I'm glad to say I seem to have got back into the routine of painting on Friday mornings. I felt that I'd come to a bit of a dead end with the work I had been doing - working from memory and the imagination had become stale, repeating the same motifs. So I have gone back to basics working from life, some of the pot plants from my garden. I don't think this is the end of my old way of working but hopefully I will go back to it revitalised when I do.
These are all acrylics on canvas 5x7 inch except for the little square one which is 4x4 inch.
We have a big thunderstorm coming over so I'll post this now incase we lose power or internet !!
I'm probably very late discovering the world of podcasts, but now I've found some I like, they are great to listen to while I paint or sew, and make a change from the radio.
The one I discovered first was Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert. She interviews people who are stuck or struggling to get started with their creative work, and give advice 'nudges to get them unstuck', she seeks advice from special guests and a few months later checks back in to see how they are going. There are now 2 seasons to listen to - I've only listened to the first of the new season. I love anything about the creative process and always get something inspiring or useful from these.
After that I tracked down Happier with Gretchen Rubin - I'd been reading her blog for years and finally worked out how to get to the podcast! The content could be described as - how to make the best of modern life - some of it I don't find that relevant, but it's lovely to hear the relationship between Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth who present the podcasts - the little trials and triumphs of their lives, it's like having a cuppa and a chat with friends. I haven't listened to them all but my favourite episode so far is #69 An interview with the musician Moby.
Just in the last month I discovered an Australian podcast Brilliant Misfits with Aesha Kennedy, these are interviews with women who are artists, creatives, and on the business side of it too. The first one I came across was with Wendy Sharpe an artist whose work I love, and now I'm slowly catching up with some of the other episodes.
I'd also like to shout out for a few sites/blogs I've been hanging out at lately - Julie Fei-Fan Balzer has been blogging for a long time and has a huge archive on art journalling that I've been dipping into.
Andrea Schroeder has a blog called Creative Dream Incubator, she has heaps of free resources and videos about journalling and getting to the bottom of what you really want to do.
So better late than never, here's a look at what I've been doing in the studio in August.
I wanted to try to keep up the momentum of the ICAD challenge, but also to change things up a bit. So I decided to work on some index card dividers using acrylics, and trying to work in a non-representational way playing with colour and mark making. I certainly haven't done one a day, but have worked on 2 or 3 at a time, once or twice a week, often going back over them with more layers (painting over things I don't like). I have maybe a dozen done. It has been great to get the paints out and play even if I'm not thrilled with the results!
Once there's paint on the palette I hate to waste it, so I'll base coat some journal pages, or get a little canvas out and start painting...
These little 4x4 inch canvas boards are both of begonia plants I have in pots in the garden - could be an excuse to go shopping for some new plants if I'll get some paintings out of them!!!
This one (actually painted in September not August) is of an agave baby, I've potted up a few that were sprouting from two big ones we have in the front yard. So gardening and painting are going hand in hand which makes me happy!!
And a bonus, 2 haiku after a long, long drought of no poetry.
High tide is splashing
the sea wall, seagulls perch on
the tips of mangroves.
My yoga mat spread
on the verandah, geese cross
the sky honking.
Best wishes, and thanks for dropping by my blog, have a great September.
I grew up in England and moved to Australia
in my mid-twenties, and even 25 years later I'm still getting used to topsy-turvy
seasons and the challenges of gardening in the tropics.... So even though
it's mid-winter, here in the tropics this is the best time of year to grow
the kind of veggies you'd grow in an English summer.
I was late getting my tomatoes in this
year - I usually plant them around Easter or May Day at the latest - but
this year I was wondering whether it's worth the effort, I didn't get many
tomatoes last year. It turned out to be a good thing I waited as May was
very hot and humid. I think I ended up planting at the end of May, our
cool weather kicked in in July, at long last. For a while the tomato plants
were flowering but then the flowers were dropping off, then suddenly a
whole lot of them set fruit, which was very exciting!! I'm not sure if
that was to do with the cooler weather, or because I was off work for a
couple of weeks and gave them extra water if they looked droopy in the
day. So now the first one is starting to ripen - these are 'patio tomatoes'
so the plants don't get too big and the fruit is bigger than a cherry tomato,
but smaller than a regular salad tomato! I got them as seedlings from my
local hardware store.
I've also had an experiment with growing
from seed. I bought some locally grown cherry tomatoes from the markets
and we didn't eat them all, a couple started to go squishy in the fridge
so I put them outside in the warm, still in the plastic bag. I left them
for about a week until they were completely mushy, then I planted the lot
(even the skins) in a pot. Heaps of seedlings sprouted, and I've transplanted
4 into a bigger pot. I knew it was possible because a friend grew a tomato
plant by accident out of her compost bucket... Here's her beautiful photo
on flickr. I'll be interested to see how they go, as the weather will start
to get hotter and more humid next month. I've heard of people managing
to grow tomatoes in the build up, so I'm hoping this is one of those varieties...
My mint plant is still surviving, it
struggles through the wet season and comes good in the cooler months.
