Sunday, 9 February 2020

Since I was last here...

You might have been forgiven for thinking that I had run away to join the circus but no, I've just been here, keeping my head down, doing this and that, nothing really worthy of writing about. I think maybe it has something to do with the time of the year, February always feels like a bit of a transition time... the space between the new year and spring arriving. Most days I have been trying to spend a couple of hours in my studio doing something creative. My 30 second daily commute is rather inspiring as the garden is awash with snowdrops and hellebores

It has been one of the lovely things about moving to a new house, that we are constantly surprised by what pops up in the garden. I didn't bother with my little commute today though... I've just sat inside the house watching fence panels come down. It's not safe out there!

I have been taking another short online course, this time with Este Macleod. I like her work and was interested in her techniques, but although I have found it a good course that is packed with content, it has been too prescriptive for me. And I have realised I don't want to paint like Este Macleod! I guess I already knew that but the journey to finding my own artistic voice feels precarious at times and it's hard to listen to that inner voice that knows what I want to do.

I did make a couple of finished pictures as a result of the course that I am quite happy with, although they don't feel authentically mine. There were a lot of very similar looking pictures from everyone else taking the course. But I figure learning what we don't want to do is just as valuable as learning what we do want.

I have also been making some acrylic paintings that have come straight out of my head - semi abstract landscapes inspired by my weekend in the Lake District last year.

Possibly not everyone's cup of tea but at least they feel authentically mine and that is important to me.   Even if a well meaning friend named the one below 'Blue Slugs on Autumn Leaves'. I believe it was an attempt at humour as he rapidly renamed it 'Tarns of an Autumn Dawn' which is far more poetic but I am trying to be impervious to criticism or otherwise about my work!

There's not a lot else happening really... I'm trying to create a new website specifically for my painting. My old textile website died quite a while ago but it was outdated and clunky to use so there didn't seem much point reviving it. I had to write html code if I wanted update it or change things which was a challenge to say the least. Now I'm battling with the challenge of Squarespace or Wix... anyone here have experience of either? I keep watching online tutorials that tell me how intuitive it all is but I'm not buying it. It might be intuitive to a twenty something but not to this old girl!

The running has had a bit of a hiatus due to painful knees. It feels like muscle pain rather than joints so I'm hoping I just need to take things back a notch. I was putting ice on them but came to the conclusion it wasn't really helping and just making me cold. The pain has gone now and I thought I might venture out for a gentle jog this weekend but I was working all day yesterday and I wasn't going to battle with the wind today. I'm not that silly... running is hard enough without adding in extra resistance.

I have also been knitting tiny little garments because after having a year of weddings in 2018 we are now about to have a year of babies. Eldest son and his wife have a son due imminently and then we have another two due later in the year. It is just a little bit exciting!

Oh... and I made a cheesecake which given the love hate relationship I have with this Aga was something of an achievement. The instruction 'turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven until cold' was a bit of a challenge for an oven that never gets cold and reminded me of why the only cooking I now do is what is absolutely essential. But we had friends over for supper last night and I felt I should at least attempt to make a dessert. All those cakes are a thing of the past though. You would think the weight would be falling off me but it's not!

So that's what I've been up to... what about you?


  1. The down days of February. It's good not to have too much to do sometimes. My time has been spent writing and doing projects. The end is in sight for my PhD, finally and then .... I don't really know. I have a contract until June but then nothing that I know of. Exciting times.

  2. I love your landscapes ... and your cheescake but you know that from IG!!
    Congrats on all the new arrivals, babies are just the best! :)

  3. Your 'own' paintings are good, and I would say you have found your style. As you say, it is useful to find out what you do want to do and I usually learn something on a course, even if I didn't want to pursue the style or technique. How exciting - new babies. It was my turn a couple of years ago.
    Snow drops and hellebores are two of my favourite flowers and I miss mine though not the constant weeding!

  4. I agree that working out what we don't want to do is as valuable as working out what we do. I love your landscapes inspired by the lake district.

    Running in the wind would not be my idea of a good time, either. I hope that you have not been too battered by Storm Ciara.

  5. On the subject of websites I use's quite intuitive and easy to upkeep. (I couldn't get to grips with wix at all)

    1. Thanks Jac. I think I was too far down the road with Wix so I persevered. There’s still some tweaking to do but I hit publish yesterday!

  6. I love the abstract style landscape paintings you have been doing recently, as you know from my comments on Instagram.
    As for Squarespace, I've looked at it a number of times, seduced by their wonderful looking templates, but have never taken the plunge! Plus, there's a monthly subscription, which I can understand would be worth it in some cases ( such as yours Gina) but not for my little old blog! I'd be interested to know how you get on.

  7. The cheesecake looks delicious but I'm concerned about the lack of cake. That Aga has got to go! How lovely to have all those new family members to look forward to (we only have littlest but when he visits it's like he brought an army with him). I love February and can't help but wish for proper wintry weather. Have a good week.

  8. A lovely update Gina -- it looks like you're staying busy and enjoying life. Soooo exciting about the new babies -- will you be knitting for them?

  9. I imagine you'd have a fun time at the circus :-)
    I envy you for the babies arriving in your life soon. There are not enough babies in my life. Can I sense more hate than love for your Aga? Maybe it needs to go, you love baking and preparing nice meals and you deserve a cooker you love!

  10. Hi Gina...what have I been doing? Well, not making beautiful art. I am doing Mabel Figworthy's SAL and an embroidery of the back (sort of)my grand daughter's head. Now the two other grand daughters want one too and truth to tell, they are a bit boring to stitch. It has been so hot here and despite the drought conditions, also pretty humid. Quite enervating. But I have been reading - audio books and real ones. And come hell or high water, I am going to make something creative this week!
    I agree with Christina about the useless Aga. Think about her suggestion seriously.

  11. I find January the pause time, at least February has noticeable lightening of days but we’ve really been up against it this year haven’t we! Lovely paintings, you don’t need someone telling you how, just do yours. I hope the knees are kind to you soon.


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