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
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
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.
Or should I say a vegetable day? my desire to keep painting seems strong at the moment. Am I enjoying it, Yes, absolutely. Am I pleased with the results, absolutely not !! this is the perfectionist in me, its such a hard task master to have this running all the time. Never ever feels good enough. For years, nearly 30 years I have been an interior designer and its only been in last 2-3 years that I can say I am interior designer and not feel a fraud. My creativity has taken many forms over the years, from drawing and watercolour sketches, to making things with my hands, cutting paper, clay work, collage, oil pastels, dry pastels, oil paint sticks but when it comes to painting, there is a lot of doubt that comes up. Not Good Enough, is the foremost one and most times it hampers the start, so recently with the urge to pick up my paintbrushes, oil paint and so on and keep painting is rather new to me. Its normally paint one or two, dont like them and put paints away for a few months.
Painting is a great teacher, it brings up so much for me that I can now sit and watch and see exactly what is happening as it unfolds. self doubt, conversations on size, whether to make it abstract or representational. Then there is the conversation about the cost of oil paint these days, absolutely ridiculous prices and like everything else now we have these small artisan workshops making specialist paints that are even more costly. One thing that has changed my painting though is Rosemary’s handmade brushes. I had never heard of an Egbert brush before, but these together with large long flats are helping me obtain the brushstrokes that I desire. To know they are handmade in Yorkshire make using them feel even better !