september morn

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when you have so many words needing to be said, and far too much emotion to express

that nothing could possibly come out…because if it did it might not stop and there would be nothing left on the inside of you to hold up the outside of you…

well, that’s where I’ve been. and what I’m trying to find a path through.

P1270061So here is September – a new month and season and time for a different setup in paint. It’s a mix of what I was doing and what I might need to reach for. I’m not sure yet if it will work …but at least it has begun.P1270052 (1)P1270054P1270060P1270059WP_20160902_19_14_31_Pro

I’m moving paint again and it might be moving me…however slowly…through.  giving voice to words unsaid, release for things too felt.

“courage, dear heart” – CS Lewis

for me and for you, too.

 

the right to rest

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Artwork can be forced, but creativity cannot be manufactured. I have tried to do both, failing in spectacular fashion. We are a family that is changed by illness. Why then, am I so hard on myself – expecting so much when we’re already poured out?

So I’ve been fluttering around, trying to find a place to land…P1260827P1260828P1260839P1260836

and it seems some of what I need is right outside the front door…not a flurry of activity in the studio or on the laptop, but

quiet observation.

mindfulness.

filling back up.

If you find yourself in similar circumstances, be kind to you and spend the time necessary  to refocus, recharge and restart. It is of benefit to all.

be encouraged.

“It was one of those March days…

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when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade…”

There were 3 whole days of glorious summer light here in March – a welcome relief from the grey Scottish winter and a breath of hope for the coming change of season. We hustled everything and everyone outside while it lasted, including my studio!P1260298 I took the opportunity to experiment with some new materials – a bottle of sky blue ink and a fabulous container of pigment my husband brought me from his recent trip to Rome. It was so much fun!

The truth is, I can forget to play. It’s an easy thing to do. Getting lost in the greying lists of Important Responsibilities and Routines makes for a dulled and unhappy heart.P1260313Sometimes a sharp wind and a shining light is needed to clear all that away…P1260320

So here is a recommendation for my heart and yours, said in my experienced mother-of-five voice:

Go outside and play!

be encouraged.

 

when things are not what they seem

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Some challenges are straightforward: six loads of laundry is six loads of laundry.

Some challenges are not what we expect: the ten year art career plan is really the 22 year life-family-art-failure-faith-journey jumbled together non-plan.

and some challenges change the way we see things: getting my kids to the bus on time turns my view of our humble driveway into a moment of wonder.

Another morning starts; I get the kids up, dressed, chored, fed, packed, maybe even brushed and then rushed down the drive to meet the bus. No, it’s not a long way. Yes, they could walk, but they’d be wet and frozen from the start and sick days are out around here. (Don’t worry, I do make them walk back up – unless it’s howling a gale.)

I turned the car around to head home and found myself staring into the middle of an old movie. It was startling. I got back up to the house, grabbed my camera and stayed out as long as I could stand the cold (ok, yes I was in my pj’s) to observe and record what I was seeing.

These are not black and white photos, and they aren’t tinted. The colours of  the land were muted for miles by the frozen air and filtered light of a clouded morning sky. It was so very still and beautiful and other-worldly. I took dozens of photos, trying to capture the atmosphere of a place so familiar, yet completely transformed.

P1260219an unexpected ocean – soaked and frozen gorse and moor-grass…

P1260195a vast and newly formed lake – only a few feet deep and as wide as this small field…

P1260205a quiet road leading to an unseen destination –

the unexpected place of inspiration and freedom for my heart. the path home.

Life is full of challenges, you know this. I know this. But things are not always as they seem. What feels monotonous can bring about patience and rhythm. What is hard can prove to be a rock on which to stand. What can seem like a dead end may just be a door to something totally unexpected. and amazing.

be encouraged.

painting the silence

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My studio is quiet. I move around in socked feet, careful to keep sound to a minimum. This is not my chosen way of working, rather a necessity for the sake of our eldest child whose chronic illness makes sleep elusive and whose bedroom is next to me.P1260107-001There is no technology or music or song or words out loud. But after spending many a frustrated hour in this unfamiliar space, I now find myself more fully engaged in the process of my art. This is an unexpected silver lining.
P1260118It has taken time, but I have found a rhythm in this silence, a way of working that focusses me in on thoughts of colour and structure, the scrape and line of paint and surface…P1260120Though I am in some senses limited, I am also stilled. and distilled. I allow the paint to do the talking, to sing the song…P1260154and I hear it more keenly in this season of socked feet and whispered movement.

Perhaps you, too, are in limiting circumstances. It may well change how you approach your work, but it does not have to stop your work from forming. And if we choose to make the necessary adjustments, we will move forward. Progress will be made.

be encouraged.

 

pen, paper, paint and pause

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At the beginning of this new year, I took up a challenge to be purposeful in my creativity every day in January. It has been a fun and sometimes frustrating exercise that has refreshed my creative rhythms and helped me through a difficult month. Here are my last sketchbook entries as I consider where to go from here…

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31 days later and I find myself refocused, looking forward to exploring the new ideas that have come from this concentrated time of pause. Maybe you could take the challenge and find something to carry forward in your journey as well!

be encouraged.

 

in the night studio

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Sometimes  a day just gets away, but the colours keep tugging at my heart and the studio keeps calling my name. So I grab the chance when it comes: art after dark it is…

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I am working up to a painting and the (day) view outside that big black window is helping me through my paces. I decided to take a wee watercolour I sketched days before from there and move it along…

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The lighting looks all wrong, but the chair feels “just right” so I go with it – and surprise! I’m enjoying the limited view…

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and progress is made in the midst of it all…

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There is rarely – if ever – the perfect time and space to exercise your gifts and talents. If we wait around for that anomaly, nothing creative may ever get done!

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So I have decided to go for it, even in the few minutes, in between the lists, early morning or late evening because my creativity – and your creativity – has value and worth.

be encouraged.