When The Muse Goes Walkabouts…

‘But the muse won’t always

co-operate and she will never be

coerced. Sometimes she’d rather

take a nap or see a mid-afternoon

movie,’

Jonathan Tropper

I have written before about the rhythmical nature of my creativity; sometimes, everything flows – from inspiration through exploration to producing finished work… At other times, the creative muse wanders off…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and no matter how much I try, get into the studio, splash paint around…somehow, my heart isn’t in it…the motivation has gone… Now sometimes it’s because life gets in the way, and there has been a lot of that this year…other times, well, I am only human, and I have mood swings the same as everyone else… And then there are the times when it’s a mindset problem…and I know that’s mostly the issue this time…

Since participating in the Melbourne Arts Trail, sales have been non-existent…

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

…and, with no sales, comes a reluctance to spend money on materials…so I ‘make do’, not following my own advice to use the best quality materials…and then, no surprise, I am not happy with the results…and so the circle continues.. And yes, with my logical head on, I know continuing to develop my practice, to produce quality work, will build up engaged audiences, will build relationships with potential buyers etc…so I realise this is where I need to change my mindset, my approach – but as with all change, it’s easier said than done… The books and podcasts are helping…but it is a work in progress…

And so, rather than keep beating myself up over ‘reject’ work…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

and, working on the principle that ‘a change is as good as a rest’…I decided to spend an afternoon or two considering other avenues of creativity… I have spoken before about the idea of running workshops, and this is still an aim for next year, once I have ‘workshop plans’ sorted. Another idea, bearing in mind the interest shown in them, was to compile a book of some of the pages from my sketchbooks…along with the odd photograph and some of my musings…

I have been jotting down words that inspire me…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and debating which images to include…

What do you think?

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Our paths in life are rarely straightforward, so it seems unrealistic to expect that my artistic journey will be without deviation…without ups and downs…sideways moves…but my commitment is there…

‘Commitment

 

The moment one definitely commits

oneself, and then providence

moves too.

 

All sorts of things occur to help one

that would never otherwise have

occurred.

 

A whole stream of events issue from

the decision, raising in one’s favour all

manner of unforeseen incidents and

meetings and material assistance

which no man (or woman) could have

dreamed would have come his (or her)

way,’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Fingers crossed!!

If you would like to see my work-in-progress, please follow me on social media, or for more ramblings, insights and art related matters, please sign up via the link opposite, to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…

When The Muse Goes Walkabouts…

‘But the muse won’t always

co-operate and she will never be

coerced. Sometimes she’d rather

take a nap or see a mid-afternoon

movie,’

Jonathan Tropper

I have written before about the rhythmical nature of my creativity; sometimes, everything flows – from inspiration through exploration to producing finished work… At other times, the creative muse wanders off…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and no matter how much I try, get into the studio, splash paint around…somehow, my heart isn’t in it…the motivation has gone… Now sometimes it’s because life gets in the way, and there has been a lot of that this year…other times, well, I am only human, and I have mood swings the same as everyone else… And then there are the times when it’s a mindset problem…and I know that’s mostly the issue this time…

Since participating in the Melbourne Arts Trail, sales have been non-existent…

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

…and, with no sales, comes a reluctance to spend money on materials…so I ‘make do’, not following my own advice to use the best quality materials…and then, no surprise, I am not happy with the results…and so the circle continues.. And yes, with my logical head on, I know continuing to develop my practice, to produce quality work, will build up engaged audiences, will build relationships with potential buyers etc…so I realise this is where I need to change my mindset, my approach – but as with all change, it’s easier said than done… The books and podcasts are helping…but it is a work in progress…

And so, rather than keep beating myself up over ‘reject’ work…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

and, working on the principle that ‘a change is as good as a rest’…I decided to spend an afternoon or two considering other avenues of creativity… I have spoken before about the idea of running workshops, and this is still an aim for next year, once I have ‘workshop plans’ sorted. Another idea, bearing in mind the interest shown in them, was to compile a book of some of the pages from my sketchbooks…along with the odd photograph and some of my musings…

I have been jotting down words that inspire me…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and debating which images to include…

What do you think?

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Our paths in life are rarely straightforward, so it seems unrealistic to expect that my artistic journey will be without deviation…without ups and downs…sideways moves…but my commitment is there…

‘Commitment

 

The moment one definitely commits

oneself, and then providence

moves too.

 

All sorts of things occur to help one

that would never otherwise have

occurred.

 

A whole stream of events issue from

the decision, raising in one’s favour all

manner of unforeseen incidents and

meetings and material assistance

which no man (or woman) could have

dreamed would have come his (or her)

way,’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Fingers crossed!!

