Peaks and Troughs…

With all the travelling over the past few weeks, I have, at times, felt like an itinerant salesman…living out of a suitcase…. That’s not to say that some of the travelling wasn’t enjoyable… a week in Scotland…bathed in glorious sunshine, followed by a few days in the Lake District with equally good weather was wonderful…

…and with all these fabulous vistas I should feel inspired to draw, paint, create….. but…. I am definitely in a creative trough… I know it is all part of the cycle, of the process so I am trying not to give myself a hard time…..but…..

Anyways, after landing back home for a few days and catching up on all the inevitable chores, I took myself down to the river…trying a different sort of creativity…jotting down notes about what I saw and heard…

Dark, flowing river,

Ripples, slowly winding their way downstream,

Smaller ripples 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.

At first I thought it was oilseed rape but no…

Buttercups, swaying, golden, drinking in the sun…

And always, the incessant chatter…

swallows swooping across the meadow…

…and desire paths…

Worn flat by people…dog walkers, fisherman, children…

…and hiding in the shadows, like a shoal of fish, lily pads,

Furled, waiting to uncurl…

Pure white dead nettles…clinging on

Despite the detritus of humans…

Moorhen, or is it a coot, gathering material,

Nesting along the river bank,

Hidden amongst the grasses, reeds and nettles,

As the heron performs another leisurely flypast…

 

At least I feel as if I have done something creative today…

Advertisements

Further Friday Fun….

I know….my posts are like buses… you wait ages for one and then two arrive almost together…

Anyhow,  remembering that Friday is supposed to be my ‘play day’…although I actually started dabbling with these yesterday… I have continued experimenting…

Working in mixed media I am looking at ways of capturing the ethereal quality of sky and water, interspersed with bird flight/song… apologies for sounding pretentious…

I began in my trusty square sketchbook from Seawhite of Brighton using Daniel Smith Indigo watercolour and sepia FWAcrylic ink applied over white oil pastel…

Going darker…

Today I have been working on Cass Art Mixed Media paper 250gsm…

…tearing it up to make the similar portrait style…

I do work with quite a lot of water and I found the paper started to curl which made it a bit awkward when applying the ink…(I am lazy and don’t stretch, hence I like 250/300lb paper)…however, I like the high white, slightly rough textured surfaced and the curling did result in some interesting effects…and they are drying flat.  Not sure where these are going but will continue to experiment!!

What is your preferred surface/paper…?

Fingers Crossed…..

Well I’ve done it…

I recently had a mentoring session with the lovely Helen Hallows – I have been on one of her sketchbook courses and I like her style and philosophy – and as I had been stuck in a rut I thought I would give the mentoring a whirl….. and what a session it turned out to be….informative, constructive, supportive and encouraging…

Besides making me question and consider my art practice Helen was very generous with her advice, critique and suggestions…..one of which was to encourage me to apply to take part in the Melbourne Festival – 2018 Art & Architecture Trail on 15th/16th September…. so this morning I have submitted my application along with some images of my work…

 

‘Blustery Dale’ – Acrylic

‘Snowstorm’ – Acrylic

‘Storm Rising’ – Acrylic

 

‘Upland Squall’ – Acrylic

‘Gritstone Sentinel’ – Watercolour & Ink

 

‘Path to Higger Tor’ – Mixed Media

 

‘Carl Wark’ – Mixed Media

I will now have to wait until the end of May to hear if I have been successful…..so I have a nervous wait ahead of me…    but it’s all part of the plan to get my work ‘out there’, to push me out of my comfort zone, to hopefully get a few sales…..and to have more faith in myself!!

(P.S. with my usual technophobia..I have no idea why the titles aren’t centred below the work…they are on my page…..)

 

A Few More Miles….

Continuing with the road trip analogy from yesterday’s post….I have covered a few more miles today…

Still persisting with acrylics for now…it’s a real learning curve for me…but not expecting any masterpieces gives me a certain amount of freedom…

 

.

…not sure what happened with the bottom left effort…but not to worry…I enjoyed daubing the paint on!

