What The Heck Moments…..

Whew, when the weather is wet and cold we hanker for the long, hot days of summer….now, after weeks of hot, humid sunshine, we are longing for rain…

At times the heat has been oppressive, stultifying…hampering my creativity…

So I have been trying to jolly myself along…trying to ignite that flame….

..beginning by having a sort out of my watercolour tubes…trying out colours…..


….with no plan in mind, just doodling….but they somehow remind me of the hedgerows that are beginning to wither, shrivel….

I also had a ‘what the heck’ moment…you know the sort, where you just throw everything at a work….


 

….and somehow, something half decent emerged…and I was reminded of this quote from Edgar Degas – ‘Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things’…

Now I am not saying it’s a masterpiece…but I rather like it, and to that end will mount it, call it ‘Summer Heat’ and take it to the Festival…..

Perhaps I should have a few more ‘What the heck’ moments…

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Letting Go….

Three years study at Loughborough University culminated in Connecting Threads….an interactive installation piece based on the cotton mills and canals of the Midlands and Lancashire. I lived and breathed this piece for the best part of 2 years; researching, developing ideas, learning new skills…


It was later displayed at both Cromford Mills in Derbyshire and Charnwood Museum in Loughborough…


Connecting Threads

I loved this piece; I loved all the research, the history, the experimenting, the frustrations….and even though it has long since been dismantled and packed away, it still feels like mine…

On graduating, and without the back up and support of the university, the equipment, technology and skills of their technicians, I found it very difficult to carry on with this type of installation; funding was a big issue and it seemed to be the usual story of ‘needing a track record to get funding, but you need to create to get a track record’ – chicken and egg stuff….

So I returned to my first love of drawing, painting, mark making…I love making marks, experimenting with mediums, trying to imbue my work with a sense of energy along with my emotional response to a subject…. and I am starting to feel as if I am finding ‘my voice’. I am always surprised when someone else likes my voice too….. Slowly, very slowly, I am making a slight inroad into making my art pay for itself…and that means selling work…and therein lies a dilemma….

Some work I am happy to sell, but others, the ones I really love…. I find it such a wrench…

‘Bowed But Not Broken’ was one of the first pieces I sold through Blue Owl Art – I had an real emotional attachment to this one, having gone through some difficult times so it was hard to say goodbye to it…

‘Norfolk Memories’ was another work that I loved, along with ‘Cei Bach’…

….and again, it was hard to see them go…

Now, preparing for The Melbourne Festival, I am faced with the same dilemma…letting go of the work I don’t just like, but love….

How do you cope with letting go….?

 

 

 

 

It’s Not All About The Art…

…..but oh how I wish it was….

Being an artist, the right side of the my brain is obviously to the fore…. which means I struggle with the business side of things… no question I would be eaten alive if I ever appeared on Dragons Den…

However difficult creating art is, and some days are much easier than others, it pales into insignificance whenever I have to focus on business matters: marketing, self-promotion and budgets…. all of which give me a great deal of angst…

A first time exhibitor at the Melbourne Festival in September, preparations are progressing, albeit slowly at times… and it is very much a learning curve… I have no idea how much work I should take, how many pieces need framing and how many I can take just mounted, what work to have prints from…and again how many…. and in my head all I can see is a lot of outlay and no guarantee of at least recouping that money…. (doesn’t help in that I have just placed a – to me – large order from Jacksons Art)

At the moment even thinking of titles is difficult…

I always like to title my work with some link, however tenuous, to the inspiration for it…. but that’s proving very elusive at the moment….

However, I am sure it will all come together in the end and if everything isn’t perfect, at least I will have learnt a few lessons along the way…and next time it will all be much easier…(!!!)

For now I will continue producing and collating possible work…

Decisions, Decisions…

Notwithstanding various medical/dental appointments, this week so far, has been one of ‘taking stock’; collating work to take to the Melbourne Arts Festival. There are now three piles in the studio; definite, maybe and reject…. and it’s been quite a surprise seeing how many possibilities I have…

….and I am also amazed at what a difference putting the work in a mount makes; work I had discarded suddenly appears a ‘maybe’ when cropped and mounted…

I am not suggesting that all of the following will make the cut….not by a long way… but it’s been great to find I have more work than I thought…

 

 


…….now time for some decision making… (apologies for the photos…)

 

 

 

 

 

Confidence…It’s A Fragile Thing….

