Something for the Weekend…

‘Each moment of the year has its own beauty,’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

It seems no time at all since I published last week’s ‘Something for the Weekend’ post…and here we are, already at another weekend…the year is slipping away at an alarming rate…or does it just appear so the older you get…?

It’s been another quiet week, one with the odd ‘lightbulb moment’, but mostly just a week of exploration, reading, listening…thinking, planning…discoveries and inspirations…

Talking of ‘inspirations’…my ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ this week is Martha Holmes – living and working in Cornwall, Martha’s paintings are her response to the coastal environment; both the north and south coasts of the county. She is influenced by the ever-changing light and colours of the area; her seascapes/landscapes are painted ‘en plein air’ providing an immersive experience that is reflected in the energy and brush strokes of the work…

 

 

Martha Holmes Autumn Blue, Porthmeor

As you know, I love a limited colour palette and Martha’s choice of colours particularly appeals to me…as does the slightly abstract nature of the work…I like the boldness; there’s no ‘fiddling’ here…definite strokes, capturing the essence of the moment…

October Day, Gwithian.jpg          October Day, Gwithian (oil on board) SOLD

IMG_1481 copy.jpg          The Island, Porthmeor (oil on paper) SOLD

I like the clean, white surround to the work as well; I feel it focuses the viewer’s eye on the colour and energy of the work… There is a short film on her website in which Martha talks in more detail about her inspirations, process and work…well worth a look!!

As for ‘listening’, well, along with the weekly episode of Artjuice by Alice Sheridan and Louise Fletcher, I have recently discovered ‘Simple & Season‘ – a blog and podcast designed to help ‘creative people find clarity and direction’, as well as creating a marketing strategy that will help you ‘grow with soul’… Having listened to the most recent podcast, I am determined to take on board the idea that ‘it is never too late…’ and to be ‘more gentle on myself’…

See the source image

My own practice has undergone somewhat of a ‘lightbulb moment’ this week…don’t ask me why it has taken so long, probably fear, fear of failure, of other peoples’  expectations, or what I  imagine others to expect…but somewhere, subconsciously, the reading and podcast messages are permeating, albeit slowly…

…if I prefer working with a limited palette, then that’s what I am going to do…

…if I prefer leaving space around my mark making work, then that’s what I am going to do…

…if I prefer making abstract marks and washes, then that’s what I am going to do…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Shorelines
Shorelines Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist


Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and slowly the confidence is developing to leave the work when I am happy, when I love it…and I have the following quote pinned up in my studio space to remind me…

‘Your art

is not about how many people

like your work

Your art

is about

if your heart likes your work

if your soul likes your work

it’s about how honest

you are with yourself

and you must

never trade honesty

for relatability,’

Rupi Kaur

One of my first loves has always been drawing, mark making…and whilst de-cluttering my studio space, I came across this book that had been hidden behind a load of other ‘stuff’….

(apologies for the dodgy camerawork…)

…already thinking about next year and areas I would like to re-visit and develop, drawing and mark making is high on the list, so this was a timely ‘discovery’…there are certainly some projects in here that I would like to have a go at!

If you would like to see how I get on with the mark making and drawing, plus other work-in-progress, please follow me on social media, or for more insights, art-related matters, and general ramblings, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(is) newsletters…

And, as the weekend arrives…I will finish with this quote by John Keats…(although you can swap the French wine for a drink of your choice….and I can’t guarantee fine weather, but you get the gist…) :

‘Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather

and a little music played outdoors by

somebody I do not know.’

Enjoy the weekend!!

 

Something for the Weekend…

‘Each moment of the year has its own beauty,’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

It seems no time at all since I published last week’s ‘Something for the Weekend’ post…and here we are, already at another weekend…the year is slipping away at an alarming rate…or does it just appear so the older you get…?

