Saturday 30 April 2011

Being Creative Gallery Check In ~ April

 Hello to you all!

It's the April Gallery Check In for the Being Creative Group!
I'd like to thank all of you who have been sharing your work in the Flickr group pool - there have been some fantastic interpretations of this months theme, which I think has proved that there are some really creative people out there!

This month, I decided to work with some air drying clay and created a pendant.  I haven't worked with this medium for absolutely years and I really enjoyed it - I have decided to try and incorporate the clay into my artwork more, perhaps by designing small tiles.

'Dessert' themed pendant

Now it's your turn!

For those of you who would still like to share your work via your blog/Flickr or other photo hosting webpage, then you are very welcome to add your link to the widget below (please just link to the page your work features on).  Don't forget to use the whole caboodle of http://www...etc or else the link won't work.  Anyone who has already posted in the Flickr Group are also encouraged to share your images in the gallery here too!  It's going to be wonderful to have a monthly source to access everyone's work ~ and please don't be shy about sharing...encouragement and support is the key to growing in confidence with your creativity, and although it can feel a little scary, I think you will feel a huge sense of achievement when you share your work and get feedback from the other participants or blog readers here.

You will be able to add your 'Dessert' themed work to the gallery here until the end of May.  There is a list in the sidebar so that the gallery pages are easier for you to find.

For those of you who are working on the project and don't have the facility to share pictures of your work, then you are welcome to add your thoughts about your creative journey so far in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on taking part in the Being Creative Project, so please do share or feel free to email me privately.


Oooh!! An one last thing before we start to add our links - the theme for May is HOME
Again, this theme can be interpreted or taken in any direction you wish, or you can use the word as a focus point.  There will be another gallery opening at the end of the month here, but the Flickr group is available for you to add your pictures to every day if you wish.

If you would like to join the Being Creative group and haven't already then you are so very welcome to do so - it's totally free and you can take part on a regular or more infrequent basis, whatever works for you best.  You can register your commitment to taking part by clicking here and adding your link at the bottom of the page. 

And's the gallery for April - it's your turn! :)

Thursday 28 April 2011

Taking Time Out


We had our first camping trip of the year last week; we pootled down to Adam Henson's Farm for a few days with a group of friends and it was a complete tonic.  The sun shone everyday in a bright blue sky, peppered with cotton wool clouds and it was HOT!  There were barbecues, tractor rides, rare breed animals, new lambs being born, ice-creams, football games, laughter... it was a heavenly break.

Adam's Farm is in the beautiful Cotswolds, rolling fields of brightest green and zingy yellow undulated as far as the eye could see.  Our last evening was bright and clear and we sat outside our tents until after dark with the candle lanterns flickering, watching the satellites silently travelling the starry sky and listening to a fox barking in the woods.  There were shooting stars and the air was warm and still.

I thought to myself how good it was for the soul to switch off from Real Life like this.  To be away from televisions and computer screens, the chores and the day to day responsibilities.  Life had been pretty full prior to this trip and I had been feeling pretty worn out and run down, it gave me some space to think about doing things differently for my family in order to keep us all happy and healthy.  All we had were the basics: camping equipment, warm sleeping bags, a kettle, some good food and good company, countryside, nature and wide open skies.  It was all that we needed.

What can be nicer than waking to the sound of skylarks calling above, seeing the sunlight streaming through the fabric of the tent, and making a cup of fresh coffee to drink in the warm morning air?  There is something deeply satisfying about walking through the dewy grass of a long field to go for a wash with the little one, past tall pine trees where golden light casts long shadows across the pine cone strewn ground.  Hearing the bleating of newborn lambs in the field, the sounds of nature, breathing in delicious gulps of fresh country air...

I resolve to camp more - we need to be able to come away from our day to day surroundings in order to refuel and revive ourselves.  I always return home with a renewed sense of possibility; bursting with new ideas for paintings and new projects.  And coming home, there is the delicious feeling of climbing into a real bed; there are all the home comforts to welcome us back ~ rainbow crocheted blankets and cushions, my books, my paints.

I hope you have all had a wonderful Easter.  I will be posting the Gallery Page for the April theme of Being Creative on Saturday, and you are welcome to add links to pictures of your work on either Flickr or your Blog post, or add your thoughts about the theme in the comments section.  There are lots of people taking part now, and if you would like to join in yourself you can find out more by clicking the link in the sidebar, or the tab at the top of the page.  There has been some wonderful work emerging in the Flickr Group, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else you are going to share.

