Tag Archives: travel

Did someone say Paintings?

I’ve been Painting again… I don’t have much to say about them – except, I think I like them.

They’re little Welsh landscapes that sum up my time here since I’ve moved.  I’ve been a lot more content. I’ve been a lot more relaxed.  And I feel like even one percent of the time I’m on my way to proving my potential…the challenges I’m facing are all good ones, adult-making ones.

I forgot what painting felt like, I think it’s quite clear in these that I enjoyed it…at least I hope so, anyway.

🙂

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Sculpture Trail @ M I D W A L E S A R T S

A lot has changed since I last updated on this… I’ve moved house, got a new job, curated exhibitions and smiled a lot more, too.

I came back on here with a free afternoon and a want to write something.  Not only something, but something worthwhile.

Yesterday seen the opening of the Sculpture Trail at Mid Wales Arts Centre in Caersws, Powys.  I work here, as a marketer/curator/poster designer and ocassionally, gardener.   I’ve never been involved in putting together a sculpture trail before, and have to say that the idea of having over 100 sculptures to site, catalogue and co-ordinate was a little daunting at first!

First, I met Thomas and Evermore who represented the Tengenenge Sculptors. Tengenenge is a village in the North of Zimbabwae, where all of the residents are artists (a wonderful thought) who make their living by sculpting stone.   The village is what they like to call an ‘open-air gallery.’  (another wonderful thought)

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             Pictured:  A Sculptor’s stand //  Stephen Chizora amongst his sculptures in Tengenenge Village.

With the downfall of the economy and in turn, the lack of tourism, the Tengenenge’s have suffered with less visitors to the village and therefore selling less work.  However, despite these hardships, the community has survived due to the passion and the energy of these people!  This passion and energy was plain to see in Thomas and Evermore.  They were excited about the prospects of the trail and the expansion on last years trail.  They told me stories of how certain sculptures were made and how a lot of the artist’s looked at a certain type of stone, they could already see what it was going to resemble…! I feel humbled that they want to bring work to Mid -Wales for us to enjoy.  Further, I’m delighted that we can be a platform for them to sell their work and to make a living in Zimbabwe.  The Tengenenge Sculpture’s look beautiful in the Mid-Wales landscape.  The Opal, Ruwinka and Springstone they are made out of compliment the back drop of the rolling hills.  A lot of the sculptures are abstract in form, and after hearing the context and sheer determination of a tribe that are striving to survive creatively, it translates directly through the gestural way they are carved.

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Abstract Form,  Moffat ,  Hard Serpentine,  POA

As well as having these wonderful African sculptures, we’re proud to be the home of Sculpture Cymru –  an organisation of sculptors living and working in Wales.  Sculpture Cymru celebrated the opening of an exciting new ‘Test’ space and Sculpture Trail in 2015 at the Mid Wales Arts Centre.  Alison Lochhead of Sculpture Cymru and the Gas Gallery said it was the beginning of an exciting period for Sculpture Cymru who have wanted a ‘Cartref’ , ( welsh translation for home) where they could have a permanent exhibition space to show their work and exchange ideas.  So, after a firm foundation and a successful exhibition in 2015, this year has seen the expansion of this ‘cartref.’ The work that began to arrive at Mid Wales Arts Centre from the Sculpture Cymru members really impressed me.  Perhaps ignorant in the past, I never truly took the time to appreciate sculpture.  I’ve always been a painter so find myself drawn to those instantly when I go to a gallery.  Working here has given me a newly-found appreciation of 3D work.  I’m particularly fond of the work by sculptor Alison Lochhead, whos practice is based on memories.

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Detail of Alison Lochhead’s Mine Map

Through living, we leave our mark on the earth which it retains.  Alison works with different materials, all integral from the earth and with their own strengths and reaction to heat and to each other; iron, clay, oxides, wood. In the kiln alchemy takes place as the various materials are drawn together or reject each other, and these forms are the result.  There’s an idea that there is no ‘wholeness’ to a memory…parts are fragmented, distorted, forgotten, rejected…this is shown literally through the form that Alison’s work takes.  Her pillars of ‘memories’ are erected in the garden and in a field in groups, and you can’t help but feel a sense of fragility and a deeper experience when viewing them.

 ‘Memories are fragile and transitory; as is much of her work.’

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In fact, this ‘experience’  when viewing Alison’s work applies to the whole trail.  A bird landed on one of the bird sculptures during the opening yesterday and a few people laughed…that made me think.  There’s something refreshing about being outside in the landscape not confined by space, walls, rules or roofs – experiencing art.  Mid- Wales is such a beautiful place, and the artwork only reinforces this fact.  Yes, Paintings may work best in the white cube format, but this sculpture trail is a living one…in a way it’s a performance – It’s reacting to and with the land.

That’s really quite special.

 

References:

http://www.midwalesarts.org.uk  // http://www.sculpturecymru.org.uk  //  http://www.tengenenge-tomblomefield.com/

Mindfulness

How do you practice mindfulness?

