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I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who can’t throw away scraps of nice wrapping paper, or nice looking labels from bottles, or old Country Living magazines… the list could be endless.
Since discovering art journalling I now have a purpose for all this paraphernalia.
It seems that from looking at other artists work, that everyone evolves a very unique approach to their journalling. Some use it as you would a daily diary to record their thoughts or feelings that day or events that have taken place. Many must spend as much time creating their journal pages as I might working on a large painting.
I’ve tried not to worry that my own evolution is it’s own hybrid. To me it’s an opportunity to do a small, fairly instant art piece and it keeps me active when I don’t have the time or inclination for more. And as I look back through it now I can see it’s building into a personal record of quotes and thoughts that have had a resonating effect on me.
Oh and of course I now have a bona fide reason to use colouring pencils again, stick on sparkles and continue to collect like a magpie!
I grew up 10 miles outside of London and left about 20 odd years ago to come to the Midlands to study Textile Design.
Once here I studied, met a lovely man and wanted to stay. Despite one year in between things, I have been living here ever since, neatly placed between both sets of parents!
Every so long though I need a ‘London’ day where I can get the rush of being in the slipstream of people on the Underground, feast my eyes on the familiar sights and get a culture top up. Red buses (the old style that has a ticket collector) make me the most nostalgic as it reminds me of all those years travelling to secondary school.
One of the draws this time was the Beyond Bloomsbury exhibition at the Courtald Institute.
The building itself is absolutely beautiful and it houses a lot of pictures from the rock stars of painting – old and new.
But the print fiend in me just loved these Bloomsbury prints. You can take photographs (never expected that but just happened to have the camera handy!) so long as you keep the flash off. Which is why they arn’t super photo’s but still enough for inspiration.
I would have loved to have been one of the Bloomsbury Set working for the Omega workshop. Such great ideals, such a close community of artists, such fun designing, printing and painting onto anything!
After a lovely lunch in Leon’s (great food and great decor ) it was a trip to Liberty’s which is a beautiful old department store. Inside it’s got old wood panelling and wooden staircases with stained glass windows. You can really imagine a lady from the 1920′s dropping in to replace her gloves or buy a new hat. It’s got a much more modern approach to retail now but not so much so that it’s out of place inside the old building. The tearooms are worth a visit too especially after all that walking!
Following yesterday’s lack of vision I thought I’d go down an old tried and tested route to try and get busy.
I’ve been reading Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach since the beginning of the year. It’s full of short thoughts for each day which can motivate, inspire or soothe. It’s packed with sense (sometimes just commonsense!) and wisdom and reading it for me is kind of like sitting down with someone older and wiser who can tilt my view on life through wise words.
I’ve also been having a go at art journaling since December having seen some really inspiring examples on the wonderful web. Here are some of my faves…
Anahata Katkin – click on Jornal pages in left hand side bar.
teesha’s circus - click on Teesha’s journal pages. There is also a link there to how to start yourself which I found really useful.
So I often use the thoughts and quotes from the Breathnatch book as inspiration for a page in my art journal.
Yesterday’s reading had a quote from Rumer Godden referencing an Indian proverb (May 2nd if you’ve got the book. I’m not very good at keeping up each and everyday!)
“Everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into everyroom everyday, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”
How true is that! And as usual it’s what I need to hear, when I need to hear it.
So today I am trying to visit those rooms and I feel a whole lot better for it.
It seems that this would be the extent of my creativity at the moment – choosing those flowers, putting them in that jug and standing it next to that sculpture! (www.vanessa-pooley-bronze-sculptures.com)
Whats happened to my flow?!(again)
A lot of unpaid overtime on the real paying job would be one answer.
My inability to bear an untidy house would be a second one.
The jamming up of ideas resulting in nothing at all being tried, would be a third.
Hayfever would add a forth reason.
Maybe now I’ve told you I’ll feel better about it?
Living in the moment is really hard to do. Especially during those times when life is raring at 100 miles an hour and distractions are easy to come by. Well the last couple of months have been like that and so today was the first time that I made the time to go back and re visit the RBSA exhibition before it closes.
I wanted to drink in the exhibition and the experience; seeing my work hanging in a ‘proper’ exhibition in a bone fide gallery, fulfilling many of my dreams all at once. I feel like I am still in a dream state of disbelief.
