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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(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug in a fluffy blanket & nestled with a puppy until the spring arrives. I will bring it tea and a bun if it wakes up.

 

Dawn


This morning I launched my newest project – a year full of color – “TWELVTY” All as scheduled, 9am my time, so the early wee hours for the cross-pond recipients.

Each month this year has it’s own color: January is yellow, and it’s flooding my thoughts.

It’s the sunrise of a new project. 

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each month I’ll be making art in just one color for TWELVTY: yellows gathered in readiness!

The idea came to me just a couple of months ago when I was on holiday. Bumbling about taking photos… as one does.

I notice color everywhere.

I had a moment of profound realisation when I found myself taking photos of a group of tourists emerging from their (red & blue) coach, just because almost all of them seemed to be dressed to match in some shades of red & blue….

I had one of those momentsDo other people see this too? 

Like the fish who doesn’t know it’s swimming in water, my ideas have only swum in my mind, I’ve got no comparison unless I step away and try to look in from outside.

I mentioned the tourists & matching coach to someone a few days later – with gushing enthusiasm – but was met with blank nothingness. Not even the edge of a WTF? response I sometimes get when I share arty revelations like this, just a totally empty, disinterested blankness.

That was the moment I knew: I need to connect up with others who see & appreciate what I see & appreciate. My tribe. We need each other.

We need each other in a world of unknown areas of empty, disinterested blankness, a world with WTF? reactions to gushing arty revelations.

We need to reflect back to each other the magic of seeing some crazy spontaneous colour synchronicity, of seeing some beautifully matched chance happening, some little something somewhere that gets overlooked by most but makes our hearts sing just because of its orangeness, or blueness, or purpleypink, or whateverness.

I love how the idea is resonating among the folks who’ve joined already, the excitement bubbling up, and most of all the anticipation of what will emerge from this group as the year unfolds.

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It’s going to be bright and glorious and I love it!


Want to make your 2017 brighter and more colorful?

Sign up below for more news on my doings & makings through the year, and get a lovingly hand crafted ebook all about color 

…oh, and you can join TWELVTY too !

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Be well, my friends, Much love to you all X

**********************************

(Your email is absolutely safe with me, I’ll just pop by and check up on it time to time, feed it biscuits, plump up its cushions, that sort of thing.)

Just For You!


EDIT 25 Sep: the lucky winners will receive notification from Dirty Footprints Studio by email before the launch on Monday 26 September. But it’s not too late – you can still sign up right here

 

Hey dear friends — I have a gift for you!

To celebrate my online class teaching on 21 Secrets I have TWO FREE COPIES of COLOR, COLOR, COLOR! the 2016 Fall Edition of the 21 Secrets program to share.

 

But be quick – it’s only a week until launch day!

Sign up here to enter the Prize Draw – two lucky winners will be drawn on
Friday 23 September.

Squeeee! It’s exciting! If you aren’t lucky enough to win one of these free spots you can still sign up for the super bargain price of just $98.

For Lessons from 24 great artists this is fabulous value, and yours to download and keep forever.

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Get a sneak preview at my class: “Take Nine” over here


By entering this prize draw, you’ll be added to my newsletter list too. The newsletter is still young, and fairly infrequent – you can expect it dropping into your mailbox no more than once a month – or maybe if there’s something super spectacularly exciting I think you’d like to know. You can unsubscribe any time you like, no hard feelings.

Your email is absolutely safe with me,  inside my computer where even I won’t be able to find it most of the time. I’ll just pop by and check up on it time to time, feed it biscuits, plump up its cushions, that sort of thing.

 

The more you look…


…the more you see.

Have you ever been on a color hunt? You can do it right now – pick a color and look around you, as soon as you choose to see, it pops up all over the place. I went looking for primaries in the everyday everythings…

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You don’t need to go anywhere special, you can cast your eyes around while you sit at the traffic lights or stand in line at the shops.

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Look around your town, your home, your wardrobe, your bookcase, your refrigerator…

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Tune in to a color and it will appear like magic!

 

 

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

derailed logic


You know me well enough by now – you know not to expect a simple train of logic, don’t you?

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When I found this anonymous model, the leopardskin, that sultry seductive look, and all the glamour of the 1940’s ‘do — and I don’t remember the exact connecting train of thought that same next –– I just straight away thought mermaid.

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Of course, right? <welcome to my world!>

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

 

 

 

merging emerging


Last night I couldn’t sleep. So I painted. And I pondered.

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The magic of metallic paint on cushiony soft paper, that biro marks indent and cast tiny shadow outlines.

Life is as quick as a flash, a sprint through some generations and it’s done.

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And life is a slow evolution, spiralling up through understanding new layers of the game.

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It’s both.

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Everything & Nothing. Empty & Full.

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Contrast & Confusion. Zigs & Zags.

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Deep & Shallow.

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Some folk like to scramble the edge, following the truths they’ve chosen to absorb, busying away their days in occupation and activity, punctuated with ritual and escapism.

IMG_7349.jpgFearful of treading over the lines, getting their toes wet, or worse.

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Some folk run at it fast, not leaving anything to chance, escaping the dangers by out-running and out-witting. No way is right, no way is wrong. We’re all just making it up one bit at a time.

~~~~~

I’ve been listening to Pete Holmes’ podcasts: You Made It WeirdHe kept me company through the night, kept me laughing and thinking. So far I’ve really love love loved his interactions with Liz Gilbert & Deepak Chopra and been curiously riled by Noel Gallagher &  Tim Minchin.

the ancient and the absurd


When a birthday falls mid week, mid winter, mid-school holidays (not to mention mid-life) – a less inventively inclined type might find this precludes fun activities – y’know, with friends, outdoors, not surrounded by a gazillion anxty families…. One thing was for sure, I wasn’t going to spend it in the office pretending it’s just another day. (Too many years have passed that way – a postponed birthday never really works for anyone over the age of 6)

So taking advantage of being close to London, I took myself off to the V&A.

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It’s indoors (even the walk from the tube station is underground and out of the rain) and although families visit, it’s museumy and sedate with minimal shouting and squealing. (Even from me)

I’ve visited many times before, but despite this, hardly begun to see all there is on offer. I didn’t realise how much there was to see until I looked it up just now (thank you wikipedia)

The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A), London, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects.

….

The V&A covers 12.5 acres (51,000 m2)[3] and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. The holdings of ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewellery, furniture,medieval objects, sculpture, prints and printmaking, drawings and photographs are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world.

Several hours and 4 aching feet later, we sat down for a tea and food before wending our way back post rush hour chaos. Minds were blown. Awe was inspired. The extremes of the ancient, the enormous, the itsy teeny detailed, the extravagant and ornate are all there. Most too amazing for words.

A tiny handful came home in my camera and in my mind’s eye.

Some of these will be characters in future art…

And as always I’m drawn to the abstract imagery, both in the art and in the architecture, it kinda blurs into one big gestalt experience.