Posted in crash course in art history, inspiration, news, process

Crash Course in Art History launching…soon

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Learn and Do

Join us on a journey, starting with the cave paintings in France and ending with Bridget Riley’s painted stripes.  We’ll hop through the centuries and decades, learning interesting facts about the artists along the way.  What did Michelangelo think about being landed the job of painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?  Who were the Fauves and how have they influenced art today?  After flying through history, we will all create an artwork influenced by one of the artists we learned about.

Think you aren’t good at drawing?  It doesn’t matter!  Some of us have put up barriers due to a bad experience with art making.  This lesson will help to overcome that.  Do you love making art?  Great!  Perhaps you will learn something new and can then repeat that back home.

It has been proven that creating art relieves stress, focuses the mind, encourages us to become creative problem solvers and so much more.

The workshop is divided into two 30 minute sessions:  Learn and Do.  We learn.  And then we make.

Who is this workshop for?

Everyone!  But to narrow that down, here is a list:

– Team Building Groups

– Businesses who observe Mental Awareness Week and are interested in bringing something new and fun into the workplace

– Special events (birthday parties, hen parties, just because parties)

– Educational events (especially for those teachers that might not have a good grasp of art and art history due to the other hundreds of things you are teaching in class).

For more information please visit my website here.

My first event will take place in February and I have been burning the midnight oil planning, designing, thinking, and writing about this event and for this event.  Two months ago I officially listed this effort with Companies House and ever since that day, the foundations have been forming.

2020 is going to be a big year for me.  The exhibition was the first idea to land in my head and grow into big ideas about it being an installation piece.  Soon after Crash Course formed and I had to grab onto it and not let it go.  I have had to move around my work commitments to make way for these two new things.  I am both excited and daunted.  I am curious about how these two ideas will grow and that is winning out over any uncertainty.

What are your big, fun, and scary plans for 2020?

Posted in allthesmallthings, competition, galleries and shops, inspiration, news, process

#allthesmallthings competition

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The other night I thought I would lay out all the drawings I have made for the #allthesmallthings exhibition.  The floor was covered from corner to corner.  I am rather impressed with the number of drawings I have created in spaces where I thought I did not have time to draw. It is interesting to me to see how much my style has changed and developed in just a few short months.  In August I was asked to draw people for the DECIEM launch event in Edinburgh.  I was like ‘People?!  You want me to draw people?  Have you seen my artwork?  I do NOT do people.  Or animals.  Buildings yes, but nothing on two or four legs thanks very much.’  So then I started drawing my friends and family and my obsession with drawing people caught in-between moments grew from there.

There is certainly a style growing from this challenge and I’m so glad I can use materials on the hoof.  I think of those artists with massive studio spaces and hours to be in those spaces.  One day I shall have that but for now I will embrace my parameters and see what great things I can make from here.

As for the COMPETITION part of the title, I have a little competition on the go.  It’s easy to play along.  All you have to do is Follow this blog or Follow me on Twitter or Instagram and tag in a friend.  What do you get for this small yet big action?  On January 31st I will choose two names from a hat and will draw a photo of you/your family/your favourite building/your best holiday snap/your favourite cafe/your prized shop dog in my style.

Please share and thanks for following.

CassandraHarrisonIllustrations2

Posted in allthesmallthings, inspiration, news, process

#allthesmallthings

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I could go on and on about how a decade has ended and a new one has begun.  Really, though, a new decade follows an old one every year.  2019 looked back on its own decade from 2009 and 2018 reminisced about all of its days from 2008.  It is exciting to look back at all the fun, cool stuff you saw and did in a nice chunk of time and I have to say, my ten year time lapse has been incredible.  As with many others, I have seen so much change within the lens of my own life that I could not have even guessed at most of this that has come to pass.

