Sunday, 26 December 2010

Normal service will return soon...

Merry Christmas!

I have been off the radar for over a month and I can feel it and I don't like it. I miss writing online as weird as it is. I do enjoy it. Must be the 14 year old nerd in me who liked writing in her diary.

On the 27th November, I moved and I've been adjusting to that change over the last few weeks. I havent felt like writing (or drawing) because the change has catapulted me into the unknown and at times back to parts of me I thought were long gone. The stressy parts and the panic parts, the worrying about things part. All totally normal of course in this situation, but I'm far too hard on myself which resulted in being upset about being upset (ridiculous). I think I've experienced incredible clarity over this last year and I've never felt more at peace than these last few months. This change took me out of that bubble and it sucked. The good thing though is Im much more aware of myself, I can see myself over reacting and I just ride it out. Its taken a month and now things are calming down and I'm returning to my normal self. Normal service will return soon. Phew! I think the brain is a funny thing - I think its an art form to be able to deal with many different things at once and not over react. Not only that, but its amazing how much GUILT I can generate over things. Totally self imposed guilt. I remember when I was studying and the best teacher I've ever had and now good friend took me to Park Hill Park (the park in the last blog) and we walked and walked. I'd had a bad day and it was her way of putting my mind back into perspective and getting some air. We sat down on a bench and she said "Natasha, you are holding a big stick and you are whipping yourself with it. Stop it." So spot on, No one has ever punished me as much as I punish myself. I have a lot of guilt about leaving my mum, too much. So much so I think it held me back a bit. The guilt is getting smashed though and now is a new chapter.

Anyway here are a few things over the last month:

I have a new art table (helpfully set up by friends boyfriend Ciaran - thank you!) which I've set at the side of my new room by the window. It fits perfectly and adjusts up and down. I'm looking forward to using it and it has draws. Draws!

I'm amazingly 30 next month, I'm planning a gathering at the new flat in January and a big big party to celebrate my mothers 70th and my sisters 40th and my birthday. Like a massive CELEBRATION OF OUR LIVES. Oh dear no pressure then. I plan for it to be in May and I've already had a little bit of a clash situation stress with dates, but don't worry I slapped myself round the face about it and now its fine, its all fine. Can everyone please calm down! Also, Im not sad or upset about being 30. I am actually ready for it and looking forward to it. Probably an unusual response? I don't know.

I have been flu like ill for a week and still going to work, but I didnt want to miss the parties. I did think it was stress induced because I swear I was ill not too long ago, but I think commuting and working with sick people is probably the problem there. Only problem was I couldnt taste the work Christmas dinner which is a travesty.

We dressed our department up as The Land of Oz for the work Christmas comp and we won. People even dressed up as the characters.


Flying Monkeys

I CAN ICE SKATE! Like a total twit, but I can do it, just about. I went to Somerset House and managed to not fall over and I was so layered up even if I had, I probably would of bounced OUT of Somerset House.

I saw Interpol and they were amazing. I had not listened to them for a long time properly, but seeing them live just bought back a zillion memories.

I can no longer watch the news for its fear mongery type nonsense. Once you notice it, thats it. This is due to its Snow coverage or should I say "SNOW CHAOS". Honestly.

I currently have no internet at the flat for the last week due to Sky issues and I havent killed anyone. Its a Christmas miracle *throws fairy dust*. I'm still managing to log on but don't ask me any questions.

Dave if you are reading this - MERRY CHRISTMAS on your travels. I hope you are ok over there and had a nice day yesterday, perhaps sat on a mountain top.

I haven't been drawing, but I knew I wouldnt for a bit. I plan too in the new year, its brewing...

Nat x

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The River and a thank you

I feel the urge to blog right now this second whilst in the middle of starting a new piece. I sat back and realised exactly 10 mins ago how much my work is now free flowing from my fingers. I thought about my time a few months ago when I couldnt hold a pen without a lot of fear and pent up energy. What a difference a few months has made.

I can honestly say that the EDM group has really helped and I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone for all the lovely comments and support since I started my journey back to the land of the creative living.

