just lurking


Hello lovely friends of the internet, I’ve missed you, where have you been?

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I haven’t posted in a little while due to an absence of images.

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This is the coming together of a doodly thing I did a few weeks back

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Watercolour and fountain pen,  intricate and involved but in a stilted inhibited style, so I left it there

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My creative mojo has dropped off temporarily, the tide’s gone out, so I’m patiently waiting it out.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a beautiful Solstice, whatever that means to you. Be well, lovely souls X

in all seriousness


no , not really, I mean…really!

But in series

A work in progress, featuring more dictionary bits, watercolor, fountain pen doodles. Something of an underwatery feel going on this time.

Working title: Syllabub Four – after the first word I spotted in the collage:)

Altered Thinking


I’m away from home and away from this blog for a few weeks… I’m missing my studio but I know in my absence the ideas are bottling up and there will be opportunity for outpouring before too long. Meanwhile I’ve had time to ponder on where I’m at, and how I got here. From here I can figure out where to go next!

 

In all my experiments and adventures with mixed media art, there’s usually something that takes me by surprise.

Something amid this endless opportunities to combine, dismantle, re-imagine, reconstruct, with new permutations of media, materials, techniques and style – way more than any  one person could exhaust in one lifetime. Sometimes I forget this though. Then I forage around online for ideas, and something amazing happens.

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Take, for instance, the concept of an altered book.

I grew up in a home full of books, maybe the last generation for whom this primary source of information, books hold a sense of reverence. Over the years I sought sanctuary in books, a hiding place, a wonder world of mysteries, of dreams and spirits, of characters too colourful to exist outside. A key that unlocks the worlds within another’s imagination, in the words of Stephen King, ‘books are uniquely portable magic’.

I can honestly say, some of my best friends have been books.

So then, altering books…. Although I’ve seen some truly exquisite sculptural paper-folding from books, and some ingenious creations, something still felt uncomfortable. Something made me wince just a little bit. And I know I’m not alone in this.

It was when I saw Brian Dettmer’s TED Talk that my thoughts became altered too. He describes the art of book altering as reinvention, as comparable to a DJ remixing music. He compares books to bodies – living creatures –  with a capability to evolve, and as a parallel to the expansion of painting and drawing beyond simple reproduction after the invention of the printing press and the camera, now perhaps books have a freedom to be more than what they were before.

What I did here is nothing like the art that Dettmer makes, his talk opened my mind to more possibility. It liberated my thoughts.

In the resonance of his words I felt my thinking shift from ‘…but why?’ through stages of creeping curiosity, a crescendo of allure to the new level of possibility. These thoughts were gathering momentum to the level of irresistible fascination. Fuelled by online tutorials and videos, with a tatty orphaned volume of short stories I set out to see what would happen with paint, pens and collage cuttings…

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After just a short time I found the spirit of the exercise had taken hold: part drawn, part collaged, pieces fell into place alongside doodles and paint splatters. My eye would catch a fleeting glimpse before the sentences were lost under colour. Patterns and ideas formed organically

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All of my habitual ways were finding their place in this new sanctuary for busy thoughts. With no expectations I set about seeing what serendipity would surprise me with, and I watched the layers build up. It was becoming an illustrated stream of consciousness. The book was developing a character all of its own.

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I worked on this book over the course of a few months, skipping back and forth through the pages with paint or pastels, doodles and drawing. This is where I went when my ideas ran dry – there was always a space to fill and patterns to follow. Ideas fed on ideas.

So the lesson I learnt from this project is that the spirit of a book isn’t just caught up in the meaning behind its text, a book is much greater than its story.

You can see this completed book in three parts, here

mental noise


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Amid the hubbub of chatter inside my head I’m sometimes aware of one group of voices much more clearly than all the others.

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it’s louder, more forceful than the rest of them.
More strident, it’s shoutier…  y’know?

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In order to distance my own thinking from theirs,

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I’ve named them the ‘chorus of cynics’.

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Some days they’re so vocal, they’re so convincing,  their opinions stretch the full spectrum of topics. They’ve got a snide sideways aspect on every last subject, if I couldn’t disconnect from their scorn and derision it would still bite like it used to.

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I’ve heard our immediate reaction to a situation reflects our early programming. Let that pass and listen for our next thought, that comes from our true self. So I’m learning to let that knee-jerk of harsh sarcasm wash past; a more empathetic aspect will be close on its tail.

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That reflex derision does no good to anyone. The insight of affinity is warming to the soul.

The chorus of cynics will laugh and mock this as mimsy.

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Now I let them. 

 

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I don’t want their fights.

 

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Charles Bukowski

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There’s a department in my mind that holds onto criticism and scorns, these memories, filed under P for Potential to Spiral Out Of Proportion, is kept closely guarded these days.

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Too vague, too woolly, too dull and simpery soft-bellied.
You’ve got no definition, no essence, no core.
Too proud, narcissistic, all haughty and vain
Idealistic, unrealistic, unaware of your privilege:
That girl – Go Home!

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Twisting out from some comeback,
Flips extremes to befuddle, bemuse and condemn.

Try harder, work harder, do more in less time.
Be valid, be worthy, be helpful, have value, be more than you are.

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Of course, the older I get, the less I care.

What I make, what I think, what I care about and focus my life around, these are my choices. I’m gratefully blessed to be alive in a part of history and geography where I’m free to express these without fear.

