This morning I woke up to an empty house, the first day in almost six weeks of summer holidays without the children. This so rare and precious time has as usual appeared unplanned and at the last minute, so with little time to plan anything I decided to just be quiet, contemplative, calm and paint in my pyjamas!
I’ve been working on some paintings taken from childhood images found on my computer, they are me around the age of 12, this is quite a significant age, pre-teen, the end of childhood, I think I probably had a textbook idyllic childhood and the transition to teenager was uncomfortable, lonely and pretty miserable. My youngest daughter is now 12 and the other two kids are fully formed teenagers, I hope I am able to empathise with their situation at least some of the time and remember how crappy it can be.
So apart from looking at some memories and old images (remembering to not loose the plot with my teenage terrors) I’m also exploring different colour palettes seeing what develops. These paintings are all in gouache, I would like to work in oil next which I haven’t used for years as it can produce really rich colours and smells great. One thing this period of painting has reminded me of is to keep pushing myself, never give up, don’t settle or become creatively complacent. Have a great bank holiday.
Fairytales and nursery rhymes often weave their way into artist’s work, this week they have been creeping into mine. I have spent the last five weeks painting almost every day between family commitments. This is the most intense period of painting since leaving art school many years ago and it has been amazing, I have pushed really hard through one mistake to the next, it has been a process almost of relearning.
It’s been a difficult summer with the shock of a family crisis. Compounded by endless gruelling job interviews, I am left emotionally, physically & financially exhausted.
I’ve been weaving in and out of family commitments this summer to find time to paint, I’m not sure exactly what it is I am hoping to achieve but it felt important to grapple back some sense of control. Having stopped all artistic pursuits last year to enrol on a teacher training course I felt, at the beginning of the school summer holidays, distanced from my creative self (there is little room for creativity in the classroom it seems) Having not yet secured a teaching job I am again faced with an uncertain future.
Painting is where I started (first real memories around age four) I trained for many years and have a first class degree from Glasgow school of art so it felt right in the midst of such turmoil and uncertainty to reach back to my core and start afresh from scratch. That probably sounds a bit silly but it has kept me focused and hopeful.
I have spent years agitating over work and ideas, gauging each design for commercial viability so it has been amazing to just paint anything I want in any way I want for a few weeks, this work comes out of sadness and adversity but is in itself full of happiness and hope.
Inspiration has come from close by, my children, my home, my parents home, plants, books, photographs, Bristol. My imagination is always pretty active but it has been nice to let it rest some days and just concentrate on colour, light and shapes. The summer holidays are nearly over, maybe I will find some way to continue painting, I hope so.
My lovely little girl was 12 today, she opened her present’s, we ate cake and had a slow easy day, she is having a big party with friends on Wednesday. This afternoon we watched movies and ate popcorn and I finished off these magic garden drawings. Pencil and pen on black card. It’s hard to believe my baby is so grown up. Happy holidays everyone.
I’ve been planning bags and t-shirts for ages and finally got a couple of samples made up to test run. Rosie is modelling my Molly Dolly Tee, hand painted with a linen and cotton ruff at the neck. I also made up a sample s hand painted cotton shopping bag, we took it on a test run to the local shop and then to the park with drinks and snacks, it can fold up in my shoulder bag when not needed.
It’s the end of an exhausting weekend. The children have had a lot of social engagements, a couple of household breakages with the extra volume of children and to top it all our second guinea pig died very suddenly this morning, I buried him with his brother and then felt very depressed for the rest of the day. So I sat down and created some Halloween costumes for my paper Molly Dolly, drawing and water colours always calm my frazzled nerves.
I haven’t had time to post as I spent the weekend tidying the house and my workspace in preparation for photographs to be taken next week. I’ll admit the home has been sadly neglected in recent months, work and kids come first, domestic duties lag far behind. And although I have woken this morning with a nurofen and volterol worthy back ache it has been very worth while, I needed an outside commitment as in someone coming to document my home and work to kick my comatose domestic goddess into action. Tidying without children is wonderful, the joy of walking into a room and it is exactly how you left it, amazing, I keep opening the girls bedroom door and just luxuriating in the organised calm!!
I even made one of my textile works into a television cover, oh boy the kids are going to love this one!!! Below my work table still needs organizing but the cats don’t care.
Kitchen corner and shelves organised, below at 4.10 pm yesterday I sat down for a cup of tea. Upstairs I had organised my bedroom shelves and displayed some of my vintage clothes and finally the girls room looking habitable for the first time in about six months!! A bit more work to do today but as my back is needing a little rest I’m going to sit down with my sketch book for an hour
I feel Wiped out this week, I think it’s partly because the weather is so cold and I’ve worked such long hours for so many months all my reserves are low. I feel drained by other people’s anger both in a wider context and up close and personal, I can see how easy it would be to retreat from the world all together with my paint brushes and sewing machine. Last week was difficult and this week is rearing its ugly head in ways I had not anticipated, sometimes I wish my children and I could go far far away from here.
So my little wobble over and it’s back to business, above is Jacob the Bird boy and Nelly, these two have waited so long to be completed and I’m so happy to see them finally coming together. They have paper clay painted heads and textile bodies, Jacobs body is hand knitted and I have used a variety of vintage fabrics on both dolls. I’ve also been making some tiny painted clay birds, some of which will go on Jacob. I also have my first flower baby brooch finished and little planter necklace, hope to get these listed in my shop tomorrow.