I wanted to put a few shots up of 'The River':

Its quite big - about 54cm x 33.5cm and its been lovely to do. Its been a slight challenge due to the card being quite waxy, therefore repelling the wax pastels and allowing me to work with it differently.

You can see here that there is alot of layering and I have also scratched into the pastel to create different lines and textures

Working on The River was really about me loosening up and letting go a little.

I've just started another piece today - a market shot I took with vibrant fruits and lots going on. Heres the start of it:

Drawing these pictures is quite cathartic for me and I'm feeling quite precious about them. When I travelled to Asia last year I was in a very bad place emotionally. I was surrounded by all the beauty and the culture but I was removed from it. I don't regret it for one moment however, I needed to be there and I needed to go through the motions of change to lead me to this point now. Drawing these is like a little nod to that. I feel like I'm now appreciating it in the way I should have been whilst there.

On a final note, I have been pretty ill the last few days so I havent really been out of the house. Last weekend however I took a trip to the park. Autumn is by far my FAVOURITE time of year and I took my new camera and went for a walk to capture the colours:


Saturday, 6 November 2010


The Pond - by Fred

I met the most fantastic man last week called Fred, whilst visiting a family member in an elderly home. I've got to say, the place struck me as incredibly clinical and almost like a hospital which I found strange. As we walked to the rooms to meet our elderly uncle, I noticed a table full of pencil drawings layed out on the chairs and on the floor. I peered over and had a look and then carried on walking down to meet people. As we walked into the main TV room we had a look at the 'activity room' next door which was empty and untouched. No games, just a table with a few bits on the walls. My heart sank when I looked back at everyone - I had a feeling that people really were not shown enough love and attention here.
After a bit of time, my mum and I went for a walk through the corridoor as she was keen to show the balcony to admire the view she had seen before. As we walked past we saw a man sitting down with all the drawings I saw earlier. He was surrounded by at least 50 A3 style pieces and he was drawing one as we approached.

We sat and spoke to him and he explained that he just loves to draw and that he draws about 5 or 6 pictures a day all pencil and all from his own imagination.

We walked to his room and we were greeted by more pictures up and around the walls. A mixture of portraits and landscape and with a fantastic charm. I was generally touched to meet Fred and to see his work and to meet someone with such a strong and vibrant spirit. He was like a ray of sunshine in that place and it was lovely.

I showed him some of my own work via my camera and then Fred kindly let me take two drawings! Excellent. I'm going to go back and visit Fred and give him a drawing in return and buy him some paints. However he seems to be very happy just using pencil. Meeting Fred was brilliant for me. It reminded me how important and beautiful it is to create.

On another note - this really has been the year of change without actually planning it. I do believe that as soon as you let go and accept yourself and your life, things will happen that you once were clawing for without any effort. I feel like exactly 6 months ago I started doing just that and now things are in motion in lots of different ways.

I'm now about to move out and share a flat with a friend, so that really has dominated the last 3 weeks but I have started a new large piece on a waxy cardboard which is a completely new and interesting effect with my oil pastels. Its all very experimental and nice to have it there to dip in and out of. Especially at the moment. I like the idea of just evolving slowly with my work and taking twists and turns. I have nice new camera (which I'm still figuring out) but its great for documenting work. I look forward to putting pics up of it when its ready.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A new focus

After a crazy weekend, today was recovery day. I woke up and my limbs ached, I climbed out of bed rolled downstairs and ran a bath - pouring in a heap of Radox in the hope that it would do what it says on the tin. I made it a bit too hot and climbed in, turned on my little digital radio and listened to 6music and sank into the water. I also found the most amazing amazing meditation video on Youtube. A 50 minute extravaganza in fact, I started watching the first bit and then watched all 5 sections. Get me eh? A nice start to an almost perfect Sunday.

