Fingers Crossed…..

Well I’ve done it…

I recently had a mentoring session with the lovely Helen Hallows – I have been on one of her sketchbook courses and I like her style and philosophy – and as I had been stuck in a rut I thought I would give the mentoring a whirl….. and what a session it turned out to be….informative, constructive, supportive and encouraging…

Besides making me question and consider my art practice Helen was very generous with her advice, critique and suggestions…..one of which was to encourage me to apply to take part in the Melbourne Festival – 2018 Art & Architecture Trail on 15th/16th September…. so this morning I have submitted my application along with some images of my work…

 

‘Blustery Dale’ – Acrylic

‘Snowstorm’ – Acrylic

‘Storm Rising’ – Acrylic

 

‘Upland Squall’ – Acrylic

‘Gritstone Sentinel’ – Watercolour & Ink

 

‘Path to Higger Tor’ – Mixed Media

 

‘Carl Wark’ – Mixed Media

I will now have to wait until the end of May to hear if I have been successful…..so I have a nervous wait ahead of me…    but it’s all part of the plan to get my work ‘out there’, to push me out of my comfort zone, to hopefully get a few sales…..and to have more faith in myself!!

(P.S. with my usual technophobia..I have no idea why the titles aren’t centred below the work…they are on my page…..)

 

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Creative Fear….

It’s been a bit stop/start these last two or three weeks…I seem to be struggling to convert my sketchbook work of the mudflats and marker buoys of the Menai Straits (see previous posts) into more developed work…and as a consequence I felt myself beginning to fall into a pattern of thoughts that is probably familiar to all creatives…

…I have no talent, other people are much better than I am, I won’t be able to capture the spontaneity and freedom of previous work, it’s all been a waste of time……getting the picture?

It’s at this point that I should say that earlier in the year I joined a couple of on-line art groups; Alice Sheridan‘s ‘Art Explorers’ and Helen Hallows ‘Creative Courage’ – both Facebook Groups…and it was through the comments, stories and links in these groups that I was encouraged to listen to podcasts and read books about creativity and fear…one of which is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert…

…and oh how familiar it read…

‘You’re afraid you have no talent,

You’re afraid you will be rejected or criticised or ridiculed or misunderstood – or worst of all – ignored,

You’re afraid somebody else already did it better,

You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing,

You’re afraid you’re too old to start,

You’re afraid your best work is behind you,

You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with…..'(Elizabeth Gilbert)

 

…there are another couple of pages in this same vein but you get the idea…and before you start shouting that you need solutions not confirmation of your fears, Gilbert addresses these issues, going on to suggest that we accept fear as being part of our creative journey…I particularly like the chapter titled The Road Trip in which she prepares a speech for fear:

‘Dearest Fear, Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job very seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I am about to do anything interesting – and, may I say, you are superb at your job…….but I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this; Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognise and respect that you are part of this family…..you are allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps…suggest detours…..to fiddle with the radio….or the temperature…But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive’, (Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert, 2015, p24-26).

I love this analogy, nearly as much as I loathe back seat drivers…and it’s definitely made me look at fear and creativity differently…I am fascinated to read more….and whilst I know that everyone is different and as such require different solutions… I thought I would share this with you… it might help…

So, with this idea in mind, my creative confidence is creeping back…mudflats and buoys not withstanding (on the back burner…but I will return to it), and I have been concentrating on playing around with colour – Daniel Smith Indigo and Rich Green Gold, plus Sepia FW Acrylic ink…resulting in some that I am happy with….!!

…and a couple more I have yet to mount…

 

…keeping in the spirit of just playing, I even got my acrylic paints out, those that haven’t set hard, that is….(part of the reason for my limited palette…!!)

…resulting in some more possibilities…..

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..and while I know that they are not all masterpieces, that fear is not stopping me trying my best…and at the end of the day that’s all I can do…

Taking Stock….Part Two…

Back in June I wrote a post called ‘Taking Stock’; having delivered the work to Blue Owl Art for the Exploring Place exhibition, I was contemplating how to move forwards….

