Something for the Weekend…

The river itself portrays humanity precisely, with its tortuous windings,

its accumulation of driftwood, its unsuspected depths, and its crystalline shallows,

singing in the Summer sun. Barriers may be built across its path, but they bring only power,

as the conquering of an obstacle is always sure to do.

Sometimes when the rocks and stone-clad hills loom large ahead, and eternity itself

would be needed to carve a passage, there is an easy way round. The discovery of it

makes the river sing with gladness and turns the murmurous deeps to living water,

bright with ripples and foam.’

Old Rose and Silver – Myrtle Reed

…another day, another week passes…as I write this, we are in ‘day 42’ of the lockdown… Hands up, I have to admit to not watching the news; not the short bulletins, the corona updates nor the rolling news channels…trying to determine what is accurate reporting and what is fake news or just scare-mongering is just too ………… (I’ll let you fill the blank in…) so I walk to the river…with all of its ‘windings’ and ‘unsuspected depths’…to listen to it ‘sing’…

I count my blessings; the ability to walk daily by the river…to sit awhile, to observe…to listen… Apparently last Sunday, 3rd May, was ‘International Dawn Chorus Day’ – there seems to be ‘Days’ for some pretty random stuff nowadays but this ‘Day’ is pure joy…..

I continue to flit from one thing to another, butterfly-like, well, perhaps not as graceful, but you know what I mean, unable to focus for long.. from daily collages in my sketchbook…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…to dabbling with individual collages…with the idea of float mounting…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…to dabbling with watercolour and inks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
‘Morning Mists…’ – Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Just about the only thing I haven’t dabbled with is acrylics… I love watercolour and inks, even charcoals, pastels and collage, but every so often I think I should attempt acrylics again – (I know, it makes no sense…)  but then I procrastinate, saying ‘oh well, I really would need to cover the carpet with plastic, I haven’t got the space (???)’ when really it’s because acrylics are a medium I struggle with…. but I love some of the work created with acrylics and discovering artists who utilise the properties of this material, (along with other mixed media) in ways that I can only dream of…

…which is where this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ Joanne Last comes in…

Joanne Last
Joanne Last

 

Joanne Last
Weathered Series – Joanne Last

 

Joanne Last
Joanne Last

Joanne is inspired by her surroundings, whether that be a wild coastline, or a building site with its attendant scaffolding and hoardings etc… She aims not to produce a representation of the view, but to produce her ‘experience’ of the place ‘enhanced by degrees of abstraction and an emotive use of colour.’ Equally, the tactility of the materials plays an important role; ‘the physical application’ and the ‘mark making’ and the picture surface.’

Joanne Last
Joanne Last

The colours are so luscious… Joanne’s choice of palettes; from the more earth tones brought to life with the flashes of orange, through to the blue hues, immediately transport me to different locales…

Joanne Last
Joanne Last

Joanne works intuitively, often experimentally, using additional material such as sand, silver and gold pigment, tissue paper and collage elements – (I knew there was a reason I was drawn to her work) – to enrich the surface, ‘as if I were trying to sculpt the image out of the canvas…’  You’re in good company Joanne; wasn’t it Michelangelo who said ‘The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material…’

Joanne Last
Joanne Last

And no scroll through Joanne’s Instagram feed would be complete without a peek into her sketchbook…

Joanne Last
Lilac Landscape – Joanne Last

And although ‘Lilac Landscape’ is a pastel work…I LOVE it !! The colours, the textures, the suggestion of the landscape…fab-u-lous…

Do take a look at Joanne’s Instagram feed and website where you will find work-in-progress and her latest works for sale…

As ever, I would like to thank Joanne for agreeing to participate…I am always very appreciative of all the featured artists’ generosity…

Unable to get outside; to walk in the countryside, to explore, to visit places, I am, like a lot of you I am sure, ‘visiting’ places via the internet… I always like to see what painting is ‘Picture of the Month’ on the National Gallery website…and May’s artwork is Van Gogh’s ‘A Wheatfield, with Cypresses’…

…which reminded me of my visit to the ‘Meet Vincent van Gogh’ Experience last year when we were in Valencia…

Surrounded by images, sitting, or laying on bean bags in my case, immersed in the works and words…(forgive my wonky camera work…it’s not easy holding the Ipad whilst lying down, trying to look around and take it all in….)

