Doubts and dreams.

Exhibitions, Galleries

“I don’t believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me.” ― Tennessee Williams

All artists have self doubts.

My husband often has his doubts and uncertainties simultaneously with a very clear dream and extraordinarily clear talent. The moment of finding his style was a pivotal point. Not in no longer having those doubting moments but more determined.

It is amazing how just taking a moment to stop and observe can help you clear your mind. As I ate my particularly prepared porridge and looked out the window, I captured a moment. A bird perched in a tree finding shelter from the wind. How much protection it found? I wondered, as the tree danced with the movement of the strong gusts on this cold and blustery January morning.

Even within language we may not all be visualising the same thing. If we say ‘tree’, what type of tree is it. What are you thinking of? A willow drooping low and forlorn, a palm reaching energetically tall, a busy evergreen, a strong oak with branches stretching outwards. Is it a tree made out ladies legs? What concept do we have in our own mind’s eye.

bird branch

‘The Branch’ will be shown at FLUX , The Rag Factory. London. FEB 18th-22nd

It is easy to think of trees as strong and immoveable. As the numerous branches move like dancing arms outside it makes me understand that nothing remains the same. Everything is moving, flowing, shaking, changing.

I had a big writers wobble the other day after reading my brother’s newly formed blog. I had a sudden large wave of self-doubt as I compared my own skills with his, unfavourably. Immediately seeing his confident youthful writing style as superior to my own rather than thinking that it is just a different way of writing.

sketch doubts

‘A sketch’ by Sam Shendi

Perhaps a tiny slip of the deadly envy creeped in or a little bit of sibling rivalry but it didn’t last long. I don’t harbour bad and unnecessary feelings for long. Especially towards my younger brother to whom I am maternally overprotective of. I used it positively. It made me realise that I had to focus on my own style and my own direction.

Observing nature helped too, the bird in the tree. We all have moments where we doubt ourselves. The wind shakes the branches of our spirit a little. It makes us grow and develop. My brother who is writing about his recent travels, tells me he hasn’t changed. People don’t change. Perhaps travel doesn’t change us. I think though, if the experience doesn’t change us then time will. Travelling inwardly to the depths of our soul should change us. If we want to change the world then we have to start with ourselves.

with a bird

‘Conversation with a bird’ by Sam Shendi

I have read lots of beautifully brilliantly written blogs over the last four years, here are 8 I would recommend:

http://outsideairblog.com/                             https://knowthesphere.wordpress.com/

http://winterowls.com/                                  https://pathsofthespirit.wordpress.com/

https://ittosjournal.wordpress.com/              http://wharnsby.com/

https://haywardhelen.wordpress.com/         https://emmasouthlondon.wordpress.com/

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”- Robert Hughes. Perhaps. I guess it is one of those emotions, it is only human. ‘Only Human’ my husband’s exhibition at Cartwright Hall will end on 23rd February. So one more month to go and view it.

So my mantra for this month. Stop doubting and start daring to dream.

sketchbooks display

‘Sketchbooks’ on display at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery

cellar gallery

‘Only Human’ exhibition at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery

Drawing upon Drawing

Drawings, Galleries, Workshops

So much has been happening of late that I haven’t had time to finish a blog entry. I was thinking of merging them into one but will try to be focused and get it done in two.

The sculptor has had various interesting meetings recently which included a workshop for the first time which went well. It was focused on his exhibition and for the participants to create a sculpture but he wanted the group to focus on drawing their idea first. A large collection of work went in a restaurant in the middle of Bradford city centre, and that followed with a radio interview for BBC Radio Leeds. (Sound bite will only last for the night 3 days and he is speaking at roughly 40.43).

The sculptor talking about ‘drawing’ at the responses to art workshop

The sculptor talking about ‘drawing’ at the responses to art workshop

We all went for ‘The Big Draw’ at Cartwright Hall during half term and had well over 100 people draw on huge paper which we intended to wrap around the building but it was too windy on the day when we wee finishing. It was really interesting to see patterns in drawing.

