Something for the Weekend…

‘Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay…’

Nothing Gold Can Stay – Robert Frost

The river continues to be my solace in this strange time…a giver of comfort, a secret listener to my inner thoughts… and my inspirational ‘muse’… That life continues to live on it, in it and around it provides reassurance… The first spring leaves shimmer golden in the sun, summer visitors return – house martins and swallows, swoop and dive, chattering noisily… There is warmth in the sunshine; the dew sparkles like scattered diamonds across the grass…and strands of delicate cobweb filigree adorn the tangle of brambles…

I love spotting these small treasures, searching out the often over-looked, wandering, collecting…and, like a lot of you I am sure, I have a shelf full of objects: twigs, stones, shells, seed-heads, delicate leaves etc that are a story, a place and time in my memory…

Louise Thompson, a.k.a. WildCoastArt, this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, also loves beach-combing:

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

‘To be interested in beachcombing is to be interested in everything. Beachcombers are the keepers of the ocean’s memory, sifting and sorting the chaotic surfeit thrown up by waves and tides.’ – Flotsametrics & The Floating World, Curt Ebbemeyer & Eric Scigliano

…and seeing a kindred spirit, I was drawn to her artwork; making something beautiful out of the unnoticed, discarded, washed up objects found on the shorelines…

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

Encouraged to follow her creativity, Louise went to Falmouth School of Art, gaining a degree in Fine Art with a specialism in Printmaking.

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

(I love her embossed prints; the simplicity highlighting the beauty of the found object…)

Louise works from her home studio where she has an etching press and an old book-binding press that she is planning to use for lino printing. She admits ‘I’m not a very tidy printmaker as I tend to save a lot of ‘junk’ to print from!’

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

Louise’s daily walks along the beach with her dog provide her main inspiration; she picks up and collects everything, from shells to plastics – with the aim of incorporating them into her artwork.

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

(The space around the work and the muted palette is something else that I find very appealing, again accentuating the beauty and intricate details…)

Louise admits to having a ‘mixed bag’ of favourite artists; from Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Elizabeth Blackadder, Mark Hearld and Eric Ravilious

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

I particularly love the one above of embossed mussel shells, the soft hues on the shells, even the ghost traces add interest and mystery…beautiful…

As ever, please do take a look at Louise’s Instagram feed where there is so much more to see…

To Louise, as I say to every Instagram Artist of the Week, a huge thank you for agreeing to take part in this feature, and answering questions from a complete stranger – your generosity is very much appreciated!

As artists, especially if it’s more than just a hobby, getting your work seen, putting your work ‘out there’ is vital; the present situation dictates that many of the ‘usual’ avenues i.e. galleries, art fairs, trails etc are no longer available…so social media and the internet is taking on a greater importance…and to that end I have been re-reading…

It’s a no nonsense read, a book for ‘people who hate the very idea of self-promotion’…something that definitely resonates with me…

It got me on the first pages…

Funny how, with our common sense heads on we know all this stuff, but so often our inner critic drowns out that tiny voice; every now and again we need someone else to tell us these things..

My own practice is a continuation of ‘flitting from one thing to another’…dabbling in this and that, seemingly unfocused…in fact, the only constants so far this month have been my collage sketchbook…

 

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and participating in the #aprilforartists2020 over on Instagram..a hashtag with prompts for every day…if nothing else, it disciplines me into thinking of something else other than my norm, and then photographing and posting… There are lots of creative hashtags over on Instagram to get involved with: #isolationcreation  #100dayproject #beautyundermynose  #acupofview  to name a few…check them out, be inspired; it might make you take a fresh look at your immediate surroundings…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

As I said, the remainder of my time has been spent faffing and fiddling, one day splashing watercolour around…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…the next, trying my hand at printing…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Social media is a great place for ‘How To…’ videos and I have mentioned before about how I sometimes throw in a spot of mono printing (see above) as a way of shaking things up, and, if nothing else, is a ready supply of collage material…here is the YouTube video by Dan Tirels about low budget monoprinting…where I saw this technique…

 

These are strange times; some days I feel like making art, other days I don’t…learning not to give myself a hard time about this is a work-in-progress…but I am feeding my creative streak in other ways; walks by the river, taking photographs, making notes…reading…and I came across this article on the Tate website: ‘Making Art in Isolation’...interesting to read how isolation, enforced by pandemic, geography, politics etc, affects artists, how it influences and inspires them…although I draw the line at allowing mice to run riot….