It’s been another quiet week, one with the odd ‘lightbulb moment’, but mostly just a week of exploration, reading, listening…thinking, planning…discoveries and inspirations…

Talking of ‘inspirations’…my ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ this week is Martha Holmes – living and working in Cornwall, Martha’s paintings are her response to the coastal environment; both the north and south coasts of the county. She is influenced by the ever-changing light and colours of the area; her seascapes/landscapes are painted ‘en plein air’ providing an immersive experience that is reflected in the energy and brush strokes of the work…

 

 

Martha Holmes Autumn Blue, Porthmeor

As you know, I love a limited colour palette and Martha’s choice of colours particularly appeals to me…as does the slightly abstract nature of the work…I like the boldness; there’s no ‘fiddling’ here…definite strokes, capturing the essence of the moment…

October Day, Gwithian.jpg          October Day, Gwithian (oil on board) SOLD

IMG_1481 copy.jpg          The Island, Porthmeor (oil on paper) SOLD

I like the clean, white surround to the work as well; I feel it focuses the viewer’s eye on the colour and energy of the work… There is a short film on her website in which Martha talks in more detail about her inspirations, process and work…well worth a look!!

As for ‘listening’, well, along with the weekly episode of Artjuice by Alice Sheridan and Louise Fletcher, I have recently discovered ‘Simple & Season‘ – a blog and podcast designed to help ‘creative people find clarity and direction’, as well as creating a marketing strategy that will help you ‘grow with soul’… Having listened to the most recent podcast, I am determined to take on board the idea that ‘it is never too late…’ and to be ‘more gentle on myself’…

See the source image

My own practice has undergone somewhat of a ‘lightbulb moment’ this week…don’t ask me why it has taken so long, probably fear, fear of failure, of other peoples’  expectations, or what I  imagine others to expect…but somewhere, subconsciously, the reading and podcast messages are permeating, albeit slowly…

…if I prefer working with a limited palette, then that’s what I am going to do…

…if I prefer leaving space around my mark making work, then that’s what I am going to do…

…if I prefer making abstract marks and washes, then that’s what I am going to do…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Shorelines
Shorelines Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist


Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and slowly the confidence is developing to leave the work when I am happy, when I love it…and I have the following quote pinned up in my studio space to remind me…

‘Your art

is not about how many people

like your work

Your art

is about

if your heart likes your work

if your soul likes your work

it’s about how honest

you are with yourself

and you must

never trade honesty

for relatability,’

Rupi Kaur

One of my first loves has always been drawing, mark making…and whilst de-cluttering my studio space, I came across this book that had been hidden behind a load of other ‘stuff’….

(apologies for the dodgy camerawork…)

…already thinking about next year and areas I would like to re-visit and develop, drawing and mark making is high on the list, so this was a timely ‘discovery’…there are certainly some projects in here that I would like to have a go at!

If you would like to see how I get on with the mark making and drawing, plus other work-in-progress, please follow me on social media, or for more insights, art-related matters, and general ramblings, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(is) newsletters…

And, as the weekend arrives…I will finish with this quote by John Keats…(although you can swap the French wine for a drink of your choice….and I can’t guarantee fine weather, but you get the gist…) :

‘Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather

and a little music played outdoors by

somebody I do not know.’

Enjoy the weekend!!

 

Sketchbooks, Sketchbooks, Sketchbooks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘OF waters, forests, hills;
Of the earth at large, whispering through medium of
me;
Of vista—Suppose some sight in arriere, through the
formative chaos, presuming the growth, fulness,
life, now attain’d on the journey;
(But I see the road continued, and the journey ever
continued;)
Of what was once lacking on earth, and in due time
has become supplied—And of what will yet be
supplied,
Because all I see and know, I believe to have purport
in what will yet be supplied,’

Walt Whitman

 

We have had some glorious autumn sunshine recently; misty mornings, golden hues, the last of the swallows performing their aerial acrobatics, dew covered webs…mornings where the sun still feels warm to your skin even though the leaves are beginning to remind us there is beauty in decay…

I have been re-charging my batteries since the Melbourne Festival; having completed all the post-event jobs, I have taken time to rest, relax, enjoy the sunshine, read, scroll through the inevitable social media…doodle in my sketchbooks, putting no pressure or expectations on myself to produce any work let alone any masterpieces….

