today is a day when I am several steps behind the rest of the world and too lacking in energy to catch up - I've been feeling yucky for the last week and thought maybe I was sickening for something but it appears not so at the moment - I'm just under the weather and feeling 20 years older than I am - which makes me REALLY old and doesn't bear thinking about! Any kind of inspiration has evaporated along with my energy and I don't seem to be able to do anything creative - which is why I'm writing this post in the hope that something happens to interrupt the inertia! I have wandered into the studio and straight back out again because I don't know where to start? My Christmas cards would be a good beginning if I could summon up an idea to start me off! 

Perhaps it's the rapidly approaching festive season which I love but I think, starts far too early - I really like to think about it just a few days before - usually on my birthday - the winter solstice - and a nice day to enter into the spirit of things! Christmas has just got too long and very exhausting hasn't it? But of course I don't have to take it on board - or rather only the bits that I want too - like the Candlelit Carol service which I am singing in and the practice sessions I have been going to for the last month.
Perhaps it's the MA and the overwhelm I feel about the course and the question as to whether I'm really up to it? But I finish uni this week although no doubt there will be a ton of reading to do in the break - however, I do mean to have 10 days off and do lots of walking (and eating of course) - possibly I will dip into a philosophy book (but maybe not)- meantime I have a tutorial tomorrow which is rather daunting when I'm feeling like this!  
Is anyone else feeling like me? I read other blogs and everyone seems so inspired, on track and busy and I feel quite disheartened - this one by textile artist Elena Thomas  cheered me up  - such honesty is good for the soul. She talks about the way artists work and says "feast and fallow, rise and fall, to be aware of them, and not scared by the fallow periods, or horrified by the clunkiness"
Anyway as they say 'everything passes' and I will be back here feeling inspired, creative and in step with the world again very soon..........


When I went down to the woods........

I had all kinds of adventures.......

Yesterday was a terrific day spent with 2 friends visiting Bovey Tracey and the Devon Guild of Craftsmen where we had lunch and browsed around the shop and exhibition space.

But the main purpose of our visit was the 'Assemblage' art trail, curated by Karen Pearson, in Yarner Woods nearby - we wandered around the 2.5 km trail enjoying all the temporary artworks sited around the walk - it was a mild November day with a hint of weak sunlight that highlighted the work on show. Here are some of my favorite works.....
'A Colony of words' Mandy Beall 
 visitors were invited to take a clay word from Mandy's colony (of words not ants!)
'Tree time' Martin Procter 
This colour wheel based on the surrounding landscape by the painter Martin Procter with words from Philip Larkin ' Time is the echo of an axe within a wood' was just stunning
'Bundles of sticks' Peter Ward 
Several 'Bundles of sticks' by Peter Ward, who is also running workshops, were placed strategically around the trail - I loved their simplicity
'Bundle of sticks' Peter Ward 
this was not listed so I wonder if it was added by one of the visitors? 
Scavenger's Shelter (detail) Shelley Castle and Dave Ray 

This shelter really blended with the surrounding woodland and had a real indigenous feel to it - the gentle movement of the feathers in the light breeze gave it a temporary feeling

You can find out more HERE - and it is on next weekend if you want to visit



I've just done a screen printing workshop and really enjoyed the process - I chose this photo to make one piece of work
331, Newlyn Harbour 2012 
I also created a drawing on an acetate sheet which has a very fine tooth (you have to degrease it first with meths) - mark making with a mix of rotring ink and meths, soft pencil (5B), lip balm which creates a wax where the ink won't take, rotring pens and marker pens - you can then scratch and rub into the marks to distress them further - great fun!
The MA seems to be taking up a lot of my time, mainly on research and reading - it feels full time rather than part time at the moment.....


Surface and depth ……

I am starting a new blog over on Wordpress HERE - this is to document my MA practice but I will be continuing with this blog too! I intend to use this blog for other creative reflections and ramblings - the more everyday moments that I pay attention to - maybe this will overlap but at the moment it seems pertinent to keep them separate.

I feel that I've neglected my own blog as well as those that I follow but now winter is here (the clocks just changed here in the UK) I am hoping to have more time for indoor pursuits like reading, blogging, being in the studio, watching films, cooking etc. etc.

I've just planted lots of bulbs in the garden as an affirmation of underground slow growth during these winter months and expectations of next spring blooms!

