Day’

At midday on the year’s midnight
into my mind came
I saw the new moon late yestreen
wi the auld moon in her airms

though, no,
there is no moon of course –
there’s nothing very much to speak of anything to speak of
in the sky except a gey dreich greyness
rain-laden over Glasgow and today
there is the very least of even this for us to get
but
the light comes back
the light always comes back

and this begins tomorrow with
however many minutes more of sun and serotonin.

Meanwhile
there will be the winter moon for us to love the longest,
fat in the frosty sky among the sharpest stars,
and lines of old songs we can’t remember
why we know
or when first we heard them
will aye come back
once in a blue moon to us
unbidden

and bless us with their long-travelled light.”

Liz Lochhead


 

Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Winter Trees

All the complicated details

of the attiring and

disattiring are completed!

A liquid moon

moves gently among

the long branches.

Thus having prepared their buds

against a sure winter

the wise trees

stand sleeping in the cold,’

William Carlos Williams

The bones of the landscape are slowly revealed, notwithstanding the last leaves clinging stubbornly to bare, skeletal fingers… Interspersed between days of wind and rain, are mornings of clear light…

“Aurora hail, and all the thousand dies,

Which deck thy progress through the vaulted skies:

The morn awakes, and wide extends her rays…”

‘A Hymn to the Morning’ – Phyllis Wheatley

Wind ripples the water’s surface, changing hues, shifting patterns…drifting downstream…mesmerising…

And equally as mesmerising is this short video by Nick Dunlop: ‘The Starling and Falcon Dance’… although the starlings’ are swooping, diving and soaring to avoid the falcon, their dance is hypnotic, fluid…spellbinding…

Similarly, my book choice this week – ‘Markings’ by Maxwell MacKenzie – is full of stunning aerial photography…

Markings by Maxwell MacKenzie

American MacKenzie takes to the air in his ultralight aircraft, photographing the wonderful and mysterious patterns and markings on the earth… His photographs are accompanied by quotes and poems by such luminaries as Robert Browning – I particularly liked..

‘The grey sea and the long black land;

And the yellow half-moon large and low;

And the startled little waves that leap

In fiery ringlets from their sleep,

As I gain the cove with pushing prow,

And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand,’

Meeting at Night – Robert Browning

… along with other favourite poets and authors: Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Frost, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and W. B. Yeats to name a few…and who could not love this quote by Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfoot Nation: “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset’…..

Someone else who takes inspiration from the colours and patterns of the natural world is this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ – Gilly Boulton…a Leeds based artist, designer and printmaker…

 

 

Gilly Boulton

I was drawn to Gilly’s Instagram feed by her use of collage and typography…

 

Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

(I have a sneaky affection for the old typewriter font…..)

Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

…and the witty, wise sentiments she conveys in her work…

Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

…along with its delicacy and fragility…

Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

Equally, the colours Gilly uses in her landscapes appeals to my love of limited, muted palettes…I also like the way she uses the torn edges of the paper to depict the topography of the land – and, as a fan of the ‘line’, I love her use of the stitched line…making the work appear very tactile in nature…

Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

 

Gilly Boulton
Gilly Boulton

Gilly’s feed is filled with work, both landscape and nature inspired, along with more ‘graphic’ pieces…as well as her ‘book of shadows’,  a cut out sketchbook…so interesting… Do pop and have a look at both her Instagram feed and her website

Life gets so busy, especially at this time of year; I find it so important to recognise that, whatever knots I am getting myself into, however stressed I am becoming…

“The poetry of earth is ceasing never…”

‘On the Grasshopper and the Cricket’ – John Keats

Enjoy the weekend,

Take care,

C

Something for the Weekend…

‘A first blush below the horizon,

as the first kiss from the Sun wakes the Earth from its slumber,’

Meeta Ahluwalia

And so the year ebbs slowly away; in the northern hemisphere we anticipate the winter solstice, darkness into light…times of festivities as well as reflection… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…for all there is to look forward to, we shouldn’t overlook the here and now… Mother Nature, in all her inherent capriciousness, has rewarded us for enduring days of pearl-grey shrouds with sunrises of rose gold…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again…’

Robert L. Stevenson

…and carpets of crisp, frosted pile…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Even though it is more difficult on some days than others, I find there is a beauty in the changing seasons, the mercurial weather and it’s effects on the landscape…and someone else who is influenced by the countryside in all of it’s guises is this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’…Emma Cowley

 

Emma Cowley Artwork

Citing Robert Motherwell, Cy Twombly and Howard Hodgkin amongst her favourite artists, along with a love of abstract expressionism, Emma works mostly with inks, acrylics and lots of water, focusing on form and mark making to capture the shifting light, weather and seasons..

It is her use of ink and mark making – (two of my favourite things) – that attracted me to her work…I love these two…so atmospheric… The use of the limited palette, subtlety of tone and form providing a suggestion of the landscape is wonderful…beautiful examples of conveying so much with minimal gestures and colour…

Emma Cowley Artwork

 

Emma Cowley Artwork

…again, in the example below, Emma’s use of materials exhibits a sensitive and expressive quality…

 

Emma Cowley Artwork

Equally the monochrome nature and gestural marks in these works below invite the viewer to look further…

Emma Cowley Artwork

 

Emma Cowley Artwork

Emma Cowley Artwork

            Emma Cowley Artwork

If you are a lover of mark making and use of tone, then Emma‘s Instagram feed is definitely worth a look!!

I have previously acknowledged that my creativity is cyclical; ups and downs, waves, rhythms…harvest times and fallow times…whether this is a reflection of winter’s ‘hibernation’ or that family dramas have affected me more than I realise, now most definitely feels a ‘dormant’ season… but it’s important, during these periods, to remember to trust in myself and my process…something that is easy to say but hard to do…we all need a little help at times like this so my latest purchase is this:

…and already there are ‘aha’ moments:

“The process is…more unpredictable, complex, perverse, subtle and intimately associated with the idiosyncratic landscapes of the personal imagination. Creation thrives on inspiration and affirmation rather than direction….” (Shaun McNiff)

Of particular interest is the chapter on ‘Blocks’…

“Expectations are blindfolds. They come from thinking that we need to be somewhere other than where we are. Start working right now from the immediate place, with the feelings you have at the moment. Depression and low self-confidence are the most debilitating blocks…the only way to change the energy is to begin working…” (Shaun McNiff)

I look forward to reading more, seeing if any nuggets of wisdom permeate my consciousness…

In the meantime, in between bouts of artistic activity, I shall continue my daily walks along the river…and one of the things I frequently acknowledge is my inability to identify some of the birdsongs…so one of my missions is become better at this…and have taken to listening the Woodland Trust website section on just this subject…hopefully, in time, I shall rectify this omission in my knowledge…

I have commented previously about how the river keeps me grounded and gives a sense of perspective…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and in the early light, where the last vestiges of foliage cling stubbornly to the branches…I take comfort in…

‘Don’t dismiss the

elements. Water

soothes and heals.

Air refreshes and

revives. Earth

grounds and holds.

Fire is a burning

reminder of our

own will and

creative power.

Breathe them in.

Swallow their spells. There’s

a certain sweet

comfort in knowing

that you belong to

them all…’

Victoria Erickson

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Enjoy the weekend,

Take care,

C