…and the ‘no pressure’ showed in my choice of materials – charcoal and an Art Graf block – a monochromatic scheme as I didn’t even want the trouble of choosing colours…yes, totally lazy I know…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Even though, outside the skies are blue, I was definitely channelling a moody, atmospheric, stormy weather kind of vibe…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I also used a pencil along with a Derwent water-soluble graphitone 8B pencil..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

It has been great experimenting and exploring, especially with the Art Graf; using water and paper towels to gently move it in directional sweeps suggesting rainstorms…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

My sketchbooks garnered lots of interest at Melbourne – a great talking point…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

….so much so that, considering how many people enquired about workshops, I am wondering if a sketchbook workshop is the way to go…a gentle way in for me to gain confidence, a workshop not focussed on outcome so much, more on process…about how I go about overcoming the fear of a new sketchbook, how I use my sketchbooks – having a few on the go for different ideas, materials, experimental work…what do you think? Any thoughts, ideas or advice? Any pitfalls to avoid? All tips gratefully received!!

A way to go yet – I need a lesson plan for one thing!! I have been checking venues – prices, car parking, suitability (some have rooms with carpeted floors – not ideal for splashing paint and ink around on..!!) – average cost around here seems to be between £10 – £12/hour…I had thought a 3 hour workshop might be long enough for my first one… also, will I be providing some/all materials…tea/coffee/refreshment budget… lots to think about, and that’s before I start marketing it….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

What’s that story about Robert the Bruce and the spider…..? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again…. well I haven’t tried at all yet…mainly owing to lack of confidence in my abilities, fear that no-one would be interested or want to attend…but if I don’t try I will never know, there will always be that ‘what if?’…so I am going to come up with a plan, work out costs etc, perhaps have a trial run…and watch out 2020 I might just have a workshop programme….

‘You can only grow

if you are willing to feel

awkward and uncomfortable

when you try

something new,’

Brian Tracy

If you want to see more of my work-in-progress please follow me on social media, or for even more ramblings, in depth details about my process and general art inspiration, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…thank you…

(This page contains some affiliate links which means that if you click on one of the links and then buy, I could receive a small percentage commission. I only recommend products that I use and love….)

 

Experimentation…..Likes & Dislikes….

‘Taste is an evolution and refinement of one’s

personal likes and dislikes. This evolution takes

place with a constant curiosity and interest in

everything. The editing consequently refines

the choices and defines taste,’

Norma Kamali

 

It’s been a week of development and experimentation; some of it on a practical level, interspersed with a bit of ‘research’…(for research read social media, scrolling and Pinterest, more of which later…)

Using what is to hand in the ‘studio’, I have continued with the work inspired by the swallows and house-martins swooping over the river, the ‘tales from the riverbank’ series as I have named it, temporarily at least..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Created on sketchbook paper that I don’t feel so precious about, I have splished, splashed, swooped and splattered, creating work that I have then had fun cropping, finding new compositions…

Carolyn J Roberets Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Continuing to experiment I found some left over landscape 140lb Daler Rowney cold press watercolour Aquarelle paper so thought I would give it a try…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

….and whilst I love the format, and larger size, I am not so keen on the paper surface…and that’s where the personal likes and dislikes enter into it. If we all liked the same things, we would all live in the same houses, drive the same cars, wear the same clothes and like the same art…but we humans are a diverse bunch, and our tastes differ….

…and I’m just not that keen on this surface for this particular body of work…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I don’t like the effect the surface has on the charcoal; I much prefer using the charcoal on smooth paper…

Carolyn J Roberets Artist

 

So I am slowly refining my tastes, although not liking the paper hasn’t stopped me from playing around with the piece, cropping with a spare mount….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

The next materials order will definitely be for smooth/hot press paper!!

….and as for Pinterest – well I have been upping my game with this recently; most feedback suggests that this platform is one of the most effective ways of driving traffic to your website, so I thought I had better make an effort. After only a short period, two things I have noticed/realised 1) there has been an increase in traffic to my website, although this hasn’t materialised into any sales yet, but slowly, slowly building an audience…and 2) how scrolling/re-pinning/creating boards is helping me refine my tastes, helping me to see my preferences and how this translates into my artwork. I do have boards about colour (even one titled ‘Colours I love….but am afraid to use’…!!) but the majority of the artwork I pin or re-pin is loose, expressive and of a muted colour palette. There is also an awful lot of mark making images and work with a graphic element to it…I am obviously a little slow on the uptake, but seeing the work I love pinned this way, all in one place,  has really crystallised my loves and, in a strange sort of way, confirmed that my preferences/loves/my artwork are okay – I know, I know – it’s just how my brain works…or not… Anyhow, I shall persist with Pinterest and see how it goes…

