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.
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.
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.
On my journeys to and from the Copyshop (for all my scanning and postcard printing needs) I often pass this little gem wedged between restaurants and cafes on St Mary’s Street. I have ventured in, bought presents and cards, ventured out then went on my merry way. The thought occurred to me that perhaps my prints would be a good fit for them and so I made contact.
I am happy to announce that they have taken me on. Hurrah. Any shop with a shop dog is ace in my book. Bunty does not disappoint. She is complete with handmade scarf, her own house and tiny bowls, and sweet demeanour. Can’t help but like that the owner of the shop is sporting tattoo sleeves of the real variety. No meshy slip-on ones for her.
The tourist season is soon upon us and this makes me sigh with relief. I know I’m a bit of a sell out, but we must all make a living somehow. I like it that they like my work (especially the Yanks) and that my artwork is living in homes from the States to Japan and lots of places inbetween.
And so, I plot my next artwork, possibly a view down from Calton Hill. If I can manoeuvre my expanding self up that steep incline.
For those of you who haven’t been introduced to the bizarre world of Portlandia, please indulge in this little clip: Put a Bird On It. Go on. You know you want to. It will only take one minute and 42 seconds of your time and I promise you with my whole heart that you will thank me for it.
Last weekend, Jimmy and I put up our wee little exhibition at the Golden Hare bookshop in the Grassmarket. We deliberated over the name and came up with the gem that is ‘New Wave Deco, ‘ which is an exploration of art deco architecture found in Edinburgh. Buildings like Dominion Cinema, the Lothian House doors and the derelict Odeon were represented in bright, new wave colours created over backdrops of super stellar interplanetary ‘shizzle.’ The show piece was created by both Jimmy and myself. It was an experiment of using my fabric techniques with his mixed media patterning and…badges! The badges are mini artworks of the originals. And hey, hey, lucky you! You can have a mini artwork of your very own should you happen to wander through the doors of the Golden Hare. Badges are £1.50. Bargain! Hello stocking stuffer and hello happy recipient.
Now. About the badges. I now need to introduce you to Tex and Bonnet, which can be found by following the yellow brick road to this link. This is currently our holding page but hold on to your hats, kids, there’s going to be a whole lot of developments with this new venture as the months roll out. We’ve been planning plans and scheming schemes.
As for me and my varied life as artist and teacher, I’ve been busy working in two local schools. My day began with orchestrating the putting together of a dramatic Winterwonderland display. One 4 metre stretch had a set design of 8 foot trees (white painted mdf) in the foreground and houses in the background. The other space, stretching across 4 metres, is a set design of icebergs peopled by penguins. The art departments have been busy creating 3D penguins galore, stars o plenty, background houses and 3D snowflakes. As the children and teachers were discovering the set up, there seemed to be an overall feeling of ‘oh, penguins! Cool!’ and ‘Man. Those trees are huge.’ Hopefully a happy festive spirit has been properly injected into that space.
This afternoon I was at the primary school teaching young minds about the amazing qualities of salt on watercolour paint. We were learning all sorts of fun techniques for watercolour painting. These will be used next week when we revisit the Urban Sketching sketches they worked so hard to create. With a little wax resist here and paper towel effect sky there, I should think their paintings are going to shine.
What a week. And tomorrow…the commission of Royal Circus.
Pencils to the right of me, coffee to the left. Here I am. Stuck in the middle with a view. Of some rooftops.
Yesterday saw me ending my short-lived art teaching career at a certain high school. The pre-appointed appointment will be rocking up next week. Oh if only I had grabbed that job first. I was just filler. I had a great send off, though. A very nice, glowing little send off with my favourite treats. A couple good things have branched off of this experience, so those poor little kids at Unamed High School will not be seeing the last of me. Mwhahahahaha.
So here I am, looking at Edinburgh receiving a light shower. There is much work to be done in regards to an upcoming exhibition featuring work by Jimmy Steel and work by me. It’s been amazing watching the work develop from the mind and hands of my partner in the creative fight against ugly.
A number of years ago, I read a mediocre book (okay, there have been several mediocre books) where the main character and her friend had a cushy little set up in her home. She was an interior designer and her friend was a maker of cushions or home decorations of a comforting sort. I thought to myself: How lovely is that set up. Two creatives working together, chatting together, sharing ideas and working towards a goal. How flipping groovy would that be.
And here I am. Living that groovy set up. We play records, 6 Music or Spotify playlists. We make coffee with our friend Gaggia circa 80-something. Our studio mascots, Seal and Josey, lurk around our feet, thinking that every time we stand up from our chairs that it’s their cue a Walkie will soon take place. When I feel stuck or lack of direction, all I have to do is turn around in my chair and ask Jimmy to cast an eye over what I’ve done. And vice versa.
Anyway, I must get on with work for this next show. Jimmy is currently shaming me with his artistic output. His colourism is simply glowing. I shall take my inspiration from the palette and create pieces that complement what he has done.
Housekeeping. Urgh. The very thought and sound and saying of that word makes me want to a) groan from boredom and b) procrastinate and do something more interesting.
When it comes to my own housekeeping, the web-presence sort, it makes me want to a) groan from boredom and b) procrastinate and do something more interesting like go and walk my dog in the park or make jam or make coffee or faff around on the internet. Unfortunately, my on-line street cred (which there isn’t much of) isn’t going to improve unless I align all my little bloggings and website and shops.
My first step in the direction of hoping to seem less directionless, I have updated my etsy site, Emporium of Rad, with my latest giclee print offerings. Please give it a visit and a wave or a ‘Like’ at EmporiumofRad. Most of the prints are of the power station variety. I can’t help myself. I just love the hard lines and bold colours and if I could while away my days making all these funny little big power stations, I would. Unfortunately, power stations only pay part of my bills and alas, I do have to carry on with other work. There aren’t any originals on that site as I tend to whisk them away to the shops upon completion. Speaking of shops, I think there are a few of you awaiting new arrivals at Curiouser and Curiouser. Sorry for the delay. I’ve been busy teaching kids about the Fauves.
Other things I have done to on-line housekeep: Updated my website here. Look at the shiny new teal skyline. Ooooh. Ahhh. Ok. You’ve seen it before. Moving along…
There is of course the recent update to my blog. I’ve added a CV page and taken down the Urban Outfitters and Hula exhibition pages as they are both over. Selah and big sigh. Those were such a lot of fun. I will soon add a new page that will be chalk full of information about an upcoming exhibition featuring Mr Jimmy Steel and Ms Cassandra Harrison.
So, as I try to look busy here in my art studio corner, I am being spoiled by oatcakes topped with butter and the bramble jelly boyfriend and cooked up last weekend. Hm. Perhaps there are perks to this housekeeping on-line. I’ll continue to pretend to look busy whilst I scroll around on Asos looking for a swooshy skirt to go with my charity shop bought jacket.