I am also spending lots of  time dreaming…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

…but for now, I return to the river….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘As dew leaves the cobweb lightly

Threaded with stars,

Scattering jewels on the fence

And the pasture bars;

As dawn leaves the dry grass bright

And the tangled weeds

Bearing a rainbow gem

On each of their seeds…’

Dew – Sara Teasdale

As ever, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you…

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, keep safe and well,

Take care,

C

(If you would like to follow me on social media…

Instagram: www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter: www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or if you would like more of my arty news and ramblings, offers and discounts, with the occasional video thrown in for good measure, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter)

Something for the Weekend…

‘…today I’m a cloud

tattered at the edges,

light fading…

let it be, let it be

says the wind to the night.’

Michael McClintock

Days pass, the uncertain, unsettling times go on…I blow kisses to my lucky stars, thanking them – so far, apart from minor inconveniences, my loved ones are safe and coping, adjusting to the new ‘norm’… Not everyone is so blessed…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Inside the river are

the sky, the cloud, and the sun…’

Mamta G. Sagar

The gentle flow of water, the life it gives…from squabbling ducks and moorhens, to graceful swans… and  the sound of fish… bees buzzing, birdsong… the river provides such comfort.  Watching a pair of buzzards flap their wings, circling until they catch a thermal…then gyrate effortlessly upwards…a lone cormorant dives and surfaces, dives and surfaces, sparrows nesting in a tangle of blackberry, a heron performs a lazy fly past, wings splayed, landing gear outstretched, fishing spot pinpointed on the bend in the river …brief vignettes of another world in these disquieting times…

As always, whenever we cannot have or do something, even if for the best of reasons, we long for it even more… Grateful, and lucky I know, to have the river so close, I still dream of walking across moors or dales, or along the coast…wild places, remote places… inspiring places… and when art and such places combine…

I was reminded recently of Julie Brook‘s work ‘Firestack‘…

Image result for julie brook firestack

…multi-sensory sculptures made from the elements; crackling fire, incoming tides, plumes of smoke, sparks floating on the breeze, flames, flickering amber on the water’s surface…I find this mesmerising, meditative almost – who doesn’t like watching waves and fire…and they have a feeling of history, as if they could have been made by our ancestors…

Someone else who is inspired by the landscape is multi-media ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ Caroline McGonigal

Caroline McGonigal
Caroline McGonigal

It was Caroline’s multi-media approach to her artwork that first attracted me; her use of light and shadow, using the elements to develop work…

Caroline McGonigal
Caroline McGonigal

Although always creative, it wasn’t until later in life that Caroline studied Fine Art at Dundee University, as a mature student, graduating in 2010; she still considers herself to be ‘an emerging artist as she hasn’t been practising all that long.’

Caroline McGonigal
Caroline McGonigal

Inspired by the landscape, particularly northern regions, Caroline has travelled twice to Iceland, and then around the top of Norway, up into the Arctic Circle…

‘It is the unusual, almost alien landscapes there, that simply take my breath away. I feel so much closer to the inner workings of the earth, when standing beside a geyser or immersing myself in a natural hot spring. Also the harshness of the environment there creates such atmospheric conditions, and this gives me lots of opportunity to do research photography for my work.’

