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

 

To keep up-to-date with my work-in-progress follow me on social media or, for more insights and news, please sign up via the link opposite, to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter….

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…

(This page contains some affiliate links which means that if you click on one of the links and then buy, I could receive a small percentage commission. I only recommend products that I use and love….)

 

Turning Procrastination Into Vorfreude…

There’s just over two days to go before I take part, for the second time, in the Melbourne (Derbyshire) Arts and Architecture Trail (14/15 September), I think I am just about sorted; everything is named, priced, labelled, wrapped and added to my inventory… I have my checklist of ‘stuff’ to take; tablecloths, browsers, easels, bubble wrap etc…and the all important coffee, tea…lunch… It’s just the last minute things such as charging up my card payment machine…(fingers crossed that it is needed!!) that remain to be done…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist
Selection of works I am taking to the Melbourne Festival

….and with everything apparently ticked off my to-do list, I finally have some time…and I feel as if I should be painting…but am hesitating…the nerves are beginning to jangle, that critical voice in my head is getting into it’s stride;  ‘Do I want to start anything new?’, ‘What if nothing sells? What’s the point of making more..?’…’You’re not good enough…’ – so I procrastinate…

‘Fear stops a lot of people. Fear of

failure, of the unknown, of risk.

And it masks itself as procrastination,’

Lisa Anderson

…but, but, it’s taken me a while, but I am beginning to learn what to do to help me get over my dithering… (obviously I am a slow learner…) The critical voice is still there, but to paraphrase Elizabeth Gilbert, ‘it might have come along as a passenger on my journey, but it has to sit in the backseat and be quiet…I am driving’…and I hate backseat drivers!! I also know that if I go to my workspace, supposedly just to do a little tidying up, this will eventually have me reaching for the nearest pencil, charcoal or whatever medium is closest at hand, and experimenting, mark making…and before I know it, I am ‘creating’… not masterpieces, or anything worthy of framing, but the very fact I have ‘done something’, that I have worked out how to overcome my procrastinating is priceless…

And that’s what happened this morning, and eventually, after a little faffing around, I carried on with my acrylic exploration…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…still channelling wild weather…thinking of waves crashing on rocks…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and added a little more to these ones I started a while ago…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

These are the ones I prefer, but I am trying hard not to have expectations or become precious about them…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

I also find that leaving work out in the studio that excites me, that I have enjoyed exploring, is also another way of overcoming my procrastinating…and before I know it, I am itching to get on with creating, experimenting…

‘You don’t have to have it all figured out

to move forward,’

(Anon.)

I don’t profess to have all the answers but that is how I turn procrastination into vorfreude; I wrote about this in an earlier post, so I really should have taken my own advice…as I said, I am a slow learner…

How do you overcome procrastination? Do let me know…all advice gratefully received…

If you want to keep up-to-date with my work in progress, goings on and ramblings, follow me on social media, or for further insight into my practice, access to work and other news, please sign up to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter using the link opposite.

The weather is looking good for the weekend at the moment so hopefully there will be lots of visitors to the Festival…if you do go, please pop into the Assembly Rooms on the High Street and say hello!!