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Reflections 2020 w06

On Friday I finished the green house, it is ready for the growing season. Shelving made from the old greenhouse frames has been done, custom made for the square trays I bought for the job.

I just hope it needs no repairs after the storm that has come through last night and today. A neighbours roof has lost several tiles, they are not small ones at that, and after venturing out this morning one has seen a scattering of tiles, branches and twigs over most of the roads, the storm has left it’s mark. I hope that it has not left a trail of large destruction for others who had the brunt of it.

And why would one venture out in such weather???

Art supplies.

A new style of painting has started to be learnt, narrowboat/folk style, to be exact, and this requires new brushes and a new pad to be gessoe’d black. The brushes I have are either too soft or too stiff. To a non painter this must seem illogical, but other painters who do varying styles will know of the need. A carpenter dose not have one saw, nor does a mechanic have just one type of spanner, it works on the same principle for artist after the stroke left by the brush in hand.

Having said that…There is a slight hoarder aspect to the whole process, or rather a perfectionist quest for the perfect tool.

Some thing I think can be summed up quite well by the thought I had when overhearing a mother discussing her daughters selection of art supplies for purchasing…’You have all that?” “Yes, I am doing a large project.” “I understand that, but I don’t think you need all of that.” “Some of it is for general college use as well, I always use a lot of pads.” “I agree on the pads, and on the card for the project, but you can leave the pens behind – you have enough pens!” My mind raced to the question…

Yes, but are they the ‘right’ pens though?

I find out in a couple of days if the brushes are in fact my ‘right’ tools for the job.

Reflections 2019 w23

The path at the allotment is two slabs, yet to get, away from being finished. A little bit of planting to do, and that is the plot design finished till later on in the year when I complete the greenhouse, if it does not get swapped, hence the no rush approach.

My sons happy memory toy, the opposite of his worry monster, I did not like the idea he had only an unpleasant memory storage system, has been finished and passed onto my son. His design on paper became an actual thing.

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Done

I know it’s not a perfect match, but he was warned it was my first time doing a zipper, along the belly, and that I was going to do Hop in one go, no prototypes to alter the pattern.

It was a strange creation, where I learnt a couple of lessons about batting and sewing machines. The zipper was not perfect (the belly), but it works, that is all I was asking of it.I kept it straight as it was my first one.

Skill will come with practice.

So, onto the next project…Another experimental piece, for someone at group. Thankfully it is a painting this time, with a twist.

One has also scheduled more poems, this take me up to September now.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2019

 

Intemperance

A play at the New Victoria Theatre, one I have just watched,

I think it is set in the 1700’s, so five to six lifetimes ago. It could have been my great, great, great, great grandparents working and living in those conditions. And this is what makes the theatre so different than the cinema, the subject material.

Plays can be watched without knowing what the subject matter is before going, some are funny, some sad, some political, some adapted from stories known, with a little twist or two, and then there are some that get you to reflect on what we have now. This is one of those plays.

I have seen plays based on the celts, living off the land, grass for a mattress and stars for a roof. Plays about a time of the war, of shortage, separation and loss. Of social struggles and of political struggles to improve the working or living conditions of the working class. And it is there, played out before your very eyes, close enough to touch it. The emotions of the actors played out through the tone of voice and posturing, no post production tweaks, it’s there, it’s raw. And no play is the same, because they all want a different story to tell; or a different viewpoint to share.

Tonight’s play left me thinking at how far we have come as a people in such short a time, but at what cost?

At what point did civilisation create slums?

When did we think it was acceptable to have people living in such poor conditions, making living a time of survival because of what money your parents had? No fear of predators to hunt you down, but a fear of the water from well down the street and the diseases it harboured. A hunger that could not be fed by finding and hunting for food, because the landscape was no longer the hunter gatherers hills and plains of the people, rather the land of the few.

When did people become less-than? And less well-off  than those that wore the furs of the animals they ate, and drank from water of streams, unpolluted by industry, homes made out of stones and straw?

At some point we as a people accepted, that for some, this would be a step up in living standards, but had it accepted as being more civilised than the savages before.

And we are only six lifetimes away from that. And yet for some we have not moved from it at all.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/

Reflections 2019 w08

The fox draft excluder prototype was finished yesterday evening, all parts fit well together and are sized appropriately. And having done the physical build of the idea, my concept has changed. No longer will it be done in all fur, it will attract too much dust. It would look good, but it would be impractical, not good for a practical object.

Fleece will be the main body and the tail only will be out of fur, this will look better fluffy.

The lady who runs the art group has seen different parts being built as models in platercine, covered in masking tape, and drawn into sections and cut. Even with a quick sketch of the idea she could not see the whole. One can understand that as prior to learning to make puppets from scratch I had no idea of the process. It’s art, but built in 3D build made up of 2D patterns. Even when you see the pattern being created it’s still looking at a 3D jigsaw without the picture of the completed model.