Sending love ~ thanks for visiting today, it's always a pleasure to know you've stopped by.
Julia x

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Start Off Small

Hello friends,

Yesterday me and Carys were painting some little pendants we had made from air drying clay.  And not for the first time I noticed the completely unconcious way my little girl used the paint, happily daubing her creations with turquoise, pink and blue.  She wasn't afraid to ask how to mix the colours, and what would happen if we mixed them all together.  There was no hesitation in her experimenting, no element of self conciousness, no fear, and no shame in what she was creating.  Carys made art from her happy little soul, she didn't care a bit what anyone else might think, that didn't even come into it - she was happy with paint on her hands, making something that she thought was fabulous.

Once upon a time, I went through a phase of being afraid of creating stuff.  I would sit in panic looking at my art pad, paralysed by fear that I couldn't do it - I mean, what if someone laughed at what I'd done or critiscised it?  And, shock of shocks, what if I made a mess on the paper and ruined it!!!  I was horrified that my work wouldn't look as good as the artists that I admired, and I felt awkwardness and shame because I didn't think I wasn't good enough.

happy, painty hands!

Taking the first steps in art can be a scary process - and it's because creating something that comes from deep within us is a personal expression, whether it's painting, knitting or sculpture.  To lay that bare for people to see, for even ourselves to see, can be a big deal; especially if we've been listening to those Little Voices.

Ah yes.  Those.

You might be familiar with them; they're the ones that whisper that we're no good, and tell us our work sucks.  They're the ones who make us feel hopeless.

Children don't hear those voices - they create stuff because it feels good to them.  They don't care.  Children shine their little lights and everything they do is wonderful, the best part about this is that they know it too; nobody has told them otherwise yet.

Start off Small.  That is, think like a small person - ignore the critical voices, whether they be in your mind or for real and create something just for fun.  Let your guard down, be brave, don't be afraid to make a mark on the paper now.  Try something new, a medium you've never worked with but secretly always wanted to.  Do something that feels outrageous to you, life is very short and it's vital that we believe that we are able to do what we enjoy, whether as a new part time hobby or a full scale venture that we hope to turn into a business someday.

Find yourself a scoop of inner courage and think Small.  Do it.  If I hadn't, I wouldn't be sat  here writing this to you today.

Much love to you, and thanks for visiting today
Julia x

Tuesday 12 April 2011

The Magic of Believing

'Im Possible' affirmation card

Once upon a time, I dreamed about becoming an artist.  My dream life had a wonderful studio space where I would work every day creating amazing paintings (and of course the sun always shone).  I would sell my work the world over and feel deeply fulfilled by my creative enterprise.  I would have my work in galleries and exhibitions, I would teach workshops and tuition to private clients in my bright, airy workshop space....

...and I would wake from these dreams, and stare at the computer screen in front of me as my heart went into freefall back to reality.  I would glance around the office I worked in listening to the hum of voices speaking into telephones.  I'd hear the rustle of papers in the filing cabinets and I would feel a heavy feeling settle in my belly...this couldn't be it - this deadened, numb in a world where every tick and every tock of the office clock signified a small lifetime passing...this couldn't be it, this slow, melancholy way of living, week in, week out.  A way to pay the bills but nothing more.  It just couldn't.

But for many of us, a dream is just that - something that we yearn for which doesn't occupy space in our real lives.  For many of us, we don't know how to begin taking the tiny steps towards making our dream a part of our real lives, so we continue with what we know: being responsible, ignoring our desires and feeling the pain of not living in the way that we really want to.

Many of us are taught that the best path through life is Doing The Right Thing ~ paying our bills on time, raising our families, being a good spouse etc - and yes, these were the beliefs I was brought up with too - to get good grades in school, find a good job and earn a good salary.  It was important to be in a Pension Scheme and to find a nice man to date, one you'd eventually marry, get a house and a mortgage with before filling it with children, and all preferably in the same part of town that you had been born and brought up in too.

And I believed that that was how things were done.  For a long time.

