I find something deeply satisfying in creating a piece of art made up from many layers, especially when some of those lying underneath didn't quite turn out as planned. It's a metaphor for persistence and knowing that most times, the more effort you put in, the better and more consistent the result.
There's something so much more interesting in peering deep into a project to investigate all the intricacies that hold the construction together - and how we learn from our mistakes!
I'm returning to my old love of portrait painting - Gritty Jane set up a challenge and naturally I am no more able to resist that than an open bar of chocolate. This is #3 inspired by the theme 'layers'. #1 and #2 below.
I am trying to think of something to write about this flame-haired beauty. Maybe commenting on what she's holding in her hands as the beginnings to a story.
However, I am afraid that this evening the words won't come. All I can think about is the newly laundered sheets waiting on the bed next door, the fluffed up pillows and feathery duvet... Sigh, it's Saturday night and only just 11pm and all I want to do is snuggle down and sleep....
I do want to join in Sunday Sketches though... so here she is! I partly borrowed her from a couple of illustrations by the fantasy artist Stephanie Pui-Mun Law from her instructional book 'Dreamscapes'.
At this time of year, when you wake up after a day of drizzle and drear to a bold blue sky, it would indeed be a sacrilege not to get yourself out in it.
I always forget how long autumn's colours can last. Don't we normally expect all the leaves to have fallen by now? Is Mother Earth giving us an extra treat this season?
After a quick workout this morning in front of the TV, while watching last night's recorded X-Factor (Rough Copy and Sam Bailey for the finals #justsaying), me and the boy donned our new wellies and scampered out into the sunshine. It was definitely a day to check out some woodland talent...
We scrunched through leaves and very carefully gathered sweet chestnuts. Some were quite shy and hid behind a prickly personality!
Whereas others were just natural show-offs.
A few passing buzzards treated us to an aerobatic display soaring high above the trees while calling out their presence. Unfortunately I was so entranced by the performance that I forgot I was carrying a camera and so we missed the photo opportunity - there's no rewind on this particular live show. As judges though we rated them incredibly highly though. Best group of the day!
I was much better at capturing nature's bounty that doesn't move... like these solo performers.
The outfits amazed, the leaves danced in perfect autumnal choreography and even the audience added their own style!
A grand performance from Mother Earth - she has my vote!
Penguins are such fascinating birds - evolution in action - birds with wings that act as fins so they soar through the ocean's depths rather than float on thermals.
Dressed in their smart black jackets they are born entertainers too. There's something about a bit of cute that brings out the protectionist among us - another quirk of evolution?
I'm painting the subjects of the sea's realm this week for Moyra's journal in another collaborative project. There's something about working with others that brings out the joy in me so, Universe, can I just say... I'm putting it out there that...
If anyone has any creative projects they need some help with - I'm your gal! I'll write myself a creative sales pitch and post it here in the next day or so.
Sharing with Sunday Sketches. I have been away for far too long!
Two years ago eight artists decided to share their art in a round robin art journal. Two years and two books later I've just finished the final pages in Tammy's journal which is now winging its way back to the southern US of A.
It has been an adventure! Every month an ever-growing art gallery has been dropping through my letterbox. Each parcel bursting with layers of paint, collage and above all love.
I know I wasn't the only one to struggle a little with these final pages. I'm not sure if it was the pressure of seeing all that amazing art that I felt I had to match, or just knowing that once this one went in the post we were all finished... I certainly don't want this collaboration to end. Shall we do another one next year ladies? Please say yes!
So, onto my pages... Tammy chose the colour theme of black, white & tan.
I started Venus before watching Lady GaGa doing her own interpretation in her undies on the X Factor at the weekend. Bonkers was the first adjective that came to mind - along with a healthy dose of respect for a woman who just does what she wants! You see, I do think a bit of bonkers is good for the soul!
It was the print of Botticelli's version at the back of Tammy's journal that provided the inspiration for this piece - rather than the scallop shell bra.
I thought that Jennifer's quote was particularly appropriate for this project:
"You know when I feel inwardly beautiful? When I am with my girlfriends and we are having a Goddess Circle."
As Ovid said - Venus does indeed favour the bold as indeed does fortune and both have done Lady G a bit of good.
I'd been saving these pages for a while to collage with...
My tag to add to the collection...
Perfect colour scheme for this owl - plus a real owl feather.
My blogging slipped into a stupor over the summer and I confess I'm struggling to return to it. A whole range of reasons and excuses are presenting themselves connected with burnout and fear that I just can't do it anymore - that nobody will want to read or comment. What if people don't like me anymore? What if I've been away too long and they've all moved on?
