Something for the Weekend…

‘Looking forward with an eternal perspective gives one hope,

a reason to look up and feel gratitude

for even the smallest bit of light…’

Rosemary M Wixom

…another week gone, and we remain in this ‘confinement’…and each day I thank my stars that, in minutes, I can be by the river…connected to nature… As you know, sitting on the riverbank watching the daily ‘comings and goings’, is my way of finding balance; marvelling at the aerial acrobatics of the swallows and house-martins, skimming the water, drinking on the wing…seeing the yellow water-lily leaves emerging, unfurling on the surface, creating rafts upon which the moorhens balance unsteadily…as if learning to walk on stilts… And again, what I have noticed during this ‘lockdown’ period is this sense of ‘heightened awareness’…both the bigger picture and the smaller details; the river and the meadow as a whole, as well as individual elements, each plant, each bird…how the breeze, rain or sun affects the flora and fauna… Raindrops on the water’s surface, gentle ruffles of the meadow grass, early morning dew on the buttercup goblet…

…and this focussing on one particular object, noticing the finer details is a passion of this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, Deborah Wastie – Instagram account @alchemyofordinarythings…. I was drawn to Deborah’s work by the beautiful detail and simplicity of her images (although i appreciate, achieving this simplicity can be anything but…)

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

Deborah lived in Cornwall from the age of 12; her mother was a landscape artist, seeing the landscape as a whole, whereas Deborah focused on drawing and designing flower images in a very graphic style.

Deborah Wastie
A Circle of Life – Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

Deborah did an art foundation year, and was undecided between pursuing graphic design or photography. Graphic design won out, but she continued with her photography…

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

Life in London beckoned, working as a designer and art director, until a few years ago when a change in her personal circumstances resulted in a re-focus…

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

A food photography course in India followed; even there, Deborah shot lots of flowers and leaves…and despite shooting many food images, her real passion is flowers or single food items…she likens the details of the flower/food item to a piece of graphic design…

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

I love the simplicity of the image; the colours and textures, the intricacies are just fabulous…

Deborah’s ‘studio’  sounds wonderful; a space at the top of the house, full of her props; vintage crockery, flowers, both dried and fresh, sticks and twigs, and lots of foraged ‘items’ from her travels – definitely sounds my kind of space!!

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

Deborah’s inspiration for simplicity and single-mindedness in an image is American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe….but she has also shot images styled in the ‘Still Life’ traditions of the old Dutch masters…  Her influences come from near and far; the countryside, the beach…’Everything is an image no matter how seemingly ordinary…’

Deborah Wastie
Alchemy of Ordinary Things – Deborah Wastie

I am trying, but not always succeeding, in de-cluttering, living with less, being minimalistic – I think this is why I am drawn to Deborah’s work; looking for the wonderful in the everyday, focussing on the beauty of ‘simple’ things – a wooden platter, a spice jar, a furled leaf…a branch of honesty…a fabulous example of ‘less is more’…

Do take a look at Deborah’s Instagram feed; it really is full of the most beautiful images; old doors, dried hydrangea flower heads…shadows, patterns, a spoon and plate….

Again, my thanks go to Deborah, for allowing me to feature her in my blog and to use her images…and for her ‘ramble’ in response to my questions….always appreciated!

Obviously we are still, for the foreseeable, unable to travel, so many galleries and exhibitions are going ‘on-line’; portraits are not usually my preferred genre, but it’s always good to broaden ones horizons…so I have had a virtual wander around the BP Portrait Award 2020

Image result for bp portrait award 2020

I haven’t got or read this book ‘Keep Going‘, but I have read his other book ‘Show Your Work’ – … a quick, to the point read…so I am wondering if any of you have read this one or would recommend it…

Image result for austin kleon keep going

I found this quote by Austin Kleon, which I thought quite appropriate, lockdown or no lockdown; ‘ The creative life is not linear. It’s not a straight line from Point A to Point B. It’s more like a loop, or a spiral in which you keep coming back to a new starting point after every project.’

Regular readers will know that I am a fan of Erland Cooper, a Scottish musician very much influenced by nature… He has recently been working with BBC Radio 6 to produce a piece of music that highlights how sound and music can help our mental health. Listeners were invited to send in recordings of the sounds that have become more noticeable owing to the lockdown situation; Cooper then composed music incorporating these ‘field recordings’ resulting in ‘A Nightingale Sings Outside Our Window’….

