Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Conkers & Autumn Colours

Our chestnut tree has certainly changed since the last progress report in June...

Unfortunately, at the beginning of July we lost the two baby chestnuts that our bud produced, & already there was another bud growing from the base of the flower stalk.

11th July

Like ideas some fruits do not ripen. Perhaps they show promise & flourish for a while, but for whatever reason they fall by the wayside. There were, however many more 'conkers' on the tree- plenty of siblings willing to be photographed instead!

30 August

Perhaps there were too many for all of them to flourish, or they simply were not strong enough to reach their potential, but already the new growth gathers strength...

12 September

Just as the Horse Chestnut is one of the first of the 'big' trees to burst into flower, so are the leaves some of the earliest to turn.... daring Autumn to show her face...

20th september

And what a face... who can fail to be moved by the colours of Autumn?

As one cycle comes to an end, another begins.... new seeds...
ready to put down roots for new growth... promise for the future...

26th September

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Touchstone Tuesday

Sharing a "snapshot of Joy" as mel describes it...

the feel of wet ink on handmade paper, spontaneous marks,
the discovery that "yes you can write on it!"

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Silver Strands...

...thread light downwards...
Recognise these words? They're by a favourite writer of mine, and if you visit regularly you may recognise them from something I did earlier. Yes, the words written by mel continue to inspire me.

When i laid the plaster down for 'hear the ocean' i also put some on this black Hannemuhle Buggra Butten paper... it's designed for pastels, but at 120gsm i thought it may be heavy enough to take this technique. If you don't try, you don't know! The paper did cockle a bit with the wetness, but dried out ok. I used various blacks & silver, thinking about waves crashing at night in moonlight... the photo doesn't really show the depth that the 'rocks' give to the piece, but i'm pleased with the 3d effect in real life.

(click to enlarge)

I've used pencil for the lettering (6B i think)... quite tall narrow skeleton letters to convey the movement of light downwards... the use of pressure & release so the colour isn't solid. Pencil on black paper isn't the easiest to read or photograph, at some angles parts of the lettering seem to disappear, only to reappear as you move around... but that's the whole point.
We are talking about moonlight threading down... ebb& flow... weavings... magic... re-connecting.... and apart from that, there are layers of meaning within the words & the energy around them.

As it's pastel paper, it's only fair to use some pastel somewhere.... so i scraped a mix of white, black & grey through a stencil & smudged it with a brush. There's also a spattering of silver acrylic & silver powder in there too.... all those layers of light & shadow, thought & meaning...
Look deep into the spiral.... & re-connect....

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Hear the Ocean

Hear the ocean, wild yet calm...

I hear the ocean at my feet
I feel the pain in your heart

waves crashing, thundering emotion
vast, unending, rolling gently

swim with the tide...

Let me engulf you, comfort, protect you
The power of the ocean can lift you again

I was once asked to make "something like a place-card with the word 'ocean' on it". Apparently it was a significant 'little something' for a bridal couple. I know I also wrote a few words describing the ocean on a wavy line... i'd like to think i added a bit of a pastel wave aswell, but probably didn't! Anyway, that simple little exercise led to these words.

Inspiration can come from the simplest ideas. There's a saying that "inspiration comes from doing"... and how true that can be. Of course we need to think about ideas, but it's easy to sit thinking about a great idea & not actually do anything about it except think & dream some more.

The act of focussing on a few words & writing them out set off a train of thought... a few phrases jotted down & left to simmer for a while... a few splashes of colour & a few more words...

I have written it out before but this idea has been slowly formulating... I've 'seen' how i wanted it for a while. When i did Cari's "dance the old ways" the idea of using plaster through a stencil seemed perfect for this version.

While i was at it i prepared plaster stones/rocks for a couple of other pieces aswell, this one is on a 36x24 inch canvas. (the different colours at this stage are just different tpes of mixture)
Next came the colour.... white all over then acrylic the rocks so they looked shiny & wet even when the paint dried.... splashes of acrylic, emulsion, ink & more water.... here's a close up, click on the pic to see the detail.... & finally the words....

Don't you think the characteristics of the ocean mirror the range of human emotion (or do we mirror the sea)? We tend to use emotional terms to describe these different qualities.... angry seas, tempestuous waves, tranquil waters.... the waves undulate, rise up & down like our emotions.... our emotions, whether positive or negative, ripple out affecting those around us. Virtually every emotion can be related to a movement or state of the ocean... and of course both are dramatically linked to the moon.

