Maintaining The Momentum…..

Although I don’t create art in the expectation of making lots of money…(I love making marks and splashing colour around!!!)…for a number of reasons it is important to me that this artistic journey at least pays its way…

I am in the lucky position of knowing the owners of Blue Owl Art who have kindly invited me to take part in several exhibitions in their gallery space, the most recent one being ‘Exploring Place’. This has been the most successful exhibition for me – out of the twenty pieces I submitted, nine have sold….still a little shocked… and there is still a couple of weeks to go…so still time for another cheeky sale or two..!!

Alongside this exhibition I have also set up my website carolynjrobertsartist.co.uk  – this is still a work in progress, with new pieces/sections being added…

The problem I am faced with now is maintaining this momentum…as I said, I know the owners of Blue Owl Art so have no difficulty in approaching them…the same cannot be said of other galleries/outlets…I have read that galleries don’t like ‘cold callers’…so I would be interested to know how other artists have overcome this problem…

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Channelling……

Inspiration for my work comes from many sources…..number one is the countryside, both the coast and and the hills/mountains…

…the large scale…

…and on a smaller scale, from my own garden…

I just love the colour of this plant – Santolina Lemon Fizz… the nearest shade in my selection of watercolours is Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold….so I decided to channel, not only the colour, but also the memories of late evenings in Norfolk…the sunlight filtering through the reed beds…

….so here’s my effort…

…I really like the initial wash so am loathe to add any more to it – perhaps just intensify the colour?

Inspiration also comes from literature…. At the moment I am reading ‘The Running Hare: The Secret Life of Farmland’ by John Lewis-Sempel. Included in the book is this quote from Richard Jefferies’ autobiography, ‘The Story of My Heart’:

‘I want to be always in company with the sun, and sea, and earth. These, and the stars by night, are my natural companions.’

Sounds like my kind of guy!!! This love of the landscape is something I try to convey in my work – whether  I am successful remains to be seen…

Having said that…I am pleased to report that, in the first week of the Exploring Place exhibition at Blue Owl Art, Grantham, Lincolnshire, I have sold FIVE paintings….

 

 

Flabbergasted……

Last night saw the Private View of the Exploring Place exhibition at Blue Owl Art, Grantham, Lincolnshire…..Three artists, John Pooler, Kate Robotham and yours truly are exhibiting works ranging from John’s architectural watercolour scenes of local churches as well as views of Venice, Kate’s more illustrative ink and wash images of France and Norfolk, and my own ink, charcoal and watercolour works inspired by the Welsh coast, Norfolk and The Peak District.

A steady flow of people enjoyed the music, wine and of course the art…

Each of our styles as artists is different which adds an interesting variation to the exhibition; it certainly provided lots of discussion…

….I received lots of positive feedback and compliments…but the thing that truly had me flabbergasted was that I sold not one, not two, not even three…but four paintings….and that was on the first night!!!!

If you follow my blog you will know that confidence in my ability and my art is something I do not possess in any great quantity, so the positive feedback and the sales have been a wonderful boost…do you know, maybe I can do this!

A big thank you to Jette and Belinda for having faith in me and to those people who fell in love with my work …it has made this artist feel slightly taller than her normal 5′ 2″!!!

Calming The Butterflies……

 

In an attempt to quell the butterflies multiplying in my stomach (with regard to tonight’s Private View for the Exploring Place exhibition at Blue Owl Art, Grantham Tennis Club, Grantham, Lincolnshire) I am continuing to play and experiment with the long, tall format…

I am using a roller and old card to move the ink and watercolour around… this produces some unexpected and pleasing results…sometimes..!!

I don’t feel that the two ink pieces above have worked particularly well…the left hand one became too ‘fixed’ in it’s composition whilst the right hand one needed more tonal variation….in my opinion…

The watercolour pieces showed interest so I persevered further with these two and I quite like the results….

…also, after some judicious cropping and inverting even one of the ink efforts got a slight thumbs up..

We will see if this experimentation leads to some new work but for now it is a great distraction…..

The Final Countdown….

Well, I am pleased to say that, after a couple of marathon mounting/framing sessions (huge thanks to my better half for all of his help with this), all the work for the Exploring Place exhibition at Blue Owl Art is packed and ready to go!!

