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…

 

 

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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?

 

Fits and Starts…

…lead to a little bit of everything…

An artist’s life I find is very much one of ups and downs…buoyed by recent sales, including those at the Exploring Place exhibition at Blue Owl Art plus a couple of other small works, as well as the positive reception some new work received, I feel full of optimism…I can do this…

…then a week goes by, which becomes two, and I find that I have produced no new work that makes the grade…

This leads me to dabbling in little bits of everything in the hope that, eventually, that creative spark will ignite…

Ink and charcoal…

Watercolour…

.. to no avail…and that’s when the doubts creep in…and it then becomes a vicious circle…

It helps to know I am not alone – I listened to a podcast of the wonderful Maggi Hambling who quoted Constantin Brancusi: ‘To see far is one thing, going there is another,’ and the one I found particularly relevant at the moment: ‘Things are not difficult to make; what is difficult is putting ourselves in the state of mind to make them,’ – how true is that!!

I know however, with my logical head on, that this is just temporary, and soon all will be well again…

 

 

 

It’s A Funny Thing…

I am really enjoying developing the inspiration and ideas I garnered from our weekend walk around Carl Wark and Higger Tor in the Peak District…

‘Paths gone to heather

Grasses silver underfoot..’

from Hob Hurst’s House by Chris Jones

 

…the colours, the light, the gritstone, the elements… and it is these very things that have inspired me to break out of my comfort zone…I am very happy using ink and charcoal, but the images just shout out for colour, and the strong lines of the tors call for brave marks…..

…and initially, when I have no idea what I am doing, I somehow manage to produce some work I actually like…

 

…and it’s then that that funny thing happens…ooh I think to myself, I like that…lets try and do it again…and all that freedom and spontaneity is lost…and I end up with work that I am not happy with…and the more I try, the less it works…

…so today I have been reminding myself of what it was like to stand atop Higger Tor, in the wind and the rain, that feeling of freedom, exhilaration, of insignificance – the Tor will be there long after I have shuffled off…

…and somehow, somethings have worked…

…so it’s simple then (!!??), just don’t worry and don’t try so hard; that’s all there is to it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trials and Tribulations…

A couple of things have become patently obvious to me on this wet August morning…..I never realised how important space was and…..I am definitely a technophobe….

Trying to build on the process driven ‘Abstracted Landscape Workshop’ run by artist Caroline Chappell that I recently attended, I set to work with inks and charcoals…only to discover that I was not achieving the same freedom, the same spontaneity in the work… Couldn’t think why until I remembered how liberating it was having two tables all to myself and lots of space to move around in at the workshop…

Working in my tiny back bedroom, I felt constrained…hence the work didn’t have the same qualities…

..what you can’t see in the above photo is the crammed bookcases, stacked boxes and a ‘walk-in, reverse out’ route to the workspace… It was so lovely during the workshop to have all that SPACE!! I feel a major tidy up, clear out session coming on…..

The other thing that is obvious is that me and technology are not soulmates…. I am trying (very…) to set up a website…and even after my patient husband has shown me what to do, left to my own devices I have now got headings where I don’t want them, photos uploaded to heaven knows where and unwanted words….It all seemed such a good idea at the time…

Having had cards printed that I was hoping to sell …

…and an ink & charcoal study that I was going to give away as part of the launch of the website..

…I will now have to wait until said husband returns from work and rectifies my many mistakes….

Feel the need for caffeine…

It’s All About The Process…

Inspiring, thought provoking, enjoyable, challenging, immersive, creative…some words that describe the two-day ‘Abstracted Landscape Workshop’ run by artist Caroline Chappell that I recently attended..

In a village hall, down a leafy lane, eight workshop participants (including yours truly) were gently encouraged by Caroline to concentrate  on the process rather than the outcome. She quoted Bruce Mau, ‘Process is more important than outcome. When outcome drives the process we will only ever go where we have been. If process drives outcome, we may not know where we are going, but we will know we want to be there.’

I found this a liberating thought, having found myself in an artistic rut lately, doing the same things, with the same results, staying firmly within my comfort zone….

Through discussion and demonstration Caroline inspired us to think about the materials, the marks and our feelings…to move past our ‘default’ habits…to focus on the process of making rather than on a desired outcome…

 

I seem to have no problem filling a sketchbook (mostly rubbish…) but with no idea how to develop the doodles…so it was fascinating to watch Caroline’s process…and to then have a go myself…

Although used to the materials employed on day one, (inks and charcoal being my go-to media), the day was thought-provoking and at time, intense…the endless supply of tea and coffee was much appreciated!!

Day two was definitely challenging for me…I hadn’t used acrylic paint since my Grantham College days, many moons ago, hence the reason some of my paints were ‘solid’ tubes….

Thinking about colour and creating palettes were first order of the day…

..I’m obviously a ‘muted’ kind of girl!!!

Using the studies from the previous day, the idea was to develop them into paintings..

…I must admit to feeling a little ( no make that a lot) out of my depth… but with Caroline’s suggestions, support and encouragement, managed to produce two ‘paintings’…

…not sure they are ‘Abstracted Landscapes’… but for my first attempts at acrylic landscapes I’ll take them…

The whole experience was fabulous…it was great to be part of a small group, to have lots of room to work…

…to discuss art…have inspirational books available…

…and Caroline’s support and encouragement….

If you’re finding yourself in a rut, needing an artistic ‘shake-up’ I would definitely recommend the workshop….

..now where’s that catalogue…in need of some more acrylic paints….