To say I have hit the ground running would be accurate for this new batch of months.  I have booked an exhibition space at Bloc Gallery and have been working on sketches towards artworks to be completed for the show.  The initial idea was to create hundreds of sketches then choose a few to work into paintings.  I have realised, however, that my life is not parceled up into nice, long blocks of time where I can concentrate fully for hours or days, if needed.  That is so far from my life.  I long for that, but that is not how it is right now.  So, I will work with what I have.  I will choose to not feel restricted by it but will instead embrace the 20 or 30 minutes I have and do what I can in that time.  What I have found out is that what I can do is quite small.  Literally. This is one reason why I have chosen the title ‘allthesmallthings’ for my show.  It is about capturing those moments in-between.  Those small spaces of time.  I have chosen my materials also based on this theme.

There is a lot more I could say about my 2020 plans however they are on a very different topic.  So until then…I hope you enjoy the gift that is this time of year.  It’s nice/agonising/painful/uplifting to reflect on what has passed.  Let us now look forward and do something great with the time we have together on this spinning blue and green ball we call Earth.

 

EdinburghDrawing

Posted in inspiration

Are you with me now?

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Broughton Street with fluffy cloudsby Cassandra Harrison

Listening to Cate Le Bon (and hey here’s a link for you should you care to hear and see Are You With Me Now?) somehow makes me want to swim around in my memories a bit and think over the past 12 months.  Not that the first of a new year had anything to do with this feeling. Or the fact that I am three days into my personal new year of being.  Or the fact that in the last year major changes have turned me onto new, unimaginable paths.  I found me a nice fella (the previous year).  We had ourselves a pretty baby.  And now we live in a new town in a house that is older than the country of my birth.  And so.  How can you not sit back, drink a cup of tea and think ‘Bloody hell, my life sure isn’t boring.’

I’m currently in the happy place of being on maternity leave.  Did you know freelance creative types could do this?  Neither did I, but it’s somewhat enforced as I don’t want to be fretting about work whilst Lottie is learning to grab stuff (like my hair!), teething or giving out the biggest, bestest smiles that would melt the coldest of hearts.  But in a few months, the reality of being a working artist will rear its pleasant but alarming head and I need to ‘hit the ground running.’  I don’t know how that is going to happen as Lottie seems to have a sixth sense.  Food is put before me.  She cries and needs attention.  The gentle whirring sound of my computer turning on…she wakes up from a deep sleep.  Hm.

My plan (a very lose one, not even written in pencil it’s so lose) is to get Lottie a playpen for my studio.  I’ll  need to eventually sort out her naps so that I can work during her quiet hours.  I would rather not give up my sleep at night; I’m a horrible person when I’m tired.

My projects need to be ready to tackle in small chunks of time which means a bit of planning to have my materials and space ready for those minutes that are free.  Now I seem to spend any spare minute tidying as I wonder what to do with the spontaneous bit of freedom that just happened.  I’d like to tackle one more artwork for Stockbridge, this time to include people, like the ones I did for Broughton Street.  There is also Berwick upon Tweed and some interesting views I’d like to recreate in my style.

And hark.  What is this I hear?  Lottie needing me.  I don’t mind.  In fact, I love it quite a lot.

 

Posted in inspiration, news

Next Phase

A comical optical illusion
A comical optical illusion

As you can see, I am large with child.  Well, getting larger by the week with this creature that insists on growing and growing and growing (which is a good thing as this is what should be happening).

I haven’t blogged about this next phase yet, and in fact, I have hardly blogged at all as I hardly know what to write about anymore.  Do I write about this and what it’s doing to my life or do I carry on as if nothing happened.  Seems a shame to not mention the impending life that is about to rock our world – the world of Jimmy, Cassandra and their two unsuspecting dogs Josey and Seal.

It is interesting what other artists have to say about becoming a parent and what that has done to their lives.  I have spoken to two gallery owners/artists about this new adventure.  One has suggested that I just be a mother, don’t even worry about the creativity.  Enjoy all the moments that you can because they grow up so fast and before you know it they are living on the other side of the world and God knows when you’ll see them again.  Oh.  Some of that could be MY parents’ experience of what I’ve done to them.  Another artist said that the bursts of creativity she had whilst she was a new mum took her art in an entirely new direction – one that she was excited about and others had commented.  She said it was because you get these small small bites of time and what you create is very spontaneous.  I have to say, I like the sound of that as I feel my own works are heavy with planning, work and re-working.

