Wednesday, 25 February 2009

This Week in Review

Umm... I had an idea that I was going to write a post tonight, but now that I am here my brain has turned to sponge and I'm just staring at the screen! The trouble is, I have been so unbelievably tired recently. And grumpy and miserable to go with it.

I'd got it in my head that I could finish my polar bear by Monday (just gone), which of course didn't happen. I pushed myself to do some of it when I was obviously too tired to do it, which resulted in it not really going to plan, and now I have to alter it quite a bit. It's quite disheartening to spend so much time and energy on something only to realise that it was a waste of time because you did it all wrong!

I know it doesn't look that bad in the photo, but I know what it's supposed to look like! The front comes out too wide, and there are some other changes that need to be made as well.

So, experience has now taught me not to push myself when I am too tired, because when it goes wrong that then affects my confidence too.

Yet again, I didn't get to class on Monday. I was just so exhausted and Scott was very poorly too. He has a heavy cold/chest infection/who knows what and was very sick on Monday morning. The strain has burst the blood vessels in his face leaving it a purply red colour and puffy, so he looks like a bloated corpse. I told him "You look like death. Literally!"

I did manage to start a portrait on Monday evening though, which I continued to work on during class on Tuesday (although we were supposed to be working on landscapes). The mouth has been giving me a lot of trouble.

It's getting there, but I can see that it's still not right. I find photographs really useful for this, with both drawing and clay. Often I can't see what is wrong with a piece until I take a photo of it.

And now, I have a lot of blogs and emails to catch up on. And lots more sleep.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Assigning Gender

Yet again I had no classes this week - this time because it is school holidays. By the time I go back to my clay class next week it will have been five weeks since I last worked on my vase, and although wrapped well, I expect it to be quite dry. The tutor seems quite confident that we will be able to rehydrate it, so I'm not particularly worried.

My polar bear is coming along quite well now, I think. For a while I was really struggling and I turned to Scott and asked "Remind me why I thought this was a good idea?" His reply was "I don't know" - my sentiments exactly! But I think (or hope) I am past the most tricky stage now. The front legs are attached and I have started to work on the shoulder area.

I tried to fatten him up as Queeny suggested, but somehow he's looking a bit skinny again. Maybe I accidentally pressed the sides in. Oh well, I've heard that polar bears are much thinner these days, so maybe my bear will help raise awareness of their plight!

I still haven't really decided if this is a boy or a girl. With Swanee I didn't even think about it, it's only when Leanne referred to it as a "she" that it became a girl. With my polar bear I always intended for it to be a girl, and yet I caught myself referring to it as a "he", and both Queeny and Leanne have done likewise.

Do you always assign gender to your pieces? How do you decide if it's a boy or a girl? Do you make your mind up at the beginning, or do you wait to see how it turns out?

Friday, 13 February 2009

Polar Bear WIP

Ok, so I wasn't going to post an update just yet, but I anticipate a long and tiring day tomorrow (early start, plasterer coming, shopping, blah blah blah), and I'm awake now (although I shouldn't be) so "there's no time like the present" and all that.

We were blessed with more snow on Thursday evening. We didn't get much and it's mostly melted now, but it came down quite heavy for a while. It came at just the right time because we were supposed to be going out and I wanted to stay home to work on my polar bear! Scott and I looked out of the window and said "Ooh no, we can't drive in that treacherous weather! We'll have to stay home! What a shame!" Hehehe :)

So here is my polar bear so far.

Those feet don't even look like they're related! They look like a random pair of wellies left in front of my bear! Eventually they will be attached though!

I still don't really know what I'm doing, but this got me thinking about art and the creative process. I know some people like to have a plan before they start, maybe even draw out some sketches, but I'm too impatient and I just want to jump right in, although I do think about the process quite a lot. I suppose you could say I make mental sketches - loose ones! Do you plan? Or make it up as you go?

I was also thinking about something Cynthia said before, about our first pieces being special. Also, Whitney posted recently about those special pieces that we just want to keep. This got me thinking. There are quite a few pieces of my own that I don't want to part with, but I suppose eventually I will run out of space. As I create over the years, will this feeling pass? Will my art stop being special to me? And if it's not special, will I still want to create it? How do you feel about your art?

Ooh, I nearly forgot the great prize give-away! Ok, here's what you have to do:

The first 5 people that respond to this post will get something made by me, it will be my choice, but made especially for you. However... this offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

-What I create will be just for you.
-I will make no guarantees that you will like it (but I hope you do !)
-You will receive this item before the end of the year (or sooner).
-You will have no idea of what the item is going to be or when you will receive it.

The catch is that you have to repost this "MEME" and put together something to be sent out as 5 surprises of your own. These could be anything... a piece of art, a photo, a poem or haiku, a quote... whatever you like, let your imagination run wild!

I've taken part in this on Leanne's blog, and I can't wait to see the surprise I get! I just know it will be fabulous!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

This Week's Classes

For the third week running I have not been to clay class! This week and last week was due to "bad" weather. However, I have been working on my polar bear at home quite a bit and I think it's actually starting to take shape now, instead of just looking like a large bowl with feet!

I'm having to stuff it with news paper to help support it. (Sorry about the blurry photo's)

I realise I am by no means past the most tricky stage, and I still don't really know what I'm doing but it seems to be working!

At our drawing and painting class last night I added a little more to the "Italy" painting that I had started at home last week.

