Autumnal Dance and a new exhibition

Since the summer I have been layering my mandalas in response to my dance sessions. Recently Katherine led a session about autumn and trees.

http://www.dancingtribescotland.com/catherine-wright.html

I enjoyed making the paper doll cutouts and wondered if the technique would work for trees

I am still working with orange and blue. I love how the colours lift each other and the depth you can achieve with the layering some of these must have 10 or 15 layers if you include the layering on the trees to.

More simple tree on a mandala background

The repetition and circles seem to have so many possibilities. In the dance we were invited to think about roots and the earth. It’s been fun making representations of delicate shapes that have such strength.

I bought several mandala stencils and these have added another layer of pattern. I tried to cut my own. I made my index finger completely numb and the results were very clunky I need to practice to get more control with a sharp knife ( lol)

Design using Dizzy Duck stencils

http://www.dancingtribescotland.com/catherine-wright.html

I have also been using vintage crochet diollies to add structure and pattern to backgrounds

The design above shows yellow paint applied with a sponge and pink ink with a spray bottle on top of a pen and ink mandala

I have my third exhibition up in my hairdressers’Trigg’ on Dundas St in 4 years. http://www.triggstudio.com/

Slightly bashed flyer

This time it feels like I am showing work that reflects a real part of me. I am more relaxed and confident about it than I have been before (we shall have to see if it sells as well!!!)

Grid of the work in my exhibition – I tried working a bit larger so there are some A3 pieces – I will have to get a workshop if I want to do any larger than that.

Final organisation for my exhibition

Exhibition up at Trigg

I have wanted to have a picture rail in my hall since we moved into our flat in Edinburgh . We finally got around to it. Though how I am going to cope with talking to people about my art every time they come to the house ….I enjoyed looking at it , but it feels very exposing and I am not entirely sure I am comfortable with so much of it up (to be honest – it’s a relief to have it down the road ….)

My new picture rail before the exhibition

Advertisements

Hannah Gadsby at the fringe

The fringe is in full flow at Edinburgh. Every year I look at the size of the programme, flip through the pages and put it down. The sheer volume and variety of acts is like an assault. I do not know how people choose what to go to. I rely on family and friends suggestions. Jon always chooses a few things and I tag along. He is writing a book about how comedy and counselling are similar, so we tend to go to see people who have interesting things to say about life.

The visual assault of the city starts the last few weeks of July. The usual grey tenements and railings are decorated with large billboards. It feels like a never ending array of Faces , colours, and text – as I walk up the hill I think I must exude a scary ‘fuck of vibe ‘ because the young people have stopped offering me flyers.

Last night Jon and I went to see Hannah Gadsby – before we went I knew she was gay, Australian and thinking of giving up comedy.

I was not prepared for the physical onslaught. She is a large presence on stage. Her face grimaces, eyes pop, nudge , nudge , wink wink. Innuendo , it’s a joke.

She is very funny, but there is an unease, it’s a joke , it’s a joke

There is something about her physicality that reminds me of Trump. The throw aways don’t ring true. Am I perceiving this in hindsight?

There is back story about 10 yrs in comedy, being a lesbian, in Tasmania, where it was illegal to be gay until 1997. She is self depreciating about being large and not fitting in.

She has a degree in art history which added an interesting layer for me. She lets her anger slip out around privileged dead white males, particularly Picasso and his misogyny…..

The first 30 minutes is hilarious, but increasingly uncomfortable as she explores why she is thinking of giving up comedy.

I don’t want to give too much of her act away. I am up at 4 am writing this. I woke at 3am with a tightness in my stomach and my head ringing.

I had a need to get up and explore how I was feeling. I felt like I had been run over by a large lorry. Hannah talks about playing a room, making tension and controlling the atmosphere. The raw emotion and anger that she holds is palpable. On the bus back to outlet flat, I could hardly stay awake. I was physically exhausted. We had to catch the bus because I couldn’t face another assault by the crowds and visuals all the way home.

