“We do not credit ourselves with what it is we can – and often do – accomplish. We are blind to our gifts; we are deaf to our voice. We do not see or hear our magnitude. Why is this?”. Quote from Julia Cameron’s book – The Right to Write
Author of The Artist’s Way and many other excellent books, ‘The Right to Write – an Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life’ is my current inspiration. Her Chapter on Bad Writing explains that ‘in order to be a good writer, I have to be willing to be a bad writer’ and that ‘If only we could give ourselves permission to write “badly”, so many of us would write very well indeed”.
Taking the context into my own work, I realise it is easier to sit in the desert rather than trying to produce only work that others will like, that is most likely to sell and may not allow me to be free to try new ideas.
Exercise to try:- My adaptation of the exercise from this chapter
Find ten examples of artwork that you like (postcards, magazine cutouts etc.) and pin them onto a board. Did you notice any common denominators that interested you? Style, Colour, Subject etc.
Spend half an hour working in your Sketchbook – paint, draw, collage etc., based on the inspiration from the artwork. Just for the sake of it!
Share your results with friends, on your own blog or email to me and I will share them here.
Sharing my Sketchbook work
On a recent picnic with family at the annual commemoration of the battle of Flodden in the Scottish Borders, I took out my sketchbook and started to paint the view. I enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the surroundings so much that I returned a few days later to sit quietly on my own and finish my picture. I had no intention of sharing this with anyone. After all, it is unlike most of my work and not polished, considered, professional ………. excuses, excuses! But, in the spirit of sharing and, in the light of Julia’s teachings, here is my result and a photo of the view.
Today, I went to an art exhibition and felt nothing. I’m sure the work was very good, but I didn’t understand it, nor did I meet the artist and so I couldn’t find the key. For me, there was no atmosphere, no music to awaken the senses, no-one to explain the passion behind the paintings. I felt sad that I hadn’t engaged in the artist’s meaning for the making of this work.
Later, driving up the Borders, I could see the River Tweed looking magical in the early afternoon light. It totally captured me and, for no other reason than it looked so beautiful, I wanted to share it with you. You had to be there to hear the sound of the river flowing, two ducks rising and water-wadding across to the far bank. Swans silently observing me from the shallows. A world on the river – interrupted.
Nature is art – observing, feeling, engaging…. breathtakingly beautiful.
Happy New Year, everyone. May 2017 be the most creatively inspiring, adventure-filled, fun loving time of our lives! Today, I braved the balmy North-East weather to venture out and take some photographs of local views before I head back to my holiday Studio Cottage tomorrow. The famous ‘matchstick men’ painter, L. S. Lowry spent a good amount of time in Berwick, and I have it on good authority, sometimes paid his Castle Hotel bill with a picture or two that he sketched on the tablecloth. This view from the Point at Spittal is one of the many Lowry painted and forms part of the Lowry Trail around Berwick, well worth exploring.
Close by is a lovely little stone-built cottage, I wonder if it was used for Kipper Smoking, or perhaps fishermen’s nets and can only imagine the stories it must hide. Steeped in the fishing history of the North-east, the Coast at Berwick is a photographer and painters dream. Make sure you visit Northumberland at least once in 2017!
It’s New Year’s Eve and, before the partying starts, I take a trip to Scotts Gallery, Bridge Street, Berwick-on-Tweed, meet local artist, Scott Robertson, and enjoyhttp://www.scottsgallery.co.uk/gallery/ a really stimulating conversation with him about his work on display in the Gallery.
Scott explains that he was brought up in Berwick and moved away but was drawn back to this wonderful part of Northumberland, motivated by its architecture, countryside and seascapes. Curious about his abstract paintings of the sea, I ask Scott to explain one particularly expressive piece of work. Using oils on board, the work is in response to a view of the North sea from his front garden when he painted the early evening light and a focal point of one wave breaking near the shore. As he expresses his motivation to produce such a large painting, I am struck by the realisation that when an artist expressing his rational behind his work, it goes a long way towards helping the observer understand its place in the abstract world of art.
Scott Robertson runs the Gallery alongside fellow artist, Mark Irving and I can recommend a trip to this part of Berwick to meet the artists and enjoy learning about their work. I most certainly will be back there.