For a much clearer idea….here is the Van Gogh Museum website page….

So, for now, I shall continue to flit from sketchbook to collage, from watercolour….to taking photos, writing…feeding my creativity when and where I can…

‘If the river has a soul, it’s a peaceful one. If it has a lesson to impart, that lesson is

Patience. There will be drought it says; there will be  floods; the ice will form; the ice will melt;

the water will flow and blend into the river’s brackish mouth then join the ocean…

endlessly, forever.’

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – Therese Ann Fowler

As always, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you…

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 if you would like more of my musings, arty news, ramblings, discounts and the occasional extra video, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter….

 

Something for the Weekend…

‘Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay…’

Nothing Gold Can Stay – Robert Frost

The river continues to be my solace in this strange time…a giver of comfort, a secret listener to my inner thoughts… and my inspirational ‘muse’… That life continues to live on it, in it and around it provides reassurance… The first spring leaves shimmer golden in the sun, summer visitors return – house martins and swallows, swoop and dive, chattering noisily… There is warmth in the sunshine; the dew sparkles like scattered diamonds across the grass…and strands of delicate cobweb filigree adorn the tangle of brambles…

I love spotting these small treasures, searching out the often over-looked, wandering, collecting…and, like a lot of you I am sure, I have a shelf full of objects: twigs, stones, shells, seed-heads, delicate leaves etc that are a story, a place and time in my memory…

Louise Thompson, a.k.a. WildCoastArt, this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, also loves beach-combing:

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

‘To be interested in beachcombing is to be interested in everything. Beachcombers are the keepers of the ocean’s memory, sifting and sorting the chaotic surfeit thrown up by waves and tides.’ – Flotsametrics & The Floating World, Curt Ebbemeyer & Eric Scigliano

…and seeing a kindred spirit, I was drawn to her artwork; making something beautiful out of the unnoticed, discarded, washed up objects found on the shorelines…

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

Encouraged to follow her creativity, Louise went to Falmouth School of Art, gaining a degree in Fine Art with a specialism in Printmaking.

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

(I love her embossed prints; the simplicity highlighting the beauty of the found object…)

Louise works from her home studio where she has an etching press and an old book-binding press that she is planning to use for lino printing. She admits ‘I’m not a very tidy printmaker as I tend to save a lot of ‘junk’ to print from!’

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

Louise’s daily walks along the beach with her dog provide her main inspiration; she picks up and collects everything, from shells to plastics – with the aim of incorporating them into her artwork.

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

(The space around the work and the muted palette is something else that I find very appealing, again accentuating the beauty and intricate details…)

Louise admits to having a ‘mixed bag’ of favourite artists; from Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Elizabeth Blackadder, Mark Hearld and Eric Ravilious

Louise Thompson
Louise Thompson

I particularly love the one above of embossed mussel shells, the soft hues on the shells, even the ghost traces add interest and mystery…beautiful…

As ever, please do take a look at Louise’s Instagram feed where there is so much more to see…

To Louise, as I say to every Instagram Artist of the Week, a huge thank you for agreeing to take part in this feature, and answering questions from a complete stranger – your generosity is very much appreciated!

As artists, especially if it’s more than just a hobby, getting your work seen, putting your work ‘out there’ is vital; the present situation dictates that many of the ‘usual’ avenues i.e. galleries, art fairs, trails etc are no longer available…so social media and the internet is taking on a greater importance…and to that end I have been re-reading…

It’s a no nonsense read, a book for ‘people who hate the very idea of self-promotion’…something that definitely resonates with me…

It got me on the first pages…

Funny how, with our common sense heads on we know all this stuff, but so often our inner critic drowns out that tiny voice; every now and again we need someone else to tell us these things..

