Something for the Weekend…

‘One step at a time is good walking,’

Chinese proverb

It’s difficult to know what to say, what to write in situations such as these; I am taking it one step at a time, one day at a time…life has a new ‘normal’ for now…

Endeavouring to maintain a semblance of routine, I am continuing with these posts; researching and writing provides a focus along with further experimental artwork…

Inspired by the colours of Cornwall, the wild weather, the slate grey cliffs…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I am also continuing with my daily collage sketchbook; as I have said before, it provides a gentle start to my creativity…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Someone else who has the most fabulous sketchbooks is this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week,’ Helen Glassford

Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art

I find artists’ sketchbooks fascinating and always make a bee-line for them whenever I can… Helen’s sketchbooks look veritable treasures of mark-making and atmospheric artworks…

Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art

Immersed in the Scottish landscape Helen acknowledges that there are three major areas to her work; the geographically remote and intensely powerful locales, the evocations of Northern ideology, the feelings and emotions along with the liminal spaces, the edges, the borders…

Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art

The atmosphere and colour palette really appeal to me…

Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art

On her Instagram feed, Helen includes short videos of her creating work in her sketchbooks… I find them fascinating to watch…

Do take a look at Helen’s Instagram feed as well as her website…beautiful, evocative work that transports me to wild, remote places that I can lose myself in…

Helen Glassford Art
Fallacies of Hope – Helen Glassford Art

As ever, I would like to thank Helen for agreeing to participate in this… I very much appreciate the generosity…

Whatever else is happening in the world, Nature reminds us that life goes on…Spring is most definitely in the air…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and although this reading of William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ by Noma Dumezweni is from a few years ago…I find it beautiful and evocative…(hopefully it’s available to you…)…and another favourite poem is A. E. Housman’s:

‘Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of threescore years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,

It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom

Fifty springs are little room,

About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.’

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Even though, for the foreseeable, trips out into the landscape are on hold, being outdoors plays an important role in my life, not just for my emotional well-being, but also, as inspiration for my artwork…. Someone, for whom wild, remote places are also an inspiration is Norman Ackroyd… I was lucky enough to see his exhibition back in November 2018 at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park…

To me his work is so evocative and atmospheric; definitely makes me want to explore these remote landscapes….

Norman Ackroyd
Norman Ackroyd
Norman Ackroyd
Norman Ackroyd

I find it endlessly fascinating listening to an artist talking about their inspiration and thought processes as well as watching their practice; not sure this programme is still available on the BBC but I found it on YouTube, albeit in two clips….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I hope you’re managing to keep safe and well, and, hopefully, having the chance to get outdoors…

For now, take care

C

 

(If you would like to see works-in-progress or general studio ramblings please follow me on social media:

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Something for the Weekend…

‘When you sit in silence long enough, you learn

that silence has a motion. It glides over you without shape or form,

exactly like water.

Its colour is silver. And silence has a sound

you hear only after hours of wading inside it.

The sound is soft, like flute notes

rising up, like the words of glass speaking…’

The Shape of Water – Anne Spollen

These are uncertain days…and at such times, it’s even more important for me to take a moment; to get outdoors, be in the landscape, walk, sit, listen…watch the changing skies, notice the burgeoning shoots and buds, hear the birdsong, feel the breeze, dip my fingers in the cool, clear water…be present…

I am going to make this post a ‘you-know-what’ free zone…I am endeavouring to focus on the good…and this week’s Instagram Artist of the Week, maurouxaquarelles, is certainly a positive…

Veronique Mauroux
Veronique Maroux

‘Joyous’ is the word that springs to mind when I look at Veronique’s work; her use of colour, the loose, expressive washes and mark making lift my spirits. Her work has such fluidity and energy, it’s hard not to feel uplifted!!

Veronique Mauroux
Veronique Mauroux

Veronique lives in Quebec, Canada and draws her inspiration from nature – mainly the trees and flowers that surround her. Much like myself, Veronique admits to being somewhat of a ‘late bloomer’ on her artistic journey, taking her first watercolour workshop in May 2013 when she was 53: she hasn’t stopped painting since!!

Veronique Mauroux
Veronique Mauroux

Her work is such an ‘explosion of colour’, with the added texture and detail drawing the viewer’s eye in for a closer look…

Veronique looks to interpret her subject matter in a non-traditional way, photographic representation being of no interest to her. She never uses reference photos, nor does she sketch out her subject before applying the inks and watercolour…she loves to build up layers, working around wherever the water and medium take her, acknowledging that this can be a risky strategy!