In my last blog post I put a few old drawings up that I did at school. A lot of those drawings were actually oil pastel pieces and pulling them out reminded me of how much I enjoyed that medium. Since then I have done a few pieces and I've decided that it really is my favourite medium. I also got all 386 pictures from Asia developed and I've started a new project where Im taking those pieces and working from them to create oil pastel art work. It's been brilliant for a few reasons - firstly its good for me to practice and remember my own skills. Its nice to also have a steady focus of a project and not be rooting around with my sketchbook trying to draw anything and everything, which has been fantastic, but it feels good to have one main pathway for a while. My brain was literally exploding at times and now this is reigning it in a bit. Its also secretly making me realise this could be a body of work which could lead to a display/or something more but I'll make those sort of decisions after I've reached a point where I'm finished. I say "secretly" because at the moment, just doing it is the main thing. I don't want the outcome to take over or cloud me.

Today sitting down and doing it with my music on was like being in heaven. I know that sounds cheesy but I was literally loving every freakin' moment of it.

Here is the first semi finished piece of a girl having her hair washed in Vietnam. This is the way round that it should be as she was upside down. I've been trying to figure out if it should stay that way round. My mum says NOPE. I think yep, but HMM be nice to know what others think:

Here is the very first piece I did of a baby in Hoi An, completely unfinished with no background. The baby was picking up a roll from the floor. I didnt manage to squeeze that in but maybe I will extend it:

At the moment, its a bit straight so I expect once I get more into it I will start to experiment with things and textures but that will evolve when Im ready. If not with this project then the next. They won't all be figure drawings - I plan to do scenic and still life shots.

Its exciting and I'm looking forward to documenting my steps over the next few months.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The things you find

At beginning of the week I found some old drawings and paintings that I did at College. I pulled them out and was amazed at how clearly I remembered each one and how I was feeling at the time. I looked at them and felt this surge in my gut and it made me absolutely sure that this is now the right path for me. It's amazing that at the time I drew some of these I was completely lost with it all. I knew it was what I wanted to do but I wasn't engaging with it in the right way and I was all over place. I thought being young it would change but it never really did. Flitting about with jobs and subjects and relationships to fill the void and hole just in the end made me more confused than ever. I never enjoyed being taught around the time of my A Levels and this worried me. Its taken another 11 years to know why. I was bogged down with teachers and tired subjects/worrying about grades and completely lost sight of why I was doing it all. I feel like I can breathe again in the last few months - I feel like Ive completely shifted. I feel excited at the moment because if its like this now and its only been 4 months since Ive woken up, things can only get better surely? Lets not jinx this! But Im hoping so.

Here are a few things I've picked out:
A Level work

GCSE work:

Monday, 13 September 2010

Bed drawing

I'm feeling a little under the weather today BUT I have managed finish off these Pelicans which I initially had in mind to do in an animated small card form for the Ripple blog - however it turned out to be A4 in my sketchbook and a nice distraction from my headache. My back is killing me right now - I should probably sit at a table to do this stuff:

Apart from my back being ruined, it was nice to sit on the bed a doodle. I had a much more unproductive day yesterday before meeting a friend and only half finishing a sketch of the Library Clocktower, due to cold fingers and constant distractions. I would still like to get to the point where I can draw anywhere but I seem to need the right conditions. The REAL condition is probably just shutting down the mind and focusing on the page, but that's a little difficult with a drill and builders a few feet away! Gahh. Other news is, the drawing IS back again (thankgod) and I have got rid of the rubbish in my life. I am chucking out that trash and starting again. A nice little clean slate.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Coming back

Sunday morning consisted of me bolting out of bed and deciding that I needed to paint and draw. It's been a few weeks and I've just not felt like it, life situations clouded my head too much. I grabbed my watercolours that I havent used yet and drew a delicate teapot that we have sitting on the shelf:

I then strolled outside and saw these amazing tomatoes that had just been picked:

I did a quick watercolour and ink, its not how I wanted it to originally come out, but heck its OKish:

Other than that Im glad my head has come back round. It's nice to be filled with the buzz again, I started thinking about all the things I can do in the future like commissions but also just drawings for others and for myself. I also met my brothers new kitten smudge today:

I think Smudge will have to be drawn, I couldn't stop following him around and picking him up much to his irritation.....

I've missed this. It's nice to come back.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Solo drawing and travel thoughts...