….and I shall continue experimenting, refining my likes and dislikes…

‘…the important questions are answered

by not liking only but disliking and

accepting equally what one likes and

dislikes. Otherwise there is no access to

the dark night of the soul,’

John Cage

If you want to see more of my work in progress/ramblings please follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, or for previews of new work, offers and more, sign up using the link opposite, to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…

Dance at Dusk…

‘Just always the swallows

and their script of descenders

dipping their ink to sign their signatures

across the page of the sky,’

Owen Sheers

 

As I explained in my last post, I have been inspired to create work based on the river;  particularly the flight of the swallows and house-martins as they swoop, wheel and dive over the water….

‘In fluid ways, the swoops and loops of swallows,’

Michael McClintock

 

I begin by using charcoal; making loose, expressive gestural marks, trying to capture the freedom…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist charcoal drawings

Carolyn J Roberts Artist charcoal drawings

Carolyn J Roberts Artist charcoal drwings

….before adding some pencil marks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist charcoal and pencil drawing

Carolyn J Roberts Artist charcoal and pencil drawing

….and then adding watercolour, namely Indigo, and sepia acrylic ink…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I am experimenting with colour….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

….but I am rapidly coming to the conclusion I prefer the more muted palette of the indigo and sepia, although the bottom, pale green isn’t too bad…all trial and error….but a body of work is beginning to develop…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

It’s fabulous watching the birds dance and dive, weave and swoop along the river…and it’s this freedom that I am trying to capture…

‘They dip their wings in the sunset,’

Leonora Speyer

Follow me on social media to see work in progress or sign up to receive my monthly (ish) newsletter for offers, news(!) and the odd giveaways..via the link opposite

Sometimes You Can’t See The Wood…

….for the trees, or in my case, the river…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

2019 has been a bit of a start/stop year so far; family issues and OH’s work has meant that we haven’t been out and about as much as we normally do…so opportunities for gathering inspiration have been few and far between…

The one constant has been the river: a regular place to walk, sit with my coffee, make notes, just sit quietly and stare…

‘When I walk out into the world, I take no thoughts with me. That’s not easy but you can learn to do it. An empty mind is hungry, so you look at everything longer, and closer. Don’t hum! When you listen with empty ears, you hear more. And this is the core of the secret: attention is the beginning of devotion,’ Mary Oliver

….and that got me thinking, realising…inspiration is on my doorstep – definitely a case of familiarity and all that! I spend hours by the river; early morning, dusk, summer, winter…walking, observing, feeling…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

 

 


Carolyn J Roberets Artist

….and finally, the kernel of an idea began to form…could I create a series of works based on the river/riverbank, a ‘Tales from the Riverbank’…?

So, starting with my favourite clump of reeds, I began…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Charcoal Drrawings

 


Carolyn J Roberts Artist Charcoal Drawings

….and the start of a series was born…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Charcoal Drawings

Carolyn J Roberts Artist Charcoal Drawings

I don’t know whether it is just me, but whatever the landscape, I find myself drawn to small elements of the whole, such as the clump of reeds… Another thing I love to watch at the river is the mesmerising dance of the swallows and house-martins, swooping and skimming over the surface of the river, especially at dusk…(and as an aside, I came across the word ‘kawaakari (n.) – the gleam of last light on a river’s surface at dusk, the glow of a river in the darkness’)….it’s a magical time of the day and I was inspired to try and capture the swallows’ dance…and, using charcoal, watercolour and ink, created these two abstract, expressive works on paper (well, I created four pieces, but as is always the way, two of the four didn’t cut the mustard…)

Carolyn J Roberts Artist


Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

 

I love these – (and yes, I prefer the black frame…) – and am feeling so positive with this new direction; as the Mary Oliver quote states ‘attention is the beginning of devotion.’ The river captured my attention soon after we moved here; my devotion to it is growing…

‘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

 

