Hark Publications: Coming to my Senses: Finding my voice through ovarian cancer
“I found it exciting to read about her inner struggle, her courage to face very painful decisions. She talks openly about how everything that we do in life comes with a price tag, and only if we are willing to face this and the consequences, can we truly be healthy and take control of our lives, including our bodies. I have not had to face a life threatening illness, but I found that when she shares her deepest feelings, she speaks directly to issues in my life.” (extracted from Amazon review).
I’ve been blocked in my painting practice, and it’s nothing to do with the fact that my materials are in storage!
Although packing up the house did mean having to pack canvases and paints away, they were within easy reach, and I could have taken paper and paints out at any time, laid the plastic sheeting over the floor, and done some process work, the work that keeps me sane. But I didn’t. Instead I kept the painting space free in my head, and periodically I’d wander in there, sit down, and think about mixing colours, getting messy, all the tactile aspects of painting that I love so much. But the images weren’t clear enough to paint. The ideas were forming, new work was in process, as I was in the process of leaving my womb-like nest, but I wasn’t ready to reveal that even to myself. But I was giving myself a very hard time about not painting, and felt something was wrong, my head was full of ‘the shoulds’ … and that always chafes my creative spirit, makes me rebellious, ‘oh fuck it, if I feel I should, then I won’t’ kind of thing. So I continued to feel stuck, until I met Linda Norris again, the Pembrokeshire artist who paints emotional responses to landscapes.
I’d discovered her work during a writing sabbatical several years ago, and knew I’d found an artist who had something powerful to say, not only about her connection to the Pembrokeshire landscape, but about life, living, and our engagement with that. There was a fearlessness in her work, a wild spirit that she had also managed to contain, to frame within the context of paint.
I re-entered her gallery knowing that I would see something that would inspire me to pick up my brushes again. Fortunately she was in residence this time, and offered me coffee while I looked at her paintings and prints. As ever, they moved me to look deeper. Yes, to see the craggy shorelines, but to also be reminded of those rough edges within myself, and the layers that have to be peeled back if the work itself is to be any good. It’s not good enough to hide behind certainty and safety, you have to go out beyond the tides, and to also muck about within them, explore the deep and the shallow. I saw the familiar prints, and some of her new work, but it was the conversation with Linda herself that moved me this time.
For about 18 months I’ve been feeling inhibited by my technique, feeling I’d reached my limit, the edge of my boundary, and was hungry, no desperate to be find my next technique that would allow me to express my voice in the paint. Linda helped me to see that while technique is useful, sometimes knowing ‘how to’ can inhibit creativity. No-one can teach creativity, and she encouraged me to celebrate my willingness to engage with that. Doing so gives me the precious metals of my ideas with which to paint. Suddenly I felt free, no longer inhibited and I couldn’t wait to get painting again.
Linda runs a couple of courses each year, and I’ll definitely be booking myself onto one of these.
The images on Linda Norris’s site don’t do her art justice, but if you can’t get to see them in person as I did, you will be in for a treat!
Little People in the City: The Street Art of Slinkachu
The art maybe little but the voice is not.
The ‘Little People Project’ was started in 2006 by the London based artist Slinkachu.
It involves the remodelling and painting of miniature model train set characters, which are then placed and left on the street. It is both a street art installation project and a photography project. The street-based side of his work plays with the notion of surprise and aims to encourage city-dwellers to be more aware of their surroundings. The scenes he sets up, and the titles he gives these scenes aim to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city, almost being lost and overwhelmed. But underneath this, there is always some humour. He wants people to be able to empathise with the tiny people in his works.
Duane Keiser was the inspiration for this video. He got fed up of galleries taking a fat commission for the sale of his art, and so he conceived the idea of creating a painting a day, and it proved to be a successful way of selling his artwork.
As well as his successful postcard series which he sells through his blog, Duane also sells what he calls Oddments of his work. He randomly posts these on his blog.
This concept can apply to drawings and even small sculptures, jewellery especially, and pottery.
So I guess the question is: what can you create each day to sell online?
I am so interested to hear about what you decide to create, so be sure to leave me a comment.
Have fun filling your tank!
PS. Create a second store online for your work and open an account at Etsy which is the place to buy and sell arts and crafts.
PPS. Look out for my post about how to keep your creativity tank full.
At the weekend a friend came to visit me in my studio to see my new paintings, and asked to see some of my earlier work. I showed her paintings I had done during a phase when I felt fragmented and raw from painful surgeries and treatment. After she left, I spread out and then collated all the paintings I did during this intensive art therapy phase in 2003-04. Some of these are so small they are like shards, or edges of a painting. Inspired by this collection of over a 100 paintings, I reflected on how art therapy had strengthened my creativity generally at this time, and I wrote about this today in a new Hub Page.
I began creating small paintings of ‘emotional moments’ a few years ago on Indian Khadi paper. This roughly textured paper absorbs paint and water like a sponge, making it easy to make small paintings quickly. I treated these like I would a diary entry in my journal, and sometimes created a whole series in one evening. They were incredibly therapeutic to make because after short bursts of energy I would end up with half a dozen takes on a feeling or an image I had in my mind. Creating these images was and is still like a meditation for me, and painting in this way allows me to produce work easily without over-analyzing and obssessing about ‘what the market wants.’ This keeps my creative fire stoked, and can often lead to ideas for other images. This was before I’d even heard of Duane Keiser’s method of a painting a day.
What do you create daily?
Leave me a comment and tell me.
This was originally intended to be my painting blog, but now it's also about writing, what we ache for, and everything else important.
"Your paintings are like auragraphs. You pick up the information from the person and express it through art. However, they are on an altogether deeper level - not dealing with the outer projection of ourselves, not even with the spirit, but on a soul level. They are soul reflections".
Mary Clair Kelly, Cruse Counsellor