I found an online article ‘Will having kids ruin your creative career?‘ which, man, sounds negative or what?!  There is a paragraph in there about a woman that went back to work two weeks after her baby was born.  She works as director for a theatre company in New York and just sort of strapped her baby to her and carried on as if nothing had happened.  Hm.  I somehow don’t think that’s going to be my style and have my own opinions about how healthy that is for both parties involved.  In that, well, it can’t be good for neither.

My plan is…to have no plan.  My work life has certainly slowed down to a pregnant crawl into comfortable sitting positions.  I’ve been getting lazy.  Sleeping in.  Napping.  Snacking every two hours.  I’m in the final stretch now and should certainly not feel guilty about all this glorious downtime.  I am still making work and have three more original prints to create before I disappear for a month or two.  Or three or four.

I’m just wondering, though, what kind of parents are we going to be?  So far we have gathered for the new addition to the unit: two hand knitted hats, two small plush bunnies and a print of two bears and a robin.  It certainly won’t be short of beautiful things to look at.

 

Posted in inspiration, process

Getting rid of rigidity with adventures in Monoprinting

As this is the year of experimentation, this old goat (Capricorn…not that I give much credence to that stuff) decided to try to introduce new ways of mark making into her artist’s life. There is the fun side project that is Tex and Bonnet, which is a collaboration with Jimmy and our friends Super Fun and Fantastic. It’s an outlet for collaborative creativity and we’ve already started rolling out some new designs.

I have unearthed my massive sketchbook and am commiting myself to adding to it every day. I have failed 12 of the 14 days of January so far, but my intensions are good and I at least know where the massive sketchbook is.

Today was my first firm step into the realms of rulerless-drawings-of-buildings-and-things-on-buildings. I have tried to do this with pencils and paper but no matter how hard I try to quickly and energetically lay down my line, the rigid, rule-follower in me, the person that practically faints at the sight of a vertical line that is NOT perpendicular to the bottom edge of the page, persists. I’m clean. My paper is tidy. I have several sizes and types of rubbers at my disposal. (Sorry Americans, that would be ‘erasers’ to you and yes, I realise you are practically weeing yourselves with laughter right now).

Monoprinting‘ was my word for the day. A brayer was purchased, as were papers and inks. I’d read a book and saw some helpful Youtube videos and now it was time to commit. The thing about monoprinting is that you cannot rest y0ur delicate hand on the paper because if you do too much of that, you are going to smear the heck out of the image side of your paper. So. Lines must be laid out decisively and quickly. Look at your subject, then commit. There is no erasing unnecessary or ugly line. You may be able to fudge it with a scribble and call it a ‘tree’ or ‘foliage’ but there’s not much to hide something errant.

It took a few tries to lay on the ink correctly as too much ink turns the entire paper, erm, inky. But even that mistake wasn’t too catastrophic. The unfortunate thing about monoprinting is that, as indicated by the prefix, it is a one shot printing adventure. I do have ideas, though, on what I can do with these monoprints for the future. I haven’t abandoned my print on fabric artworks. In fact, these monoprinting adventures are going to segue into developing my process. I’m really digging this monoprinting lark as it challenges me to create artwork that is so very different from what I’ve been doing the last three years.

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I remember reading an excerpt from an article about Tracy Emin. Emin and her friend travelled in the states. I can image her in some desert, dust clouds kicking up and the heat beating down. In my imagination, she’s wearing aviator shades (when they were tragic) and sitting in an itchy, fold out, lawn chair – you know – the kind with the plaid design, woven in plastic, frame made of cheap metal.  Actually, it was rather a different kind of chair in which she sat.  And as a matter of fact, here is a link to the photo that feeds my imagings.

As for this blog and my joke that it is ‘relentless self-absorted chat about what I do,’ I find that for me, the writing about making art and inspiration is as important as the making of it. It almost feels as if I can’t have one without the other.