I'd been at my office job for five years, and I took an evening school course in Interior Design.  And then I did something that nobody in our family had yet done:  I left my secure, well paid office job with its Pension Scheme and annual bonuses and ran off to Devon to be an art student at the University of Plymouth.

And over the years that followed I learned a very valuable skill: self belief.  Sat in that office all those years ago, I never imagined that one day yes, I would sell my paintings around the world, yes, I would exhibit them in galleries and shows and teach art workshops.  Back then I thought it was impossible, I didn't believe it for a minute and here's why:  I told myself I couldn't do it.

A belief is just a thought we keep thinking over and over, until it becomes a truth for us.  Did you know that?  If we persist in telling ourselves things like "I'm never going to be an artist, a sculptor, a great photographer etc", it eventually becomes a belief and that becomes our reality.  So, if we begin to gently tell ourselves that things are possible, on a daily basis, those good thoughts will become a belief too and that's when the magic starts to happen.

As I look back at the journey, I see how it all took place with the tiniest of steps - it wasn't achieved overnight and there were many mental hurdles like fear (and those limiting beliefs of how life ought to be) that needed to be overcome.
Step by step...bit by bit...I let creativity infuse my life, and it lived companionably alongside my day job for many moons.  Here's how I did it:

I got seriously fed up with my office job
I went to night school to study interiors
I started drawing and painting at home more regularly
I went to university to study architectural interior design
I carried on dreaming 
I went self employed as a signwriter/mural painter for several years
I got a house and started to work more on my art
I quit my signwriting completely to become a full time artist
I became a Mama
I took part in exhibitions
I taught art workshops
I sell my work around the world
I keep painting, sketching, writing in my Portable Ideas Book
I read heaps of books and research the net to help me build a better business
...and I have many more exciting plans and dreams that I am planning on realising.

And during all that, I overcame this stuff:
Fear:  Fear I'd never be good enough, fear I'd fail, fear my art teacher was right and that I really couldn't do it.
Guilt:  That I wasn't following the conventional path through life, that people were raising their eyebrows at me, that I was being selfish by following my dreams, that I was disappointing people.

But I kept telling myself "Im Possible" and I surrounded myself with other people who thought I was too, and with encouragement and support, mixed in with a generous scoop of self belief, anything is possible.

I still have the odd day when fear flutters like a dark butterfly in my chest, when there are bills to be paid and mouths to be fed - it stems from those deep rooted beliefs I've known since being a child.  But stepping out of my comfort zone is all part of the journey for me, and each hurdle that is overcome sends me a step closer to everything my heart desires, on this crazy, joy~filled path that is life.

Thank you so much for visiting and reading ~
Sending you love, 
Julia x

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Chunky Little Crocheted Bowl

crocheted bowl

Hello my friends

I'm typing this with the door wide open, as well as the windows ~ there is a wonderfully humid breeze gently blowing and I have a feeling of happiness as I type because it feels like Real Warm Weather is finally arriving!
Today I'm going to give you a little pattern for my crocheted bowl, which is made out of just one ball of yarn and you can whip it up in just one evening (or a couple of hours).

The wool I used was Sirdar Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk Aran which I got on sale for just £1.99.
It is a 50g ball which measures approximately 86 mtrs in length.

Take a No.4 hook and sit and chain stitch the whole ball.  Yes.  The whole ball.
This actually becomes ridiculously therapeutic and I found myself in something of a trance like state once I'd got to the end.

Next, you're going to need a No.10 hook because you're going to be crocheting all those chains into a bowl shape and you're going to need something big to handle the chunkiness of it.

The following pattern is written in US stitch terminology, but Im basically using SC the whole time which is DC for those of you who read UK style.

Round 1: Using the chained yarn as you would ordinary yarn, CH2 and then do 6SC in the second chain from the hook.  SS to join (6 stitches)

Round 2:  2SC in each stitch around, SS to join (12 stitches)

Round 3:  *1SC in SC stitch followed by 2SC in next SC stitch* repeat this 6 times and SS to join (18 stitches)

Round 4:  *2SC, followed by 2SC in next SC stitch* repeat this 6 times and SS to join (24 stitches)

Round 5:  *3SC, followed by 2SC in next SC stitch* repeat 6 times and SS to join (30 stitches)

Round 6 - 10: 1SC all around in each stitch (30 stitches) SS to join.

