Made it!

Wow, that was a marathon adventure and like all good runners, towards then end I had to slow down rather than just stop and call it quits.

But like all things, its when you’re stretched and challenged that growth occurs.

The daily (or technically I should say sustained) practice of showing up to paint has indeed kept me creative and accountable for doing so.

And I have found that my muscle memory and my hand eye co-ordination has improved and that I’m as surprised as anyone when I can capture a plant in a few strokes of a brush and with a limited colour range.

In short, practice makes you better at looking and capturing.

Which shouldn’t surprise me really.

We know if we exercise that our muscles become stronger but probably don’t talk much in those terms of the process of practising creatively.

And we should, because it does work the same way.

I have thoroughly enjoyed naming the plants in my garden – many of which I have inherited from the previous owners or Mother Nature.

And I have a unexpected sense of satisfaction to have two books full of catalogued plant names.

But I am glad it’s finished now and as the season winds down I won’t have the challenge of finding something new to include.

With hindsight 100 was a lot and maybe 75 would have suited me just enough.

So when I calculated that there were only enough pages in the book for 96 I took that as a divine compromise 😉

I have been falling and leaping my way through this #100dayproject of Painting Something From My Garden Everday.

It’s not quite been everyday in a daily sense – more like nothing some days and three things another.

But for the most part it’s become a regular practice and I’ve kept up…just.

Some days I accepted a less than polished finished piece in favour of doing something rather than nothing.

I’ve also embraced my garden weeds and found them to be pretty and deserving of a place in the final book.

I’ve developed a mix of approaches to method and media.

On some rainy days I was forced to complete the work inside and I found the results were far better than when I’m painting irl.

However the feeling of, the experience of painting outside is far greater and brought a greater deal of well-being that gets lost as soon as it becomes studio work.

And I have enjoyed playing again with coloured pencils, pastels and collages solutions to painting white flowers on white paper.

That’s about it for now as things reach the final stretch – thank you for reading.

I am a third of the way through my #100daysproject of painting 100 things growing in my garden.

Any sustained effort on a project has highs and lows; I have had days of lag and disinterest, days where time is just too short and I fall behind and days of joy and peace found painting in quiet spots.

Mostly it’s been a good discipline. A bit too time consuming on some days.

But I’m loving having a little book recording my garden growing.

And above all it’s forced me to identify and name all the plants I’m recording which has been very enlightening and informative.

On with the next!

On June 1st I decided I’d commit to doing a 100days project. There were a few reasons for this:

For Christmas I got given a seed advent calendar which has been a lot of fun but also a lot of work – 25 different kinds of annuals to grow has kept me on my toes in the greenhouse. But it also means I have a lot of lovely plants to enjoy.

I had also enjoyed my residency at Winterbourne H&G so much that I had decided to try and document my own garden in a similar matter. However as is often the case when things are at home, it seems harder to paint and draw in my own garden. I have found time to do some studies and textile work but it doesn’t document the changes as I’d hoped because I can’t keep up the frequency of work needed.

Lastly, I’m back working at MAC (hurrah) and when I’m focussing on delivery I often find my own creativity takes a backseat.

So for all those reasons I started 100days of drawing/painting something in my own garden.

It doesn’t need to be finished or good and it can be quick or slow and I’m also finding I automatically apply several styles to my work but I’m not over-thinking it – just doing it, noticing and letting it be whatever it is.

Here’s the first six days.

Last Monday was a momentous return to work after 15 months of being either on furlough or waiting to be employed again. It was so lovely to be back and worth recording here.

It’s been a little while since I’ve painted some small pieces and I generally always feel inspired when Spring brings us such lovely flowers to work with.

This Auricula was a lucky garden center find – they have been scarce for a few years; apparently growing conditions have not been good.

And this one is the product of my own endeavours in the garden, having cultivated a small Spring flower patch over the last few years. This year it’s been at it’s best with the addition last year of the Snakeskin Fritillary’s.

I’ve wanted to try and paint them for a while – they were deceptively difficult but I enjoyed the challenge. Now I’m looking forward to seeing what May brings to paint.

I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting that I am really missing trips out to see art. The constraints of this Pandemic have truly served to reveal what’s important to me in my everyday existence and also what I would consider to be a treat – there’s nothing like having something made inaccessible to make you value it.

I found myself buying some art books over Christmas to address this yearning. I found some artists who I’d never heard of before and liked the look of and Hannah Ryggen was one of those. I read that she had lived in Norway making political tapestries while running a farm and I wanted to know more.