There is something anchoring about seeing life through a camera lens – as if now that I’ve got photographs, I can prove reality and look again and again and drink it in some more.
I probably thought that I’d only feel elated and validated, but I actually feel very humbled too, especially to discover that 2 out of the 3 have sold.
Three Little Figs second on the left.
Blue and White China second along, top left – SOLD.
Cyclamen, second along, top right – SOLD
I loved painting that cow parsley, and printing the polka dots, and mixing all those gorgeous colours!!!
The dalia’s were so hard to paint. They are really complex shapes to build and the colours are so hard to match. I was looking and looking and thinking “Can I see purple? red? blue? grey? pink? crimson? all and every shade of them?”
It’s a happy painting!
With Dalia’s this beautiful growing in the garden, I couldn’t help but be inspired back to painting. We don’t have a lot of flowers to choose from growing in the garden, but once I’d picked these I could see a colour theme emerging for itself.
It didn’t look like a big project when I set it up but as soon as I began to draw it I could see how complex the various flower structures were. Even in the space of one hour (the time it took to draw it ) I could see petals opening or wilting and knew that time wouldn’t be on my side!
I love the colour combinations and think I’m going to use something like the rubber on a pencil end, to print in the white polka dots. Yippee! I love a bit of printing! I think that the more I paint well, exactly what I can see, the more likely I will be to give myself permission to ad lib a little more and use ‘looser’ techniques which will bring a very different quality to the work. We’ll see – one can only develop at the speed that the creative urge guides and I don’t think I’m ready yet but watch this space!
The work avoidance continued this week with the urge to do some felting (what is it with the need to get down with some constructed textiles?!) I love the rewards of felting because you actually get a piece of something to use afterwards, but the process can be laborious and so good company is a necessity (thanks Lucy.)
I decided to go with the flow, something I’m not very good at because I’m a planner! I just opened the bag and took out the first handful of fibres that looked good together, threw it out and felted it. As an encouragement to such out of character behaviour I was rewarded with a bird of paradise (bottom right) amid a garden of drooping branches – all by accident!! Definantly something to work into later, along that theme and one in the net for unplanned creative spontaneity!
I’ve been feeling the pressure lately here with the run up to the RBSA show and then continuing to paint for another open show coming up. And I guess with every high (the giddy excitement of getting in the show and winning something ) comes a low.
I found this week that I’d lost my mojo a bit and have been trying not to beat myself for not being able to settle to any great task with a paint brush.
I have found myself wanting to knit cupcakes though!
There’s something very therapeutic about knitting, it’s very gentle on the brain (once you’ve mastered the pattern.) The repetition is calming, a bit like sitting repeatedly rocking in a rocking chair except at the end of a few hours you have something to show for it.
When I was in France recently, you may remember the need for wool free crafting ideas. The cupcakes began then only made from material scraps.
I’m not sure what the appeal is with cupcakes – it’s a motif I love to return to either with paint or fabric. I’ve been known to batik cupcake pictures, applique cupcake aprons, paint cupcake’s then Photo Shop them into stationary items, not to mention make them to eat! Maybe it’s because they represent fun and frivolity, or that they’re colourful and reminiscent of picnic’s and relaxing times. I think I may have answered my own question there about why I need to find distraction with them right now!
I was just wandering through blog land looking at some of my favourite sites and slavering over some of their studio spaces, when the truth of my own existence dawned on me.
I’d love to have a purpose built studio to showcase here, so this post is a little tongue in cheek and won’t make it into Studios.
It’s neither big, well decorated, nor has good light. It doesn’t have matching anything or colour co-ordinated furnishings. I can hardly move around in there! It’s very like a cock pit; once I’m sat down, I pull up the table with my paints on and I’m engaged for action!
But maybe it’s worth putting it out there to show that creativity can thrive anywhere. I could wait until we move house to somewhere with good North light, big windows and a large space to paint in, but I know that’s not going to happen anytime soon and do I want to turn the off tap on my flow of creativity and wait on something that may never happen?
It’s always tempting to put things off for a better day – tomorrow I might be better at painting, next year I may have a larger space…but things can grow from small humble beginnings.
Incidentally, I had to sit next door on the bed to write this as my daughter has commandeered the ‘studio’ to finish her Dream School project. If such a small space is in demand then perhaps it’s magic is not in the square footage of the room, but in the possibilities that being inside can release.