Volunteer, Why Not?

I volunteer, do you? I used to do crazy volunteering adventures, 26 miles Moon Walk around Edinburgh, abseiling, driving various vehicles; HGVs, double decker buses, diggers. I raised money for good causes. Then it all stopped. Just stopped.

Yes you can guess why, too much on my plate. I could not see what I could do for anyone, where, what and how.

Fast forward a few years. I think it's possibly been 5 years since I did any form of volunteering. Shame on me, but then little ol' organised, do it, happy me had disappeared under the changes which where going on in my life. Yes it was a shock, a wonderful shock becoming a mum, an older mum. And all the other stuff that happened, but that is done now and in the past.

Back to volunteering. It started with a little volunteering at my daughters school. Perhaps a couple of times a month helping to make the snacks for the P1s and P2s (5 to 6 year olds). Then, a little bit of helping out with Lauder in Bloom, a fantastic community driven project to make the village where I live essentially an even better place to live.

The next was putting my hand up to do some Art Therapy at The Margaret Care Unit at the Borders General Hospital. It is a palliative care unit. I nervously responded to the request and found myself every Tuesday morning for a couple of hours, painting, chatting and drinking tea with the patients, their families, carers and staff.

What do I love more then painting, chatting and drinking tea? The perfect volunteering place for me. Don't get me wrong at times it tugs at my heart strings talking to the lovely people there. I feel though I am and I know it is a cliche 'giving back', doing something of worth.

Yes why not volunteer.....do it.

Again I Ask Myself Why Do I Paint?

 

 

butterflies

 

 I do ask myself why do I paint? People ask where do find the time?

 It's not a matter of finding the time, I have to paint. I was encouraged as a child to paint. Dad was an architect, I  grew up visiting  churches, art galleries. It was the norm.

 So speed forward. I went to Art School. The regular direction, became disillusioned with all the 'twaddle',  'b******t', went into  the corporate world and had a fabulous time. Saw the world, long haul travel, expense    accounts. I loved travelling. There was  always a feeling though of lack. Then I met my husband, blessed with a  daughter and it happened. I hit the falling apart. I could  not believe it. I was always so organised, so on time, so  with it.

 I bought paints, I threw it around, large, bright paintings, Struggling to find me. Then around 2 years ago my  paintings became  quiet, I picked up a beautiful box of watercolours I had been given. And it started, I found my footing once more. My art. My  expression. My passion. Me. I can breathe once more and share what I love to do paint....

 Follow your passion, believe it....do it. 

Things are a changing...

Or rather the subjects are!  It had been suggested to me as I live in a small town in the Scottish Borders to paint animals. I fought against it thinking mmmm doesn't interest me. You will see from my 'shop page' this has changed! At first I thought how am going to paint animals. I went through the usual angst and told myself come on just get drawing you will through the process find the flow.  It is amazing this angst and fear, part of the 'can I do it?'. So now I have sheep, pigs (my favourite), cows, chickens and if oyu look closely a butterfly and a caterpillar for some reason appear on the paintings. Frogs, horses and tractors are on the way...

What is Coming Up

So only a few week until Christmas and at this time of year it is for me 'list time', presents for others, presents for my daughter, and a new one for me a list of things for ballet show. My little girls' first ballet show!  How did she grow so fast!  

As I'm doing all this there is also the list of paintings to create - a wonderfully increasing list of commissions and bespoke Christmas cards. Amongst all this I'm given a wonderful idea to add to my boat pictures.  To personalise them it was suggested to add names to the boats of family members!  So here is one of my family.  

 

 

You can see my family here and the little boat is for Stanley our Border Terrier.  Go to myshop page if you want a 'Family Boat'. The colour of the sails can be personalised too....

Busy,busy bee

This month has been busy already, kicked off with setting up for Apples for Jam in Melrose, dropped paintings off at Allanbank Arts Exhibition and was at Berwickshire County Show.

My work can still be found at Hill House Gallery Broughton and most excited about an open evening at Apples for Jam on Thursday 18th August from  7.00 – 9.00pm. Please come along if you are around the lovely town of Melrose, well known for the rugby! So yes busy busy….like a bee…

bee

I started looking for images of bees and learnt something new there are lots of varieties of UK bumblebees! I shan’t dare to say how many, however they are so beautiful. I love them because of their colour – yellow in comparison to the black. If it is black –you never know in nature?  Anyone out there who knows please feedback to me.

*Apples for Jam, 14 High St, Melrose TD6 9PA

Inspiring..

I have been debating what to write about this month – yes, eventually realised I ought to write a monthly blog!  I always need some sort of deadline!!

I’ve written previously about why I paint and how I paint. Now I was stumped about what to write until I wrote this sentence – ‘who inspires me and why?’

I studied art history as a teenager, learning about the Medici Family, their power and their sponsorship of the Arts, yet throughout my life, it has always been the beauty of Claude Monet (1840 - 1926) –Water Lilies.