I'm not sure if it looked better with or without the pen, but I didn't take a before and after photo so it's hard to tell now. Again, I don't really know where I'm going with this. I'm waiting for it to "speak to me"!

The planned lesson for us this week was to take a magazine cutting and to try to match the colour, painting an abstract piece around it. I must admit, I'm reluctant to show this photo because I don't like it at all. I didn't get to finish it either, and I can't see me going back to it to do so.

I used my water colours, just because they're easier to transport and I had them with me anyway for the Italy piece. It's ok, I really won't be offended if you hate this! To be honest, whilst I was painting it I couldn't help but think "I'd rather be at home working on my polar bear"!

In other news
We have workmen in today replacing our bathroom. I think I'm supposed to be happy about that, but the water will be off all day so I shall have to pee in a bucket. I have no idea what I will do if I need to poo! Also, they have the front door wide open and we still have snow on the ground. It's a little bit on the chilly side!

Coming up this weekend: the great prize give-away! Don't miss it!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Big Kids!

Firstly, I have to say a huge thank you to Kathi Dunphy for sending me her snow! At 2:31am on Thursday she commented that she wished she could send us snow lovers some of their snow, and less than 20 minutes later we had heavy snow!

It was so exciting! I just couldn't sleep! I kept getting up every 10 minutes to look out of the window! Finally, a little before 4am, Scott and I decided to go out for a walk in it! We tried to make a snowman but the snow wouldn't stick together very well when we rolled it. We had to scoop it up with a dust pan in the end! But isn't he cute?

Yeah, the snowman's not bad either! :) I think that's one of my girly gloves that Scott is holding! We couldn't find his, and when I pulled these ones out he said "I'm not wearing those!" Yeah right. Once you get cold enough you'll wear anything!

This was the view from our window at about 11am. Scott measured about 4 1/2 inches on our path.

Notice that even the road is completely white, due to lack of traffic. It was so quiet all day - absolute bliss. The school was closed, and it was so lovely to hear the children playing outside with their parents (yes, some parents still do that it seems!). And no traffic! It felt like a holiday.

I was following the weather news quite closely because I wanted to know when we would get more snow! But I gave up in the end because the news reports about the snow are so negative! "Traffic problems due to snow", "Schools shut because of snow", "People skiving work because of snow", "Country comes to standstill because of snow", "I'm embarrassed to be British because of snow", "When I were a lass I walked 30 miles to school in 10 foot of snow" blah blah blah. So what? Look at it! It's beautiful! It's fun! Go out and enjoy it and stop bloomin' moaning about it!

So anyway, as you may already know, my classes were cancelled this week because of snow! But I've been doing the odd creative thing here and there at home this week. On Monday evening I carved another lino cut as a template for a dish to go with the plant pot I made ages ago! On Tuesday (or Wednesday, I can't remember) I started a little mixed media painting. Here it is so far:

In case you're wondering, I didn't paint Italy! That was printed, but I drew the lady and I'm not sure if you can see it but I've drawn the outline of an Italian restaurant as well, which I will paint with water colours and then outline with pen. I'm not sure what else I will do with this piece yet.

Also this week I started another major clay piece! Umm... this... supposed to be this...

Can you see it yet? No, me neither! I think I started it a little on the large side as well! Never mind, it will be fine, trust me - I have no idea what I am doing but it will be fine! It makes me feel better when I remember the fact that there were times when I didn't have a clue what I was doing with Swanee! And she came out fine! So this will be fine... I'm sure it will be...

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Eeek! No!

I can't believe Leanne has tagged me with this Meme! It's a list of 100 things, and the ones in bold are the ones I've actually done - this will be a quick read 'cos I haven't done many! Ok, here goes:

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain (I lived on one, but it was just like a big hill really - no climbing involved)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch (Not yet!)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (Umm... not an overnight train, but I've slept on a train and nearly missed my stop!)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (No, I stayed in bed!)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (Both)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (But not at a restaurant)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (Well... it was night, but well lit by the Blackpool Illuminations!)
46. Been transported in an ambulance (But I wasn't the patient)
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain (I can't remember, but I've kissed in the snow!)
53. Played in the mud (I can't remember that either, but I was a child once, so probably)
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (I can't remember, but think I may have done a long time ago)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (Twice from drowning, and I'm not even that good at swimming!)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

Exciting eh? ok, I tag Mona!

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

So, the big headline news this week is that Britain has snow. Apparently we haven't had snow like it in over 20 years. That being the case, I wonder why we have grouchy old bags like Margaret Morrissey from the Parents Outloud campaign group saying that school closures sent the wrong signals to children "that when things get difficult, you should just stay at home and have fun".

Oh ok, so bus, train, and plane services can stop running, and the whole nation is advised not to drive by car unless it is absolutely necessary, and that doesn't give out any signals that when things get difficult you should just stay at home, does it? But despite all that, schools should still stay open and children should be forced to go in? What message does that send out?

If we only have this much snow every 20 years, chances are that this will be the only childhood memory of a decent amount of snow these kids will have. Let them play!

The poor kids in our town have been couped up in their schools all day. I remember those days well - getting wet from the snow and having to stay in our wet things all day, and the school heating system not working properly - believe me, we were better off at home.

My classes, on the other hand, were cancelled this week. Don't ask me why, we only had 2 inches of snow here.