It was a pretty amazing Spring Fling event this year. I'm so grateful to those who turned up at Studio 4, despite the cool, showery weather. One hundred and thirty, lovely people visited to see my artwork. Many of them carried off a painting, or even two! So much support for my artwork and business, it was such a boost. It was great to see the familiar faces of folk returning after visiting last year and a special 'big up' goes to those who had me on their 'must see' list of studios! Phew, that's setting the bar high for next year, that's if I get through the Spring Fling selection process for next year!
It was a long period of intensive preparation for that weekend and energy levels have taken a dive just now. The post-Spring Fling 'slump' has begun, but I'm trying really hard to shake it off! Lots of things were still to be done after the event. The artworks that sold, but weren't taken away at the event, have now been delivered. The triptych, my 'work in progress,' that a very brave person decided to leave a deposit on, has been completed. They initially loved the colours and my broad outline of the work yet to be done. Thankfully, they are very happy with the finished work. When the oils are dry, it will head off to Peterborough, to its new home. The Spring Fling 'stats' have been logged online for Studio 4- how many visitors, where they came from, etc., from the 'book of numbers,' recorded over the event weekend. Much of the remaining artwork has been taken down and the walls in the house have almost returned to what is for my kind of 'normal.'
There are 3 new works prepped with gesso and ready for new beginnings. Before I start, there is a joint exhibition to prepare for. It's at a new space opening in July and there will be more details on my Facebook page soon. Feeling very 'chuffed' to have been invited as one of the opening artists.
Top of my 'to do' list is, 'I want my bedroom back!' The front bedroom is ready to redecorate, following the improvements to the insulation. Every day, I look in at the front bedroom covered in dust sheets and sigh. Every night, I carefully manoeuvre around most of the front bedroom paraphernalia, which is temporarily squashed in the back bedroom with me! Oh, to have my bedroom back! It won't be long now . . . and another, sigh . . . .
Out in the garden there is rhubarb ready for picking and the strawberries will be ready soon . . . . if I can get to them before the birds and the mice! There are areas of the garden that desperately need some TLC and some that just need a rampage with a well sharpened machete! During all of this activity, I will be making time for enjoying the Summer, whenever it starts- the Gulf Stream needs to edge a bit further North yet, for Scotland to warm up a bit. I really do believe in global warming, really I do, but sometimes when wearing a cagoule and sweater, in mid June, you do wonder . . . . .
There will be family visiting in July and August - fun time - paddling in the sea - maybe even a swim - brrrrh - sand castle construction - beach combing and walks. Memory making . . . .
However busy you are this Summer, be sure to make some memories too,
Cherish your journey
Yes, I know, this blog post is well overdue. Nothing new there, you say! Don't tell me, you haven't realised yet, that I'm secretly training you into my ways of random bursts of information, at unexpected moments . . . . . . . . . .
Here in Scotland, we've already seen the snow drops in the woodland, the daffodils have been rejoicing the end to winter in the garden. Now it's the first day of May, the swallows are back from their winter holidays and the bluebells are carpeting the woodland here, a reminder that Summer days are coming soon!
It's been an eventful few months on many levels. On the artwork front, I'm thrilled to have been selected again, for the Spring Fling Open studios event, 25th - 27th May 2019. Back in March, The Artists and Makers Gallery in the Mill on the Fleet, at Gatehouse of Fleet invited me to join them, displaying my work at this popular visitor attraction. Plus, a selection of my artwork makes a return to Glentrool Arts and Crafts Gallery, between March and October. My work continues to be available at the Artists and Makers shop in Castle Douglas, all year round.
New abstract artwork this Spring has been inspired by many themes, from the incredible, unbelievable, often hilarious, village gossip, (the rumour machine), through Germination, to a winter trip to Argyll!
At home, the disruptive chaos of new insulation and renovation work to the upstairs progresses slowly, but surely. The sound of hammering is thudding upstairs as I write.
A long standing health issue became much more troublesome from Summer last year. After investigations and a series of unsuccessful treatments, it was decided that surgery was the best option for an improvement to my long term health. That was done 2 weeks ago and recovery is now going to plan. I did have concerns that I may come home looking like I'd done a sparring session with Mike Tyson! Apart from a temporary lump on the side of my nose, due to the dissolvable packing and dark rings under my eyes from lack of sleep, the surgery left no visible signs it had taken place. So grateful we have our National Health Service, where would we be without it? I'm really hoping my energy levels are soon restored, ready for the 3 days of the Spring Fling open studios event.