Receiving the email informing me that I had been accepted to take part in this September’s Melbourne Art Festival, my confidence began to rise…just a little…I started making lists, organising equipment, sorting work, what needs framing, mounting, prints, cards etc…

A few weeks down the line and finding myself spending a fair bit of time away from home, away from my little studio, aka the smallest bedroom, and with only limited art materials and space, preparations have slowed down, not quite stopped, but definitely slowed…  and with that, comes a drop in self-confidence…(it doesn’t take much…)….

So today I have returned to my comfort zone, (I know, to progress, you should push yourself…but a little TLC is required..)….

Charcoal and ink and gestural marks….channelling Cei Bach in Ceredigion and The Derbyshire Dales…in my Seawhite of Brighton square sketchbook as well as on Cass Art mixed media paper…no pressure, just trying to remind myself ‘I can do it’…

….and eventually…

 

 

Try, Try & Try Again….

Having almost run out of white acrylic paint – obviously calls for a shopping trip – I have returned to the watercolour and inks… I love working with these; the way they flow and pool, the way they interact and the ‘happy accidents’ that arise really get my creative juices flowing…

I am slightly obsessed with indigo and the sepia FW Acrylic Ink and in my favourite square Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook I feel free to relax and let go, creating loose spontaneous work…

…then I try to do the same on ‘proper’ paper, you know, heavyweight watercolour paper……and everything goes out of the window…my arm feels constrained and all that spontaneity is gone….. It doesn’t seem to matter how often I tell myself it’s just a piece of paper there is a voice in my head screaming ‘yes, but it costs £6, £7, £8/sheet or whatever…’ so immediately there is the pressure to create something worthwhile….and the creative juices dry up….. I know I am not alone in feeling like this and I know it’s all in my head…. (just to say I am trying really hard not to add a ‘but’ here…)

However, having been accepted to take part in this September’s Melbourne Festival, the need to produce work has spurred me to keep on trying…practice makes perfect as the saying goes…. so another day, a different paper….

This time I am using Cass Art mixed media paper…

… I know the paper is not as expensive as single sheets of say Saunders Waterford or Arches watercolour paper, but it is still a decent quality and weight…so I continued…but I couldn’t understand why the colours weren’t matching my sketchbook work…. until I realised that although I was using Indigo, the sketchbook studies were done using Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour whilst I was working with the Daniel Smith Indigo watercolour on the paper…. same name but different…

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the vibrant Daniel Smith watercolours…but in this instance I prefer the Winsor & Newton shade, especially the way it reacts with the sepia ink… so change of pigment and on I go….trying…

 

…here’s a Daniel Smith Indigo study…

…and here is a Winsor & Newton Indigo initial wash…which I like as it is…

….I will keep on trying…and eventually I will produce some pieces I am happy enough to mount and frame…..meanwhile…..I will add the rest to my ever-growing ‘reject’ pile or should that be ‘learning’ pile….

 

 

Another Day, Another Medium…

A new day, a different medium…yesterday was experimenting with mono printing (I will keep trying with this…), today I am continuing to experiment with acrylics… Until very recently I worried about this flitting from one medium to another, worried that it would appear I hadn’t found my artistic voice, whatever that is, but I have come to realise this is all part of my make up… I have always been a ‘heart on my sleeve’ kind of person (my Mum always says that my face gives me away…whatever mood I am in…).  My work is all about my experiences of the landscape, my response to it….and my mood…which leads to my choice of medium…watercolour, ink, charcoal or acrylics…so I am learning, slowly, to let this particular hang-up go….

Anyway, onwards with today’s efforts…. (with apologies for the photos, it is very dull here today…)

I might start with a plan but that usually goes out of the window and the work becomes more of a reaction to the marks I make…

 

I do find working on several pieces stops me from fiddling…..

 

 

I even tried different sizes…

…definitely need more practise with the larger sizes…..

Anyhow, this is today’s progress….one or two might make the cut for the Melbourne Festival….

I should add that whilst painting I have been listening to artist Rebecca Crowell’s podcasts via  The Messy Studio…. not sure what my choice of episodes says about me… ‘Habits of Successful Artists,’ ‘Being Professional,’ ‘Finding Personal Voice’ and ‘Cleaning Up Your Mindset an Attitude’….

What do you like listening to whilst working?