My own practice is a continuation of ‘flitting from one thing to another’…dabbling in this and that, seemingly unfocused…in fact, the only constants so far this month have been my collage sketchbook…

 

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and participating in the #aprilforartists2020 over on Instagram..a hashtag with prompts for every day…if nothing else, it disciplines me into thinking of something else other than my norm, and then photographing and posting… There are lots of creative hashtags over on Instagram to get involved with: #isolationcreation  #100dayproject #beautyundermynose  #acupofview  to name a few…check them out, be inspired; it might make you take a fresh look at your immediate surroundings…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

As I said, the remainder of my time has been spent faffing and fiddling, one day splashing watercolour around…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…the next, trying my hand at printing…

Carolyn J Roberts artist

Social media is a great place for ‘How To…’ videos and I have mentioned before about how I sometimes throw in a spot of mono printing (see above) as a way of shaking things up, and, if nothing else, is a ready supply of collage material…here is the YouTube video by Dan Tirels about low budget monoprinting…where I saw this technique…

 

These are strange times; some days I feel like making art, other days I don’t…learning not to give myself a hard time about this is a work-in-progress…but I am feeding my creative streak in other ways; walks by the river, taking photographs, making notes…reading…and I came across this article on the Tate website: ‘Making Art in Isolation’...interesting to read how isolation, enforced by pandemic, geography, politics etc, affects artists, how it influences and inspires them…although I draw the line at allowing mice to run riot….

I am also spending lots of  time dreaming…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

…but for now, I return to the river….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘As dew leaves the cobweb lightly

Threaded with stars,

Scattering jewels on the fence

And the pasture bars;

As dawn leaves the dry grass bright

And the tangled weeds

Bearing a rainbow gem

On each of their seeds…’

Dew – Sara Teasdale

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

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, keep safe and well,

Take care,

C

(If you would like to follow me on social media…

Instagram: www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter: www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

or if you would like more of my arty news and ramblings, offers and discounts, with the occasional video thrown in for good measure, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter)

Something for the Weekend…

‘One step at a time is good walking,’

Chinese proverb

It’s difficult to know what to say, what to write in situations such as these; I am taking it one step at a time, one day at a time…life has a new ‘normal’ for now…

Endeavouring to maintain a semblance of routine, I am continuing with these posts; researching and writing provides a focus along with further experimental artwork…

Inspired by the colours of Cornwall, the wild weather, the slate grey cliffs…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I am also continuing with my daily collage sketchbook; as I have said before, it provides a gentle start to my creativity…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Someone else who has the most fabulous sketchbooks is this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week,’ Helen Glassford

Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art

I find artists’ sketchbooks fascinating and always make a bee-line for them whenever I can… Helen’s sketchbooks look veritable treasures of mark-making and atmospheric artworks…

Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art

Immersed in the Scottish landscape Helen acknowledges that there are three major areas to her work; the geographically remote and intensely powerful locales, the evocations of Northern ideology, the feelings and emotions along with the liminal spaces, the edges, the borders…

Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art

The atmosphere and colour palette really appeal to me…

Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art
Helen Glassford Art

On her Instagram feed, Helen includes short videos of her creating work in her sketchbooks… I find them fascinating to watch…

Do take a look at Helen’s Instagram feed as well as her website…beautiful, evocative work that transports me to wild, remote places that I can lose myself in…

Helen Glassford Art
Fallacies of Hope – Helen Glassford Art

As ever, I would like to thank Helen for agreeing to participate in this… I very much appreciate the generosity…

Whatever else is happening in the world, Nature reminds us that life goes on…Spring is most definitely in the air…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and although this reading of William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ by Noma Dumezweni is from a few years ago…I find it beautiful and evocative…(hopefully it’s available to you…)…and another favourite poem is A. E. Housman’s:

‘Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of threescore years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,

It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom

Fifty springs are little room,

About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.’

