Taking An Evening Walk

It was one of those rare, magical days, where the sky was full of amazing clouds and yet I was unable to take a picture. I saw another local photographer out shooting early in the day and I was a tad jealous. When I got home from work, glowing, puffy,wonderclouds were still all around the harbor but I still couldn’t shoot ! I had a few things to to first. I kept glancing out of the window, gasping at the beauty. Finally, when I was done, I asked my little lad if he fancied a stroll. He almost always does, we are big walkers in our family. Grabbing the camera with hope, we bounced out of the boat ( did I mention I live on a houseboat ?) and rushed to the closest vantage point for a big sky. All the way I was muttering to myself that I had missed the best of it. And maybe I did but it’s not the end of the world. I have taken some really memorable photographs on walks with my little boy. Preserving memory does seem to be one of the most important aspects of photography. Anyway, here is my most valiant effort from ‘Magical Cloud Day’ – Friday the 6th of May.

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Craft. Work. Books. Life.

Books To Be Red

Ocracoke Island, my home for twelve years, is a spectacular place. Beautiful beaches and wildlife aside, this quaint little village has some of the loveliest gift shops I have ever seen. They are owned and run, almost exclusively, by women, whom I must add, have impeccable taste. At least they cater to my whims and desires  (I know I have impeccable taste ! ) and I can always find something amazing for my loved ones. Anyway, I have had a big lifestyle change recently. I have just started working in my most favorite of all the shops – Books To Be Red. I am so happy. I love books ! you can never have enough books. I get to recommend  good stuff to read and I get lots of visual stimulation from beautiful new book covers, graphic novels and children’s picture books. I love art and this special bookstore has a lot of art supplies ! One of the best things about my new job, however, is getting to apply my artistic sensibilities to my new environment. I was asked to create a spring themed book display on the porch, in this cute little cabinet and a crafty little light bulb lit up ! After finding a great selection of springy books and gifts, I was inspired to jazz it up even more by using gift bags and tissue paper. I cut out tiny little birdies from the gift bags, giving them tissue paper wings, then I made little butterfly cutouts from the tissue paper as well. So simple and so cute !

           This was so much fun, that I was inspired to take a little extra home and make some more cute things. Over the weekend, I made a sweet little jacket for my tatty sketchbook:

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Did anyone else have to do this at school ? When I was at Primary school (Elementary) in Scotland, we had to cover all of our books to protect them. At first my mother did this, then I had to take over the responsibility as I got older.

One the book was covered,  I remembered the butterfly cutouts and made some bigger ones:

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I folded a hand-sized piece of tissue in half, to make it easy to cut out a symmetrical design. This took a few tries as I kept making the bottom wing too big. The first butterfly was made up out of my head. To get inspiration for a slightly different shape,  I googled “butterfly silhouette”. Then, I simply glued each tissue shape onto a piece of gift bag paper and applied some circles cut out of the same gift bag to the top of the tissue. I gently drew some details with fine point markers and a white roller ball pen. I loved doing this ! I could do it all day. I also have a few birdies inside my sketchbook to remind me of how cute they are.

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Keep your gift bags ! re-use them, upcycle them, craft them up into something cute ! The possibilities are endless.

Sketching

Here are a few more recent sketches from my wee Fabriano journal.

This is from a photograph. I used red and black watercolor pencils and a finetip sharpie marker. Her hair was actually pink in the photograph. I wasn’t very happy with the drawing at first. It looks like the subject but her face just isn’t quite right, so I flipped to another page and tried again.1echodraw

This time the sketch was a lot quicker. I used white watercolor pencil on the red background initially but it was too soft so I switched to black  sharpie again and I really think the drawing is better – more accurate :1echodrawb

I drew this lady from I tiny magazine image I have had for years.1girldraw

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The next image looks very soft but it’s not an unfocused photograph. I actually made it on computer paper, using the edge of a sponge dipped in some kid ink (Melissa and Doug jumbo stamp pad). I didn’t even know it was going to be a man, it just kind of turned out that way. So…1softface

I added some details with a sharpie marker :1hardface

I really enjoyed this exercise. I have always loved mark making in unconventional ways. When I was in art school, I remember we made “brushes” from sticks and attached different materials to the tips. Before that, when I applied to art school, I had a stone, inherited from my dad’s rock collection, that I used to make marks. I drew my cassette playing stereo, using the stone dipped in blue ink. It was part of my high school portfolio. I haven’t thought about that in such a long time ! Another good thing about using computer paper is that you can dispose of the image easily if you don’t like it.

TTFN ! Ta Ta for now.

 

Internal Scarring

It is becoming more apparent as I get older and as I embark on a new creative journey, that it can take a very long time to come to terms with what has happened to a person to make them the way they are. In fact, I think it is a never ending journey. I am thirty six. I certainly don’t have it all figured out and it’s beginning to dawn on me, only now, that the people I looked up to as a child didn’t have it all figured out either.

I left home at seventeen and I have always told anyone that asked, that my childhood home life was far from ideal. I also had a bumpy ride in my formative romantic relationships. For the most part, I have striven to be happy and I have always believed, on some level, that I deserved to be treated with love and respect – that everyone deserves the same. I have been very proud of myself with regard to how I got over abuse and neglect and moved on. However, in trying to grow as a person, trying to be the best person I can be, I have come to discover my faults. I analyse past behaviors and current reactions and sometimes I am shocked to see that I am not healed. I can overhear a conversation, read a sentence in a book or just wake up on any given morning, after a vivid dream and realize something else about myself.  It can be very startling.

I don’t think internal, psychological wounds ever fully heal. They are part of us. We are forever influenced and informed by our experiences. I don’t want to be in pain, nor do I wish pain on anyone else, but I do firmly believe that adversity makes us more appreciative of the good things life has to offer. And surely we cannot fully feel joy without knowing unhappiness .

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One Beautiful Evening

This sequence of images is from one evening on Silver Lake, the harbor for Ocracoke Island NC. Sun rays filtered prettily through huge clouds. The clouds grew darker and a storm front rolled through. A short shower ensued but the sky was still well supplied with clouds turning pink as the sun descended to the horizon.
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I Live For Clouds

While it is true that I live in a beautiful place with beautiful weather a lot of the time, it is also true that clear blue skies can be a bit boring. When it comes to photography, big puffy clouds will make always make your image more dynamic. Add to that some sun rays, enhanced with a polarizing filter (the most inexpensive and essential piece of equipment a photographer can own) and a pocket full of breadcrumbs for the gulls and you might just end up with something special.

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I took a lot of photographs on Saturday evening, right before a storm rolled in. The sky was breathtaking. The rain was stopped right before sunset and the sky was gorgeous again. More images to follow.

Sketchy Stories

Recent sketches

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The reason for this tiny, dense journal’s tatty appearance has less to do with it being well used and more to do with it’s age…I have had this little gem for about ten years and I have only just started using it. I have been a hoarder of sketch books and art materials for many years. I have been intimidated by the blank page for far too long.

Lets take a look at what’s inside…

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watercolor pencil

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pencil – kitties move a lot !  mine always knows when I am drawing her.

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watercolor pencil

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The dino is inspired by ‘ The Good Dinosaur’ and is mixed media.

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This pencil drawing is my sweet, sleeping child, who moves as much as the cat !