Tuesday 28 July 2020

Venturing into the Unknown

I realised the other day I have been writing this blog for thirteen years this month, which coincided with me thinking again that perhaps it is time I stopped. I'm no longer very sure who my target reader is or whether they are still reading and I am no longer very sure why I am writing. As I write less and less frequently it is feeling as though the blog is gradually fading away and maybe that's the way it should end rather than with a big announcement from me. So I'm not here to to say that this is my last post (although it could be) but I'm not sure when I'll be back again.

Last time I was here I spoke of feeling a bit 'flat' and I know a few of you identified with that feeling. We're all getting a bit fed up with the current situation yet know it's far from over. But I'm not one to stay feeling that way for long and the last couple of weeks have been quite exciting. The Open Windows project was hugely successful and far exceeded my expectations. I ended up creating over fifty drawing in the end, of 71 people (five of them twice), 11 dogs (2 of them twice!), 2 cats, 2 goats, an owl, a budgie, a sock puppet and Iggle Piggle! I sat outside and spent my weekends drawing, stopping to chat to visitors who came to see the portraits as well as those just passing. We have got to know our neighbours better and made new friends in the village. It became quite the talking point.

We were lucky with the weather too and of the eight days it was only last Saturday that was wet. I started out sitting outside but as the rain started I retreated to just inside my front door.

I sat for a while working (more about that in a minute) but as the rain became heavier it was obvious that no-one was going to be hanging around looking at pictures in my window, so I called it a day. But Sunday I was back outside for a great last day. If it hadn't been for the virus, Open Studios would have taken place as usual and I would never have come up with the crazy idea of filling the forty panes in my living room window with portraits of friends and neighbours. Sometimes it takes a change of circumstance to make us think outside the box and venture into the unknown.

And so to my next venture into the unknown which is online teaching. I had occasionally thought it was something I might try one day, but there was never any real incentive until of course, all of my face to face teaching stopped. And so for the past three weeks every spare minute has been spent recording and editing videos and adapting one of my most popular courses into an online course which goes live this Saturday.
It is rather exciting but slightly nerve wracking too... I haven't quite finished editing and uploading the videos (that's what I was doing while the rain kept me inside my doorway at the weekend). Enrolment for my Machine Textured Landscapes course has already opened and I'm discovering how much time it takes to answer all the questions that keep coming in and keeping an eye on everything. A bit like walking around a classroom checking on everyone I suppose. So although it has been keeping me awake at night it is mostly VERY exciting!

So if you fancy learning how to stitch your own landscape like the one below you can find out more by clicking on this link

So here I am venturing into unknown territory, not sure what the future is going to hold... and already thinking about the next big new idea. So maybe I shouldn't stop blogging just yet or you will never find out what that is. And it's a good one!

Monday 13 July 2020

Out of Sorts

How are you all? Well, busy, staying sane I hope.
I feel I'm managing two out of three most of the time but life does feel strange and I feel a little adrift and out of sorts. We are fortunate that we are healthy and our family are all well and we live in a beautiful area where it's easy to get out and walk or meet up with friends and family at a distance so I'm not really complaining. We are a lot better off than most but life is feeling a little flat.

Time to focus on the good things I think...

The first couple of weekends of our alternative to open studios have gone well and although the first weekend was a little breezy I managed to sit outside and chat to loads of people who came to see my portraits... all at a safe distance of course!
You can see all the portraits here.

And in between visitors there was time to catch up with my art journal.

There was a trip out to Aldeburgh for my birthday. A friend had been the week before and said it was relatively quiet so we decided to risk it. It was another breezy day but we managed a lovely long walk along the coast.

I always like to see the magnificent sculpture The Scallop by Maggi Hambling and just breath the sea air and listen to the sounds of the shore... waves breaking and gulls calling.

We ate fish and chips from the bag, sitting on the prom, which always makes them taste better. And although there were people were around it was easy to keep our distance and feel safe.

And when we got home there was the most amazing birthday cake that Stewart had ordered for me. Fortunately we had people to share it with and slices were delivered, although we still managed several slices each. My dear husband doesn't believe in buying small when large is on offer!

I'm enjoying a lot more reading and I'm currently enjoying Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo although I don't think I will finish it in time for our reading group Zoom meeting on Wednesday.

Today I actually picked some blackberries and although they will be enjoyed for breakfast tomorrow it is way too early in the year for blackberry picking! The world is definitely out of sorts... it's not only me!

And great excitement because tomorrow I have a hair appointment, which feels shallow and trivial but I can't wait. I might even manage a bit of lippy and something other than comfy trousers, although as I will be wearing my face mask, lipstick might be surplus to requirements!

So not much to complain about really... trying to live for the moment and not worry too much about the uncertainty of our future.