Veronique Mauroux
Veronique Mauroux

I love all the line work in the image above, detailing the history of Veronique’s journey with this painting…

Veronique works on Canson Montval cellulose paper, saying that it fulfils her need for a forgiving support…being affordable is an added bonus!! She loves pigment that granulates…(ah Veronique, we have so much in common…) and loves both Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton watercolours, FW inks, pastels, graphite and watercolour pencils…along with granulation fluid for added effect.

There is so much in the work below to hold your interest; I love the limited palette, right up my street, as well as all the lines and marks, the hints of something more, the text and textures…

Veronique Mauroux
Veronique Mauroux

Veronique is a super-fan of Ann Blockley, and has an original painting by Ann on her studio wall…

ann Blockley

I also, like Ann’s work, and was lucky enough to see one of her demonstrations a few years ago at the Patchings Festival.…it was so inspiring watching how she manipulated the watercolours and ink…and have since used the techniques in my own work…

Other artists that Veronique admires are Lewis Noble, Chris Forsey and Elke Memmler

Veronique Mauroux
Veronique Mauroux

Veronique’s studio is a room in her house which has a large window letting in plenty of light….and an equally large table with all her materials on, readily to hand. Her music tastes are eclectic, ranging from Radiohead to Abba, and is especially fond of listening to Loreena McKennitt when painting…although she admits that she often puts one of Ann Blockley’s DVDs on whilst working…

Veronique Mauroux
Veronique Mauroux

Do check out Veronique’s Instagram feed – it’s full of joyous, colourful expressive work that will definitely brighten your day!!

I like to focus on the ‘good’ about social media – without Instagram I would not have discovered Veronique’s work, leading to connecting and reaching out to her across the water…and I am always blown away by how generous people are towards me, a random, but fellow creative… thank you Veronique, it’s been a joy to get to know you a little and to highlight your work!!

That connection with other artists is so fascinating; not only does it give you insight into their work and practice, you also discover other inspirational artists… Here are some taster videos of the artists who inspire Veronique, beginning with Ann Blockley… followed by Lewis Noble and lastly Chris Forsey

…and as well as discovering artists, chatting and connecting with fellow creatives is also a great way to find new books, materials…or podcasts…and the Savvy Painter podcast by artist Antrese Wood has recently been brought to my attention. This is a weekly podcast full of interviews, tips and advice across all areas of your artistic journey…and I have been playing catch up, listening to back to back episodes…

Regular readers will know that the nearby river is a favourite place for me to walk along…

“With the first step, the number of shapes the walk might take is infinite, but then the walk begins to define itself as it goes along, though freedom remains total with each step: any tempting side road can be turned into an impulse, or any wild patch of woods can be explored.  The pattern of the walk is to come true, is to be recognized, discovered.”
A.R. Ammons, A Poem is a Walk

…and just as I return, time and time again, to the river, the author Robert MacFarlane is someone whose books I read over and over… At present I am re-reading Landmarks; MacFarlane’s fifth book where he explores the linguistic and literary terrain of the British Isles…a book about ‘the power of language’…

And because of my love of the river, I find this passage on p.96 concerning the late film-maker, environmentalist and writer Roger Deakin of particular interest:

“‘It’s extraordinary what you see in an English moat,’ said Roger. Water was to him a visionary substance. It was homeopathic, it was cheering, it was beautiful in its flex and flow…Roger Deakin thought not just about water, he thought in  water or with  water. His imagination was watery not in the sense of dilute, but in the senses of ductile, mobile, lucid, reflective. Open water offered a glass into which one peered to see local miracle and revelation. ‘All water,’ he wrote in a notebook, ‘river, sea, pond, lake, holds memory and the space to think.'”

Landmarks – Robert MacFarlane

 

(BBC Radio 4 are re-broadcasting their adaptation of Landmarks…not sure if this will be available to everyone…)

As always, I hope you have found something of interest in this blog…

It would be great to know who or what inspires you – do let me know!!