I am now debating whether to leave them or make more marks, scratching and scraping paint off…?

(Note to self…please get some better masking tape…preferably low adhesive…)

Creative Fear….

It’s been a bit stop/start these last two or three weeks…I seem to be struggling to convert my sketchbook work of the mudflats and marker buoys of the Menai Straits (see previous posts) into more developed work…and as a consequence I felt myself beginning to fall into a pattern of thoughts that is probably familiar to all creatives…

…I have no talent, other people are much better than I am, I won’t be able to capture the spontaneity and freedom of previous work, it’s all been a waste of time……getting the picture?

It’s at this point that I should say that earlier in the year I joined a couple of on-line art groups; Alice Sheridan‘s ‘Art Explorers’ and Helen Hallows ‘Creative Courage’ – both Facebook Groups…and it was through the comments, stories and links in these groups that I was encouraged to listen to podcasts and read books about creativity and fear…one of which is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert…

…and oh how familiar it read…

‘You’re afraid you have no talent,

You’re afraid you will be rejected or criticised or ridiculed or misunderstood – or worst of all – ignored,

You’re afraid somebody else already did it better,

You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing,

You’re afraid you’re too old to start,

You’re afraid your best work is behind you,

You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with…..'(Elizabeth Gilbert)

 

…there are another couple of pages in this same vein but you get the idea…and before you start shouting that you need solutions not confirmation of your fears, Gilbert addresses these issues, going on to suggest that we accept fear as being part of our creative journey…I particularly like the chapter titled The Road Trip in which she prepares a speech for fear:

‘Dearest Fear, Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job very seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I am about to do anything interesting – and, may I say, you are superb at your job…….but I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this; Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognise and respect that you are part of this family…..you are allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps…suggest detours…..to fiddle with the radio….or the temperature…But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive’, (Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert, 2015, p24-26).

I love this analogy, nearly as much as I loathe back seat drivers…and it’s definitely made me look at fear and creativity differently…I am fascinated to read more….and whilst I know that everyone is different and as such require different solutions… I thought I would share this with you… it might help…

So, with this idea in mind, my creative confidence is creeping back…mudflats and buoys not withstanding (on the back burner…but I will return to it), and I have been concentrating on playing around with colour – Daniel Smith Indigo and Rich Green Gold, plus Sepia FW Acrylic ink…resulting in some that I am happy with….!!

…and a couple more I have yet to mount…

 

…keeping in the spirit of just playing, I even got my acrylic paints out, those that haven’t set hard, that is….(part of the reason for my limited palette…!!)

…resulting in some more possibilities…..

.

..and while I know that they are not all masterpieces, that fear is not stopping me trying my best…and at the end of the day that’s all I can do…

Fun Fridays…..

A couple of interesting art related meetings have happened over the last week…leading to some things being updated, planned….slightly more confident that my aspirations for this year will come to fruition… more of which in a later post….

As part of my new found insight into the creative process I have decided to assign Fridays as fun days….days that inspire, whether that be a walk, visit to a gallery or exhibition…or just a day where I give myself permission to ‘play’ without being hard on myself….

Today has been a ‘studio’ play day… I know I want my next body of work to be based around the marker buoys and patterns on the mudflats of the Menai Straits… but I have been getting a bit ‘hung up’…cursing because I couldn’t reproduce the freedom and expression of my sketchbook work onto paper…so, today, no pressure, just playing in said sketchbook or on random scraps of paper…

….using whatever medium comes to hand…ink, watercolour pencil…

…playing with Photoshop…

…interesting seeing the different effects of the various paper…

It’s been fun..and interesting, providing an even more abstract idea for work….roll on the next Fun Friday…

Sometimes It’s The Little Things…

It’s funny the things that can catch your eye….on our recent trip to Wales we took in the majesty of Snowdonia as well as the beauty of Anglesey, even if it was a little damp…

…but closer to our temporary home, overlooking the Menai Straits, it was the patterns in the mud flats at low tide along with the red marker buoys that took my interest…

…drawing inspired by…

…not sure if this will develop into anything but I am looking forward to investigating this area in the future…