If I can take a positive from the current situation, it is this widespread ‘heightened noticing’ of both the sights and sounds of our surroundings, and the more aware we are of the beauty and wonder in the smallest of things, the more we treasure them….

‘The Four Conditions of Happiness: Life in the open air, Love for another being,

Freedom from ambition, Creation…’

Albert Camus

As ever, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you in my musings…

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, 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 of my ramblings, arty news, discounts, offers and the occasional video, 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…

Something for the Weekend

‘And the sun took a step back,

the leaves lulled themselves to sleep

and Autumn was

awakened,’

Raquel Franco

Autumn, one of my favourite seasons, always has a slightly melancholic air to it…one last flourish of colour before nature settles down to sleep…but even in decay there is beauty and inspiration…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist


Carolyn J Roberts Artist

There have been some simply stunning sunrises with the low sun, although a nuisance when driving, providing beautiful light…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Two sounds of Autumn are unmistakable…the

hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street…

by a gusty wind…and

the gabble of a flock of

migrating geese,’

Hal Borland

Such mornings are wonderful; a time to walk, to listen, to absorb the sights and sounds of nature… ‘An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day,’ Henry David Thoreau. I don’t know about you but I always feel better outside in the fresh air and the riverside is a great space to go for a walk;  it is also a fantastic place to sit with a coffee and plan the day ahead…definitely one of my go-to inspirational places…where do you go for inspiration?

Reading is a passion of mine; words are a constant source of inspiration…and a recently acquired book is….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

A favourite author of mine, having read the opening paragraph, I am looking forward to delving (!!) further…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

How evocative is that? Who are your favourite authors…which books inspire you?

Talking of books, albeit of a different ilk…I am looking forward to using these new 140mm square format travel sketchbooks from Seawhite of Brighton…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

The paper weight is 130gsm so should be perfect for sketching with pencil, ink…perhaps a little soluble graphite and watercolour… Hopefully I will get a chance to use them in the near future so will give feedback soon…

Although I have been on Instagram for a while now, shamefully I have only just figured out how to share other artists’ posts on my stories – technical dunce that I am – but I am making up for lost time…. I am really enjoying discovering new people to follow and to share their work…hence my ‘Instagram artist of the week’ feature… My ‘artist of the week’ this week is Maria Wigge . Along with posting beautiful images of the Swedish countryside, which only makes me want to visit even more, Maria creates the most beautiful abstract, almost dreamlike landscapes, as well as some with more representational elements. Working with acrylics and watercolours, applying layer upon layer and using wonderful hues and tones, she produces ethereal, atmospheric images, with a stillness to them, a calm quality…simply beautiful and definitely worth a look…by the way, I love this watercolour image on her Instagram feed…

Art by Maria Wigge
‘Waiting for You’ by Maria Wigge

A27.jpg

‘Waiting for Aurora’ by Maria Wigge

Whilst I am working, or faffing as my OH says, I enjoy listening to podcasts; one of my favourites is ‘ArtJuice’.  Artists Alice Sheridan and Louise Fletcher discuss a range of topics; artistic matters, business strategies, helpful tips and advice, along with listener questions and inspirations, all interspersed with a generous amount of laughter… being an artist can be a lonely business but this podcast is just like having a get-together and a chat over a cup of coffee…go over to the podcast link on either of their websites and have a listen…if you like all things art-related you won’t be disappointed!

My own artwork has been inspired this week not so much by the art but by technology; I finally purchased a holder for my Ipad and have been experimenting with filming time lapse videos of my process…

Eventually, if I gather all my courage, I intend to run workshops, so being comfortable with demonstrating is a must; this is just a baby step on the way… Still a work-in-progress, the videos have made me focus on my process more than usual; partly because people have been asking questions about the materials and stages of the work…so I have to have the answers….but also, because being clear on my process, what I am interested in and trying to capture, will help to clarify the way forward…

And so another weekend approaches; I hope you have found something to interest you in this post…  And before I go…here is one more thought about Autumn…

‘I am made for Autumn. Summer and

I have a fickle relationship, but everything

about Autumn is perfect to me.

Woolly jumpers, scarves, thin first,

then thick, socks. The low

slanting light, the chill in my

fingers, those last warm

sunny days before the

rain and wind, The moody

hues and subdued palette

punctuated every now and again

by a brilliant orange,

scarlet or copper goodbye,’

Alys Fowler

Here’s wishing you a fabulous weekend !!