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Even though, for the foreseeable, trips out into the landscape are on hold, being outdoors plays an important role in my life, not just for my emotional well-being, but also, as inspiration for my artwork…. Someone, for whom wild, remote places are also an inspiration is Norman Ackroyd… I was lucky enough to see his exhibition back in November 2018 at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park…

To me his work is so evocative and atmospheric; definitely makes me want to explore these remote landscapes….

Norman Ackroyd
Norman Ackroyd
Norman Ackroyd
Norman Ackroyd

I find it endlessly fascinating listening to an artist talking about their inspiration and thought processes as well as watching their practice; not sure this programme is still available on the BBC but I found it on YouTube, albeit in two clips….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I hope you’re managing to keep safe and well, and, hopefully, having the chance to get outdoors…

For now, take care

C

 

(If you would like to see works-in-progress or general studio ramblings please follow me on social media:

Instagram – www.instagram.com/carolynjrobertsartist

Twitter – www.twitter.com/CJRFineArtist

…or for more even more arty news, musings, offers or discounts plus video demos, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter)

Something for the Weekend…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘The River’s Tale’

‘Twenty Bridges from Tower to Kew –

Wanted to know what the River knew,

Twenty Bridges or twenty-two,

For they were young, and the Thames was old

And this is the tale that River told:-

 

“I walk my beat before London Town,

Five hours up and seven down.

Up I go till I end my run

At Tide-end-town, which is Teddington.

Down I come with the mud in my hands

And plaster it over the Maplin Sands……”

Rudyard Kipling

 

Another river, one with a richer history than ‘my’ small waterway; The Thames, lifeblood of London, with stories of seafarers and armadas, traders, tales of murder and mystery, mud-larkers and much, much more woven into its tidal waves…inspiration for poets, artists and musicians alike…

From James Abbott MacNeill Whistler’s Nocturne: Blue and Gold...

….to Ewan MacColl’s ode to a lost love in ‘Sweet Thames Softly Flow‘…

It’s always good to have a change of scenery, even if just for a short while; London is so very different from my ‘everyday life’…vibrant, bustling, dynamic…all the usual traits of big city living…so much to see, to do…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist                                                                      St.Paul’s Cathedral

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
The British Museum
Tate Modern
Fons Americanus – Kara Walker

Above video is a work by Peter Sedgley at the Tate Modern….

…and there’s the opportunity to reacquaint myself with an old favourite at The National Gallery...

Rembrandt, Self Portrait at The National Gallery
Rembrandt, Self Portrait at The National Gallery

Portraits aren’t usually my ‘thing’ but I love, love, love this one, and sat quite happily…as I say, reacquainting myself with the quality of Rembrandt’s work, the luminous nature of the face (my photo really doesn’t do it justice)…waiting for him to speak to me, to impart some nugget of wisdom…if I could have one portrait on my walls at home, this would be the one….Whose portrait would you love to have on your walls?

There’s also the chance to be part of history…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…watching the… Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…performance of Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap‘, the world’s longest running play…. I cannot  possibly reveal ‘whodunnit’ as we are all sworn to secrecy…..

Arrivals and departures are part of each journey; one filled with anticipation, the other with a tinge of sadness….and St. Pancras Station, London has its share of artistic homages to these poignant moments…from Tracey Emin’s ‘I want my time with you’…

Tracey Emin

…to Paul Day‘s gigantic sculpture ‘The Meeting Place’…a 9 metre high bronze…evoking that sense of romance as the couple embrace under the giant clock…(remind you of something….?)

