Reflective Ruminations…..

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that whenever I attempt to create art my brain should remain firmly in neutral…

This week has definitely been  ‘one step forward, two steps backwards’…

Spontaneity is key in producing the work I like…freedom of washes and ink splatters, dynamic mark-making… I managed to create some ‘okay’ pieces…and that’s when the problems set in..

…consciously trying to recapture that freedom resulted in less pleasing work..

…and the more I tried the worse it became…I began to include more and more mediums until it all got a bit ‘busy’…

So I made an effort to simplify things and to try not to fiddle..

…now I know I am my own worst critic, but I don’t like these pieces as much as my very first attempts…  I think I have become too fixated on a particular image and that is having a stultifying effect on me… so for now I am putting Higger Tor to one side…and trying to find a fresh perspective…obviously one where I don’t have to think too much…

(..whilst still enjoying those first pieces…)

…someone else liked the one below so much…they bought it…(!!!)

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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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Colour Purple….

Life is all about balance, finding the time to re-charge the batteries, gaining inspiration…and Saturday saw myself and P do just that, re-charging the batteries for P and gaining inspiration for me….

We headed for the hills, The Peak District, Derbyshire, parking up at The National Trust Longshaw Estate and walking round Carl Wark and Higger Tor, before skirting Burbage Bank.

Blustery winds brought fast-changing weather; sunshine one minute, dark clouds and rain the next…but it was beautiful… the light reflecting the predominant colour ….purple…

…purple as far as eye could see….

Contrasting with the heather was the stone and the bracken, rippling in the breeze like some silver sea…

 

…and even though I didn’t get round to sketching ‘in situ’ – something I must do – the walk, the colours, the elements all inspired me…

So today I tried to capture some of those in some quick studies…

…as with all experiments, I feel some work better than others…

…whether these lead to anything, we will see, but the fact that I have found inspiration again is such a good feeling…

Drawing Inspiration…

Artists take their inspiration from many things; their surroundings, music, emotions, words…at the moment my inspiration seems to have deserted me…hopefully just temporarily…(not sure if this is just the ‘down’ after being on a high with the successes of the Exploring Place exhibition at Blue Owl Art..)

I have taken to mindlessly splashing ink and watercolour around in the hope that something will click…

….but I have to admit that although sometimes something pleasing appears on the paper, for the most part it is just that, mindless splashing…..

I am really looking forward to attending Caroline Chappell’s Abstracted Landscape course – hopefully a fresh take on my efforts and being with other like-minded people will give me a kick-start….

On the list of equipment is a request to bring along any favourite texts or poetry to do with the landscape….Now anyone who is kind enough to read this blog will know that I love words…and whilst my artistic efforts have me crying in my coffee so to speak, researching and finding books, text, poems and words is one thing that is giving me pleasure….

I love The Peak District in Derbyshire and have based several of my works on the area…these two are based on the Dark Peak..

…and while researching I came across the Companion Stones Project…..a project created by Arts in the Peak, the Peak District National Park Authority and 18 poets and artists. The project is a contemporary response to the Guide Stoops of the Derbyshire moorland – the stoops were set up 300 yrs ago to guide travellers across the moorlands. Twelve modern stoops have been placed in the Park with inscriptions that encourage a dialogue between artist and audience, past and present… For all the details of the project click on the link above…

James Caruth is one of the poets who has contributed to this project; the following excerpt from his poem particularly resonates with me…

‘the old paths lost now

in the valley’s folds,

the fraught sky tethered to a stone.

This place is neither here nor there,

but set your hand on its gritty heart,

feel the earth’s cold pulse…’

Reading poetry is something I have grown to appreciate, but better than reading is hearing poetry being read, best of all being read by the author…and here on Soundcloud you can hear Caruth reading a selection of his work…

The project sounds really interesting; something that merits further investigation, and I wonder if this, along with the painting course, is what I need to fire up my imagination…

For now I will keep splashing around….