If you would like to see my work-in-progress, please follow me on social media, or for more ramblings, insights and art related matters, please sign up via the link opposite, to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…

Being a ‘Warrior’….

Just as the Christmas and New Year celebrations flew by, I can’t believe it’s almost the middle of January….I know as you get older ‘time flies’…but seriously….

‘Time flies. Time flies faster every year. Time flies whether you’re having fun or not, whether you’re living your life big or small, whether you surround yourself with fear or laughter,’ – Claire Cook

I talked in my last post about setting a word for the year, finally settling on Rhythm….recognising that life is full of rhythms, cycles…and not to get stressed if things aren’t necessarily progressing as I would like…just like quelling my inner critic, this is a work in progress…

I also said that January is a fallow time, a time for planning, a time for gaining inspiration, a time for experimenting…

It’s no secret I love the landscape but another love of mine is reading/books and in my Christmas stocking was this wonderful selection…


My OH knows me so well, along with my lovely niece who bought me the ‘How to…’ book…  I am really looking forward to reading these, learning and getting inspiration… a quick browse through Olivia Laing’s ‘To The River’, reading snippets such as ‘…the wheat on either side of the chalk track was at different stages of ripeness: on the west clenched and blue and on the east a fuzzy gold-green that was full of larks’ and ‘But that’s how we go, is it not, between nothing and nothing, along this strip of life, where the ragworts nod in the repeating breeze?’ I know I am going to love it….

Experimenting is ongoing, trying to mix up my materials, nudge me out of my comfort zone…hence I am attempting to introduce more colour…

I am going on a Lewis Noble workshop next week…I know that I will be pushed way beyond what I am comfortable with, which is a good thing, but also terrifying….and with that thought in mind, and not wanting to look a total numpty, I thought I had better have a play with acrylic paints…a material I dabble with but am not very confident with…

….and, it is clear from the above image, that I have no idea what I am doing…but the positive in that is that I have no expectations…

….and whilst I know these are not ‘all that’ I am quite pleased with one or two of them….definitely something to work on…

And so I continue to ‘paint my life on the canvas reality’….(Cristen Rodgers), trying, failing, trying again…

Warrior

Watch me.

I will go to my own Sun.

And if I am burned by its fire,

I will fly on scorched wings.

Segovia Amil

 

 

 

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…

Walking backwards, moving forwards…blog update

I have always loved reading: as a child I was a voracious reader, thinking nothing of reading a book from cover to cover in one go (kept me quiet for hours!) This love has stayed with me; there’s nothing quite like opening a book for the first time to discover the delights within! I will probably have two books on the go – one quite ‘deep’, whilst the other will be somewhat ‘lighter’ in nature – my mood determining which I read!

At present, I am reading just the one – Robert MacFarlane’s ‘The Old Ways’.

The Old WaysIn his book MacFarlane combines walking and the landscape, with history and discovery, all told in such descriptive language that I am loathe to put the book down! Following paths, tracks – holloways made by man or weather – he investigates the landscape, learns the stories of our ancestors and meets the people who walk these paths, who have such a connection to the landscape that they are not just in the landscape but part of it.

MacFarlane describes his travels in a poetic, lyrical way, reminiscent of the rhythm of walking, and the language and terminology he employs is a joy in itself. His use of local dialect words, be they Gaelic or Arabic, adds another layer to the book -and I find it particularly interesting when he explains the derivation of some of our common English words (book being a case in point!)

I too, love the landscape (and history and words….), and although I cannot profess to be as seasoned a walker as MacFarlane, i do like to go for a wander now and then – and yes, walking does help me think, to meditate…

Following paths and trails, I find myself focussing on the ‘lines’ of the landscape (MacFarlane does reference Tim Ingold’s book ‘A Brief History of Lines’ – a source of inspiration for my Connecting Threads!); in particular the ‘anticlines’ – geologically, an axis or line from which strata slope or dip down in opposite directions.

Quick sketches whilst out walking have become the possible basis for a new body of work; I have been playing around with ideas whilst trying out some samples of Stillman and Birn paper from Jackson Art Supplies. (I also tried Jackson’s Handmade at Two Rivers watercolour paper – fabulous!)

Drawing boardIt’s these lines and anticlines that interest me, the strata that provide a history of the landscape. I have an idea in my head of how I want these works to look – now I just have to experiment and see if I can achieve it!

Talking of words, I came across a fabulous one the other day – obambulate – meaning to ‘walk about’ or ‘wander aimlessly’ – I have been known to do quite a lot of that in my time!