Monday, February 12, 2018

Changing priorities

The last few months it feels like I've taken off a worn out, much loved, old coat, and now I'm wondering what to put on instead.

Art has been the meaning of life for me since I was a teenager, the thing that got me excited and inspired, the way I made sense of the world. I worked part time and neglected housework, etc, so that I had time to make art. But over the last year that has changed.

Maybe it's to do with getting older - I'm 53 - maybe it's because I strained my back a couple of times last year which put me out of action for a week each time, and moving gingerly ever since. But suddenly my physical health is a priority rather than something I take for granted. So walking at the beach and going to yoga come before making art. I have a strong feeling that I want to get outside - gardening or walking or whatever. When the monsoon arrived at the end of January and we had torrential rain for about ten days I was going stir crazy!!

I'm also curious to see what will happen if I don't fill my free time with the busywork of making cards or sewing birds for craft fairs, etc. It will open up a space and I'm interested to see what that might allow, what seed might grow there.

It's also lovely to live without the 'shoulds' - I mean the feeling that I should be blogging, should be posting to instagram, should be getting work ready for craft fairs....etc. I wonder if all those shoulds have strangled my artmaking.

I don't say any of this with any certainty, I might be back in another month with a completely different story!

I'm still doing some stuff, I signed up for Lifebook again this year. It's a fun, no pressure way to include some art making in my life. Here's some of the pieces I've done so far.


Week 2 colourful intentions with Andrea Gomoll.


Week 3 two hands one heart with Ivy Newport 


Week 5 the custodian with Juna Biagioni.

Best wishes to you, I hope your 2018 has started well.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Something new

I've been reassessing what I'm doing, kind of checking I'm going in the right direction. It wasn't a conscious thing - I guess I've been busy too - I stopped posting on flickr and instagram, stopped posting here.

I didn't do the xmas craft fair because I didn't have any new work to share and didn't feel good about taking all my old stuff. I didn't have anything to put in the Tactile Arts xmas show - little wonders. (Which is still on until December 10th)

It has been a bit scary wondering if I'll feel like making art again, wondering who am I if I  don't paint??

Then inspiration turns up - my teenagers make me listen to a lot of music, and sometimes I get hooked on something - I've been watching a YouTube video of DMAs singing Cher's Believe a lot.... and decided I wanted to paint the singer.



I can't really explain why. He's just this little guy in a too big shirt, he looks like that naughty kid who sits at the back of the class causing trouble, and then he opens his mouth and sings so effortlessly. Maybe it's because I have sons and the contrast between how they look and what their potential might be...

I'm so happy to be painting, just following my nose to what I'm interested in, and not worrying about whether it's suitable for a craft fair or whatever. I'm a bit scared to share it here in case everything stops again.

The paintings don't particularly look like the singer, I think of them as 'singing man 1' and 'singing man 2' hopefully there will be more.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The months are flying

Hello blog friends, so now it's October. I haven't been posting because I'm not doing much artwork.

I had a go at Inktober - a daily challenge to do an ink drawing which can be pen and ink, marker, ballpoint, brush and ink, etc. I went into it knowing that I find markers hard to work with - the line is hard and you can't rub them out!! So I managed 7 or 8 days...here are a few of my efforts!








It's just a quick hello to let you know I'm still here, and I'll be back when I have some new paintings to share.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A new routine and growing tomatoes in the tropics 2017

Starting a new job puts a new slant on things. I'd say I'm getting used to a new routine, but it's a casual job and my shifts are different every week. I can start as early as 6.30 am, or finish as late as 9pm. It's a big change for me, and to be honest art making has been on the back burner for the last month or so - not only because of the new job, but also because of renovations still going on around the house that make it hard to sit quietly and create - I'm not complaining, the renovations desperately need doing!!!

It's a beautiful dry season, and I think I've had the best success with growing tomatoes this year.


Here are the seedlings I planted back in June. I planted 4 but in the end only one plant survived. Maybe because of the lack of competition, or maybe because I'm watering in the evening instead of the morning, it's done well, producing plenty of good sized tomatoes and still flowering and setting new fruit in spite of half the foliage browning off.



