There’s been a lack of updates for a while, because as usual I’ve over-estimated how many hours in the day there are and signed up to more courses!

One of which is a wonderful course with the ellusive Tansy Hargan of Palimpsest Parade, whose work I’ve admired for years – I just couldn’t let the opportunity to learn from her slip away.

Her iconic thumbnail sketches are just too delicious. Tansy is a very pragmatic and practical artist, with a relentless output of work and a distinct style: all things I want to try and achieve in my own work! Despite that, the course has been surprisingly relaxing and mindful and I’ve rediscovered the pure joy of playing with felt tips and coloured pencils and crayons.

My project is looking at our local fields, woods, and the little duck pond. I’ve been walking around there every single day for the past year, so as well as having a lot of photos to hand, I now feel very familiar with it all (we’re not supposed to be there – it’s trespassing really, derelict farmland waiting for the builders to build on it). We’ve devised our own routes and loops around the fields, sometimes going one way around the pond to spot the moorhens, other times going the other way round to look at the alder and hazel catkins. We’ve made new paths through the long grass, and it’s become part of the wallpaper for lockdown for us. I’m also back on the antihistamines, as hazel pollen is one of my allergy triggers!

These thumbnail sketches were done from these photos, taken over the last few months. Plein air is my next hurdle, working out where and when to go where other people won’t come over to see what I’m up to!

The colour comes from collaged swatches of painted paper, created after my experiments with mark making and automatic drawing above.

And not to do things by halves, I’ve signed up to a different sort of collage course with Jane Davies. A few weeks of trying different compositions in my #100dayproject, and I felt in need of a little more inspiration, or a creative kick up the pants – however you want to call it!

I’ve loved Jane’s work for years, so it’s really exciting to be doing this with her. The courses are hosted on a WordPress blog (like this one) so if you’re not familiar with WordPress it can be a bit of a learning curve just getting to the course material itself, but it does mean that everyone’s work can be featured and critiqued by Jane herself (and the other participants) in a totally private forum, and refreshingly totally away from Facebook. I haven’t started the collages yet, but I’ve painted a lot of paper!

8 Thoughts to “Studio Update”

  1. MaryAnn M Shupe says:

    I am absolutely inspired by this post and love that you try all sorts of new things and share it with us. ! I was too late to join Tansy’s course….but am going to look for another opportunity. I love her work and absolutely love what you’ve done. I also watch Jane Davies videos quite a bit and am about to start on a fabric piece inspired by her stripes.
    I am so enjoying your podcast….and enjoy listening while I putterin my studio. It’s like I’m sitting there with you and want to chime in.
    Keep the inspiration coming!!!

    1. Isobel says:

      Thank you MaryAnn – I’m glad it inspires! I do bite off more than I can chew sometimes, but it’s all good fun. And thank you so much for listening to the podcast – we’re having fun with it, so I’m glad you’re enjoying it too – please do chime in, and let us know what you’re thinking when you listen!

  2. Chrissy says:

    hi, Isobel
    I can relate to taking on too many projects, I’m just the same! I have some courses I haven’t even started yet. There are so many possibilities to be creative, but nowhere near enough time. Thanks for the inspiration, and I am very impressed by how you are actually being creative and not just reading about it, which is happening to me at the moment. Sowing seeds for the vegetable plot seems to have taken over, as well as my daily commitment to learning piano – on grade 4 now after 1 year – as well as all the other stuff that consumes my time.
    I’m going to take make a big leap and commit to a more regular creative practice, at least weekly if not daily, inspired by you!

    1. Isobel says:

      That’s brilliant, Chrissy – I’m so glad you’re feeling inspired. To be honest, I don’t manage to do it all, other stuff does get in the way. It took me three hours this morning to get the other stuff dealt with before getting to the fun stuff! Very frustrating, but all normal. It comes down to prioritising, which I’m very bad at!
      And good on you with the piano – grade IV in a year is amazing! You’ve inspired me to get back to that – I was never particularly good, and got lower and lower marks the higher the grade, but it was my go-to thing for passing a few random moments in the day and tuning out a bit. Maybe I need some different music to play instead of old exam pieces, to get me inspired again!

  3. Rachel says:

    Don’t worry about plein air – most people are so impressed that you’ve come out to paint that they don’t dream of criticising!
    However, one thing I found very odd was that even though the paints I had were the normal colours I use, my ability to mix the colour I wanted went walkabout when I was outside. Even after a week, it wasn’t reliable. But it was still fun!

    1. Isobel says:

      Posca pens at the moment! They write on pretty much everything. I’ve got a pink and several whites, but I’ve just treated myself to a few new colours. I’ve also used kids crayons here, before painting – resists the paint which is mostly watercolour, with a few acrylic inks.

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