Take care,

C

 

(If you would like to see up-to-the-minute images of work-in-progress please follow me on social media:

www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

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Something for the Weekend…

‘But now they drift on the still water,

Mysterious, beautiful;

Among what rushes will they build,

By what lake’s edge or pool…’

W. B. Yeats

Morning light, rose, golds, liquid pewter… The river sighs downstream; life, emerging from winter sleep, becomes increasingly vibrant, busy…birdsong carries on the crisp air…the sun’s burgeoning warmth caresses my face…a moment to delight in…

A gentle start, slow beginnings to my day…savouring the daily walk, the tiny details…followed by that first, hot, steaming coffee…sitting in my studio…treasures on the shelf, faded roses…elegance in decay…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…running fingers over pencils, pastels…paper…the swoosh of the water as the brush swirls round…

Intuitive choices of materials, surfaces…gestural marks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I love to experiment, working freely, expressively…and sometimes, out of these experiments small jewels appear…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…but with these comes the temptation to repeat, again and again…trying to capture that ‘loose quality’….and, inevitably, failing…the more I try to re-create, the less likely I am to succeed…(the lesson is not to try to re-create but re-frame those qualities you like in a different way…) so I treated myself to ‘Art from Intuition’ by Dean Nimmer…

…which suggests ways of ‘letting go of the self-criticism, doubt and insecurity that can undermine your creative energy.’ The underlying philosophy ‘is that creative intuition is an instinct, a kind of inner compass or “sixth sense”,’… The book is made up of a series of exercises designed to help advance your thinking…

and I look forward to dipping in and out of the book, especially when I begin to feel ‘stale’ or as if my work is becoming routine… It’s always good to shake things up now and again….!

Continuing on from last week’s post ‘theme’ of paper…my ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ is The Tiny Maker a.k.a. Connie…

The Tiny Maker
The Tiny Maker

I had the pleasure of meeting Connie at my first Melbourne Festival…I was in Dove’s Garage along with Connie and  Erica Just… They were both so friendly and helpful; full of great advice and tips for this newbie…

As someone who works quickly and intuitively, I have nothing but admiration for the patience Connie demonstrates in her work…

The Tiny Maker
The Tiny Maker

Connie began paper-cutting around eight years ago, and, perhaps not surprisingly, names Rob Ryan as her paper-cutting hero…along with 13th century Persian poet Rumi…as in the above image…

The Tiny Maker
The Tiny Maker

 

The Tiny Maker
The Tiny Maker

Connie designs and cuts all the work herself…in her small corner of south Derbyshire…

The Tiny Maker
The Tiny Maker
The Tiny Maker
The Tiny Maker

Connie admits to being something of a bookworm; favourites are The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Salt Path by Raynor Winn..to name but three… Musically, Connie’s tastes are quite eclectic – currently, on shuffle, are Fleetwood Mac, Jake Bugg and a bit of Stormzy!

The Tiny Maker
The Tiny Maker

One of Connie’s favourite places to visit is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park…a fabulous 500 acre park showcasing modern, contemporary art…a favourite with me too…

The Tiny Maker
The Tiny Maker

Do take a look at Connie’s Instagram feed and website…she has lots of work to see and also offers bespoke commissions…potential birthday, wedding, anniversary etc presents….?

I have spoken in a previous post about how inspiring the music and imagery of Erland Cooper is… A multi-instrumentalist and producer originally from Stromness, Orkney, Cooper has released a record each spring for the past 3 years and this latest one, Hether Blether, is the final in his Orkney triptych.  The first track to be released is called Longhope and takes its theme as loss, about what happens in the aftermath and how strength comes from community; about finding joy in the everyday, the small mundane things that can help through hard times… I love the way the words, images and music come together, just haunting…

‘…and you will hold me with your wondering eyes

in the serenity of purest mind at the dreams edge

of my quiet golden shores accompanied

by the melodies of emerald blue rippling waves

where I will always remain voicing harmony

in the over the rainbow soothing

memories of your heart…’

Oksana Rus

 

As ever, I hope you have found something to interest you,

Enjoy the weekend,

Take care,

C

 

‘pools & rivulets’…Something for the Weekend…

‘The air is like a butterfly

with frail blue wings.

