I have been pondering on what my style is and what is style and how important is it.
It has been a very busy few weeks, but so interesting. I have been joining in the fun of my class with the Journalling Girls at Mermaid Circus which has been a lot of fun. There have been loads of inspirational videos to download for this on-line course and a Facebook group where the members of the group have been posting examples of their work. The Melbourne members of the group even got together to have a catch up in person and some art supply shopping.
While journalling is not something that I usually do, (though I did have my journal for my trip to France last year. Big sigh, to think I was in Sancerre this time last year) I have found this course really fascinating and insightful in other ways.
One of the best things from the course is when Jane Davenport and Teesha Moore, both spoke about style, and how you create your own style. When I was doing art in high school and uni in the early eighties my lecturers where always on us to create meaningful art and develop a style. While many of my fellow students had robust political ideas which influenced their art, I did not and began to feel that my art was not serious or worthy because of it and it really stifled me in what I did. I also wanted to try lots of different kinds of art work and medium and felt because I varied it so much that I could not develop a style of work. Although I worked my way through these issues they were still in the back of mind.
Both Jane and Teesha tell their students don’t worry about style, you naturally have a style and it will always come out, especially when you let go and just create. How you make marks, the colour that you choose and the mediums that you use are all part of your style and you cannot but have a style when making these decisions. Such a simple insight was so liberating for me, I knew that I had developed a style, but still the old ghosts hang around from the past to haunt you, but this one I have now let go and I feel freer in my art practice which can only be good.
So you never know what you are going to learn about when you do a course, but you always learn something and it just may not be what you thought. Of course when I go back through my different art work that I have posted to this blog, maybe it is more than one style, and that is also ok.
My Relief Printing course has started and I will share some of the work I am doing in that next week.
Posted in Earlier Artwork, What inspires me
Tagged art, art courses, artisitc style, colored pencil, coloured pencils, design, drawings, france, Hydrangea, Jane Davenport, journal, painting, Sancerre, style, Teesha Moore, watercolour pencils, What is style
Looking down on Sancerre
Grace one of the lovely people I met on my trip to France earlier in the year asked me to paint a picture from my journal for her Mum (who I also met) for Christmas. What an honour and what a lovely gift idea.
I wanted to do Looking down on Sancerre, as it was taken from a photo that Grace took after I had left. I have never re-painted a picture before and I was nervous about it. But I finally took the plunge and thought this would be a good occasion to use some of the paper I found in my oh so favourite French Art Shop Sennelier. (Yes it has been sitting in the paper portfolio, waiting for a special occasion to be used, mostly it just get taken out, admired, petted and put back as being too special to use).
After much nervous waiting, thinking the picture had been lost in the post somewhere between Australia and Florida, when I got a lovely email from Tomi with a photo of my picture framed and hanging on her wall. I can’t tell you how happy that made me, to see one of my paintings hanging on a friends wall so far away. That bit of paper had travelled so far from its origins in Thailand, to France then to Australia and finally to America, it should get frequent flyer points.
Here is the original painting, I think I have captured its freshness, while giving it a little bit of polish.
Posted in 2012 Artwork, French Trip
Tagged art, colored pencil, coloured pencils, drawing, france, journal, painting, Sancerre, Sennelier, travel, watercolor, watercolour, watercolour pencils
Here is another street scene from Sancerre. I just loved the tiny, narrow streets and the lovely stone houses with the shuttered windows. It was the first time that I had seen shutters being used in a functional way. Most shutters I have seen have been purely decoration and never moved. I also loved the window boxes and pots that decorated the outside of these dwellings. Our conditions are too harsh in Australia for window boxes to grow so well. Out summers are too hot and the plants just get baked in the heat and are never as lush and abundant as these were, even in spring.
When I walked past this wisteria vine outside one of the wineries, I was fascinated by how it looped and twined around itself, with just a few flowers left and the leaves starting to sprout.
I have one more drawing to go. I am trying to choose the photos and mementos that will fill up the rest of the journal and it will be done. I am so excited about it, I have never had such a great reminder of a trip before.
