Unwinding with art time

Last week I was in Napier at the Director’s of Small Museum’s one day meeting, then three days at the MA14Napier museum conference. Great stuff; lots of new contacts, lots of learning, lots to think about. So this morning I caught up on a few tasks and this afternoon decided I needed to unwind a bit. Out with some art journals, StencilGirl stencils, inks etc. Four hours later, I am feeling restored. And yes, I was having a purple day – thank you for asking!

abundance journal page i used to believe journal page play journal page

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Playtime in my art studio

It’s not often I get time alone at home; being full-time carer for my Mum means that I almost always have someone at home with me. On top of that, during the week we have two different caregivers coming in and out, etc. I value their help, we could not manage without them and both still work, but it’s more people in my days. For a real introvert, this is not always easy. Today my husband Tony has gone to visit his cousin Alison and my sister Ailsa has taken Mum out for a drive. So it’s just me, the cat and the dog. Bliss! I love my family and would not change my life for anything, but I do crave time alone.

So what does an artist do when they get some unexpected time out? Yes, that right, they head for their studio … and I did. I have started on some backgrounds, just playing with texture, colour and pattern. I’ve also done a few small, connected, abstract landscapes using my favorite Unison pastels.

I love the feel of pastels plus there’s such a depth of colour; I enjoy the way the light hits those fine particles of pure colour. The only downside for me is that if I use them too much the ends of my fingers get sore from wiping them clean all the time. I try not to be too compulsive about keeping my fingertips clean and that helps!

For the backgrounds I gathered up foam stamps, liquid acrylics, a white wax crayon, rubber paint spatula, letting stencils and some scraps of patterned paper. I fairly randomly layered the colours and patterns on. These are nothing finished about these at all – they are very much at the beginning stages so it’ll be fun to see what develops over the next few days.

Now I am going to sit down in the sunshine and start working with some ideas I’ve had for Christmas gifts. There’s less than 3 months to go, and I want to make one or two textile items for family members. Fingers crossed that my new glasses give me sharp enough focus for doing needlework. Time will tell…

Starting on some backgrounds; these will uncurl as I add more layers.

Working on small landscapes in pastel.

I love the way Unison pastels catch the light.

Crusade #43: Text Messaging

Michelle’s challenge for the month over at the GPP Street Team site was to use found text in a page. As always, I was keen to have a go – the Crusades are a good way of trying out new ideas, and being reminded of old ideas you haven’t used in a while. Sort of like digging into the bottom of the tool box…

As many of you will now, I have a busy life. My pages reflects my desire to be more organised so that I have more creative time, and more time with Tony. These are both goals that came out of our trip to Dubai and Italy. The steps I’ve taken so far have helped, but there’s a long way to go yet. So, here’s my Crusade entry for the month, which is a page in my art journal:

Choosing art over (almost) everything else

In November 2007 I posted about finding time for art. I am going to repeat that entry below, because it is something that is as relevent to me as ever. Perhaps more so, with social networking taking up more time than 2 or 3 years ago.  So tell me, do you make your art your #1 priority, after self and family? Or is art right at the back of the line? It’s a choice we can each make every day…  (I may put a couple of edits in – and will make sure it is clear they are changes form the original)

Do you ever stop and think and what your responsibilities are? And how best to juggle your time so you get things done and still have “art time” or “me time”. It’s a topic I often come back to.
I work full time as a librarian, study art by distance learning, publish a monthly community newspaper and Tony and I are Mum’s caregivers. Am I going to gripe about how busy I am? No way. I think that is one of the things we do wrong. People seem to play “I’m busier than you are” like it is some sort of game, and I think all it does it drain your energy. Accept you are busy and get on with it.
So how do I get art time? Well, for starters…I employ a housekeeper for 3 hours a week, someone comes and does the lawns once a fortnight, and someone else tames the gardens from time to time. (we now have a dishwasher as well, and all the laundry goes in the clothes dryer. Hey, it’s only a power bill, right?)
Due to serious health issues, the medical system provides a breakfast helper, lunchtime helper, and home delivered midday meal for Mum on weekdays. (We still have this level of support, for which I am grateful. I should also have said, my sister comes down once a month for the weekend, to visit Mum and help out. I love her to pieces.) That way I can go to work and not be worrying about whether she is okay, out of bed, had her breakfast and meds etc. Night time is my responsibility. Two days a week a rest home collects her for day care so she has some other company, and I pick her up on the way home from work. Weekends the care is up to Tony and I. So, we are getting a good level of help with Mum. Even though it can be really tiring, I am very grateful that we still have her with us; not everyone is so fortunate.
So, what else? I forgo television. Yep, that’s right. Except for the news, and some art programs, while Mum and Tony watch it while I head for my art room. I try to do other jobs in batches, like paying bills etc, rather than fluffing round endlessly with that sort of task. I try and relax about the state of the place; whilst clean enough and tidy enough, this is no show home.
In the end is comes down to – what would I rather do with this moment, these moments? This, that, or art. Unless my family wants or needs me, art wins most of the time. For me, it’s about knowing what my passion is and going for it heart and soul.
What do you choose most days?