 The happy earth looks at the sky

and sings,’

Spring – Joyce Kilmer

 

March has blown in, seemingly determined to make up for what, here at least, has been an unremarkable winter… Apparently the Anglo-Saxons called March ‘Hyled Monath’ which means ‘stormy month’ or ‘Hraed Monath’ which translates as ‘rugged month’…and so far, it’s living up to those names…rain, wind, frost, snow…with the odd flourish of sunshine thrown into the mix… My daily walks by the river have been somewhat curtailed; fields, that in summer provide grazing for sheep and cattle, have been awash…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…but on days where the weather breaks…

‘A light exists in Spring

Not present in the year

at any other period

When March is scarcely here,’

Emily Dickinson

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

This past couple of weeks I have been experimenting and developing work from the ideas I gathered during our recent trip to Cornwall…I have even got over my reticence about using ‘quality’ paper… Paper, I love it…the textures and edges, the way the pigment settles on it, in it…creates pools and rivulets…paper, the surface that determines the work… All of which leads to my book this week…

I came across the work of Mia Pearlman when I was at university…when I was attempting to move my drawing from the page and into space…

Mia Pearlman

I love the intricacy of her work, the three-dimensional quality, the shapes and depth…and all achieved with paper…which lead me to investigate other paper artists including Chris Natrop

and Ellen Bell

This book ‘shines a light on the beautiful world  of paper in art, fashion and design’…

Andy Singleton

  Andy Singleton

For lovers of paper art; folding, cutting, creasing, origami, ripping and tearing…this is a fabulous book, full of the most wonderful inspirational artwork…

Equally as inspirational is the ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ Alison Orchard

Alison Orchard
Alison Orchard

I was attracted to Alison’s ‘Insta feed’ by the energy in her work…and her bold use of  colour…

Alison Orchard
‘Weathering The Storm’ – Alison Orchard

Based in Hampshire, Alison is inspired by the landscape, and our interaction with it; in particular, the magnitude of the landscape and our wonder at the overwhelming forces of nature. She loves to paint direct from the landscape, both at home, as well as along the coast from Dorset to Cornwall.

Alison Orchard
Alison Orchard

From these initial experiences Alison creates her large, gestural works…

Alison Orchard
Alison Orchard

She loves to experiment with layered surfaces using a variety of mediums including oils, acrylics, and lately, encaustic wax; Alison combines these with coloured charcoal, metal filings or marble dust… I love this work – it possesses such energy; the variety of marks, the drips and splatters…it has a dynamic quality to it…

Alison Orchard
Alison Orchard

Although part of a larger work, I love the close up; the variety of marks and textures becomes more apparent, and I ‘oooh’ those flashes of colour…

Alison is a big fan of Joan Mitchell – for her boldness and energy, along with Claude Monet for his use of light and ‘abstract daubs of colour.’ She also owns paintings by Neil Canning and Angela Charles which bring her much joy and inspiration…and as a fan myself, I am just a teeny bit envious!!

Alison Orchard
Alison Orchard

There is such energy and variation in Alison’s work; even in this charcoal study, there are different marks, tones, text, torn edges…it has an immediacy about it…

Alison Orchard
Alison Orchard

Alison really conveys the wintery feel in the collage above; she uses her sketches as inspiration, as a trigger for larger scale paintings that then take on a life of their own – something I need to remember!!

Alison Orchard
Alison Orchard

This is a small painting Alison created during a visit to the Peak District; she finds it interesting the effect a different location has on her work – in this instance, the changes in marks and colours…greens beginning to creep in…

Alison Orchard
My Soul Awakens – Alison Orchard

I could have chosen many more images from Alison’s Instagram feed; her work has such vibrancy and energy…do go over and take a look and perhaps pop over to her website where you will find more information about Alison and her work….

Another artist who I follow on social media is Adrian Homersham… He paints the most wonderful loose, expressive landscapes, mainly in watercolour… I came across this video of Adrian demonstrating his art…and thought it might interest you…

 

‘Harshness vanished. A sudden softness

has replaced the meadows’ wintry grey.

Little rivulets of water changed

their singing accents. Tendernesses,

hesitantly, reach toward the earth

from space, and country lanes are showing

these unexpected subtle risings

that find expression in the empty trees,’

Early Spring – Rainer Marie Rilke

 

As ever, I hope you have enjoyed this post,

Have a fabulous weekend,

Take care,

C

 

 

 

Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘There is something infinitely healing

in the repeated refrains of nature –

the assurance that dawn comes after night,

and Spring comes after Winter,’

Rachel Carson

As I write this, the rain falls heavily, steadily…swelling the already overflowing rivers, adding to the misery in flooded areas… strong winds, and now snow…Nature conspiring to remind us we predict the arrival of Spring at our peril… And yet, and yet…there are signs…small jewels sparkling in hidden corners…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

A recent trip to Easton Walled Gardens, courtesy of winning their Facebook Snowdrop Photograph Competition…(here’s my winning entry…)

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…saw lots of these small gems peeping out, braving whatever the weather throws at them… And not only jewels, but textures and patterns…on the flora…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…as well as the architecture…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘I search for the realness, the real

feeling of a subject, all the texture around it…

I always want to see the third dimension of something..

