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Lockdown headspace

Now we are looking into to a batch of three more weeks of lockdown. Bizarrely, I’m kinda looking forward to this. Not that I don’t miss my friends or usual activities. We miss these things immensely. What I do t miss is the crazy running around and feeling exhausted by 5pm from a hectic schedule.

Surely I’m not the only one enjoying slower mornings, slower days and more room in my head than I almost know what to do with. I know there is a divide between having littles around and not- I’ve been busy keeping my six year old occupied. I’ve also been trying to teach her ways to keep herself occupied without the tv sucking her attention away.

During this time, I’ve taken a step back and had a good hard look at my work life. What’s working? What’s bringing me down? I’ve launched a series of online classes and thoroughly enjoy planning for them and teaching them. I now have art parties, private art groups for children and art classes for grownups. For more info please hop to my website.

Me at my teaching desk

One extra fu thing I have added into my week is the Make Art That Sells (Money Bad Aa) course. It was fab! I now have over 100 pages of a plan to move and grow with definite clear goals and big dreams written down in manageable steps. It’s been great to be involved in their little community.

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Hit me with your best shots

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Last week I had a fun little competition on Twitter @geehowquaint asking people to submit photos of their favourite buildings/avenues/streets from their city or travels farther afield.  The response was terrific and made my decision-making difficult.  The first one to roll in was the building featured at the top of this post.  The person that supplied this suggestion said that his a much overlooked fella.  It stands tall and proud, but people don’t really notice it any more due to the noisy motorway just behind it.  So I thought I would show this grand thing some love and draw it in my bright, vibrant fashion.

I decided to representing a variety of spaces and places was where I wanted to go with this.  As you can see I hopped from an allotment shed to a gorgeous street in Edinburgh to the brightly lit up Shore at night.

Thank you everyone who joined in the fun.  It was so great to see the responses roll in.  If you would like to commission an artwork of your favourite building/street/neighbourhood/huge expansive city view, please get in touch. These drawings start at £65.  Hop over to my etsy shop to order.

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

Surviving the lockdown with art – Crash Course in Art History goes online

CrashCourseArtHistoryCassandraHarrison5

In February I officially launched my business Crash Course in Art History  – Art Parties for Grownups.  The first event was a success, the feedback good, more parties planned and booked.  It was an exciting venture for me as I was able to share all this Art History information and How To knowledge with friends, their friends, soon to be friends and the broader public.  I had a wee mention on BBC6 Music during their #itsbusinesstime segment.  Hearing Lauren Laverne read to the nation about my business and my art was such a wonderful thing.

And soon after, I lost my teaching job due to budget cuts.  The week after I saw on the news that Ireland were closing their schools.  The week after that I took my 6 year old out of school, three days before they were officially closed.

So much change in only a matter of three weeks.  How do you survive that?  How has anyone been surviving this?  And so I did what I knew I needed to do to cope.  I pressed on.  The thing is, I know for me, I thrive with structure.  I thrive when there are events to look forward to, classes to plan, art to make.  It has been a long journey to understand these things about myself and I am glad to have figured this out before the lockdown shut us down.

The learning curve was sharp and climbed up quickly.  I had to learn how to use zoom, how to teach from a live setting to an online setting (not too difficult as I had already had teaching experience with myonlineschooling.com). My website was updated with extra pages for online teaching.  I rolled out my Saturday morning art sessions for grown ups and am happy to report that the people in the group taking part are absolutely shining and wonderful.  It lifts my heart to see their faces on a Saturday morning.  If you would like to know more about these sessions please visit the Crash Course in Art History page.  The classes are set up so that the first 15-20 minutes is all about settling in, getting our cups of tea and learning Art History then the rest of the time is spent with me leading the group through an art making project.

