Outside the studio - a heatwave!
Another painting for the exhibition. See here.
Have just taken delivery of three large canvases, which will become Japanese Snow (diptych and my largest painting yet), Yellow Gate In The Snow, and on another 1m x 1m canvas Snow On Snow.
When an idea comes for a painting, it comes with a size! It's as if it is a given, and not negotiable. These canvases are quite heavy and my studio quite small (so am I) so you will understand when I sometimes wish I painted miniatures!
The poster for the exhibition is being designed. Gulp.
Better get back to work...
Some of you will know my other blog which I wrote more or less weekly, between 2010 and 2013- fredawaldapfel.squarespace.com/
In it I write about being an artist, and there is also a piece called Why Invest In Art.
I hope you will find it interesting!
I am currently reclaiming the studio by removing the plant propagator, the recycling, and everything else that has accumulated in there that has nothing to do with work!
To be an artist, said Raoul Dufy, you should first get the mundane things of your life in order. I thought, somewhat cynically, when I read this that he meant get a wife (which he did).
However I have been very busy getting my house in order during this strange year. Repairs to the chimney, the porch, the soffits, downstairs inside the house painted and all of the outside of the house painted, replaced old cast iron downpipes, guttering cleaned and drains cleared, steps and paths power hosed, hedges cut, paths cut, fences painted - and the red gate and the yellow gate....and now the shed is being rmended.
I've been writing about feeling a bit nervous about my plans for 2020.
Among other things I plan to finish editing my novel, live for a month in Venice, and start work on a big solo exhibition. 15 - 20 large paintings. Date is being decided....
No pressure then, as they say!
Out of sheer desperation to avoid television I have begun painting again!
I'm only half joking. I have watched more television since Barry died than I watched in the previous 25 years! We didn't have a television and didn't miss it. (I still don't have one but I do have my laptop and iPlayer.) Of course there are some very good things on television and I don't criticize anyone for watching it, but I always had this uneasy feeling that it was like living at second hand and, for me, just not worth the time it took up out of my life.
A few days ago I spent some time with a friend who is a writer who is not writing and I am a painter who is not painting so we decided to encourage each other by discussing why we are not doing it....and why we had tried and failed to take it up again. It was an interesting and deep conversation. One question we asked was If we were working what would it - our practice - look like? And could we set it up anyway.
I decided it would be part of my every day and that I would work as I had at the beginning of my life as a painter twenty two years ago - at the table, even if that meant clearing it off for every meal.
I feel more like myself already.
I have a lovely memory of Barry leaning against the door of the studio watching me work on a series of collages after a trip to Harris, and when I glanced up enquiringly (because he usually left me alone when I was working) he said with a warm smile 'You really love this don't you?' He supported me in everything I wanted to do. I know that if he exists in any shape or form he would be smiling at me and supporting me still, and that comforts me and makes me feel peaceful. Peaceful enough to paint again.
Are you a singer who doesn't sing?
A dancer who doesn't dance?
A poet, a baker, a potter, a knitter, a woodworker, a creative of any kind who is not creating?
If you believe your creative self is your true self, and you are not being true to yourself can you ask yourself why? And take a tiny step to set up the situation in which you can be that creative person? Perhaps you need a new mindset or you need some materials - I bought a small set of Designer Gouache paints because I have been thinking for years about playing with the contrast between translucent and opaque watercolours....
Such good advice,,
Compare Yourself To Who Youe Were Yesterday And Not To Who Someone Else Is Today.
(Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules For Life.) I hereby promise to stop comparing myself to Matisse and just get on and paint!
I hope to have more time to review the next interesting rule - Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them.
..to sketch and paint, having just spent a few inspiring days with my artist friend Caroline Bailey who generously invited me to share her wonderful studio space. See Caroline's stunning work here.
The journey to Skye where she is now based meant a bus route along the shores of Loch Lomond, through moody Glencoe and over the bridge to windy Skye and its stunning west coast.
Apart from her obvious talent (she is a wonderful colourist) I am so impressed by Caroline's commitment and sheer hard work, and - that word again - passion.
She has just had a very successful show at the Walker Art Gallery in Harrogate.
No more excuses Freda.
Just do it.
I got a little boost too from an email while I was in Venice to say that I had sold four small paintings in a local gallery.......and I'm staying home now, 'til at least next Tuesday!
..if you want to visit Cowal Open Studios from 22nd - 25th September. The members exhibition at the Creggans Inn will help you decide which artist's studios you want to visit. From 4th - 25th 9am - 10pm (good food too).
Hard to photograph well today with many of the artists there - and too busy catching up with friends to concentrate on the photography!
Two paintings on their way to an exhibition..
Light at The End of Rachel's Tunnel
The Blue Hums To The Yellow
The Cowal Open Studios Guest Exhibition will be at the Dunoon Burgh Hall from 9th - 30th September.