Then, I sat and thought about why I started this blog in the first place and it was never about gaining a readership - it was writing practice. And so, this evening these words shall flow across the page
This week I've been enjoying walks in the fresh air sucking up the autumnal beauty before it threatens to all blow away this evening when gales and rain are set to sweep the country.
Is it my imagination, or has this season been more beautiful than falls of the past? The leaves seem to have hung around for longer and really shown off their colours. Maybe it was the opportunity to spend a week away exploring ancient Britain and showing it off to those who were mainly not so familiar with these shores (the majority of the sisters I travelled with were from the US).
I've been back from my pilgrimage a couple of weeks but its memories cling on and I feel the friendships reaching out and little legacies taking a hold.
For example, this week I'm taking a course with Latisha, the Herb Mother and fellow pilgrim. We are learning the medicinal powers of herbs, or 'erbs as those from across the pond insist on pronouncing them... I am planning to brew up all manner of tinctures and salves, lotions and potions. Latisha is helping to connect us with the power of nature's offerings - a reminder that this stuff doesn't have to come ready packaged, that the skills of our ancestors are still relevant today. By actually touching the plants, getting their scent and oils on our fingers and building experience we are connecting. It feels good.
I have long known and shared that the day I rediscovered my love of art - around four years ago now - was like finding the piece of me that had long been missing. Art and being creative is as important to me as ever, if not more so, but in the past week I've done some reflecting and realised that the tribe of sisters I've connected with because of that creative outburst is the glue that holds this part of me together.
I've just returned from an eight day pilgrimage around just a handful of England's sacred sites with a powerful group of just some of these women - sisters in soul spirit. As I've learnt from previous retreats, the power of our sisters is truly a magical thing. There are women out there who you are meant to be with - who bring out your own beauty and share a little of their own soul with you. This is Anam Cara. Friendships are formed to last a lifetime, we connect with a bond that cannot be broken.
Fellow sister Stephanie shared this with us before we left:
In their book, The Archetype of Pilgrimage: Outer Action with Inner Meaning, Wallace and Jean Clift describe the various reasons for embarking on a pilgrimage: to answer a call to adventure (one of the first stages Joseph Campbell described in “The Hero’s Journey”); to experience a place of power; to hope and ask for healing or a miracle; to express a love of God or Goddess; to find or reclaim lost pieces of ourselves; to give thanks; to ask for forgiveness; to leave the routine of ordinary life and experience something new or numinous; and to prepare for death.
We each had our own reasons and purpose for being together - some were apparent before we embarked on the journey and others told us their story as we travelled. We are the weavers.
These ladies accepted me for both who I am and what I wish to be. Each of them taught me something unique and special.
Oh yes... and we ate cake...
And drank cider...
And then, on my return the magic and pull of the creative tribe kept on working. I stopped to visit Kat whose artwork and writing I have admired for years, who I've chatted with on the phone and whose art passes through my hands every month on our Magical Journal Journey with seven other sisters. At last we were able to meet in person and give the tightest squeeze of a hug. I have the last journal in our current journey waiting for my input. I'll write my emotional outpourings on this project in a separate post, but it is once again, Anam Cara.
I have so much more to share about my experiences in Avebury, Glastonbury and Cornwall (plus a few places in between) - please watch this space... In the meantime you can read the experiences of my sweet sisters on the pilgrimage here, here, here and here.
Another month drifts by like the falling leaves and I have not returned to my blog. I seem to be all written out from the day job - there is after all, only so much time a girl can spend with her fingers attached to a keyboard.
Evenings are better spent getting sticky and paint spattered or, with my head in a book or, as has been the case for much of the past couple of months, lying on the sofa watching TV. Still, given that I've barely watched a couple of hours a week for years, a little couch potato behaviour every now and again is really no bad thing.
One regular event that I would never miss is the Magical Journal Journey. As our books make their final stops on their globe-trotting endeavour each becomes heavier and loaded with colour, texture and so much talent! I am blown away by the artworks bulging out of every cover and always have to spend at least a couple of days building up the courage to attempt my own humble addition.
These pages are from Kim's Red, Pink & Orange tango of delight!
I have been somewhat obsessed with the lotus of late - if it's not poppies or Goddesses then it's a lotus - my imagination likes to be fixated at present and who am I to argue. I'm hoping for a change in the wind soon though...
At least this page appears to be flower free. The glossies pouted at me and demanded to be included!
I am a writer, an artist and a dreamer. I am on a journey following my heart. It promises to take me to some incredibly exciting places. Won't you join me?
The latest trip is one you can all join. We're going in search of our Muses and when we find them we're going to have so much fun!
Come on over to my creative business - The Wright Brain Stuff - and harvest all the creativity you need from the depths of your imagination!