Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Drawing mini-projects

I'm loving the process of ink drawing. I am a bit rusty but there is definitely muscle memory in my favour. It is all coming back to me, especially how if I'm trying to improvise it all goes off in so many directions....My thinking is to try and focus on three or four of the directions that 'come naturally' and make them into mini projects. As illustrated above, one of those projects will be plant based designs that nod to European ceramics and bold fabrics. 

I also remembered how vital it is to have a plentiful supply of paper. There is nothing worse than feeling you have to conserve one's paper. The tendency is to get neater as the session progresses, so having the freedom to use unrestricted amounts of paper keeps the gestures loose and direct. This is a difficult issue, as often you can produce the best work on your worst quality paper, in a moment of genuine flow. If funds allow, good archive quality paper should be the norm. I recommend Fabriano Jumbo Watercolour Paper Blocks as they have a healthy 75 sheets per block.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Day 1 - Just playing.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Work in progress

I have finally bought myself a new bottle of Sennelier 'Encre de chine a la pagode', the best black ink you can find. I've dug out my old brushes to start ink drawing again. This is a snapshot of my drawing table, after I've tidied up! You should have seen it before. Don't let the plastic boxes fool you I'm organised, it is usually chaotic at best. I will be posting the results of my improvised drawings as they come along.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Dear Etsy

You know the bit in films where the last carriage of the train uncouples and grinds to a halt while the rest of the train rushes towards the horizon? Well, I feel exactly like that carriage. Etsy has changed to a point where I just do not get it anymore.

Am I getting old? Is this just like some old buffer (see what I did there) who can't use an apple watch? I know these things take time to get the hang of but I no longer see myself bothering even to try to be on that train.

In the past the public forums were the source of information. Folks that are way more intelligent and committed than me would wade through all the posts, Etsy blogs and team posts; to work out SEO, relevancy and how to react effectively to changes on the site. Sometime a few months ago, Etsy became impossible to work out! Maybe it's because there aren't so many of those clever people around and the few old-timers (or should I say kool-aid drinkers) who are, repeatedly put it all on the sellers shoulders. It's you're own fault if you don't get it or it's not working for you. " You're SEO could use some work" is the only solution. Nobody has the big picture anymore.

I am a member of an SEO team. There is a current thread about recent search and statistics news, over 850 posts plus numerous links to google search news with in those posts. Ugh!

That is my real disappointment with Etsy, if you read up in the sellers handbook about all the multitude of things you need to do to stay relevant, given the context of huge levels of competition for relevancy. No sane person would sign up for a lifetime of slavery to the Etsy task. Well, unless of course you have a main- stream product manufactured by someone else and have 500+ listings on auto-renew. For someone who has a small shop with a few monthly rather than daily sales, the competition is pretty much over.

For me, what used to be the hardest things to do, like getting a gallery interested, exhibiting, getting into  magazines and blogs, driving traffic to my own website etc. are now looking easy-peasy in comparison.

As an artist, with very niche items, I'm starting to throw my seed on more fertile ground. :)

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A bit of Thich

Here is a lovely picture sent to me by Tara, which includes one of my Petri dishes. Along with Tara, I love to compose objects, textures and organic elements into inspirational groups like this one. Tara's includes a sublime quote from Thich Nhat Hanh.

It reminded me of the first time I discovered the writings of this wonderful teacher. Well, discovered is probably the wrong word, the intention was clear to direct people to profound teaching. I was working in the kitchen of Gaia House many moons ago on silent retreat. Everyone on retreat is given daily work duties and washing up was one of these vital chores. The quote below was pinned up in the kitchen. I remember trying super hard to be in the moment, just the sheer effort propelled me the opposite direction! 10/10 for intention about 2/10 for relaxed awareness.

“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not "washing the dishes to wash the dishes." What's more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can't wash the dishes, the chances are we won't be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future -and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”

Thich Nhat Hanh ―The Miracle of Mindfulness

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Spring newsletter out soon!

My Spring newsletter is out next week.  

There will be a discount code for subscribers. If you haven't subscribed yet and would like to, contact me here at my website, giving me the email address you would like it sent to :))

Friday, 10 April 2015

Last four Petri dishes in this series

At last, completed the final four Petri dishes that have been in the pipeline for a couple of months. The bottom right paler one (my favourite!) is winging it's way to America today.

Thank goodness for the onset of spring, my energy levels actually start to reach normal. Like most bears, I'm a natural hibernator.