I saw Water Lilies for the first time when I was 18 and practically wept at its beauty – so much of his soul is there. The paintings were at the Musee de l’Orangerie where two specially designed oval exhibition rooms were built to house it, creating a complete panorama of the painter's favourite views.

 

monet-waterlilies-1    

                      

There are, and this astounds me, approximately 250 of ‘Water Lily’ paintings across the globe. I am sure although I think they are perfect, he would have not, always striving for perfection, my view I hasten to add.

As an adult I’ve been lucky to visit his house in Giverny. I was with friends who live close to the house (you know who you are), and as we walked up the drive, I felt as if I was approaching sacred ground. I was!  I found the gardens reflective and more interesting than the house. Possibly understandable as the inspiration for Monet that I preferred the outside to the inside of the house.

As I come to the end of who inspires me, I’ve just looked out the window from my ‘painting room’ as my little girl calls it. I see the green of summer in Scotland, trees in a mosaic of colours contrasted against dry stone walls and buildings.

 

 

It has been just 'wow'

May was just wow. Thank you all for the kind comments and encouragement with my new work.  So I have been thinking how I paint.  I've recently changed from acrylics to watercolour.  It is quite odd, as it's many years since I have used watercolours. I went to art school and it was all oils, oils, oils, then for an age and some more I used acrylic. I had to teach myself to use them. It’s as if you have to learn a new craft. There is a difference in the consistency, the fluidity. Acrylic is ok but even now I think it needs more depth. But oil can be such a faff – I may regret that comment as may well come back to oils.

So all of a sudden I started with watercolours. I had a been given a beautiful box of watercolours, which sat on a table, moved about the house. I would look at the box, open and close it, look at the brushes, the palette.

My Lovely Paint Box 

 pallete1          pallete2   

So it was off to find some paper, the pencils…and off I set.  I drew, I asked for a number on my Facebook page to set myself a challenge… The drawings changed, A critique from someone who has known my work from many years ‘You can see how disciplined you are with this, they are getting better, not that any of them weren't good, but you can see the transition to clarity and precision'. 

As I write this – thin it’s time to ask for a number again on my Facebook page. If you don’t do Facebook email me number on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

The wonderful thing about watercolours is you can take them easily wherever you go. You will find me at events with my paper and paint box drawing and painting something!  I hope to see you at the next event,

What a Fantastic Bank Holiday Weekend

Oh, what a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend at Art @ ancrum. A beautiful village off the A68, welcoming folk who live in the village, people travelling from near and far to see the art and, yes there is an 'and' the wonderful support of the other artists.

I was over the moon, I sold a few paintings, received lots of 'oooo and ahhs'....the most poignant comments, were 'your work is so calming', 'the colours are so chilled'.  The thing is the work is a complete flip of what I was doing, previously just three months ago, my work was bright and loud. The last will be seen of this phase at the 'Blooms' exhibition in Peebles (until 4th June), whatever does not sell will be put away in a cupboard.

So my work has become, small, someone said 'simple', I knew what they meant, whimsical, a little hobbit, the shire like.... And you know what I love it, not often I say that!

The Journey Continues..

Bit of an exciting time coming up. On Saturday  23rd April, it’s the opening of ‘Blooms’ at the Tweeddale Museum in Peebles which I am part of – as you can guess the inspiration is flowers.  Tweeddale Museum, exhibition runs until Saturday 4th June.

Then from Saturday 30th April to Monday 2nd May I am part of Art @ Ancrum.  I have seen this event for a good few years and always wanted to be part of it, so at the start of the year picked up the courage to ask. They can only say ‘no’ and I’m really quite ok when rejected. In my other life spent many years in sales and get used to folk saying no, ignoring your calls!

Anyways back to today, Art @ Ancrum said yes and here I will be showing my new work – it’s become naïve, whimsical and you could say a bit cute….

And finally, in The Royal Burgh of Lauder where I live, the Post Office has been refurbished. So to cap it all you if you need a present buy one of my paintings and post it whilst you are there. 

 castle  home  farmhouse

Four Houses

I've asked people on my Facebook page to suggest two colours so I could incorporate in paintings and the some of the results are here... 

 

House One  House Two

 

 

Blooms...

Over the moon to announce I will be part of an exhibition 'Blooms' at The Tweeddale Museum, Peebles. There will be five other artists and work from the museums permanent collection too, open to the public from Saturday 23rd April to Saturday 4th June...

 

The Journey....

I've been lucky enough to have exibited at the Ebba Centre at St.Abbs, now coming to a close.  Just at the point of taking my work there I found it was changing from abstract on canvas to small watercolours, little imaginary places. I felt at odds, how would I be able to speak about the work being exhibted when my head was all about the little water colours.  This is life though a change happens, embrace it...