At present, I am a little bit crap at solo drawing expeditions. I lose my rubber every two minutes and its ALWAYS the rubber. I'm not sure why. I spend about an hour looking for it and it turns out to be somewhere right in front of me or in my pants etc. I had another free weekend so I thought "GREAT - solo drawing trip". I packed all my bits and headed out the door, got half way down the road and realised that I had forgotten my paints, pad and pencils but yet packed everything else. Fool.

Once I got everything, I headed back down the street and hopped on the bus up to Crystal Palace. I plonked myself in the middle of the park. The sun was beating down and I realised I didn’t have any sun lotion which resulted in burnt shoulders.

I then needed a wee (miles from a loo)

I then needed a drink (which I didn’t pack)

I seemed to be in the path of every dog, wasp and child. I also ended up having some strange half naked tramp come over to me and make some sort of warbled conversation.

I had a much more successful trip the week before at Park Hill Park where I sketched with my new little watercolour moleskine which flips long ways for a panoramic type result. This layout is helping me to draw in a completely new way. I thought I would find it too small, but in fact, I'm finding the size strangely exciting and liberating. The lack of space makes me feel less daunted, yet I put just as much time and effort in as I would in a larger book (and I have both sizes but seem to be using the little one more). Heres the sketch I did in that park:

Here are some bits I drew on my Crystal Palace trip in the same little book:

Big Picture Gallery:

There is now a new gallery set up for local artists in Crystal Palace which I'm interested in participating in. There's a lot of talent out there. I do wonder how they price it all though, some of them were priced at a grand a pop for simple paintings and sketches. I can't imagine sitting down and thinking "this is worth XXX amount", how do people do it?

Last year I went on trip round Asia to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. I was thinking back to it the other day and although at the time I struggled with being in a group 24 hours a day for over a month (man that was hard) it really helped me. At the time I was in a bad place and when I think of the difference in me from then and now and it makes me smile. If only I had been drawing - I wanted to, but my head wasnt right. I took some good pictures though, which need to go on flickr. Here are a few I like (which was tough to pick through because I have HUNDREDS):

I'm going to be loading the whole lot on flickr at some point but please have a gander at my recent doodlings here

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Where I appreciate time

Appreciating my time is new thing. I remember not too long ago when I had to keep doing things, mainly going out all the time and being active. Since this, art reawakening thing (and since my brain has calmed down etc) I am so much more CHILLED. I actually punched the air with glee last night because I had a free Saturday today - no plans, nothing (well just my own) but no ties or obligations. I knew I had the entire day to myself and that felt like a little gift. I cleared out some of my room, I did some exercise (which killed in the heat to be honest) and I did some flower watercolours in the garden. I hated the first one and then did the sinful horrific ripping out sketchbook page *cringe* because it wasn't up to scratch. I've never been one to go for watercolours, so it was like my own little mission. I sat back and thought 'right.....what the heck am I doing wrong here?' then it clicked. I tried again and this time it was much better. Still not quite there but I'll get there. I felt a bit gutted I ripped out the page but thats ok, it was my first time after all.

So from today I have vowed to become great with watercolours, like my own mini mission. Expect to see some soon (well if I havent binned them).

Other than that, I've decided to just draw from that core place and not think about it. Not wonder where its going. Not specifically draw something for online (because lets face it, it probably was going that way) however I like sharing it so thats ok. But like I said in the last blog, I've been reigning it all in and its been good. I've also realised Im going to try and draw more from real life and not from magazines/books unless its for a specific reason. Mainly to get into the habit of being able to just sit anywhere, pull out the sketchbook and just go for it. I've been relaxing in the garden on my days off last week and drew a few things -

The back of my house, whilst sitting in the most comfortable deckchair with a cat resting on my foot.

Hanging bird garden ornament.
My mum was given this as a gift and she was pretty horrified and to be honest so was I because we thought it was naff. However after drawing it, I noticed every carve mark, every detail and I realised that someone had painstakingly made this. So I have much more respect for it. Even thought it's not really my thing and all it's quirky.

Coral. Coloured pencil (wimped out of doing watercolour at the time, oh how that will change, we hope).

A quick hand sketch, because well.....I felt like I should draw something. Note to self - never draw just to draw. Draw because you feel it.

The rest so far can be seen here on flickr

So there we are, until next time...