Try, Try & Try Again….

Having almost run out of white acrylic paint – obviously calls for a shopping trip – I have returned to the watercolour and inks… I love working with these; the way they flow and pool, the way they interact and the ‘happy accidents’ that arise really get my creative juices flowing…

I am slightly obsessed with indigo and the sepia FW Acrylic Ink and in my favourite square Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook I feel free to relax and let go, creating loose spontaneous work…

…then I try to do the same on ‘proper’ paper, you know, heavyweight watercolour paper……and everything goes out of the window…my arm feels constrained and all that spontaneity is gone….. It doesn’t seem to matter how often I tell myself it’s just a piece of paper there is a voice in my head screaming ‘yes, but it costs £6, £7, £8/sheet or whatever…’ so immediately there is the pressure to create something worthwhile….and the creative juices dry up….. I know I am not alone in feeling like this and I know it’s all in my head…. (just to say I am trying really hard not to add a ‘but’ here…)

However, having been accepted to take part in this September’s Melbourne Festival, the need to produce work has spurred me to keep on trying…practice makes perfect as the saying goes…. so another day, a different paper….

This time I am using Cass Art mixed media paper…

… I know the paper is not as expensive as single sheets of say Saunders Waterford or Arches watercolour paper, but it is still a decent quality and weight…so I continued…but I couldn’t understand why the colours weren’t matching my sketchbook work…. until I realised that although I was using Indigo, the sketchbook studies were done using Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour whilst I was working with the Daniel Smith Indigo watercolour on the paper…. same name but different…

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the vibrant Daniel Smith watercolours…but in this instance I prefer the Winsor & Newton shade, especially the way it reacts with the sepia ink… so change of pigment and on I go….trying…

 

…here’s a Daniel Smith Indigo study…

…and here is a Winsor & Newton Indigo initial wash…which I like as it is…

….I will keep on trying…and eventually I will produce some pieces I am happy enough to mount and frame…..meanwhile…..I will add the rest to my ever-growing ‘reject’ pile or should that be ‘learning’ pile….

 

 

Advertisements

Another Day, Another Medium…

A new day, a different medium…yesterday was experimenting with mono printing (I will keep trying with this…), today I am continuing to experiment with acrylics… Until very recently I worried about this flitting from one medium to another, worried that it would appear I hadn’t found my artistic voice, whatever that is, but I have come to realise this is all part of my make up… I have always been a ‘heart on my sleeve’ kind of person (my Mum always says that my face gives me away…whatever mood I am in…).  My work is all about my experiences of the landscape, my response to it….and my mood…which leads to my choice of medium…watercolour, ink, charcoal or acrylics…so I am learning, slowly, to let this particular hang-up go….

Anyway, onwards with today’s efforts…. (with apologies for the photos, it is very dull here today…)

I might start with a plan but that usually goes out of the window and the work becomes more of a reaction to the marks I make…

 

I do find working on several pieces stops me from fiddling…..

 

 

I even tried different sizes…

…definitely need more practise with the larger sizes…..

Anyhow, this is today’s progress….one or two might make the cut for the Melbourne Festival….

I should add that whilst painting I have been listening to artist Rebecca Crowell’s podcasts via  The Messy Studio…. not sure what my choice of episodes says about me… ‘Habits of Successful Artists,’ ‘Being Professional,’ ‘Finding Personal Voice’ and ‘Cleaning Up Your Mindset an Attitude’….

What do you like listening to whilst working?

 

Fingers Crossed…..

Well I’ve done it…

I recently had a mentoring session with the lovely Helen Hallows – I have been on one of her sketchbook courses and I like her style and philosophy – and as I had been stuck in a rut I thought I would give the mentoring a whirl….. and what a session it turned out to be….informative, constructive, supportive and encouraging…

Besides making me question and consider my art practice Helen was very generous with her advice, critique and suggestions…..one of which was to encourage me to apply to take part in the Melbourne Festival – 2018 Art & Architecture Trail on 15th/16th September…. so this morning I have submitted my application along with some images of my work…

 

‘Blustery Dale’ – Acrylic

‘Snowstorm’ – Acrylic

‘Storm Rising’ – Acrylic

 

‘Upland Squall’ – Acrylic

‘Gritstone Sentinel’ – Watercolour & Ink

 

‘Path to Higger Tor’ – Mixed Media

 

‘Carl Wark’ – Mixed Media

I will now have to wait until the end of May to hear if I have been successful…..so I have a nervous wait ahead of me…    but it’s all part of the plan to get my work ‘out there’, to push me out of my comfort zone, to hopefully get a few sales…..and to have more faith in myself!!

(P.S. with my usual technophobia..I have no idea why the titles aren’t centred below the work…they are on my page…..)

 

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’…

 

Fits and Starts…

…lead to a little bit of everything…

An artist’s life I find is very much one of ups and downs…buoyed by recent sales, including those at the Exploring Place exhibition at Blue Owl Art plus a couple of other small works, as well as the positive reception some new work received, I feel full of optimism…I can do this…

…then a week goes by, which becomes two, and I find that I have produced no new work that makes the grade…

This leads me to dabbling in little bits of everything in the hope that, eventually, that creative spark will ignite…

Ink and charcoal…

Watercolour…

.. to no avail…and that’s when the doubts creep in…and it then becomes a vicious circle…

It helps to know I am not alone – I listened to a podcast of the wonderful Maggi Hambling who quoted Constantin Brancusi: ‘To see far is one thing, going there is another,’ and the one I found particularly relevant at the moment: ‘Things are not difficult to make; what is difficult is putting ourselves in the state of mind to make them,’ – how true is that!!

I know however, with my logical head on, that this is just temporary, and soon all will be well again…

 

 

 

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…