Thursday, 29 November 2007

Life Lines

Well another week - another painting from my art therapy class. This week we were working on the theme of life lines and the work was split into two parts.

We started by looking first at different ways of making lines on the paper with paint. The idea was to paint very freely making marks with lots of random objects - rollers, brushes, straws, sponges or palette knifes. We were working to a piece of classical music too which really helped me loosen up and I think put that sense of movement into the painting. I did get rather carried away and did most of mine with my hands in the end - which was lots of fun.

I think I just love making a mess too!

After this first stage we took a moment to look at the picture we had made and look for the natural lines and shapes that had occurred. We then re-worked it concentrating on the lines and paths in our own lives. Does that make sense..?
I'd like to write a bit more about this because I think it is art therapy in the more traditional sense that people imagine. I'm finding myself becoming more and more interested in the process of therapy through art and maybe this could be a career I might like to think about for the future.

I'll pick out a few parts to explain in more detail.

Here I am in the centre of the painting with the many different lines and paths leading away. There are those I have taken and possible paths for the future.

This dark circle represents the past. My hand prints are on either side of this shape and this is me attempting to push the past away. Really a representation of me wanting to block negative thoughts and unhelpful memories from the past.

This dark red area at the bottom of the painting is the dark and negative place I can find myself in when I get low in mood. The wavy path here flows straight from the past to this awful place. Kind of like snakes and ladders - this is a snake and it shows that dwelling on the past is a slippery slope to this dark and negative place.

You might be able to see a path on the right which leads up to a yellow area. This represents a bridge into a much more positive and happy place. I often express creativity and joy from painting and being expressive as a bright yellow area.

Here is another image of the happy bubble. This is vibrant and creative and the place I want to be. Attached to this are white areas and bubbles which represent positive and nurturing relationships in my life - especially friends.

There are many crisscrossing lines and paths in this painting between these different sates which I feel represent the experiences I have had and will maybe go on to experience.

IMT - Thanksgiving

At Inspire Me Thursday this week we are thinking about thanksgiving. I hope you all enjoyed the holiday in America and didn't each too much! Being English I can't really get into the traditional thanksgiving groove so..

I decided to concentrate this week (like last) on another thing I am grateful for. This is the happy times I have spent with my family. I also give thanks for those who may not still be around but enriched my life and help to give it meaning.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Here are some photographs from my day out with my dad at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. We had a really good day and YSP is an interesting and inspiring place to visit.

It has indoor galleries as well as the sculptures outside in the park.

The artist in residence at the park is Andy Goldsworthy and I found his sculptures beautiful, magnificent and very clever.

You can see an example on the left. He works with natural objects and from the shapes and naturally forming patterns occurring in mud, trees or snow for example. He will also use these raw materials to create yet more intricate designs and sculptures.

I've got to admit I hadn't given much attention to Andy Goldsworthy in the past but I was really impressed by his stuff at YSP.

Here are my two favorites at the park - both installations in the gallery.

Andy Goldsworthy - Leaf Stalk Room

This first one is like a curtain falling from ceiling to floor. It is made entirely from Horse Chestnut leaf stalks. All these little tiny twigs are pinned together with Blackthorns. So the whole piece is totally natural - with no glue or nails. Each of the twigs is attached to another twig and so they go on reaching across the whole room. With the exception of the almost perfect centre in the middle. Really clever and thought provoking.

Andy Goldsworthy - Wood Room

This is essentially a nest inside the gallery. It is made from Sweet Chestnut branches and really has to be experienced first hand for the full impact. When you walk into this room it is almost totally dark and it takes a moment to look up and see all the branches. It makes you feel like a small animal creeping into a burrow. The smell of all the wood is overpowering too.

Upon setting foot out of this gallery we walked out into a lovely bright sunny day. Looking up at the sky, with Goldsworthy's method of looking to shapes and patterns in nature in mind, I just had to take this photograph.

Look at the wonderful shapes of the clouds and the lines from planes in the sky, making a perfect cross. It just seemed totally perfect for the moment.

Cheese In The Trees !

Now we had a picnic in the park and in tribute to Goldsworthy's sculptures my dad created this sculpture. Giving it the truly inspired name of "Cheese In The Trees". :-)

We spent the whole day there walking about , playing Pooh Sticks, which I won! (see right), and sketching.

Here is a picture of my dad sketching...

...And this is what he was actually drawing.
Here is my favourite photograph from the day. We had to wait until no one was around to do this.

Swarovski Heart Earrings

Photography Experiments

I know nothing about photography but its something I'd love to learn more about. I do have a try every now and again. What I would really like to learn how to do are digital collages with photography - I just love the work of Kirsi at Amazing Haze and she totally inspires me to experiment with digital images and photography in art.

So here are a couple of experimenty digital self-portraits. I really like the colours in my hair in this second one. I also think its funny that I look quite like Fergie in it (not the cool one alas).

There is actually a story behind this photograph but I'm going to be enigmatic for once and not reveal.

