Coming up for air

Most of the artwork I’m doing at the moment is work in progress.  The fabric book is coming together slowly.  I’ve paired up the page spreads and embellished them so that they look like they belong together.  I’ve then sewed and trimmed the pages, and am now in the process of edging them using blanket stitch.  Hopefully I’ll have something to post by the end of the summer hoilday.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been playing in my sketchbook.  This page started with glued bits of newspaper, tissue paper and strips of torn fabric (I don’t throw anything away any more!)  I then gessoed over the top, allowing some of the newsprint to show through.  When all that was dry, I selected three colours of acrylic paint, and scraped them on randomly using a credit card.  I won’t leave it there, but I’m not sure yet what I will do next.  It’s quite an adventure!

fragment of sketchbook page

Paper with silk threads

I’ve been doing some more work on the fabric book, but it’s not really worth posting.  There’s nothing particularly gripping about tacking around edges, or ironing on interfacing is there?

I have also been making more paper.  It works really well with chopped up bits of silk thread, sent to me by a friend who has recently disappeared into thin air.  I miss her, actually.

handmade paper

A glimpse of my ‘studio’

a mess

Well actually … it’s the spare bedroom.  And we have a guest coming this weekend.  Help!

I don’t know how to do one of those Flickr things with pop up labels on, so what you can see here are some fabric journal pages in progress, some prints onto handmade paper, and my papermaking kit waiting for me to make some more.

Still here!

It seems ages since I’ve posted anything here.  I’ve been busy with clients, family parties, birthday treats, and cycling.  We managed to get nearly a week of sunshine after months of rain, so I’ve been outside as much as possible.  It is certainly true that you appreciate the sun so much more when it is rarely seen (so Prince Hal said in Shakespeare’s Henry V Part something-or-other). 

This has meant less time with paints and pencils, but I have started a painting of the girl-with-pram.  Meanwhile, I’ve been sketching from one of my birthday presents.

lifedrawing 2lifedrawing 1

Waiting …


I drew this whilst waiting for the moderator to visit our class at college last Wednesday.  Drawing lots of little tiles is quite a good way of filling in time when you know you may keep being interrupted, as there isn’t too much to concentrate on at any one time.

The moderator looked at my work and seemed happy.  He was there to see that the college tutors were doing their job properly, which I’m sure they are.  So I’m now finished college for this year, and should even have a qualification in Art and Design!  I have no idea when I will formally find out what result I got (if any) but I do know I’ve done enough to pass.

So, the summer beckons (damply so far) and I plan to do more walking, more sketching, and lots of artwork.  I’m in the middle of a few projects right now including an oil painting, a 3D wire doll, and something to do with childhood photos. 


Sole-boundI’ve spent much of last week on our end of year exhibition, which is being held in Todmorden Unitarian church.  Whilst this is a rather unusual venue for an art exhibition, it has the advantage of being large enough to get everyone’s work into.  It is a beautiful church, now no longer used for services.  It is not the best venue to display paintings in, but it was a real celebration for everyone to have the opportunity to display their work.   The private view on Friday evening had a real buzz, and the church was probably fuller than it has been in a long time. 

Might I fall in?

Unitarian Church interior


SusanWe visited my Gran this weekend.  When I went into the room that we were staying in, there were three dolls propped up against the fireplace, carefully wrapped in clear plastic.  I recognised them straight away – Tiny, Susan and Mandy.  My old dolls.  Gran had kept them because she thought someone else might want them some day.  Presumably she’s given up on that idea.  So I’m taking them back off her hands.

It feels really strange to hold them.  The feel of them is so familiar, as is the smell of their hair and the faint clicking noise as they blink their plastic eyelids.  With them was a bag full of their clothes, most made by my Mum.  They are really lovely.  Buried under the clothes was another old doll – one of those Sindy-type stick-thin dolls.  I don’t feel as attached to her as I do the other three.

I’ve decided to draw them, and started by using children’s drawing materials – crayon and felt tip.  The dolls actually look much nicer than this; the drawings look rather sinister.

