Peaks and Troughs…

With all the travelling over the past few weeks, I have, at times, felt like an itinerant salesman…living out of a suitcase…. That’s not to say that some of the travelling wasn’t enjoyable… a week in Scotland…bathed in glorious sunshine, followed by a few days in the Lake District with equally good weather was wonderful…

…and with all these fabulous vistas I should feel inspired to draw, paint, create….. but…. I am definitely in a creative trough… I know it is all part of the cycle, of the process so I am trying not to give myself a hard time…..but…..

Anyways, after landing back home for a few days and catching up on all the inevitable chores, I took myself down to the river…trying a different sort of creativity…jotting down notes about what I saw and heard…

Dark, flowing river,

Ripples, slowly winding their way downstream,

Smaller ripples 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.

At first I thought it was oilseed rape but no…

Buttercups, swaying, golden, drinking in the sun…

And always, the incessant chatter…

swallows swooping across the meadow…

…and desire paths…

Worn flat by people…dog walkers, fisherman, children…

…and hiding in the shadows, like a shoal of fish, lily pads,

Furled, waiting to uncurl…

Pure white dead nettles…clinging on

Despite the detritus of humans…

Moorhen, or is it a coot, gathering material,

Nesting along the river bank,

Hidden amongst the grasses, reeds and nettles,

As the heron performs another leisurely flypast…

 

At least I feel as if I have done something creative today…

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Connections…

After my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis last year it has taken me a while to be able to pick up a brush or even feel like painting…but the medication is kicking in and I am beginning to feel more like my old self… however, after such a long time, it feels as if I am starting all over again… I had such a successful exhibition at Blue Owl Art last year and sold work via social media…now it’s back to square one…

I am trying not to feel too despondent and am looking at this time as an opportunity…to try new things and act on my ‘word for the year….Connections’…

Just as the river wends its way through the countryside, connecting the land –

I decided I needed to connect more…with fellow artists, (working at home can get lonely), with workshops, mentors, galleries and with my art materials, media and process..

It’s taking me a while to build up the nerve to contact possible mentors and galleries but I have made a start with the materials and process…tidying up my studio space…

…adding encouraging words..

…working in my sketchbook, experimenting with media…

…and on paper…

…making lines…

…adding ink, oil pastels and watercolours…

…think the above series should be called ‘Wild Weather’…

…not ground breaking…but I am starting to connect with materials and media…comforted by the words of Brenda Ueland –

‘So you see, imagination needs moodling –

long, inefficient, happy idling,

dawdling and puttering’…

 

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s All About The Process…

Inspiring, thought provoking, enjoyable, challenging, immersive, creative…some words that describe the two-day ‘Abstracted Landscape Workshop’ run by artist Caroline Chappell that I recently attended..

In a village hall, down a leafy lane, eight workshop participants (including yours truly) were gently encouraged by Caroline to concentrate¬† on the process rather than the outcome. She quoted Bruce Mau, ‘Process is more important than outcome. When outcome drives the process we will only ever go where we have been. If process drives outcome, we may not know where we are going, but we will know we want to be there.’

I found this a liberating thought, having found myself in an artistic rut lately, doing the same things, with the same results, staying firmly within my comfort zone….

Through discussion and demonstration Caroline inspired us to think about the materials, the marks and our feelings…to move past our ‘default’ habits…to focus on the process of making rather than on a desired outcome…

 

I seem to have no problem filling a sketchbook (mostly rubbish…) but with no idea how to develop the doodles…so it was fascinating to watch Caroline’s process…and to then have a go myself…

Although used to the materials employed on day one, (inks and charcoal being my go-to media), the day was thought-provoking and at time, intense…the endless supply of tea and coffee was much appreciated!!

Day two was definitely challenging for me…I hadn’t used acrylic paint since my Grantham College days, many moons ago, hence the reason some of my paints were ‘solid’ tubes….

Thinking about colour and creating palettes were first order of the day…

..I’m obviously a ‘muted’ kind of girl!!!

Using the studies from the previous day, the idea was to develop them into paintings..

…I must admit to feeling a little ( no make that a lot) out of my depth… but with Caroline’s suggestions, support and encouragement, managed to produce two ‘paintings’…

…not sure they are ‘Abstracted Landscapes’… but for my first attempts at acrylic landscapes I’ll take them…

The whole experience was fabulous…it was great to be part of a small group, to have lots of room to work…

…to discuss art…have inspirational books available…

…and Caroline’s support and encouragement….

If you’re finding yourself in a rut, needing an artistic ‘shake-up’ I would definitely recommend the workshop….

..now where’s that catalogue…in need of some more acrylic paints….