In March I ran a full day workshop, 'Meaningful Mark-making', here in my home/studio. I wanted to introduce people to being 'creative', to be expressive and to learn by exploring ideas/techniques without any pressure to complete a finished piece of work. We began with creative mark-making at random and with intent, using many different tools and objects, using black ink. After morning coffee there was a short guided meditation to aid focus and creative thought, before an introduction to composition and basic colour theory. This was then applied to the black and white work done earlier. After a light lunch we moved on to beginning an abstract acrylic work, on board, to be taken home at the end of the day. The day flew by and the ladies on the course really threw themselves into the expressive mark-making during the morning. Later they created some thoughtful artwork, an expression of their own individual styles. I received some great feedback and hope to repeat the workshop during the Summer/Autumn. If you go over to my Facebook page, you can take a look at the working 'in the zone' video clips taken during the workshop sessions. It was really inspiring as they explored the mark-making possibilities and I watched their confidence grow throughout the day. If you would be interested in this workshop, just get in touch for more information.
As I was not to do anything 'strenuous' these past 2 weeks, I've been exploring ideas for printmaking, planning for Spring Fling, knitting a fabulous, colourful hoodie jacket for my Grandson and quietly healing from my surgery. There is the usual, ever growing, 'to do' list and the weeds in the garden just keep getting taller, but hopefully, all will be ready for Spring Fling later this month! 24 DAYS TO GO!
Returning from last year, will be the popular- 'name the artwork' draw during Spring Fling weekend. It's free to enter, visitors just give the work a title. If your entry is drawn out on Monday 27th at 5.30pm, the artwork is yours. There were wonderful titles suggested last year, can't wait to see what ideas visitors have this year. I met such a friendly, creative bunch of visitors last year and I'm really looking forward to welcoming visitors again this year.
See you soon!
Cherish your journey
They do say 'all things happen for a reason.' With lists written and the diary filled with plans, out of the blue an email arrived. It asked, 'could I take a stall at The Kist during Wigtown Book Festival, because there'd been a late cancellation?' With only 7 days notice, I took the chance and said 'Yes.' I hadn't applied to take part this year, so there was no time for the usual preparations, but still managed to get the display stands out of storage and the artwork organised in time. All of this kit slots into my little car, almost like lining up the squares on a Rubik's cube- well sort of.
It was the 20th year of the Wigtown Book Festival and, as usual, there were the great , the good and the celebrity speakers, giving talks at a host of literary events. There is always a fun, welcoming atmosphere in The Kist marquee, where a selected crew of artists, makers and speciality food producers gather during the event. I looked forward to it and it was a successful event for me, with sales and such a lot of positive feedback for my artwork. It was also an exhausting 5 days for me, as I can, and do, suffer from 'people overload' – that's when I say, 'yes, it's lovely to meet you all, but can we stop now, please?' That's when I'd disappear for a couple of circuits of the outside of the marquee and then return, a lot better able to cope.
Afterwards, with only 2 days to pack it all away again (phew!), I was packing a suitcase and putting my printmaking kit into the car. There was a school talk and demo to do, on developing sketch book ideas and lino printing. The talk and demonstration went really well. The children were very interested in my sketchbook work and so enthusiastic to be involved in making their own prints. The staff were really supportive and lots of prints were made, using different methods, at the 2 sessions- a total of 60 children, aged 7-8 years old took part. As the first session finished, I was amazed to see the corridor outside the classroom door, was a colourful, patchwork river of prints, all lined up to dry.
Sadly, schools don't have spare money in their budgets to 'buy in' artists, so this was me 'giving a little something back.' Let's hope that seeing my sketchbook of art experiments, hearing my thoughts on exploring ideas, not worrying about 'making mistakes' and telling them to have fun and play with their ideas, will see them being even more creative. Children are so curious and as expected there were lots of questions about print making and then there were the unexpected, like . . . . how old are you? . . . . do you really live in Scotland? . . . . where did you get your jumper?
Last week, my website was finally up-dated with more recent information, plus, works that have sold. Any newer work, not sold, will be on there around the end of the month.
The 'Energise' exhibition opens at the new Kirkcudbright Galleries this weekend, organised by, Upland, the arts organisation. A mixed media work has been selected for display. It's very personal to me, being related to my trip to Chile in 2009. It's also very different to my usual work and I'll be interested to get feedback about it. Looking forward to seeing the exhibition, which is on the theme of climate change and conservation. October is turning into a very busy month too!
Right now, I'm working on ideas for the Spring Fling open studios application process, inspired by my visits to The Smithy. The application deadline looms in 11 days time and I'm hoping to be selected to take part again in 2019. Fingers crossed.
with positive thoughts,
Cherish your journey . . . .
