Still plodding on then:

Still adding layers of scrubby paint to this canvas – in the morning, when I look at it refreshed

Still hand quilting – while watching tv in the evening, don’t need to see it that well, just higgledy piggledy running stitch.

Still making holes in this tweed jacket – middle of the day, when the light is best, with strongest set of glasses on.

Still listening to Christmas cds… all the time…

Peter Broderick – “http://www.itstartshere. com

Elbow – “Dead in the Boot”

First Aid Kit – “The Lion’s Roar”

Loney Dear – “Hall Music”

All the above highly recommended.

Sophie Cullinan sent me a sock that arrived a couple of days before Christmas. I’ve been panicking because I thought I’d lost it – got thrown out in a load of wrapping paper or turkey carcass or similar, but no. Just found it half way down the ironing basket… phew!

Will deal with that tomorrow!

My Christmas reading list consists of books with high ratio of image:text, including:

“Information is Beautiful” ed David McCandless very browsable – attractive and prompts exclamations of “ooh! that’s interesting” at regular intervals. You don’t need a book mark, you can just dip into it in between glasses of mulled wine and mince pies.

“Fifty Sheds of Grey” by C.T. Grey – parody of the other book with similar title. This one much more suited to me. It has pictures of sheds in it. And a healthy disregard for the seriousness of sex. And gentle wordplay sprinkled with double entendres. I particularly liked:

“Pleasure and pain can be experienced simultaneously” she said, gently massaging my back as we listened to her Coldplay cd”

(see, the writing’s better than in the other one too)

My husband bought it for me. He knows what I like.

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Not being twitchy…

3 days after Christmas and it has happened. I’m not twitchy any more. The fridge is full of food, there’s plenty to drink. Help yourself, I’m doing nothing now!

Except… that basket of stuff I hid under the table.

I’ve almost finished the quilting that’s been hanging around for two years – can’t imagine why it’s taken me so long! Can’t wait for the cheer to go up when at the next Rebellious Quilters meeting I whip it out and go Ta Daaaah! They will all be glad to see the back of it too.

Unpicked the stitching around the holes in the jacket – not neat enough. Must try harder. Sometimes I go at things in a rush, desperate to see if they work, then go back and improve the look of it. Those of you that know me, or have read this, will be stunned to see such impatience and sense of being in a hurry…. (ahem hem)!

I have an urge to go back to the sound stuff too… but I will have to wait until the new year when everyone else is out of the house and I can sing and play the same 20 second bit of stuff over and over without them losing the will to live.

I also did a painting! Shock! I love the process of painting, but my style and method is immature really, like a little girl with a new set she’s had for Christmas. This was different, and possibly worthy of a bit more experimentation. Due to a series of errors and misjudgements made by the aforementioned schoolgirl, I happened upon a method that seems to work. I mixed the paint too thin so it wouldn’t sit on the canvas nicely and was too drippy. I couldn’t find a big enough brush to just do a general sweep to work out the composition, so wrapped my finger in a bit of cotton rag (there’s always a bit of that around here) and rubbed the drippy paint all over the place. As I rubbed and worked out how I wanted things to be, this nude emerged from a foggy cloudy mess of ultramarine mixed with viridian. The nice thing is, as a textiles obsessed person, I can still see the warp and weft of the canvas. There’s hardly any paint on it at all! The deeper tones need building up a bit, but if I just keep doing more layers with the painty rag, I’ll still be able to see the textile beneath the paint. I also when painting, choose “pretty” colours, which, while pleasing when working, mean I’m never particularly happy with the outcomes, thinking it looks like interior decorating channel 4 programme “art”. I hunted for some crimson, but didn’t find any. This is a blessing as I used cadmium red with a tiny bit of violet something or other in instead. I know you painting purists will be horrified at my lack of discernment, but I just wanted to carry on, get it done! It was a yucky colour. Not what I wanted. But the outcome is better. I think, next time I paint I will do a lucky dip thing and just use the first three colours that come out of the box. That should break the nasty habits!

So, when I’ve done a bit more on it later today, I’ll take a photo for you to see. Online crit please – need help!