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But the older I get, the more experience adds volume to the chorus too.

My nativity gets dinked and dented as I discover there are more people more capable of more hatred, more inconsistently judgemental, more out and out mad. And their voices accumulate.

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Their  comments can bubble up from time to time in the clamour of the committee and I can choose whether or not to listen. 

hatching plans…


I’m planning to put together a video showing the evolution of these pages.IMG_7642

From their kinda ugly beginnings based on indecision – paint – no, pen – no this colour – no, blobs not spirals, no -wait, ….

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through the messy phase (phase!!)

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The bits that look more complicated than they really are (maybe)

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Over and over in layers

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We’ll be able to see the bits that get obliterated along the way & the bits that keep shining through

doubtless we’ll be joined by some of the recurring creatures -like these cut out birds who keep flying back in…

I’m intrigued to watch the process from the outside too – let’s hope for a nice bright day at the weekend and I’ll see what I can conjure up!!

Have a wonderful weekend everylovelyone😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

hidden in plain sight


Sometimes I’ll notice a thing, it’s been there all along, just hiding from my awareness.

Case in point:  I ran a year long project a few years ago, where each month was dedicated to a colour.

Conveniently there are 12 months and if you use the Primary, Secondary, Tertiary groups there are 12 colours. I called it ‘12 in 12‘, beginning January with Red-Purple cycling through Purple, Blue-Purple, Blue…etc. finishing up in Red.

For the whole month I filled a few pages in this book. I feasted on the colour and resisted straying into another month’s territory (not easy for a colour glutton). I was strict and disciplined and it meant all the other colours exploded into my art outside this book with a new found gusto.

The year produced a lush rich rainbow of mixed media and collage.

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 I’d thought of doing this many times before, but for some reason I hadn’t gotten around to starting it. It wasn’t until around 3 colour/months in when it dawned on me… the year was 2012…so this was 12 in 12 in 12!

I bring this up now – not just as I love a bit of subconscious synchronicity – and this one still makes me smile years later – but because this project has inspired new ideas too.

I’ll be reviving this idea later in the year, and this time you can join in too! Watch this space, I’ll tell you more about it in the summer.

 

something familiar going on…


We’ve all got our own way of categorising, organising, ordering our worlds about us. And we often aren’t even aware of this until we encounter someone whose ways differ greatly from our own.

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For me, it’s by colour.  (no shit…really?)

Back in a previous life when I was an office bunny who shuffled papers and rattled at a keyboard all day I sought out opportunities to invent new systems I could colour-code.

I’d spend any spare time buried in the stationery catalogues, choosing folders and files and highlighter pens.

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What I came to realise much later on was that I just had a thirst for colour and creativity that was going unquenched.

Beyond that, colour is the defining visual attribute I’ll notice over any other: He’s the guy in the blue shirt, it’s the house with the red paintwork, the shop with the green & yellow signboard … I don’t know any of their names, but I usually know what colours they are.

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It occurred to me today, as I edited these images from my current journal to show you, a habit of mine to spend a time with a group of colours.

 I revel in their company, their character, the memories they muster and the feelings they stir up.

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When sated, I can move on, visit a different range of the spectrum.

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I never know which colours will appear next, or how long I’ll be in the company of my current companions. But while we’re together, they will seep into aspects of my day without me even realising.

I put these images together, here I am in the realms of purple and a little to either side, and I felt a pang of familiarity, a sense that something’s closer than I realise…

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I looked down at what I’m wearing….

Oh yeh… I see what’s gong on here!

Jolly Bunny Eggs


I think this is an Arctic rabbit (clipped from a magazine too long ago to remember for sure) but he’s resident in the book  so this seems like a good moment for him to bounce into view.

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Traditionally this is the weekend when people stuff their children with overpriced, over-packaged chocolate and get a long weekend off work.

Here in the UK it usually rains, so we also get to complain about missing the things we didn’t want to do anyway: disappointing barbecues, gardening, car boot sales, etc…

Some partake in religious rituals, while some grab the opportunity to argue their tradition is better than the others, and which group gets to claim its origin.

However you’re spending your time (hiding out in the internet – me too – don’t worry they won’t notice) – I hope you’re having a joyful time. Be well, dear friends. X

universal things


We’ve all got our theories, our beliefs, or rules by which – with varying degrees of conviction –  we play this game.

The nutshelled version of my belief system is: We’re all doing the best that we can, given the resources and information we have to work with, and that nobody knows what’s going on. 

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Not with any hard-core provable certainty. (No matter what they claim).

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We’re all holding on as best we can, to what we can reality on this little blue orb spinning about somewhere in the midst of an unimaginably large amount of other stuff that popular science tells us is expanding, at high speed, into … into… well … more of the what we don’t know what.

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One notion I’m drawn to is the fractal universe. I like Carl Sagan’s description here:

I find the soothing quality of his voice makes something mind-stretchingly unimaginable sound so simple, almost obvious.

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I’m not a scientist, and I’m not that interested in debating the detail (explanations usually collapse under their own weight anyway), I just find this notion pleasingly tidy.

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I’m totally intrigued by feedback loops. (this very snippet from Mr Sagan appears somewhere in this – I’ll post the full version one day… Remind me)

It’s all made up of loops: It all feels like a loop. Like, a spiralling loop.

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What?

Don’t give me that look…

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These are the eyes belonging to the half face that we saw a few pages ago. See. That’s like a loop too.