Being a full time artist was a dream which came true! (See yesterday's post.)
I am sad to hear of the death of the artist Howard Hodgkin
I have always found his paintings and prints utterly compelling though it would be very hard for me to say why. They seem to bypass my left brain and defy description in words.
Words seem superfluous.
Which is as it should be really.
In fact the visceral images seem to bypass brain altogether and go straight from eye to heart, or gut.
..when did I last feel, if not exuberant, then enthusiastic? (See 4 Feb.)
The answer is quite recently when I went to see the excellent Joan Eardley exhibition in Edinburgh. She lived to paint - there were few distractions from painting in her life.
I have been having difficulty painting myself, and think that perhaps I might sustain myself on other artists' creativity for a time, until my own impulse to create returns. My paintings, I have realised, come from the joyous part of me and from a surplus of energy I used to have in abundance. This quotation from Picasso has always made sense to me - that idea of a surplus of energy overflowing onto the canvas..
I go for a walk in the forest of Fontainebleau. I get 'green' indigestion.I must get rid of this sensation into a picture. Green rules it. A painter paints to unload himself of feelings and visions.
Both my joy and my energy have been subdued by grief this past year, and I think I must seek out and treasure all the things that create a little spark until, hopefully, the spark becomes a flame.
I have accepted that it can't be forced.
A visit to Glasgow with a friend created several little sparks of enthusiasm...
I was up early this morning as Robbie from Tighnabruaich Gallery was picking up four large paintings to take to Edinburgh this weekend. He and his partner must have been up at six. I never grudge my galleries their commission - they work hard for me.
See more about the exhibition here and should you be in Edinburgh and visiting the gallery, do ask to see my paintings if they are not on the wall - Robbie will take lots of works and rotate them over the weekend.
I shall post them on my studio page tomorrow...(it's been a long day!)
We all have to do it. Sometimes to changes we choose, sometimes to changes we have absolutely no choice about.
As well as his love and support, one of Barry's best gifts to me was the gift of time to paint. He quietly took on most of the work around here - the gardening, some of the shopping, all of the cooking, the driving around with paintings to galleries...and more. Since he died in February the harsh reality is that I have less than half the money and more than twice (or thrice!) the work, and it is taking a lot of adapting, accepting, accomodating, and adjusting to ...
It is hard.
But not impossible.
I am inspired when I look around me and see many people manage change with courage and determination.
Perhaps you are one of them...
I am checking my paints. Definitely time for a new tube of French Ultramarine
Delighted to have sold the large painting Dreams of Flying I from Tighnabruaich Gallery.
You are lying on your back on a summers day. Everything around and earthbound fades to the edges as you watch those birds soar and for a second - you are that bird!
I loved that painting.
I wish the new owners joy in it too!
I've always enjoyed the exuberant and joyful work of Raoul Dufy, especially his works from about 1930 onwards.
I seem to remember reading, when I was first considering becoming a full-time artist, that he said something along the lines of getting the mundane things of your life sorted so that you can concentrate on the creative side. I remember thinking ruefully he meant getting a wife!
Fortunately I decided to ignore his advice (I do by the way have a very supportive husband!) and decided to Paint First and let the rest fit in somehow. I might never have got started otherwise!
Many books have been written on this very subject.
One I am enjoying now is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
But back to my topic (I'm breaking my rule for blog posts - one subject and one aspect of that subject at a time..)
I came across this brilliant little painting of Venice by Dufy.
..to be doing my own thing!
I can't tell you the surge of energy and excitement I'm feeling since I decided to just do my own thing.
The studio will be blitzed (Kondo method!) as I prepare to make it look fabulous for opening on Saturdays and Sundays from Easter till October - these will be my fixed working days. If visitors come - wonderful - if not, I have work to do.
I am painting a sign to put up, will ask people to spread the word, hope that some of the (admittedly few) tourists who use our single track road will stop by and ..see how it goes! The coffee pot will be on and I'll welcome anyone who is interested in what I do to have a leisurely browse through my paintings and collages.
Among the papers in the studio i found a pile of cuttings and cards and decided it was high time I refreshed my pinboards. Some of the things have been up there for years and years and....it's not that I stopped seeing them as can happen, it's that I really liked the items and the composition, but it's good to stir things up every ten years, don't you think!!
Have you refreshed your pinboards lately?
Another inspiration for using bright colours in the landscape (see last two posts)...vermilion,
and viridian on Monet's famous bridge.
On a more domestic scale...I painted this little window lime green before we made the gate and
half way through painting this blue seat yellow I decided I liked it half done with some of the blue still showing through.
Do you like to use brilliant colours in your garden, or your home?
Even if you don't have a garden you might have a window box or a tub in say,bright blue with orange marigolds?
I didn't live in a house with a garden until I was 27 but on the windows of the third floor tenement flat in Glasgow I had two window boxes filled with nasturtiums which thrilled me and brightened up the whole street.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)