Breathing Space

Think it’s time that my blog took a rest

Gave me breathing space, that would be best

Just a short blogging break

For my sanity’s sake

Till I’m not feeling quite so depressed…

Flower Power

As well as the three broken gladioli stems I’ve rescued from the garden and put in a vase on the dining room table, my husband also brought home a bunch of deep purple blooms to fill out the arrangement.

I tried to photograph them looking all dramatic and interesting, but instead they just looked boring and dull so I’ve applied an online artistic creative filter effect (free to use) to give them a more abstract finish 🙂

Flower of the Day

Abstraction Distraction

I went to pick up my cotton shoulder bag sitting scrunched up on a tote shopping bag (both unceremoniously dumped on a dining room chair earlier), and I thought the colours might look quite nice blended together artistically, so I wondered how it might work to try a few zoom burst shots of both bags sitting just as they were?

And just incase you’re wondering what the originals look like, I also took a straightforward boring shot without any motion blur long exposures, so you can see exactly what’s behind these beautifully abstract images 🙂

The Never-Ending Not-Good-Enoughs

I struggle a bit with believing in myself, I have life-long issues with never feeling good enough at just about everything and at nearly 57 I’m getting really fed up with constantly questioning my own credibility.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and regret not doing things at all because I was always too afraid of not being good enough at them. And yet that’s what I do to myself all the time – in order to avoid feeling ‘not good enough’ by failing at something creative, instead I simply don’t try to do the thing in the first place. In my warped brain I have an age-old message telling me that in order for me to feel good enough it has to be total success or nothing, so invariably nothing it is. But ironically that turns out to be a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy – a default not good enough failure by the back door.

Take my latest creative inner battle ‘thing’ – drawing and painting. I really like drawing and painting, always have done since childhood but I haven’t actually done it in years because I know I won’t meet the exacting standard of perfection lodged in my brain, and I’m so afraid of being proved not good enough I avoid even trying to pick it up again. Basically I’m too scared of sucking at it to try. But yesterday I’d had enough of the never-ending not-good-enoughs, so I got out my old art stuff and just started painting. Not to try to be good at it, but to try to have fun with it – and I learned a few things about myself.

I’m generally my own worst critic, but when I finally got that inner voice to shut the fuck up and stop being a nit-picking spoil-sport I found overall I actually quite liked what I painted, imperfections and all.

My drawing and painting skills are understandably a bit rusty after pretty much a full adult lifetime of not using them but to be honest it seems I’m nowhere near as bad as I think I am.

I still have a reasonably good eye for colour and composition, and ok so my perspective needs some fine-tuning but underneath all my fretting and fear the fundamental basics are still there.

I understand that the world appears a certain way as captured in reality by the camera, but in my mind’s eye I may see it or choose to represent it slightly differently and that’s ok – I can change colours or proportions as I want and that’s absolutely fine by me. Everyone else can just take a running jump if they don’t like it.

My artwork, my choice… Oh, and while I’m at it I suppose it’s also my life, my choice, and always has been… Duh! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Credibility

Inverness in Watercolour

While the artistic muse is still with me, today I decided to try to paint something a bit more complicated than a single thistle or a couple of plums, like a landscape, so chose to go with a favourite view of Inverness looking along the river.

Again I used a photograph as inspiration, although to say I may have simplified the scene slightly is an understatement! And again, I started out with a minimal outline in pencil, filled in the base colours with an overall wash, then once that had dried sufficiently I added more depth and definition bit by bit, then in the final layer I tweaked it with a few more detailed strokes here and there.

