Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘How bravely Autumn paints upon the sky
The gorgeous fame of Summer which is fled!
Hues of all flowers that in their ashes lie,
Trophied in that fair light…,’

Thomas Hood

The clocks have gone back, darkness comes earlier, curtains are drawn sooner…and although the days are shorter, the longer evenings provide time for reading, listening, thinking…dreaming…

My own practice has been somewhat stop/start this week…more stop than start if I am honest, but I am continuing to read, research, listen, write…being creative in other ways…being patient and gentle with myself…acknowledgement and acceptance that creativity has it’s own rhythms…

I first tried my hand at ceramics many moons ago when I was in the sixth form at school; many afternoons spent trying to get to grips, quite literally in some instances, with the potter’s wheel… Another lifetime passed before I found myself grappling with clay again…at Grantham College during my Foundation course…slab pots, freehand sculpting (which I was rubbish at..) and some slip casting…where I managed to produce a pot I quite liked…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…my one small triumph… and so, although full of appreciation for those who master the art of painting, I have a sneaky admiration for artists who can coax the most beautiful objects from a wedge of clay…hence, my ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ this week is Elaine Bolt, a ceramicist living on the south coast…

Elaine Bolt

Two things drew me initially to Elaine’s Instagram feed; her muted colour palette along with her use of natural found materials in her work. Inspired by the colours and tones of the landscape that surrounds her, she creates wall pieces and thrown vessels, each one individual, with the aim of blurring the boundaries between the natural and the made…

Having my own collection of found natural objects, each one a memory of a time and place…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…I am fascinated with the way in which Elaine combines the two elements…

Elaine Bolt

Elaine Bolt Ceramics, Woodland Utensils (photograph by Alun Callender)

  Elaine Bolt Assemblage

Shoreline Cascade by Elaine Bolt

  Elaine Bolt Cascade/Clusters

Wire and Willow Vessels by Elaine Bolt (photography by Yeshen Venema)

    Elaine Bolt Wire and Willow Vessels

I only wished I lived closer so that I could attend one of her courses….do go and visit her website and Instagram feed…it’s beautiful and inspirational…

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that one of the podcasts I listen to is ‘Artjuice’ by artists Alice Sheridan and Louise Fletcher…last week’s episode was a conversation between Alice and her mentor/coach Judith Morgan…it was a really interesting and frank discussion, addressing lots of issues… and whilst I don’t feel ready for full on coaching, I did purchase Judith’s book…

(apologies for the photo…the light was terrible…) I am only just beginning to dip into it, but already Judith’s approach is evident; direct, no nonsense, insightful…and funny…

Along with podcasts, I listen to music when in my studio; sometimes the radio, sometimes playlists…depending on mood, some are up-beat, whilst others are more meditative… I recently came across this article which has a plethora of playlists; from meditative and reflective through to energy builders…what do you like listening to when working?

And so the week slips by; the odd splash of paint, a solitary walk by the river…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘The gentle Lady Twilight is coming

let her pass

she scatters from her basket

the dewdrops on the grass

She closes up the lilies

and sends the bees to bed

And puts a veil of silver

upon the rowan red,’

(Anon)

Enjoy the weekend,

Take care,

C

(If you would like to see more of my work-in-progress please follow me on social media, or, if you would like more in-depth ramblings, art related insights and offers, 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…

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…

Creativity…Inspirations, Imperfections…& All Points In-Between…

Grab a coffee…this is a long post…

It’s the start of another week….after the weekend before…a difficult, emotional weekend of family issues,..of accepting that certain things are out of my control…all I can control is my reaction and response…and that is definitely a work in progress…. I think it might take a while…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I would normally describe myself as an optimist with a healthy dose of realism and a touch of cynicism thrown in for good measure…however this situation has been ongoing for most of the year and has, up until now, left me feeling drained and somewhat discombobulated (what a fabulous word that is!!) and I know this has affected my creativity because my emotional state and my creativity are intertwined…but in accepting that I can only control my  actions, comes a modicum of ‘letting go’…