She was born in Sweden in 1894 but lived mostly in Norway. She began her artistic career as a painter but firmly felt that her work should only be accessible in public places and so she stopped painting and selling to private buyers and concentrated instead on large public works of art made through weaving.

She ploughed headlong through criticism of her media not being Art and didn’t accept it’s second class merit as Arts and Crafts or Applied Art. People were really rude (in print) about her – her looks, way of life and artistic expression. It didn’t seem to phase her.

She hand dyed all the wools for her weaving and some of her letters describe her methods which I found really interesting and relatable.

In Scandinavia she is a big cheese with work in many public spaces and galleries. She continued a style of weaving composition that has a Scandinavian cultural thread (literally)

I love that she used her art for political and social comment (it’s made me question my own practice) using humour and ridicule to underscore her message alongside recording moments of everyday life and family lore.

I would have loved to walk around a show and seen the scale of her work in real life, the texture of her handiwork and had that irreplaceable real-life experience of art-in-the-flesh but for now this book has brought some fresh thinking and discovery.

This is also a good article if you’d like to read more about her.

This pandemic year 2020 has been unlike any other I’ve known ever in my lifetime and I find myself wanting to record it here because it’s been hard to remember events that have happened without the usual rhythms of life to mark them. I’m sure one day I’ll think back on this year and not remember it all.

It has been a year that’s pruned and revealed. A year I’ve let my hair grow out grey which in itself is fine (the pandemic gave me the reason I’ve been wanting to un-attach myself from the long bi-monthly hairdresser visit) but speaks more about an increasing willingness to just let things be, not to fight or make happen.

One of those lessons was the end of my Artist in Residency at Winterbourne House & Gardens which finished with no big fanfare of an exhibition to top it off. It all came down to me valuing my personal experience and the work I made without outside validation or income for it. A pill which took some weeks to swallow but I found closure through filming a home-spun exhibition myself and then saying goodbye and thanks to the project.

I miss my arts center job enormously (it is mothballed for a year) and was/is so sad that many, many colleagues will have gone and moved on to pastures new post-redundancy. I love working there and the co-workers are a large part of that. On a positive note, some of my textiles group regulars transformed into a new Zoom Textiles weekly meet-up which started in March and is still running every week.

At first in the shock of Lockdown we crafted thematically together but as time has gone on we’ve found freedom to do whatever we each please (or nothing) and I’ve made a group of new friends.

My garden sustained me enormously this year; offering me a different creative focus to art making, a place generally uninhabited by other members of my family so I could find some aloneness and space to think and feel.

And of course the excitement of growing things to eat and decorate our house with. I hope to focus more on my own garden as a source of art inspiration in 2021.

We were lucky enough to get 3 trips in this year in between Tier restrictions; Ilfracombe in March before the pandemic, Portmerion for a few days in Aug and a week in West Wales in September, plus 3 trips to family in Norfolk varying from overnight to an hour and a half. I’ve not enjoyed being constricted in that way, unable to travel where and when I’ve wanted to, especially where my elderly parents are concerned.

Our front door often revolves as one child comes back home and another leaves for a spell; I was very anxious in April when our son left to live solo having been home for some time (broken leg etc) but he was ready (pandemic or not) to get going with his life again. He found a great job and flat/s and the summer was good to him. Tiers 3 and 4 have put him back on furlough so the future looks uncertain atm.

Having my daughter here all year (she came back in March just before she finished her degree) has been an unexpected bonus- we fully expected her to move straight on to whatever life has to offer her in her next chapter (probably abroad) but I won’t lie that I’ve enjoyed having her home.

We have completed three Domestika embroidery courses together and shared a new-found love of sewing and printing too. We have also discovered a love of jigsaws and tried to do Zumba regularly (Sunny Funny Fitness for the memory archive)

After she galvanised me in August to get started, we completed the NHS Couch to 5K in Dec and I have been running 3 x a week since. I’m the most surprised about this!

In May I began my most complex knitting pattern ever Blomsterjakke Flower cardigan and seven months later finished it in December.

I read a lot – 21 this year – I made a special effort to keep a note of them as I always forget. I managed to stay in Book Club but it’s not the same on Zoom.

And I also started learning French on Dualingo and to date I’m on a 223 day streak. I loved learning French at school and of all the places I yearn to travel to, France is always in the top three so it’s an investment and it’s keeping my brain sharp.