With all good intentions to write regular art blog posts, as recommended by the 'Marketing Experts,' I've failed miserably. I'm accepting my failure, as recommended by the 'Health Experts'; learning from it and moving on, without blame or regret.
As I write this, Google will be resetting my 'algorithms,' (someone needs too), and making adjustments. As self appointed guardian of my well being and influencer of my purchasing power, Google will soon offer a host of suggestions that will 'fix' my life. They'll pop up every time the laptop cranks up to warp speed to connect to the internet - it's settings are getting a little out of date, like mine. Social media is now a part of life, but sometimes it feels like a monster that eats up all the spare minutes of that life. This week has been like that. Between, Google, Messenger, Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram, my life must be an open book and perfect for insomniacs as bedtime reading! Ironically, my online security system, that also sees everything, warns me everyone can see where I am – as if anyone cares - then gives a location in England, where, I am not. Hopefully, the antivirus part of the programme is working more efficiently than the location finder.
That's enough of the tales of life with Google and onto the arty stuff. Since the Spring Fling event, there has been the Creative Whithorn Arts and Crafts Trail, which was great fun and introduced me to some new customers and others who returned to say hello. Much time has been given to printmaking, painting and mixed media work, the latter, to a proposed exhibition theme. I almost lost patience with the mixed media, combined print and collage work, as there were a number of process issues to overcome. Once resolved, the collage became a tedious chore. All the spontaneous flow had gone and it just couldn't be conjured up again. Apparently, collage, isn't my 'thing.' It turned into a lesson in patience and a practice of new techniques, that will usefully transfer into future work. The results were disappointing and are consigned to a drawer for the time being.
Next week, I visit an old and draughty 'time capsule' to do some on-site artwork at an old smithy. The old forge is hiding away in an outbuilding at the home of friend and fellow artist, *Glenda Waterworth. Once the door opened to reveal the potential new studio space, I knew this place had a special story to tell me. If I can steal in quietly and capture the atmosphere of the space, the soft light, the feeling of creeping decay, it will be worth sitting with the gazillion spiders that have their home in there!
These are a few of the words that I recorded from that first visit . . .
Cobwebs drape necklaces of gathered dust beads, suspended in time, over the remains of the extinct forge fire. In the gentle light, tiny beads of soot and dust are captured in a snapshot of daily activity from the past. Every nook and cranny bears evidence of the decades of frenetic web building by the generations of spiders that continue to live there.
There will be updates on this new project . . . . . just, not sure how soon . . . .
with good wishes,
Cherish your journey . . . .
Glenda is in a joint exhibition - 'Explosion of Colour' at Harbour Cottage Gallery, Kirkcudbright until 9th September 2018
Out of necessity this is a short blog. A month ago I 'trashed' my timetable for Spring Fling Open studios and threw all my plans into chaos.
The 'to do' list was ditched and the focus of my attention became my 2 grandsons. Being energetic, lively, funny, lovable, huggable, 2 and 3 year olds, they take more energy and concentration than I'm used to expending. Following a fall, my daughter had broken her ankle and was on crutches and I moved into their home to help out. I say 'on crutches,' but this was when we could get them out of the hands of the youngest! He thought it was a great game to take them and run around the house with them. The damage he could inflict in 30 seconds was truly incredible! Thankfully, no pets or people were injured, but there were a few close calls- the fish tank being one of them! Between, their Gran and Grandpa, their Daddy and myself, we managed to keep them entertained, fed and clothed, while Mummy provided extra love and cuddles from the sofa.
During this time, we went to a number of activities, including 'art seekers' at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, dinosaur mask-making, at Sunderland Museum and making fantastical fish while creating fishy stories, during a trip on the magic carpet, at a local child-centred cafe. The professionals who lead these activities wove a powerful spell, that totally engrossed the children and engaged them for long periods of concentration- developing skills for observation, listening and co-operation, that will be needed throughout their lives.
Is it just me, or, as we get older, do we forget how beneficial creative activities are in the development of our children? Art and creativity are not just beneficial for pre-school, but through the developing years of education and infuse an appreciation of creativity that has applications in adulthood too. If we want children to become innovative, original thinkers, then we need them to experience creative activities, not just the 3 R's. I know that school budgets are stretched and emphasis is toward 'academic' skills, but creative thinking is also such a valuable tool for work and mental health, all life long.
Now I'm going to have to stretch my own imagination and work out how I'm going to fit in all the tasks I'd planned to do in the weeks I was away. I want to make Spring Fling enjoyable for me and the 'Spring Flingers' when they visit at the end of May.
Perhaps we should all imagine our own magic carpet ride, where will you go. . . . ?
best wishes to you,
Cherish your journey.