art is everywhere…


…but you knew that, right?

I’ve been looking at some of my old sketchbooks. Back in 2011 I did a textile art workshop. The topic for our designs was grids.

The week before I’d been to the Kniting & Stitching Show at Ally Pally – I came home with bags of new goodies to play with, and a camera full of ideas.

I was really struck by these images of the frondy leaves against the metal framework of the glass roof. Grids!! These were the grids I focussed on at the workshop…

…which quickly evolved into these…

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You can see the real frondiness of the cut out pages come to life here…

The magic of this sketchbook, even 5 years on, I still get new ideas rush at me as I flick through the pages.

Do you look back through old art journals and sketchbooks? Do they keep sparking new ideas even years later? Next time you’ve got a few minutes spare and they’re ready to hand, open one up somewhere in the middle and see if it stirs some long forgotten inspiration. Seeds of thoughts you planted way-back-when. They might yet grow into something beautiful!

 


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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 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

the str-e-e-e-tch


This guy was in a yoga magazine before he got here. In between times he’s been hanging out in my collection of cut out magazine snippings.ephemeralgecko72Trikonasana.jpg

I haven’t attempted this asana for a long while, it’s one that feels amazing at full stretch with straight limbs like this, but limbs and joints don’t always want to cooperate…

So he’s here as a reminder of what I can do on a good day, and good days are returning.

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Meanwhile I’ll focus my dexterity on scissor work and paintbrush wielding 😉

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circus of uncertainty


It’s a continuing theme…

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We are back in the book again. Come in, have a stroll round…

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It’s a bit wordy underfoot so mind your step.

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There’s a regularity to the irregular once you get used to it here.

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There’s a quiet comfort in the uncertainty.

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And as in the parallel world outside, no-one’s really sure what’s going on.

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“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
…live in the question.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

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Welcome to my circus of uncertainty

 

 

 

Scraps of Serendipity


How to make a decision, how to avoid paralysis of overhwelm, when there are a hundred gazillion options, how does that work?

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Cos here we are, right, in the 21st Century, and if you’re reading this I’m figuring you’re someplace a little bit like here. A place where art supplies are available in more colours, more media, more super-doopy newly formulated zingyness, more variety than you can shake a stick at. 

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And even when you’re on a strict self-imposed use-what-you-got-already-before-buying-more-at-the-art-store diet….. there’s no still shortage of choice. Especially not when you’re compelled to repurpose just about anything into art.

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Scraps of Serendipity. Love it when that happens!

Lately I’ve taken to limiting what I can use to the scraps that are on my work table. These tubes of paint I didn’t put away after last time, these nibbles of torn paper. These choices were made by a previous me, and today’s ingenuity is tasked to find a new way to combine them.

 

daily learning


Do you have daily practices?

I kinda do, but my progress moves like a caterpillar – that scrunching-stretching motion, so while it averages out as daily, it might not always be technically daily.

This is the thing: – I’m acknowledging this now instead of berating myself. I’m learning my rhythms and working within them.  I’m letting the process be the lesson.

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2016: A work in progress/process

Since the start of this year I’ve been adding to this book of ‘daily’ doodles. Mostly every day I complete a 1″square. The days when I don’t, I return to, always within a day or two, and as I doodle I reflect back on that day. Sometimes there’s a word or a shape or a scrap of something to glue into the square. Everyday is similar, yet every day is unique.

It’s another unfolding metaphor.

 

 

thoughts de jour


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Traditional journalling – the outpouring of words and thoughts and the recording of happenings, events and reactions is quite linear: these things occurred, then were recorded; these things were planned and projected, then recorded.

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Art journalling is far more holistic. Even the most literal illustrations are cast in the light of the mood, defined by the view of the artist and constricted by the limitations of their style and skill.

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And then there’s this whole exploration of the psyche that forms from the deluge of abstraction that some of us create.

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Like many other artists who play this game, mine is largely an unplanned stream of consciousness.

