Monthly Archives: May 2010


Edinburgh Tenements - current work

Edinburgh Tenements - current work

Here is an example of my current work.  I completed this piece yesterday then celebrated by baking two dozen Guinness and Chocolate cupcakes.  This work is a huge success and yes, I realize it is terribly un-English for me to boast.  Well.  I’m not English.  I am throwing in my ‘Foreign, so probably doesn’t know any better’ card on this occasion.

I mentioned in my previous post that my colour schemes tend to be vivid, bright, possibly like they belong in a child’s room.  My artworks have always ‘suffered’ from this shock of colour.  Whilst everyone in my painting class was muting down their colours, I couldn’t keep my paint brush away from mixing it up on the brighter side of the spectrum.  Dr.  H, my advisor and teacher, was impressed with my use of purple and yellow and even tacked one of my used palettes on his office wall for inspiration.  He said that I was a ‘Colourist’ which to this day still pleases me.  Dr H did not throw out the compliments easily.  I like the idea of being called a Colourist because it implies an unlearned ability.  You either are or you aren’t.

For more examples of bright, candied work, please visit my website at


Leave a comment

Filed under Edinburgh, the process

Dudley Archives: A ‘new’ venue

Dudley Archives

This is the Dudley Archives.  I am happy to announce that this is a new venue added to the art tour itinerary.  Previously, I had contacted them as a back up plan in the event of rain.  It just so happens that they are having a big event on Saturday, 19th of June (2011…don’t forget…this is still a year away).  They have confirmed that they would be happy for me to set up the display during the event.  I feel very honoured.

As far as the work itself is concerned, I have been creating small experimental pieces.  I am using the artworks I am creating for Edinburgh Festival as experiments and so far things are working out well.  I think the difficulty will come when I try to combine the two different printing methods I have in mind with the fabric and stitch detail.  The colour scheme is something I should be zeroing in on.  To say that my current palette is full-on bright is an understatement.  For this work, I need to tone it done about a hundred notches.  There are so many things to consider.

And it is getting late.  And I am very tired.  So perhaps I should call it a night.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dudley

I heart Newcastle

Newcastle upon TyneI have just returned from spending a wonderful few days in my former city of residence, Newcastle upon Tyne.  A Dorkbot presentation at the Centre for Life, visiting friends and shlepping around the Late Shows had brought me there this week.  I am happy to report that that Gocco presentation during the Dorkbot meeting went well, although I do feel I rambled a bit and went totally off topic when asked about my wedding (a question directed to me from a lovely, recently-married lady in the group).  Oh yes.  The answer is that we were married in Cancun and our taxi driver and his wife were our witnesses.  That is quite a story and one I should elaborate on in the future.   Afterwards, we were given a chance to see the Doctor Who Exhibit behind the scenes and that was rather marvelous.

Whilst walking about the city, I bumped into friends, I went to my old haunts, walked down the familiar streets and drove around my former routes.  It was so wonderful, like I was visiting home again.  Even visiting some of the venues at the Late Shows (when they open up galleries late into the evening and put on interesting shows) was great because again, I was seeing friends and feeling very much like myself.

Newcastle has a special place in my heart and it took me not very long at all to try to discover the reason.  I know it is a vibrant, creative city full of interesting and wonderful people.  Plus, the Geordie accent is a delight to hear.  Although all of those reason are very good valid reasons, my reasons are about finally accepting myself for who I was meant to be.

I found moving to England difficult.  Okay.  What a whopper of an understatement.  It took a year for me to get used to being here, figuring out the postal system, the food buying, everyday things that are so easily taken for granted.  I felt hated (thanks former President Bush), stupid, dull, ridiculous, brash.  Overhearing these comments on train stations platforms, at work, passing by people talking.  I once read on a Stephen Fry blog post that as an American living in England, you need to have the thick skin of a rhino.  The fact that I had married into a family of very serious career orientated people made me feel ever more odd.  I was never really concerned about fitting in until I moved to England.  I didn’t want to be noticed.  I wanted to blend in and disappear into the background.

I soon abandoned anything creative.  I got an office job at a housing trust.  I filed.  I filled in paperwork and eviction notices.  I took phone calls from people that were incredibly pissed off and swore at me often.  All of this not being me made for an incredibly unhappy me.

And then I moved to Newcastle.  Another new start.  Who should I be in the new city?  I thought that it was time I rediscover my former self and so I set about doing all the things I used to do before moving to England.  I picked up a brilliant art teaching job.  I started creating artworks and *gasp* they were actually selling.  I wanted to meet people with similar interests and decided that Newcastle needed a Craft Mafia.  My circle of friends became full of exciting people that were interesting to be with, talk to, bump in to at events, and so on.  This is me.  This is brilliant!  And then I found out we were moving again.

Edinburgh.  It’s been a good city to move to.  I am having to start all over again, finding people, making connections, finding opportunities and putting myself forward, at the mercy of People That Make Decisions.  This is such hard work, but work that needs to be done quickly, so that I can start feeling like myself again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Edinburgh, Newcastle upon Tyne

Warning: This post may contain swearing

When I was deciding to create this blog, I wanted it to be an authentic representation of the life of this project.  The planning for my art tour began in July 2009 and I have been labouring away behind the scenes, making plans, contacting people, booking venues, confirming venues, applying for grants, etc, etc, and oh my God, even more etc.  During the past several months, I have had hardly any studio time as I have been laying the ground work.  Notes and occasionally sketching have been getting me by but now, NOW I must move on.