I have decided that one will have to make a new pattern template that includes all the parts for the right and left side of the parts. One got awfully confused when placing the parts together as one side of the head just did not register, hopefully different coloured cards will help. Also with this head I altered the ears and incorporated them into a couple of seams, this worked better than I hoped.

The new sewing order worked better than the last so therefore it will be the standard from now on.

This is a part that until the sewing is done, is unknown as to wether it will fit together or not. Sewing in the incorrect order alters the size of the piece for the next join. This in turn can throw out the pattern. And the sewing process has to be followed exactly on the oppposite side to balance out. Of course this build did not have the complexity of the final build as the same material was used throughout, one did not have to remember the colour of the piece to be cut out.

One will have to see if this helps or hinders the process in the future.

But for now I am happy with the outcome. An idea, became a sketch, became a model, became a pattern, which got cut out, sewed back together and reassembled as a whole. But only ‘became’ the fox when it got stuffed.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2019

The B-WELL Poster number 2

This was a commission of sorts, having liked my previous painting I did for the group, and my creation of the B-WELL people for my version of the Blobby Tree, I nearly always draw my own character because I do not relate that much to the trees pose/setting/action, so it was a natural step for my humour to take, they asked me to if I could do a painting of the ‘journey’ based on that – either as one painting or several.

By eck that was a long sentence.

One explained that that was not what the tree picture was supposed to represent, but I would have a think about it and what, if anything, I could do.

The first stage was to write down the journey, both taken and wished to take. Above all else it was to be positive, I can slant toward the negative, and even if part of the journey has been negative – the positive should be sought.

Armed with a bunch of statements on my pad, the shuffling commenced.

Left, Right, Left, Right, Keep in step, order followed.

Pattern formed, then came a poem.

Rough at first, but still it came. AhHa! My painting is just a background for the poem. Simple.

The poem gets worked on some more…Poem done. Along with some doodles.

Doodles that match the poem segment…Each segment started to have its own picture.

Oh no! What have I done? The poem has 13 segments.

One thinks at this point it should be mentioned there was only 5 weeks left before it was needed, and one of those weeks I was away. And the poem had taken a week and a half to do, well stop tweaking.

Only one thing for it…A calculator and a long canvas. This is what I ended up with…

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It took many a shuffle to get the pattern right, and then the script at the right size,  before the artwork was even sized around the script. All done on separate paper then transferred onto the canvas, ready for printing.

I ended up pleased with the result, and so was everyone else, some strange reactions were had, or was it strange people having reactions? One is not sure, never have I had an itchy nose as a reaction.

The final picture is here.  www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/b-well-poster-2

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/the-art

Reflections 2018 w39

The results are in for the Writing Kiln Potteries Prize; and I did not make it to the shortlist. But it is still a win for me, at least over my inner critic, because I entered a public competition.

With my second attempt at a short story now under my belt I have moved past the self doubt stage, the voice that says it’s not good enough; it was, it still is, and it will be published here on Wednesday.

What will the next one be about?

Who knows.

At the moment one has a poem that will just not gel together, what I want to say and what fits the timing are not co-operating yet. Normally I move onto another one as it sorts itself out, but this one is like Spot vying for attention when I watch a film at treat time. No matter where I move my head, hers moves in front of my eyes, blocking the view. So I am walking away from it for a week or two, to create that space.

Art too is currently on the back burner, Puppet building has taken centre stage. Plans have been downloaded, printed and pasted onto card, from http://www.adamkreutinger.com/ . Two puppet plans are free, and he shows how to build them on Youtube. I recon one could build one so one is going to.

I go and find the materials later this week.

So thats it for the moment, it feels like a car journey that’s half way done, not there yet but far enough away that a cuppa is needed.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

Reflections 2018 w25

One thinks that one can, at times, have an almost romantic view of the nature that is around me.

Only for nature to give me a quick, sharp, jab of reality.

I had in mind this week to actually take my sketch book, along with my watercolour set, outdoors! A big step for me.

The setting – a small stream flowing around several bends, long grass atop of sandy banks, small islands of pebbles scattered along the shallower parts. Serine indeed, with the soundtrack of trickling water to relax with.

The plan was for Spot and myself to nestle in on a lower part of a bank, away from the sight of passing dog walkers, and just relax. My artwork not on show, thus reducing the anxiety of publicly sketching and painting, snacks and a flask of fruity green tea to hand.

One thought it may be prudent to goto the location today – pre sunset – just to have an idea as to where one would like to be situated. Armed with my trusty Tilly hat, covered in the most repugnant anti-mosquito spray I have, just in case, one took Spot for a little walk.

The air was still and warm from the days earlier summer temperatures, the stream was low, much lower than what one remembered it from last time, but this served only to make the pebble islands have greater character, a real bonus for the artwork to come in the following week. The long grass brushed gently against bare skin of my lower legs, parting ways in front as Spot pushed through, for her, a towering forest of green. Her white tail wagging all the while.

Yes, this was a pleasant walk.

