New Necessities and Old Tradition

A month to watch a wreath decay.
Ribbons pulls friends home
to mothers, in towns away, ‘cross
hills and tracks with luggage
to escape being alone on Christmas.

Arthritic, brittle leaves dry out, and
leprous branches fall.
Crimson berries, cries of red
from cherub-cheeks stuffed
with glowing rosehips
finally lose their gloss –

before shrivelling, fading
and passing into hallmark shades of Winter grey.

Quiet, deserted houses in cities
light up again come new year,
when the ribbon unravels, new shoes
tread into cold buildings
to find unused candles, abandoned blankets
and corpses of wreaths by the bins.

The Sky’s Eye and Ours

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The sky’s face watches, exhausted; blinks.
Blessed evening parades a lullaby –
woollen lavender weights travel
magically suspended,
hot-blushing sunset casts a mural
against cold walls, whilst the city turns purple
and the air to breathe is plum.

How many have painted a sun?
with twisted wrist and loaded brush,
an idea of bright, hot, white.
Artists eyes strain above architecture, feet stuck in
northern courtyards of red brick and cobblestones,
learning that all suns are not the same,
don’t look the same,
but look like us.

 

On a Train, Chased by a Storm

I scribbled down the composition of this piece while travelling from Huddersfield to Leeds one evening that the north of England saw some spectacular stormy weather. I have come back to it hoping to recreate the dramatic feeling of movement and height.

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It was nice to work whilst knowing I was aiming for the Tilda style, but I’ve got into the place where you’ve been staring at your work too long and no longer know what you think of it!

I do plan to try more like this, and refine how I work skies.

On a personal note, as this blog is about wellbeing and creativity; we have just moved into a larger flat where I have more light and room to spread out. I’ve been sewing a lot, sorting through old notes and sketching/painting more. The most important thing to me though is still missing due to medication: my writing. I feel like I’m getting closer, and I’ll post here as soon as I’m in my flow again. Having a comfortable living space is helping. I know that I can get too precious about my poetry and what I share, so I’ll try to refrain because it can inhibit my creativity. Any tips about getting back into a writing routine would be welcome!

Style 3 – Tilda

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Similar to an illustrative style, these pieces are outlined and accented in pen, within controlled compositions of nature. I want them to feel relaxed, simple and almost childlike.

It’s taking some practice, and I don’t feel I’m quite there yet to produce the quality I’m aiming for in this style, but I hope it will be worth it when I get there. Your thoughts? Too simple?

September begins: my next ‘style collection’

 

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For now this one is named ‘Associate’. I would describe these pieces as being the ones where there is high contrast, a moody feel in blues and purples, recognisably organic shapes and motifs feature under an overall abstract and stylised approach –  using masking fluid and other ‘artificial’ manipulations like the diptych here. I want them to have severity and also depth, where possible.

What do you think? Does this successfully come through? These are fun to do, and relatively quick to come together after the conception of the idea.
Also, I moved house last week, so have a much better space for working, yay! Expect more on here from now. I feel freed up. I hope to write more soon too, just need to settle down. Does anyone else need their brain to catch up when they have something like moving house?

Changes

To focus my work, I’ve created three different categories of ‘style’ that all my work should fit into. This is the first product of this new process, and I’m really pleased. This style I’ve dubbed ‘Johnson’, at least for now.

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Johnson – One

The theme is ‘Remembrance’, including in the motif an Elm tree which signifies death, Nasturtiums for resilience and victory in battle, Foxglove signifying medical treatments and poison, and Rosemary and Poppies for remembrance.

I would love feedback, hope you like this direction! The other two styles will feature soon. Lots of exciting things to come. I’m even toying with some poetry ideas to couple with this piece.

An Update on Paintings

I’ve been away for over a week so have been unable to post anything here. (I have been active on my Twitter! @SukyWhettam) Here are some small square practice pieces I’ve been making on my week away.

I was using Khadi paper here, a very absorbent, textured cotton paper that took a while to get used to. It did however make way for lovely soft blending since the paper stayed wet for so long. I’m happy with the effect produced on the Tree Trunk, and also enjoyed using pen to provide a children’s illustration feel against the matt gouache in the Smoke and Garden pieces.

A big risk with this paper was overworking it, so these were worked quickly and kept as simple as possible. I’m happy to work like that because it keeps it fresh, even if it does mean I’m not perfectly pleased with all these pieces produced. I can always come back to the original idea again and redo it. It was great practice and nice to work in a different setting for the week.

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Let me know what you think!