Getting back out there

I haven’t entered much lately, or applied for many exhibitions either really, compared with what I have done in the last year or three. I’m not sure why. Maybe I was tired, listening to too much recession talk and being a bit lazy. Today I decided it was time I got over myself and got back out there. So I have …

I have booked exhibition spaces, applied for art awards, put my name forward here and there. To keep track of all the due dates etc I have printed out a new timetable that’s now on my whiteboard directly above my work desk. No more excuses!timetable

Work in progress – rose

It’s not often I do anything that involves lots of layers of glazing, but I thought it was time to do something different, something a little slower. Have you read about slow food, slow cloth, slow whatever? It’s all about taking your time, savouring the process, using your process like meditation. That’s what this painting is like for me; a slow, meditative process where I put some glazed colour on, look and think, put some more on, look and think…

I decided to paint a close-up of a rose because it gives me quite distinct areas of tone and colour, and because the definite form means I hopefully won’t drift off into abstract land on this one. I found a free photo of a rose on the net and printed it out.  I covered the back in pastel, taped it to my canvas and then used a sharp pencil to transfer the main lines onto my canvas.

I have done quite a few layers so far and, at this stage, it looks very crude and altogether too ‘obvious’ for my liking. But as I go through the layers I will soften both the edges and the colors. Hopefully I’ll arrive at something I can enjoy. We’ll see!

001

Working loose

It’s been a long week at work. School holidays are always a very busy time in a library, but we have 6 new computers with free internet so the teens are swarming! We normally have about 500 people through the doors each week. This week we hit just over 1,000 – not bad when you consider the population of Patea is approx 1100. And to make life even more “interesting” this week two of my four staff were off sick. I just hope they’re resting up well.

My rest has come in the form of painting time, shut away in my art room with no people, no teens, no music – just me and my paints. If I can’t sleep, I can always paint, and paint I have. I have been trying to work looser and also trying to lift my colours a bit. I do tend to paint quite dark paintings, and am making a real attempt at more cheerful work. This one is 10×10″ on gallery wrap canvas.

I am inspired by…

our pets. It sounds a bit daft perhaps, but I am.
They’re so in touch with what they want. When they need a nap, they nap. When they need to eat, they eat. When they want to play, they play.
We can all learn from that. When I want to make art, I should just find the time, and make art.
This photo is our young cat, Goldie, asleep on the end of Grandma’s bed, with one of Faith’s squeaky toys for company.

Finding time for your art

Do you ever stop and think and what your responsibilities are? And how best to juggle your time so you get things done and still have “art time” or “me time”. It’s a topic I often come back to.
I work full time as a librarian, study art by distance learning, publish a monthly community newspaper and Tony and I are Mum’s caregivers. Am I going to gripe about how busy I am? No way. I think that is one of the things we do wrong. People seem to play “I’m busier than you are” like it is some sort of game, and I think all it does it drain your energy. Accept you are busy and get on with it.
So how do I get art time? Well, for starters…I employ a housekeeper for 3 hours a week, someone comes and does the lawns once a fortnight, and someone else tames the gardens from time to time.
Due to serious health issues, the medical system provides a breakfast helper, lunchtime helper, and home delivered midday meal for Mum on weekdays. That way I can go to work and not be worrying about whether she is okay, out of bed, had her breakfast and meds etc. Night time is my responsibility. Two days a week a rest home collects her for day care so she has some other company, and I pick her up on the way home from work. Weekends the care is up to Tony and I. So, we are getting a good level of help with Mum. Even though it can be really tiring, I am very grateful that we still have her with us; not everyone is so fortunate.
So, what else? I forgo television. Yep, that’s right. Mum and Tony watch it – I head for my art room. I try to do other jobs in batches, like paying bills etc, rather than fluffing round endlessly with that sort of task. I try and relax about the state of the place; whilst clean enough and tidy enough, this is no show home.
In the end is comes down to – what would I rather do with this moment, these moments? This, that, or art. Unless my family wants or needs me, art wins most of the time. For me, it’s about knowing what my passion is and going for it heart and soul.
What do you choose most days?

Not a lot to show for it

But I have been working hard all weekend. All the usual of course – Mum, washing, housework – but painting up a storm too.
I have made a really good start on 3 more paintings towards my next exhibition. I only stopped because I was getting tempted to fiddle round on top of wet paint. Patience is NOT my best virtue!

My husband Tony and I hardly ever go anywhere together. So last night we decided to leave Mum set up, and head to the stock car champs in Stratford – approx an hour away. By the time we got there it was drizzling; by the time we had seen five races it was really raining. We gave up and were back home by 9pm. So much for our big night out LOL