Doll in felt tip

Whoops – I’ve been tagged

I’ve been tagged by Dave to tell seven secrets that most people don’t know about me.  Thanks, Dave!  This is going to take some thought.

1. I’ve started wearing my partner’s clothes.  No, really.  He was planning to throw out some perfectly good Levi 501’s, so I tried them on.  Rather embarassingly, they fit (he is tall and lean, that’s my excuse).  It’s just the 34 inch leg length that gives me a few problems.

2. I used to be in a pop group.  Well, a pop duo.  We both played keyboards, sang, and wrote and arranged our own songs.  We had a big gig once at a local pub.  The locals even clapped.  And we got an article in the local paper (the Sleaford Standard I think it was).   We called ourselves Tango, and the headline was ‘Pop duo thirsty for pop success’. Inspired journalism! (Tango was, and probably still is for all I know, a brand of fizzy drink.)

3. I have my hair cut about once every 18 months.  It’s getting rather long.

4. I collect margarine tubs – and other plastic pots that Rick would rather I put in the rubbish.  It’s a habit I’ve tried to give up in the past, and when we’ve moved house before, a large stack of them from the shed went to the tip.  But they can be so useful!  And whenever you need one, you can never find one …

5. I used to play the violin.  Fortunately for everyone involved, I gave up.

6. I actually like cabbage water.  And sometimes I crave spinach.  I’m a great believer that my body tells me what it needs.  Including Green and Blacks.

7. I usually go to bed at 9.30pm.  If I’m still up after that, I start to become incoherent and very grumpy.  Must be my age.

Phew.  That wasn’t so bad.

I tag:-

Ronell at AfricanTapestry.  Ronell does some beautifully loose and energetic watercolours and oil paintings, and accompanies them with a fascinating commentary.

Ryan at Bone and Shadow.  Ryan works in pencil and does the most incredibly sensitive drawings of all things to do with bones.

Demiurge – for a wonderful variety of crafts and all things creative.

Bit by Bit – for some stunning colour pencil illustrative work.

Mithi’s Journey – a record of Mithi’s journey from Foundation class to Illustrator, with some very interesting visual work.

Karen’s Creative Journey – daily paintings, mostly watercolor, all beautiful and with some very useful and generous commentary on how she’s tackled the paintings.  I learn from her all the time.

Martha’s Trumpetvine – some lovely loose watercolour sketches – a style I aspire to and never reach!

Apologies if you’ve already been tagged. 🙂

Busy weekend sketches

We’ve just returned from a weekend away to go to a wedding.  I did exercise my creative eye (such as it is) in trying to get some decent shots with my SLR, as they didn’t have a photographer.  However, I still stuck to my resolution and found time to draw both days.  Just these little sketches, but it keeps my eye in.

 I grabbed a few quick sketches of things in the hotel room while we were resting after the drive.

hotel room

This evening, the first thing I did was to draw this sprig of heather.  I’m using this to study how things grow in the landscape – bit like drawing trees really, but I can balance a sprig of heather on my sketchbook!


Feeling motivated today …

I woke up this morning feeling flat and low on energy.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my day.  This afternoon, I’m feeling optimistic, purposeful and busy.  So, what made the difference?

For a while, I’ve had an item scribbled on my to-do list to ‘research potential outlets for my art’.  I’ve known that it is important for me to do art, but I’ve struggled to dedicate time to it, feeling it’s not serious and I should be doing a ‘proper job’.  Then I went to my co-coaching group a couple of weeks ago (they supervise my coaching practice and check I’m not falling into bad habits).  Being with a group of coaches for an evening, they helped me to see that I needed to research potential outlets for my creativity in order to allow myself to take it seriously.

So, today I sat down and wrote out all the things I could do that I feel passionate about.  Things that appeal, rather than things that I assume would be lucrative.  In doing this, I reconnected with my purpose – what I really care about, and what stimulates me to make art.  It’s a purpose that I keep coming back to when I pause to listen, and that makes me burn with energy.  When I reconnect with it, ideas suddenly start to flow and action always follows.  I have rediscovered my motivation.

Prompted by this, I’ve written an article on finding your motivation.  What is it that motivates you to work?