Thursday 20 September 2012

Sea Blue Hooky


I was all cosy on the sofa the other evening, wrapped up in my ripple blanket with a nice cuppa and a copy of Country Living magazine.  I noticed that twilight was infusing the blue sky with it's velvety darkness and I suddenly had an urge to start a new crochet project...darker nights make me want to dig out my hook and a stash of soft wool and get busy.  The next day, I took myself off to the local wool shop and browsed the shelves looking for the right shades for my new scarf.

Yes, another scarf.

I cannot help myself when it comes to making scarves - it's because it's such a portable project, and pretty quickly made up I think, so I enjoy making them.  Plus, it's always nice to have a cosy and colourful collection to dip into come the colder weather.

But this time, I wasn't after bold, bright splashes of colour.  This time, I was trying something very different ~ I was on the lookout for sea blues and greys, the colours that I associate with the coast in winter...I envisaged a smooth, round, charcoal coloured pebble encircled with an elipse of white sitting in my palm...I saw pale blue skies, with gulls wheeling high above on the thermals...I saw stormy grey blue seas, wind whipped into frothy white waves that crashed onto pale sandy shores...I felt the cool, bleak wonder of a beach walk in January, discovering bleached driftwood and tiny white shells sprinkled on the tide line amidst muddy brown fronds of seaweed.

I wanted to find these kinds of colours for my scarf.  And I discovered Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK and I was smitten.

The shades of this yarn are beautiful, and capture everything I was thinking of.  I also had a pattern in mind for this scarf, which is called the Starburst stitch.  You can probably get a free tutorial online for this stitch, but Im using the one that's in Handbook of Crochet Stitches.

I like how the Starburst stitch looks a little bit like waves on the ocean...

I must admit, despite being landlocked and yearning for brisk Autumn walks on a beach, I do like this time of year in these parts.  The countryside is slowly fading, the carnival of Summer packs up it's glamours and slowly moves on, replaced by that chill in the air, an undefinable feeling, a wistful sense of something passing...of log fires and hot chocolate, of walking in crunchy leaves down lanes where the air is tinged with the scent of a bonfire.  All of these things have me yearning to be in the kitchen making delicious things... aromatic parsnip and apple soup...*recipe can be found in October Edition of Country Living Magazine*

There is something very comforting about home made soup, fresh off the hob and dished up with a warm baguette, generously buttered and served with a big mug of tea.  It is comforting, and reassuring and homely.

I do enjoy these small comforts, they help me to make the transition from Summer to the colder months ahead.  I know I'm one of those souls who, despite liking each season enormously, deeply laments the passing of the warmer days.

I'm currently tucked up indoors working on a commission painting; I'm also starting new sketches for the solo exhibition I am in next year, at Studio 61 Gallery, in Derbyshire.  This is my first ever solo exhibition and I'm thrilled to have been invited to show with the gallery.

Also, for the first time in many moons, I have agreed to do a Christmas fair - it's hosted by the very talented Kate Brazier of Kate Creates, and I'll be down in Newton Regis on the 8th December to sell some Christmas and Coastal wares!

I can feel a cup of tea coming on now, I'll see you next time - thanks for bobbing by.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Painting Summer

After a rather wet Summer here, I sit at my easel and I'm noticing that Autumn is approaching; creeping in quietly and unobtrusively.  I notice in a sudden gust of wind a spiral of crisp leaves whirling to the ground.  I see that it's ever so slightly darker than usual in the mornings when we get up, and there's a chill come early evening.

September also sees the little people toddling off to school again, and a wistful feeling pervades the air.  I was in Brighton recently and walked past WH Smiths, I was instantly transported back in time to my own childhood; the smell of that shop reminds me of going to buy new pencil cases and pens, ring binder folders and wrapping paper to cover our exercise books with.  September is very much a time of New Beginnings, and with my girl back at school now, I can turn my attention to my painting again, and capture the essence of Summer on my mini canvas work.  My latest piece is this ever so tiny offering (above) ~ just 9 x 7cm!  It's called 'Cream Tea' and depicts the perfect scenario of a jam and clotted cream scone overlooking a sparkling turquoise sea.

Over the last few weeks, I've had the pleasure of creating several mini canvas commission pieces featuring things all seaside related - so to remind you of warm days with toes in the sand and boats on the ocean, here are a few of them for you to see:

Tea by the Sea

Camper Van

Lighthouse and Boat

So, with the wee one back in school, Im settling into my own routine again.  I've been updating my website a bit and I've finally got a gloriously colourful gallery store front which I'm chuffed to bits with!  I hope you like it too :)

I find now and then, that I'll have a burst of ideas, and they present themselves at the strangest moments when I've no way of doing anything with them.  The idea to do this to my web shop happened when I was 100 metres up the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

The children thought the glass floor was a hoot by the way...

...yes, those small things below really are boats.

But anyway - what to do when inspiration strikes and you can't act on it straight away?

I creatively percolate it.

This means day dreaming about my idea regularly, and by doing this,  it gives it the capacity to grow and transform into something bigger and better.

I also write my ideas down in a small book.  This is very useful for me to come back to, as it captures the essential buzz I had about the idea in the first place and gives me a starting point to work from when time has passed and the idea has become a little fuzzy around the edges, or even forgotten.  It's also a positive way of recording things that I can't get to do right off, and that feel important.  It's easy to feel frustrated or impatient when you can't work on your Next Big Thing right off, so harness that energy and use it to creatively percolate your idea instead.  You can use this energy to shape your idea into something bigger and brighter and all you need invest is just a few minutes doing so.  Your imagination is a poweful tool and you can use it to expand and change your vision into anything you want.  You'll know you're on the right track because you'll get that fizzy feeling of excitement in your belly about it.

Using these tools, the web page I finally designed was something much better than what I first pictured.

Try it.

One last thing before I go ~ many thanks to all of you who answered my short survey which appeared on the last blog post, Im very grateful that you took the time to do that and appreciate your feedback.

See you all soon,

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