Caroline McGonigal
Caroline McGonigal

Caroline admits to happily switching between mediums – one minute painting and drawing, the next, sculpture or printmaking or film…evidence of how many ways the landscape can be interpreted…

Caroline McGonigal
Caroline McGonigal

(I love the delicacy of the work above, created by harnessing the wind; zephyr-like, ethereal…)

Caroline feels incredibly lucky to work in a spacious art studio in Kinghorn, Fife, called Sea Loft, only 30 seconds from the beach.  Artist Elizabeth Ogilvie has been a big inspiration and influence on Caroline, so when the opportunity arose to have a studio space at Sea Loft, a converted cinema owned by Ogilvie, Caroline felt it was meant to be…

Apart from Ogilvie, Caroline admits to admiring a wide variety of artists: she loves the subtle works of Susan Derges, Roni Horn and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. She also loves the versatility and skill of Gerhard Richter... and when she feels, perhaps like a lot of artists, that she should settle on a particular medium or process, she recalls that many artists, such as Richter, have worked, or work, in a ‘non-conventional way’… ‘After all, we change and develop as we go through life, so it makes sense that our work is subject to emotion and changes…’

Caroline McGonigal
Slipping, We Are The Carers – Caroline McGonigal

The above installation was created in 2018 as part of an exhibition in Kyoto: visitors were encouraged to draw something they loved about the environment onto the surgical masks, before attaching to someone else’s mask thus creating a waterfall of care and togetherness which grew daily…

Caroline McGonigal
Surface, Above and Below – Caroline McGonigal

Caroline also has favourite authors and books that she turns to for inspiration; In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki (an essay on Japanese aesthetics), The Poetics of Space (a look at how our experiences of houses, shelters and spaces shape our thoughts and dreams), and Water and Dreams (an essay on The Imagination of Matter), both by Gaston Bachelard and Leonard Koren’s Wabi-Sabi (a volume on the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete).

Caroline McGonigal
Caroline McGonigal

The work above was inspired by Caroline’s trips to Iceland and the wonderful cave formations; I love the expressive quality along with the granulation…and of course, the limited palette is right up my street!

Take a look at Caroline’s Instagram feed and website to see the full range of her artworks…

As always, a big thank you to Caroline for allowing me to use her images and for taking the time to respond to my questions – I very much appreciate your generosity and kindness!

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

As I think I have said in a previous post, being in ‘isolation/lockdown’ mode is not too different from my usual day-to-day life…but whilst I am continuing to doodle, see work above, I have also been reading and listening to more podcasts…and, at present, am picking and choosing my way through the BBC ‘In Our Time’ archives…a great selection of discussions on all manner of subjects… As Turner is one of my favourite artists, and this painting is regularly voted amongst Britain’s top ten best-loved works, I had to listen to this episode about ‘The Fighting Temeraire’…

I have also been perusing my bookshelves, pulling out forgotten works, reminding myself of some of my favourite poems…this one by W. B. Yeats is right up there on my top ten list…what would be your favourites…?

‘The Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

 

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.’

…and this one, also by Yeats would be on my list too…

‘Had I the heavens embroidered cloths

Enwrought with golden and silver light

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

 

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.’

W. B. Yeats

As ever, I hope you have found something to interest or inspire you…and please let me know some of your favourite poems!

Take care and keep safe and well,

C

(If you would like to see work-in-progress please follow me on social media:

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or if you would like more arty news, offers, ramblings or occasional videos, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter)

Something for the Weekend…Artistic Inspirations…

‘The reeds give

way to the

wind

and give the

wind away,’

A. R. Ammons

To sit awhile, amongst all the madness, to hear the wind rustle through the reeds…to watch their heads bowing this way and that…provides me with a sense of calm, a moment of solace… And I am forever grateful that the river, so close by, affords me the opportunity to do just that…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘The dream of my life

is to lie down by a slow river

And stare at the light in the trees –

To learn something by being nothing,

A little while

but the rich

Lens of attention,’

from Entering the Kingdom – Mary Oliver

Following the river on my daily walks is endlessly fascinating, there is always something, perhaps previously unnoticed, that catches the attention…providing inspiration – if not literally, then, just that experience of being out in the landscape, feeling the sun, (when it makes an appearance), and the breeze, hearing the sounds of the water and the birds…

‘A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living

part of the very earth itself,’

Laura Gilpin

Rachel Sudworth, this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, is also inspired by wild environments; empty Scottish beaches, mountains, the vast expanse of Iceland, northern light, woods and forests… She is particularly influenced by quiet still places, mist and rain and subtle colours…