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have been on somewhat of a de-cluttering mission (house, art, life…) in recent months and I think this is as a direct result of all of the above…if I can’t control that situation, then I will control what I can, I will concentrate on what is important to me, for me… One of the things I find contrary is that, in my art, I love a loose, expressive style; fluid watercolours and inks, gestural marks… but away from the actual making of art…I detest disorder and mess…it makes me feel unsettled, unable to focus…hence the mission to de-clutter…do away with the superfluous…and in doing so, construct an environment and life, full of creativity…

…and in that vein, I recently came across this blog by Judy Shreve… and of particular interest is…

‘And I believe creative momentum must be cultivated. It’s not an automatic self-sustaining condition. It’s not about finding the time to be creative, but to actually live creatively. We all have full schedules and lots of responsibilities that take us away from our art making. I’m working on how to keep my creative momentum going whether I’m in my studio or not. Just because you have free time, doesn’t mean you are inspired enough to work.

So to keep this momentum, I practice my art making daily and I try and approach all my tasks as a chance for inspiration and renewal. If I can keep from being frustrated or annoyed about all the things that take me away from my work, I hope to notice more about the world around me. And that just might help, because I believe creativity must be a frame of mind – a way of looking and being in the world – not based on talent at all – just a way of being.  Then when I have studio time I’m already inspired!’ – Judy Shreve

In order to achieve the above requires a change of mindset on my part…up until now, art was one part of my life, kept mostly hidden away in the smallest bedroom, seemingly separate from the rest of my world…and yes, I will admit to being frustrated when other things required my time and energy…however, Shreve’s idea of approaching ‘all of her tasks as a chance for inspiration and renewal’ feels such a positive mindset that I am trying to change my way of thinking… Now I realise this is not going to happen overnight…but this idea of actually living more creatively, being more mindful about my creativity is very appealing…

As I mentioned earlier, I hate disorder, being in a mess; therefore part of creating, my ‘way of looking and being in the world,’ – (Judy Shreve) is about making space, having order…and, with help from my OH, we sorted and cleared my studio space…and whilst it may not look it, and whilst it may not still be exactly what I would like, it’s heaps better than it was…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…making it a place where I feel more settled and able to focus, a space to explore and experiment…spend creative time…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘A creative moment

is part of a longer

creative process which, in turn, is

part of a creative life,’

Tom Wujec

As previously stated, I have felt unsettled, unfocused and unproductive in my art (for the reasons above), even though I have participated in a couple of events, producing new work for both…I don’t feel as if I have developed a sustained, intentioned practice…but…

I have recently begun recording time lapse videos of my process…

…and even if the experiments aren’t successful every time…

…I can still find parts I like…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘There’s no need to be perfect

to inspire others. Let

people get inspired by how

you deal with your imperfections,’

Anon

And although far from perfect, these videos are serving dual purposes: on the one hand they are small steps on my way to running workshops; on the other, because of the interest generated and questions posed, they are forcing me to define what it is that interests me as well as my working processes…hopefully clarifying a way forward… Alongside developing my practice, I am also attempting to be more proactive in developing my on-line presence, growing an engaged audience…

As I said, these videos have already generated lots of interest and feedback…and are apparently inspiring artists and students alike. Adrian Homersham, who creates the most wonderful expressive landscapes, was inspired by my working processes to produce a series of rapid, abstract seascape triptychs in preparation for his workshops…

Seascape by Adrian Homersham
Seascape triptych by Adrian Homersham

I love the colour palette and energy in this; such great movement!!

I was also recently contacted by Francis Reynolds, a figurative artist who also attended Loughborough University, and now works as an art teacher alongside his own practice…apparently one of his students was inspired by my watercolour and ink work and wondered if I could give any advice or tips… Now I am a big believer in ‘giving’ – what you give out, you get back… I am always grateful for all the support, advice and encouragement that I receive on my artistic journey that I am more than happy to give what help I can…so duly obliged with some tips and advice…and I look forward to hearing of their progress!!