Her anger – it’s a joke, it’s a joke

I started doing one of my circles of bodies. I made Hannah into an ancient Venus figure and wrote in tight neat handwriting around the shapes on the page. I needed to let stuff out so I reread the Guardian article about the show and picked out words ‘lesbian’ ‘comedy’ Tasmania’ ‘1997’ ‘anger’ stood out. Writing Hannah’s reported words made it possible to step away from how I was thinking and feeling.

It’s not finished yet, I want the figures to be more 3D

But you get the idea.

I wanted the feeling of a tight female figure screaming. She has no arms to represent the tension and rage on the stage. She was magnificent in her fury and it was a powerful set – I have been thinking about white privilege and the need to find ways of of being newly accountable – may be blogging and incorporating stuff into my art is a way forward.

http://hannahgadsby.com.au

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/stage/2017/aug/16/standups-quit-comedy-edinburgh-hannah-gadbsy

Paper dolls and miscarriage

I had 5 pregnancies and 2 live births 30 years ago. At the time I didn't really mourn my loss and I wonder if my anxiety and chronic migraines stem from the upheaval of hormones I experienced over 4 years.

Mostly I feel like have worked through my grief . However, I was knocked for six this week after reading an article in 'Therapy Today'

( Who Knew ? j.Gosney June 2017 vol 28 issue5) The article describes Gosney's work with grieving pregnancy loss. (I could have done with meeting her in the late 1980's). She talks about why there is 'such a silencing shame around miscarriage' I suspect it is because we don't want to upset or worry other newly pregnant parents.

I remember 'retreating from a world that had become a hostile environment peopled by babies, pregnant women and proud fathers' I moved my living room to the back of the house away from the twice a day school run of chatting happy Mums and buggies

I am not sure I experienced post traumatic stress but I definitely 'became vulnerable to anxieties….. and questioned my bodies ability to carry full term…. I realised I couldn't trust my body anymore.'

With my dyslexia and continuing migraines I still feel this phrase resonates strongly.

Most of my art doesn't look into this as a source of inspiration. however after the embodied reactions I keep getting to @gracemorgan's art on Instagram – I felt inspired to look at how I could explore this, using my paper doll technique.

My first go at womb mandala

Wombs with 8 week embryos( which is when the doctors thought things when things went wrong) I quite like the difference in the colours of the womb – photocopy , against the rawness of the real painted colour of the embryos

These feel a bit sanitised, I am shying away from blood. Which is ridiculous really. Though I am being a bit hypocritical because I dislike sanitary towel adverts on the TV

And another pretty one

http://www.bacp.co.uk/docs/pdf/16027_all%20editorial%20tt_jun17.pdf

Migraine mandalas

I get hemiplegic migraines ( which I am sure I must have mentioned in an earlier post) they are exacerbated by flashing lights and hormones. Most of the time they are under control with a very small dose of antidepressants. However, menopause and my irritable bowel has been fun!!! Sometimes, the migraines are brought on by flashing lights – sometimes food (if I am being sensitive). This latest episode was self inflicted really – reading a book and drawing mandalas in 4 hrs of flickering light on a car journey -was asking for trouble. 

I decided to have a go at working through my frustration and anger at my self , after several  reared their ugly heads , consecutive evenings. 

I am staying at my Dad’s house in the south of France with only my travel kit. I painted  loose ovals on lots of sheets of heavy duty cartridge paper with  very diluted acrylic. Then added swirls of neocolours, oil pastels and more paint- it’s warm and arrid here so everything dries very quickly. 


I wanted to continue working with my paper dolls. I tried a design where a female shape is curled up in painholding her head but it ended up looking like white splodges in some sort of fiery constellation. 

A head screaming (below) just looked weird( lol) and didn’t convey what I wanted to express- I like the colours , textures and patterns , so they became backgrounds. 


I needed some figures that worked in circles so I searched on line and came up with an ancient artifact from Mexico 


Practicing blind contour faces in pain ( really getting into the details 😂😂😂😂) 


The above design uses an African figurine as motif but even though it made a lovely mandala in the centre with its arms and legs I didn’t like the proportions of the head and neck. 


