Over on Instagram I’m taking part in the 100 day project.
Essentially you commit to something (anything, but it tends to be creative or nourishing in some way) for 100 days and post evidence of it.
My project is 100 days of motifs. I thought this would tie in nicely with my surface pattern design work. I really wanted to establish the habit of drawing every day, and experimenting with what objects around me could be interesting motifs.
Drawing every day is no hardship, I find I get tetchy if I can’t, and I’ve no shortage of motifs…but, they’re all flowers. All of ’em!
Whilst flora is clearly what I’m drawn to, I need to stretch myself and start using my eyes more to look for alternative motifs – ultimately I need a varied portfolio that shows I can be diverse in skills and vision. Having said that, here’s today’s offering:
That Adele is a bit of down to earth fun, isn’t she? I think so.
So. I am popping in to say howdy, it’s been a while. The eagle eyed may see I made some changes to my header and logo, but woefully, apart from this lament, there have been no new posts from me since last year. The crime of all crimes for a blog.
Often I’ve had a blog post in me over the last year – I have 18 drafts saved of me waffling in various degrees. My big dilemma was, and still is – can I maintain a blog? I’m not a natural at this social media game. I wax and wane in my desire to communicate, which is not very helpful when you want to build a presence on the internets.
So I return to my blog remembering the main reason for it in the first place: this space is for me to spill out and order my thicket of thoughts. Often my brain is has far too many tabs open. But in between the seconds of thinking and typing, this mush of randomness forms into something more coherent.
Now I’ve decided: I may post once a week. Or once a month. Or, it might be snippets on a daily basis, instagram style. It may be things you can relate to. Occasionally even useful. Occasionally even humorous.
The big question is – what the bloody hell have I been doing for the last year then? Well, I’ll tell you: art making, some good, some bad, learning, reading, getting on with living and children and dogs and houses. And, closing in on what art I like to make, which is simpler, and includes surface pattern design. Unfortunately, I can’t post as much surface pattern design work as much as I’d like, for various copyright reasons, but I try and share what I can.
Yesterday I spent most of the day on Dartmoor, painting, sketching, walking and saying hello (from a safe distance) to the wild ponies, cattle and sheep.
Sustained by hot tea and bacon and beans from our camping stove, I managed to paint a quick oil sketch in about an hour and a half – by the end I was freezing, though I had on my winter woolly hat and thick fleece jacket – that’s Dartmoor for you. Beautiful but brutal.
It seems there’s so much to remember with plein air painting but really it’s just the same things to remember when studio painting: composition, value, contrast, movement, etc…..except the approach is completely different.
My studio paintings come about from a place I’m inspired by, and the process is more intuitive. The feel of a place is more important to me than whether I put in the right number of trees (unless it suited my purposes). If I use photographs, it’s only in the very beginning to establish composition, otherwise I focus too much on irrelevant detail.
Plein air painting, as you can imagine then, is a challenge for me not to be overwhelmed by detail.
What features are essential to my painting, what to leave out, plus fast changing weather and light makes for a heady (but strangely exciting and moreish) experience.
I don’t see myself as a plein air painter at all, but, apart from the fact I’m starting to enjoy it, I see it as skill building, much like life drawing class.
For a while I struggled to see how painting plein air relates to my studio work, but I think I’ve broken through this brain barrier. Actually, my husband pointed out, quite logically, that why shouldn’t I have a similar approach to plein air as I do with my other work – i.e. use what is there as a basis, but take detours as necessary. Like I do anyway!
And now I’m interested to see where the influence of plein air painting affects my studio work, which I’d like to be even more abstracted than it already is in some cases.
What I have quickly realised though, is painting plein air, doing more of a “proper” considered piece, provides much more inspiration than quick thumbnail sketches or loose watercolours I do. Standing at an easel for a couple of hours, taking in all that information, it’s really powerful for imprinting the essence of a place into your being.
I am mostly happy with this attempt – it was a step forward in many aspects and I can feel my confidence building, which makes it easier for next time. I’m looking at it a day later and I’m right back there among the ponies and blustery wind, cup of tea in hand. I think I left a piece of my soul up there.
Afterwards, I sketched from the car, relieved to get out of the wind. Luckily there were panoramic views all around, so I was spoilt for inspiration.
It’s half term week here in the UK, so I’m on Mum duty pretty much full time, which is just the way I like it when school is out, as they grow up too quickly, and before you know it, they’re getting tattoos and eating junk. That is an actual true story.
I’ve had so much I wanted to blog about in the last week or so – paintings to share, thoughts to ramble on about, but time ran away from me. Plus the weather is so nice, we’re never indoors.
