In the past, I've not been the best at using my sketch book to process my ideas. In truth, I've often 'flown' with an idea and then got lost, because I hadn't thought it through fully. Since straying into 'abstract' territory, I've found my sketchbook a great aid to working through ideas and techniques. A guide to keeping my feet on the ground, well mostly!
Many artists sketchbooks are so neat and ordered, they are works of art in themselves. At a recent exhibition, I saw the sketchbooks of, the late, Wilhelmina Barnes Graham; such neat handwriting and perfect drawings. The discolouration of the pages was due to age and damp, not the forgotten cup of cold tea that got knocked over on the work table!
My current sketchbook is fastened with a length of elastic that catches into a button, to allow for expansion. I can see this will be under severe strain long before the book is finished. The pages are filled with gathered bits of inspiring information, samples of texture I've created and rough sketches of design layouts and other ideas. I'm about to create a pocket to include the stages of a recent print, which will swell the pages further. I hope it holds together for a bit longer, as I've become quite attached to this sketchbook, with its motley collection of creativity.
This week I nearly slipped back into my old ways. While standing applying gesso to a blank canvas - one of 8 - I was thinking what I might paint on it. I very nearly set off on my next painting journey with only a rough idea of where I was headed, and with no map, or SATNAV, where would I end up? Realising I might be going to repeat this 8 times over, I gave myself a good talking to and got out my sketchbook, my painting route finder, and found the inspiration I needed. Disaster averted!
Along with my sketchbook, I have my 'doodle book.' This is part of a 1950's encyclopaedia set, full of out of date information and in poor condition. Another 'creativity generator.' The idea was to chose a subject from each page and doodle something. Unfortunately, I realised after the 3rd page, that the first subject, 'Sound,' ran to 24 pages of technical jargon and equations! Hmmm . . . . a bit more of a challenge than I intended it to be.
When creating some artwork has defeated me, I've taken random words from the page and arranged them into a form of prose and added collage or symbols. I feel my science education was lacking in something, as after reading the whole page, I still can't work out what on earth 'relaxational compressibility, or, 'instantaneous compressibility' is! If you have this wisdom, please share with me in the comments below?
I'm suffering from 'instantaneous compressibility.'
It comes in waves through the ether-
That substance without form, but known for its tranmissibility.
It's when synchronicity joins up all the loose ends, ideas and dreams.
It sends them hither and thither,
To make connections to the open-minded free-thinkers and day-dreamers.
Once the wave passes, I slump into a state of relaxational compressibility . . . .
Breathe in, breathe out, prepare to catch the next wave . . . .
Cherish your journey
On Tuesday, 30th January they'll be celebrating the winter fire festival of Up Helly Aa in Lerwick on the Shetland Isles. Almost 1000 torch bearers will parade, singing and marching and finally throwing their blazing torches into the replica Viking galley, that will set alight the night sky. Festivities carry on until after daybreak the next day. I just wish I could be there! It's an event that involves all the communities and mini-events continue on in the smaller communities until March. For more info visit http://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/uphellyaa/ for links to the event timetable. These 2 recent works were inspired by this festival of fire and light. I wanted to capture the colour of the blaze and the swirling, twisting smoke that travels through the flames.
When working on these Up Helly Aa paintings, thoughts of my childhood came to mind. Supper on Winter evenings, toasting great wedges of bread over the embers of the kitchen fire. Waiting patiently and measuring the rate of toasting, by the smell of burning bread! To this day, I still love the smell and taste of well done toast. I was a very young child, in those pre-TV days, and with the lights low, we would listen to the radio, play with toys, or Mum would read us stories. If the fire was blazing brightly, we'd look for 'faces' in the fire and watch for the 'fairy dancers,' as my Mum called them. Of course, we believed in fairies, as all things are possible at that age. Mum would point to the flickering shadows on the walls and ceiling to confirm their existence, just in case there was any doubt.
With these memories in my head, the 2 artworks, below, are more about the 'fairy dancers,' their smoky shadows dancing and jumping in the fire.
How times have changed . . . . . now I have a toaster.
The toaster and I still haven't come to agreement as to-
1) how high it will eject the toast, or,
2) what speed and trajectory the toast will fly in!
best wishes to you,
Cherish your journey.
Welcome to my very first Blog . . . .
After the 'busy-ness' of the Festive season we now journey through the new year. It's a time for planning and ordering our lives in the diary, on the calender, or spread out across the wall planner. It's all about 'activity' and while we do this, we can shut out thoughts we don't want to address. Those thoughts can be about anything and everything. While doing all this activity, we can also shut out those small moments of happiness, because we are too busy staring out at the 'bigger picture.'
'How is this to do with art?' you may ask. For me, while being busy, busy, busy, it is difficult to capture those fleeting creative ideas and nurture them into the artwork I love to create. This isn't the only way I get ideas, but having space in my life for 'inactivity' is important to my creative process. Time to think and imagine, uninterrupted, is a luxury and is truly appreciated.
Due to a dose of a horrible winter 'flu bug, inactivity has been imposed on me this New Year, giving rise to the thoughts I've shared with you. My next activity will be making time for 'inactivity' in the diary and on the calender for 2018. You might like to try it too! How do you let the creative ideas flow, I'd be interested to hear?
I'd like to share these words from 2009, as they seem to fit the feel of anticipation, of a new day/year ahead.
It's quiet here,
In the hour before dawn,
On the boundary of the year,
Wrapped in the greyness before light breaks.
Murmuring thoughts take shape,
Muffled as the sound of a snowy day.
Floating through the mind,
Like snowflakes against the grey.
Wrap yourself in the stillness, capture those thoughts and have a 2018 filled with creativity and opportunity, love, laughter and light.
in anticipation of a great 2018,
Cherish your journey.