You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2010.
Sunny weather and blue sky thinking go hand in hand. A year ago I sketched a small plan of how to begin painting regularly again, how to start exhibiting and what steps I might need to take to ‘get out there’ in a creative sense. I’ve been ticking goals off that plan and now it’s time for a new one! So I’ve signed up for a five week e course with Kelly Rae, beginning on Sunday, which I’m hoping will help sharpen my thinking and provide the next goals.
After signing up I happened to read this from Julia Cameron’s Spiritual Path To Creativity;
“Once you accept that it is natural to create, you can begin to accept a second idea – that the Creator will hand you whatever you need for the project. The minute you accept the help of this collaborator, you will see useful bits of help everywhere in your life.”
And that is proving to be so true, in many ways.Thank you for your part in that by visiting here.
I thought I’d show you a few of the tricks that I used for the Lilac’s painting. First up is that lovely stuff Art Masking Fluid. You need to plan ahead a bit with this as it takes about an hour to go tacky (then you can work gently on and around it) or two plus hours if you need to press on it in any way. I popped mine on, went and watched Desperate Housewives with my lunch, and came back happy to recommence!
Be warned, it does knacker your brush because it’s like glue and gets stuck amongst the bristles. I like using it to print polka dots by using the rubber end of a pencil. It will wipe off then or you can use turpentine to remove the fluid.
Another of my most favourite tricks it to use cold tea as a stain when I want a creamy background. Make it a strong brew though! I haven’t tested it’s light fast properties so maybe in time I will have customers bringing paintings back for a re-paint (just like slap dash William Turner did!)
Below shows stages 1-4, the drawing, the masking fluid dots, the tea staining and then the lilac background wash. After that I painted the stripes at the bottom, the leaves, the lilac blossoms and finally the bird jug. (Penelope, hope that helps?!)
There’s been a lot going on around the edges here lately; a stolen bike, a bad cough, a sick guinea-pig… I woke up thinking ‘It’s all too much, I’ll kick back today’. then I read this from the Sarah Breathnatch book (Aug 10 if you’ve got it!) Sarah quotes Madeline L’Engle who says ” I believe that each work of art…comes to the artist and say’s ” Here I am. Enflesh me. Give birth to me.” And the artist either becomes the bearer of that work or refuses. Sarah goes onto point out that we can then become angry and frustrated when we see that someone else said ‘yes’ to their creativity; “The bottom line is that the Work must be brought forth. If you don’t do it, someone else will.” That galvanized me!
We have two beautiful lilac tree’s in our garden. We are soon (hopefully) to move house but we are glad to have had one last season of these lilac’s before we go. It’s been my intention to savour them through paint – today was the day.
I thought I’d show you the tricks I used in another post but here is the finished thing. Lilac’s are a killer to paint, second only to Hydrangea’s! The colours are very complex to see and then reproduce. Buds seemed to be red purple, open flowers mauve and then everything in between. It’s turned out much flatter than I expected – from a distance it looks like a screen print. That’s got me thinking…
My last destination on Wednesday was the V & A for the Quilts exhibition. I think the V & A is one of my favourite places in all the world; it is such a beautiful, calming building. I can still remember the first time I went as a teenager. I hadn’t travelled outside of England at that stage and I was totally blown away by the exhibits from so many other cultures. It was like travelling the world just by walking from room to room.
No photo’s or postcards will ever capture the quilts properly, you really do need to see them in the flesh to observe and appreciate the workmanship. The quilt above just looks a bit brown in the photo but in reality it has appliqued scenes from everyday life stitched all around the border. Just one scene would have taken months to do. What really struck me afresh was that these really old quilts would have been sewn by hand, when fabric was a rare and expensive commodity, and done a lot by candlelight in small houses. No designated quilting room, no daylight lamp bulbs or magnifying devices, let alone a sewing machine. There was one quilt (the only quilt in the world) that was sewn by hundreds of female British prisoners whilst they were travelling to Australia. Sewn in the dark hull of a ship!
I hired the iPod touch audio guide which was defiantly worth an extra £3 as it gave you the stories behind the quilts and their makers and lots of information about details that you wouldn’t have known to look for otherwise.
Quilting seems to be one of the very few skills that is common across such a wide age range and has the potential to forge community around it. Not just through quilting circles but even at the exhibition I felt like we all had something in common. I felt it at the Twisted Thread exhibition too earlier in the year. You just know you could sit and chat to really anyone there and find things in common. It was interesting to see the Wandsworth prison project and hear how much therapy they had got from sewing and a sense of unity in their shared interest. (I still want to know how prisoners can have sewing needles in their cells after lock up! Any answers on a postcard please…)
And to finish with this because it challenges all my previous mis-conceptions and it’s such an amusing image. A man quilting back in the C19th!