Paul Day, The Meeting Place

…with a relief around the base depicting images from the history of the train and the Tube network…

Paul Day

And no round up of the artwork on display at St. Pancras Station would be complete without Martin Jennings‘ statue of Sir John Betjeman, poet and long time admirer and advocate of Victorian architecture…(if you click on the link to Jennings’ website you can see a much clearer image than my poor attempt below…my excuse is, it was night, the lights were bright…shadows cast everywhere…)

Martin Jennings, Sir John Betjeman

Consisting of a 2.10 metre bronze sculpture on a Cumbrian slate disc inscribed with some lines from a poem by John Betjeman…

‘And in the shadowless unclouded glare,

Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where,

A misty sealine meets the wash of air…’

 

Where do you love to visit for some ‘big city’ inspiration?

The saying  ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is certainly appropriate for this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’…Rachel Cronin

Rachel Cronin
Rachel Cronin Artist

Drawn to her Instagram feed by the expressive, loose quality of the work, the mark making plus her sketchbooks, it was when I read the ‘About‘ section on her website that the dots began to connect as to why I was so attracted to Rachel’s work; she loves  watercolour too, but she’s not a purist either, loving to combine the medium with ink, gouache and crayon…she follows the seasons too, and talks of fallow and fertile times…which, as those of you who follow me on social media will know, is something that resonates with me also…

Rachel Cronin
Rachel Cronin

Rachel cites artists such as Kurt Jackson, Joan Eardley, David Tress, Barbara Rae, John Piper and Cy Twombly as her inspirations, although she acknowledges that it could be any number of different people – she is drawn to work that shares ‘a sense of unencumbered paint application and free mark making…’ which is something she strives to achieve in her own work.

Being the visual platform that Instagram is, I was immediately attracted to Rachel’s colour palette and mark making…and I love this combination of two of my favourite shades, along with the marks and textures…

Rachel Cronin
Rachel Cronin

Equally, in the work below, the soft tones contrasted with that bright splash of turquoise, the expressive marks… I find so appealing…

Rachel Cronin
Rachel Cronin

Rachel is inspired by the gentle, rolling landscape of north Oxfordshire, in particular the northern tip of the Cotswolds, with its patchwork fields and bridleways, as well as the more rugged coastline of west Wales, e.g. Borth, with its long, wild beach punctuated at extreme low tide by the petrified tree stumps, Harlech and the Ynyslas nature reserve… She finds the contrasting landscapes equally inspiring, reminding her that ‘we are merely visitors here and that, if we stand still for a minute, the ancient past is only a footstep away’…and that her ‘painting process is a way of making that footstep’….what a beautiful, evocative description…..

In this work, the soft washes and hues transport me to a summer’s evening amongst the heather and bracken strewn hills…

Watercolour gold and purple.jpg

Rachel Cronin

And who doesn’t love a peek into an artist’s sketchbook…..? Talking of books, (a very loose link I admit…..)  Rachel admits to being a bit of a bookworm, with eclectic tastes and a host of ‘comfort reads’ including the Merrily Watkins novels of Phil Rickman, The Secret History  by Donna Tartt and The Rivers of London  books by Ben Aaranovitch. Too many art books to name her favourite, the one that Rachel says ‘keeps her grounded, keeps her thinking about her process and working through the many blocks’ she places in her own way is The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. Rachel finds the technique books by Ann Blockley, Linda Kemp and Cas Holmes great practical guides.

Sketchbook Landscape.jpg

Rachel Cronin

Rachel also works in mixed media, including acrylics, gouache and dry media. She states that she ‘could not be without her Inktense crayons or her Caran d’Ache wax crayons as she finds them fantastic for adding ‘pops of colour to any kind of painting’. Rachel also admits to having a ‘very special stick that came from a tree in the garden’ which she uses to scratch into her work, as well as for applying ink and paint – ‘it’s only a stick but I would be devastated to lose it’ – I know how she feels; I have certain tools that, although nothing out of the ordinary, are like putting a glove on, they feel just right in your grasp, and you know intuitively the kind of marks they make…

I love the soft, gentle feel to this work below…and I also love the way she has co-ordinated the image setting…an idea I might just have to try…