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A couple of weeks I also launched art lessons for children.  Some of these sessions are private group where a class meet up on zoom and we all learn about art and make art together.  This Thursday I am starting my Drop-In art session for children ages 6 – 12.  You can find that information on good ‘ol eventbrite. I call it Art with Cassandra (imaginative, yes?).  It would be lovely to see who stops by.  The lessons are created to follow the curriculum and should be self sufficient enough to engage the children so that parents can have a little break.  This is an additional aim.  I think we all need time to step away from the demands and rest our minds.

Honestly, this is the best schedule I have had in years.  I am helping L along with her studies (minus Science and Maths, left up to someone else to take those on), we exercise, go on bike rides, play in the garden and bake.  There are so many things about this lockdown that I am loving.  What I am not loving is the constant low level anxiety whenever I need to go to the shops (am soon switching to either Click and Collect or Schop).

There is also a lot happening with my artwork, however I will save that update for another day.

Stay well, everyone.

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Meadowlark

Last month I had the absolute pleasure of creating this piece for a well loved yoga instructor. Well, after having discussed the person in question with the people commissioning this project, it was clear she was so much more than a teacher. The words friend, adventurer, educator, leader came to mind.

The piece was supposed to be a gouache painting on an A4 piece of paper. To me that didn’t seem bold enough. So I did this instead.

The work above was made using a cardboard envelope. I carefully cut out all the windows. On another piece of paper I painted the interiors, bright and messy, how I imagine people to live. Those windows are only an inch tall.

I feel so completely honoured that I was asked to create this piece.

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Women Being Magazine feature

Today Women Being Magazine launched. What a positive, informative, interesting, intelligent publication. When I was asked to be interviewed I felt completely honoured and also had a side of ‘are you sure?’ Oh yes. That Imposter Syndrome lurks just under the skin.

Please do follow that link above to see the magazine in its entirety. The team have worked very hard to bring you this fantastic new thing.

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Where women drink wine, eat cheese and chat

Last night we had dinner in the Cheese Lounge at Mellis’s. Twice we have done this and both times it seemed like a decadent thing to do. Mmmm. Comte. I could have big slabs of this every day (and be as big as a bus).

Recently, I’ve acquired too many tombow pens and have started playing around with new ideas. I’m still taking commissions for architectural artworks and I’m still enamoured with brutalist buildings however lately I’ve felt the need to veer away from these things that stand still through time and capture those moments that slip by, hardly noticed.

A life is made of a million of these small breaths. How many of them go unnoticed? I’m sure most of this has to do with the awe and mild anxiety of watching my daughter slip effortlessly from baby to toddler to little girl to ‘medium girl’ (her words).

Lottie and Emilie go to school.

Waiting for ballet to end.

I should be working but I’m not.

September 14 – this is where we chose your middle name.

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DECIEM commission and events

At the end of August, I received an email from DECIEM asking if I would like to work with them on their Edinburgh store launch event. You bet I would!

This request rolled in when my schedule was just starting to move from holiday mode to super crazy busy mode. I just couldn’t turn it down.

This is now the week after and I can breathe again. What a huge learning curve. I was to create an artwork to be made into prints for Press/Influencer/VIP Customer goodie bags. There was some back and forth sketch action however after take 3, it was all approved and ready to be made into prints. They wanted to capture the city and the quirky fun of the company, thus the castle and animals. The dog, Dexter, actually belongs to one of the London employees.

I was entertainment for the three events, drawing and painting an original piece similar to the print. After meeting the DECIEM crew from Edinburgh and London, I can confirm that they are lovely people. The branding on their products is pretty slick. I also like the lack of parabens and nasties in their products.

So that’s a wrap then. Better get on with next commission.

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A fine day – commission complete

100cm x 70cm

Screen print, textiles in tweeds, linen, patterned fabrics, and cotton

This piece was commissioned by a private client. We talked about the placement of the artwork within the home, theme, colours and other important details. I provided her with sketches of layouts and confirmations of colour.

I have two more commissions lined up after this plus my ongoing personal projects that will hopefully see the light of day. I need to schedule in my own projects as well as I do the projects for others. But then again, I get paid for their commissions so you know, that always wins over my pieces For Fun and Just Because.