So I thought I’d do a round up of what went on over the last month, as I’m struggling to keep track of it all!
A big step for me was joining Somerset Art Works, which I kind of feel intimated by. It’s a mark of my growing confidence I was able to do this. This is a semi formal organisation that runs Open Studios once a year, and I hope in the future to be able to open up my studio. Also, I want to meet some painting buddies!
I’m also considering entering an Open Exhibition, which closes for entries on 18th July, so I have a little time yet to avoid doing anything about this till the last minute.Ha!
I’m also donating two postcard paintings for a fundraiser – hope someone wants them!
I’ve also purchased a shopping trolley…..like your Nan used to have. Yes. I’ll have to name it, it’s quite an object. It’s for carting about some plein air gear.
I’ve had a month of exploring with collage and claybord, and not as much time as I’d like with my sketchbook.
Having already had a dabble with lino printing, I plan to use my contour drawings as a basis for prints. I loved doing these!
Earlier in the month, I painted a series based on the pink blossom all over my local park. Most of these are oil paintings, though some started life with acrylic. I used lots of texture and scraping back with these.
And I’ve also stared framing up some of my original work to release a summer collection! This is a lot of work, but I’m so pleased with how it’s going. Subscribers to my newsletter get first dibs at special prices before they get released into the wild.
Next up, I was so inspired by the rapeseed fields I had to paint them. I used only three colours (burnt umber, cerulean blue and cad yellow medium) for all of these, and I think they work so well.
The two with the palette knife are my postcard fundraisers.
Then, in an inspired moment, I dragged my plein air kit into the garden to paint the last light on my climbing hydrangea. I loved doing this. You can see progress shots on my Facebook page.
There are composition issues with this (the placement and missing bottom of the watering can) but it was such fun I dragged my kit with me again when we took a trip to the beach on Sunday evening.
It was a beautiful afternoon, and I painted my socks off – but it was a whooooole bag of wrong. This can happen to me sometimes, I become a slave to detail. So yesterday I painted the sunset at the beach, where the memory of the light and the smell of sausages we cooked lingered.
And I think that is it! So bear with me till school is back, where I’ll have more time to blog and say Hi!
I am approaching my 40th painting of the year so far. And I’m not even on a challenge or anything.
I think it’s because I paint in a series. Often I will have two panels on the easel at once, and work on the both. I work quickly and don’t linger in any one place for too long. Most of the time.
I always put painting before everything else: networking, admin, photographing, managing the shop, etc. I don’t ever want to get caught up in non – painting stuff so that I forget how to paint. Besides, the only way to get better is practice.
However, I’ve accumulated all these works that are sat around. Hence the recent forays into framing (that’s going so well by the way, I can’t wait to show you!) so that I can release a collection of original art.
But, with all the running an art business requires – and I do see what I’m doing as an art business – I realise I’m not actually paying attention to the business side of things. More than that, I’m ignoring them.
Admin I can do. Spreadsheets, web sites (graduated in computer science about a million years ago, before the internet was a thing), yep, all over it. But the marketing. Oh how I hate a hard sales pitch. Or even an over enthusiastic one that’s insanely cheery. It really creeps me out, I feel terribly self conscious, and this is the other reason I avoid taking care of my business.
However. I do want to sell some art. And it occurred to me, having done two paintings this week, that I could use some of my week to focus on this a bit more and get my shiz together.
So that’s what I’m doing. Reading all the books, all the interwebs and try to get a handle of this thing and more to the point detach myself from my art a bit. I know I could sell someone else’s art and sleep at night, so why not my own?
So. Wish me luck troopers. I’m going in.
Oh, here’s some pretty I don’t think I posted here yet. Have a lovely weekend everyone.
After all, what else is there to do on Mondays, except muse.
I’m feeling very centred lately. I think this is because of the amount of time I’ve spent outdoors. Potting up plants, watering them, seeing the garden come to life in the sunshine has revived me I think. I wasn’t aware I needed reviving – but I think being busy outdoors does that to a person.
I’m still loving the paintings I posted last week , which is a good thing, as often if I love something right away, I can quickly un-love it!
Sunday evening my husband and I headed up into the hills where we live. Its a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, with great 360 degree views. Out of nowhere a large herd of wild horses stampeded past us into the sunset – it was like a western!
I’ve never been in such a state of awe and fear – it was just magical ! We didn’t linger though, as there wasn’t so much as a tree to hide behind if they took off again.
Today has been back to work: spending a bit of time making frames for my upcoming release of original paintings (yeyyy!), sketching out some landscape compositions and even a spot of painting – all in the garden of course.