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Reflections 2018 w28

This week I found out the story of the man of whom I did not know existed until six months ago.

That man is called Philip Astley – Creator of the Modern Circus, who lived a couple of streets down from me, and has just had his 250th anniversary, of his creation, of the modern circus.

The fact that he has had no fanfare or real recognition prior to this year by Newcastle under Lyme council, shows more about the shift towards art and culture being put forefront, amidst the usual “pfft. It’s all a waist of money” brigade, than to anything else.

The story was told by  The New Vic Theatre done in a most fantastical way.

Theatre, Art, Circus acts, both real and reinvented to suit the stage, Comedy and some Panto-esq performances, off stage as well as on, seemed to flow seamlessly one scene to another. I sat in the upper floor seats, which I prefer to be honest, and was torn as to watching the action on the stage or the tremendous amount of work that is done , unnoticed by nearly all, in the framework above it or in the mission control booth off to one side, I presume all the effects are controlled from there.

The pace was fast, only to slow down as much for the actors to catch breath one would think, as to tell the story, even this was done cleverly. At this point one does not know whether one will be writing a blog on the plays seen, but if this is the case, I will leave the publishing of those blogs until after the performances have stopped – I could say too much and put out al lot of spoilers – unlikely, it would be for someone to read it before going, but it would be sods law if I did.

I left the theatre feeling a sense of wonderment, a wonderment I have not felt at a circus nor play for decades. It has been their most ambitious play so far, to be honest I cannot see how it could be beaten and still be a play. They defiantly cannot have more circus style acts than what they had, there is not the room. No, one thinks it could only be matched. This play has set the bar, and it has set it high!

The last play that left me with a sense of wonderment?

It was at The (Old) Victoria Theatre, back when I was in middle school. The play was…Treasure Island.

One can still see the actors swinging in the rigging ropes suspended from the ships mast even now.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

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Reflections 2018 w05

Well another month has been and gone, not all the things I wanted to put into place have materialised and some were just late. Outside forces have played their role, and my unenthusiastic approach has been reflected by the weather conditions.

However one has managed to start on a website design, with Wix, for a friend from group, when it is completed a piece will be written on it as a kind of launch. It is a worthy cause I am glad I can help with it.

So January was not a complete bust, February it seems is wanting to start with the dentist as I sit here typing this with a quarter tooth missing. I so hope it has had a root filling in the past. There is a point of no return for teeth when the dental care has been lacking in years gone by, something I hope my son will not follow.

I finished the painting that was commissioned by the B-WELL group and when it is placed on the wall it will be placed on my website. Although I did not get paid for this commission, it is non the less my first commission, and it is my own design, heavily influenced by the Blobby Tree theoretics but far enough away from the actual picture that it has/will have its own identity, complete with my sense of humour. There may even be a cartoon on the trees growth and story of the little people and the well around it. I have seen the animated story in my head, it would not stop once it started.

The prize for the writing competition was a £10 voucher for The Works, the story will be published in Brighter Futures February newsletter along with the other entrant/winners story. Hopefully there will be enough feedback from the piece to get a more popular writing competition next time. my-first-writing-competition-entry

My goal of mapping the local parks/woods and blogging about each one did not start last month partially due to the weather and partially due to the struggle to get out doors. I know that even warmer weather will not change that struggle to get out of the doorway.

Thats the rundown for the last month.

Where has the time gone?

Why are the weeks flying by so fast?