Rachel Sudworth
Rachel Sudworth

I fell in love with Rachel’s work some time ago;  the soft washes and layers in her paintings combine to create ethereal, evocative landscapes…hinting at memories of places…an invitation to me, as the viewer, to recall my own special moments…

GORSE

  ‘Gorse’ – Rachel Sudworth

After studying Textile Design at university, where she acknowledges that her work was ‘basically just paintings on fabric, Rachel spent many years working as a textile and wallpaper designer, basing her work on ‘hand-drawn imagery in a world of computer aided design.’ After a move to Herefordshire, she took the plunge and returned to her love of painting landscapes…

Rachel Sudworth
‘Small Snow’ – Rachel Sudworth

It’s Rachel’s use of soft, muted washes and marks that appeal to me, along with the small details that invite the viewer to look closer…

QUIET DAY

‘Quiet Day’ – Rachel Sudworth

There is a subtlety about Rachel’s work; I find it very calming, quiet…but so, so beautiful…

RISE

‘Rise’ – Rachel Sudworth

I don’t think it will come as a surprise that one of Rachel’s favourite artists is JMW Turner…(she admits to crying on seeing one of Turner’s sketchbooks in an exhibition, so beautiful did she find it….)  Another favourite artist is Cy Twombly, whose gestural mark making Rachel finds ‘just fabulous.’ Current artists who she admires include Norman Ackroyd and Richard Whadcock…’though their processes are very different, both have a wonderful ability to create such depth and atmosphere, it just transports you. I like paintings you can get lost in.’

Rachel also creates abstract pieces; inks and watercolour on paper…gestural marks combined with loose washes, allowing the  natural qualities of the paint to come to the fore…

Rachel Sudworth
‘Number 5’ – Rachel Sudworth

Again, it’s that combination of the muted, washes, marks and varying textures that draw you in to read your own interpretation of the work…

Rachel Sudworth
‘Number 2’ – Rachel Sudworth

Having previously had a ‘studio’ in a room in her house, a recent move has provided Rachel with the space to design her very own garden studio, which is now in the process of being built – exciting times!! The studio is wedge-shaped, an idea pinched from one of her favourite ‘Grand Designs’ on the Isle of Skye. Rachel says that she ‘intends to keep it in a state of creative chaos, with all my photos and inspiration on one wall, and another nice blank wall to view finished work’ – sounds fabulous, and I might just be a teeny bit jealous!!

SUMMIT

‘Summit’ – Rachel Sudworth

Do take a look at Rachel’s Instagram feed, and her website…find inspiration in her quiet washes, muted palette and interesting mark making…dream of wild places….

As ever, I would like to thank Rachel for agreeing to participate in my ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ feature – I am always amazed and forever appreciative to my fellow creatives for taking the time to answer messages and questions from a random Instagrammer/artist/blogger…

Being an artist is a somewhat solitary occupation, and spending long periods at home/in the studio is the norm; however, even though I am used to being home alone, keeping motivated during these uncertain times has been a little like riding a rollercoaster (although I am fully aware this is a small matter compared to what some people are having to cope with…..) The internet and social media, so often maligned, have been invaluable during this period, providing inspiration along with art initiatives and tutorials…Jackson’s Art Blog have provided a round up of some of the online art classes and activities.. Who wouldn’t be inspired to experiment with oil pastels after watching Sir Quentin Blake drawing with them, or perhaps, try your hand at life drawing courtesy of the Soho Life Drawing

I have continued to work on my series of abstract mixed media paintings inspired by the Cornish Coast…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I now have to think of titles for these; the vocabulary used to describe the landscape plays a part, along with inspiration from text, poems, song lyrics etc…and whilst researching I came across this by Sir John Betjeman:

‘Cornish Cliffs

Those moments, tasted once and never done,

Of long surf breaking in the mid-day sun.

A far-off blow-hole booming like a gun –

 

The seagulls plane and circle out of sight

Below this thirsty, thrift-encrusted height,

The veined sea-campion buds burst into white

 

And gorse turns tawny orange, seen beside

Pale drifts of primroses cascading wide

To where the slate falls sheer into the tide.

 

More than in gardened Surrey, nature spills

A wealth of heather, kidney-vetch and squills

Over these long-defended Cornish hills.

 

A gun-emplacement of the latest war

Looks older than the hill fort built before

Saxon or Norman headed for the shore.

 

And in the shadowless, unclouded glare

Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where

A misty sea-line meets the wash of air.

 

Nut-smell of gorse and honey-smell of ling

Waft out to sea the freshness of the spring

On sunny shallows, green and whispering.

 

The wideness which the lark-song gives the sky

Shrinks at the clang of sea-birds sailing by

Whose notes are tuned to days when seas are high.

 

From today’s calm, the lane’s enclosing green

Leads inland to a usual Cornish scene –

Slate cottages with sycamore between,

 

Small fields and tellymasts and wires and poles

With, as the everlasting ocean rolls,

Two chapels built for half a hundred souls.’

I particularly like the lines ‘To where the slate falls sheer into the tide’ and ‘A misty sea-line meets the wash of air’…we’ll see how all this inspiration plays out in my choice of titles…

Our time in Cornwall seems a lifetime ago…little did we know when battling the gales, what further ‘storms’ were waiting… Being able to visit wild places, to experience the landscape…to be outdoors is necessary to me…and it’s true, that when you are not able to do something, even if just for a relatively short period of time, it’s then that you realise how much you miss it…so I am having to ‘roam’ vicariously through books, podcasts and radio broadcasts…and I came across this BBC ‘Open Book’ programme where presenter Mariella Frostrup is exploring the landscape of the Yorkshire Moors and how it has inspired authors and poets…from the Brontes, Ted Hughes and, slightly more recently, Ross Raisin…just hearing their footsteps crunching on the path made me want to pull my walking boots on…

For now, I will remain close to home…

‘Among the tawny tasselled reed

The ducks and ducklings float and feed

With head oft dabbing in the flood

They fish all day the weedy mud..

 

The geese in troops come droving up,

Nibble the weeds and take a sup;

And, closely puzzled to agree,

Chatter like gossips over tea…’

from The Fens by John Clare

 

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

Take care,

C

(If you would like to keep up-to-date with current works-in-progress please follow me on social media:

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or for more of my arty news, ramblings, offers, discounts and the occasional video please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter)

 

 

Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘A solitary heron,

silver grey, his stature great,

resides within the river village,

old man hunched and scouring,

 

bending legs to catch fish stirring,

face intent and gaunt and grave,

the pin persistence of his eyes

is trained to strike, devour, digest.

 

He is a noble fisherbird,

the fine line of his feathers

etched in wisdom…’

Heron – K. S. Moore

The river, already my old friend, has become even more of a sanctuary, and I cherish it…  Winter gives way to Spring and life stirs… Marauding ducks harass the moorhens, who strut like sergeant majors along the bank, squawking their discontent…. crows pass overhead, cawing to each other…and a lone buzzard circles, mewing in the wind… and in the liminal spaces between air, vegetation and water, stalks a heron, beady-eyed, beak poised… silently keeping just that step ahead of me as I walk along the opposite bank…(hence the slightly fuzzy photograph above……)

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘A good river is nature’s life work in song,’

Mark Helprin

The river changes daily; from a mirror’d surface with razor-sharp reflections, through gentle ripples to more turbulent waters, pewter ribbons, waves sweeping the banks…a metaphor for life….

Water is endlessly fascinating to me, in all its various guises, and someone else who has been inspired by water in the landscape is poet Simon Armitage…

The Stanza Stones Trail runs through 47 miles of the Pennine region, and along its route are 6 poems carved into stone, each telling of water in its differing forms; The Snow Stone, The Rain Stone, The Mist Stone, The Dew Stone, the Puddle Stones and The Beck Stones…

 

Although there are beautiful phrases and lines in each, I think The Rain Stone poem is my favourite…

‘Be glad of these freshwater tears,

Each pearled droplet some salty old sea-bullet

Air-lifted out of the waves,

Then laundered and sieved,

Re-cast as a soft bead and returned

And no matter how much it strafes or sheets,

It is no mean feat to catch one

raindrop in the mouth,

To take one drop on the tongue, tasting

Cloud pollen, grain of the heavens, raw sky

Let it teem, up here where the front of

the mind distils the brunt of the world,’