I haven't had much luck growing flowers
over the years, so I'm trying begonias as they are a tropical/subtropical
plant, the thick fleshy leaves made me think they might cope with the heat.
I'm hoping to take some cuttings from these once they get established. I hope you're having a great weekend maybe spending some time in the garden too!
Today is the last day of the index card a day challenge. I'm thrilled to have got all the way to the end. I just uploaded 2 weeks worth of cards to flickr, and hope to upload the final 5 tomorrow.
The joy of the challenge was that it wasn't about the results, but about making a little bit of time to be creative, to play everyday, some days I wasn't inspired and did a bit of a doodle, but that became the stepping stone to the next card, and the opportunity to create again.
In the batch that I just uploaded there's a group that are based on a memory or from the imagination, that seem to hang together. Here are some of them. Here's hoping I can keep the momentum going tomorrow and the next day...
I'm still keeping on with the index card a day challenge (ICAD), and I've just uploaded all my cards up to day 35 on my flickr stream.
After I took the gardening books back to the library I've had to look for inspiration in other places... Most unexpected was a series working from photos of artists, some from books and some searched up online. First was Picasso
I don't know what to think of them except fandom! But it's lovely to have this arena to do them in where it doesn't have to be for a reason, it doesn't have to be so they'll turn into cards or linocuts or work for an exhibition - they are just for their own sake, for the value of putting paint on paper and seeing what happens, and in this case to spend a moment thinking about artists I love...
It's not too late to join in with the ICAD challenge, it carries on 'til the end of July, you can find out all about it on the daisy yellow blog.
I'm glad to say I have jumped onto the index card a day challenge. It
runs right through June and July and you can find out all about it at the
daisy yellow blog. I've been uploading all my ICADs to my flickr stream, so you
can see them all there. Here are a few selected ones.
This was my first, a warm up card I made in May, and a reminder to me to
enjoy the process and not to make it a chore - which is how my art making has
felt this year.
Tammy (daisy yellow) provides daily prompts and weekly themes which you
can use or ignore.
This one was for the pyramid prompt. Most of the time so far I've been
working with gouache. I have a pile of gardening books out of the library at
the moment and kept thinking I should do some drawings from those - so this is
the perfect opportunity. I have a bunch of index cards done now based on those
books ...and probably still more to go on this theme.
What's working for me is that the commitment is small - a little gouache
sketch can be finished in 5 minutes, but it makes me feel like I'm making a
tiny bit of progress each day. Because it's a small commitment it means there's
less pressure on the result, yesterday I did two attempts at the same image and
don't like either of them, but who cares it was 10 minutes wasted (or not,
maybe something learned, maybe in a few weeks I'll look back and see something
of value in them). Today is a new day and a new card.
Think Like a Freak by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
The Tell-tale Heart by Jill Dawson
The Railwayman's Wife by Ashley Hay
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
David and Goliath - Underdogs, misfits... by Malcolm Gladwell
Matisse the master by Hilary Spurling
A Long Way from Verona by Jane Gardam
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
Good News Bad News by Maggie Groff
The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz
Giving up the ghost - memoir by Hilary Mantel The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Books I'm reading 2013
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)
The Unknown Matisse by Hilary Spurling
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Life after life by Kate Atkinson
Astray by Emma Donoghue
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal
Mindset by Dr Carole Dweck
Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks The South Bank Show - final cut (interviews) by Melvyn Bragg The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly The Charming Quirks of Others by Alexander McCall Smith Creole Belle by James Lee Burke
Books I'm reading 2012
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure by Joanne Harris
When god was a rabbit by Sarah Winman
The Mind and Times of Reg Mombassa by Murray Waldren
Believing the lie by Elizabeth George
All that I am by Anna Funder
Paper Bliss (craftin!) by Skye Rogers
Obliquity (non-fiction) by John Kay
Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
Night Street by Kristel Thornell
It takes a village by Christine Stinson
The New Republic by Lionel Shriver
Bird by Bird - some instructions on writing and life by Anne Lamott (again already!)
An awkward truth - the bombing of Darwin by Peter Grose
Talking about Detective Ficiton by PD James
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
Failure is an option by Terry Robson
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill
Haiku Mind by Patricia Donegan
Bird by Bird - some instructions on writing and life by Anne Lamott
Lessons in letting go - Confessions of a hoarder by Corinne Grant
Books I'm reading
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Margaret Olley Far From A Still Life by Meg Stewart
Bird Cloud a memoir by Annie Proulx
The Shifting Fog by Kate Morton Solo by Rana Dasgupta
The 100 Thing Challenge by Dave Bruno
Animal Vegetable Mineral (again) by Barbara Kingsolver The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver Adrienne Rich's Poetry and Prose Blink by Malcolm Gladwell Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell 2010
To Heaven by Water by Justin Cartwright
The Outsider by Albert Camus
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
Dirt Music by Tim Winton
Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Anger of Aubergines (short stories) by Bulbul Sharma
The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Emily Carr a biography by Maria Tippett
High Tide In Tucson (essays) by Barbara Kingsolver