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Reflections 2018 w02

The b-well group started this week with some of the usual suspects, one was not expecting anyone that had not heard through the mental health groups as the advertising has yet to start properly. They also are at the moment using the Blobby tree, anyone that does not know of this series of pictures can easily google it, but in short it is a series of non sexed blobby people that are in differing ‘scenarios’ that can lead to a person opening up and talking. I have been led to believe that it works quite well.
I however have for some time been drawing my own scenarios, in my own sense of humour, mostly never including the tree at all. This week was no different, and the drawing done was voted to be turned into a poster and I was commissioned by the group to do my own version of the tree with my drawings on it, or off it.
My brain at times is like a tearaway pup, it gets hold of something and just runs away with it. This simple picture became a painting, which then became a series of drawings as I perfected the original sketch, which then became the tree wanting me to tell its story – in the old school cartoon way to create an animation. I don’t animate, but I have this story in my head and it wants to get out. It’s doing my head in; I know I will be doing the animation in the end just to shut it up.
Not knowing if the ‘blobby people’ are copyrighted or not I thought I would go a little more realistic in shape but still as simple as the blobby’s. This led me to ones looking like the change4life, so a no go there. Eventually I found my little people’s shape, next was their face or lack of it. Several faces later I had the one I liked, front on. But what for the side view? Nose or no nose? What size/shape if there is one? More sketches, a slight alteration to the frontal picture to match and I have my little people’s face.
Now the picture for the poster/painting is entering its final stage of putting it all together and it has definitely progressed from the original. And part of that progression is all down to the future animation attempt. This picture is a close up of the final tree picture, because it has yet to grow to fill the space. A bit like how the seed was planted in my mind for the image idea, and the way mine shot off it must be well fertilised.
I have spent 2/3’s of a day on the sketching alone, a part of the process that many do not even see nor understand. To be fair many that paint do not do the processing of the pictures the way I do, they would have just used the original sketch and painted. I do not want to be seen as copying someone else ideas. Influenced by someone – yes – everyone is in some form or other, but I do not want to just copy. So I go through this process to make it my own.
One may even start to paint tomorrow.

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Reflections…Week Forty Eight

canstockphoto8630797Have I watched that many ‘girly’ flicks and programs that I am, by doing this, copying the very format that the writers have used?

From Carrie (Sex in the City) to Erica (Being Erica) and Marin (Men in Trees) I too seem to be ending an episode (my week) with a monologue. True my very existence may not be the most interesting at this moment of time, but I do feel that the very people that I am meeting on my recovery are.

Sometimes I do not even know if the very people I meet are actually here (supermarket-meeting-poetry/poem), or my mind has created a person to teach me something. But for that moment in time IT IS important and interesting.

As an artist one spends time observing, even here my mind now sees things a little differently now, and then in whatever style chosen, places either a ‘true representation of the scene, OR the heart of it, the emotion, the feeling, the movement, the sound or the serenity. All with the flow of the paint and the movement of the brush, to no longer see what is being created but to just let it flow out onto the canvas.

As a wordsmith in training, one spends time observing, reflecting and creating an artwork of language. To simply place a series of words down for a poem is not simple at all, each word is lovingly placed, replaced or simply repositioned. All I write is done this way. A beat or rhythm of a journey taken with the words lays beyond the shape and form of the very words themselves. A wrongly placed pause can disrupt or even alter the flow, sometimes to the detriment of the wording used, dulling its edge.

A reflective diary is used in some therapies, a way to explore our existence, look for the ‘faults’ and find a better way in dealing with the situation, how then did this therapy get entwined into our TV? Was it intentional to pass on the lesson of reflection to improve our life, or was it just placed there by accident? A concept that outgrew the original pitch once the ratings came in? Or was it just a writer being honest about not having the perfect life and trying to work things out?

And thus the question leads back to me. Am I just doing what I am told, or am I part of a solution by doing the reflective monologue of my life?

And will you someday, in some form, be the ‘interest’, the focus, of my artwork?

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Forty Six

canstockphoto8630797This week has been a blur, a blur of waiting to be exact. The two things don’t go together in a normal sense, one being movement and one being the absence of it, but the mind likes to play these silly little games.

Routine is key to knowing what day of the week it is most of the time, spread throughout the week are group sessions, shopping runs, and if we, myself and Spot, can afford to go out, whether that just entails time to do the longer walks, physical problems make what used to be an hour and a half walk an afternoon now, or petrol money to get to a woodland area. And routine is what sets the pace, or the apparent pace, of time.

Rearrange one aspect of this schedule and the pace of the week can drastically be altered. And this week has been a doozy of rearrange and additions. The Thursday shop was on Tuesday, the Friday shopping place is was on Tuesday in addition to Friday. My uncle gets driven around to shopping and hospitals, usually Thursdays and at the end of the month, but had an extra appointment on Tuesday for his hearing aids as well as the end of the month one on Thursday. The Monday group was somewhere new, the Thursday daytime, prior going to my uncle, was shared between a cuppa with group friends at a church cafe, nipping round to another group to drop some things off and the American for the writing competition winner announcement. Well thats the blur covered

The waiting…Thats easy, as the Thursday shopping was on the Tuesday I didn’t require anything yet, so not in the mood for people, I waited in the car. At the hospital – both times – in the car, and the Friday shop – moneys a bit tight so I only got a couple of things and sat in the store waiting for my Mother and neighbour to do their shopping. To be honest I nearly went and sat in the car for the Friday shop, I have really been struggling to go out these past couple of weeks.

