the last months since November have been packed full with all manner of things, visit to Wales. Fabulous lunch at The Greenhouse. London museums and gallery visits, the Oceania exhibition at the Royal Academy being one of the most inspirational I have seen in a long while. Firle church and an evening of music, words, dance and ceremony with Carolyn Hilllyer to see in the solstiice, and on the solstice a wonderful evening organised by a good friend Ali, journeying to sounds of a Mongolian throat singer and gong bath. Then of course Christmas and the handmade presents I usually do, this year it was books, hand made and hand bound. A new skill learnt which I love the precision of the bindings themselves. Sourdough breadmaking course at the Bicycle Bakery, which I made many tasty loaves Then it was needle felting families of dreaming mice, each one had a prayer for manifesting peace and serenity in all areas of life and then a fabulous sleepy dreaming bunny, this has now grown into a rabbit figure which has conjured up clothes, characters and a book. A fabulous christmas lunch of Haunch of Venison cooked to perfection by my daughter and an illuminated walk at Bedgebury which was quite spectacular All the while though there has been my daily practice, patterns and watercolour and collage.
Oh and of course it was my 70th birthday last Friday. I had a fabulous couple of days, so many lovely cards, flowers and messages. A gift from daughter and her partner, one for for each decade, so seven beautiful gifts including a poem that bought tears to my eyes. I also spent a lovely evening and breakfast walk along the seafront at Hastings after a night at The Laindons which I thoroughly recommend.
What it is like being 70? the best feeling in the world, freedom to do and be who you like, fabulous.
Here are a few glimpses of the past weeks
Since my days have become my own to choose what i do, I have been experiencing elation !! I just cannot believe why I continued to work for so long !! as always I am trying to build a daily practice, but consistancy is not my forte and although I am managing to keep a flow of writing my daily pages and trying something creative most days, my oil painting seems to have diminished. Think I am trying to do so many things including downsizing all my posessions, that in itself has been overwhelming. “one room at a time ” is my motto and I am slowly getting thought it all.
At the moment the easiest thing to do is reach for my watercolours and gouache as I can just sit down and do something quickly without too much fuss. Here are some of the outpouring.
I am now on a new journey, a journey where I can devote my time to a creative daily practice of my own.
My days of designing interiors are now over, cannot believe I ran my own successful company for so long. My only sadness it that my mother died just weeks before it all began, she never saw me put my creative skills to good use, I know she would have been so very happy for me. There are many challenges in starting a business and the first few years were extremely tough, many times I was close to giving up but thankfully that strong will of mine saw me through. My mums words “where there is a will there is way” constantly rang through my head. I also also lived through the dawning of the digital age, apple mac was my first computer in the early 90’s with my first mobile phone and over the years the working practice of a designer became totally computer driven. Out went the drawing boards and the source library an in came drawing packages, illustrator, Cad and so on. Together with a great team we have designed, procured and installed projects the length and breadth of the country.
Will I miss it all? Right in this moment in time, I would say no definitely not, interior design sounds great but it comes with massive pressure, constant deadlines and right now I am so happy to leave it al behind. Will I miss it in the future, who knows, possibly, but I know that my own creative skills have taken a back seat for so long thats its time now for this to be the main part of my day.
just a few of the ways I have been expressing myself of late.
Another large project (day job) has at last come to fruition and with that comes the release of feeling I can breathe again, no pressure…….. and even closer to my goal of giving it all up for good.
today in my studio I tried out mono printing for the first time. What a great way to work, I love it and cannot wait to get back down there again today. Experimenting with inks, acrylics, alcohol, cutting stencils and the excitement of pulling the print, revealing such unexpected results. I am ,looking out for some good printmaking weekend courses, if anyone knows of any please let me know.
I am also working on a large piece, acrylic underpainting and now layering in oils. Intertwined shapes, at first large and as each subsequent layer they are becoming smaller and more defined, colours changing all the time. Sometimes clashing and full of vigour, sometimes much quieter and more sombre. Almost like a weather gauge of emotions. A journey I am enjoying
Spent the afternoon in my studio, one to get away from the oppressive heat and two to calm my chaotic mind. Last time I painted here it was a landscape, very tranquil with the sun just coming through the clouds after the rain. Today, pouring out the chaos onto the canvas, at first it was fast and furious, then it slowed and as I kept standing back to look I could see lots of small compartments, all the different hats I wear I guess, and why there is often chaos going on. Some cool and tranquil compartments, some hot, hot, fiery and overflowing but, and this surprised me, there is balance, that felt good.
Guess we all paint for different reasons and are drawn to different styles. I don’t think I have yet found what really feeds my soul in terms of “style” and “content” of the painting, but just feeling and seeing the lucscuious colours oozing from the tubes, the buttery smoothness as the paint glides over the canvas, listening to loud, loud music, the movement of they body as the brush sweeps in wide arcs, this is why I paint, its so freeing, and exciting.
My sketch book is filling too and I know this is stirring something deep inside, its definitely a journey, and a daliy practice of creativity whatever it maybe certainly has its own momentum.
a great day in many ways, lunch by sea and a wonderful drive meandering along the country lanes to home. Shame I couldn’t see the lunar eclipse, but in my own way I honoured this special full moon this evening with a prayer for the land. I wrote it on small squares of paper and concealed them within layers of paint in a beautiful landscape.
This painting of Moel Hirradug has had several lives, three different attempts, one all green, one multicoloured and this one I think I like the best. Still feel the need to try again though, next time might be acrylics and pastel. This one is oil and it shows the iron age fort that sits atop. I have it on my friend’s authority that the view from the top is amazing, sadly I didnt even attempt it. Far too hot. The painting also depicts the parched earth, no rain now for 54 days.