Prepping my Christmas cards :)

Just prepping 3 designs of Christmas card for sale at Sticks Gallery Fareham.   We had fun making them, there is a watercolour (“Dizzy Tree”) a snowy scene (“Magical Lamp”) and my personal favorite “Spinnaker Lights” by Bradley.    All designs available at £1.50 each if you get in touch with me.

Christmas cards for sale

Christmas cards for sale

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Lack of sleep taking it’s toll and the fun of research…. week 4 :)

All this unaccustomed hard work has taken it’s toll and I have a cold and a cough.  I wouldn’t mind if I could get a decent nights sleep, being up half the night just perpetuates things!

It all means that I haven’t got half as much done over the last week that I planned, but nothing I can’t catch up with.

General Art

On Saturday I delivered my five zen pieces to the Live Art Local ‘Surveillance’ exhibition at Cafe Ethos in Fareham.  I think they will look good on the wall there.

I’ve also been meeting with the curators of the solo exhibition I’ll be putting on in November at Portsmouth Guildhall.  Lots to do but great excitement as well!   I spent two mornings this week taking more pictures as although I will only be exhibiting 18, the curators want to see 30+ in order to take the decision on the final ones.   As before I have been using the mindful techniques to clear my mind and tune into the world around me.   It was this aspect of my work that particularly interested the judges and features heavily in the write up of the exhibition.

I have been missing my paints and today have been doing some watercolour doodles, trying new techniques and having a bit of fun.  I have a wedding anniversary card to make soon and plan to do something around these ideas.

Finally the life drawing wasn’t such a success this week, the room was stiflingly hot and I couldn’t concentrate, combined with being mentally and physically exhausted, my drawings were not too successful.

The featured image today is one I took in Portsmouth this week – loved the reds and the shadows of people passing me.

Subversion and creativity research

I have been having a lot of fun researching this area this week.    Where else could you start reading about Picasso, move onto his Guernica piece and end up reading a fascinating blog about the politics of cloth and the remaking of Picasso’s Guernica – by activists in the south of England?    And that led me to read about author Rozsika Parker, who I had not heard about before, she wrote some interesting books and I already have two on my list to check out when I go to the library tomorrow.

I’ve been thinking about creativity – what is it?  Are we born with it or do we learn it?   Does being creative make you a genius?   And what does all this have to do with subversion?!     After an enjoyable couple of hours I ended up reading about human evolution.   I have covered a lot of ground today!

After a shaky start, I have got into the habit of recording all my sources correctly so that I can reference them when the time comes.   I am using MS OneNote which I really like, it syncs between my PC/laptop/tablet and phone so I will always have my notes with me.    Also Charlotte on the MA recommended a neat little app for my phone called RefMe – it’s superb and makes recording everything relevant about a source a doddle (available for Android and Apple devices).

I also watched this TED talk on the life cycle of creative movements which was very interesting, especially the bit about it all breaking down once you introduce too much bureaucracy……

My proposal

I haven’t had time for much this week,  but exploration into the psyche has led me to the dark side!  Jung’s shadow side to be exact.  I have been reading about the shadow.

My photography at least is usually about shadow or reflection and it is a topic that fascinates me.   I read a beautiful little book this week that had nothing to do with art per se, more to do with Japanese aesthetics – In praise of shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki.     The author has a beautiful lyrical way of writing and even two pages about the joys of using a traditional Japanese toilet sounded romantic!

I will close with this lovely thought:

“Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.”  Junichiro Tanizaki

Free Art Friday – Fareham here I come!

As part of Fareham Arts Festival, I decided my Free Art Friday this week would be based around the festival.   I have four pieces on exhibition, three street photographs at Arty’s restaurant in Knowle Village, and a large watercolour called ‘Close’ as part of the Fareham Open Exhibition at Sticks Gallery in Fareham Shopping Center.

So, I got small prints of my photography work and have made two watercolour miniatures of my larger work to leave around Fareham, today and next Friday, during Fareham Arts Festival.   Blue this week, deep pink next week.

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Free Art Friday for Fareham Arts Festival

I’ll be leaving these over night on Thursday at or near venues that are part of the festival in the center of Fareham – so I hope they will be found by art lovers 🙂

I’ve blogged before about Free Art Friday – it is a liberating experience to nurture some artwork and then just leave it ‘in the wild’ for who know’s what to happen to it.  The first time I did it I was so nervous – thinking “my baby!!!”  and “will someone like it?!” and “will it blow away?!”

Luckily, that first one, was found by someone who liked it very much and told me so, so that gave me the confidence to carry on.  Now I love it and have no such worries about the future of the piece – that is up to luck – maybe someone will find it and love it, maybe someone will find it and hate it (I hope they put it back if that’s the case) and perhaps it will just blow into the trash.

I love the fact that I have no control over this, it’s very good for me.

But I do love hearing from people if they find and like the work, that gives me a huge boost.

So Fareham, are you ready?!  Here they are…..

Have fun 🙂 (and do let me know if you find any!)

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Reflections on the last 7 months…..minions and blue cucumbers!

It’s been 7 months since I was made redundant and my life was turned upside down, or is that inside out?   I was lucky to get enough of a payment not to have to worry for a few months, so you’d think it was a wonderful time.   Not exactly.   Not going to work every day and having that structure in my life has been surprisingly hard. And watching my husband having to continue with the rat race is not easy either.    Initially I felt rejected, lost and lonely and those feelings still surface every now and then, but not so often.   I miss my work colleagues the most.

Of course this time has given me the gift of playing with my creativity.  It has happened in fits and starts, some weeks I paint nothing, today I have done four large watercolours!    I don’t know when inspiration will strike again.   I have done far more photography than painting, partly because it is so accessible and free.  Painting costs a surprising amount – I was looking at my favourite watercolour brush today and it needs replacing, but it will cost about £20 to do so and so I just carry on with the old one.  I need to practice not totting up the cost of the paper every time I get a big sheet of Archers out!

And having such topsy turvy feelings is actually a boon, practicing mindfulness means I notice the feeling and wonder where it came from and often I will paint or photograph something that illustrates the feeling – more in a post later.

And we have some wonderful vegetables this year!   I have not had time to cultivate the veggie patch for many years, ever since working full time, so that has been very rewarding and saved us a few pounds on fresh veg.   Although a glut of cucumbers is a little hard to deal with, we’ve been passing them onto anyone who will take them!

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Blue cucumbers – even my veggie glut gives me inspiration and something to photograph!

So this time has been a huge gift, something I could not have foreseen. I’ve had a lot of fun!

I still have huge doubts – not that I am an artist, I got my head around that one – but that I will be able to do something with this.   I am not keen on going back to my old life in IT – but I know I need to make a living some how, at some point in a year or so.

It’s only six weeks now until I start my Masters Fine Art at the local university.   I can’t quite believe my life has taken this extraordinary turn!    To describe myself as excited is an understatement – but it is a huge unknown and I am also rather daunted.

And before then is Fareham Arts Festival where I have a few pictures on display – it would be a huge boost to sell one but I have no expectations, it is just fun to share them and I hope they go down well.

Loved the above pic I took in Portsmouth on a street photography walk recently of minions and a window cleaner!