I want to come alive with the subject,’

Andrew Wyeth

A visit here is a lovely way to spend an afternoon…gathering lots of inspiration, not just in the colours and textures that could find their way into my work, but also ideas for displaying plants….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

(plus they have very yummy cakes in the tearoom…)

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

All of which leads me nicely to my book this week…

Although the days are growing longer and the birds beginning to sing, the recent weather has made me long to return to cosy nights by the fire, flickering candlelight…and gooey, unctuous delights..such as…

…perfect for even the greyest of days…

…possibly accompanied by…a small tipple…

(apologies for the grainy photos – it was very dreary and the light was poor…)

This book is not only full of the most delicious recipes, but also wonderful craft ideas as well as creative suggestions…for bring the outdoors inside…

Making wreaths, preserving leaves, creating silver fossil pendants along with nature diaries, hedgerow bird snacks, beaded garland necklaces, various crochet projects… And a little forward thinking…forcing blossoms and planting bulbs for early spring colour… Emma has found that by being creative, even something simple such as baking a cake, can counter that feeling of gloom and fatigue that can sometimes affect us during the grey, seemingly endless days of winter… Ooooh, I like the sound of ‘Plum, Orange & Ginger Blondies’…can almost smell that hint of citrus…

This week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, Pascale Rentsch, is also influenced by the nature surrounding her… I was drawn by the colours and delicacy in her drawings, and paintings…the tracery of the stems…even more so when I saw how she creates beautiful ceramics using the imagery…

(Here is the only successful pot I made…so I am in awe of those who can master the vagaries of clay…)

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Pascale Rentsch
Pascale Rentsch

‘Bringing nature into your home’ is Pascale’s byline….she designs and makes bespoke tableware and home décor, all with their origins in the nature and wildlife around her…

Pascale Rentsch
Sea buckthorn – Pascale Rentsch

Pascale loves the West Coast, it’s rawness and honesty…but admits that, wherever and whenever she is surrounded by nature, that’s when she feels truly connected with herself and the natural world… She feels free, able to draw and paint instinctively, following emotions rather than considered thoughts. Pascale loves the fact that when in nature, she knows she will always find something that she is drawn to, something beautiful, however small  and insignificant it might appear…’such as when a beautifully shaped dried strand of seaweed blew gently onto my board,’ or when a ‘glinting metal piece of an old barrel glowing like a nugget of gold’ caught her eye. Pascale regards these moments as signs, an indication to ‘go with the flow.’ She tries to ‘incorporate the now, the presence and my surroundings to give truth, honesty and spontaneity to my work.’  She aims  ‘to become one with what I paint, feel, see and hear, not the end result. I can set my feelings free and give them wings…like a conductor and his baton, guiding his orchestra, my arm merely an extension of what I am feeling, in awe of what I see in front of me…’

 

Pascale Rentsch
Aberlady Bay – Pascale Rentsch

Born in Switzerland, Pascale has always been, right from childhood, passionate about her creativity. She cites artist John Busby as having a huge influence on her art. She met him when she was just 15. Pascale tells the story of how her mother tore a phone number from a leaflet on the art college noticeboard advertising a drawing course at Bern zoo with John…’as soon as I came home, I gathered all my courage, and with racing heart, I dialled the number and asked if there were still spaces available. “Unfortunately we are full,” came the reply. Just before I was about to say a polite “thank you,” the organiser asked how old I was. “15” I replied. “Because you are so young and enthusiastic I will make space for you.”‘ And the rest is history as they say…Pascale admits that, little did she know, the significance of these events; through one of John’s Seabird Drawing Courses in North Berwick, Scotland, she met her husband Darren Woodhead…and now lives in Haddington.

Another artist who Pascale admires is Victoria Crowe…’her observational drawing skills and composition move me deeply. I can stand in front of her paintings and they allow me to lose myself in magical thought, perspective and emotion – finding my own story in them.’

 

Pascale Rentsch
Pascale Rentsch

When working in her studio Pascale likes to listen to the sounds of nature, the air filled with hint of essential lavender and geranium oils…so even when indoors, she is reminded of the nuances of the natural world.  She also listens to music; ‘Bird Set Free’ by  Sia is one of her favourites, along with ‘Alive’ and ‘Free as a Bird’ by Emile Sande – both artists are ‘powerful and raw…I can hear and feel their soul and it touches me to the core….’

