Finally, this weekend there was no snow and the sun came out! Already everyone I know is feeling more bright and positive as Spring is finally arriving.
I spent some of my weekend repotting some of our houseplants into bigger pots as they were doing so well. Our patio area is a little suntrap so I decided to do this outside and get a good dose of vitamin D. I also surveyed the frost damage on my garden plants! I find caring for my collection of plants really relaxing and their shapes and colours often give me artistic inspiration.
Visiting local gardens and green spaces with one of my cameras is one of my favourite weekend things to do too. Having a wander and looking for subject matter for photos on my own is so useful for me, as it gives me some quiet time and often produces some new subject matter for my art.
Here's some of the photos I took last year at Newstead Abbey....
Whilst painting this piece I looked at pink quartz. These beautiful stones have all different shades of pink and I was interested in how the light comes through the cuts of the stone. I felt that I didn't want just a pretty pink painting, but something that showed off the different shades and shapes of the rock. To do this I decided to use my palette knives as much as possible to make sure the paint went on in blocks, with straight lines and smooth paint to reflect the cut edges. I wanted to use as few layers and detail as possible so I didn't lose the effect of stone. So, I kept stepping back and considering the picture as much as possible. I'm really pleased with this piece of work and think I will do more like this.
This painting is called 'Swell'. I was thinking of the movement of water under waves and a pull upwards when you're underwater. My favourite part is the mixture of grey and dark turquoise in the bottom right hand corner. The biggest challenge when painting this one was trying to keep a balance of detail and large mark making.
I think one of my next paintings will be a mixture of soft greys.
To mark International Women’s Day today, I thought I would go through the women who inspire me. Thinking of these wonderful women and all they've accomplished makes me so happy.
Developing as an artist and putting yourself forward is challenging, but so empowering and fulfilling. It's great to think of others who have done so successfully and how they would have had to overcome their own personal obstacles.
In clockwise order:
Shirley Manson is a Scottish musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and actress. Manson is known for her rebellious attitude, distinctive voice and formidable stage presence.
Georgia O'Keeffe was an American artist best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes. O'Keeffe has been recognized as the "Mother of American Modernism".
Juliette Lewis is an American singer and actress who was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Her work in television has resulted in two Emmy nominations.
Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was an English artist and sculptor. She was one of the few female artists of her generation to achieve international prominence.
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist whose work has been celebrated internationally as emblematic of Mexican national and Indigenous traditions, and by feminists for what is seen as its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.
Yayoi Kusama works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. She has been acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan.
Of course, there's many more, but these are who I think of frequently.
Nottingham experienced quite a lot snow last week as well as the most of the UK. Luckily I had already booked the week off as holiday so spent quite a bit of it just watching the snow coming down and the garden birds. It was very quiet and beautiful.
I thought this poem captured it....
Snow by Louis MacNeice
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes –
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands –
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses