Thursday, 17 January 2013

A note on Genius.

A very good friend of mine showed me this video of a short lecture by Elizabeth Gilbert ages ago and I found it engaging and a super interesting new way of looking at things but a busy six months meant I forgot all about it. However, with a creative flow that comes and goes as it pleases, I have had reason to ponder Gilbert's words again. I think it's a thought all us doubtful and struggling artists would do well to bare in mind.

Or click on the link below 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Once upon a time...

The Sketchbook Project . I keep harping on about it but I have finally completed mine for 2013! I may have been frantically filling in pages right up until the deadline (reminding me too clearly of not so distant University days!) but I did it! My over-use of exclamation points here is an indication of how pleased I am to even finish it at all! (there's another one). Let me explain. At the beginning of January (having been torn mercilessly away from my creative hub by the large, inescapable and extravagant presence of CHRISTMAS slap bang in the middle of December.......someone could have told me it was coming!) I entered two weeks of intensive illustration meltdown. I think dad must have got sick of the sight of me traipsing up and down his stairs. With two self imposed deadlines looming in the form of The Sketchbook Project and a separate competition, it was myself I felt I would be letting down if I didn't make them. There followed consecutive days of flying scraps of paper, splashes of paint and scribbled writing, cries of frustration, tears of anxiety followed by solemn silences. All in a days work for an illustrator! Especially one who doubts herself at every turn. Which is why the exclamation marks are so necessary! The theme I chose for this humble sketchbook was Narrative. Rather then developing one narrative to run through the whole sketchbook though I decided to create a book of short stories, a decision I often question in the subsequent weeks! A new story for every double page. And that is how I ended with this, a random selection of half-tales that seek to capture the magic of fairy tales in a few short lines. Maybe I managed it, maybe I didn't! The important thing, in this case, is that I finished and for that I am grateful to whatever muse decided it should be so!

It was love at first sight for the bear and the bee. And they lived happily ever after.

There was once an old man who lived in an attic. He had no friends except for the mice who lived in the sloping eaves of his little home and the sunlight that came through his one window every morning. The old man would shuffle his feet across the little patch of sunlight on his floor until they were quite warm and have a good long chat with the sunshine. The sun had seen a lot of interesting things. The old man had also done a fair bit of exploring in his day and liked to reminisce about these with the sun. "Oh Sun! How I would like to see the Pyramids of Egypt and the Taj Mahal again! But these legs won't get me very far." Why don't you come with me?" said the sun. "I see those sights every day." The old man thought that was an excellent idea so he left a note to the mice to say he might be some time and so to keep the place tidy in his absence, put on a new shirt and a good pair of shoes, climbed out the window and was never seen again.

Two little birds sitting on a line of bunting at a village fair, one named Daphne and one named Claire. They sat all day to watch the fun. Then flew away with the setting sun.

There once was a girl who could not find her way home however much she tried and so she wept. The wind was sorry to see this so it tugged at her legs and her hair and her heart and her feet until she tripped into the air, spread her wings and flew. "Thankyou wind!" she cried. "I remember now that I forgot how to use my wings and so lost my way but now I have found my way home.

Gertrude Grey was a peculiar woman. When she was nineteen she fell in love with a clock for it's cheerful disposition and married it soon after. However, it was not to end happily because she got so annoyed with it's bad time keeping that she divorced it within six months. She then turned her attention to the bookcase for it's encyclopaedic knowledge but became frustrated at it always answering back. This story does not have a happy ending. Gertrude gave up on ever finding love that met her standards and so lived alone.

It is midnight for an infinite moment. Then it is gone and time slips effortlessly onwards. But as the magic hour strikes on silent bells the blackest pitch of midnight dissolves in the luminous silver light of a low, fat, full moon. It emerges from behind a shy fringe of whispery cloud and hangs sleepy and content in the midnight sky. Below the scene that is illuminated in the wake of the fleeing shadows is the ragged edge of a forest. Like the whispery cloud before if, a shaggy fern is pushed aside, this time by a wet black nose. For the briefest moment, while midnight still hangs in the balance  it quivers alone and exposed in the light. Then the rest of a face pushes its way out from behind and the the sleek rust of a fox emerges. And as midnight slips past the moon, so does the fox.

A family portrait? Perhaps taken soon after the wedding. Perhaps not. I'd like to think it was love that made her cover his hand with her own though. Does it matter that we don't know? Is it the story we imagine that counts in the end?

Once upon a time there was a rose who wanted to be a raven. The other roses laughed at such a silly wish. "You are the most beautiful flower in all the land! Why would you want to become a dirty black raven?" The rose didn't say that she had watched the ravens flying in the sun and seen how their feathers glinted many colours in the light. A raven heard her wish and said: "But I have always wanted to be a rose!" Neither could turn into  what they wished but they became friends and so in the end saw the world through each others eyes.

Every night spent under the stars.

Once upon a time there was a young man who had been cursed by a wicked old witch to never set foot on dry land. Even if he saw land in the distance, the more he rowed toward it, the further away it would become. Living as such had taught the lad how to talk to the many animals that lived in the air and the ocean and among them he had made many friends. However, he could not banish his desire to step on solid ground. "It''s no good," he told the whale, "the more I try to get to land the further away it gets." The whale pondered this difficulty and then said: "Why don't you try rowing away from the land rather then towards it?" The young man followed this wise piece of advice and in letting go of his desire, he found his way home.

The kettle boiled with a zealous cacophony of deep throated gurgles. The hot water gushed forth in a billow of steam and found it's mark in the waiting tea cup. The liquid eddied and swirled against the china as deep amber pillowed up from the depths.