Monday, 21 January 2013

It's not my business

It's not my business to worry about what other people think, about me, about others, about anything. They will do what they do, they will think what they think, regardless of me. The only thing I can successfully change is how I react to other's reactions. Easier said than done sometimes ! 
I came across a a nice analogy today. What if we changed our perspective and viewed our lives as an artistic masterpiece....?

What if every day we viewed our 'painting' as an ongoing work..? every person we met had some little, or big, part to play in the composition. Every thing we encountered was there for the purpose of making our 'painting' richer. Whether it was a stranger in the street we passed a pleasantry with, or even an unpleasant encounter. Even the dinamics within our families. Every event teaches us something about ourselves. Looking at life in this way changes our perspective . We start looking for the lessons, the teachers, the reasons for an event taking place. What have we learnt from that....? We are the controllers of our lives. Everything comes from within us, not from outside of us. Suddenly every day seems like an adventure. It's all in the not knowing, expecting the unexpected.

The snow even reached Brightlingsea this weekend, what beautiful colours it gave the mud and cold water. 
I'm off to an island I visited a couple of years ago now, I'm not sure the weather is a whole lot better there in the winter, but a change is as good as a rest, as my Grandmother used to say. I am expecting the island to look quite different in the winter light, it was well into the 100's last time I was there. Looking forward to being inspired.

Keep warm.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Art of Trying

Pablo Picasso said ' God is, above all, an artist. He invented the girafe, the elephant, and the ant. He never tried to follow one particular style. He simply kept doing whatever he felt like doing.'

Paulo Coelho said 'It is the desire to walk that creates the path ahead; however, when we set off on the journey towards our dream, we feel very afraid, as if we have to get everything right first time. But given that we all have different lives, who decided what 'getting everything right' means ? 

Why do we have to follow what everyone else has done? To learn from their mistakes? Or to follow blindly where others have gone, in the hope it will work for us too? More often than not, living in this 'safe' way, life becomes a prison.
Anyway, let go of the oars, let the boat drift.....those are my new year's thoughts.

Still experimenting with the watercolours. I'm finding a small sponge gives a nice bloomy effect. It moves colour around quite nicely and lifts off excess paint easily.

Having worked with layering materials and acrylics for so long, I am still finding watercolours a challenge. The last thing I want is to produce twee renditions of landscapes, and need to sort out which technique is best for me. So there is still much in the way of experimentation going on !
Going back through my photos of Valletta, I'm finding the crumbly architecture again very inspiring. But don't at this stage want to be drawn into the obvious colour palette of blue skies and ochre buildings. At the moment I want to stick to my usual limited colour palette of pains grey, raw umber, yellow ochre and a little ultramarine.
Every thing turned to black !

Too wet !

Being much more controlled as to where I put the water, keeping it very much inside a drawn area. Then when that is dry, moving on to another area.
Not sure I like it....thinks it looks a little too controlled. 
A view across Xemxia bay.

Onward and upward .....

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Working with a goose and a bottle

A woman raised a goose in a bottle.  When the goose was grown, she wanted to get it out.  
How can you get it out without breaking the bottle?

I came across this koan the other day. For those of you that don't know what a koan is, google it ! Loosely speaking it is a Zen question on which to meditate. Not something that can be solved intellectually but only by somehow 'holding' the koan in your body until an insight reveals itself. 

My day today was mostly taken up with returning my son to Uni. All through the drive I had this goose stuck in it's bottle sitting at the base of my skull. Goose, bottle, goose, bottle. It was squashed up against the glass but was smiling (?) and quacking contentedly. Why would the woman want to get the goose out? it looked pretty happy to me. Was it to be in control of it's life? She had nurtured it to adult hood and now felt still somehow 'owned' it and was responsible for how it lived...? 
It's difficult letting your children go, but go they will. They will find their own path, they will learn (or not) by their mistakes and may or may not live the life you had intended for them. Ultimately they must chose for themselves and be true to themselves and take responsibility for their choices.
We reached my son's house only to find that the last students to leave before Christmas, had not done the washing up, or cleaned out the fridge of perishables....yuk. What a stench. Without a moan or groan boy emptied the fridge of gunk, cleaned it out, put all the dirty pots, pans, mugs etc into a big box and put it outside. Cleaned the kitchen and got on with his day. He wasn't judgemental or angry, just accepting that that was how some people like to live their lives. All he could do was to live his life the best he could. He does his washing up and keeps his room tidy. And that is all any of us can do. We can take responsibility for ourselves and allow others to do the same. It doesn't mean though, that boy won't voice his concern for every ones health and is thinking about how he can resolve the problem.
This was a boy who six months ago was was kept clean and well watered and really didn't have to think too much for himself and I am very proud of how he has risen to the challenge and managed to lever himself out of the bottle all on his own. 

 The Winter light is so special, the subtle greys and slight pinks that fill the sky are such an inspiration.
The watercolour at the top is just the first wash of a painting I am working on, trying to get the delicate colours. The camera seems to have made it a little pink though it could be my laptop....I am going to save the photo above as a pallet for interior colours ! Reminds me of peeling French Chateaux interiors, grey paintwork next to palest grey walls, held together by rustic tables and chairs.