 

Should you wish to see more of my work-in-progress, please follow me on social media, or if you want more personal reflections, studio insights and general arty goodness, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter via the link opposite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgment, Acceptance……Permission…

Well, three weeks down the line and I still I haven’t written my first newsletter….partly because I feel awkward at self-promotion, partly because I don’t feel as if I have anything to say and if I did….why would anyone be interested?? (I do see the irony in me writing/publishing this blog….)

So I have spent some of this week soul searching, navel gazing…….staring into space… (and I call this work……..?)  What would people like to know? What interests people about my work? And this led me back to the conversations I had with visitors to the Melbourne Arts Trail…

Inspirations, materials, process…some concrete, some less tangible….and the need to articulate these has made me focus on what precisely drives me…..so I have been jotting down thoughts….

Inspiration for me comes from the landscape and the emotions and feelings it evokes – that sense of freedom and space, the connection to nature, the changing seasons….

…. the textures…

….and the sounds; the wind, birdsong, bark of the fox or deer, raindrops and the sound of water…

….and along with this, words inspire me…

‘…there are jewels

to gather, but with the eye

only. A hill lights up

suddenly; a field trembles

with colour and goes out.

In its turn; in one day

You can witness the extent

of the spectrum and grow rich

with looking.’

R.S. Thomas

 

….and all these influences inspire me to paint in a loose, expressive style….I tried other styles but I always return…

 


So I persist with the watercolours and inks that flow and swirl, pool and splatter….allowing me to convey that sense of freedom I get from being out in the landscape…

….and in acknowledging my inspirations, accepting my style or ‘voice’ I am at long last giving myself permission; permission to be myself, to love how I paint, my style…to feel comfortable….and this, in turn, is making me more relaxed, not worry about being faced with that sheet of white paper…not stress if I don’t produce a masterpiece every time…

And in crystallising my thoughts…..I think I might have the beginnings of a newsletter…..

A Change Is As Good As A Rest…

‘A change is as good as a rest’ goes the saying although in my case I think I am using it as a way to procrastinate….

With lots of new inspiration from recent travels I should be splashing away creating wonderful new pieces… but, yet again, I find the pressure I put on myself is stultifying any spontaneous creativity…

So I am procrastinating…after drinking copious amounts of coffee, trying to distract myself with the ironing (must be desperate) and even attempting to formulate a Christmas list, my thoughts turned to Christmas cards…(told you I was desperate!!)

Having made the foray into the greetings card market… with a little success…

… I thought I would have a go at a Christmas card…just to get the juices flowing…

…not very original I know…but it’s a start…

Now for another coffee whilst watching paint dry…

Ancient Lands….New Beginnings

I am always worried and excited in equal measures when beginning work from fresh inspiration… Remembering the old adage ‘you’re only as good as your last success’, I worry that I will never again be able to produce any work that I am as happy with as my last ‘successes’…

…and the inspiration came thick and fast in our recent trip to Northumberland and the Yorkshire Dales..

… so I have begun with baby steps…watercolour thoughts in my sketchbook…which, when I frame them using virtual Photoshop, give me some hope that I will be able to produce work that I am happy with…

…now I just need to carry on and see where this inspiration leads me…

Reflective Ruminations…..

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that whenever I attempt to create art my brain should remain firmly in neutral…

This week has definitely been  ‘one step forward, two steps backwards’…

Spontaneity is key in producing the work I like…freedom of washes and ink splatters, dynamic mark-making… I managed to create some ‘okay’ pieces…and that’s when the problems set in..

…consciously trying to recapture that freedom resulted in less pleasing work..

…and the more I tried the worse it became…I began to include more and more mediums until it all got a bit ‘busy’…

So I made an effort to simplify things and to try not to fiddle..

…now I know I am my own worst critic, but I don’t like these pieces as much as my very first attempts…  I think I have become too fixated on a particular image and that is having a stultifying effect on me… so for now I am putting Higger Tor to one side…and trying to find a fresh perspective…obviously one where I don’t have to think too much…

(..whilst still enjoying those first pieces…)

…someone else liked the one below so much…they bought it…(!!!)

It’s A Funny Thing…

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

‘Paths gone to heather

Grasses silver underfoot..’

from Hob Hurst’s House by Chris Jones

 

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

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

 

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

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

…and somehow, somethings have worked…

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…