We can use the ocean as a powerful meditational focus.... swim with the tide... imagining gentle rolling waves to bring our breathing under control... visualising turbulent emotions crashing themselves out onto rocks... until they are spent, then gently soothed back into calmer seas.... perhaps basking by moon or sunlight.... we can plunge deeper & deeper into the depths of the ocean & our soul to uncover hidden currents of hurts or inspiration, depending on our intent.... we can imagine ourselves as a pice of stone carried by the ocean, our troubles or illness being soothed & worn away... we can ride the waves & surf with our dreams, empowered by the ocean spray.... we can return to land, refreshed & grounded by the feel of sand & lapping waves, ready to return uplifted to our lives... let the power of the ocean lift you again....

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Rose + The Alchemist = Blog Candy

Take 2 strips of card (one side decorated with pastel, the other with watercolour & gold powder)
add some quotations from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

fold it into a book, (not just any book but a double concertina/accordion fold)

and there we have a present for the lovely Rose for her Blog Candy! (she has some more pics)

Sounds simple doesn't it? Hmmm?
I've cast around for ideas for what to do for Rose ever since we signed up for Blog Candy, luckily we are allowed a year to send our gifts, so that took the pressure off! I had an idea or two which would have been adequate, but i’d basically decided to wait until i hit on something that felt right. I knew something would come.

You’d never guess from the work she does that Sue- creative spirit- is partially sighted, but one bonus for me is that sometimes she gets books & I get to read them for her! I then give her the low-down & she decides whether it is worth the effort reading herself… well, you try holding an optic lens 2 inches from the page & see how comfortable you are after a couple of pages… & then try scanning down the page to skip the boring bits… or find the end of the last sentence when you move or look away…. very difficult & time consuming!

When Sue asked if I wanted to read ‘The Alchemist’ for her the penny dropped… oh, Rose likes this guy… in fact i’m sure she said this was her favourite of them all…. there’s bound to be something in here i can write out for her…

A bit of an understatement as I now have pages of quotations from it & the next decision was which to actually use. Then i wasted time trying to use colours that i thought she would like rather than letting the words & the piece speak to me… alchemy…. gold…. pretty obvious really.

I decorated 2 strips of paper… pastel on one, watercolour on the other…. decided i liked both & would have the back decorated aswell as the front…. so, now i had a spare in case i messed up… it was going to be something to hang at one point…. then it was going to be an extra long concertina book…. then i had ideas that would have taken 6 months to complete…. then i knew i wanted lettering on both sides…. then i wondered if i could interlock the two strips of paper… and decided i could…

I haven’t made one like this before, tho’ i’m sure there will be pictures & instructions in books or on the internet all over the place if i looked…. but i never….so i folded & made the cuts & panicked cos i thought they were in the wrong place & sighed with relief when it worked…. & talked to myself all the while & told my self off & laughed at myself too…. the idea is to make a mock-up first...

The lettering was done after the folding, in gouache, with ruling pens & broad edged nibs, then finished off with a mulberry paper on the cover & gold thread to fasten…. now, i’m sure i set off with the idea of a nice simple tiny accordion book….

Quotes from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

-Each day in itself brings with it an eternity

-Everything on earth is being continuously transformed because the earth is alive and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognise that it is working for us.

-Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.

-If what one finds is of pure matter it will never spoil and you can always come back. If what you found was only a moment of light like the explosion of a star you would find nothing on your return.

-Listen to your heart it knows all things because it came from the soul of the world and it will one day return there.

-The soul of the world is nourished by peoples happiness... to realise ones destiny is a persons only real obligation.

-And when you want something all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.

-Never stop dreaming follow the omens

-Intuition... a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life where the histories of all people are connected and we are able to know everything because it is all written there

Playing catch up!

Fingers crossed i'm back in the blogosphere. After months of frustrating internet connection i think i've found a network that actually stays connected & worked without hours of phone calls to call centres in foreign lands! We've been in the same place all year & should be staying for some time... the thing is our caravan site is in an internet black hole. I've seen the maps showing a pretty pink area of "good" signal all around....apart from one white square of "borderline to none" slap bang on top of us!

I've happily meandered through summer & read more than i have for a while.... this blogging lark does tend to eat up the time doesn't it?! I'll probably never get to catch up on everything from everyone I usually visit...I was already waaay behind anyway, lol... and somehow the stuff I wrote intending to post but couldn't, doesn't necessarily seem so urgent now. But hey, that was then & this is now.... see you all around xx
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