Category Archives: About My Blog

On the Right Track

Track 1 (Baker's Pit)

Track 1 (Baker’s Pit Puddles)

If you think you have suddenly landed on the wrong page in the wrong blog, then ‘bear with’ dear friends.   You haven’t gone mad.   It is I who have decided it is time for a minor change!  After not much deliberation, I have opted for a more fitting title for this blog.

Track 2 (scorched earth, Bodrifty)

Track 2 (scorched earth, Mulfra)

My sketchbook pages will, from this moment onwards, be ‘morphed’ into: The Artist as Pilgrim.

Track 3 (granite, moss, lichen and blond grasses)

Track 3 (granite, moss, lichen and blond grasses)

This change of title marks a shift in emphasis from a retrospective view of my artistic practice to a more reflective view of what the future might hold in store and in particular, what is currently happening ‘now’.    Much less about a sketch pad and more about the philosophical splutterings of my mind.  As I enter into this new phase, I wanted to mirror more closely what is going on in my creative world.   Ideally, you will not notice much of a change because the content will continue in the usual vein following the same threads of enquiry, visual notes, occasional pontifications on my understanding about the meaning of life and sometimes, rare snippets from the internal workings of my soul, recorded in the ordinary textures and patterns of my often, extra-ordinary daily life.  Yes, and sometimes ‘sketches’ too!

The Nature of Pilgrimage

A pilgrimage is a journey embarked upon in which an expectation that inner change or transformation will take place along the way.  For example, the writing of this blog has become a kind of metamorphosis in itself.

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To Be A Pilgrim

Unlike the title of this famous Christian hymn, my quest is a secular one.   People have many different reasons for undertaking a pilgrimage.  Apart from adopting the pilgrimage as the creative theme for this blog, I do also intend to undertake an actual, physical pilgrimage at some stage, quite soon.  It has been a secret ambition of mine for many years and I feel that time is drawing nearer to a reality.  The nature of the journey will be revealed to me when I am ready, as will the actual route / place.  For the moment, I have no idea where, when and how this might take place.  All I know for sure is that it will happen.  (see the ‘brief encounter‘ when this was first revealed to me).

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An American ‘wise’ woman called Mildrid Norman, otherwise known as the Peace Pilgrim (check out video on YouTube), crisscrossed the American Continent 7 times and gave up counting the miles after 25,000, convinced that her message of peace would prevail.

She said, ‘a pilgrim is a wanderer with a purpose.  A pilgrimage can be either: to a place or for a thing.‘  Hers of course was for a thing: Peace.

My motives are far less altruistic, I’m afraid.  I intend to use my pilgrimage as a means of finding a framework for a new aesthetic by investigating our sensory connections to landscape.

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As much as I like the idea of following in the steps of countless other pilgrims on well-worn paths such as the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain or walking to the mouth of the Ganges in India, I feel drawn to finding a path less well trodden.  Perhaps another sort of wilderness, or rediscover a path that has been hidden for generations.  A creative path I can call my own in which I can make my own discoveries ‘unburdened’ by the souls who have gone before.  And in the process add to the pool of knowledge by making a  contribution (albeit small) to the understanding of our presence in this world.  I hope you will continue to keep me company as I navigate this new path?

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Filed under About My Blog, my sketchbook pages, Nature / Nurture Project, Paths of Enlightenment, The Artist as Pilgrim, Walks

A Digital Scrap-Book

Kitchen as laboratory. Cooking up rabbit skin for sizing paper.

Kitchen as laboratory. Cooking up rabbit skin crystals for sizing paper.

Sorting out all my pictures has got me thinking about my sketchbooks pages, and sketchbooks in general.  In the past, I have used  sketchbooks as a convenient way for experimenting with ideas in an unfettered, non-judgmental way, only selectively showing what I felt ready to make public.

Now more than two years down the line and beginning to get into my stride, I decided to cast a quizzical eye over my blog.   The illustrated notes roam across my areas of interest, and in themselves form a kind of sensory meander across a personal landscape.

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(Sand) prints of prints. One of my ‘areas of interest’.

It differs from a paper sketchbook mainly in that it allows you, anyone, to join in my personal road-map and offers a glimpse into some of the thought processes and techniques I use.   I still have to make judgements about what to show but it has a much broader range.   Much to my surprise, I have enjoyed sharing what is normally a very private activity.

kitchen table operations

kitchen table operations

Digital books are a great addition to our reading experience but I don’t own an e-reader as I know I would miss the feel of the physical object in my hands.   I love paper sketchbooks for the same reason.  There is something really satisfying about working with a variety of materials in a book you have adopted for the purpose.   It could be anything: an old ledger, redundant bible (God knows there’s enough of them), leather-bound books, hand-made books, post-it notes.  I’ve used breakfast order slips left-over from our B&B days, and even contemplated using my father’s old appointment diaries but not sure this would feel like sacrilege or a loving tribute to his memory?  (Perhaps a bit of both.  More suited as part of a family history project, maybe).

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Looks can be deceiving. Even though this looks like it has been ‘digitalised’, it is in fact a painting.

My favourite sketchbooks are the ring-bound, square-shaped  books with hard covers because they expand a little between pages if you want to add stuff, as I do all the time, and you can fold the cover right over underneath so it doesn’t get in the way, handy if you are working outside.

EPSON MFP image

The logo for this blog is a detail taken from this sketchbook page.  (I have changed the theme since this was posted!)

