Free Art Friday – a truly liberating experience

Last week was the first time I have participated in Free Art Friday (#freeartfriday)

I found it an exhilarating experience even though it wasn’t truly my art that I was distributing but a copy of My dog sighs work.    I was over the moon when I accidentally came across someone on Twitter who had found it and appreciated it!

I decided I would like to do it again but didn’t realise it would be so soon!

I have been playing with painting and ideas all week and today was the solar eclipse AND International day of Happiness and I had two ideas of stuff I could do today.   I found the free art friday project was empowering – I can do something just for the fun of it, without worrying about it having a value (ie what someone would pay for it) – but on the other hand someone is going to see it and hopefully appreciate it, so you have an incentive to put some passion into it.   But essentially it is just fun.

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And I had lots of fun this morning, coming up with these two – I probably made a dozen copies and picked the best to release into the wild.     Again, leaving them for someone to find was exhilarating and it would be lovely to find out if they were found, but I know that probably I won’t ever know.

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And now, typically, I am having second thoughts, wondering if my work is good enough – wondering why I am pretending to be a proper artist!   Ah well, I guess it will take a lot longer for my artistic confidence to increase.  But I am really really enjoying the experiments.


Daily photograph – Day 12 – Spring has sprung in Hampshire!

OK, first off, I have an admission to make.  I can’t do the one picture a day challenge!  There are just too many pictures out there to take and it is such a beautiful day!    I went out today for a long walk around town and found several things that I wanted to capture – so I did.  I am not going to let a self imposed challenge stop me from taking the pictures I want to take.

But I have learned a lesson from the exercise – I have learned to take my time before snapping, to think and really let the picture come to you rather than searching too hard.     And I think I have come to value the shots much more highly, to treasure the good ones more – so it is not wasted.    And I will still post a picture a day for the 30 days that I intended.

It’s a glorious day here and this is some pussy willow against the blue sky.

I have continued to practice my painting and I am having a lot of fun experimenting and learning about using acrylics.   I have used watercolour and gouache a lot in the past but for some reason I have not tried acrylics before.   I love the way they mix and the way I can move them across the surface with my fingers.  Below is a practice version – I love the colours!  They really make my heart sing.

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I feel like last Thursday was a real breakthrough – as if I had been shown a whole new room of creativity and ideas that I didn’t know was there and I am having so much fun exploring the room and realising there are so many more things I could do.  And this is why I took time off between jobs, it’s taken a while to bubble to the surface 🙂

Photo challenge Day 11 – oops, I missed a few!

I have been busy with other stuff…. and I realised just now that I hadn’t picked up my camera for a few days.   So what’s going on?!   The weather has been lousy and I think I am so obsessed with light and shadows that on a dull day I just don’t see anything that makes me think “Quick!! I have to take a picture!” – so I haven’t (I really feel strongly that you cannot force these things, it will come or it won’t).   Also, since starting to paint seriously again after a few years of pfaffing around, I guess my creativity is split at the moment!

Anyway, today is gloriously (and unexpectedly) sunny and I was in the middle of upholstering the chairs when I looked out of the window and these shadows really called to me.    I love the mix of shapes on the fence, and then the texture of the fence behind.

I also love black and white in photographs – my art work is always extremely colourful but with a camera  I think I prefer the simplification that black and white brings.   It strips everything back to shape and texture.

I feel like I am really in the groove at the moment with having ideas and trying them out.   I am saddened that it has taken two months off work before the fog really started to clear but happy that it has – I knew it would come back at some point!

More tomorrow…. 🙂

One a day photo challenge Day 8 – tulips

I feel torn creatively now, obviously I am excited about my photography and all my ideas of what I can do with it, but now I have the painting ideas too!   I was so absorbed in painting today, it was a while before I picked up my camera.   The sun was just peaking through the window (on what was otherwise a pretty drab day) and the tulips looked gorgeous.  So here you are!

I took this time from work so that I could exercise my creativity muscle and it is certainly working so far!

Did I mention I am also upholstering two chairs at the moment?!   Maybe some pics of them soon too.

No-one has taken my free art friday pic yet!   Not sure if I am pleased it is still there or sad that no-one has claimed it!

Free art friday – today changed my creative world :-)

Today, I had a wonderful opportunity, the artist “My Dog Sighs” ( was giving a workshop a couple of miles from here – it reminded me about the key to nourishing your creativity.  You have to keep talking to artists, seeing their work, hearing how they work, why they work and also get to try doing their art for yourself.   Yes, copy their work, copy copy copy until you metamorphose it into something of yours.

The workshop was part of a wider piece of work by another artist, Jon Adams, called Democracy Street, and our task was to create a piece of work and then release it into the community as part of Free Art Friday.     I was thrilled when I found out that we were going to be mimicking the My Dog Sighs “Everyman” character – because I have long admired it and wanted to know how he made them (I had already tried to copy it with rubbish results!)

My version of the My Dog Sighs Everyman character.

My version of the My Dog Sighs Everyman character.

I made three pieces of art – done with my fingers (hence my picture of the day above – I wish it wouldn’t wash off I am so proud of looking like a proper artist!) – I am surprised that I have never done painting with my hands before, I use other implements such as credit cards but I have never used my fingers.

Two pieces have been released into the wild, hopefully to be discovered by someone – as I said, the theme was democracy, and the road was named after a notable suffragette so that is why I added this particular message.

