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Got a call in France to say I had won the Aldbury prize (3rd place) at the RBSA Open Competition.
Wow! and Double Wow!!
So we left France earlier than planned, drove for nothing short of 11 hours with no stops, arrived just in the nick of time at 6.59pm for the 7pm opening and prize giving!!
And here I am, dazed, overwhelmed, astounded, tired, incredibly grateful.
It was this painting Blue and White China that won the prize.
I met the judges later and asked what they liked about it (!) and it was the perspective and pattern combination – flat and 3D all at once, and the boldness of subject choice.
All three entries got accepted and the judges said they liked them all.
My mantra has been to ‘simply begin’, and so I am incredibly encouraged by the success of this first step.
We’re off to France for a week with our treasured friends. The only draw back is that my friend has a wool phobia, and if that wool happened to be wet…well that’s even worse.
How do I spend a week wool free because everything I’m working on that’s transportable has wool in it somewhere.
….Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts! Embroidery (Crafts) and this…
Crochet (Instant Expert) by Katy Bevan.
This got finished last week. I’d had a break from it while running around getting the RBSA entries framed and completing all the admin for that. I wasn’t feeling that enthusiastic about picking it up again but decided not to listen to the voice of sloth!
It was one of those magic little paintings that came together all by itself whilst my hands painted and my brain listened to radio plays.
Just in case you thought I was all about painting, here’s my latest and most successful piece of knitting to date.
Taken from Thrown Together by Kim Hargreaves and Kathleen Hargreaves, this pattern is Nan (but the whole book is full of gorgeous and very wearable knits, beautifully photographed.)
Using size 12 (noisy because I bought metal) needles and Rowan Big Wool, it was a dream to knit up fast.
All finished just in time to sit in the cupboard until winter!
My studio is actually our spare room and for those of you familiar with old Victorian houses, it’s called the box room or the ‘you can’t swing a cat’ room. After the big blossom painting it was time to rearrange things and extend the desk again in order to work on something small whilst sitting snugly sandwiched between the table and the wall. Cosy!
The gorgeous fabric is Kaffe Fassett’s “Spools Jade” bought from http://www.cottonpatch.co.uk.
This turned out to be a four day labour of love!
It began well with a great drawing (should have sensed then what was coming!) It was so complicated to draw the layers of pussy willow and cherry blossom that I nearly went cross-eyed.
Then as soon as I began to paint in the background I realised the error of using up the only really large sheet of paper that I had to hand. (Note to self – make an effort to get to the out of the way art shop and stockpile.) It looked like it had a nice surface texture, which I like, but once I applied paint I could see that it was a piece of paper suitable for oil painting on and had a slightly waxed coating which was repelling the water based paint. It also deadened all the colours.
So it was 50/50 – carry on or abandon ship?
I opted to carry on and not waste all that time spent drawing. I’m also trying to build up ‘painting muscles’ and not quit as soon as it gets difficult.
Some features turned out really well. It’s the biggest painting I’ve tried in a long while and so it’s given me a bit of stamina for the longer pieces. I’ve also learnt that even in our current make do and mend culture, that some things still have to reach the recycling box unused! Let me know if you like oil painting and want some paper…
At the beginning of term ( I work part time as a teacher) we had an INSET day (training for teacher’s) at my school for personal development. It was all about how to work through an issue you have in life, what’s the one thing you’ll look back on and regret not doing, what’s preventing you from doing it now, how would you go about it etc etc.
We even got given a little notebook to jot it all down in.
What a great day – being paid to plan what I really want to be about!
So I’ve been keeping my non working days free to paint (no socials/cleaning/washing – nowt) since the beginning of the year. But this INSET day pushed me along a little further.
First up – I’ve stopped waiting to move to St Ives looking for artistic inspiration and community and begun looking closer to home.
Second of all – I’ve stopped waiting to be good enough!
Thirdly – I’ve stopped seeing my job as a hinderance and begun to think how lucky I am to be so well paid as to afford to have two days free for other persuits. When the other persuits grow too large for two days – that is the time to rethink.
So I’ve looked on the internet and found a local open art competition on at RBSA (Royal Birmingham Society of Artists) and three paintings are currently at the framers being framed ready to submit for the competition!!
I’ve been reading Taking Flight: Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae Roberts, which I think she must have written just for me to read this week! It’s full of all the kind of sound encouragement the vulnerable creative needs to stir them into feeling confident enough to take a step out into the unknown.
Lets wait and see how these three fare…
Well here I am having overcome (just enough!) all those voices of doubt and critism in my head yelling ‘Why do you want to do this?’ Answer is “I don’t really know for sure!” But I’m in the mood today to shake a stick at life and jump into the unknown.
As a child I used to love the first, fresh page of a new exercise book at school. I’d make every effort to write beautifully and not make any mistakes.
And beginning this blog feels a little the same.
So thanks to all my encouragers and here we go!