The Quiet of Winter (2018).jpg

Rachel Cronin

I am endlessly fascinated to see and hear about artists studios and Rachel’s is no exception; she works in her parents’ conservatory where, initially she attempted to keep the ‘mess’ to a minimum, but now admits to having things ‘spilling off the shelves’… She is an ‘advocate for using whatever space you have – you don’t need a big studio space, although that would be lovely and I wouldn’t turn it down.’ Rachel has ‘painted on a table in the living room, the kitchen and in the garden’…even on her bed, although she wouldn’t recommend this, discovering that indigo does not wash out of a white linen duvet cover….

Rachel Cronin
Rachel Cronin

Do take a look at Rachel’s Instagram feed which is full of wonderful images of her work in progress, and her inspirations, along with her website…where you can see more of her finished works, plus a further peek into her sketchbook….

I would like to thank Rachel for taking the time to answer my questions, it’s very much appreciated!!

New art materials are always exciting and I can’t wait to experiment with the Art Graf graphite powder from L. Cornelissen & Son and the Nitram Liquid charcoal from Cass Art…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Something else that is inspiring me is my small collage sketchbook… along with lots of others it would appear from the viewing figures on Twitter…

So inspiring I have started another such sketchbook…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Back from the ‘Big Smoke’…my small river flows on, under rose-hued mornings, crisp with the crackle of frost…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist‘This morning the ground was sparkling

With thousands of gritty jewels

In the lowlight they were gleaming

Amongst the frosty icy pools…’

Elia Michael

 

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s post and have found some ideas to inspire you…and maybe have a change of scenery…if so, please let me know…

Enjoy your weekend,

Take care,

C

 

(If you would like to get up-to-date studio news, art info, offers and more of my ramblings 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lights, Camera, Action…

‘Creativity is inventing,

experimenting, growing, taking

risks, breaking rules, making

mistakes and having

fun,’

Mary Lou Cook

This past week has been one of experimentation…trial and error…making lots of mistakes… I am continuing to explore acrylics…both in my sketchbook and on paper…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Admittedly the above is not the greatest photo…but I don’t think these work…part of the ‘making mistakes’….

‘persevere (verb) – to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles or discouragement; continue steadfastly’

…not sure I continued ‘steadfastly’ but I did continue..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist


Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I am discovering that, just as with the watercolour and inks, I like the white space around the medium…endeavouring to capture that feeling of walking along a windswept beach…I am keeping to a limited palette in order to prevent becoming overwhelmed with the choice of colours….and seem to be hung up on Titanium White, Mars Black and Yellow Ochre with the odd touch of Pthalo Turquoise…all Daler Rowney System 3 acrylics…

These are all very much a work-in-progress but I can feel my confidence growing…I am much positive when I make the initial marks, which is just as well, as if I’m not, and begin to ‘fiddle’, immediately I lose the freedom and spontaneity…

…and sometimes, something happens which is the total opposite of what I am trying to achieve….and I love it…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Exploration, experimenting, learning, making mistakes…all part of growing…

…and that’s definitely been the case when trying to film time lapse videos… Not being a technical whizz there has been a lot of fiddling about, trying to get the tripod and light in the right place, and remembering not to get my head in the way…but I made a start….and once I had done the first, a few more followed…

 

 

Watching the videos back, I suddenly became conscious of how much faffing about I do…or so it would appear when the process is speeded up! Nevertheless it’s all good practice, especially as I am considering running workshops and will have to get used to demonstrating….and all the out-takes do produce loads more collage materials…so nothing is wasted…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘It’s so much in me to want to keep

experimenting all the time. It’s just

inherent. Therefore I keep reaching for

instruments I don’t know

how to play, and then I become excited.

