So I’ve been painting and exhibiting for a while now. Its a scary thing to do, parading your work for all to see. When I do this I can only see the mistakes or things I could have done better. Yet someone will walk in and think its great and clever, thankfully all they see is the finished product, not the hours spent or failures in the recycling. It takes courage and soul searching to put yourself out there. So to all the artists out there say doing Bucks Open Studios at the moment or any other shows…..go for it.
So a very clever man called Buddha wrote:
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”
Wise words…but the words in the image above make me smile too! Get out there people! x
So I paint a lot, I’ve painted all over the place. I would like to be one of those artists who could paint happily in a field, with the wind in my hair with my water balanced on a log. But I’m not. I like to be comfortable, I like to be warm, I like my cup of tea.
My favourite place to be is at home at my desk. Working from photos or a still life gives me the freedom to paint anywhere. So my best thing is listening to an audible book, preferably with David Tennant narrating James Bond, painting and in my own space.
My guilty secret however is my shed, its a thing of wonder. Its tiny, it over looks my garden and is surrounded by Hazel trees. If I’m quiet the birds hop about without knowing I’m there. That feels magical.
But more magical than that, is that I glitter in my shed. That is indeed a verb. I add some glitter to my cards and prints and get covered in the stuff. I then get it all over my face without me realising. (It was terrible I went to a funeral a week ago not realising that I was covered in it. She was a glamourous lady who I’m sure would have approved). My advice is sometimes less is more unless its glitter…then go big or go home!
Irrespective of where you create, the important thing is that you are.
So do you get those days? The ones where everything in your house annoys you? You wish for a tiny Ikea filled flat that is yours and no one else can trash? Where your bedroom is your study and studio. Your kitchen is your dining room and and armchair and tiny table is your lounge? Yet it would be more preferable that more space with extra people in it? Yes I really do sometimes.
For those lucky pampered people, it’s like your favourite cafe where you love the food but don’t have to pay, tip or say thank you. For us its different. Where your day is planned, something happens and you still have to do everything you planned but someone else is changing the agenda without permission. Its irritating, it grates on the soul.
So I’m sounding like the most ungrateful person on the planet, which I quite possibly am. This is not the week to ask me to do anything, the whole team has been poorly and we are all tired, possibily a bit stressed. I am indeed beyond lucky to have my team around me, to share and contribute to their lives.
But to create the stuff that we do, we need headspace, just a bit of time where we can concentrate. Just imagine if the great masters – whoever you consider them to be – had to stop what they were doing to do an errand or make dinner, or clean up after the cats.I’m not suggesting for one moment that I am indeed a great master, quite a lot of my work ends up as kindling, so I am very aware of my many, many shortcomings and failures.
So I think the message that I’m finally getting around to is directed at the people who live with us. Consider for a moment the world beyond your nose, beyond that whim, that thing that you could actually do yourself but it’s easier if someone else does it. Let the creative one in your world work and concentrate on what they need to. Its hard to create, its actually easier to make the dinner and hoover the lounge than create. So take away the white noise and let us get on.
Rant over – who wants a snack?
Sometimes it happens, those days where I can’t paint. Can’t bring myself to start. It’s more than blank paper fright or writer’s block. Some days it doesn’t flow. So what do I do? How do I bring myself back to creating?
I ignore it, but I’ll tidy my desk, sharpen my pencils, maybe clean my paint plates if I can bear to. Look through my reference work, put off starting. Even hanging out the washing seems more interesting.
But I’ll leave some paper out with some test colour marks, maybe a draft buckle or part of a shoe, maybe an eye. A brush tantalisingly near, a water jar full, a gorgeous purple just waiting to be looked at and loved.
Then suddenly I’ve picked up that brush and it all starts again. Magic.
I’m busy, you’re busy, there is always something to do, something that needs your immediate attention. I could wander around my house all day putting things in the right place but it doesn’t achieve anything for me and art. The house may be less cluttered but, does that matter right now? So make time.
- It reduces stress.
- Your art will surprise you, it will generally turn out better than you believe it will.
- It will inspire others to start their own art journey – never underestimate the effect you have on others.
- The dust will still be there tomorrow.
- Don’t plan it – just see where it takes you. Life without sat nav is fun.
- How often are we selfish? I’m guessing hardly ever, so take the time, you’re more than worth it.
- If all the other creators you love hadn’t taken the step you are about to, you wouldn’t feel the way you do.
- If art was a part of your regular routine, that would be a positive thing for all the reasons above. Make it so Number One.
So what paints are good? I seldom use artists quality paints, I have a few given to me as presents but I don’t tend to buy them. I usually buy Cotman in tubes and use their cold pressed 300g paper. Its grain finish works well and it allows certain paints to lift. I have too many paint tubes, but if I see one I haven’t got, it comes home with me. The Windsor and Newton Sceptre gold brushes are great.
But really it doesn’t matter…..biro on squared paper, doodling on a receipt….if you’re creating and enjoying it then that’s perfect!
So people ask me allsorts of things, some of them are even related to my art!
I get asked that a lot…I really do. Yes – I can paint seascapes and landscapes, yes I can paint flowers, no I don’t paint human portraits, yes I do life drawing.
So why do I paint portraits of shoes? The answer is simple, they are absurdly difficult.
Everyone has shoes, everyones knows what they look like, so everyone can see when they are wrong. Everyone is an expert. Taking photos of shoes is difficult and painting them even more so…..but I love it.
I’ve yet to paint ones that I didn’t love, people are sentimental about them..first baby shoes, wedding shoes, grandad and grandson together shoes, they all mean love and happy memories….
If I can capture what they see and what they love – it makes my day! x
Happy New Year!
I’m not really sure how long it’s polite to keep saying that for, but yes I’m still creating.
I’ve just finished two pet portraits in pencil, two dogs – one cute and fluffy, the other smooth and sophisicated. These are for a family and we are having the design put onto mugs too. They will look lovely I’m hoping, I’ll post a photo as soon as they are agreed.
Other news…shoe portraits are still top of my list at the minute. So much paint – so little time. Some are quicker than others but usually there are at least 6 or 7 layers of paint. They only ever come to life in the last hour, stitching, a glint of light on a buckle or a shadow – then boom…. it’s finished. They are then out on a bookcase or somewhere I can see them without looking for a day so I can see any faults. I take photos too, look at them in a mirror and glare at them until I’m happy.
The best part for me is a happy client. They love the subject, I just hope that they see what I have seen… an eye sparkle, diamonds maybe or a beautiful heel. It’s nerve racking too, but all artists have that fear. We are our own worst critic, but when a commission has delighted it’s the best feeling!
Sooooo huge news, I’ve had a couple of years break but I’ve signed up for Bucks Open Studios this year. There will be a group of us this year, all of us were together at the pop up gallery Artworks in Chesham High Street. So there will be 4 artists, a glass artist and an upholsterer. Happy days!