It’s here at last, the first day of a new calender year, for me the year really started with the winter solstice when the sun returns but for reasons of public holidays and a working life, January 1st seems to bring up many positive thoughts and experiences. One is something about a fresh new beginning. It always excites me, and I start the year off with so many projects and challenges I set for myself. I would be lying if I said I have ever achieved all of them in one year or even become close sometimes to finishing one. But that’s ok, come the new year, I can put all that behind me, reset my intentions and start the year with renewed vigour.
this year I have taken the pledge to try the vegan lifestyle for one month. https://veganuary.com I am becoming increasingly aware of the cruelty and torture that happens in the way our food is produced that I feel very uncomfortable eating and drinking dairy products. Meat is something I have been eating less and less of over the years but cheese, milk, butter and eggs I didn’t really think too much about. So now it is all change, and I feel good I have made this decision.
My next challenge is to sketch or write an entry a day in my journal. last year I tried a sketch a day and failed miserably, more like once a month !!. Writing is not a problem for me, I do it all the time, so when I cannot get around to a sketch of some sort I can do something. The small pastel sketch today was a really dramatic landscaper across the fields at Alfriston. It was one of those dark moody skies where the late sun was licking the tops of the trees making them glow with a wonderful coral orange and yellow light.
There are many more I shall not bore you with now, but here is wishing you all who read my blog a very happy New Year.
The intellect wants us to see what we know and understand, but when viewed from the heart, sometimes something altogether happens. Both were of Snowdonia National Park, both pastel sketches and executed really quickly.
Views from Trigonos retreat, Nantlle
This year my new year’s resolution was to start a sketch diary. Sadly this never really materialised, better luck next year, that is all I can say !! Not long now!
Uart 500 sanded paper, with Unison and Terry Ludwig pastels.
My new year resolution of sketching daily is moving along but not quite daily, but while I am away its seems to something I am drawn to. Max Richter’s music has certainly moved something within, long may it last.
I have seen many ballets within this rich tapestry called life, a aficionado of dance, not by any means but the thrill that music and movement can instil is unforgettable. I have seen the proud somewhat arrogant Nureyev bring the audience into a frenzy to the graceful elegance of the long limbed Sylvie Guillem but nothing in all these years has moved me so much as Wayne McGregors’s Woolf Works. Plus it was a live screened performance from The Royal Opera House, sitting in a cinema !
A ballet triptych describes three books, which takes you through life from an ageing perspective, looking back at the vibrant memories of 1920’s England in Mrs Dalloway, to the energetic, fast moving dynamism of youth in Orlando, then finally to death with The Waves. By the end I had been through so many emotions, my heart had been pulled this way and that and at times felt it would leap from my chest. I felt expanded, exhilarated, as if my body had filled the auditorium.
I watched mesmerised as the dancers moved with such grace and ease, their limbs, muscles, tendons showing the strength needed to perform such a strenuous ballet, especially in Orlando. So many avenues of thought and feelings erupted
Then came the rhythmic hypnotic swelling of the waves, not only in the music of Max Richter but the dancers and the compelling back drop of raging foaming seas in in slow motion as you watch and hear life ebbing away. Actress Gillian Anderson reads Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter written to her husband before she drowned herself in the River Ouze, the words so moving in themselves.
I have now listened to this so many times since seeing the ballet, downloaded from the trusty itunes. Its stunning, moving , haunting and magnificent and so much more. This week sees the start of my week in Totnes and this mornings playing produces these quick impromptu sketches and I can see this is going to inspire the senses in many ways as the days,weeks and months roll on.
Finding the pastels somewhat “flat” so experimented with adding some texture. First I covered the offwhite UART grit paper with all shades of red and orange and yellow pastel and painted over with mat gel medium. this created quite a thick covering that showed up all the brush marks. When completely drying painted over the pastels, like the affect. Will continue experimenting on the texture front and build up more layers using acrylic paint as the underpainting.
Making marks on paper can be quite exhilarating, my natural marks are soft organic sweeps curving this way and that so have tried making more liner marks on one of my 3o minute doodles recently and really enjoyed the difference. I am loving the pastels and have been experimenting with the different sanded pastel papers, they do appear to hold the pastels well which allows for many layers to be applied. Have used the the 240 and the 800 grit, quite a marked difference and wasn’t keen on the roughest one at all, seemed to end up with definite stripe effect to the finished work I have been using Unison and Jackson’s hand-made soft pastels, to he honest I cannot really tell the difference as yet..