Today, Saturday, was different. Today I spent a day at the university open day throwing pots, something that has a major embarrassment memory from a school parents open day, way back then it was my first time I had been on a potters wheel and I may as well been trying to catch greased up eels coming from the centre. So today was to rid myself of that connection of embarrassment to the potters wheel. It was also a day to reconnect with distant souls, faces with whom paths have not crossed for a very long time. Also with it being an open day, our little group, and therefore myself on a potters wheel, was on display, again.

The groups run by Z are ace, there is an atmosphere of wonderment and humour, it matters not whether you are sitting on your own, spinning clay, or sitting in a group, sculpting clay, you are a part of it. Banter is varied to the clean and the shocking, well you have left me with no moral compass, Too shocking Too soon for the person the last line was for, welcome back.

Some could say I show off with the creative crafts, but I don’t do what I do to impress, not consciously anyway, but I do try to push my boundaries, in some cases I skip the basic stuff and go straight to the interesting. Today was just to play. I had no interest in bringing anything back home, everything was to be binned, emotion, shame, and whatever disaster was created.

I have, however, started a bit of — it’s not rivalry or oneupmanship, but it is – he’s done that I’m doing this kinda thing. I don’t think copper bowls will be satisfactory next metalworking class and the potters wheel is going to get a lot more advanced next clay workshop.

Did my creations end up in the bin? Only one out of the three, and the clay is reformed into a ball and used again, so not really binned as such. I have not taken any pictures yet as I am waiting until they have been fired, one has very delicate walls and my vase has a long thin neck but the clay didn’t feel right at the base of the neck once I stretched the clay upwards and has a high chance of it being an air bubble, thus blowing apart when fired. They are cockeyed but they did a great job of chasing away ghosts.

Oh I almost forgot, the writing competition winner announcement…

Is now going to take place at Christmas, I could have stayed at the cafe.

The reason — there were only two entries. The closing date was October 14th and they wait till the winner announcement day, and place, to let us know they new winner announcement time. But by telling me that there was only two entries they have tarnished the whole winning of it for me. Something that had a sense of achievement has now become a game of odds, good odds of winning. Creative skills have now been covered under a blanket of depression, to be dropped and forgotten about. I had been looking forward to being told I’d won, a rare self belief in what I had done, I don’t even know if I will bother turning up to the next winner announcement, the interest in it has gone.

Sometimes I feel the pinatas’ pain.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Forty Two

canstockphoto8630797In a little over three weeks, one will find out how my short story faired in the Brighter Futures writing competition.
Myself and competition wins go together like myself and Lottery wins, nice in theory but short on the ground.
That does not mean one is not pleased with the entry, it’s just usually there is someone just a wee bit better, but this time even second place will be a win.

There is a prize as well, but they have not told anyone what it is. Not sure why, if it is a universal prize – such as money/voucher, surely that would have been an incentive to enter. But with it being a mystery I wonder if it is something that only a writer would appreciate – a good pen.

I know it took several trips to my local stores to get the pens that I use today, and although my range was very limited due to budget, I knew that the feel and weight, how it sat in my hand, would be important for my comfort in writing.
One cannot even tell you what the ‘names’ of the pens are, they are just the Lamy and the Parker (with green ink). Both glide over the page with a good speed and leave an ink trail with very little pressure.

Although I was told that the Lamy could only use the ink cartridges designed for the pens, and not the smaller, cheaper, cartridges that I had a plenty, I looked at the ends and thought…

These look the same, worst that would happen is I spill ink everywhere. So with newspaper down to catch the ink spill, I tried the smaller cartridge. It fit and I have been using my stock ever since, that was over a year ago now, I have a lot of stock due to buying the bulk bags when on offer. Sure they last about a third of the time less, but one can live with that.

So if the prize is ‘just a pen’ then yes, if it ‘feels’ right I would be more than happy with the prize.

Look at me, drooling over the potential of winning a pen.
Only a few will appreciate that thought.

*On late this week due to technical difficulties.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

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.”

 

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