Simon Armitage

…and, once restrictions are lifted, and life returns to a semblance of normality, or whatever the new normal will become, the trail is somewhere I would love to explore…

Walking is vital to me, and, perhaps because we are unable to go far at the present time, I have been drawn back to ‘Wanderlust’ by Rebecca Solnit…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Walking is a form of meditation for me, and I am lucky that I have such a wonderful space so close by…

‘The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts. This creates an odd consonance between internal and external passage, one that suggests that the mind is also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it…And so one aspect of the history of walking is the history of thinking made concrete – for the motions of the mind cannot be traced, but those of the feet can,’ (p.5 & 6, Wanderlust, R. Solnit) 

From the ancient Greeks, Romantic poets, authors and latter-day thinkers, Solnit draws together ‘A History of Walking’…from pilgrimages to protest marches, from landscape to urban, she examines the significance of ‘walking’…

‘Walking has created paths, roads, trade routes, generated local and cross-continental senses of place; shaped cities, parks, generated maps, guidebooks, gear, and further afield, a vast library of walking stories and poems of pilgrimages, mountaineering expeditions, meanders, and summer picnics. The landscapes, urban and rural, gestate the stories, and the stories bring us back to the sites of this history,’ (p.2, Wanderlust, R. Solnit)

In last week’s ‘Something for the Weekend’ post I highlighted Norman Ackroyd as being one of my favourite artists, and regular readers will know that Robert MacFarlane is one of my favourite authors…so how wonderful that BBC Radio 4 is re-broadcasting the episode of ‘Only Artists‘ where these two are in conversation…

Claire Leach, this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, is also inspired by the landscape – her favourite area being the Forest of Dean…a beautiful area of ancient forest on the English/Welsh border…

Claire Leach
Claire Leach

Claire has tried many artistic mediums including photography, ceramics and painting.  She always saw herself as a painter but during the second year of her Fine Art degree at the University of Gloucester, she started ‘making more and more pencil drawings, culminating in a final degree show full of pencil drawings inspired by landscape and nature.’

Claire Leach
Claire Leach

Claire admits that many of her drawings are inspired by the Forest of Dean; it’s a place she visited regularly as a child, ‘enjoying weekends cycling along muddy tracks, walking in the woods and canoeing down the River Wye.’ She finds it an endlessly magical place, ‘full of adventure and happy memories.’

Claire Leach
Claire Leach

Claire produces the most incredibly detailed drawings, of which I am in awe of; neither my patience or lack of, nor my rheumatic fingers would allow me to create in this way!

Claire Leach
Spring Blossom – Claire Leach

Claire has a wide-ranging list of favourite artists; from Claude Monet and the French Impressionists, Peter Doig and David Hockney, as well as printmakers, Norman Ackroyd and Emma Stibbon and not forgetting Tacita Dean and Tracey Emin

Claire Leach
Claire Leach

In common with a lot of artists, Claire would love a ‘beautiful studio space, with lots of natural light, big windows with far-reaching views and a designated place to make a mess without guilt.’ In reality, she lives in a small flat, without space for a permanent studio, making do with ‘storing materials on a trolley and working from a small table,’ – but she still manages to produce delicate, intricate drawings…drawings that pull you, the viewer, in to have a closer look, to see what small details you can spot…

Claire Leach
Claire Leach

I love Claire’s work; it speaks of someone who really looks closely at nature, taking in the often overlooked corners…do take a look at her Instagram feed…it is full of the most wonderful pen and ink artworks…

For now, it’s back to where I started…water, and the river…

‘…where water unbinds

hangs at the waterfall’s face, and

just for that one, stretched

white moment

become lace,’

The Beck – Simon Armitage

I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you,

Take care,

C

(If you would like to keep up-to-date with work-in-progress, please follow me on my social media;

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

Or, if you would like even more of my ramblings, arty news, offers, discounts and the occasional video, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter)

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

Or for more of my ramblings, news, offers and general arty goodness, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletters)

 

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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