Pascale loves to read and has just finished ‘Freedom Seeker’ by Beth Kempton, which she thoroughly recommends – ‘Read it – it will give you wings….’

 

Pascale Rentsch
Pascale Rentsch

I love the colours that Pascale uses…as well as the spattering…and the foliage….gorgeous!!

Pascale Rentsch
Pascale Rentsch

…and anyone who follows me will know that blue is one of my favourite colours… I love the shapes too…seemingly fluid and organic…

Pascale Rentsch
Pascale Rentsch

This piece has a wonderful lustrous feel … that blue is almost electric…!!

I love the way Pascale takes her inspiration across a range of work…do check out her Instagram feed as well as her website

As always, I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the ‘Instagram Artists of the Week’; a random blogger, yours truly, messages them, asking if I can feature them on my blog, asking questions etc…and so far, I think only a couple have not responded… I am so appreciative of the time and trouble Pascale and all the other artists take to reply to me and are so generous with their responses…so a huge thank you!!

 

‘I am going to try to pay attention to the spring.

I am going to look around at all the flowers,

and look up at the hectic trees.

I am going to close my eyes and listen,’

Anne Lamott

The passing seasons have been, and remain so, inspirational to creatives of all genres…and I was going to post a link to music inspired by Spring…Vivaldi ‘springs to mind’ – (if you will pardon the pun) …but I thought, how can I improve on nature…and came across this recording of the dawn chorus near the Derwent Dam in the Peak District, a favourite place of mine…

It’s funny how things turn out sometimes, isn’t it? I am a big believer in ‘what you give out, you receive’…and so far, despite all the bad press social media has, I have received mostly kindness and generosity…without social media I would never have found the work of calligrapher Brian Whitmore; he produces the most beautiful and inspiring work…(do go and check his work out!!) and I was very honoured when he suggested a collaboration…resulting in…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist/Brian Whitmore

Carolyn J Roberts Artist/Brian Whitmore

Carolyn J Roberts Artist/Brian Whitmore

Carolyn J Roberts Artist/Brian Whitmore

The quote by Arnaud Desjardins is perfect for the muted palette of the artwork…and on an aside, so true…after all that rain…this morning on my walk to the river…

 

‘Give me the splendid, silent sun

with all his beams full-dazzling,’

Walt Whitman

 

As ever, I hope you have enjoyed this post,

Take care & have a wonderful weekend,

C

(If you would like to see works-in-progress, daily collages and more, please follow me on social media, or, if you would like more arty news, insights, musings, offers and hitherto unseen videos, please sign up, via the link opposite, to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter….)

Instagram: www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter: www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

 

 

Something for the Weekend…

‘…and the smooth waves grow sullen in the gloom
and wear their threatening purple; more and more
the plain of waters sways and seems to rise
convexly from its level of the shores;
and low dull thunder rolls along the beach…’

Augusta Davies Webster 

Mother Nature is a fickle, tantalising being…teasing us with hints of spring; the burgeoning warmth of the sun’s rays, the first longed for blossoms, the early chorus of birdsong…and then, in response to our temerity in thinking winter was sliding gently past, she sends storms to batter and pummel, to flood, to wash away…

A week’s break in Cornwall was sandwiched between Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis; imagined mornings or afternoons spent sketching by the sea (I don’t mind wrapping up against the cold…but gales and rain…!!) didn’t materialise…instead, interspersed between the rain and hailstorms, along with the odd burst of sunshine, were hasty walks along the coastal path, being mindful not to get too close to the edge, taking photographs and making mental notes of shapes and colours…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Wild winds and seas at Dinas Head were exhilarating, with spectacular waves crashing onto the rocks…but the strength of the wind made filming difficult…what you don’t get from the photo below is the power of the wind and sea, the spray and the noise…at times, just standing was problematical….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

The conditions brought to mind one of my favourite paintings, Snowstorm by JMW Turner…

See the source image

and this led me to other paintings depicting storms… such as Clearing Up – Coast of Sicily  by Andreas Achenbach…which depicts the most fantastic light…aren’t those waves fantastic?

Andreas Achenbach, Clearing up. Coast of Sicily, 1847

…and although this one by Friedrich is a ‘sea of fog’…it has that feel about it….

