Love is in the air……

As it is Valentines day, I had a romantic notion that today I would go on a photowalk and look for hearts.  I figured that today of all days, the lichen would form itself into hearts, that heart shaped pebbles would litter the beach and that the planes approaching Gatwick would carve hearts in their contrails in the sky…..

It didn’t take long to realise I wasn’t going to find any hearts!   So instead I thought about love and just took pictures that are mainly soft and ethereal.  The sun had just burnt through the fog, but everywhere was still soaked in dew…..

As I returned, I saw a grandfather walking with his toddler grandson, and I thought their holding hands perfectly encapsulated love.

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A mindful photowalk – it’s been too long!

It’s been a hectic few months where I have not had time to think about my art and haven’t even picked up my camera. Now things are settling, I did some indoor shots yesterday and today, got out for a mindful photowalk which I loved!

Click for a larger image….

The delight found in stillness…

Tim Watson (@BeatLiturgist  on Twitter) wrote an mindful poem in response to the picture I posted yesterday, which I wanted to share – I find it very moving.

A beautiful image on a very moving day.
A reminder of the beauty of peace.
Of the delight found in quiet stillness.
An acceptance of the autumn and the changes it brings.

© Tim Watson 2018

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Deep reflection, Ailsa Brims 2018

 

 

An early morning autumn walk….

So glad I got up early and went out whist the sun was rising, we are due another storm this afternoon!  Moody skies and crepuscular rays over Portsmouth Harbour and lots and lots of wet leaves!

Click through for larger versions.

Corner of a foreign field…..

I post this picture on Twitter most years, it is a (watercolour) painting I did after visiting the WW1 battlefields in 2010, to retrace the steps of my grandfather William Brims.

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“Corner of a foreign field”  Ailsa Brims, watercolour

I grew up hearing about my Dad’s dad and knew a little bit about what he did in the war, but going over there, and having a professional guide, together with being able to search online to find out more, really brought it all to life.

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The Brims Family c1912-3 – my Grandfather is the eldest boy, 3rd from the left.   His sister, Amy, died in the flu epidemic after WW1. 

William enlisted in Edinburgh in 1915, aged just 16, less than two weeks after his father died (aged 48).  William was the eldest of five (see picture above) and perhaps he felt he had to earn some money for the family, we don’t know.    He joined the Royal Scots and soon joined the new Machine Gun Corps.

(I watched a documentary about the machine gun corps this week, terrifying and fascinating in equal measure. I cannot equate a soldier using such weapons with the gentle man my father describes.)

He spent a long time on his basic training in the UK, we know he was sick during this time, but perhaps his seniors realised how young he was and held him back also.  It’s conjecture.

It was over two years before he was sent to France, and that late deployment and his ongoing ill health probably saved him.  He fought at Passchendaele, and before that he was near Albert on the Somme (although mercifully after the major battle there).

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We know my Grandfather crossed this field (just outside Ypres) in 1917 as part of the Battle of Passchendaele

He was discharged in late 1917 as unfit to serve, still just a teenager.   His health was delicate until his death just after WWII aged 48.

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My Grandfathers dog tag and cap badge

My father, a photographer, did a very moving photographic series about his father which you can see on his website:  davidbrims.com.

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William Brims 

Hope

I have had a tough couple of weeks and whilst doing a qigong routine where the instructor talked about being rooted, this picture came to mind.   A little sapling, managing to thrive in a tough rocky world.

I’m enjoying playing with some new ideas with my art, I have gone back to basics looking at composition, and I have to say, it’s a lot cheaper to make my mistakes on a tablet than with expensive watercolour paper and paints!

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Hope, digital art, 2018

 

Today’s painting – it’s coming along!

Earlier this year I decided to take a year out from exhibiting and doing my photography and concentrate on playing.   The last couple of years have been fairly intense with three large exhibitions (& a few smaller ones) and doing an MA Fine Art and I wanted time to just have fun with my paints.   Because of the success of my photography, my painting got ignored for a while, but I’m back!

This is todays painting, I am very happy with it, I feel as if my playing and my intention are coming together and I am developing a technique that I enjoy very much!

More soon!

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Above the line.   Watercolour, 2018

 

America’s cool modernism – at the Ashmolean now!

I’d highly recommend at trip to the Ashmolean, Oxford (before the end of July) for the America’s Cool Modernism show – abstract expressionism in the making.  Some wonderful work, very cleverly curated to create a story as you wander round.

Saw some fantastic work there, work that takes my breath away, especially the Georgia O’Keeffe, who I admire hugely, but I saw a new piece, Black Abstraction that frankly I could have looked at for a very long time!  It has great presence.

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Black Abstraction, 1927, Georgia O’Keeffe

And the very first painting you come across is Edward Steichen, wow – I was happy just seeing that one!

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Le tournesol (the sunflower) c1920, Edward Steichen.

And the Edward Hoppers…. what can I say?!

Do catch the show if you can – it’s worth the trip!  ashmolean.org/americascoolmodernism

Georgia O’keeffe picture credit https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/489814

Featured Image

The featured image at the top of this article is one of my own, which I did last weekend.  Onion, watercolour, 2018.  It’s a bit of a homage to Georgia O’keeffe!

 

 

 

Mindfulness and Creativity – how artists are benefiting from meditating

I came across this article yesterday (link below) – I totally agree with the author – mindfulness is essential for me for all my practices, photography, drawing or painting.  I use it to settle my mind before creating and for me that is a very productive way of working.  Of course there are huge benefits outside my artistic life also!

Artist Slater Bradley  said “I think there’s a neo-spiritual art movement happening. At a certain point the truth is a bigger subject than pop culture. With meditation you find your inner peace, your inner truth, your centered truth, and then you find the world, and the world finds its center. That’s a noble pursuit for art these days.”

Well worth a read :  Why meditating might make you a better artist by Daniel Kunitz.

 

The big reveal…..!

Last night was the private view of the exhibition at Jack House Gallery, Portsmouth and I have kept my largest piece under wraps (except some teasers on Instragram!) until now.  So here it is,  Heat Shield 458.

An armour-plated tunic made from the wrappers of HRT patches over the last two years, which took several weeks to sew. This represents every single patch I have used. HRT was a life saver for me, the hot flushes I experienced were intolerable.

 

One of the great things about this exhibition is it’s opened up the conversation about the menopause, I have had some very interesting chats and been able to educate people – men and women, about this huge event that we still don’t talk openly about enough.

See my menopause blog for more information!