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pop up every time the laptop cranks up to warp speed to connect to the internet - it's settings are getting a little out of date, like mine.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.
I decided it is very unlikely, I could be persuaded to ride a camel. Michael Palin's account of his journey across the Sahara, was more about endurance than discovery. Considering the extreme heat, the bouts of 'dire rear' and the possibility of kidnap by political groups, it was an epic journey. The unique, willful characteristics of his allotted camel were just a bonus!
While painting I often listen to audio books, loaned from the public library. (A luxury I truly appreciate.) 'Words' are a great inspiration to me. When an author paints a picture with words, expresses emotions or give the inanimate, life, it all works to make my brain 'tick' and drives my imagination.
Last week I crossed the Sahara from my studio, this week I'm hearing about innovation and 'What would Steve Jobs do?' There have been travel diaries and novels and I've been totally clueless about any number of murder mysteries! I did borrow an actual book, with pages, about 'blogging,' but, as it was longer than a copy of 'War and Peace' it remained largely unread. Hence the debatable quality of my blog posts.
A lovely bedtime read was 'The Living Mountain' by Nan Shepherd. A relaxing account of her explorations of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland. She fills the pages with such detail of the seasons and 'moods' of the mountain. Her descriptions of the flora and fauna and how the balance of even the smallest ecosystem is dependent on the whole living mass of the mountain, are fascinating and informative.
My latest bedtime read is 'The Old Ways,' It was loaned and recommended by a friend. I got to page 2 and knew I'd just love it! The author, Robert Macfarlane explores the ancient paths and byeways of Britain. Perhaps I'll be walking them in my dreams each night.
Once I find out what it was that Steve Jobs did, I'll be hearing about life in France . . . . . .
What's been your favourite read recently and how did it inspire you?
with best wishes,
Cherish your journey
It has always fascinated me that you can have a room of creative people and one subject to paint, draw, or write about and at the end of the task, each will produce something different on the same subject. I was reminded of this when someone asked me, 'where do you get your ideas from?' There are many sources for ideas and it is the development of those ideas that produce original work. Is there any truly 'original' idea? Probably not and that may seem a controversial statement! It is, perhaps, more about what makes your treatment of that idea new and different. My ideas often have a long 'gestation' period before they actually appear on canvas or paper. They gradually take shape in my head before ever getting into a sketchbook.
The countdown to the Spring Fling Open Studios Event has begun. It's held over 3 days at the Spring Bank Holiday weekend- 26th, 27th and 28th May 2018 and there will be artists and makers studios open across Dumfries and Galloway.
To take part, there is a selection process and when applying, I didn't think I'd get selected at all! I nearly missed the email that told me I'd been successful too! There'd been a lot of emails arriving and when I saw mail from an unfamiliar name, I didn't open it straightaway. Thankfully, I did, to discover it was 'congratulations' on being selected to take part. In fact, I went back to read it 3 times, just to check I didn't dream it!
Since then, I've been planning what needs to be done to prepare for the event There's been a social event to meet other Spring Fling artists; it was great to hear their experiences of Spring Fling; meet other 'newbies' like myself and gather useful tips for the event weekend, while enjoying it too. Plus, I've been painting like a woman possessed, as there's new work needed for display in other outlets too.
Tonight I would have been putting the finishing touches to the final artworks in the Shetland Knives series, but the electricity in this area has gone off. It happens. Once I'd got some lighting organised, I made a salad by candle light, then used my camping gas stove to make a hot drink and fill a hot water bottle, all the time hoping the power would suddenly flash back on again.
The down side is, the power's been off for over 2 hours and in an all-electric house, in Scotland, in Winter, it's pretty damn cold now. Although there is a calor stove, if it gets desperately cold. I'm ok, all tucked up in bed keeping warm, as the heat from a massed gathering of tea-lights doesn't stop the cold getting into your bones! Brrrr! So, I'm writing this in the dark, with what is left of the battery power in my laptop and no power, means no WiFi. I'm grateful for the upside- there's no cloud cover and without the street lights, I can see so many more stars than would normally be visible. It's breathtaking looking out of the window, into the darkness, it certainly puts life, the earth, the universe and the lack of power into true perspective.
With 'warm' wishes,
Cherish your journey.