Sunday, 20 February 2011

"Faded (Memories)" Inspiration Avenue Challenge

"Faded Memories"
"Faded" was the prompt for this week's Inspiration Avenue team challenge. The title 'Faded Memories' came to mind and I used this title as inspiration. It also encompassed this month's Creative Everyday theme of 'passion' by using my passion for trees, story and mixed media experiments.  I wanted to tie in various memories into a piece of mixed media art. I used an old table mat that held sentimental memories because it was bought new when we moved into our cottage. I then chose two photos I'd taken that were tied to personal memories. Then faded & tinted them before printing out. Here is a before picture to give you an idea: 

I've had a bit of a rough, tiring week feeling ill and looking after my little boy who had a fluey virus (he is much better now). My creative time was also cut to barely nothing. So I really wanted to have fun experimenting with art materials and surfaces; I knew it would cheer me up to get messy and creative. As illustrated below I covered the mat with a couple of coats of gesso tinted with Pebeo acrylic. I painted directly onto the worn surface so it would add extra texture and enable me to know the mats memory was still held beneath.

I then used scrunched up aluminium foil to create texture in the wet paint followed by adding my own mix of acrylic using the foil. (Drying in between each layer added).

I glued my photos on the painted surface using gel medium and then wanted to tie the memories together. This made me think of string and so I used string to create a doodle like frame around my photos.

Here is a different photo of the result. It is difficult to show the textures and layers but hopefully the photos of the process help to create an idea.

My hands (& workspace) covered in paint & glue I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted. Six days of little creative or meditative time (along with the virus) really affected my mood. The thrill of experimentation, the feel of paint/glue, the playing with colours, images, ideas and words all helped give me a boost. My next blog post will reflect on ideas I could employ as emergency measures ready to use during difficult health times. Simple things that can help get me through, like journalling or doodling. I've written about similar things before but have a few new ideas I am mulling over and will share soon. Meanwhile....

  • What creative outlet never fails to lift your mood? 

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Saturday, 12 February 2011

"FURRY" (Inspiration Avenue Challenge) & exciting news!!!!

The Inspiration Avenue challenge this week was to create art using the prompt 'furry'. I kept thinking of teddy bears, fake fur and fluffy wool fibres. But then today 'Miss Furfuffle' visited my imagination and challenged me to make an attempt at recreating her fur with paint. Miss Furfuffle is very proud of her fluffy coat and her favourite thing is visiting the hairdressers. It was quite an honour that she allowed me to paint her portrait. I'm not sure my attempt has done her careful grooming any favours and to be fair the photo of the painting doesn't really reveal depth because the metallic paint dazzles the camera lens. Or Miss Furffle would argue that it is her beauty that bedazzles the image. But maybe Miss Furfuffle will allow me a second attempt another day. Perhaps she may be able to convince the other Furfuffle family members to allow me to capture their image in paint.

NOW for my exciting news. I have  recently begun to paint on canvas.  Yesterday I finished my largest painting so far (12 x 12 inches on chunky canvas) and sold it the same day! I have sold cards & small craft items but never a painting! This was my first painting sold. Which, gave my confidence a much needed boost. The past few weeks I've tried to create on canvas but was very nervous and unsure of what other people's reactions would be. This has really helped me to have a little faith. I was unable to get a very good photo before delivery but here it is:
click on image to enlarge
  And a side view that gives an idea of depth/texture:

Engaging in creative activity makes me happy. I think it helps keep me healthy. I try to create what I feel and what my imagination suggests. It felt wonderful to sell a painting and share it with someone else. But I would create stories, art, music and photos even if they were never to be sold. Of course we all need to eat and art supplies, books and pens don't grow on trees (more's the pity). So it is a dream to make a living from being creative. But the greater buzz comes from someone caring about a character I write or gaining pleasure from something I create. It is also wonderful to be part of this creative community of bloggers and experience what all your imaginations conjure into existence.
  • Why do you create?
  • Do you or would you like to make a living from being creative? And if so, would you continue to create regardless?
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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Passion and Pacing - opposites difficult to reconcile...

This February the Creative Everyday theme is 'Passion'.  The quick doodle above has a little deep red in it to symbolise the colour I associate with passion.  

Today I was thinking about this theme in terms of my passion for telling stories through writing, photos, music, art and verbally. Most days I am passionate about creating and telling stories. I have periods where I'm lost in my imagination, inspired and burning with ideas. At these times I'm bursting to express myself creatively. At other times I have a slow burning desire to create. But I can get frustrated because my physical health holds me back from creating as much as I'd like to. I have to figure in rest times and have learnt the hard way that I have to pace myself. Trouble is pacing oneself and being consumed by a passion to create do not go together very well. I try to be sensible but admittedly when a creative frenzy strikes I sometimes overdo it getting lost in the moment of creating. 