Here is one of the new pieces 'The Croft and The Garden'....

thecroftandgarden

Ebba Centre

I'm preparing all my paintings and labeling them for the exhibition at the Ebba Centre, open to the public from this Friday 11th March. I go through ups and downs of confidence on these things. The vent will open at 7pm on Friday open to all and of course I wll be terrified as people will be asking about my work - why do I panic - nerves are good aren't they!!!!  Anyway come along folk... http://ebbacentre.weebly.com/

Everchanging

I am really excited as going to be part of a group exhibition at the Ebba Centre in St Abbs, a fantastic coastal village. I met yesterday with Arts Aministrator of the Community trust and other artsists. The theme is everchanging, paintings are started and there is the nervousness around am I going to have completed enough work in time, will it be goo enough, will it sell.... the usual angst!

I see....

I see in the news the terrible things mankind is doing to itself, Syria, Paris, the missing teenager, the angst of the family.  This week I have had a virus which is nothing compared to the suffering of those forced to leave their homes, loose their loved ones. I am blessed, I have all the material things I need and those I don't need. I have a family, a safe and warm place to live.  My daughter and my husband are the loves of my life and allow me to follow my instinct to paint and draw. I am blessed. Thank you.


 

Being an artist

One of the challenges of being an artist is finding where to sell. You reach out to people again and again with no reply from some and others are, 'oh my gosh been meaning to call you'.  I know my life in the corporate world has helped me here as it's a matter of course, deal with it and move on. Generally people are happy to help and promote the arts. I've been particulartly been blown away by local folk, Alan and Mandy.  Onwards... 


 

Creativity keeps me

Creativity keeps me on the, well life is rock and roll! It keeps me happy or rather I have to be happy to paint. I'm not taking about a hyper happiness, I mean a calmness, content that I can get into the zone. I think back to when I was 18 and had all the time to paint and I did. Now I grabble with finding the time, I have to build it into my day. I love though walking to to my painting room, no not my studio, painting room, I am for some reason more at ease with this name.....

I love walking into my painting room, and seeing the canvas that is working or seeing the mark which needs to be made.....I will always paint even if no one else is interested as it is essentially for me, a truly selfish act you might say.....but hey I do want to share it by putting it out on the web, onto cards, mugs and into exhibitions or is this a need to be known, to be seen!

 

 

Keep On, Keeping On

I read this week a piece by a fellow artist in response to only ‘those who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth can be an artist’!  This person was giving up on creating art!!!

The fellow artist went on to talk about how they create their work, do the inevitable admin, marketing, be a mum, run their household.

It made me think as I hit a huge wall a few months ago and received such support. It was a creative block, which we all get – yes even you who works in the finance world and think they are not creative. We all are!  It further made me consider – we have to live this life as it’s as far as we know the only one we have and to me you have to live your passion, follow your passion. Yes, you got it mine is painting. Someone very close to me – they are happiest on a tractor – his passion is farming and there was a time in his life when he could not and he lived a lesser life.

‘If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don't have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.' Steve Jobs

 

 

Why Do I Paint?

I attended a workshop this week on improving your search engines!!  Thank goodness I thought I have worked in the corporate world and not afraid to to look at items and then make the decision it's better to ask someone who knows what they are doing - their skill set!!

This makes me think why do I paint?  I have as far as I recall messed about with paints.  There was a lull for a few years but I was still creating for friends and family. Now I know I have to paint, it helps my thought process through the day and step away from the challenges of life as Pablo Picassso said 'the purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life of our souls'


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powder Grey Lifestyle & Interiors

Find my work commissioned by Powder Grey instore at www.powdergrey.com

House of Soutra, Fala

My work will be at the House of Soutra from Tuesday 2nd June until end of July.

Contact Page Now Working.....

Contact Page....

isn't working at present, should be sorted shortly....

Gallery

The Gallery page is a little light as I'm in the process of changing it....

Online Shop....

 is now live!!!

 

I Have Been Too Quiet!

Very quiet indeed, looked for a new home and packed up a home where my husband had lived all his life and his parents quite some time before!!!

My painting has had to be on the back burner, now though studio is set up and back to painting and planning. 

My next event is on Saturday 1st November at the Marie Curie Gift Fair from 10.30 - 3.00pm, please do come along to support  - The Lodge,Carfreamill, Lauder TD2 6RA.

Crossing Borders

I am super excied to announce I have been accepted as a member of Crossing Borders. Crossing Borders brings artists and craft makers from the Scottish Borders together to shout out loud for creative talent in the area.

Hurrah!

Hurrah!

Message from Caroline at Glencorse centre, exhibition 'looks great'.

Bank House Living Lauder

Bank House Living Lauder

My cards are now stocked at Bank House Living in Lauder www.bankhouseliving.co.uk.

Glencorse Exhibition

Friday 13th For Some

Today, with my lovely friend Helen of 'Helen Wilson Animal Art'. We hung my painting, I really ought to know by now if it is hang or hung, it is hung..so yes an exhibition in place. Super pleased, plus any sale a percentage goes to Glencorse Centre to support....

How Hyper Am I?

How Hyper am I?

Welcome to my first Blog and of course my website. Really happy to have this site now.  I'll be adding new items soon, mugs and cards. Happy viewing and of course email me with your comments. All items are of course for sale.