Monday, 29 March 2010

Pulse & Flow

Suddenly this morning, I looked out of our bedroom window and noticed the first swelling of the buds on the chestnut tree, with droplets hanging from the branches like liquid jewels. I took a photo out of the upstairs window, but the raindrops did not show. I tried again an hour later; still too misty. Then the sun came out and I shot a close-up into the sun - bingo. Truly, the raindrop is there - I know because I tried cropping and enlarging the specific area where it hangs with the sun behind it. And by the time I took this third photo, the buds had swelled even more, tinged with green; fat and sticky; goldfinches alighted within the branches, their feathers glowing in the rain.

Now I had said last night on my other blog that I would be absent for a while; but sitting in bed this morning, looking at the tree, and setting down the poem that sprang to mind, I could not resist sharing this raindrop moment. And why post about trees on a journaling blog? Well this particular tree is special, because it is the first thing I see every morning when I awake. I have written about it so many times: next month I will no doubt post the poem I wrote in April over 30 years ago. That was before I was 'into' photography, and now the Chestnut is photographed and catalogued in pictures and blank verse in all seasons and all weathers.

Eventually, I will celebrate the tree in its own fabric journal, experimenting with techniques, layers and words.

This is the tree as it was last October, the photo taken from almost the same vantage point as today's raindrop image.

Actually, the tree is something of a nuisance! It wasn't here when we bought the house 40 years ago, but the local council thought it would be good to surround the village green with trees; half a dozen or so were planted in the early '70s; but they are forest trees and in summer are now so dense that this particular one casts so much shade we have to have the living room lights on throughout the day. It is still an inspiration however.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

'Journal Spilling' - out of my depth

It began with our unexpected day out on Sunday, a few snatched creative hours when nothing seemed real, yet I have been feasting on those moments and know I have grown in stature. Spur-of-the-day journaling; nothing planned as is my usual wont, just grabbing neocolor water-soluble wax crayons, and notebook, pen and camera.

Read the full explanation of our day on my other blog. This was our first stopping place on Sunday, identified from nine years back by a scribbled note on the map. I 'journal-spilled' in my notebook (on a paper surface not conducive to the collaged layers I favour). Usually I would meld the colours with gel-medium, but I did not have that with me, and so used spit, which I smeared too liberally across the middle part of the pic and thus lost the plot. On the notebook page, you can see my finger-print in the spitted colour. In the original, the colour is so much more vibrant. I am no artist; I just try to capture what I feel in the moment in the only way I can; but I never forget those days when I commit landscape to paper in colour or words. They remain with me years later, far more than any photograph. The scan above departs from my usual norm in that I manipulated it after scanning - the scribbled frame was created in Photoshop, freehand, another first.

So here is the photo I took, just to remind myself later of where we had been and what I had so poorly tried to sketch. And my descriptive poem follows, written in the car because it was so cold outside: 1. my sketch, 2. a few quick photos (brrrr ...) and 3. the poem.

I wrote others, but the accompanying photos are still unloaded. The muse flowed that day, and now must be surpressed as work calls, and journaling is not really a part of all that. Well it is, but that's another tale.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

I am terrified ....

a mock-up of a fabric keepsake, but the pagination does not thrill me so I will move the tree to the middle page (where the red flowers are) and shift the jug of flowers and the red daisies to the left.

This is not a sob story, though it may seem like one, but I am absolutely terrified of losing my mind. Circumstances since I last produced anything creative have taken such an unexpected turn; nothing as planned running up to the end of 2009 when I had set aside spare time over the first six weeks of 2010 to work on L.K.Ludwig's online painting class. That excitement still awaits me.

For those bloggers who so kindly follow my other blog, I will not re-iterate what I blogged about last night; and for those who want to know what has beset me, most is set out there. Apart from losing our passports, I did not enlarge on the creative hiccup. Who could complain when I was greeted on Christmas morning with a hug from my husband and the instruction to go choose a new sewing machine. Nothing wrong with the one I have ... and I won't touch on dear R's reasoning as to why he wanted me to have a new one. Two months later and I am the proud owner of a sewing/quilting machine that, amongst so many other attributes, has a needle threader and thread tie/cut device (my increasingly arthritic hands can hardly cope with these really simple tasks).

Between selection, ordering and delivery came the clearing out and total re-organisation of my downstairs work-room cum laundry room for somewhere to put and use it, the debacle of all the other hiccups that have happened in 2010 - and the fear of this stupid non-functioning brain. It is hard to describe such bewildering blackness, such fog and, well - nothingness. What is going on? I'm only posting today because despite a marvellous 'artist day out' yesterday, I woke up with a headache and a stinking cold (most unlike me who has survived a sub-zero house all winter and rarely take ill). I worked this morning nevertheless and WILL NOT give in. Life is too precious to waste it by malingering. Should I read the latest copy of 'Cloth Paper Scissors' that arrived this morning? No, I will only depress myself with my lack of creative wit.

So this afternoon, sitting by the fire, out came the notes for an interim project which I had designed as a practice piece to familiarise myself with my new splendid all-singing, all-dancing machine. (That alone is like learning all over again to read and write, to swim, to ride a bicycle, walk on my hands, drive a car and fly an aeroplane; all at once!) I decided I was feeling too under the weather to risk actual stitching so I cut up photocopies of the tiny pics I will use in this project - a concertina, double-sided fabric book; a celebration of my kind of creativity. I made a paper mockup, wrote the poem that is to be part of it, and took photos (above and below) of the planned layout. The background will be a colourful stylised floral furnishing fabric in pinks and oranges, not my usual favoured oatmeal/cream or blue/green colouring. A challenge in more ways than one. Pages hinges and edges in scrim (I think) and pictures tranferred using 'Cool Peel'. Words (page titles) are to be machine-stitched. As for layers and embellishments ...

photocopies of my scanned and reduced-scale artwork have rendered some sketches invisible in this photograph