A spot was found that would be suitable for the later excursion, secluded, and a flat area large enough that a seat could be placed on the ground for Spot and myself to share, whilst being able to place the art materials around in an orderly fashion. Yes this was the spot.

We sat for a while admiring the view, then the gnats must have gotten used to the smell of the repellent, and I became a viable option for lunch, vowing to wear much more next time I stood up.

The low angle of the sun, now setting, made the gnats shine as they flew around. They shone like the droplets of water that makes up the mist, swirling in a thick mass – at head height. And yet my head height was only level with the top of the bank, I had yet to climb up into that swirling mass of glistening white, currently starting to obscure the view of the surroundings, I had no other exit. One just hoped that the stinky repellent was enough to get clear of the area – quickly! Without all exposed areas of skin bitten. One has never seen so many gnats as one did today.

The sketching trip I think will be changed to a quick visit for photo’s, as I do not think that even if the entire bottle of spray was to be used, it would be enough. Even as the memory is recalled it is making me itch.

So far I am lucky not to have bites starting to develop.

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Reflections 2018 w13

One does not know how we got there but at the B-WELL group it was decided we needed a picture of a tree to have turned into a jigsaw, one that represents a persons journey through life…The initial idea was simple enough.

A painting of a tree.

Somewhere along the line I was named the ‘resident artist’, as such you would have thought one would know when to not get involved. Alas, one has to yet learn this.

I piped up that as it was a jigsaw maybe having words of empowerment would work, as the person doing the jigsaw would be consciously looking for that word. I for one keep repeating a word over and over when looking for one, whether that be a word search or having text in a jigsaw. So it could work like a mantra.

So here we have the simple idea of a tree with words around it.

Not quite.

The more one thought about it the more I found the idea ‘fake’. Maybe it’s being in a very long trough of depression sqewing my thinking or it is just the artist in me, but it seems that the tree could have a much bigger symbolic meaning, that it should be true reflection of the reality of life.

At this point I do not even know if the tree is even going to be the focal point of the picture.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

 

Reflections…Week Thirty Nine

canstockphoto8630797This is a reflection of remembrance.

I found out on Thursday that a person whom I shared time with at art class passed away last week.

I did not know him well  but he, and his artistic style, will be remembered for some time.

He had earned himself the nickname of grumpy Pete, but I think it was, once you got to know him better, a tool for his own entertainment. Many a time I saw that whilst he was grumping away, he was also suppressing a smile, I have never seen a truly grumpy person do that.  And after he had said what he wanted to say, he would inevitably look around the room for takers. If none took a bite he would then direct the grump towards an individual. You could even say it was his way to start a conversation.

His artistic style was nearly polar opposite to mine, and in one conversation he also had an effect in the way I tried to approach my work. His painting were splodge’s, dabs, an almost haphazard placement of paint on canvas, layers upon layers of paint. I do not recall ever seeing a smooth painting of his. Nor did I ever see him worrying about blending colours on the canvas to create tone or shadow. Shadows themselves were created by the texture of the pain put onto canvas. Light, and the different angles of it, had a direct effect on his work. This meant that at different times of the day the same picture could have a slightly different look about it, just from the shadows cast.

His passing was of a surprise, he was of about the same age as me, however he suffered from epilepsy and it was one of these fits that ultimately put him in a coma to which he was never to wake from.

The words that he said that altered my perspective on my art could also be applied to life as well. I may not have them as a direct quote but I will do my best.

Here’s to you Pete

You know, people often think that creating art is all about drawing the outline. That they have to draw it as one line. But I found that if you draw lot of little lines, and not worry about where you put them so much, the outline just appears.”

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Nineteen

canstockphoto8630797As usual my brothers birthday is fast approaching and until today I have had no idea of what to get him, to be honest it usually applies to all birthdays, or I have an idea but the cost is too high. If it works it will be a hit I am sure, if not he will have the cop-out cash in card.

I have been sitting on a colouring in picture for Leo, my son, for over a week now and it was in showing it to him this afternoon the idea came to me. The picture is on glossy paper and I needed to take a photo of it to print it out onto normal paper for him, if he wanted to do it.

The picture – two carp in simple Chinese style.

It was being pushed as a kiddies colour in picture but I recon it would easily pass as an adult one. A bit of jiggling around and drawing the fish myself, the 914 x 356mm (or 36 x 14inch) canvas I have in the wardrobe would be the perfect size to be able to set the fish off and not crowd the detail of the scales. As I sit writing this the fish has been 2/3rds completed. I am chuffed too bits that the drawing has gone so smoothly, I have tried to do fish before but they always look terrible, even the outline looks oddly shaped normally, but this one looks good.

This weeks reflection is early and it is short, but I need to get back to this drawing now the little fella has gone to bed, and before my meds kick in and skew anything I draw away from what it is I am trying to do.

As it is a new project, it will be broken down as photos for each stage and placed onto my website at a date post birthday.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017