I won’t lie; this idea that I can be an inspiration has been such a boost for me at the moment, I am only human after all – I will try not to let it go to my head….!!

I said at the beginning that this post was a long read. I find writing a blog is much like keeping a diary; it provides a record for me as well as, at times such as this one, being a cathartic experience…and provides you, the reader, an insight into the person behind the artist…

Give me a day or two and normal service will no doubt be resumed…but if you would like to see more work-in-progress, please follow me on social media, or for even more ramblings, art matters and insights, sign up, via the link opposite, to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…

If you have got this far, thank you for taking the time and interest…it is very much appreciated!!

 

 

Lights, Camera, Action…

‘Creativity is inventing,

experimenting, growing, taking

risks, breaking rules, making

mistakes and having

fun,’

Mary Lou Cook

This past week has been one of experimentation…trial and error…making lots of mistakes… I am continuing to explore acrylics…both in my sketchbook and on paper…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Admittedly the above is not the greatest photo…but I don’t think these work…part of the ‘making mistakes’….

‘persevere (verb) – to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles or discouragement; continue steadfastly’

…not sure I continued ‘steadfastly’ but I did continue..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist


Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I am discovering that, just as with the watercolour and inks, I like the white space around the medium…endeavouring to capture that feeling of walking along a windswept beach…I am keeping to a limited palette in order to prevent becoming overwhelmed with the choice of colours….and seem to be hung up on Titanium White, Mars Black and Yellow Ochre with the odd touch of Pthalo Turquoise…all Daler Rowney System 3 acrylics…

These are all very much a work-in-progress but I can feel my confidence growing…I am much positive when I make the initial marks, which is just as well, as if I’m not, and begin to ‘fiddle’, immediately I lose the freedom and spontaneity…

…and sometimes, something happens which is the total opposite of what I am trying to achieve….and I love it…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Exploration, experimenting, learning, making mistakes…all part of growing…

…and that’s definitely been the case when trying to film time lapse videos… Not being a technical whizz there has been a lot of fiddling about, trying to get the tripod and light in the right place, and remembering not to get my head in the way…but I made a start….and once I had done the first, a few more followed…

 

 

Watching the videos back, I suddenly became conscious of how much faffing about I do…or so it would appear when the process is speeded up! Nevertheless it’s all good practice, especially as I am considering running workshops and will have to get used to demonstrating….and all the out-takes do produce loads more collage materials…so nothing is wasted…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘It’s so much in me to want to keep

experimenting all the time. It’s just

inherent. Therefore I keep reaching for

instruments I don’t know

how to play, and then I become excited.

That gives me energy to want to make

new things, and it forces me to hear

things in new ways, which then can

only help to say things in new ways,’

 

Although I haven’t produced much work worthy of mounting, it has been interesting learning new techniques and getting to grips with technology, if only in a very rudimentary way…it is also helping me to clarify steps and directions I want to take in my artistic journey, and slowly, very slowly, my confidence is growing…

‘To grow and know

what one is growing towards – that

is the source of all strength and

confidence in life,’

James Baillie

If you want to keep up-to-date with all my latest works-in-progress, videos and general ramblings, please follow me on social media, or if you want more personal reflections, offers and art insights, please sign up using the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…

And one last thought…from a favourite author, Mary Oliver…

‘I Worried’

 

‘I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers

flow in the right direction, will the earth turn

as it was taught, and if not how shall

I correct it?

 

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,

can I do better?

 

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows

 can do it and I am, well,

hopeless.

 

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,

am I going to get rheumatism,

lockjaw, dementia>

 

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.