See the source image

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog – Caspar David Friedrich

I would love to say I was emulating Friedrich’s enigmatic pose, looking out over ‘the Sea’…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist…but in reality, I was just trying to stay upright…whilst taking in the views and colours….

The weather did mean that we spent quite a lot of time in cafes…and galleries…where I came across this fabulous book…’Sea and Shore Cornwall’ by Lisa Woollett

Not only is it full of the most wonderful photographs, it is also packed with fascinating facts, anecdotes and incidentals on, as the subtitle states, the common and the curious…

I never knew there was a system, the Forel-Ule scale, as used by oceanographers, to classify the colour of the sea…

A lover of language and words, there is a section on Cornish words and phrases…ba-wiggle (spider crab), piddifogger (sea anemone) and loor and howl for (moon and sun) along with towerthack (weather-beaten)…

And it wouldn’t be Cornwall without some reference to wrecking and smuggling…

‘Oh please Lord, let us pray for all on the sea; but if there’s got to be a wreck,

please send them to us,’

(18th century prayer ascribed to the Cornish)

A trip to a very wet St. Ives necessitated a visit to the Tate St. Ives…naturally…and a chance to see up close work by Cornish painter Peter Lanyon

It’s always fabulous to see Barbara Hepworth‘s work…

and a couple of others that caught my eye, although to be honest, there were lots, was Composition II by Sandra Blow...

 

and Portheras Grey by Paul Feiler

…both for their colour palette and textures…

My ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ this week is Lisa McLinden

I was drawn to Lisa’s feed by the ethereal nature of her work…gentle washes of colour, darks merging into lights, hints of features in the landscape, shrouded in mists… And to say I have serious ‘studio envy’ is an understatement…more of which later….

LisaMcLindenArt             Lisa McLinden Art

An abstract expressionist painter, influenced by land and seascapes, Lisa divides her time between her home province of Ontario and the Newfoundland coast and the differing land/seascape provide the inspiration for her work.

The rich agricultural lands, dense forests and great lakes of Ontario form the basis of Lisa’s landscapes, with their palettes of green, umber and blues…whilst the wild Atlantic Ocean surrounding Newfoundland calls naturally for muted greys, shades of white…

Lisa McLinden Art
Lisa McLinden Art

 

Lisa McLinden Art
Lisa McLinden Art

I love the textures that Lisa achieves in her work, so was interested to hear about her process… Oil paints, graphite and oil pastels are her mediums of choice, although if the work calls for an atmospheric quality, she may paint base layers in acrylic paint, finishing the top layers in oils… Lisa finds this ‘provides the flexibility of painting washes in a quick dry medium for the underpainting, while giving the rich, saturated colour of oils on top layers’…with the added bonus that it helps speed up the drying time of the oils quite considerably…

Lisa McLinden Art
Lisa McLinden Art

Lisa’s all time favourite artist, and one of mine too as evidenced earlier in this post, is JMW Turner; she finds his seascapes in particular move her on ‘a visceral level’, finding it hard to express and quantify her feelings when viewing his work. Lisa also enjoys photography and names the late Vivian Maier amongst her favourites in this genre…particularly her use of unconventional subject matter…

Multi-talented Lisa is no slouch when it comes to photography either…I love her muted close-up photographs, highlighting the beauty in the small, often overlooked details…

Lisa McLinden Art
Lisa McLinden Art

 

Lisa McLinden Art
Lisa McLinden Art

 

Lisa McLinden Art
Lisa McLinden Art

I am always interested in finding out what artists listen to when working, and for Lisa, music is an integral part of her life; ‘Music is an elixir for the soul and I’m so grateful for the joy it brings into my life.’ She names Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Derek & the Dominoes and John Fogerty as being at the top of her studio playlist…

I mentioned earlier that I had ‘studio envy’ when I saw images of Lisa’s studio; it’s just the sort of space I aspire to…light, bright, airy, white with the natural colours of nature…it looks such a calm space…

Lisa McLinden Art
Lisa McLinden Art

 

Lisa McLinden Art
Lisa McLinden Art

Lisa’s studio is on the upper floor of her home, a creative space to paint, teach and share special moments…although Lisa is the first to admit that her studio space wasn’t always so wonderful – her very first studio was a walk-in closet! She encourages people to try and create a space to work in, however small, and stands by the sentiment, ‘It’s not where you create but what you create that truly matters’…something I need to remember before the ‘studio envy’ gets too much…