Recommended reading 2012:

I’ve been reading Anthony Boswell’s blog ‘Et In Arcadia Ego’ – Beyond Painting a lot lately…


… he is very eloquent and manages to say the sort of thing I’m thinking, but in a way that is poetic, has a soft rhythm to it. It has a feeling of the internal about it, and feels a little confessional sometimes, very personal. I admire his courage and his writing style, and always come away from it feeling thoughtful, and a little inadequate.

Been reading Bo Jones’s blog “The Art of Teaching” too…


… Those of you that know me, or have followed my blog a while will know that I know Bo quite well, we did our MA together. I’m really glad he’s started writing, as his blog gives me a forum to think about and comment on my teaching, something I never really wanted to do on my own blog. His insight and questioning nature served me well during the course and since. He is used to me swearing at him, as the minute I think I have something cracked and start to feel complacent (see comment on laziness in previous post), he will ask a short and to the point question that throws me off balance and makes me think again. His own art work has occasional links to the topics I think about myself, but his outcomes are completely different, and these differences will often cast light on what I’m working on, and how I’m doing it. His blog widens out the questioning. Good stuff.

Ruth Geldard’s “Two Steps Backwards…”


…also has me hooked. Each post is peppered with great quotes that she’s obviously been collecting for a while, each appropriate to her subject matter. I have made at least two visits to that popular online bookseller since reading her blog. She is funny, and throws in references to her working style which, like mine, is often based around her kitchen table. It is reassuring to read that you can do it this way, anyway you like in fact. As she quotes:

The studio is less important than other things, like the burning desire to paint. If you don’t have this disease, you can’t catch it from a nice studio.” Warren Chiswell

My last recommendation, for now, is Marion Michell’s “Sleep-Drunk I Dance”


Her work is exquisite, and rarely, this shines through in the simply presented photographs. They provoke such an emotional response in me. She writes of them as real people, and I see their characters and their lives. The work and the writing about it is poignant. I hesitate to mention the other aspect of Marion’s blog, that of her illness, as she is often reluctant to do so herself. The illness makes her no less an artist, but it permeates her brain and her body so that its effect on the work is no doubt inevitable. But all of us are affected by our circumstances aren’t we? I could make a list of the parts of my life that influence my work, and these crop up in my blog now and then for all to see, and no doubt there are things I don’t see, that are blindingly obvious to others. These are the things that make our work our own. These are the good bits.

This whole blogging thing is great (despite discovering in the book “Information is Beautiful” that there is a 1: 35,000,000 chance I could die whilst doing it!).

Whether I’m reading other people’s or writing my own, it has provided a real focus for my thinking about my work. Even when it doesn’t seem like it – I do wander all over the place a bit!

So thanks everyone, keep writing through 2013!



That was a busy year wasn’t it?

So… Resolutions… yes or no?

Yes: It’s good to reassess, look at what you’ve done, see what you still need to do, goals and targets all that stuff.

No: Rubbish. Setting yourself up for failure aren’t you?

Somewhere in between: What I end up doing is setting myself tasks that are already underway, so I can feel just a little bit smug and ahead of my own game. I’m quite good at conning myself. I seem able to compartmentalise bits of thought and bits of my life and having internal conversations with myself. Mostly I say things about how I’m so motivated I don’t need resolutions. I can lie to myself with complete and utter conviction.

(men, white coats, secure transport)

Any resolutions this year in terms of artwork should then be concerned with things I’m doing now, cutting holes in respectable clothing, hiding things in the pockets, shining light through some holes. I’m thinking I shall have to knit myself a twin-set. Remember all those tortured discussions about how to display my work? Maybe I’ll just make it and wear it?

(Incidentally, the second tweed jacket has been hoiked out of the studio by my son, who has claimed it to wear – oddly, he didn’t want the one with rude words embroidered on the pocket flaps.)

I need to get some critical feedback about these at some point… make sure I’m heading where I want to. Got such a lot of ideas in my head to be dealt with. Things to be stitched, drawn, torn and mended. Lots of boundaries to keep pushing at…

I think though, I should resolve to address my extreme laziness. When I had tutorials and assessments going on, I was really speedy. I know that I can be, but without that, what have I got to give me a nudge to get these things done? Who have I got to give me a nudge? Maybe one of those internal voices?

Nah… they’re all bloody mad. I’m the only one worth listening to.