That gives me energy to want to make

new things, and it forces me to hear

things in new ways, which then can

only help to say things in new ways,’

 

Although I haven’t produced much work worthy of mounting, it has been interesting learning new techniques and getting to grips with technology, if only in a very rudimentary way…it is also helping me to clarify steps and directions I want to take in my artistic journey, and slowly, very slowly, my confidence is growing…

‘To grow and know

what one is growing towards – that

is the source of all strength and

confidence in life,’

James Baillie

If you want to keep up-to-date with all my latest works-in-progress, videos and general ramblings, please follow me on social media, or if you want more personal reflections, offers and art insights, please sign up using the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter…

And one last thought…from a favourite author, Mary Oliver…

‘I Worried’

 

‘I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers

flow in the right direction, will the earth turn

as it was taught, and if not how shall

I correct it?

 

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,

can I do better?

 

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows

 can do it and I am, well,

hopeless.

 

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,

am I going to get rheumatism,

lockjaw, dementia>

 

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.

And I gave it up. And took my old body

and went out into the morning,

and sang.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Artist’s Journey…

‘Travel is more than

the seeing of sights;

it is a change that

goes on, deep and

permanent, in

the ideas of living,’

Miriam Beard

A week ago I was in sunny Valencia, 30 degrees, blue skies, sunshine…and, even though we walked miles, it was a wonderful relaxing break…time spent with family, time to ‘be’, to think, to see….


Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Taking in the Silk Exchange, the Central Market, the museums…not to mention all the other fabulous buildings along with the vibrant atmosphere, culture….and food – definitely worth visiting….

….and then, it’s back to earth…with a bump…rain, rain and more rain…so much rain the river has overflowed…creating temporary pools on the meadow beyond…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

….and a thick blanket of cloud shrouds any chance of seeing blue skies…

And, as ever after a break, there is the inevitable catching up of household chores, washing, ironing, paperwork to sort….so getting back to the studio has been a slow process, not helped by the weather – a case of post-holiday blues…

However, rather than get down on myself for not immediately spending hours painting, for not instantly creating ‘masterpieces(?)’…I have been gentle with myself…choosing to continue working in my sketchbook with charcoal, Art Graf block and ink..

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I have been reading – currently ‘A Brush with Nature: Reflections on the Natural World’ by Richard Mabey – listening to podcasts, namely ArtJuice with Alice Sheridan and Louise Fletcher, always worth a listen as they discuss artistic issues, life in general…along with insights into their practice.

I have also watched ‘Upstream‘,(available for the next 28 days on this link) a new film by Robert MacFarlane and directed by Rob Petit. Shot entirely from the air, the film follows the course of the River Dee in Scotland to its source in the Cairngorms, accompanied by an original score by composer Hauschka and a prose poem by MacFarlane. I realise that to some, the subject matter doesn’t appear that thrilling, but it is strangely hypnotic…in black and white, weaving recordings of the birds and creatures that live along the river with place-names, stories, creating a ‘songline’ that takes you, the viewer, on a journey…

At the start of the film is a quote by the Scottish writer Nan Shepherd (1893-1981); ‘One cannot know the rivers until one has seen them at their source; but this journey to the sources is not to be undertaken lightly. There are awakened also in oneself by the contact, elementals that are as  unpredictable as wind or snow,’ – The Living Mountain

And it struck me, as I watched the film, how Shepherd’s quote and a river’s journey could also be applied to my artistic journey; I began creating/painting in a particular way, but as I progressed there were unpredictable elements, new discoveries, ‘happy accidents’, that took me on another course, twists and turns, bends in the river…times when everything runs smoothly and it all flows, and others, when it feels as if I am negotiating the rapids…

‘And see the rivers how they run,

through woods and meads,

in shade and sun,

Sometimes swift, sometimes slow,

Wave succeeding wave, they go

A various journey to the deep…’

John Dyer

And through it all, the joy of creating…and I echo MacFarlane’s words in the film…’Here is where the heart fills….’ Yes, there are times when I struggle but I wouldn’t be without my art..


Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

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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…

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