Do go and take a look at Lisa’s Instagram feed; it’s full of the most fantastic images, not just of her work, studio or Luna the dog…but also of things that I find so appealing…such as torn canvases…

Lisa McLinden Art
Lisa McLinden Art

…or paper edges, jars of brushes, baskets of paints…go, go take a peek… By the way, she also has a website…where you can see more of Lisa’s wonderful work and imagery…

Lisa McLinden Art
Lisa McLinden Art

As ever, I would like to thank Lisa for taking the time to respond to my questions; it never fails to amaze me how generous fellow creatives are when approached by me, a random blogger, so a big shout out to all my ‘Instagram Artists of the Week’…thank you!!

We end where we began…water, water everywhere…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘The wind begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low, –
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.

The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow;
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father’s house,
Just quartering a tree.’

A Thunderstorm – Emily Dickinson

(P.S. for the life of me I don’t know why the whole of this poem isn’t showing as centred – it is on my admin page….??)

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope you stay warm and dry…

Take care,

C

(If you would like to see work-in-progress please follow me on social media, or for more of my ramblings, offers plus maybe the odd, hitherto unseen video or two, please sign up, via the link opposite, to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…)

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Perfectionism & Pressure…Wrapped up in Imposter Syndrome…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Just because you feel lost

doesn’t mean that you are.

Sometimes you just have to relax,

breathe deep,

and trust the path you’re on,’

Lalah Delia

Last week was spent in Cornwall – not the ideal planning, sandwiched between Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis…but such is life. The hoped for periods of sitting sketching didn’t really materialise…but I took photos, looked, consigned colours, shapes and textures, plus the wildness of the coast – and the weather – to memory, anticipating that, on my return home, I would develop my ideas…

I have applied for an event in May; I already have a confirmed event in July, and I was foreseeing this ‘new work’ as forming a new collection… I began with such good intentions…choosing a colour palette…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…making tentative studies…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…even trying working on a larger scale…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and that’s when my perfectionist tendencies kicked in, the old ‘Imposter Syndrome’…to be honest, this feeling has been with me since the beginning of the year… I feel as if I have been doing lots of doodles, experimentation say…(when does ‘experimenting’ become another word for ‘procrastination’…?) but not settling to any one thing, not really producing any ‘finished’ pieces… I was hoping that the trip to Cornwall would provide a focus – which it has…but I now have all these imagined works in my head…that don’t appear on the paper…and so the vicious circle begins…

I know this is common to many artists and lots has been written; I have read numerous blogs, articles and listened to podcasts all designed to help with the psychology of the issue… So I keep showing up, trying not to have fixed ideas in my head, just see where the work takes me…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Using different materials i.e. soft pastels in an effort to shake things up…in the interests of openness, here’s my not very successful attempt….(see, there I go again…)

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Now, before you think this is just a total whinge-fest, I know that I am my own harshest critic, with such aspirations of perfectionism that, in reality, I will never achieve, so…..

Putting my watercolours and inks to one side, I decided to review all the doodles I have done over the past weeks and months…

Carlyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and do you know…it turns out, there was quite a few works that I loved…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Some might only be small, possibly suitable for cards or the like…but then there are others…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…that might just have to take a trip to a framers…

This reviewing and critiquing made me take another look at my efforts from today…and, even though initially I was feeling totally despondent about the work, there is one that, in my head at least, captures the wildness…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

(apologies, not the best photo…but surprise, surprise, it’s raining here again, so it’s lights, shadows….standing on a chair to get an overhead shot, wobbles…)

It may not be perfect, but it has given me an idea, something to work on…

This is all part and parcel of my artistic rhythms, ups and downs, fallow times, ‘harvest’ times…and I am attempting to learn to live with it, to understand it, and not give way to those feelings of doubts, that we all have, to the pressure we put on ourselves…

Looking at the pile of work I have pulled out serves to show that the adage ‘just keep showing up, doing the work’ does pay off…and tomorrow I will try again… I am already thinking of larger sheets of paper, pools of watercolour and bigger implements to apply it with…

And, as an aside, writing and re-reading this post, seeing how much work I potentially have, has made me feel much better, more positive…thank you!

(If you would like to see more works in progress, follow me on social media, or for more of my ramblings and insights follow my blog, or sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter where you will see further news, offers and maybe hitherto unseen videos…)

Carolyn J Roberts Artist