Saturday, 22 March 2014

I've been busy making art every week with Life Book 2014. Some of the lessons have tested me as they were out of my comfort zone, but I've persevered and had a go. The results may have been a little disappointing at times, but I resolved not to alter what I'd made, even though I often felt like covering the piece with gesso and starting again. Maybe it's good to see your failures as well as your successes, so that you can see where you have gone wrong. It's sometimes hard to try a new style when you are stuck in your ways, but it's all about growing, developing, so it's good in the end!
I had decided to use this large journal for Life Book and now understand why that may not have been a brilliant idea (!). The page edges are perforated and they are beginning to come away from the book with the weight of the gesso, acrylics, etc. Though it doesn't really matter, because I could remove them and bind them at the end of the year anyway. I may have to reinforce the back of every page with tape for now just to support them as I carry on.
I'm enjoying making art every week and have also started a new journal to practice some of the techniques I'm learning. This is the book I'm using for that (below).

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Being Positive

Week six of Life Book 2014 was a lesson by Tamara Laporte Celebrating Positive Qualities. This is being reinforced with all the lessons so far and it is actually making me think, really think, I mean, about my own qualities and to start believing in them for a change.

I drew an 'elf girl', using lots of spray inks and some acrylics. This was a lot of fun, if a little messy. Now the carpet has a blue tinge, just where I was sitting and so does my art desk!
The next lesson was from Jane Davenport and it involved making pop-ups, which is something I have never done before. I didn't feel like having a go and thought I might skip this lesson, but then I suddenly had a brainwave for my subjects....
I ended up with four pop-ups representing positivity. The top one is for people I meet, mainly at work - people having chemotherapy. I don't know how many of them manage to smile through their treatment, but they do and they are pretty amazing. The next one represents art itself, in all it's forms - my take on Johannes Vermeer's Milkmaid. The next is my grandson, the light of my life, he brings such laughter into my life, something I had thought was gone forever; and my husband Kevin, who I miss so very much. And the bottom pop-up represents art journaling, which is so important to me as a place where I can record my feelings and emotions, which helps me to heal. My positive qualities are listed on the front page; I didn't realise that I had so many, but when I started, I couldn't stop! Maybe I'm not such a bad person after all. Thank you Jane Davenport for this lesson, it was cathartic.



Sunday, 2 February 2014

Storm # 2 and Insomnia.

Sitting here, listening to the buffeting winds outside. Our little town is yet again suffering with these extremes of weather that we get nowadays. The promenade has been closed off to the public and the locals and students asked to evacuate their houses. The prom, which has been partly fixed after the last storm, has taken another bashing by the waves and further damage has been done, though I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as last time.

Photos from I hope they won't mind me 'borrowing' them!
I hope that's the last of this bad weather now. I keep remembering the sun last year, it seems totally foreign right now!
Just finished Week 5 of Life Book 2014. This week's lesson was by Marieke Blokland. Here's a link to her blog. The brief was to draw/paint a whimsical face (title was sugar, sugar) but I just couldn't get on with this, so I did something in my own style.
I spent half the day shampooing the carpets and the other half relaxing, watching films. I didn't get enough sleep last night (well, none really). I did drop off at about 6.30am, but was woken at 8.30am by a phone call (thank you, dear son # 2). This insomnia is really affecting me now and I am becoming very irritable and I can't think straight. I am going to get something from the chemist tomorrow, to tide me over until I can get to see the doc. I've taken herbal remedies before, but they are rarely strong enough to give me a good night's sleep. I can't shut my brain down, always, always going over Kevin's death. And now I also suffer with restless/tingly legs too, so I haven't got a hope really!!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Mind Games