Posted in 2012 Artwork, French Trip
Tagged art, drawing, flowers, france, journal, painting, Sancerre, travel, watercolour, wisteria
This is a view from a tower in Sancerre down onto the town and out to the vineyards below and beyond. Now I have cheated with this painting. This is from a photo Grace and Tomi took from the tower at Sancerre. (Thanks Grace for sharing this) I never got to the top of the tower so I am so happy to be able see the view through their eyes.
I love the way that you look down onto the houses and you get to see the shapes of the roofs. These are not the straight roofs we get at home, but slightly wobbly, higgledy-piggledy roofs, cramped together roofs that have a much more organic feel. These contrast nicely with the smoother fields beyond and the vault of sky above.
I feel I captured the roofs well and the fields beyond, but somehow I have lost the feel of the town being much higher than the fields below, I will need to ponder what is missing or if anyone could give me a clue I would be grateful. I sure have pushed my boundaries on perspective work on this trip.
May Meadow Flowers
I left early in the morning to drive from Sancerre to the Airport, it was going to be a lovely day though a bit of fog was still laying in the valleys. As I drove through the little villages, the fog lifted and the sun came through onto the field of barley and it had cornflowers and poppies all through it. It was stunning and I had wanted a picture of a barley field, so yet another u-turn.
So I have made another attempt at the meadow flower picture and am happier with this one, (ten more tries and I might nail it). I am so glad that I got to see the meadow flowers as this is not something that we have in such profusion in Australia through the crops. We have stunning wild flower displays which are beautiful bit it is always interesting to see the flowers that we nurture and cosset at home growing in the wild. Cornflowers are a particular favourite of mine.
Posted in 2012 Artwork, French Trip
Tagged art, cornflowers, drawing, flowers, france, journal, meadow flowers, poppies, Sancerre, travel, wild flowers
Geraniums on the door steps
I am sitting in the airport about to board the flight home, but I have managed to squeeze in another painting before I head home. This is the front steps of the home of a lovely, old lady in Sancerre, I went past her house on my way to the boulangerie every morning. I watched these young geraniums bloom during my stay. She did not want me to take a photo of them as the rain had battered them and they were not looking their best. The residents are so proud of their town and the way they present it. I have restored her flowers with the magic of the paintbrush to their full beauty.
I managed to catch up with all my new friends before I left last night, which was lovely, though bitter-sweet. They will all be staying until the end of the week, as will my traveling companion Sadhna, I can imagine their days as I make my way home. I will miss them all, particularly Sadhna, we have been together for three weeks now, she has become like a sister to me.
This is not the end of the pictures though, I still have four more to do, and have the reference photos, so I will stretch it out for a little longer and finish my journal. So pleased I managed to do so many paintings and quite proud of myself. When I get home I will fill the rest of the journal with photos that I have taken and will properly scan the pages for you all.
I apologies for the quality of the photos and I swear I will never travel again without a proper camera. The iPhone has done well, put my blog and its viewers deserve better.
Bye for now, I have 24 hours of flying to get through before I get home. The joys of living in Australia.
PS. I couldn’t get the airport wifi to work so I am posting this now that I have got home. A bit tired as you can imagine, so I am off to bed. Did two more paintings on the plane, but you will have to wait for those.
Here is the painting of our Sancerre apartment. It has finally warmed up and it is hot today, clear and sunny at last. Just been wandering around town in the sun, lunch and afternoon tea in the town square, soaking up the french, small town atmosphere., chatting with friends
We have been very social, we had fellow students of the french school for dinner. I did the hunting and gathering and such fun doing so. The shop keepers are getting to know me and we are starting to converse at a very basic level, though the girl in the florist manage to let me know it was the Sancerre wine festival this weekend, clearly a good time to be in town. Had a great evening, charcuterie and baguette, followed by roast chicken with french mustard and lemon, salad and divine french pastries for dessert. We drank french champagne and Sancerre white, how could the evening be bad, great company, food and wine. Tonight we are going out to a Michelin star restaurant, this will be my first and I am very excited.
Au revoir, hope I am in a fit state tomorrow to do any drawings.