I swooped down on London yesterday ready to pick it’s bones of a little culture! In fact, at the risk of mixing my metaphor’s, I was more like a heat seeking missile! Seven hours to see three exhibitions on two sides of the river. And because it cost me £50 squid to get there, I had to make it count.
First up was The Fashion and Textile Museum, which is exhibiting Very Sanderson – 150 years of English decoration. It documents the course of Sanderson’s growth beginning in 1860 and display’s archive papers, recent vintage reworkings currently available, old marketing materials and posters and really cute little room set-ups.
The DVD show has footage of the textile artist at work re-designing and re-colouring one of the original designs and talking about what kind of changes they make for today’s market.
This is Kenneth Truman who was chief designer for years. I love this photograph and find it fascinating to see them at work like this. The original was actually almost perfect first time – no photocopying, scanning and editing mistakes. These people were super skilled. It really was an art in the truest tense of the word.
Then after a short walk on a beautifully sunny warm day I arrived at The Imperial War Museum for The Ministry of Food exhibition. Lots of my photo’s were duffers because it was quite dim in the exhibition and I blurred them. But there were loads of jolly vintage posters encouraging “Spades Not Ships” or “Dig For Victory Now” and “Help Win The War On The Kitchen Front”. The whole nation was encouraged to grow food in whatever way and where ever they could – on a polo field, an Anderson shelter roof or your front garden. In 1943 there were nearly 2 million allotments! Think of what we could do to save air miles if we really had to!
I didn’t realise that so many Seamen lost their lives bringing food and supplies into England – 30,000 dead and 10,000 to Prisoner of war camps. It puts the grow your own propaganda into context.
I went around the exhibition twice. The first time I had on my rose-tinted glasses for the nostalgia of the past where life looked simpler and more wholesome. There seemed to be stronger family life and a camaraderie that forged closer communities.
On the second viewing I could see how much everyone suffered and went without – it wasn’t fun. People were bored of eating potatoes and never having onions to flavour things and orange juice to drink. They came home too tired to cook from a day working in the fields, don’t we all moan about a hard day and order a takeaway. It made me contemplate just how much I take for granted and how we live in an age that is currently valuing anything ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’ but only the parts that look good. It’s no wonder my parents are bemused by excitement on scoring vintage china or a crochet blanket; they looked forward to a new age of machine-made plenty.
Well that has turned into an epic post!! I won’t tell you how long it took me to upload all the photo’s and find something to say!! Hope you enjoyed it – I think I’m beginning to sound my age!
I shall save my last destination for a post all of it’s own tomorrow.
A hearty thanks to everyone who took part; Anna – I’m still smiling about the wobbly contact lenses, Luther – high accolades coming from a real designer, Jill, Penny, Rhonda and Jacqueline – lovely to have you aboard, Lauren – chief cheerleader and Abs – the first, most faithful. x
I’m doing this in real-time and then I’ll hit publish…
Jill is the lucky gal. It will be winging its way to you in Australia as soon as you’ve emailed me a postal address. Thanks again everyone; sorry you couldn’t all win.
Amazingly it is a year ago today that I first posted a blog entry here at ‘paintdrops.’ I remember writing it several times and fussing over it until I eventually hit the return button.
It’s also just over a year that I had my ‘Damascus Road’ moment when I realised that painting is what I want to be doing all the time in the future. I set myself the task of keeping one day free to paint each week and to begin with it wasn’t much cop! But then one week I had a breakthrough and produced “Daffodils.” We framed the original and will always keep it because it is so special to me. But it seemed fitting to choose it to make a print of for this special blog birthday giveaway. So if you’d like to win this print in celebration of my first blog year milestone, all you have to do is a leave a comment – simple as that! Any comment you like, from anyone, from any where in the world. I’ll pull names out of a hat in a week on Wednesday 19th.
P.S. It isn’t quite that blue, it’s the photo exposure. I promise you won’t need sunglasses!
Today has been one of those frustrating days, when I have swum out of my depth technically in trying to do something I didn’t really know how to, and so had to swim back in again! So maddening to feel unable and have to be honest about my abilities.
So rather than have a paddy-wack I decided to chop up some fabric instead (scissor therapy.) This is the beginnings of a Liberty print quilt which is pieced and ready to sew when I next need machine sewing therapy!
10.5 hours later and it’s all finished. Completing a big painting can be a bit like running (which I love/hate.) On setting out I feel positive and want to do it, then at some point it starts to hurt and I feel myself wanting to stop and go and do something less taxing. But a nagging voice shouts ‘Stamina Claire!’ and I get past the burn and finish with a sprint.
There is a lot I like about this painting and it wasn’t too much of a marathon. But once I’ve finished a painting I have to shut it away for a bit and not look at it for a while. So I’m off to the cinema to vegetate! Hope you enjoyed your Bank Holiday weekend too.