What has become of all this time of laying down the groundwork?  Apparently…not much.  Oh yes.  There you go.  I have enough respect for myself and for anyone who cares to read this to not fill it with untruths and even exaggerations.

Last week I received another funding rejection letter.  I still have a couple more floating around out there and won’t know the outcome of these until July.  Just yesterday I called another funding body to discuss my application (the application I have spent the last 3 weeks writing) to find out that I had just missed their deadline and the next deadline is too far into the future for this project to benefit.  This was possibly a very stupid rookie error as I had not checked their schedule of deadlines.  To be fair, other bodies I have been applying to don’t seem to work on quartlery deadlines so I didn’t even think to check.  Plus, during the conversation with funder, I am certain I came across as a bit of an ass.  I think the only way she could interpret what I was saying is something along the lines of ‘Hi.  I make art.  I’m having a bit of a bad time and made art about it.  Can you please give me some money?’  Oh how I cringe.  I even made notes listing key aspects to discuss, but crumbled when I detected a tone of ‘you’re wasting my time’ on the other end.

I feel so utterly defeated by this process.  And this makes me very annoyed at myself.  I have been through much MUCH more difficult circumstances in my life.  Really.  This is so small and insignificant, how can I let it be getting me down?  Could it possibly be the fact that I have wasted 8 months applying for grants that aren’t coming through?  To know that I could have been sitting in front of the t.v. every day all day long and still have the same outcome is beyond upsetting. What a waste.

So.  I have drawn a line under yesterday.  Today is a new day. This is my new start.  I can’t waste my energy, time, resources on this so am moving on.

Other stuff that is getting me down:

I received an email out of the blue from a gallery near London, stating that they wanted me to submit work for an up coming exhibition.  This just does not happen.  Well, maybe it happens for others, but it doesn’t happen to me.  I was so excited to receive the request that I made the mistake of telling my family about it.  Unfortunately, my Dad responded in his usual way by making a joke out of it.  What did he say…something like …they must really be struggling, or just starting up and desperately needing to fill the space…or maybe they are sending out this request and will just take the art and run.  Later in the conversation I mentioned ‘stressed out’ and ‘my eye has been twitching for nearly 2 weeks now’ which was followed by him asking me what I am so stressed out about.  Because the thing is, I work from home so therefore could not possibly be stressed out about anything.  The thing to understand is that, according to my family, if you are not working 6 days a week outside of the home, then you are not working hard enough.  If you are not putting in the long hours outside the home, then whatever it is you are up to, just isn’t respectable.  Follow this to the conclusion that my own parents do not respect what I do or think that what I do is valuable.

I know I am far too old to allow this to hold much weight.  But honestly.  It does bother me.  I wish I could shrug it off but you know, after years of this shit, it is becoming increasingly more difficult.

However, I would like to state for the record that my husband has been incredibly supportive.  He sees me grappling, daily, and it concerns him that I am struggling as much as I am.  Yesterday he sat me down and told me to spend the rest of the month just creating.  Don’t think about the tour.  Don’t think about the funding.  Don’t even think about work for galleries.  Just do what I was born to do and create, experiment, get sucked in to my little world of creativity and don’t come out until the end of the month.  This has been the best advice I have received for months.

1 Comment

Filed under struggling here

Inspiring work

a wee photo of the Fruitmarket Gallery As you can see to the left, this is a very tiny photo of the Fruitmarket Gallery just South of Waverly Station.  As chance would have it, as I was waiting for my car to be fixed at the garage, I was flipping through a local paper and read about this fascinating project that had its final exhibition here at the Fruitmarket Gallery.

In brief, two artists in Scotland organised a cultural exchange.  A group of pupils from Edinburgh would travel to the Isle of Skye to create artworks based on they observations of that rugged land.  A group of pupils from the Isle of Skye would travel to Edinburgh to create artworks based on the city.  They created sketch books of charcoal drawings and watercolour paintings of their surroundings then took these lessons and new found skills to their place of exchange.  I tell you, when you see the MASSIVE charcoal drawings in person, you cannot help but be amazed.  My friend and I were actually feeling a little bit jealous as our own art in school experiences were nothing like what these children had just experienced.  In fact, I didn’t have proper art classes until I was in Junior High and only then it was just a 6 week taster course.  I didn’t start having proper art lessons until the age of 14.  It does make me wonder how much better I would have been at this age, had I been challenged artistically and exposed to art much earlier in life.

But I digress.  Viewing this work, reading the write ups, flipping through the sketchbooks, it all made me feel a frisson for my own workshops that I will bring to schools in each location of the art tour.  Planning a tour and artworks has been quite the undertaking and to be honest including the workshops is a whole other pile of problem solving, organization and batches of to-do lists, but I think it really will enhance the project.  Instead of just gliding in then out of the scene, I am hoping to leave a legacy behind.  The workshop is a two day workshop, split into 4 sessions, each session working with a new class.  Local artists will be involved with the project and by the end of the two days, the pupils will have made something quite wonderful for the school to keep and hopefully display.

That is all I am saying right now.  There are still several more steps to organizing this, but I anticipate that the end product will be inspirational.

And if you happen to be living in Edinburgh, please do find your way to the Fruitmarket Gallery before the end of Sunday, May 9th.

Leave a comment

Filed under Edinburgh