I even have the gleam of an idea for a couple of the new sketchbooks I have

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

– but that’s something for another post…

And so I shall continue to develop this idea…and see how far it takes me…

‘Go forth, the teller of tales

And seize whatever

the heart longs for

Have no fear

Everything exists

And everything is true

And the earth is only

A little dust

Under our feet,’

W. B. Yeats

To keep up to date with my works in progress follow me on social media, or if you want to receive my newsletter, sign up using the link opposite…

 

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Getting In The Mood…..(!!)…

There are days when I don’t feel like drawing, doodling or painting, and at times like this, there is a lot to be said for just getting in the studio and ‘doing,’ even if it’s just pottering – and, eventually something happens, even if it is only a tidy up…but even when I have ‘done something’ artistically speaking, it’s not usually my best….I definitely wasn’t ‘feeling it’ with this sheet…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

For me, I find my creativity works best when a combination of things come together…. my mood, environs, observations, images, words…space to reflect…find my rhythm…

Regular readers will know that a favourite place of mine to just ‘be’ is the river…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….I take a notebook to jot down any observations or thoughts…and when combined create poetry (of sorts….)…..

Cloudless blue,

Iced grass,

Mist rolling over the river’s surface,

Mirror’d sun, glinting,

Upended branch, drifting like a submarine’s periscope,

Crows flapping overhead, calling,

Glittering ribbons of quicksilver at the water’s edge,

Indignant moorhens, neighbourly disputes….

I find this ‘creativity’ enormously rewarding, and, although I wouldn’t call myself any sort of poet, these jottings create a ‘poetic’ diary of the river…..this one is my snapshot of a May day last year….and evokes memories of that day…sights, sounds, smells…

Dark, flowing river,

Ripples, slowly winding their way downstream,

Smaller ribbons forming a stationary pool within the ribbon,

Heron gliding in on arched wings,

Reeds, bending in the breeze,

Lily pads floating in circles, anchored,

Cow parsley swaying,

Swallows performing aerial acrobatics,

skimming the water.

Willow dipping her branches like a washerwoman,

Buttercups, lifting their goblets, drinking in the sun,

And always, the incessant chatter,

Swallows, swifts, house-martins,

Swooping criss-cross over the meadow,

And desire paths,

Worn flat by people – dog walkers, fishermen, children,

Hiding in the shadows, like a shoal of fish, lily pads,

Furled, waiting to uncurl,

As the heron performs another leisurely flypast…..

I find that by spending this time by the river, being outdoors, connecting to nature and the landscape, this ‘writing,’ puts me in a creative frame of mind before even contemplating making ‘artistic’ marks on paper….

And then there’s my studio ‘space’…it used to be the kitchen, but has now migrated to the smallest bedroom….and even though it’s far from perfect, it’s my ‘Space for the Spirit to breathe’ – Rainer Maria Rilke…

‘Gather and hoard your inspirations as you live,

then recapture them as needed in the studio’,

Nita Engle

Cards/artwork on show by: Lesley Birch, Peter M. Hicks, Jo Sheppard, Norman Ackroyd, Ray Ogden, Sue Vize, Lesley Lillywhite, Joan Eardley and Paul Talbot-Greaves


Carolyn J Roberts artist

Gathered inspirations and memories…..

Crolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

…. wall of quotes…..artwork by yours truly and Maryanne Hawes..

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….shelves of books, collection of sketchbooks….


Carolyn J Roberts artist


Carolyn J Roberts artist

….favourite materials….


Carolyn J Roberts artist


Carolyn J Roberts artist


Carolyn J Roberts artist

….my notebooks filled with quotes, poetry, words…..

Carolyn J Roberts artist

….my studio,a room where I surround myself with objects, items, words and images that fill me with joy….

‘Here in a little lonely room I am master of the earth and sea,

And the planets come to me.’

Arthur Symons

I usually find that spending time outdoors, by having my ‘Space for the Spirit…’ lifts my mood and consequently enhances my creativity….resulting in work that I am happier with….

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Carolyn J Roberts artist

‘Life isn’t about finding pieces of a puzzle.

It’s about creating and putting those exceptional  pieces together.’

Glen Van Dekken

 

What do you do to ‘get in the mood’? What helps your creativity flow?