As well as continuing to experiment, I booked myself on some workshops….the first of which was Helen Hallows Summer Sketchbook Workshop….a thoroughly enjoyable day; the overriding ethos I took from this course, was to be kind to myself, to be patient…

…and eventually I will produce work that begs further development…

I am going on another course at the beginning of August; Caroline Chappell’s two day Abstracted Landscape workshop….

I am really hoping that the course will give me the inspiration, and the tools, to move the work forwards…..

 

(apologies for the blurry photo…)…charcoal beginnings…

I quite like the above, so will be interesting to see what I take from this workshop and how I integrate it into my work…

Learning To Love One’s Self….

Yesterday I delivered my work to Blue Owl Art ready for the Exploring Place exhibition..

….and even though there is the Private View tomorrow night and the continuing exhibition, it felt a little like ‘well that’s that, now what?’..

I’ve felt loathe to pick up my paints and inks again and I couldn’t work out why….until I realised I was waiting to see how the exhibition work was received…if favourably that was like a thumbs up to carry on, if not, well it was time to go back to the drawing board, excuse the pun…

Lack of confidence in my ability and work is a huge obstacle for me (seeing the work of John Pooler and Kate Robotham, the other artists in the exhibition, started that little, doubting voice in my head,) … it is as if I am waiting for someone else to say ‘it’s okay, you’re doing well’…

So I have been doing a bit of soul-searching, reflecting, reading… regular visitors to my blog will know that I recently went on a Helen Hallows workshop and I was particularly taken with some things she realised when she fell out of love with herself and her art…

‘I need to accept who I am, what I am, where I am’….

Helen also commented on how, after a visit to the National Space Centre and viewing a film there called ‘We are all Stars’, it made her realise that our place in the cosmos is insignificant; in the history of the universe, we are gone in the blink of an eye…

..so why worry the little things…so what if not everyone likes your work….as long as you do…

With that in mind I am working on learning to accept who I am and what I do…and I made a start today by giving myself permission just to play…not expecting anything, just splashing ink around, making marks…getting my fingers covered in charcoal…

…and I know that the majority of the above will be ‘filed’ but that’s okay..

…..because I had fun…and who knows, these experiments might lead me onto a new body of work or they may not…

…but I like them…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweltering Summer Sketchbook Workshop…

Saturday saw me, along with 10 other ladies, attend a super, if sweltering, Summer Sketchbook Workshop run by Helen Hallows at the Long Eaton Art Room.

First time I have been to the Art Room and I can’t tell you how lovely it was to have a space where you felt totally free to cut, glue, splash ink and paint around without worrying about any mess…..so different from the tiny back bedroom I have at home!

The Workshop was something different for me…not my usual style…but I like Helen’s work, her bold use of line and colour….as well as her art/life philosophy.. so I thought ..why not give it a go..!!

The Workshop concentrated on how and why we use (or not) sketchbooks, ways to overcome ‘New Sketchbook Syndrome’ and some drawing/mark-making/collaging techniques you could use for any subject, not just the still life set-ups in the Room..

I was familiar with some of the techniques….i.e. continuous line drawing, non-dominant hand drawing.. but Helen provided lots of other information, tips and ideas on how she prepares sketchbooks and how she utilises them…

Although the Workshop was pretty full on – Helen stated from the outset that she had a lot information and tasks to go through – I never felt particularly rushed…which was just as well considering the heat…

I did some pretty dreadful drawings in my newly prepped sketchbook…(in my defence they were non-dominant hand, continuous line-drawing not looking..)

…but Helen was full of advice and encouragement… something that’s hard to come by at home, on your own…

A variety of materials was provided and I really enjoyed using the stick and ink – again, this wasn’t new to me having worked with these on my Foundation Course at Grantham College – but that was many moons ago and it’s amazing how you forget these things…..

…and I finished the day with a rather bold take on the peppers….

…so not like me at all…but sometimes it does us good to have a change and try something different…

As far as Helen’s outlook on art and life….well it certainly made me think…and that’s a topic for another post…..

Would I recommend the Workshop – certainly – not only was it wonderful to spend time with some lovely, creative people, I came away with lots of ideas and a new found enthusiasm……and surely that’s the point of a workshop!!