Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I mentioned breeder ideas in an earlier post. One can see that one of Slingsby's breeder ideas revolves around suitcases, luggage passing through scanners, customs at airports and the current state of heightened security. Last year he held an exhibition entitled 'Clearing Customs'.
"I was at Heathrow, feeling weighed down, fatigued … jet lagged, and it struck me how utterly vulnerable and violated we are under this constant surveillance and how normal it has become to be constantly invaded at these places of flux" recalls Slingsby. "I also had the feeling of excess, of a surfeit of stuff that we carry with us, not only in terms of physical luggage, but of psychological baggage."
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I began creating art again with gentle nudges from Tine. I hopped from one medium to another trying to find what would suit me at that time since carving just wasn't doing it for me anymore. Funnily enough once I experimented a bit I did go back to carving and have never looked back. I sent Tine photos of my first very primitive totems and she was so sweet about them even though they were absolutely appalling. I have hidden them at the back of a cupboard waiting to be chopped up into wood collages.
I then discovered Dan Goodwin's coaching site, Coach Creative Space, a meeting place for all creatives. At CCS I found my art tribe. We all support each other and whenever I hit a slump I hop on over to join in the discussions there.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
A book I thoroughly enjoyed reading is Fools Gold by Susan G Woolridge. In fact I read it on the beach in between pottering. It is quite the most surprising book (in an AHA! sense) that I have read in a long time.
Woolridge shares her "journey from loss and grief to a return of wholeness and joy". As part of her healing process she began making a small collage box each day with the "treasure" she found on her walks. As a fellow forager myself this idea really appeals to me. Its something most people can't help doing when they're out in nature. In our family we call it pottering. "Where's mum?" "Oh she's off pottering."
Susan Woolridge is a poet and a great believer in the healing powers of journaling. She writes "There's something I need to discover here and I don't know where it will take me. Bringing my journal alive in small boxes feels like uncharted territory, a new world of possibility for me." and thus she made the decision to create a box collage of her daily finds every day for a year.
Instead of making a collage a day I have been photographing my finds (see photo above). I've brought home bags and bags of rocks from all over South Africa. They languish in my garden and whenever I look at them I remember those long walks and endless hours pottering in rock pools.
Some time back I wrote Nina Bagley's poem, "Gathering" into my quote book because it describes so perfectly what it is to be a gatherer. I asked her if I could post it here and she graciously emailed the photograph and poem as it appeared on her blog.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
All artwork by Anahata Katkin.
I have two hobby horses that I expound on whenever the opportunity arises. The one is the healing powers of art and the other is creative blocks and how one works through them. Whenever anyone mentions that they are experiencing a block I suggest that they read Anahata Katkin's Five Stages of Creative Expansion.
I suffered a five year block and those years were the most frustrating, stagnant years of my life. When I finally made a breakthrough it was because of many factors. One of them being Anahata's Five Stages. The moment I put them into practice I could feel a shift in my attitude towards art making. Anahata has happily agreed to my posting her Five Stages here.
The Five Stages of Creative Expansion by Anahata Katkin
Journal pages by Anahata Katkin.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
That was last week. I think I just needed a break from work because after a few days of doing mundane tasks around the house, like cleaning the fire place, tidying up mounds of fishing tackle and scrubbing the tiles in the shower, ideas are beginning to take form on their own without much prompting. Eight or ten sketches later I am looking forward to tomorrow when the long weekend is out of the way, the family is back at work and I have a big slice of silence (please?) to pull my thoughts into some order, decide on a form that I can cut out of the wood and carve whilst reaching a zone of contentment that restores balance to my life.
Carving is my meditation. It lulls me and makes me feel grounded and together. When I don't do it for a while I become restless so its good to get back into it again. It's all about balance. Some work, some play. Too much of one thing tips the scales and thats generally when I feel dissatisfied.
We were going to the coast today, chasing sardines with the rest of the tribe but at the last minute we decided that the crowds and traffic jams were not conducive to our idea of a restful long weekend.
Instead we headed out into the country to treat hubby to a belated father's day lunch at a little German Restaurant we often go to. He had been smacking his lips at the thought of Eisbein with very crispy crackling (crunch crunch) so we indulged him and it was well worth the drive.