It’s not finished exactly, but I think I’ve taken it as far as the fun will let me for today so will leave it at that. Overall I’m happy enough with it as a learning experience, and for me the most important thing is that I actually had a go – after all it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts! 🙂

Stylised Plums

I had so much fun painting my thistle this morning, I decided to have another go – strike while the iron’s hot (or while there’s paint in the palette)! So this time I’ve tried painting my very impressionistic view of plums ripening on the tree, using another of my photographs for inspiration 🙂

Watercolour Thistle

This morning I had a now-or-never moment and decided to paint something – anything – just to get started again. So I chose a thistle – I found an image I liked as a base and drew a basic pencil outline before starting to fill in the base wash colour. Once that dried, I added a second layer of colour, giving a bit more definition. Then after that dried, I added the detail.

It’s not ever going to be an accurate photographic reproduction, it’s always definitely going to be an ‘artist’s impression’ of anything with me. Even from this first attempt after along time I can see I’m still more of a suggestion and hint kind of painter, but that’s ok with me. The main thing is I’ve had fun, and woo-hoo, look, I’ve actually painted something! 🙂

Flower of the Day

Brushing It Off

I used to enjoy drawing and painting just for fun, but I haven’t done it for years. I did try a few years ago to look out my art stuff and have another go, but somehow my enthusiasm didn’t last. I feel I’d like to try again, here and now, but it’s a nagging feeling I keep brushing off.

I tell myself I’m so out of practice I’ll be no good at it, then I also tell myself of course I’ll never be good at it if I don’t even try – practice makes perfect. I watch my grandchildren draw pictures of anything and everything, and they don’t hesitate – they pick up a crayon or pencil or paintbrush and make that first mark on the paper with courage and confidence. They don’t fear failure, but if it happens and the drawing goes wrong they face it and deal with it, either changing their plans or starting again.

I mean, I have plenty of beautiful plants in my garden as subjects to paint, plenty of beautiful scenery close by, plenty of paper and paints and even plenty of room in the house to be creative – so why don’t I just do it? What am I so afraid of? Watch this space…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Brush

A Stitch in Time

While I was visiting my parents yesterday I looked out my old toy sewing machine to take home with me, purely for sentimental reasons – it’s a dinky little diecast alloy Vulcan Minor hand operated machine, which really worked! It only stitched a kind of simple chain stitch with only one thread not two, but it was such fun to use when I was small.

Sadly over the last 50 years parts of it have become broken and missing, and the hand-cranked wheel is slightly buckled now, but I still love it. The plastic tension guide on the top broke and disappeared a long time ago, and the needle has long since snapped. Size wise it measures about six inches long by just short of six inches high and not quite three inches wide.

The point is, this childhood toy was my first introduction to using a sewing machine, and over the years sewing has remained an ongoing part of my creative life, although with a full-sized adult sewing machine – making soft toys, patchwork quilts, clothing alterations – although making clothes completely from scratch is prohibitively expensive these days!

These manually-operated mechanical toys were originally made for little girls to help them learn to become good homemakers when they grew up, as was expected at the time. Gender stereotyping aside, I truly loved my own little sewing machine, and I can’t help but think it would be great to be able to get it fully working again, just for fun 🙂

On the Hunt for Joy: Rediscover your Childhood Joys

Hope not Fear

I’ve been stuck in a self-pity moan

Like the grumpiest grumpy old crone

Now I’m making a choice

To add hope to my voice

And adopt a more positive tone

This pandemic is causing such grief

Stealing life as we know it, this thief

Takes our freedom to roam

Keeps us all close to home

Tethered tight with no sign of relief

Though we’re facing a future unclear

Things may not stay as dark as appear

Look for life’s guiding star

Let our minds travel far

Never give up or give in to fear

I hit a real crisis of confidence the other day, so thank you to everyone who commented on my rather embarrassing pity-post I’d probably have been better not to post at all – you’ve all helped me see things so much more clearly, and such caring interaction is always much appreciated.

I’ve been catching up on my blog reading this morning and saw Geoff Le Pard’s limerick prompted by Esther Chilton’s Prompt word of ‘moan’, so I decided to try to counteract my errant whininess by taking a more creative approach to voicing how crap things can feel just now – hence my triple limerick above 🙂