Category: Art Journal

The continuing journey that is forming me into the person I am through my art.

There is magic in writing down your intentions

The day started with brunch with Dawn from Bude and Beyond by way of a thank you. She interviewed me as a part of my Belonging exhibition.

After a very healthy salad bowl at Temple restaurant, we headed to the community hub at Bude Sea Pool for a creative writing poetry mindfulness session with Casper Walsh. Casper started the organisation ‘Words from the Earth’.

Dawn and I signed up to a creative writing afternoon exploring our connection to nature. What we hadn’t expected was to come away at the end of the day feeling totally ‘ZEN’. The first word that came to mind after mindful chit chat, meditation and some time to connect with nature on the beach. Casper encouraged us to keep a journal or write of our experience to remember the day with some key words. I decided I needed to record some of the experience as a valuable resource for the future.

The first exercise was to write down what we would like to receive from the day.

‘My eyes are far more connected to the landscape and nature. I’d like to feel more confident with my voice. Being next to the ocean is second nature to me but I’d like to understand a little more ‘the WHY’

The following two statements were very important to making it successful and a thought to carry through life.

THERE IS MAGIC IN WRITING OUR INTENTIONS DOWN.

EMOTIONS ARE ABSTRACT WHEN TALKING. WHEN WRITTEN THE INSIDE IS MOVING OUT AND IT BECOMES A PHYSICAL REALITY. WRITE FROM THE HEART FOR YOU… OUT OF CONFUSION COMES CLARITY.

Casper has studied society and different cultures all over the world and has come up with the theory that we need our rites of passage and defining moments like losing our virginity, getting married, turning 18.

These wane as we get older unless you make a point of making them happen. We are all very busy just surviving, so it’s really important to find and do things that bring us to connecting with nature.

Without this people lose the ritual and connection so we need community and mentors. The days of younger people being trained by older people are all but gone and this was valuable life skills and wisdom being passed down on just LIFE. It’s a time when people find other things to do , partying , alcohol etc when things get buried under a life of addiction.

There is also a default to over analyse, to rethink over and over, so it’s important to look at yourself and situation and be grateful and say ‘I’m OK’

People need to be able to express themselves creatively to allow space in their being. Hence ‘paying attention’

A short meditation, connecting with the beach and each other, left us with an hour to wander and contemplate.

To slow down… think and make and pay attention to the spaces in between.

THOUGHTS

  • Listen to the sounds, the sea is the singing bowl of the ocean. A vibrational energy to pass through you.
  • Let your body flow, ripple, be soft but strong.
  • Feel the weather.
  • Let your mind unravel. The thoughts become an tangled string of pearls.
  • Be kind to yourself and it will show in your being. Let your heart be full of love.
  • Embrace change, like the seasons. Trust in this and trust in others.
  • Pay attention , share experiences.
  • Look to the sky, sun and the stars. Climb a hill, be in the ocean. Feel the space and expansiveness.

My meditation walking and thinking led me to sit on the cliff top at Mentone. Peaceful, but looking down on the beach and the many people enjoying the day. I felt completely weightless, no physical body existed. I was still, but feeling. Peaceful and absolute. Soaring.

The event was made possible through Reflect Arts and Mind. A project looking at the effects of being connected to the sea and mental well being by the University of Exeter.

Awen, Spiritual Goddess of Art

Awen is Cornish for ‘inspiration’ and symbolised by three rays of light in Celtic and druid culture.  It is revered by the bards of Cornwall for it’s creative links to culture, music and arts.  She is also present in Welsh and Irish cultures.

I painted this large piece of my version of Awen for the B Side social in September 2019 a performance piece of painting… my Cornish goddess of inspiration and creativity.

London Foray to see Pierre Bonnard and Tracey Emin

Pierre Bonnard has long been one of my favourite artists.  He was one of the lesser known impressionists, but painted with such sensitivity and understanding of colour.

After a chance meeting with an old school friend, I arranged a trip to London and couldn’t wait for March to come.

I’ve only been  to London a few times before  so I was pretty excited about my trip to the big smoke. Tricia has lived  in London since she left school and  knows it like the back of her hand, so I had the perfect tour guide for my two days away.  With snippets of history, landmarks, the contrast of old and new, the spirit of each neighbourhood  we visited and how it has changed along with some great food experiences and drinks from the top of the gherkin we walked, talked, had a few wines and a few laughs and it was just the best break .

I digress…

I had been following the Bonnard hashtag on instagram avidly and had a feel for the exhibition before I went, but there is nothing that prepares you for a gallery experience where the scale and paintings comes alive. It was also my first visit to Tate Modern and it is huge!!  The Bonnard exhibition filled 13 rooms and of those Room 8 stood out. Containing the work  he made in 1927, several of the artworks had been removed from their frames to give a sense of them just having been finished and the room had a continuity and cohesive feel set against a soft grey backdrop. (all the rooms had been painted to reflect his palette or indeed the colours of his original home).  The bathroom paintings had such a light which bounced around the room and the garden paintings just jumped out at you with their vitality.