My virtual sketchbook, on the other hand, is more like a photographic journal.   In it, I document the textures, habits and patterns of my life as a way of reconnecting with and making sense of the world I inhabit.  It also allows me to pick up on recurring themes and make observations about my progress.  It has become the medium in which I have taken my work further into the digital realm.

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A ‘post-it note’ drawing which has been layered with a digital print on acetate.

I use my sketchbook pages, therefore, as a repository of visual ideas that acts not only as a mental laboratory but also as a useful memory bank that I can return to, as and when required.   It allows me to make synaptic leaps in time, place and space and make connections and re-evaluations between curiosity and coincidental happenings.

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Grid butterfly of photomicrographs of thin sections of rock.

Some of the ideas are very sketchy and embryonic, others more fully formed, multi-layered, or collaged with imagery from previous posts.  Collectively, the blog forms a kind of annotated comic book of disparate objects that are tangentially linked, and that when printed out, weirdly goes backwards to the present.

Virtual or actual, I think both have their place in my practice.   I have come to view the virtual journal as an exciting extension of the physical sketchbook.  The thought of creating a limited-edition artist’s book (or e-book?) is a distinct possibility for the future.  Maybe.

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Oh no. It’s not still raining!  (Recent sketchbook pen drawing.)

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Filed under About My Blog, Drawings, my sketchbook pages

Banking my Assets

Flood & Spill

Flood & Spill

I’ve spent the past week sorting out my photographic archive.  Believe me this was a massive undertaking!   I’ve grouped some of my favourites together and made them into pdf pages that you can click on and view in my new image bank.

I’ve also created a separate page for videos.  I’ve not quite finished as I am still in the process of sorting them all out.   There is the inevitable tweaking that needs to be done because I’m not happy with everything yet but you can still have a sneak preview if you like.  This will always be a work in progress.

Of course all the images up-loaded onto this blog are photographs out of necessity, but demonstrate a mixture of drawings, iphone drawings, stills from videos and photographic collections of things that appeal to me which I am adding to all the time.   With very rare exceptions, all the images and videos have been created during the lifetime of this blog.

posters 1

Posters 1

I will endeavour to update these pages now on a more regular basis in future.  These are samples of what you might see.   Please do take a look if you have a few moments to spare, and let me know what you think?

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Filed under About My Blog, Art Works, my sketchbook pages

2nd Anniversary

First attempt at making jewelry from beach finds

I can hardly believe two years have passed since I started this blog!  What started out as an exercise to record artwork in a visual journal, my blog has become my creative conscience: a confessional in which I confront my fears, inaction, creative blocks, visual delights, and where there is nowhere to hide.

Art (and this blog) is the one ‘constant’ in my life and where I turn to in times of trouble.  It is at these most trying times that I often produce my best work and this blog may prove to be my greatest achievement yet – apart from my children!

I feel supported by the faithful – the small but elite band of  ‘follows’ who chart my ups and downs and thank you once again for your gentle encouragement, popping up occasionally to spur me on.  I hope that it too, in some small way, brings a glimmer of hope and inspiration to those who may be experiencing the same dilemmas and pitfalls we all go through at times in both our creative and personal progress through life.  I send you all virtual kisses and light a special sparkler to celebrate your loyalty. xxx

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Filed under About My Blog, Art Works, Found Objects, my sketchbook pages

1st ‘Sketchbook’ Anniversary

iphone drawing

87 posts published to date (that’s 1.67 per week to be precise), and three faithful followers thus far!  In the space of a year its taken to create this blog I’ve seen my daughter happily married, my financial situation spiral into a  precarious nose-dive, and my darling whippet Zeta – mother of our two ‘whippet’-snappers – nearly snuff it due to heart disease yet survive against the odds.  This blog wasn’t intended to record my personal highs and lows but merely as a way of getting back into a working practice as an artist…a sort of visual diary, conceived as an ongoing project.  A work in progress.

……no fireworks then and there will be none today!  This post is written specifically for my followers to thank them for their loyalty…..and I give you my first published iphone drawing.  Hope you like it?

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Filed under About My Blog, Art Works, Digital, Drawings, my sketchbook pages, Studio Practice

Back to the Drawing Board

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life studies

Can the act of drawing really be put into words – simply verbalise an action that is already devoid of words?  Both actions need a certain dexterity with a tool of choice: pen / brush / pencil or whatever, but requiring a different mode of thinking to perform the intended activity – writing or drawing.  When students say to me “I can’t draw, never been able to” etc., my reply is if you can write your name, you can manipulate a pencil, therefore, there is nothing to stop you from drawing.  Even the way you see the world in words is so very different to the way you might interpret it in visual mode.  This is where it gets personal.

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Filed under About My Blog, Drawings, my sketchbook pages, Personal Philosophy, Studio Practice

1st post

Hello World!
Hi!  No please!  No fanfare – no fireworks – this is an ordinary day, just like any other.  But for me, it is momentous.  Today marks the beginning of a brand new chapter.  I admit I am just a tad daunted by the prospect.   It wasn’t so long ago when a daily stream of consciousness was a private ritual, kept firmly under lock and key.  Now our diary notes have become global confessions.  Welcome to my world of the short attention span – dominated by ‘spin’ – as in doctor, a yarn, a web.  Bite size phrases, a few scribbled pencil marks on paper, pared down to the barest essential of meaning to grab our attention before it wanders off – lonely as a cyber cloud.  My brother would call such indulgent self-reflection, mere naval-gazing.  It may well be a step too far, even one I might live to regret, but feel compelled to do it all the same.  But what you ask?  Well here goes, enough chat for now….need to sharpen the lead……….

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