Thursday, April 27, 2006

The cherry blossoms are out and seeing them always makes me happy. I've been out practicing with the digital camera, though I still prefer my old fashioned SLR. There is a cherry tree that overhangs a few grave stones in the churchyard at the top of my road. It always looks like it is sheltering or protecting the graves in some way. I've been meaning to take photos of it for ages and have just started, with pictures of the tree in bud and now in flower.

I've also been out in the garden taking pictures of the spring flowers and apple blossom, I have ideas for a series of paintings of flowering trees. Van Gogh's flowering cherry pictures have always ben a favourite of mine.

Last weekend was our Urban Arts Retreat and the theme was the elements. I've been working with the elements for a little while now, there is a Buddhist practise called the six element practise that I have been doing, and I have been reflecting on my experience of the elements both internally and externally.

I gave a couple of talks over the weekend and these should be posted on a new section on my site called events and workshops. There are other written pieces from events there as well and they will give you a sense of the sort of things that I am interested in sharing on these sorts of events.

We always do some of our own work on these weekends and I used some drift wood and other items washed up on the beach to make some little sculptures, I had in mind the earth element when I started, but of course there was the water element from their being in the sea, and the wax I also used had come from the candle burning on the window ledge. The air element was an integral part as the sculptures hung in the air, as with everything, it is only possible to seperate the elements in our mind but not in the physical world.

Lots of exciting work was done over the weekend by the participants, artists and new to art people alike. Hopefully I will be able to post some of the photos on the site soon

On the Sunday we did a collective piece on the elements, all working together, which was great and at times it looked like a ritual dance as people moved around the tables putting paint and pastel and found objects on the mandala circle we had drawn.

Friday, April 14, 2006

starting a new picture

It's the start of the Easter weekend and I've been working on another totally different painting. It's something about the building blocks of form, connecting with the nature of mind and the forms that arise in our minds and are then actualization in the outside world.

I've put a couple of shots of part of it here, in it's very first stage, and now I'm spending a lot of time just looking at it, deciding what is working and what isn't before going on. Fortunately it fits very nicely on the back of the kitchen door! So I can sit down on the sofa and gaze at it.

One of the things that I find with my work is just how different a lot of my work turns out to be. I sometimes worry about this as it seems that most galleries and art professionals want a certain style. I understand this in marketing terms, it's much easier to sell something if it fits in to a particular subject matter or format. But I seem to want to give some form of new expression to the subject matter as it arises. In fact if I had the opportunity I would use even more of a variety of mediums to try to express what strikes me in the world.

I've also been looking at what resources exist for artists online, there is certainly a lot of stuff out there. artqwest seem to have a good site but it takes a lot of time doing all this research. Any suggestions for good sites appreciated, as also good online galleries that anyone has used.

Wishing you all a creative and productive holiday.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Arts Weekend

Sunday 2nd April
Arts weekend for women

Last weekend Clare and I held our workshop for women in Bethnal Green. We were exploring how to find and work with your inner guide, working from the outer perceptions of ourselves as women, and those images of ourselves presented in the media an inner experience of ourselves.

We used meditation, reflection and discussion and then played around with art materials,to start to make connection with that deeper aspect of ourselves that can be a source of guidance and confidence.

Over the weekend we worked hard, enjoyed ourselves and produced some great images of what our inner guide might look like, or found colours, forms and textures that corresponded in some way with our sense of intuition, heart connection or deeper sense of ourselves.
Initial feedback was very good, which was great, putting on events that are a bit different is always a bit nerve wracking I find.

I found myself with imagery reminiscent of folk stories coming out in the work I did over the weekend. Clare and I always demonstrate using the materials and try to do some of the same work ourselves. When I've been on art events or classes I always wanted to see what the tutors did themselves, and they rarely ever showed anything of the process of their work, which as an artist I'm always deeply interested in.
I'm going to follow up people to see if I can post some photos of the weekend here.

I've been reading an interesting little book Class Myths and Culture by Stefan Szczelkun, Ruth must have found it in a charity shop at some point. For those interested in class issues, it is good. I think the bit about the exploitation of artists struck me, as I attempt to start trying to make a living as an artist.
"There is a massive amount of paid workers living off art. Gallery curators, attendants, frame makers, glass manufacturers, auctioneers, critics, magazine and newspaper owners, TV programme makers, local and national arts bodies, publishers, administrators, technicians, tutors, so many people rely for their living on the artist who is paid next to nothing.
And art is defined as NOT WORK. It's play, It's pleasure, It's fun, It's non repetitive, so it cannot be work"

Just a taste of what's in the book.

Urban Arts Retreat
No sooner is one weekend over than Clare and I are back continuing with the planning and publicity for our next event, more details to follow.