I have tried to select work that I feel best depicts my emotional response to the countryside, whether that be The Dark Peaks of Derbyshire or the flat expanse of the North Norfolk coast. I am really happy with how they look…(and as long as I am happy with them that’s all that should matter…)

                                               ‘ Cei Bach’


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Copsewood’                                                          ‘Tangled’

‘Uplands’

                                              ‘Dark Peak II & I’


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Pingle’                                                             ‘Roughet

 

                                                 ‘Selvedge’

‘Windswept Sentry’

                                              ‘Boundary Tree’

                                                   ‘Hagg’


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Hawthorn I & II’

                                             ‘Suthering’

                                                 ‘Cow & Calf’

                                               ‘Fenlands’

                                                ‘Smeuse’

                                                ‘Norfolk Memories’

……but the doubts creep in – doubts that are common to most artists I should imagine….

Anyways, the PV is on 29th June at 7.00pm – you are all very welcome….would be lovely to see you there…..and the exhibition then runs until October!

(Apologies, wordpress seemed to have a mind of its own as regards lining up the titles  under the work….or perhaps it is more likely to be operator error….)

 

 

 

Possibilities……& Deadlines……..

Yesterday brought an exciting invitation – to take part in an exhibition at Blue Owl Art in Grantham, Lincolnshire!! The theme of the exhibition is the landscape and I will be showing some of my most recent ink, watercolour and charcoal works….

I am continuing to produce my ‘Six in Twenty’ series; hopefully I will retain the spontaneity of this work and won’t be hampered by the knowledge they will be shown publicly….

So, along with producing new work, I will be considering which of my recent work to exhibit, producing a ‘catalogue’ list, sorting frames, artist statement….all the admin stuff…..

I will keep posting my progress and further details about the exhibition nearer the time….for now I am happy and nervous in equal measures!!!

 

Learning to trust the process & enjoy the journey…

 

I don’t want this post to be a wallowing ‘Woe is me’ post but feel I have to fill in some of the background details so the above title becomes clear….

I have really struggled since graduating from Loughborough University to find direction in my art. Although it was stressful, I thoroughly enjoyed creating Connecting Threads, my final piece based on the canals and cotton mills of the Midlands.

Connecting Threads
Connecting Threads

A large scale installation that included sound, I found it difficult, for varying reasons, to pursue this genre of art once I had graduated. I therefore reverted to a medium which was more practical – drawing and painting; I even managed to sell two or three pieces.

Bowed But Not Broken
Bowed But Not Broken

Still, I found it difficult to define my style, subject matter and medium – I dabbled with pencil, ink, charcoal and watercolour…..nonetheless I felt lost, going from tightly drawn figurative pieces such as Bowed But Not Broken to looser interpretations of the Lincolnshire landscape and the West Wales Coast…

Fenland Memories
Fenland Memories
Cei Bach
Cei Bach

No longer in the bubble of university I felt alone, rudderless, doubting that I  would ever achieve my dreams. It’s now I have to admit to spending a lot of time on social media, procrastinating…..And it’s there that I came across the work of the self-proclaimed ‘watercolour addict’ Jean Haines. I must admit I enjoy using watercolours although I have had no formal training, which could be viewed as a good thing! Whilst I appreciate the skill of the more formal watercolour artists, I was drawn to Jean’s work because she paints in a loose manner, letting the pigment and water work together to create pieces full of life, light and energy. Suffice to say I was hooked and became a bit of a ‘Jean Haines’ addict ( or should that read stalker, in the nicest possible way I hope), reading her blog watercolourswithlife.blogspot.co.uk,  her books, looking at her dvds, watching her demonstrate at the Patchings Art Festival…

The icing on the cake – attending one of Jean’s workshops – came this August; an early birthday present from my very supportive husband. What is immediately evident on meeting Jean is her sheer passion for watercolour! The day was filled with brilliant demonstrations, one to one sessions, and fun and laughter all the way! Jean is a very generous teacher, spending time making everyone feel special..

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imageThe above sunflower piece still requires further work, but I came away inspired…

Jean advocates starting each of your painting sessions playing with pigment to produce three individual washes to help you learn how the colours mix (or not) and I have been endeavouring to follow her advice and teachings. (I would add here, that I take no credit for the methods and subject matter – they are all Jean’s and Jean’s alone.)

imageI have practised the following exercises from her books and dvds…and posted the results, good or bad, on Twitter and Facebook..

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As I said earlier, Jean is a very generous lady, and even though she is super busy and very much in demand, she always finds time to comment on my efforts, giving encouragement and suggesting ways to improve.

Initially I struggled, but gradually I have become more confident, trusting myself more and, from just being pleased when I managed to produce ‘something’, I have found myself seeing areas for improvement, and more importantly, knowing what needs to be done….

I shall endeavour to chart my progress in subsequent posts but suffice to say I am learning to trust the process and …yes I am enjoying it!

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