Something for the Weekend…

‘History, you see, is like the interlocking wheels turning in a ticking-thing.

Something unexpected happens, some sort of hiccup

the wheels are jogged…and then they set off again,

beating out the time in a new pattern.’

How to Break a Dragon’s Heart – Cressida Cowell

‘…some sort of hiccup…the wheels are jogged…’ seems an apt description of the world at the moment (yes,I know, it’s a big hiccup…) New routines, new ways of ‘doing’… In some respects, our worlds have shrunk, confined to our own locale; in other ways, the internet and social media are expanding our horizons…discovering fresh methods of connecting… all of which, at times, can become overwhelming… Exhortations to use ‘this time’  to be creative,to learn new things – a language, to play an instrument, to bake, to be painting and creating nonstop – can be both a blessing and a curse, to coin a phrase…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Almost a ritual, my daily ‘river’ walks are my comfort; life goes on,…things change – ‘beating out the time in a new pattern….’ (Cressida Cowell) I am aware of a heightened sense of ‘noticing’… rose-hued mornings, blankets of diamonds scattering with each stride, ripples of sun and clouds…dandelion seeds, soft as kisses blown on the breeze…reeds quivering with the water’s drift…each a part of the whole…

‘When we try to pick out anything by itself,

we find it hitched to everything else

in the Universe…’

John Muir

The ‘noticings’  emerge in my work, be that in my writing, or art – colours, marks, textures…details…intuitive responses… A favourite artist of mine, Andy Goldsworthy responds to the landscape in a much more ‘hands on’ instinctive way…

Natural materials, wood, stone, shells etc and their attendant muted colours appeal to me; most of my work is in a limited palette, none of which is bright…so it might appear odd that what first attracted me to this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ Sarah Jennings, was her use of colour…

Sarah Jennings Artist
Sarah Jennings Artist

Sarah has always been creative, loving to draw and paint. Although she took Art ‘O’ level, and yes, I remember them, the law beckoned and Sarah went on to become a solicitor – which left little time to paint… It was only after the birth of her daughter and subsequently working part time, that she took painting up again as a hobby. Twelve years ago, after the birth of her son, Sarah took a career break and was able to focus on painting more seriously… going to classes both local and regional.

Sarah Jennings Artist
Sarah Jennings Artist

Sarah admits to having lots of favourite artists, and to discovering new ones almost daily! Cezanne ranks highly on her list of favourites, whilst contemporary artists David Mankin, Kurt Jackson, David Tress and Lewis Noble also feature strongly. She particularly likes their ‘connection’ with the landscape.

Sarah Jennings Artist
Sarah Jennings Artist

I love the zingy freshness to her Sarah’s work, it really pops!! And what fabulous colour contrasts; that mauve/lilac against that almost lime green!!

Sarah’s inspirations come from the landscape… ‘rural landscape, allotments and gardens all appeal. I like to be in the landscape and enjoy the changing light and seasons. I am not interested in making a representational copy of the landscape, being more interested in the mood and atmosphere. I’m a great fan of trees and rivers. I love organic shapes, colour and texture.’

Sarah Jennings Artist
Sarah Jennings Artist

The bright blue in the work above is fab – just enough to really make the painting sing! And I am always a sucker for interesting marks and forms…

Like many artists, Sarah initially worked at the kitchen table, before migrating to the ‘spare room,’ eventually upgrading to a studio at the bottom of the garden…(sigh, I can but dream)…. She admits to being a messy artist, but says that if you check out her Instagram page, there is a video of the studio looking all neat and tidy, with work on display – ready for visitors;  she regularly opens it up during the summer for both the Rutland and Peterborough Open Studio events…

Sarah Jennings Artist
Sarah Jennings Artist

I usually shy away from using yellows in my work, but this one is just so joyous, I can’t help but smile at it…

Away from art, Sarah likes to listen to lots of different genres of music – classical, jazz and folk, as well as some that is on her daughter’s current playlist…. Equally eclectic is Sarah’s choice of reading material; from novels for her book club, through a fair amount of non-fiction and poetry, particularly in relation to the landscape or environment. Robert MacFarlane is a favourite author, along with Alexandra Harris, whose book Weatherland about, unsurprisingly, the weather and literary/artist responses to it, is also on Sarah’s chosen reading list, along with a myriad of art books: ‘there are never too many art books….’ – a sentiment I whole-heartedly agree with!!

Sarah Jennings Artist
Ocean I – Sarah Jennings

Do take a look at Sarah’s Instagram feed and website, where you will find many more examples of her fabulous work…

As always, I would like to say a huge thank you to Sarah for agreeing to be part of this feature and for taking the time to respond to my questions…it is very much appreciated!!

Unable to venture far, I have taken to re-visiting my small library; this week’s book of choice is…

(Apologies for the lighting, it was a very dark, dank, grey, wet day…)

The book is designed to appeal to both beginners and more experienced artists in this medium. It includes an appreciation of the materials and techniques of some of the masters, including Turner, Constable, Lorrain etc, plus step-by-step instructions based on the methods and an insight into the principles…

Jointly written by Joyce H. Townsend and Tony Smibert, it was Smibert’s work that appealed to me… An Australian artist, he blends both western and eastern traditions: although he does paint in the ‘old masters’ style, it is his more minimal and contemporary work that I am drawn to…

Image result for tony smibert images

Tony Smibert

Image result for tony smibert images

Tony Smibert

Do take a look at his website to see more of his work…and read about the philosophy of art from aikido… I also like this quote on his site; ‘ See a thing clearly and state it plainly,’ – John Ruskin

‘If we move too fast,

we’ll break things.

If we move too slow,

we’ll miss things.

And if we don’t move

at all, we won’t see things

for how truly beautiful

they are.’

R. M. Drake

As ever, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you; if you have a favourite place to walk, please drop me a line and let me know why you love it!!

Take care,

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 for more arty news, ramblings, inspirations, discounts and offers, plus the occasional video, 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…

‘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

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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?

Letting Go….

Three years study at Loughborough University culminated in Connecting Threads….an interactive installation piece based on the cotton mills and canals of the Midlands and Lancashire. I lived and breathed this piece for the best part of 2 years; researching, developing ideas, learning new skills…


It was later displayed at both Cromford Mills in Derbyshire and Charnwood Museum in Loughborough…


Connecting Threads

I loved this piece; I loved all the research, the history, the experimenting, the frustrations….and even though it has long since been dismantled and packed away, it still feels like mine…

On graduating, and without the back up and support of the university, the equipment, technology and skills of their technicians, I found it very difficult to carry on with this type of installation; funding was a big issue and it seemed to be the usual story of ‘needing a track record to get funding, but you need to create to get a track record’ – chicken and egg stuff….

So I returned to my first love of drawing, painting, mark making…I love making marks, experimenting with mediums, trying to imbue my work with a sense of energy along with my emotional response to a subject…. and I am starting to feel as if I am finding ‘my voice’. I am always surprised when someone else likes my voice too….. Slowly, very slowly, I am making a slight inroad into making my art pay for itself…and that means selling work…and therein lies a dilemma….

Some work I am happy to sell, but others, the ones I really love…. I find it such a wrench…

‘Bowed But Not Broken’ was one of the first pieces I sold through Blue Owl Art – I had an real emotional attachment to this one, having gone through some difficult times so it was hard to say goodbye to it…

‘Norfolk Memories’ was another work that I loved, along with ‘Cei Bach’…

….and again, it was hard to see them go…

Now, preparing for The Melbourne Festival, I am faced with the same dilemma…letting go of the work I don’t just like, but love….

How do you cope with letting go….?