(above based on The Salt Cellar rock formation, Derwent Edge…)

Flabbergasted……

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peaks & Patchings…blog update

It’s been a glorious weekend although the heatwave was tempered in the Peak District by a cool edge to the wind. This did not spoil our enjoyment; Derbyshire was clothed in luscious greens, billowing cow parsley, glades of wild garlic and hillsides of yellow flowering gorse. Add to this the sound of lambs, birds, the wonderment of watching a kestrel’s mastery of the very blustery conditions and you have a perfect day….with the addition of some very tasty provisions from a local farm shop!

imageimageimageimageEventually tearing ourselves away, we made our way to Gallerytop in Rowsley. Here, it was great to see the work of Chris Prout, an artist who’s work I have admired for a long time – and at last I got to see some ‘in the flesh’! Although my artistic skills are not in Chris’s league, we do have something in common – a love of Derbyshire & Wales! The work on display here came in a variety of sizes, from small squares, providing the viewer with tantalising glimpes of the Derbyshire countryside, hidden corners, overlooked areas, rich in layers, to a large scale sweeping vista lush with paint, awash with layers and textures – Derbyshire on a canvas! Some paintings had a muted palette, whilst others had richer colours, flecks, hints… There is a real sense of energy & passion in his work – wonderful!

I also liked the work of John Paul Cooke – his abstract works, rich in form, tone & texture, capture the spirit of the Peaks in all their various moods – from early morning mists, to mellow Autumn days. I loved his use of muted palettes! Richard Barrett’s work also captured my eye – the energy, layers & marks provide the viewer with a feel for the rich & varied tapestry that is Derbyshire!

Sunday saw us take a trip to the Patchings Festival at the Patchings Art Centre at Calverton, Nottingham. With slightly less wind, it was a gloriously sunny day. Crowds of people were treated to a veritable feast of artists, artists’ materials, demonstrations & a band to boot! It was really hard not to be like a child in a sweet shop in the materials tent….

I watched a mixed media demonstration by artist Robert Dutton. Based in Yorkshire, Robert’s work is very expressive, with strong marks and brush strokes – resolving to capture the ‘moment’ & the wonder & strength that is Yorkshire! A very enjoyable demonstration saw him start to portray the magnificent Malham Cove. With a variety of mediums & marks, tones & highlights his passion for painting, & the subject, really shone through – as did his encouragement for us all to be bold, let go & loosen up! You really emerged from the marquee itching to pick up your charcoal, pastel, paint…

In the artists’ tent was Carole Baker – I have been very fortunate to attend a couple of her workshops! She uses bold colours & textures to create evocative landscapes & is another very passionate artist who is generous with her tips & encouragement!

Sad to say I misssed Jean Haines, a watercolour artist, who’s work I also love! Her enthusiasm for watercolour really comes across in her work, books, dvds…. Vibrant colours, beautiful washes, great marks & her energy really brings the subjects to life! Maybe I will see you next year!

Also at the Festival were more craft based artists as well as photographers! I particularly liked the work of wildlife photographer Des Ong. The patience required to capture some of his images must be enormous! Again Des was another artist generous with his time, tips & stories – loved to hear how he got the 3 wild boar all in a row!

And just in case you tagged along as the non-artistic partner, along with the band, there was a marquee demonstration the Art of Bonsai – who knew there was so much to it & the price of some the trees… There was also a display of birds of prey – so beautiful!

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imageimageAnd a gorilla to boot…

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All in all, a very enjoyable day – definitely a date for next year’s calendar!

Pleased to announce…blog update

I am pleased to announce that I will be participating in the ‘Inspired by Nature’ exhibition at Blue Owl Art, Grantham, Lincolnshire. Running from 30 April – 31 August, the exhibition is for work that has been, like it says in the title, inspired by nature!

Fragile Lands II will be exhibiting a new body of work, which I have called ‘Fragile Lands’: it consists of eight pieces inspired by my love and affinity for the landscape – The Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Moors, the North Norfolk coast and beyond….

Fragile Lands IIGrowing up in rural Lincolnshire I came to love and respect the landscape in all its many guises, whatever the season.  As a child, time seemed to stretch on forever, and although the countryside altered with the farming calendar, the bones of the landscape appeared infinite. Fast forward to the present and we are aware, more than ever, of the earth’s fragility. The mixed media work I will be exhibiting looks to capture this juxtaposition of permanence and vulnerability: the contour lines of the landscape contrasting with the delicacy of the tissue paper and soft ink and watercolour washes.

Fragile Lands IIIThe work is intended to be impressionistic, abstract even, rather than representational: it is my response to the landscapes I love and the issues it faces.

Fragile Lands IVFragile Lands VI am thrilled to be exhibiting at Blue Owl Art again – it’s a great gallery, has a great selection of contemporary craftwork as well, along with an on-site cafe serving delicious food – what more could you want?!

Fragile Lands VIThe Preview Night is 30 April from 7 – 9pm – do pop along if you can, would be great to see you there!!

Fragile Lands VIIFragile Lands VIII