This one, called Freedon, will lift me up and remind me how fortunate I am to be free. I will never take it for granted.
..at the private view of Let It Snow, this is the text that should have been on the wall....
I am happy to say that despite the weather there were quite a few people to chat to at the Meet The Artist hour yesterday. I really enjoy it when people share their memories of snow.
My little cousin being held up to the window to see snow for the first time said 'Who did that?' ( I don't recall what answer she got, if any!)
Do you have any special memories of snow you might share here?
It was delightful to arrive in the gallery on Saturday and find ten or so young children spread around the floor doing their own snow pictures!
We had a lovely chat, and they were clearly enjoying the exhibition and having fun.
Today I met Sheena whose comments on the blog I have enjoyed for years! It was so good to put a lovely friendly face to the name (we had to remove our masks momentarily - who'd have thought it?) I am so glad she and her friend Lesley got a fine sunny day for their trip to Dunoon.
Yet more fun with my friend Lynne Cameron, a onetime student of my Drawing For Non Artists course at the University of York, now a full time painter. See her vibrant work here.
It's wonderful to be meeting up with people face to face again.
Details of the exhibition here.
That was a stretch (my word for the year!)
I enjoyed every minute of the private view and the company of Mary and Grace, long-time commenters here on the blog, and friends and family as well as people I had not met before from the gallery's own mailinglist. I talked my head off. My friend Ann, Mary (from Washington DC) and Grace (from Paris) had a lovely meal together after the event.
I am so touched that so many people cane, from near and so far! Thank you all, and to all the staff who made the occasion such a success.
I am starting to load images of all the paintings on my Studio page....
Let It Snow exhibition - details here.
Confirm details Meet The Artist sessions - Sat 6 Nov at 2.00pm and one other date to be congirmed in the gallery - Would love to meet you there!
Confirm music - Debussy The Snow Is Dancing, Arvo Part Fur Anna Maria, John Cage In A Landscape.
Delivered the paintings to the galley - tomorrow is hanging day.
Have just watched The Earthshot Prize - how wonderfully heartening!!
list of titles, sizes amd prices to gallery - tick
wall text and cv to gallery - tiick
photgraph 15 paintings - tick
final check each painting - tick
invitations - tick
arrange transport (two vehicles) - tick
wrap ready to transport - tick
confirm arrangements private view - tick
This is And On The Ships At Sea
Definitely not. Though the pressure is on. The exhibition opens next week.
I have been without phone and camera for 8 days. We are so used to next day delivery here in uk that I couod not believe how long it took to get sorted. What timing!
I have still to photograph all the paintings...
This is Yellow Gate In The Snow 11. I plan to post them all on my studio page, but if you are near enough I hope you will come to the exhibition!
It is Cowal Open Studios weekend and I visited Jackie Stevenson in her new studio in the village and bought some of her gorgeous cards.
There are five artists showing in my village alone, and 52 over Cowal - a lovely buzz from the many friendly talented people who are taking part. (I was a founder member but am not participating this year....maybe next year - it's a really nice thing to be part of.)
If you are near enough I urge you to make the trip, if not have a lovely online browse..
MaryB mentioned that she was feeling haunted by the images of 'woebegone' children in Joan Eardley's work, and I thought you would like to know that many of the children she drew went on to thrive. Thanks to post war Britain's welfare state - free education for all, free healthcare for all (the eye sqint was successfully operated on for example), free school meals, cod liver oil and orange juice, and slum clearance, the abject poverty of many families, including the Sampson family of 12 children, was alleviated. Not to mention effective contraception.
Two of the Sampson girls, Pat and Ann, now work with charities in Glasgow which help the (thankfully smaller) homeless population.
Both heartbreaking and heartening, and all within living memory.
More honest and moving images here.
It took five buses, one train and two ferries to get to Edinburgh and back yesterday on an impulse trip to catch the Joan Eardley exhibition on its penultiimate day.
It was wonderful to be in Edinburgh again, and in an art gallery again! And so worth it to see this exhibition. 42 works of breathtaking honesty, compassion and sheer bravery. It takes courage to do your own thing and put it out in the world to be judged.
Reproductions are of course pretty amazing, but nothing is so moving as standing in ftont of the real thing! How I have missed it. Have you?
My favourite little cafe/delicatessen G&T a few doors up from The Scottish Gallery has changed hands after many decades, but they do a nice cappuccino.
Life is looking up.
..to hear this morning of the death of artist Elizabeth Balckadder. Prolific, popular and yet remained an artists' artist, and was hugely influential. Sophisticated and completely without pretension. She freed botanical painting from it's straightjacket. Life in every brushstroke, she will live on through her wonderful work.
You are sure to recognize some of the images here.
I started work today on two new paintings: Thundersnow, Edinburgh and Blizzard.
A day off and two lovely visitors yesterday did me so much good! Do you need some 'time off'? Can you arrange it for yourself?
