It's that time of year again. Artists and makers will be opening their studios, garages, front rooms, shops, galleries and other miscellaneous spaces this weekend, to show the public what they do.
It's my 6th year taking part - once again I am in The Cabin in my back garden. This year I'm number 227 in the directory. There may well be baking. I have been tidying and sorting through my work from the past year, deciding what to put on show. The Cabin is quite small, as those of you who have visited before will know - I am contemplating having an outside exhibition space, weather permitting (and if I can find where I put the little gazebo...), in order to show a wider range of my work.
There are more artists than ever included in the trail I'm part of - this year called The Lower Deeside Trail (see image below). I have also posted this on my Facebook page, and paper copies will be available at any of the entries listed on it. Time to get planning where to go - I have started making my list already!
I look forward to seeing you and welcoming you to The Cabin!
I have been experimenting with collage this week. I saw quite a few examples of this technique, using all sorts of different materials, during my tour of North East Open Studios last month. Perhaps some of the pieces I saw could be classed as mixed media; I'm sure there are specific definitions somewhere. I stuck (pardon the pun) to paper and glue for my playtime. A pile of old magazines, some newspapers, my pot of PVA glue (which temporarily went missing), a pair of scissors and some pieces of cardboard for bases, and I was off! It is a surprisingly absorbing occupation, I found. I did not consciously look for patterns or themes. I also did not aim for an overall picture or image (such as a landscape) as the end result. In fact I am not even sure that these are end results! I am tempted to add some paint (acrylic, or gouache perhaps) to some of them. I will be revisiting collage very soon, I think. The Orange and Blue effort above, based on the sheet music of the tune with that name, inspired a painting I did today. It's fascinating how different types of creativity feed each other. Fascinating, and fun!
Every so often, it is necessary to refill one's well of inspiration. That's one of the many things I love about North East Open Studios - I can go out and fill my well with all sorts of lovely things.
These are not necessarily finished pieces, or paintings, or creations. They may be fabrics, or an assortment of tools on a workbench, or raw materials waiting to be made into something new.
Or they may indeed be finished items. Paintings, ceramics, textiles. All with their own colours and textures and depths. Here are a few images of things I have seen during my days out visiting NEOS participants.
I am sure you will understand what I mean.
North East Open Studios (NEOS) is on this week, in my area. I finally managed to get the cabin ready for visitors, tidying away my art materials into the garage and making space for folk to see my paintings and daughter's photographs.
We've been open for two days so far; Saturday and Sunday. It's been fun again, meeting new folk and welcoming in old friends who I realise I don't see often enough throughout the year. Some of them I am guilty of not having seen since this time last year! It's been great to catch up over a cup of tea and a muffin - baking before breakfast is part of the routine this week.
It's always fascinating to find out the reasons for folk visiting NEOS venues. Because there always is a reason. Nosiness, interest in art, or photography, or creativity in general. Many, many folk are looking to be more creative themselves, and are keen to hear about classes in the area, how to start, how to keep going and all those dark arts that creative people apparently possess.
For those keen to paint and draw, I encourage them to carry a sketch book. And to use it! That's one of the key things I have learnt from the classes I have been going to for the past few years at Udny Green. Draw, draw, draw. And for the photographers, look at things differently, if you can. Zoom in on a puddle and see the reflections, or an ancient rock to see the patterns made by the lichens, or examine the patterns left by a receding tide on a sandy beach. It's all there. Just look.
Thanks to Mike for the photo of me "at work".
I'm not very good at planning ahead. That's the truth. I tend to leave things until the last minute and then get in a flap and rush around doing things at great speed. Well, not great speed really, I don't seem to be able to do that any more.
So, this week I find myself trying to get organised for something that's happening later in the year. I find I'm having trouble focussing my attention on it, as it happens in September, which is a whole six months away. This seems like a long time, but I know from bitter experience that it is hardly any time at all. Especially when creating things is involved.
The event I'm concerned with is North East Open Studios (NEOS) and this will be the the third year running that I will be a participant. In past years, it has been a week-long event in September, during which creative people open the doors of their studios, workshops, living rooms, village halls etc. to show the public what they do. This year, the event will run over a three week period, with the northeast (of Scotland) divided into three sections, which will be "open" sequentially. Accompanying the event is a catalogue of participants, which provides year-round information about all the wonderful creativity that's happening in this neck of the woods.
What I need to to now is compose my entry for this year's catalogue. This involves writing some words about what I do (creatively) and deciding when I will be open during "NEOS week". I was keen to have a proper website up and running this year, having worked using Facebook, Twitter and a rather sparsely populated Blog in the past. And I have achieved that, by registering this very website for that purpose. Raise the flags!
I'm off to make up some words about myself - a tricky task at the best of times.
Here's part of last year's exhibition.