I love that this woman stopped by my picture without noticing it! #freeartfriday

I love that this woman stopped by my picture without noticing it! #freeartfriday

Doing a piece of art that feels personal and then leaving it in the community for someone else to discover (and hopefully enjoy) was completely thrilling – I can see it would be quite addictive – just knowing it’s out there is a good feeling!

The last piece I did for my husband with a line from the song we had at our wedding (“Will you walk with me?”)

Mine is at the bottom of the picture below, with the real artists art work above!.  I am glad to say that my husband loved my gift.

2015-03-12 14.59.53I cannot adequately articulate how much today meant to me.  There are days when creativity is a hard slog and other days when you get a kick up the butt so big it sends you to a whole new level.  I feel inspired and excited and also very sure I have started on a new avenue for my art.  Obviously I am not going to copy the Everyman character, but there are parts of it that are very “me” and so I will play, and refine it until I come up with something that is authentically mine.

And when I do, I will absolutely be joining in with Free Art Friday and spreading the love!

Today was a very good day!

*So… what happened to your challenge of only taking one picture a day you say?  Well, today I didn’t, I took lots of pictures, but they were not arty ones and were on my phone….. I’ll get back to the photographic challenge tomorrow.

One a day photo challenge – day 6 – got my paints out!

Day six, I am quite impressed with myself for getting to nearly a week without cheating.   For six days I have taken one picture only, no deleting, and posted whatever I took.   I can’t say it’s been high art but it has been very interesting.   I have found it hard, not the bit about finding my subject for the day, they always jump out at me, but only taking one picture of it.  Normally I would set about trying to capture what I saw by trying different angles, different crops, different exposures etc.

I had a profound thought about creativity when I was painting the fence at 8 o’clock this morning – but unfortunately I have completely forgotten what it was, which is annoying and I blame old age!

However, interestingly, I just got my paints out and did 3 paintings just now.    All rather experimental and I am not sure if I have anything worth keeping but I haven’t painted for months.     My paints are held in various ice-cream containers and I loved the way they tumbled onto the desk in all their colourful glory – as if to say “Here we are!  What are you going to do with us?”

So perhaps there is a certain amount of creativity in me and if I am not using it up on photography, it’s going to leak out into watercolours!

Unfortunately, I can’t take a picture of my finished pieces to show you!

I am very excited about tomorrow.  I have the chance to attend a workshop with two local street artists who I greatly admire – I have no idea what we will be doing, but just to meet them and learn from them is a huge thrill.   I will be taking my camera and I think, I will probably be breaking my one a day rule tomorrow.   The opportunity to go to the city, travel on the ferry and the train and mix with other artists in an urban setting will, I suspect, be too much for me not to capture.

I’ll let you know tomorrow!

One a day photo challenge – day 5 – a few frustrations!

It’s a glorious day here (after yesterday being so drab) and I have already seen at least a dozen things I want to photograph!   So I am feeling a little frustrated, but they are all things I could come back to – I think if I saw something that was a one off, then I would just do it 🙂

Trying to be mindful, I waited until something really jumped out at me and I loved the shadows of these little tête-à-tête on the wall – almost as much as the sunny daffodils themselves!

Channeling my creative urges into reupholstering some chairs and doing some craft-work today, and designing a new website, and…. too many things!   Agghhhh!

How did I ever have time to work?  How will I ever have time to go back to work?  Because I kinda know I am going to have to find a job at some point.    I’ve been volunteering at a local library, unfortunately what they need me to do is sit in a room and do nothing for two hours, which I find incredibly hard to do – so I am currently torn between my civic duty (I think it’s important to give back) and my sanity.

Enjoy the sunshine!

One a day photo challenge – day four

It’s a dull day here and I wasn’t expecting to see anything today – I relish shadows and reflections so much – everything looked rather plain.

Doing the mindful photography means that rather than searching for a picture, you wait for a picture to come to you – Lee calls this “receiving” a picture,  I think of it as the subject calling me “take me!! “take me!” – when it calls loud enough, I take the picture!

I was walking home after a couple of hours and saw this beautiful turquoise reflection in the lake near my house.

I can see the worth of doing this challenge it really makes me think about quality over quantity – I don’t want to waste my one chance!

Interview with Lee Aspland: mindfulness through the camera lens

An excellent article explaining mindful photography – which I am trying to practice in my daily life 🙂

Breathe Here Now

In the age of smartphones and social media, amateur photography is everywhere. But if we slow down and connect with the present moment, can taking a photo on our iPhone become a mindful experience? I spoke to professional photographer Lee Aspland to find out more…

KB: How can mindfulness be applied to photography?

LA: Mindfulness applied to photography is being present with the visual moment and the process of photographing that visual moment. The essence of this practice is seeing. In the same way that a meditator sat on their cushion uses the breath as an anchor, we can as photographers use the visual experience as our anchor.
We walk with our camera and we see the world. We do not search for a photographic opportunity, but we notice if our mind floats away with thoughts, plans and ideas. We then return to what we can see. As we walk…

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One a day photo challenge – Day Three

No sunshine today, I was on Skype with my daughter who lives in South America and was caught by a glass bowl on my dining table that was reflecting the light beautifully.    Obviously I waited until my conversation was over before taking the picture!

I loved the way the light causes squirls across the coloured glass.

I even dreamed that I could only take one picture a day last night!