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Four year olds drawing of people, The BIg Draw 29th October

Lots of 4-year-old drawing circles, dots and lines to represent bodies. Parents drawing houses, some finding inspiration from their family. A grandparent sat for a good while some fantastic shading in of a beautiful snail his granddaughter had drawn. A young boy drew his fish tank with amazing detail and a family came in to warm up from the park and covered their paper in ducks and birds and visions inspired by Lister Park. Upstairs in the gallery Tim Curits , another local artist who does lots of drawing in his own practise, they were looking at a college and self portraits and making pictures of themselves with newspaper. Drawing upon a lovely collection of Hockney’s drawings and college work.  Our eldest, feeling comfortable to roam the gallery by himself went to see what was happening in Tim’s workshop and usually keen to do anything creative declined out of loyalty to Baba downstairs. It was the first time for my husband to do this community art workshop event. We had thought that we would ask family to look at each other and draw each other , perhaps looking at the style of my husband’s sculpture. However, when its a drop in and the numbers fluctuate with busier times and quieter times it was just good to see people sitting and drawing and not being too prescriptive.

The gallery was a hive of activity and what was also interesting was seeing on one wall in the Hockney exhibition, all the drawings were hung at child’s eye level and there were little drawings of Hockney to find around the exhibition. So with the Big Draw event, Julia Donaldson exhibition and curators hanging work directly for children there is no better place or time to introduce children to the wold of museums and galleries so I totally agree with Jake Chapman and his quite ridiculous statement about children and galleries.

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Our eldest’s drawing at The bIg draw event at Cartwright

Children aren’t suddenly going to want to go to an art gallery at 18 if they have been ousted in infancy. Art and drawing is already squeezed out of the main stream too much. Drawing is such an important and valuable skill and something we forget to continue to do as we grow older. With my husband and eldest constantly drawing it is something that happens in our house naturally but something I personally don’t take time to do. After such a busy half term the house is in a state where I have drawers to wash, draws to put things away into, we have been rushing around so much and leaving a mess.

I noticed this morning a sudden drop in temperature, the skyline grey and wintry. Like shades of  newly sharpened pencils crisp and fresh. Time to sit down, wrap up and draw.

 

 

Bottoms, rabbits and running in the gallery

Exhibitions, Galleries, Public Art

'Shelter' other angles 3

I felt a little bit of traitor today, I piled the kids in the car and drove to hear sculptor  Sophie Ryder do a talk about her work. My own sculptor was doing a ‘there and back in a day trip to London’ to collect the work above, really like these two images above of my husbands work, taken by Lili Phelouzat the curator of the exhibition and this comment, “they contrast to the larger and shiny pieces. These are very intimate and has lots of meanings, tongue in cheek”. So I thought I would make the most of the fair weather and enjoy the grounds of Cartwright Hall and take in the talk with the boys. There was a time pre-children that I worked at Cartwright, such a fantastic venue for a gallery and when now when I go I realise I took that opportunity for granted. I knew it was over ambitious with the boys but thought I would at least get to hear a bit.

We  explored Sophie’s exhibition quite vocally. Of the older sophisticated audience perusing the exhibits of rabbits some were amused at my two loudly exclaiming ‘Bottoms’ and ‘BumBum’ although when my toddler suddenly appeared on the wrong side of the barriers I felt it was time to leave. At least he didn’t pull his trousers down, we have done that at other inappropriate venues! We ventured upstairs where a large number of people were gathering in one of my favourite rooms of Cartwright Hall Art Gallery. My eldest was fantastic, he had picked up a pine cone on the way in and then sat down with the paper and pencils provided and drew. My youngest however was in his energetic element and was thrilled by the space and his feet could be heard thundering along the beautiful wooden gallery floors. I heard 5 minutes of the talk, barely. We left and went into the glorious grounds. ( I would definitely recommend the exhibition for children though, they will Love counting how many rabbits bottoms they can see.)

It was interesting and inspiring if only for the  30 minutes spent today to see a gallery space in action and for me to think of the future. Perhaps with less rabbits, bottoms and running in the gallery.