This is a collection of scenes along the shore. Not quite landscapes and not quite seascapes, I decided that they needed something else. 'Shoreline' seemed to have the right resonance. I'm trying not to qualify them; I'm not 100% happy with them, but the point was to draw and draw and draw.
I'm from Nova Scotia. I've never lived there, something tells me I'm from there. Some things tell me...
...my childhood memories of long summers and long summer days all took place there. Exploring the woods, scrambling over rocks, campfires on the beach, sleepovers with cousins...
...the personal landmarks of both my parents. Mum walked to school through there. Dad remembers the boat shed that stood just there. I know a story about my great-grandfather 'adjusting' that bit of the house...
...the way my heart feels when my eyes rest on the landscape...
...the ocean sounds like home...
So I set my theme for the project as 'down home - observations and evidence'. The altered concertina file in my last post contained 7 sections: journals, shoreline, details, texture, palette, craft, totems. Today I'll share the journals.
Above: A journal of this summer's trip - I was taught this journal structure by LK Ludwig at Artfest 2007. I think it makes such a beautiful book and it allows you to work very freely and intuitively on your pages, bringing together artwork, photography and collected stuff.
Below: A dreamy nostalgic reminiscing in the form of an accordian book of childhood memories and indistinct photos transferred from inkjet print to acrylic paint.
A selection of my work from my drawing class. It's been a steep learning curve, as I've never really drawn with pastels or charcoal. Three weeks in though it's getting more comfortable. If you want to see the full pictures or read more details click on the links below.
Seeking inspiration for my summer art project - we need to bring it in on the first day of the Foundation Year - I collected natural material from our little corner of Nova Scotia. Play is so often the best way to bring on the muses, so I just fiddled around with some of the bits and pieces I had collected, along with the beautiful wool I've been using for the afghan. These little totems took shape in a few sessions over the course of a week. Who appeals to you?
Yesterday was such a perfect day! The weather here has been wet and grey. I've been preparing for Artfest and artist book fairs. Everything has been slow and uphill. I haven't even posted for a week because I haven't even had my thoughts together, nevermind my words or photos. I have really appreciated all the comments for my last post, I feel supported and encouraged and that is no small thing in this world.
Yesterday I gave myself a gift. I've been wanting to go to the Henry Moore Exhibition at Kew Gardens since October, and it closes on Sunday. I made the time to go, even though heavy showers were forecast, because I knew I would always regret missing it. The universe rewarded me with beautiful spring weather. Time stood still as I explored trees and sculpture. A single huge pine cone from a Bhutan pine waited for me on the grass. My photos are here. I even explored my camera, and took all of these in manual.
I finished the day by spending a couple of hours at the Stitch and Craft show. I was disappointed in the range of paper available, but I bought more merino for felting hedgehogs and my gallery piece; some pliers to make charm production easier; and a lovely fern stencil.
You may have seen some changes on this site over the past couple of days (including me locking you out, I know, I'm sorry!). The past year has been a real journey of acceptance for me. I have accepted myself as an artist of sorts (okay, clearly not fully accepting!). I have played in many creative sandboxes and found some that suit me best. I have met some amazing, inspiring, creative, wise women who have changed how I look at so many things. I have become more myself through being able to express myself in new ways. And I have had some amazing opportunities.
I am not good at talking about the things I care about, as though if I speak them aloud they will dissolve like dandelion seed heads, blown to the winds. I am the most secretive etsy seller ever - I'll put stuff in there, but I won't let anyone know where the shop is! I've had scrapbook pages published for a few years now, a few even on commission, and I've only just shared that with you. I dread you all muttering "who does she think she is?"
What have I been keeping closest to my heart? Artist books. They have been present in my life for a year now, in increasingly serendipitous ways. I met a group of book artists at Artfest last year and every single one of them influenced me in some way. I got my hands on a limited edition artist book by Carla Sonheim created to fund and commemorate her trip to India. In September I started a class with a wonderful teacher, Ciara Healy, and started creating my own books. My wonderful friend, Zenia, shouted a list at me, of books I had made, mainly scrapbook style minibooks. I discovered artist book fairs and started building my own collection. And I have received so much encouragement and support from within that community.
So to celebrate two amazing opportunities that have come my way in the past week, I am stepping up. Hence the new website. This blog will continue rambling along as always. My etsy shop is no longer secret. And introducing... a website for my artist books, as I begin a more professional phase, with some of my books on show in exhibitions and fairs in April, May and June. (insert unrestrained wild yippee-ing here)
I have a thing about drawing. Like so many people, what I learned in art at school was that I was not artistic, and even if I might be a little creative, I could definitely not draw. However, later at Montessori college, my classmates admired my neatly drawn and coloured illustrations (we had to do diagrams for many teaching activities) and so I accepted that, with a ruler, and nice regularly shaped objects, I could get by. But slowly, I am remembering that I can draw, if I relax, and that drawing is expressive, and needn't be photo-realistic, but can express aspects and moods and impressions. So this year, I have been getting into drawing again. In fact, it started during the lunch break of Carla's class at Artfest last year. We had to choose what we would do for our afternoon series project: collage, painting, sculpture, printmaking or drawing. I couldn't believe that I was choosing drawing! Although come to think of it I had bought Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain a little before that. And in my artist book class I keep trying to draw and end up lino cutting, although I have made something very cool with drawing which I will share soon. So on Saturday I bought this:
She recommends buying an ENORMOUS sketchbook. Considering I do most of my drawing either on an A4 pad or even more often in a pocket-sized moleskine sketchbook, her recommended 18" x 26" seemed wild and unfeasible. But, in my life, whenever I hear myself thinking "what, that's crazy, I could never do that" I tend to go off and do it. Okay, it has led to some scabs and scars, bruises and broken hearts, but some fan-freaking-tastic (keeping it G-rated here, people... apparently) adventures too. So I have an enormous sketchbook. It's A2 for British paper people, and not quite as big as she recommends, roughly 16" x 24". I started my blind contour drawing tonight - I find it SO hard not to look at the paper, so it took me awhile to warm up. Keeping the weird and ugly for my own personal development, I thought I would share this. I am pretty pleased with it, especially because I didn't cheat TOO much.
Ever since Michelle put the challenge up I have been thinking stamps. I posted some linocuts that I made in January here. I had another play tonight though and came up with these: Goodness know why I want to journal with a stamp that says journal on it, but there we are!
Go check out the insanely cool things that everyone else has been doing (click the button...click the button... go on...)
I made a bunch of these (you can see what sort of day we had): These are mushroom charms to trade at Artfest.
and then I printed and packaged a bunch of these:
They are for sale in my etsy shop either in packs of 4 or individually (those will be listed tomorrow). I found the coolest recycled card to print them on. It's made here in the UK and it comes in 4 colours/flecky bits: white with grass (my absolute favourite), white with straw, cream with straw and white with banana peel. All the bits are agricultural waste from farms, animal feed, landscaping, etc. The envelopes match, but have nothing printed on them.