I am so interested in your comments and questions and wish I had more time to answer them more fully. I'd like to write about the magic of being 'in the flow' which occurs once the decisions have been made mosrtly, the way my 'paint first' motto means that some of the decisions are made while doing the dishes or ironing, and the part that music plays in getting me in work mode...however I have put myself in the position of having to do the work, not write about it. A bit of a push over the next two weeks I think.
No gardening but time to go out and look at the wonderful agapanthus with a coffee in my hand.
Please keep your comments and questions coming - they encouage me so much and I will always answer them - maybe briefly at the time and in blog posts later when the pressure is off a bit!
I LOVE titles! One of my favourites is Where There's A Ffish There's A Lemon - the title of a small painting I own by Christine McArthur. The title makes me smile.
I will post a photograph of it soon (my computer is not letting me uploadd photographs today..)
With my painting Ice and Lemon the thought process went something like this..I used irridescent paint for the sky and found myself adding more and more colours. The icy blue needed some lemon to make it sparkle a bit, and the painting was becoming more and more effervescent - almost party like. I thought of a G&T and being asked would you like Ice and lemon with that - Yes please! A fun title.
Oten the titles are very straightforward. Yellow Gate In The Snow, Snow At Chrissie's House. I am very aware that , especially in semi-abstract works, the title is often the viewrs way into the work.
The painting definitely does take on a life of it's own and evolves as a kind of negotiation. In fact I have just had an argument with one! Highly unusual . I wanted an area in Yellow Gate In The Snow to be a clearing in the forest, but the space kept insisting that it was a house. I gave in in the end. It is now a house, and I love it.
How can I describe the creative process. Demanding, exhausting sometimes. Exhilerating and really exciting. Every brushstroke is a decision (which is probably why it is tiring) and, like all decisions, you are often asking yourself Is it the right one? So between the actual putting of paint on canvas there is a lot of looking and meditating and judging going on. And at the back of your mind, as even the wonderfully talented pianist Vikingur Olafsson says is a nervousness about whether the world will like it! I have to make sure that thought is kept very much in the background or it would paralyse me...
I am finding both music and the talk about music and creativity inspiring. You can hear this pianist on BBC Sounds in In Tune of 12th August, and in a video on YouTube -Vikingur Olafsson Debussy Rameau EPK/Trailer. I would love to know what you think..
The days are flying by and I am feeling quite tired, not having worked this hard for years!
This is the start of Ice And Lemon.
..find an exact complementary colour.
You night like to try this first with bright primary colours. For example find something red. A book cover, or napkin, or an apple, and a piece of plain white paper. Now gaze for a slow count of twenty, without blinking, at the red object. Then transfer your gaze to the white paper. You will see what is called an after-image which will be green, the complementary colour of red.
If you stare at blue the after-image will be orange, at yellow the after-image will be purple.
It works even with the most subtle colours. If you are trying to mix the compementary colour in paint, you have to memorize what you see on the white paper- takes practice - but you can always gaze at the original again to get a match.
You can probably look up charts, but this is more exciting! Let me know if it works for you..
Today's work is to find the exact coplementary colour of the lilac. I use complementary colours a lot for vibrancy and a very 'active' surface to the canvas. Much inspired by Bonnard who wasa a master of this. I've used an iridescent oil paint for the first time. I was worried it might be a bit gimicky or tacky, but it's very subtle and interesting....
I had to roll up the rug in the sitting room for Japanese Snow. The studio isn't big enough.
The big black pots are bursting with bloom. Lime green and lilac petunias and shooting out of the tops nicotiana sylvestris with their gorgeous evening scent. I had forgotten how huge the leaves of this nicotiana are and had to keep cutting them off as they were smothering everything else.
How is your garden growing this summer?
...work out the right shade of grey for a night-time snow cloud, the garden, being left to its own devices now, changes from green to gold. We have had no rain for weeks.
Gwendoline in yesterday's comments has an interesting way of regulating the amount of pressure she is under, so that she does not feel rushed. A good strategy for an important issue in creative work. It's important to get that balance right, isn't it.
It's taken a while to get back into painting again.
I had forgotten how much my Barry helped when I had an exhibition coming up. He just quietly stepped in and took over the house and garden things to give me time to paint. Meals appeared and cups of coffee. Bills were paid, the grass was cut... we would walk round the garden together first thing; he looked over my work with me at the end of the day.. I miss him so badly.
I had also forgotten to make allowance for my altered eyesight - it makes me slow for one thing! Can I do it all in time?
Well, I work best when I have a deadline!
Because I am working in oils I need to allow drying time, so my deadline for the actual paintings is mid September. I need a minimum of 15 pieces and have 6 finished, 2 nearly finished and two more firm ideas. Ordering more canvases today.
I thought I would post about my progress this month and hope you might find that interesting. If you too are an artist it would be great if you shared your working methods and how you motivate yourself in the comments.
Good luck with whatever creative work you undertake. It's a mad way to make a living, but it is also wonderful to be able to do something you love .
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)