Inspired by my Dream World

This is me trying out a ‘less is more’ loose style of impressionistic painting, basically imagining a simple landscape idea in my mind and putting it down on paper. It’s a sloping field of yellow and white flowers behind a fence, with a clump of trees in the background and a grass verge in the foreground – so far, so good.

But the trouble with drawing my initial inspiration from my dream world is that my painting remains unfinished because I got this far with it and don’t quite know where to go next. It’s a bit of a dilemma for me right now – if I’d used a reference image I’d probably know exactly where to go next, but I know I’d also have got all tied up in knots trying to make my painting look ‘correct’, and it wouldn’t have looked anything like this!

So for now I find myself with a growing collection of two types of landscape paintings – those taken from the real world (via reference image) that I’m dissatisfied with and often give up on because I try too hard and they tend to become over-worked and boring, or those taken wholly from my imagination that are often brighter and lighter and more dynamic and I like better on a creative front, but generally remain uncompleted because my imagination only takes me so far…

I’ll keep going with attempting both for now, though, in the hope that one day I’ll reach a happy medium where I can comfortably adapt and reduce reference images to suit my impressionistic imagination, and will also have created enough ‘realistic’ landscapes to know which extra details to add to those initial big-picture landscape ideas of my artistic mind… 🙂

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Dream World

Rudbekia in Watercolour

Still practicing my water-colour painting, still playing about with exploring different ways of representing my world on paper, still not quite there yet in finding my own style… But at least I’m still having fun trying… 🙂

Truthful Tuesday: Tradition

Di asks for this week’s Truthful Tuesday:

How do you feel about your own country’s traditions and customs? Do you think they still hold a place in modern times?

Here in the UK we’ve all just finished ten days of national mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, who died suddenly aged 96 on 8th September and was finally laid to rest yesterday after a formal State funeral attended by numerous dignitaries and Heads of State from across the world.

Earlier this year the Queen celebrated 70 years on the throne – her Platinum Jubilee – making her the longest reigning monarch in British history, so for many of us she was simply the one reliable constant in a crazy world of chaos. So with the Queen’s death, her eldest son Charles immediately became King, and the whole traditional process of the formal transfer of power from monarch to monarch began.

It feels odd right now to have a King instead of a Queen, and I can’t help but feel slightly anxious at what comes next for our national identity? Change is so often difficult to deal with, unsettling and fearful, but for me this is exactly where tradition helps instill a reassuring sense of continuity, a soothing stitching together of the ragged rupture to the fabric of life created by whatever the particular change may be.

For example, familiar funeral rituals help ease us all into life without our loved one – they give us something pseudo-solid to cling to at a time where our world has tilted so violently on its axis, tipping us off-balance. We can hang on to these rituals and follow them almost on autopilot, going through the motions we know so well and finding comfort in the recognition of repetition. They help us get through a tough time.

And I feel that’s exactly what the last ten days of traditional mourning for the Queen and smooth transfer of power to the new King has done for us as a nation – it has given us a formal framework to adhere to, to help hold the country together in what feels like could be a time of constitutional crisis. It may not be a structural form many of us have seen before in our lifetime or are familiar with, but seeing it already in existence from the past, ready and waiting to be called on and carried out when needed has helped enormously.

So I definitely think that some social and cultural (and ceremonial) traditions still have a pride of place in our modern world, as long as they do not exclude or cause harm to anyone else. Of course even the oldest of traditions can over time be updated and modernised, creating a balance between old and new that allows for those familiar feelings of continuity while also making space for an acceptance that sometimes change is a necessary part of keeping things going into the future.

In the same way as many modern brides still choose today to have a traditional white wedding with a long dress and veil, and be ‘given away’ by her father (or other male family member) and handed over to her new husband, no-one truly expects the bride to really be part of the general goods and chattels passed between men. Marriage today is about partnership not ownership, so the ceremony itself is a symbolic nod to tradition, not a wholesale belief in every single aspect of the ritual they are taking part in.

