awol, presumed doodling.


I’ve been off line for a while, playing in the analogue world of paint and scribbles and little bits of torn up paper. Recharging & recombobulating. Playing with things like this.

This book lived on my desk through the first half of this year. Over the weeks and months it grew fat and messy with ‘while I’m waiting’ doodles, with mopped up paint spills, scraps of stuff, with the words and ideas that were orbiting my mind.

 

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When it was all done, I made this quick flip thro vid:

 And when I say quick, I know it’s super quick.  So here’s a more leisurely stroll through some of the pages, and some of the ideas that keep rolling back into my art.

 

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Stories unfold from the words I’m listening to in audio books and podcasts, and the characters evolve from magazine pages, advertisements and found paper.

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Lines of text set against rows or polkadots, knitted together with scribbly handwriting. Faces in the spaces.

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Backgrounds from maps: borrow the contour lines, take them off wandering into new places.

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Cut out shapes from scrap paper.

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Add eyes and whiskers: see them come to life.

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“Meow”

Writing down the words I heard and want to remember later.
I leave notes and messages for me-in-the-future scattered through my art.

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“There’s a reason why we get the ideas we get.”
(so it’s important to put them someplace safe until they’re ready to use)

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Then there’s the found poetry from song lyrics, Inertia blue zero freeze.
(idk)

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Dotted lines around the edges make me happy:  as any small child will tell you, they’re really fun to do. Especially in time to music.

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Texture in sticky thick paint, like tree branches or arteries, reminds me art is alive and part of nature. And vice versa.

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Messing about with perspective with angles and lines. Inventing new people.
Anything’s possible in a book.

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These words were pinned to my wall of ideas, making space for new things, now they’re rehomed in the book. Keep things you love in sight, always. 

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Negative space: white paint dampens the cacophony of color.

Opportunity is everywhere. It really is.

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Case in point, I collect cards at art fairs, copying shapes, giving this gal a sister. 

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Copying faces, shapes and tricky things like hands. 

Dropped in here and there amid all the noise and color takes the pressure off.

How they look isn’t important when they merge in with all this stuff.

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Keep playing, keep making it up as you go along. That’s really all there is.


 

My next project is a weeny little sketchbook for the Tiny Book Collaboration

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If you’d like to be first to see what I’m making and doing, hop aboard my mailing list right here

 

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!

 


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thinkings and doings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(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.