I’m currently reading Mindfulness: 25 Ways To Live In The Moment Through Art by Christophe Andre.  Hearing much about mindfulness and the buzz that surrounds it, I picked up this book in Birmingham Airport… it seemed perfect. Mindfulness AND Art?!

I had no expectations of this book, but it is truly beautifully crafted.  Andre uses paintings both modern and of the masters to illustrate his concepts and teachings.  He doesn’t overstate the benefits of mindfulness (which I believe is a trap that many authors have fallen into) instead he demonstrates that Mindfulness is not a way out of life’s problems – but a way of being present in a way which fosters self/other compassion, and a clear-eyed awareness of the miracle of being in the moment, existing.

Even reading it makes you become more mindful… absorbing the images and words, looking at details of paintings over and over again – it creates some kind of tangible awareness which is all too hard to find in this fast-living world.

I have not only come to love the paintings more, but understand them in a different and calm dimension.

I started to think about my own practice and when I have the chance to be mindful when I create.  This has led to a series of map pieces.  I don’t think about the colours or the lines or the composition really.  I simply paint and be.

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How are you Mindful when creating?

August 4, 2015

I’m a graduate…again!

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I enjoyed graduating for the second time, despite it being the largest and (no doubt) longest graduation ceremony that Aberystwyth University has ever seen.  In fact, I enjoyed it more than my Undergraduate ceremony.  Why? It was relaxed, I stormed about in my robes because I knew what was expected of me on that day – it was comfortable.

But this term ‘comfort’ is one which I have too easily associated with Aberystwyth.  In less than a month, I’ll have been here for 5 years…which has happened almost by accident.  There’s a saying in Aber that “If you’ve been here for more than four years, then you’re stuck…forever.”  And while I love having a network of people who care for me here, I’m aware I need to move on.  I want to make myself uncomfortable immerse myself in new things, surround myself by new faces and places, and fill the yearning in my heart to do something different.  As an Artist, I crave new experiences.  These experiences keep me feeling alive.  I’m not a student, nor am I an adult with a career.  I’ve found myself in a strange ‘limbo’ trying to find my way.  I’m ready for the next move and to carve a career, it’s just not happened yet.  I’m persevering because I want to do something that I love.

I’m reading a book called The Obstacle Is The Way by Marketing Genius Ryan Holiday.  Now while I often am sceptical of  these airy-fairy self-help books that centre on loving yourself… this has me instantly hooked.  Holiday is not so much cut-throat, but extremely honest which means this book has become a manual for me in this time of ‘limbo.’

– Perception

– Action

– Will

Holiday writes of an old Zen Proverb that tells of a King who is worried about the decline of his Kingdom due to the attitudes of the people. To prove his theory that his people had lost inspiration, a king had a giant boulder placed on the only road into his city. Then, hidden and perched on a hill, he waited to see what would happen. First, some merchants came upon the rock and said, “Well, this boulder is blocking our path. Let’s turn around and go home. No work today!” And they turned around and left. Next a group of soldiers came upon the boulder. “This rock is blocking our path,” they said. “I guess no one will need our services today”, and they turned around and went home as well. The king watched person after person continue to come upon the rock, see it as an impasse or excuse and turn and go home.  This was until a lonely peasant came upon the rock.  He was excited by the challenge.  He first examined the huge boulder and tried to push it with all his might. He realized this would not work and began to think of other solutions. Then the quote from ancient mathematician Archimedes popped into his head, “If you give me a large enough lever and a fulcrum on which to place it, I shall move the world.” The old man was instantly inspired, and found a long wooden pole. He placed the pole under the boulder and using leverage, moved the boulder slightly. He repeated this process until the boulder was completely off the road.With his challenge finished, the inspired man was about to set off down the previously blocked path toward the city, but he noticed a bag lying where the boulder once stood. He looked around, picked up the bag and found inside a large amount of gold and a note. He carefully opened the note and read, “This gold is for you, since you know that great obstacles can lead to bigger opportunities.” The king, happy with the actions of this man, left his hiding place and went back to his castle with hope for his people.

When I read this proverb, the meaning was crystal clear to me.  Things that I consider ‘obstacles’ such as the competitive job market, lack of experience, restlessness etc. has been a massive opportunity to develop and learn for myself.  I’ve become patient and driven.  Without these ‘obstacles’ I’d be less, not more.  When I came to understand this, I’ve learned that the obstacle is the way.

Things are happening, as vague as that may be… I’m ready for my break.  I’m waiting on the perfect chance to seize it…I’m on the path!

“If you want more, you have to become more” – Jim Rohn

Sources:

http://www.trainingforwarriors.com/the-obstacle-is-the-path-2/

Holiday, Ryan The Obstacle Is The Way, 2014.

Watercolour on Antique Map

mapwork1I like painting into paper that tells a story. Here is an old map of Oxford. Intricacy, beauty and embellishment are all themes that I am interested in.

 

I am heavily inspired by the work of Josh Dorman who creates beautiful works on maps and old paper…..I intend to create works this Summer based on this kind of theme after collecting over 200 maps I could use for future paintings.

Check out his work…http://www.joshdorman.net/

(josh dorman)