Nice uncomfortable screaming baby type figures are amusing me now my head is better and I like the nightmarish qualities – there is an other worldly feeling and out of body experience that I seem to have captured too , which sums up my aura stage quite nicely. Though if I think about it -I don’t experience all that colour 

Palhais Portugal

We have been visiting Portugal this week at the Omissam Guest house. Jon booked us in for a yoga retreat. I was quite anxious because I haven’t done any yoga for years. However, Lia and her team are very adaptable and doing yoga once a day was an acceptable practice. 

The retreat is situated in the small village of Palhais. There is a lot of new buildings but the centre still has a lot of  charm. There are lots of blue and white painted houses and a few examples of patterned ceramic tiles.

The pavements and roads are made of cobbles that are cut into little cubes of various sizes


More examples of tiles – the chicken design was inside a cafe. The majority of designs that I saw are blue and white. 


The tiles are either set in panelled designs making a feature on a wall or a patterned area typically around the main door. 

Every roof is tiled in brown ceramic tiles – there don’t seem to be any guttering and several roofs have pretty ridge tiles and a ‘Moorish’ feel to them 


Because it is early July there are lots of flowers. Agapanthus seems to be used everywhere on rounderbouts, decorating roadside pots and gardens. 

 


Thistles , succulents and morning glory are in abundance too 

Crochet succulents – Tess design 

Because of my dyslexia I can’t read patterns so I have to make crochet stuff  up as I go a long –  my hubbies office at work doesn’t have enough natural light to keep real plants so I decided to have a go at making some succulents. 

A friend asked how I made them so I broke down the stages in pictures and text. I do it  intuitively , so  I can’t tell you exactly how I make them because my learning disabilities make it difficult to translate into individual stitches and numbers 


Below are the instructions for the red and green one 

100 chain 

Then treble in each chain  2 in every other stitch 

To make the leaves 

Third row 

I have made little bumps of 6 chain and 3 double crotchet in between make 6 leaves 

Next set of leaves  make  the gaps 4 double crochet – and the leaves are half treble , treble , halftreble make about 4 


Then make 4 leaves a bit bigger half treble , treble , 6 chain, treble in the same stitch, half treble 


– it’s important to roll the strip up every so often to check and see how the design is working 

about a third the way along the third row – stop making leaves 


Double crotchet , Half treble , treble to the end of the row 

Cut wool and darn in the end

Return to the start of the line of trebles and start making larger leaves 


– I have added an extra stitch to a treble – not sure what it is called but it’s just another wrap of wool around the hook at the beginning – I am going to call them a Quad from here on 


Make 4 medium leaves – double crochet, half treble , treble , quad , 2 chain , quad in the same stitch , treble , half treble,  double crotchet – 4 more double crotchet make new leaf 

Make a large leaf  -double crochet, half treble , treble , quad , quad, 6 chain , quad in the same stitch , quad , treble , half treble double crotchet – 5 more double crochet make new leaf 

Continue making large leaves until the end – gradually build up to 7 double crochets in between each leaf 

If you want to make an all green plant make half treble into the last stitch – half treble in each stitch of all the large leaves – add 6 chain at each leaf tip

I changed to red at the above stage to add contrast to my design 


When you get to the medium leaves change to double crochet instead of half treble 


When you get to the tiny first leaves finish off the red wool and darn in the end

I added a red stitch with a needle to the top of each small leaf 

Roll the strip of crochet and start stitching the bottom of the roll with green wool to hold it into place – you may have to stretch or gather the leaves a bit to get them fitting in the spaces made by the double crochet 

Carry on rolling and stitching to firmly hold into place – stitch the end of the roll to the body of the plant – I tend to do it by sight so that the plant looks a good shape 

Finished design 

Doodling flowers 

I am regularly asked how I start my doodles so I decided to break down the process into small stages here 

I start with some sort of a circle 


Then I build up the design – breaking the circumference into small repetitive shapes. I use the same ones in lots of different combinations to make different designs 



Flowers petals are usually odd numbers but I don’t let that bother me at this stage 


I go round the circles making the designs more complicated – building up the layers of pattern 


I felt the the two on the left needed more in the middle so I went back to the centres 


Here are two flowers with external petals added 

I never do exactly the same design -but keep added more layers until I fill the page with my design. Here are two flowers similar to the pink and white designs above with extra layers added