I recently presented at a PechaKucha evening (Japanese for Chit-chat) where creative people get together and share their ideas. Six of us each showed 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and the speaker talks along to the images. Not an easy task, keeping up with the slides, but it was great fun and I have added my images here, with some descriptions for clarity.
“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.
Enjoying comments from people following my blog and wanted to mention some other artists whose work you might enjoy. Nicola Richards and I have shared Open Studios for a number of years. Her ceramics are very tactile, collectable pieces and her recently designed garden pots are original, frost-proof plant pots for the special people, places and plants in your life. You can buy Nicola’s work at her Garden Studio in Leamington Spa, or through some of the Galleries listed on her website.
Pauline Burbidge is one of the most exciting Quilt Artists or our time and her work is collected by many Public Art Galleries around the UK and in the USA. Based in Allanton, Berwickshire and my lovely neighbour for the last couple of weeks, you can be sure that Pauline will give you a huge welcome if you come to her Open Studios this year.
Elaine Isaacs, Kenilworth Painter and one of my life-long friends, produces beautiful original paintings at very affordable prices, across a wide variety of subjects. Elaine is as enthusiastic about the smallest priced piece as she is about some of her stunning large paintings, and always happy to consider commissions.
I have to mention Scott Robertson, the oil painter I met in Berwick the other day. Such an engaging artist who genuinely enjoys talking to visitors in his Gallery and explaining his work with absolutely no pressure to buy. When I have saved up the money, the oil painting describing the early evening light at Spittal will be on my wall in 2017! And me? Working on drawing figures and wanted to show you my latest acrylics on paper work featuring two ladies walking in the woods.
‘How long did it take you to do that?’. The one question artists never want to hear. Why? Because we spend hours and hours producing work that we don’t show anyone – our ugly ducklings of efforts – until finally, a piece of our creativity comes to fruition and we let the World see our ‘Swan’. This particular work may have taken an hour, a day, several weeks or even months to produce, but time rarely equals price. If I were to tell you that I spent 1 hour making this little Lino Print, then I asked you to pay £xxx for it, you would laugh (unless I was Lowry!). But if I told you I had studied this technique all my life, that my work sold in the best Galleries in the Country and each Lino Cut took me months to do, you would probably expect to pay £xxx. Where am I going with all this? Having just spent the day messing on with a Lino Printing Set I got from Santa, and realising the results are not brilliant, that I will have to spend many hours learning and perfecting this new technique, I am telling myself that if I stick with it, I will one day be rewarded for my efforts. The photo is one I took of Holy Island (Lindisfarne) and the picture below it is my Lino Print work.
Just asking myself the question – why am I determined to paint the sea when I’m sitting in the middle of such countryside beauty? I look out of the window and there is inspiration everywhere, but it’s the ‘wrong’ inspiration! You see, I came here to work on Fishing Boats and the Sea but I’m staying in the countryside where there are trees, woodland, deer, pheasants, rabbits, squirrels, all within a few yards from my holiday cottage door. Drat! And, I can tell you that it’s so much cosier to stroll outside here at Allanbank Arts and take photos, make a few sketches and rush back inside to pop the kettle on, than it is to pack up all my equipment and drive x number of miles to a freezing cold harbour and unpack, set up, do some work, (find a loo!), and take it all back ‘home’ again. But, this is the way of us artists! An idea comes and we keep at it So, I have tidied up my Sea-inspired Mood Board, and critically examined my ‘Fishing Nets’ picture as starting points for my work. Tomorrow I will make a flask of coffee, load up my car with supplies,drive to the coast, find out if the fishermen are working and get some action pictures to inspire me.