I suppose this is where I should offer an answer to this problem. Unfortunately I have yet to find a completely satisfactory way of reconciling the opposites of passion and pacing. What I have learnt is that it's pointless to waste my limited energy getting frustrated and fighting a losing battle. What I would like and what actually is are two different things. Instead I've learnt to make the most of each moment and the energy I do have on any given day. I try to focus on what I 'can' do. 

Today I got lost in creating a new fiction character's back story as part of my work on a new novel. The buzz of imagining a character into life is a wonderful high. Nearly two thousand words and two hours later I felt tired but exhilarated. I had been recently worried that my intuitive moment by moment days had not included editing my YA novel that has lay abandoned for some months in the second edits stage. Ideas for this new story have been circulating in my head for a few months but I'd inadvertently been punishing myself for not finishing the last edits on my previous novel by telling myself I couldn't possibly start another until I had. However, today I let go, stopped controlling and wrote. I am so glad I did. My faith that living in the moment will lead my writing where it needs to go is renewed. Already this way of living has led me to new ways of creating, new experiences and people. So if I never submit to a publisher then I don't. But I have enjoyed completing three books and the buzz of working on this new story is enough for now. And I'm learning that 'now' is really all we have for sure. 

  • Do you have opposing factors in your life that you find hard to reconcile? For example: maybe your day job keeping you from your true vocation or passion. If so, how do you manage these warring elements in your life?
  • What are you passionate about?

Another doodle using passionate red...

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Saturday, 5 February 2011

"SHINE" (Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge)

"Shine" is this weeks creative prompt for the Inspiration Avenue Challenge. "Shine" inspired me to think of the sun, of metallic colours, jewels and shining from our inside out. The photo above shows the result of combining these ideas. It took five or six coats (lost count) of acrylic gold paint on a deep edged 7 x 5 inch canvas that I then painted on in ink & heavy acrylic colours. The photo below gives an idea of the 3D effect:

How does it relate to me shining from the inside out? Well I've been doodling similar designs but was afraid to try translating this to a more involved piece. I was allowing the usual self depreciating doubts to stop me from trying. This weeks challenge encouraged me. I really enjoyed creating this, so much so that I feel free to create more in this style. And, drum roll to match my nervous heartbeat, I am going to offer this for sale (probably in the Etsy shop I've registered but not yet used).  I feel light, shiny & happy at getting past my silly fears and expressing myself as I feel in this moment. I'm also working on painting a mandala on a 12 x 12 inch canvas that is making me jittery but is exciting at the same time. I think I need to follow the same principle by sharing of the reams of writing I keep hidden away.
  • Do you allow your true self to shine? How? If not, what is holding you back?
  • Is there something new you'd like to try but are too scared to for fear of making a mess or looking foolish?

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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

This weekend I rested in style.....

Very good friends of mine have just completed a gorgeous barn conversion on their farm. This weekend I was honoured to be the first guest to stay in their sumptuous master suite. It was a great opportunity to get away, feel pampered and have some rest.

These may not be the best photos for you to appreciate the place but if you click HERE you can see some internal photos (although my friends have added new artwork & extra touches since these were taken). [Please note: This link will also provide you with instructions on how you can book a stay there if you fancy a trip to Cornwall.]

My obsession with trees was fed by my immediate surroundings.....

These two photos show the surrounding countryside:

I snapped many more tree photos with the intention of using them for future artwork.The following tree, my favourite, could be seen from a bedroom window.

The lane just beyond the cottage:

The following picture was taken on the farm and captured my interest because of the wonderful colours the rusty metal brought to the picture.

 And these nearby companions inspired one of the small stones I wrote at the weekend.

The photos may have been better if I'd left the cottage earlier in the day and taken advantage of the superior  light. But I was too happy lazing in my PJs, drinking coffee/tea, eating biscuits and thumbing through glossy magazines all alone with no kids or household jobs to distract me - bliss! I was only gone for 24 hours but the rest and head-space this allowed me was invaluable. I came home content and creatively inspired.

To conclude the January part of A River of Stones Challenge I scribbled a few small stones over the weekend:

#29 Twisted bark limbs etched on indigo ink.

#30 Soft eyed bullocks with black clouds on your white sky hide. Eager to greet me as I pass your gate; bemusement flickers in your chocolate drop gazes.  

#31 Tree tunnelled lane whose high hedges ensure its bends hide the secrets beyond.

Luckily the writing support continues in the new community 'Writing Our Way Home' designed by A River Of Stones creators Fiona & Kaspa. 
  • How was your weekend? Did you allow yourself any time to reflect and rest? 
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