Further Friday Fun….

I know….my posts are like buses… you wait ages for one and then two arrive almost together…

Anyhow,  remembering that Friday is supposed to be my ‘play day’…although I actually started dabbling with these yesterday… I have continued experimenting…

Working in mixed media I am looking at ways of capturing the ethereal quality of sky and water, interspersed with bird flight/song… apologies for sounding pretentious…

I began in my trusty square sketchbook from Seawhite of Brighton using Daniel Smith Indigo watercolour and sepia FWAcrylic ink applied over white oil pastel…

Going darker…

Today I have been working on Cass Art Mixed Media paper 250gsm…

…tearing it up to make the similar portrait style…

I do work with quite a lot of water and I found the paper started to curl which made it a bit awkward when applying the ink…(I am lazy and don’t stretch, hence I like 250/300lb paper)…however, I like the high white, slightly rough textured surfaced and the curling did result in some interesting effects…and they are drying flat.  Not sure where these are going but will continue to experiment!!

What is your preferred surface/paper…?

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Creative Fear….

It’s been a bit stop/start these last two or three weeks…I seem to be struggling to convert my sketchbook work of the mudflats and marker buoys of the Menai Straits (see previous posts) into more developed work…and as a consequence I felt myself beginning to fall into a pattern of thoughts that is probably familiar to all creatives…

…I have no talent, other people are much better than I am, I won’t be able to capture the spontaneity and freedom of previous work, it’s all been a waste of time……getting the picture?

It’s at this point that I should say that earlier in the year I joined a couple of on-line art groups; Alice Sheridan‘s ‘Art Explorers’ and Helen Hallows ‘Creative Courage’ – both Facebook Groups…and it was through the comments, stories and links in these groups that I was encouraged to listen to podcasts and read books about creativity and fear…one of which is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert…

…and oh how familiar it read…

‘You’re afraid you have no talent,

You’re afraid you will be rejected or criticised or ridiculed or misunderstood – or worst of all – ignored,

You’re afraid somebody else already did it better,

You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing,

You’re afraid you’re too old to start,

You’re afraid your best work is behind you,

You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with…..'(Elizabeth Gilbert)

 

…there are another couple of pages in this same vein but you get the idea…and before you start shouting that you need solutions not confirmation of your fears, Gilbert addresses these issues, going on to suggest that we accept fear as being part of our creative journey…I particularly like the chapter titled The Road Trip in which she prepares a speech for fear:

‘Dearest Fear, Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job very seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I am about to do anything interesting – and, may I say, you are superb at your job…….but I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this; Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognise and respect that you are part of this family…..you are allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps…suggest detours…..to fiddle with the radio….or the temperature…But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive’, (Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert, 2015, p24-26).

I love this analogy, nearly as much as I loathe back seat drivers…and it’s definitely made me look at fear and creativity differently…I am fascinated to read more….and whilst I know that everyone is different and as such require different solutions… I thought I would share this with you… it might help…

So, with this idea in mind, my creative confidence is creeping back…mudflats and buoys not withstanding (on the back burner…but I will return to it), and I have been concentrating on playing around with colour – Daniel Smith Indigo and Rich Green Gold, plus Sepia FW Acrylic ink…resulting in some that I am happy with….!!

…and a couple more I have yet to mount…

 

…keeping in the spirit of just playing, I even got my acrylic paints out, those that haven’t set hard, that is….(part of the reason for my limited palette…!!)

…resulting in some more possibilities…..

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..and while I know that they are not all masterpieces, that fear is not stopping me trying my best…and at the end of the day that’s all I can do…

Fun Fridays…..

A couple of interesting art related meetings have happened over the last week…leading to some things being updated, planned….slightly more confident that my aspirations for this year will come to fruition… more of which in a later post….

As part of my new found insight into the creative process I have decided to assign Fridays as fun days….days that inspire, whether that be a walk, visit to a gallery or exhibition…or just a day where I give myself permission to ‘play’ without being hard on myself….

Today has been a ‘studio’ play day… I know I want my next body of work to be based around the marker buoys and patterns on the mudflats of the Menai Straits… but I have been getting a bit ‘hung up’…cursing because I couldn’t reproduce the freedom and expression of my sketchbook work onto paper…so, today, no pressure, just playing in said sketchbook or on random scraps of paper…

….using whatever medium comes to hand…ink, watercolour pencil…

…playing with Photoshop…

…interesting seeing the different effects of the various paper…

It’s been fun..and interesting, providing an even more abstract idea for work….roll on the next Fun Friday…

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’…

 

Ancient Lands….New Beginnings

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

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

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

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

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….