I've been thinking a lot about PLACE and working with images recorded on a one day mark making workshop at the Newlyn School of Art - it was a experimental and fun day spent down in Newlyn Harbour collecting visual information and then back in the studio making work.

I took lots of photos but seem to keep returning to my fascination with these posts.......


I am interested in the faded light at the top of this image – it is something to do with memory and how that fades, leaving certain aspects highlighted…..


like that ladder!

then there were the abstract marks!


I also made some rubbings – and so it goes on – the struggle is in making sense of it all – but then maybe ‘the struggle is the point’!


It was a long way to go...........

but it was worth it!

Trevor Bell
Enigma 2011
Falmouth University are running a series of MA lectures and last night it was the painter Trevor Bell (his website can be found HERE) - he is now 82 years and still wondering what his next inspiration will be! He showed numerous slides of his work spanning 60 years including a drawing he did aged 4, which he explained, displayed marks that interested him today. I first saw his work at Leeds University where he was a Gregory Fellow in 2005 and then at Millennium, St Ives earlier this year He moved down to St Ives in the 1950's for a few years. After an extensive career both in the UK and the States he has returned to live in Cornwall.
There is such energy and movement in his paintings. His concern  with space and the structures of his canvases give them a sculptural quality.  He didn't stop talking for over an hour telling us amusing stories of the life and travels of his paintings which are spread throughout the world. I noted down a few his words,  he said "let paintings be a living thing, things (like light) can change things" and "colour has it's own voice". He finished off by saying "you must always work for your God, even if you don't have one".
I feel so inspired to begin painting now and and at the start of my MA course I have been given the task of 100 paintings in a week - I shall start in a few days and see where this immersion in painting takes me


Friday's celebration

Friday was just such a great day - after 7 years (I studied part time and took a year out in the middle!) I finally graduated with a first class honours BA in Fine Art - Plymouth University did us proud

It got better as the day progressed - my lovely daughter Olivia took me to lunch (I had hake which was yummy!). When we arrived at the restaurant we were shown to our table and I excused myself for a few minutes, I was a bit desperate by this time as there were the usual long queues for the ladies at the ceremony! When I came back to the table a large beautiful carrier bag was sitting there! 

A card with messages from my family and friends 

then the box inside was opened and this was inside!

Yes a white 32gb WiFi ipad - I can't tell you how shocked I was - a wonderful shock of course but so unexpected! Those of you who have been reading my posts for the last few years will know how much I've dreamed of having one! And just as I'd discounted it as being financially impossible (for the time being anyway!) I have one! Wow - my daughter said it's the first time she's seen me speechless (and in tears!). What fun I'm going to have! A very big, heartfelt thank you to you all and to the universe  - I feel so blessed!

So what now? Well I've made my decision so..................




Foraging in the fridge

Foraging in the fridge for all the left overs to go into a variety of salads I came across a large jar of pickled red peppers that my daughter had bought when she was here in July - this was floating on the top .....

Pickled pepper fungus growth - 3 x 2 inches 

 Even the underside is beautiful - furry and more delicate looking

...... inspiration comes from the most unlikely places! I am drying it out to see what happens to it - it is a marvelous thing, quite leathery and robust and looks deadly poisonous - I hate throwing things away and can't make my mind up whether to eat the peppers or not? Perhaps it's best not to risk it!!

Tues2tues continued

Wednesday was a busy day in Exeter 

Thursday was barbecue day - a lovely warm day spent in the garden

Friday - walking and blackberrying 



I have a friend staying for a week and we are each contributing something that sums the day up for us in the form of a photograph, words or a drawing - we will then collate them into book form - my working title for the project is Tuesday2Tuesday but this might change
Today we took the train along the Tamar Valley route to Calstock, where the Limekilm Gallery was showing 3 artists in the 'Drawn to the Valley' open studios.
These are my short listed images and I also have a train ticket from Plymouth to Calstock which I will scan tomorrow.

Tomorrow we are off to Exeter so it will be a very different day out ........


More green and smiling!