This is my attempt at week 4 of Life Book 2014. Lots of blue and purple, with a portion of a map of an area not so far from home and some words by Stephen King. Didn't think I'd ever be quoting him, but there's a lot more to him than the books that I associate him with, obviously.
This lesson stirred up some emotions about Kevin and the way I feel now. I feel lonely and left behind. It's as though he has gone on to somewhere better, somewhere I can't go. I'm not religious, but I do wonder if there is anything else after death, or is that it? The whole thing seems like such a bloody waste.
He was a big person, in many ways; physically and personality-wise. He liked nothing better than an audience that he could entertain and if they were all laughing, he was in his element. Then he became ill, was diagnosed and died, all within about six weeks.
He bravely talked about what he wanted during those last days and informed me that he wanted to be cremated and that I was to scatter his ashes at Castle Point (local spot).
We don't talk about death enough in this country. If the subject comes up, we politely do our best to avoid it. I didn't think to ask him for details. I was so shocked at the thought of losing him, but I wish now that I had asked, "What do you mean, exactly?"

Castle Point is a bend in the road at the seafront. It leads to another beach and the harbour. There is a war memorial there, above the road, in the grounds of the castle. Did Kev mean at the memorial? Did he mean at the turn in the road? Or maybe he meant for me to scatter his ashes in the sea (also very, very close to the Point) and this seems the  more sensible option.
So I don't know what I'm supposed to do and maybe that's partly an excuse, because I don't want to do it anyway, although I did have a 'trial run' in 2012, when I just took a small portion of the ashes and scattered them at the wooden jetty, knowing that the current would carry them over towards Castle Point. I stood there for a long time afterwards, watching them float towards the Point, before they disappeared.
Kev would have been roaring with laughter at the whole scene. Nobody tells you how to carry the precious parcel to your chosen area. I didn't know that you can now buy special 'tubes', or canisters expressly for scattering ashes. They don't teach you that in school (perhaps they should!).
And how was I to know that the ashes would billow up into a huge cloud, before settling into the sea?
I was trying to be low-key. I made sure that there was no-one else around before I did it! I wasn't sure if I was even allowed to do what I did. Apparently there are laws relating to scattering ashes near harbour walls/roads, etc. These are things that I have found out since, courtesy of Google (I can hear Kev laughing still...).
This is an aerial view of Castle Point, with the war memorial at the top of the photo. I'm just as confused as ever about the whole thing. Some of his ashes will always stay with me. Some are in a large wooden box, ready to be scattered, but I have kept a small portion back in another (smaller) and more ornate box, which I will keep (I want the box in my coffin with me when I go). I like to think that's the bit with his heart in it. I know it sounds strange to talk about it, but that is how my brain works these days, trying to make some sense out of it all, but I can't. Wish he could tell me what to do.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Life Book 2014, Week Four

I'm enjoying Life Book 2104. I did a second Inner Guardian as the first really wasn't me ....
 and then Carla Sonheim's week, which was a lot of fun.  Eyes-closed drawing...
 Drawing with your non-dominant hand...
 This week it's Kelly Hoernig 'Be true to yourself'...
So I did this with Kevin in mind. I have changed so much inside since he died. But this is all good for the soul and so very therapeutic. A long way to go yet with the year, and I'm looking forward to the rest of it.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Lazy Sunday

Here are my first efforts for Life Book 2014. The first is a warm up piece, incorporating my aim for the year 
 and the second image is my Goddess with my word/s for the year (I have two); the first is Growth and the second, Healing, but I haven't added the second word yet.

I enjoyed making these, but rushed them a bit. I realise now that I have plenty of time and will take my time with the next class!
Settling in to my job even more now and I am happy there. I feel as if I'm doing something worthwhile, even if it's only in a small way. The weather has been a lot calmer today, but there's more of the stormy stuff to come.

 L and K visited with my gorgeous grandson again today, it's always a delight to see him, he's such a case and he makes me laugh the whole time he is here. We're so lucky to have him.

Storm Damage

 Our poor promenade here at Aberystwyth has been battered by the storms and there's a fair bit of damage. We actually live in the centre of the flood plain, but we didn't have any damage except for part of the garden fence which has fallen down. Obviously that's nothing compared to the houses and hotels along the seafront where, apparently, water was rushing in through the front doors last night.
We are due another battering tomorrow, the ground is already saturated and the river level is high.