Monday, 26 November 2007

IMT - Gratitude

For Inspire Me Thursday this week I am grateful to my art therapy tutor Carol and am posting a picture we did together. It is an exercise we sometimes do in class which Carol calls a "visual conversation". One person makes a mark on the page then the next person reacts in some way to that mark, by extending it or blocking it for example. In this way a relationship emerges on the paper which will change and develop in tone, pace and content just like a real conversation.

It is liberating and rewarding to make a piece of art with another person. So this week I am grateful to Carol without whose positive influence I would not be here blogging (!) and being creative. I know I tend to go on about my art therapy class here but it is a truly fantastic group and inspired me for the first time since school to get out my sketch book and paints and I never looked back.

Thank you too to Melanie and everyone at IMT, after out brief pause, I am happy we are all back together. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Party Charms

Cocktail Party Bracelet
I've been making lots of party type jewellery for the Christmas craft fairs I'll be doing between now and the end of December. So here is a fruity charm bracelet with cocktail charms and some girly pink mobile phone charms.

Work In Progress

I've been having some, erm, painter's block this last couple of weeks. This unfinished painting was a response to "Diary" on IMT all that time ago. Its all about change and transformation and the idea came about when I was prompted to write in my diary again by the theme. I was amazed to revisit some of the old entries and see how much I have changed in the year or so since I last wrote.

So I was really inspired and rather ambitiously embarked on this massive self-portrait.

I have done a little bit more than in the picture but I just can't seem to progress with it. I think its because I haven't got my likeness quite right and I'm finding it really off putting - I think its my nose!

However the theme at my art therapy class this week was "Change" and I decided to revisit the image of my original painting. So I came up with this quick painting in watercolour. I was trying to loosen up with it a bit and hopefully push past my creative block.

I can get quite uptight with paintings if I'm not careful especially if they are not going well (my pesky perfectionist side taking over) so I just wanted to be a bit freer and try and re-connect with the theme.

So I'm going to have another go at the big painting this week and see how far I get.
Here also is an unfinished necklace I seem to have been working on for ages. It is the Anemone Necklace Kit from The Spellbound Bead Co.
It was so complicated, probably the hardest one I've done so far and I've already spent over 11 hours stitching!
I'm stuck with the strap now the front section is done. I wanted to do something a bit different from the kit instructions and I suppose I'm just waiting for inspiration to hit.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

My Apetite For Destruction

Now I'm not about to recommend smashing up your own artwork....
but this was a special case. :-p

I painted this picture of my dad a few years ago and we were having quite a difficult relationship at the time and in fact that is what the painting was about. Now I've hated having this stuck in the house and it gives me a creepy feeling whenever I saw it, especially as my dad and I now get on well. So one day I just had enough and broke it in half.

It was so therapeutic! I really enjoyed doing it. I must admit my dad was quite alarmed when he saw his likeness smashed in half on the floor but he did see the funny side and posed for some erm "comedy photos" with it.
So it was quite funny in the end and its funny too the way things come around.

Gemstone Chip Sets

I'm going back to where I stated with jewellery making here with gemstone chips. I'm making them for Christmas craft fairs.

The sets here are Amethyst, Tiger Eye, Hematite, Rose Quartz and Turquoise.

Graphite Sketches

Here are a couple of quick sketches in graphite crayon. I wanted to practice my first hand drawing. The first is of one of those flip out brushes and the second a crumpled £5 note. They are really huge - about A0 size.

I quite liked using graphite and being able to shade with such strong light and dark. Also because the crayon is so thick it means I have to be bold and try and be confident with the lines.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Smoky Quartz Charms

I got a commission this week for a bracelet and earrings to match the Smoky Quartz Charm Necklace I made for my autumn collection.

Here is the original necklace.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Uncover Ops

This is camouflage-guy Action Man - that's why he has green on his face. I really like the moulded muscle thing on Action Men. It looks so funky and that's why I did this study.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Bonfire Night

At my art therapy class this week we were asked to draw bonfire night. This is what I came up with, I'm sorry that it is so dark and oppressive but I really hate bonfire night and can't help for this to come across in my picture.
I remember going to one when I was little and I really didn't understand why we had to stand around a big fire with strangers in the dark and I found the heat from the fire and the noise of the fireworks very frightening.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Red Lady

Painting in acrylic. There is actually a lot more of this painting but I think it looks better cropped.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

IMT - Trick or Treat

This is an unusual painting for me this week. It seemed like a reasonable fit for Halloween. It actually depicts a nightmare I had a few weeks ago. It was really vivid and has continued to trouble me so I'm hoping by painting it I may exorcise it! :)

Also here are some creepy photographs I took. My Dad and I were being silly taking photographs with his red DIY light thing. I thought they were really good when I saw how they had come out. And suitably eerie for Halloween too.

Queen Collage

I can't believe I did this to the Queen... I love my Queen! In my defence this was a collage experiment which took on a life of its own. There are all sorts here - fabric, acetate, acrylic watercolour and fabric paint (!).