I read a great article by Barry Schwabsky which really resonated with me and helped me explain my own painting practice. ‘Standing on the edge of space, painting the feeling which is constantly changing, the painting is never finished and lives on.  Working from memory, capturing fleeting moments and moods his paintings are filled with the rhythm of life. ‘

In contrast to the Bonnard and totally unplanned Tricia suggested we go to see Tracey Emin at The White Cube Gallery.  Using a limited palette with lots of raw canvas left showing and with massive space around each artwork which allowed it to breath with some huge mind blowing sculptures and vast reflective floors, it was an assault on the emotions.  I wouldn’t have expected anything else from her.  I really liked the palette but I think feminine sugary pinks used almost made you think she has come to terms with  what she was working through.

Very abstract and on a scale that was massive, the gestural strokes had a lot of energy through a very cathartic process of love, anger and loss in   ‘A Fortnight of Tears’.

I could write so much more.  I loved my foray to London and hope that Tricia and I keep the friendship going. I can’t wait to go back. It amazing to be able to live in such a beautiful place here  in Bude, but what a gift to be able to go to see such amazing art on such a scale.

A little footnote.  If you go across the millennium bridge be sure to look down . I can guarantee the little painted chewing gum montages will make you smile.

 

B side social live painting

The B side Social was set up by a group of lovely people, mostly friends of my son Tom who wanted a very social event which has the festival vibe though only for one night . It’s held as a monthly event of dj vinyl, food, Tom’s rum bar, guest beers and art.  Starting at 6pm and ending at 11pm on the dot, it gets lively very early and the party atmosphere doesn’t stop.

This year an 8ft square plywood board is in place which is painted by guest artists every month.

After a busy summer I was asked if I could do the September slot which  coincided with their special ‘girl takeover’.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but have never painted quite on this scale before.

Don and I prepped the board the night before with a brown ‘Truffle’ paint.  A great opportunity to get a feel for the scale of it and I quickly upscaled the size of my brushes!.

I wasn’t even really very nervous and decided to go with the flow.  I had seen Jen Dixon working the board before looking very relaxed so took a leaf out of her book and she said I was going to enjoy it, so I was determined to do so and let it be.  I luckily had some emulsions to work with which cover the board quickly and dry fast.

I painted intuitively with a limited palette with  two pop  colours I added for ‘pop’ and they really added the ‘Wow’ factor.  A luscious copper metallic acrylic I have never used and a vibrant pink emulsion I had been given years ago.  ( goodness knows when that was ever used!).  The music led my painting and movements too.

The boys on the Sharps beer bar kept my going with great comments and I had lots of the punters coming up and saying how they loved it.

It was difficult to stand back from it because of the crowd, the light was fading fast and I was up and down that pair of steps more times than I can imagine, but I loved it.  The music was brilliant and keeps you jigging about.

After three hours I called it a day, but wanted to make it special to BSide and Emma helped me come up with a hashtag. Although some were mortified that I put writing over it, it felt right. This was  temporary piece of art, so I hashtagged it #BsSideGirlTakeOver in the brilliant pink.

Danced the rest of the night away and the painting was packed away in the shed for next month’s event.  Yay.. awesome job done and I loved it.

Seascape Commission of Duckpool, North Cornwall

Painting a a commission of Duckpool , North Cornwall, of the sea and a beach I’m not so familiar with, faced me with a few challenges.

The commission came from a lovely family to remember their first and favourite beach in North Cornwall that held so many memories and years of holidays in the area.

Duckpool is a fairly undiscovered spot in a beautiful valley that runs down to the sea from Kilkhampton in North Cornwall.  The roads are steep, narrow and windy and not for the faint hearted, but this affords the most stunning rugged landscape laid out that has not changed for centuries.

The beach is framed by towering cliffs and it’s not difficult to imagine the years of smuggling and hard life in this valley.

I spent some time here just absorbing the feeling of the place and it is often the memory of a glimpse of light that stays with me.  This was the case this October with beautiful low sunlight coming through the waves.  My clients knew the sea well and loved the light at this time of year, so it seemed timely to include it.

We measured the space to get the best proportion for the painting. Scale is so important and I love a large painting to give impact. With a blank canvas of 140 x 90cm facing me, it’s a brave first step to put some acrylic inks fluidly onto the canvas.

The following pictures show the journey…..

The finished painting was framed in a tray frame.  The wave has light and colour and the whole painting an immense feeling of energy and movement in the sea.  The foreground balances the left background with the dark rocks.  The stones in the foreground are loosely painted with a variety of colours giving the whole painting a harmonious feeling.

My best to date?  maybe it feels like that because of the way I felt challenged. It was certainly worth the effort.

Prints of the painting are available. Please enquire here.