And I gave it up. And took my old body

and went out into the morning,

and sang.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tentative Steps…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

‘Sun on my shoulders and wind at my back,

bound & determined to get back on track

to where the heart is…

where it’s been all along,’

Tim McGraw

 

Okay, so I might be stretching it a little this morning; the sun most definitely isn’t on my shoulders, nor is the wind at my back…but this week has seen me determined to get back on track after recent and still ongoing events…Without harping on, regular followers of my social media will know that family dramas have taken up most of my time and energy, leaving little space or inclination for creativity. However, the immediate crises have subsided slightly and I am making tentative steps back towards making art again…

Getting back in the studio was a major step…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

..and whilst it’s small and jumbled, it’s my space…and it was fabulous to go in there and be surrounded by all my favourite materials as well as some of my favourite objects..

It has been several weeks since I created any art or even picked up a pencil or a paintbrush, so I have been conscious of the need to be gentle with myself…to concentrate on just enjoying the feel of the materials, exploring and playing, with no expectations..

So I have been making small collages..

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

..getting back to the mono-printing – Instagram #100daychallenge

Carolyn J Roberts artist

..and while I need to brush up on the technique, it was great to just to get ink on my fingers…

Mark making is fundamental to my art and getting my arm moving, making gestural marks with the Art Graf, soluble pencils and ink was so liberating…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

All this experimenting and playing is really just to get me back into the habit of daily creating…and with the exhibition at Thornton coming up on 6/7 July as well as getting confirmation of my acceptance to participate in this year’s Melbourne Festival, Derbyshire in September, I need to get back in the swing of things…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

 

If you want to keep up-to-date with all my goings on please follow me on social media or sign up using the link to receive my newsletter where you will also receive offers and opportunities..

 

‘Finding your way doesn’t mean you know where you are going. It’s

knowing how to find your way back home that’s important,’

Clare Vanderpool

 

Slowly, I am finding my way home../

A Sense of ‘Vorfreude’…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

After a hectic, but lovely, couple of days away with family, and now, with only 18 days to go (at time of writing) until I participate in the Belvoir Art Trail, my time seems to be filled with all the minutiae that need doing before an event… making sure all work is mounted, framed, priced, wrapped, added to my inventory, business cards sorted etc along with naming some of my newer work…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

I only seem to have small amounts of time to make art….that’s why I am attempting Instagram’s #the100dayproject…and chose mono-printing – it doesn’t take long, I can produce 3 or 4 pieces at a time (admittedly with varying degrees of success!!) and at least I feel as if I have created ‘something’…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….but all the while I am busy, there is something simmering underneath the surface, a sense of ‘vorfreude’ (n); the joyful and intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures….I am itching to get really ‘stuck in’ creating, spending time experimenting, developing – what…I don’t know yet, and that’s half the fun…

I have enjoyed the mono-printing – the somewhat unpredictable nature of the work…the contrast…and feel that it is a process that I would like to continue with, either, as I have at present, as an element of collage, or even as the base to develop over…

I have also been looking at other ‘doodles’ I have created, past and present; not finished work, more experimental, to see what it is I like about them…


Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist


Carolyn J Roberts artist

….and it’s the mark making, the loose, expressive quality, the monochromatic nature of them, the importance of the white paper…

Another process I am enjoying, thanks to the lovely Maz Hawes, is the creation of small collages in a sketchbook…

Again, I think it is the ‘space’ in each of these collages that I like, along with the inclusion of graphics… As part of my on/off journaling down by the river, I write words and phrases that spring to mind, and I have printed them out with the intention of including them…somehow…

Caarolyn J Roberts artist

I am not sure how all these processes and interests will appear in my work, or even, how my work will develop…I know I would like to try working larger (which means a radical de-clutter/re-arrangement of my studio space!!) and to develop the courage of my convictions and not make work because I feel that is what other people think I should be doing…

I just know I am eager to get started, to see where my work takes me….meantime, I will just relish that sense of ‘vorfreude’….