The table is the best blank canvas I’ve ever had, I suppose because it’s never really blank, it’s always living and has now become an essential part of my creative and domestic life ( it’s currently living with a blueish accidental paint mark which I’ve become quite fond of ).
I think of my compositions as visual maths…everything is in the right place but everything is also variable. It’s an improvisation in colour and texture and atmosphere.
I have days where I’m obsessed with colour and others where I’m obsessed with texture ( I even have another Instagram account @outsidesense where I can indulge my abstract texture collecting ) but the most satisfying days are when I can bring it all together. When I paint I have to work at bringing it all together and I often consider my photographic compositions as sketches which always inform my painting at a later date.
…and yesterday, it was this shelf in Asda…I stopped, as I always do, and looked at what is my domestic equivalent of an art shop. These are the shelves I love most in the Winter; when my garden is barren and brown, when everyone’s going on about how little colour there is…these shelves in the ‘foreign foods’ section are my life saver.
I found a couple of new ‘textures’ today. I’m always looking for colourful food textures but today I was taken with white sago and clear sugar…and then I saw the turkish delight, which sort of reminded me of some of the dahlias from Thursday and also some roses in my garden, and that was that…
I have a special case where I keep all my foody textures…it’s sort of akin to my big bag of paints but which has a much spicier smell! I like being quite selective and choose things which I instinctively want to work with so today the ingredients were:
Red peppercorns, Juniper berries, Sumac, Popping Candy, Breadcrumbs, Tapioca, Sugar, Star Anise, Dahlias from the fride ( the ones whose heads had come of on the car journey ), Rose, Valerium, Marjoram, Perennial Pea, Japanese Anenome, Rose hips, a plant I can’t remember the name of ( please let me know if you know it! ) and Turkish Delight…
I take lots of pictures as I go as more often than not, it’s the textures and items themselves which lead the composition… I also like to play around with the formats so take photos in landscape, square and portrait as sometimes I’m surprised by how different the atmospheres are within them… I also take pictures when I feel I finished as, again, the ‘ingredients’ can still surprise me, and it always somehow feels less pressured when I know I’ve got one in the bag anyway…
…and that happened today…I was about finished when I took the photo below and realised that it had all the feeling and colour nuances I’d wanted to create in the first place…I added some extra sugar…slightly altered the composition…
and then felt I could leave it.
Editing the images is the part which I consider brings my images to life; it’s another artistic element which feels to me a lot like painting. I don’t have a recipe which works every time as I like to consider each image in it’s own right and then tease out the atmosphere and how I really feel about what I’m working with. The image on the left is how the iphone sees the table, the image on the right is how I see and feel about the table…
I often think of that Helena Rubenstein quote “ There’s no such thing as an ugly woman, just a lazy one “, as I kind of feel the same about photo editing…If I think I’ve taken a rubbish photo I don’t dismiss it until I’ve edited the life out of it first!
This is a recent example below…I was on the train walking down the aisle and suddenly noticed the sky and St Michael’s Mount. I rushed to the window and took the shot as we raced past not very hopeful I would catch anything useable. However with a bit of editing I was able to pull out the colour and composition much more clearly to create a cleaner image.
I never think of my table compositions as just something a bit pretty, and to be honest I quite like adding a potentially ‘ugly’ element; maybe it’s because I like a bit of a challenge as well as some instinctive yin and yang…‘Consciously Creative’ – A New Online Creative Course
I’ve been asked a lot over the last few years about my working practice, my influences and inspirations, my techniques and tips, and I’ve been able to share lots of them during my one day workshops and one to one coaching, but I’ve felt for a while now that although these workshops are a lot of fun, I can only scratch the surface of how to work creatively. So, I’ve spent some time recently putting together a 6 week online creative course which will lead you to discover more about looking, seeing, colour, texture, atmosphere and all your senses as well as equipping you with a feeling of your own personal, ongoing creative journey…one which isn’t just about social media, but one which is about creating more of a daily practice and encouraging you to feel the importance of experimenting and process rather than focusing on clickable content.
I’ve been a self employed creative artist for over 20 years…many of those years really didn’t feel very fruitful at all, but all of those years, in some shape or form, have directly influenced what appears on my table, in my photographs, my paintings, my products and the way I live…it’s an ongoing process, like life I suppose, and I really want to be able to help people start that practice of creative ‘doing’ .
It will be a very personal course where I’ll demonstrate and chat Live on our private Instagram account for an hour each week as well as answer questions, set and assess homework, create weekly inspirational Pinterest boards, have a group Facebook page ( although you’ll be able to post and comment on our Instagram account too ) and also remain flexible and open to inspirations which may crop up during the 6 weeks. Because I want it to be as personal as possible, the course numbers will be limited and the 6 weeks will cost £300 per student and will run from 11th September – 16th October 2017. ( If you feel you would prefer a one to one version of the course I’m also happy to discuss that option via email ).
I’m planning to have the course ready to launch in the next couple of weeks so if you already know you’d like to be included on the course or want to be notified just prior to the launch date please send me an e-mail via the form below.
It’s a new project for me and I feel genuinely excited about sharing my work and exploring areas I love with other interested and inquisitive minds.You don’t have to have to be an artist or even someone who’s always been naturally creative to do this course…it’s a course to help anyone, artistic or not, to reconnect to the excitement of creativity, look at things with new eyes, see new colours, and inspire confidence and clarity to your own personal projects.
Please feel free to email me if you have any questions..and look forward to meeting you!