Like most people in the arts, my work bottomed out suddenly leaving me at first with time to happily indulge in things I’d been meaning to do (cue big studio tidy, AinR work, work inspired by our Asia trip in 2019) but as time went on I had to face how I feel when I’m not working and that was much harder. I thrive when I’m creatively associated with people (teaching, visiting galleries, learning) I felt blocked in a way, that I couldn’t breathe in nor breathe out in a creative way. And eventually the “Who am I, What do I do’ gremlin comes a-calling and I had a few bumpy weeks of the blues. I solved it in part by starting a gratitude journal to remind myself just how fortunate I am. But also some of my existing projects gently re-ignited, albeit it digitally, so I had some creative contact and some income which both helped me feel more me.

I said yes to every bit of passing work which meant a huge up-skilling in my knowledge and ability to use imovie, Zoom, film myself, speak to camera coherently and how to edit and produce films which are enjoyable to watch. I was at a loss at the time (I never wanted to get on camera) but in hindsight it’s been great for me and proved to be a necessary stepping stone. I filmed my own on-line painting (a plate of tomatoes) course, started a You-Tube channel and next year I have two new projects kicking off – both digital, both with new-to-me partners.

My life plays out visually on Instagram fairly regularly but I have returned to this quiet unattended space much more regularly this year. It feels like a quiet place to collect my thoughts and a diary of sorts so I can capture events in time and explain them more fully.

I wrote this for me and my archive but if you’ve taken the time to get to this end here then the least you deserve is my wishing you a very Happy New Year.

The garden still has some treasures to be found worth painting – I have left flowers to go to seed so that there are interesting seed heads, the ornamental quince has fruited and the Marigolds soldier on regardless and all of these make lovely things to paint on this sunny day.

Here it is 🥁🥁🥁 My first online painting project for you to do at home in your own time – handy for another Lockdown. And the great news is that I’m offering an Early Bird discount – the first 12 people get access for just £12 💫

A couple of people suggested I give digital teaching a go, so I’ve massively upped my skill set over the last few months and recorded a painting project which you can do step-by-step alongside me.

It’s a digital watercolour painting project comprising 13 videos to guide you through every step of making a still life painting of tomatoes on a plate. I demonstrate every step and there are two project options so you can find the right challenge for you.

You will learn how to stretch paper, how to use masking fluid, the Flooding and Salting techniques to create watercolour effects, the Lifting Out technique and advice on how to sketch, add hi-lights and shadows, what materials to use and how best to finish your painting. Created to offer you a moment of creativity – it is for all ages and stages and there are no expectations of you other than to have an enjoyable time.

All this to keep forever for just £15 by emailing hello@claireleggett.co.uk.

Copyright notice 2020

All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Claire Leggett and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Claire Leggett.

If you wish to link to this site or to a post from this site, please ask first before doing so and then give appropriate credit for content.

Any other inquiries please email me at hello@claireleggett.co.uk

Instagram

I had a to-do list today & printing this wasn’t on it BUT I had to try out my new printing inks from @pickprettypaints straightaway 😄🌿🌈 #textiledesign #textileart #patterns #print #printmaking #linocut #fabricprint #fabricdesign #pattern #patternmaking #linoprint #fabricprinting #patternlove #lino #alwaystimeforpatternmakibg #linoprinting
Took a little Insta break to play around painting & drawing (more on that to follow 💫) and complete some other projects -see my Stories today for a little round up 🎥 #anartistslife #catchup #artistsoninstagram #paintingplaydate #artistworld #mywork #artworkinprogress
I’ve reached the end of my #100dayproject 💪🏻 but maybe not in 100 actual days plus there are only 96 pages in my book 😉🤷🏻‍♀️ so I lost stamina towards the end and had to really search the garden for something not yet studied but I’ve done it ☺️ here’s about half of them 🖼#sketchbook #creativelifehappylife #creativityeveryday #dailypracticeofpainting #artistsoninstagram #gouache #inspiredbythegarden #artist #mygardenflowers #painting #paintersofinstagram #art#alittleeachday #gouachepainting #watercolour #watercolor #flowers #paint #sketchbookdrawing #daily #dailypracticeofpainting #watercolourpainting #paint #paintingflowers #creativity #everyday #artwork #100dayproject2021
Here’s the final few to complete my 100dayproject of painting 100 things from my garden 🌻🌿🍅🪴🌷🥬#sketchbook #creativelifehappylife #creativityeveryday #dailypracticeofpainting #artistsoninstagram #gouache #inspiredbythegarden #artist #mygardenflowers #painting #paintersofinstagram #art#alittleeachday #gouachepainting #watercolour #watercolor #flowers #paint #sketchbookdrawing #daily #dailypracticeofpainting #watercolourpainting #paint #paintingflowers #creativity #everyday #artwork #100dayproject2021

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