It made me smile
And wonder about it's journey

I've collected sea glass for years but recently have become fascinated with beach plastic! This is solid plastic and quite heavy for it's size 6cms high by 5 cms at widest width - I love it's sea washed look!

and today's drawing of the rocks/ sea - I purposely left my camera at home!

graphic and white acyclic 


Back to drawing

A day on Dartmoor in very unsettled weather today with 2 painting friends - drawing plein air! We started with coffee at the Two Bridges Inn (essential) and then found a spot near Postbridge to settle down. This forest of trees on the horizon is such a perfect form you'd think it was a sculpture! Rain, wind, sudden bursts of light in the greyness, and brief rays of sunshine - not the hot sunny summer's day we wished for. We got quite cold at one point!

 My drawing is so rusty I have vowed to draw one day a week from now on - it is one of the intentions I made at the beginning of the year which has sadly fallen by the wayside - even though I'm not happy with this one it is the best of what I did today - I hope I will see the progress I am making by posting a drawing on the blog each week.... 

Drawing, graphite and white pastel 
I am starting a new project on PLACE with another artist friend from North Wales who is visiting next week - a very big theme I know,  which hopefully will be narrowed down as I/we progress - the mediums I will be using are photography, printmaking and drawing.

I realised that I haven't been out for a whole day on my own for several weeks now and need to do it pretty soon - to give myself some time for reflection - maybe tomorrow along the coastal path?


Back to the future

It is a lovely feeling to be in a print studio again after a year's absence while concentrating on the more conceptual stuff for my degree show! 
So to get me started and back to where I left off I went to a collograph workshop last weekend with Mary Gillett

Mary giving Brian some advice 
Wonderful to be making again , getting stuck into the messy paint mixing, inking the plate and seeing the unexpected results that come from the press. It was a playful, experimental 2 days, the prints were all quite different and not always what I hoped for but bits here and there I liked and felt I could incorporate in a larger piece of work in the future.

For the plates I used cardboard which I've previously used for collagraphs and also new to me, aluminium and thin ply. Then I used tile adesive, various mediums and carborundum to create the image on the plate. Brenda Hartill has a very useful video on using carborundum here 

Offset print from the roller I used to ink up one of the plates
Using very different colours to my usual palette! 
the ghost print of the one above which I much prefer!
I went back for a 3rd day to print up some more of the plates and I must say on Monday evening I was exhausted but ever so pleased with myself! 

About one third of my total output for the 3 days
So part of my future art practice will definitely include printmaking! 


And still on a green theme - Celebration!

Gasp! I've just heard that I've got a FIRST for my Fine Art Degree which I've been posting about for the last few years here on this blog

(thank you Denise for taking this 'surprised look', to model one of her lovely creations, when I was visiting Australia a couple of years ago)



The grand finale - it's over!

THE GRAND FINALE  (the opening of my degree show) has been and gone and I have spent the last week oscillating between relief at having finished and sadness that it has finally come to an end. Those of you who have been following this blog for sometime will know that I started this degree 7 years ago - a 6 year part time course with one year out when I moved from Leeds down to Plymouth. It has become part of my life so the transition to not studying will be strange - it's going to leave quite a hole but I have it in the back of my mind to maybe do an MA in a couple of years (am i mad?) - we'll see - but I am keen to get my art practice established now - Most of all I will miss the feedback and support of my peers and tutors, the group and individual tutorials and hope I can, in due course, find some kind of substitute structure. Writing this blog has been really valuable and rewarding and it has not always been about the degree but much wider interests - I look forward to posting about all sorts of creative adventures in the future. 
My degree show was an installation which I titled 'It hung over the bed' - a forensic investigation based on the trial in March. I presented the scraped painting on an easel with a magnifying glass.

 I included a table of tools and instruments, a chair with white coat, a shelf with a collection of the residue pigment in 6 glass bottles and fragments from the framing.

It also included a wall of photographs, details of the painting and I think this was the weakest part of the installation. I made 50 paper boats and placed one of my business cards in each one for visitors to take away (really popular) The blog book of the artist collaboration 'The painting in the attic' was displayed with my professional portfolio. I included a comments board for people to add to the collaboration and will post these on my other blog at the end of the show on 28 June.
On reflection I think my degree show was too busy and that I needed to edit it even more - but this will give me something to think about in terms of how I present this work in the future - I don't feel I have quite finished with it yet....................
My results are out on 6 July so I just have to be patience!  
Meantime I am hoping to exhibit in an exhibition at the end of July in Plymouth called 'Pushing the boat out' - seems made for me doesn't it?