It has been a busy weekend with a 63rd wedding anniversary luncheon, lots of visitors and visiting, too much cooking and eating. It will be a pleasure to get back into the work week tomorrow Restoring the balance!
This photograph was taken in the Nottingham Road area where we had Fathers Day lunch. I couldn't resist taking a photo of the family picnicing in spite of the No Picnic sign.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Other mentors I have found in books which is where I find at least half of my inspiration. "The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" by Gail McMeekin is a portable mentor featuring interviews with many well known writers and artists (including Shakti Gawain, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Sarah Ban Breathnach and Michelle Cassou). I have read it 4 times and still dip into it fairly regularly. If you havn't read it you are in for a treat.
And then there is SARK! Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy. That name says it all. I love her because she is humorous and persuades you to take yourself lightly especially when you are battling to break out of a creative funk. You get the feeling she knows exactly where you're at. She gives you hope and encouragement without being pushy.......and if you feel like napping yet again instead of doing some serious art making, then thats absolutely fine too!
Update: On 7 April 2009, after being hospitalised for a fall, Cecil Skotnes died of pneumonia in Cape Town.
South African artist, Cecil Skotnes "pioneered a way of producing art that used earth pigments and indigenous wood to construct visual stories about the African past. " - Mathew Krouse.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Brain wave! Whilst scooping dog poop off the lawn one day I decided to shove it all down the mole holes. If I were a mole I would think a big animal had taken residence in my burrow and to add insult to injury it had pooped in my territory....thus making it his territory.
The plan worked! For a year I never saw a mole hill in my garden. One morning I heard my neighbour bemoaning the fact that his lawn was riddled with mole hills so I popped my head over the fence and told him my remedy. He didn't take me seriously and besides he didn't have
dogs. I persuaded him to share my dog poop and to humour me he shoved it down the holes for a few days. Guess what? All the moles fled from his garden and came back to mine.
Once again I doctored the holes and continued to pass a packet of poop over the fence to the neighbour until we were both sure they had all left the neighbourhood. And they did! Another year has passed with neither of us being bothered by moles. Try it! It really works.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
After a spell of wonderfully balmy weather we now have rain and a wind blowing straight off the snow capped peaks of the Drakensberg. Brrrr..... it's books, jigsaws and hot butternut soup weather. My daughter is the jigsaw fanatic but I prefer to curl up on the couch with a good book. Poor old Ben is not too enamoured with the state of affairs but he ventures out to inspect the rain soaked garden once in a while and then he's back under his blanket with just his nose sticking out.
I feel guilty reading when I've so much work to do but since I do most of my work outside the rain gives me a good excuse to read.
"The wonderful thing about books is that they allow us to enter imaginatively into someone else's life.... But the real surprise is that we also learn truths about ourselves, about our own lives, that somehow we hadn't been able to see before." - Katherine Paterson
Friday, June 6, 2008
I sometimes amuse myself by paging through art books to spot each artist's breeder ideas. Degas and his dancers. David Hockney and his swimming pools. Hundertwasser and his spirals. Paul Klee and his strata paintings, Joan Miro and his Constellations series. Louise Nevelson and her compartmental sculptures. Apparently an artist has about 4-5 breeder ideas in his lifetime, when one good idea leads to a whole sequence or series.
"The possessor of an idea, possessed by the idea, lives a compulsive obsessed existence. He becomes derelict to all other responsibilities, he is devilish to live with, he is caught up in a kind of rapture others seldom understand and usually find difficult to tolerate. Yet the possessed artist is by and large happy - all suffering and all consumed and all-creative, perceptive, alive and selfishly entombed away from ordinary less fortunate men. But it all ends when the idea ceases to lead and has run its course. Dense black gloom shrouds the once possessed and life indeed seems little worth living. The once possessed finds he is now again an ordinary man. These periods of lost faith in art are due to loss of confidence in oneself. Several people have really given up art entirely during this gloomy period. We are difficult to live with when possessed. Unpossessed we are impossible. But the good idea, the "breeder" idea continues to breed."
Royal Tide I by Louise Nevelson.
Highway and Byways by Paul Klee
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
For me it's a day for developing ideas! Having completed my last carving on the weekend, I'm paging through books and sketching ideas with a bubbly feeling of anticipation, knowing that the whole day lies open to play. Creativity is brewing!