I only have a little veggie patch because of having to water all through the dry season, and it's limited by the time and energy I have to put into it (and some kind of ratio between how many plants have failed and how hopeful I am!!). Here's a shot of the thai basil in flower - I should snip those off but I love to see the flowers - a pineapple just starting, also parsley, basil seedlings and lemon grass.



So I don't know when I'll be back with new art to show you, I'm happy to accept the lull in creativity and spend some time in the garden or walking at the beach before the build up begins.
Best wishes to you 😃😃😃

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Index card art

I'm taking part in the index card a day challenge, which runs through June and July. It's a really fun, low stress, flexible art booster! It's organised by Tammy at daisy yellow blog, and you can find out more about it there.


There are prompts and themes which you can follow, but I tend to ignore those. In fact one of the most exciting things about the challenge for me is discovering what I'm interested in making work about - which can be the basis for more in depth artworks eg paintings or linoprints.



Some of my cards have been based on photos from my holidays. Many have a garden theme. I've been watching an English gardening show on youtube called 'The big allotment challenge', and have been pausing it to draw some of the gardeners. My kids are laughing at me for making 'fan art'.



If all else fails I do a mandala or any kind of doodle so that there's a stepping stone to the next day where I might do something better! I must admit that I haven't made a card everyday, sometimes I get behind, and then have a catch up day and make 2 or 3. It's ok, it's a challenge where anything's allowed as long as you're making art! I've been posting my work on flickr and instagram (which I'm new to but enjoying @fernyhoughkate). You can search #indexcardart or #ICAD2017 to see what everybody's doing.



In my last blogpost I had a bit of a complain about job hunting, since then things suddenly turned around. I had a call back, and an interview, and have been offered a casual job, which is a big relief. After being in limbo for some months it will be great to get on with the next phase of life.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Lifebook week 24 plus the joys of job hunting

At last I've got my art space organised and jumped back into lifebook. The week 24 lesson was with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. I couldn't bear to put down in black and white the bad stuff, so I wrote down positive words about the great job I'm going to get soon! Then it was a matter of doodling to turn the letter shapes into flowers, leaves and butterflies. I worked in acrylics but probably would have done better with watercolour or gouache.


I have also jumped back into looking for work. I've discovered that job hunting in the 21st century is a whole new ball game. Most jobs are advertised and have to be applied for online, even jobs I've seen in shop windows still have to be applied for online. After that you get an automated email to say they got your application, and then you never hear from them again unless you're one of the lucky ones who's shortlisted for interview.

It's discouraging to apply for jobs everyday and not hear back anything. I was told about a company up here who advertised for a receptionist and had over 100 applicants, so competition is fierce! I'm lucky that I've had some bits of casual work - which is good for my morale - and might be a better way of advertising my skills than sending out my resume!

In the meantime I've been busy adding a few new cards to my etsy shop, and getting ready for the next craft fair which is at a new location this year - on the Esplanade in Darwin city, on Sun 9th July.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Holiday sketching

Last time I went on holiday to England - about 8 years ago - I came back with 3 sketches. This time I was determined to do better, and I  did, though I  still didn't do a lot...



I made a tiny sketch pad with pink pages. It was light to carry and I didn't feel precious about it at all. I drew with a ballpoint pen and pulled out sketches and glued them in my journal.


I did this little sketch at the cafe at Saltaire, I took a couple of photos too, and then did this version back at my Mum's, using watercolour pencils and a little bit of watercolour wash.


I also did some drawings at Mum's of the views out of the window from different rooms. It's the house I grew up in so the views although slightly changed over the years, are so familiar to me. I really wanted to make a record of them this time.



This one I drew one evening while we were watching tv, and a blazing sunset was going on outside!

I wish I had made the time to do more, photos are wonderful, but a sketch is something different, it means I've really spent time looking, and putting down the elements that are important to me - quite an emotional thing.