Night Owl is an image that celebrates late night creativity, something I've struggled with for years. I say struggled because it results in antisocial sleeping habits being constantly tired, and doesn't fit with the cultural norm of being a productive citizen. And yet, late at night, when children are sleeping, the housework is done, and the warm quiet night wraps itself around me - that is when time spent in my studio is most productive.
Night Owl began as a sketch in my visual diary, found life as a linocut print, and has now become an acrylic painting on canvas. The slide show below shows this process, including various iterations. Best viewed in landscape orientation if viewing on your phone.
Getting ready for an Open Studio Day at my friend Kay's shop has initiated a flurry of creative activity in my home. There has been painting and printing and jewellery making; book binding, weaving, and basket making; website building, business card designing, and insurance getting. I normally work best under a little pressure. While I usually have the best holiday intentions for all the books I plan to read and the stuff I want to make, inevitably the end of those holidays arrive with a sense that making grand plans for holidays is a futile endeavour. Like most of us, I need something to give me direction. Something to aim for. A bit of a deadline. But there is something different about this particular deadline, and that is the addition of a decision.
I have frequently managed to undermine myself when claiming my Artist Identity. There have been too many grant application deadlines missed, exhibitions not entered, paintings not begun or not finished because something got in the way... a holiday, an illness, parenting, housework. While each reason is perfectly legitimate, it is not the reason that matters, rather that there has always been one. So I've put aside my fear and decided to jump in feet first. I have no idea where those feet will take me, but wherever it is will be better than forever wondering what if.
Here I am with my lovely niece who was my very helpful assistant on the day. We had loads of fun. The leftover gorgeous things will be up on the shop page and my Etsy store (building that at the moment) very soon. I'll keep you posted!
Stay wet palettes are a fantastic time-saving invention, but they can be quite expensive to buy and often require additional purchases of custom fit paper. I used to use plastic palettes but got sick of scrubbing them, so for the past few years I've mostly used tear-off disposable palette pads made from grease-proof paper. It's frustrating though when I have to throw away paint that has dried up over night, even though a painting is still in progress. So I decided a while ago to try making my own stay wet palette, and it worked brilliantly. I've been amazed at how long I've been able to keep a palette going. My acrylics stay wet and usable, with the exception of those in very thin layers which sometimes still dry up. It's been a great addition to my tool kit, is saving money as my paints are lasting longer, and means that I can continue with a painting without having to remix colours. As this is such a useful tool for artists, I thought I'd share how to make your own DIY stay wet palette.
My plan for this blog is to show you some of the processes that go into creating art in my studio. I may even be brave enough to post "before" and "during" photos, as well as photos of finished projects. Life is messy. Art can be very messy. While the curated online presentation of beautiful handmade things may be inspiring, it's also good to peek behind the scenes at the organic, experimental, skill-intensive process of making.