Almost finished!! Of course, you can make your bowl smaller by starting to build up the sides from Round 3 or 4 if you prefer.  This size fits nicely in the palm of your hand:

The edging:  Tie on a contrasting piece of yarn (I used a spare bit of Rowan Handknit DK in white and a No.4 hook).  

SS to start, 
1SC and 1DC in next stitch followed by *1SS, 1SC, 1DC* in following stitch, repeat around and SS to join when finished.

Now go and find somewhere eyecatching to sit your new bowl and admire it often.  Fill it with Nice Things.  Go and make some different sized ones and cluster them together....oh I'm just in LOVE with this little bowl pattern, so easy, so quick, so gratifying!

Whilst I'm rambling about crochet and yarn, I can tell you that I've managed to get into town to stock up on an extra ball of my waistcoat yarn...the end is in sight, I can barely contain myself!!!  Prepare yourself for a reveal Very Soon!!

Enjoy the sunshine, sending love
Julia x

Friday 1 April 2011

Spring Morning

'Spring Morning'

Hello my lovlies!

It was a bleary eyed start to the 1st of April here.  As I registered the rain rattling against the windows, a Small Person sat on my head and demanded coco pops.  It was slightly before seven o'clock and as I blinked myself awake, Tiny Tears was shoved into my ribs and a foot squashed the breath out of me as the aforementioned Small Person made her mountaineering style descent off the bed.

But it was to get better!! 
A telelphone call from the Grandparents asking if they could take the mischievous Small out decided the fate of the day.  That Spring Morning canvas would be finished off - the paints would come out and a leisurely, impromtu day of painting and pottering would ensue.

I worked alongside these rather glorious Cornish Daffodils (a bargain from our little grocery shop, 3 generous bunches for just £2.00) and before long, the rain had stopped and the warm sunshine they had originally forcast arrived.

There's something rather pleasant, painting amongst polka dots and daffs.
Anyway - a bit about the painting!  It's an acrylic work on a box canvas (20x20cm).  It's also rather illustrative, featuring chickens, a dog, a chap digging his vegetable patch and a woman hanging up her laundry beneath the cherry blossom tree.  There are sprinklings of purple and yellow crocus not to mention a row of cheery daffodils by the wall next to the little yorkshire stone cottages.  And of course, a glimpse of the sea felt necessary for this picture!

You may recall it looked a bit like this the last time you saw it:

But I'm heartily pleased with how it's turned out!  This painting will be available on my website shortly.

Aren't pink trees just the best thing ever?!!  Our little village is a delight of candy-floss coloured blooms at the moment, and our own little flowering cherry which we planted the spring our daughter was born is looking beautiful...

We have had a rather quiet week at home this week, and the little one tried acrylic paints the other afternoon with a bit of mixed media thrown in.  At just three, I was impressed to see how she used the paint, colouring in this Girl that I drew for her with real effort; dabbing into the paint with tissue, drawing into it with crayon and using her finger to create texture:

 'Mixed Media Girl' by Carys

She finished her off with sparkly jewels, and her name stamped with some tiny alphabet stamps.  She has no qualms about calling herself an Artist, which really makes me smile.  There is no confidence like that of a child, their sense of self belief is limitless!  Talking of artists, can I just quickly mention for any Being Creative Peeps dropping in today, you can find a link on the sidebar for the March Gallery under our Flickr Group widget if you still want to post links to images of your work.  April's theme is Dessert, and Im already scouring my recipe books for inspiration and have something exciting planned - how about you?!

One more thing before I go ~ as the original of one of my favourite pieces, 'Home', has now sold, I just wanted to let you know that I am releasing a Limited Edition Print run of it.  The print is full sized and comes with a mount plus it will be numbered, titled and signed.  There will be only 50 of these, and they are available to buy now from my website.

'Home' ~ now available as a Limited Edition Print

You can still by Home as an open edition print too :)

Right! That's about it from me for today!  Thanks as always for stopping by to read my ramblings; "hello" and thank you for following to all of the new followers and email subscribers ~ it's lovely to have you here, and thank you to everyone who is participating in Being Creative with me, and sharing their creative journey.
I wish you a weekend full of surprises, a warm patch of sunlight to snooze in, a good book to read and a happy heart.

Sending love
Julia x
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...