And so it is with our Royal family and our national identity into the future. I’m sure the coronation of King Charles III when it occurs will in some ways be a very different coronation to that of Queen Elizabeth II 70 years earlier, while still honouring and retaining enough of the traditional historical importance to keep it reverentially recognisable as the sombre and solemn occasion of state it will inevitably be.

Share Your World: 19 Sept 2022

Are you an early riser or a late starter to the day?

I’m definitely an early bird, always have been…

Do you adopt ‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper’?

Nope, sadly I tend to adopt comfort eating at all hours…

Do you have a sweet or savoury tooth?

Both – see above answer 🙂

Would you prefer a hot relaxing bath or a massage?

Hot bath every time…

Share Your World

Pot Hole

Underneath the multiple layers of disintegrating tarmac on this city back-street, it’s possible to see the original road surface of granite setts still sitting perfectly in place.

I’m old enough to remember when driving over city streets like this one meant car tires rumbling loudly over the regular pattern of smooth-worn stones making a very distinctive sound, so it’s nice to see that underneath the modern road surface they still exist after all these years!

This particular pot-hole is actually quite deep so hopefully will be repaired soon, but is surprisingly circular in shape so I captured it with my phone camera while I still could 🙂

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Circles or Curves

Like Herding Cats

I never like feeling like a beginner at anything. It doesn’t matter what it is, I’m always emotionally uncomfortable at the feeling of not really knowing what I’m doing. There’s always an internal, infernal life-long feeling of not-good-enough-ness nagging away in the background, mocking my nascent efforts.

So here I am determinedly picking up water-colour painting in my later years, struggling to find my own way with what feels like such an unforgiving medium. It seems like there is simply nowhere to hide with water-colours, the promise of beautiful luminous transparency and fluidity that attracts me so strongly to it is also its biggest bug-bear for a control-freak like me.

I watch myriad tutorials on YouTube and try to replicate the wonderful loose light-touch techniques I see online, feeling initially motivated and inspired, but somewhere along the line it all regularly gets lost in translation. It feels to me like I’m painting with will-o-the-wisp water, chasing out-of-control colours careering across the paper, a bit like herding cats.

But still I persevere in the hope that one day I will stop feeling like a beginner so completely out of my depth. I’ll learn to love the way the water flows so unpredictably, stop fretting and fussing over it and worrying it to death, and learn to go with the flow. I’ll learn to lay the paint on the paper cleanly and clearly then leave it alone to do its own thing.

I’ll learn that less is more, let go of any real semblance of control and eagerly embrace whole-heartedly whatever creative outcome will be ❤

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Beginner

Catafalques and Crowns

I learned a new word this week – catafalque.

In all my (almost) 59 years on this planet it’s never occurred to me to wonder what is the proper name of the thing-the-coffin-sits-on during a funeral service or a lying in state. And this week I found out I found out by watching TV as the Queen’s coffin was borne into St Giles cathedral in Edinburgh and laid on a beautiful light Scottish oak catafalque.

There was something so deeply dignified in the beautifully carved but bare wooden stand, the Queen’s coffin draped with the Scottish version of the Royal Standard, adorned with a gorgeous wreath of white flowers and all of it crowned so reverently with the Honours of Scotland – the ancient crown of James VI of Scotland, who later became James I of England.

Through the Queen’s final journey from her summer home at Balmoral to the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh, from there to St Giles Cathedral, and then on to Edinburgh airport for her last ever flight, I’m just so proud that due to the time and place of her death, everyday Scottish people too were able to pay their respects in person, to a beloved monarch on their home soil.

I know the Queen has returned to London now and will remain lying in state in the traditional historic splendour of Westminster Hall until her funeral next Monday, but I remain quietly grateful that the people of Scotland have so solemnly and dutifully played their part in the formal, national process of laying our beloved monarch to rest.

And now I know what a catafalque is… 🙂

Poppies in a Field

I realised it’s been about a week since I posted anything on my blog – sorry about that, just not been in the mood… meanwhile I’m still painting bits and pieces here and there, still learning, still finding it therapeutic, so here are some water-colour poppies in a field just so I can post something… 🙂