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As life ebbs and flows there are periods dominated by torrential outbursts of imagery.

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I’m driven by a force beyond my thoughts to combine and construct these collections of objects, images and notions. They make no sense at the time and only sometimes later can I pick out an impression of context, a reflection of thought.

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Meanwhile, I enjoy the colours and the nonsense. Another metaphor for life.

3 weeks: 5 realisations


3 weeks into this year, I’m learning to adapt to this new structure that’s unfolding.

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I live by metaphors, they are the framework of all my understanding. The skeleton on which I hang my beliefs and theories.

Since January 1st 2016 I’ve filled one of these 1″ squares each day. They are in a book with enough pages to carry this daily practice over a few years. Will I do that?  I hope to. The project is entitled Self Love 365 and everyone who shares their daily squares has a unique interpretation. I love to see how our days are represented and recorded.

I’m looking at my first 3 weeks of squares and seeing a good degree of haphazardness, conflicting colours, but a bigger pattern is beginning to emerge.

When I drew out the grid I left a little gap between each square – it allowed one week to fit tidily across the width of the page that way, every day has a margin of breathing space. Except I’m scrappy and resistant to constraint by edges. Some days expand and overflow, some are linked by doodled extras.

To begin, I had trouble connecting the project to self love. Now I’m starting to understand. Here are some aspects of kindness I’m extending to myself:

  • Scrappy and overflowing are character traits not flaws. Vital in the Yin/ Yang of conformity.
  • The few minutes I set aside each day are a meditation, a discipline, a habit. Sometimes it’s easier than others to find the minutes, some days I want to doodle on ahead, but I keep rolling along, one square a day.
  • If I can see patterns develop over 3 weeks, undoubtedly I’ll get more insights over the coming months. This is a gift to me in the future.
  • Hustling for extra meaning isn’t necessary. It might emerge on its own, it might not. Patience!
  • It’s a whole book of unfolding metaphors for me to carry on defining my sense of how things are.

wobbling, blurry…


It’s all metaphors, right?

As I look at what I do I try to pick out clues as to what I mean and feel and understand.

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Already in week two of this selflove365 day project (and LOVING it, btw).

The pictures are fuzzy. They mirror the way I’m fumbling my way into the new year and this new project.

I’m finding my feet.

How do I interpret Self Love?

I’m defining it to myself: until recently I wasn’t aware of it even being a thing in my world. It’s new and a little confusing, I’m taking it on as a project: here in this book, here in my life.

So far, this is what it looks like….

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day 1

Starting out with a literal expression of the theme. First thoughts… It turns out 1″ square is both larger and smaller than I expected it to be. I can squish more into the space than expected, also it’s also more squinty to look at and to photograph than I expected.

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day 2

I went to see Star Wars this day. It was fab. (Apropos to nothing at all.) 

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day 3

What’s this? – like a tunnel into the future? IDK. I’m still consumed in confusion from the holidays. It’s still a blur. It’s been a Sunday for a very long time now.

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day 4

This was the day I would have gone back to work if I hadn’t spent it flat out on the sofa, back home, recombobulating. I was watching a lot of YouTube. A lot of Kyle Cease. He’s reminding me to re-establish a daily meditation practice. I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project. She’s reminding me the same.

In terms of the daily practice, I’m beginning to see how the squares can join up to become a bigger picture. I’m beginning to get a grip on things again. Thank fuck for that.

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day5

Finally got into the year. Five days in… I’ve done than that worse before 😉

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day 6

Last year’s book seemed to be full of eyes. (My word for the year was FOCUS, it that kept coming out.) Also my art often has eyes in. So here’s an image who is looking back at us.

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day 7

Today I began another year long project. I’m feeling more comfortable with commitment than any time before in my life. (Strewth – I’m not becoming like an actual adult am I?) (NO)

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I hope the first week of the year has been gentle to you, dear friends. I look forward to reading your plans and adventures X