St Abb's National Reserve

St Abb's National Reserve
View from my office

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

All in the name of publicity, I say:
A nice person from BBC 'Look North' came to visit today. He filmed a bit, photographed some pictures; asked some questions, then we had a nice run out to my mate, Natasha's to film her garden, hoping to wedge in a mention of her open garden (15th June).
Well it was fine; bearable- as fine as having a ruddy great camera pointed at you, can be.
It was the preparation that made me really laugh at myself, feminist, that I am, I wondered whether I should wash my hair, use some serum, you know?
I found a tube of something- a freebie from a pitying cosmetics counter goddess- that claimed 'instant lift'. I put some on my face.
The smile in the photo is a symptom of the fluid. Beware.
I used foundation and mascara (steady, girl.)
Put my hair up in an arty-looking knot.
Vanity, vanity.
(I haven't even mentioned the zip-around I did, to make the house look presentable- Germaine, close your ears.)
If only the whole minute of filming I was allocated could be directed towards the paintings, only.
We did some 'dabbing' of the paint on the canvas.
I do take my hat off to proffessionals who can paint, speak and be watched at the same time- there are folk who tour the art supply fairs doing that, all year!)
Who said women were the multi-taskers?
My left hand was scrutinised, close-up, scrubbing a pastel on some paper. Apparently I sketch in Natasha's garden.
One might guess from the film I asked a six-year-old to do some colouring in, for me. I simply cannot work under these conditions!
But insist on doing so-
Tomorrow, I'm off to humiliate myself on Radio Newcastle; again, to promote 'art tour'.
They want me to bring along my drum, make a bit on noise in a 'what-artists-do-other-than-paint feature.
I flipping paint. That's the bit I'm trying to sell. That's the main point, isn't it?
But, still I go.
I resolve to take my coin-fringed hip belt and finger cymbals, too.
I'm going to make a right effing racket.
Next week, I'm balancing a seal on my nose, whistling 'She'll be coming round the mountain', naked, in Grey Street, and passers by are invited to throw tomatoes for the seal to catch.
If you look closely, the art tour dates are tatooed on my...

Monday, 19 May 2008

I should know better; old enough, as I am.

It was my birthday, yesterday, you see and I drank a few (ahem) glasses of cava-and-orange juice last night...

Hectic at the moment; between art tour deadline, writing, and the classes, I'm finding that weekends are often spent working at the computer. We (all members of the family involved) are also rehearsing for a performance of 'The Laidley Worm' which is to be premiered at Seahouses Festival on 21st June.

Now, some may say it was inadisable to take on another responsiblity, but when I agreed to be involved (and it is my Mother-Out-Law who writes these plays,) I had no idea I'd be writing, and that would mean another deadline!

So, we'd had quite a nice day; on the beach, my partner had participated in a 5 and a 1/2 mile run, in aid of 'Chin-Up', a local charity that runs a respite house for families with children who have special needs, (please watch out for their 14th December run, same place, Seahouses Beach, where all participants will get to wear a Santa Suit, if wished- can you imagine?) Anyway, the weather was nice, so I had a trundle out on my bike, before settling down to work.

At 5pm we rehearsed, for an hour, or so, and were, naturally, full of beans by teatime. I opened a bottle while my daughter cooked.

The rest is history.

So, this morning, I'm drinking buckets of jasmine green tea while my lucozade awaits.

I should be dashing around, being efficient or/and creative.

Silly, silly artist.

So ends my confession.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Oh, the ups and downs of the artist: I get a good day's painting in, today, then burn my son's fish fingers in the process of updating the blog.

(I've binned them- okay am eating them- and have begun a fresh batch, before his stern eye catches sight of a charred corner and flips the things over, saying, 'Mu-um, you've burned them AGAIN!')

Nope, not in any of the Great Artists' bio-pics or books:

Thursday: Light breeze, nimbus clouds hooking the cobalt roof. Sought the company of seagulls on the clifftops; dolphins jumping at the head.

Studies of waves breaking over rocks.

Came home; burnt the fish fingers.

Perhaps they just left those little details out of the picture?

Not that I'm trying to compare myself, you understand, it's just, perhaps a sense of single-mindedness in one life can attract nothing but admiration. In another life can lead only to gettnig told off by a ten-year-old.

What am I doing?

Apart from burning more fish fingers?

Get me off this machine!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

I've been away-hey-hey!

Just wanted to post a little celebratory blog:
I've been away, all weekend, on a residential course, in Ford Castle, North Northumberland.
Dancing, not painting; taught my first workshop, attended classes with fabulously giving, talented and knowlegeable dancers, watched some breath-taking performances and danced from my heart.
A strange thing to say about belly-dancing (a term which serve the purpose of describing a dance that encompasses hundreds of styles and traditions) you might think- I suppose many who have witnessed some kind of Middle Eastern dance would imagine it is little to do with the heart, more with the chest, as so to speak.
If everything is allowed and no one's going to tell anyone else whether or not they're qualified to dance or not, then, yes, a bit of boob wobbling will come into it, (for some dancers) but believe me, it's all about communication, love and trust; about opening the heart and giving everything, and as a viewer, about allowing yourself to accept that love.
Western audiences are geared up to be passive, critical viewers. No wonder so few people are willing to entertain the idea of going to see such a dance; the conversation opened by a dancer can leave you thrilled, heart broken, filled with love, geared up to face the world!
It is an incredibly risky thing to take someone's gaze and keep it- who knows what someone might think of you, or what you might expose yourself to, in engaging in that wild behaviour!
I'm sure people could meet, have conversation, share food, have sex, all without looking into each others' eyes, but I think I may have done all these things just looking into someone's eyes.
And i don't mean cow eyed eyelash fluttering, I feel i mean, windows-of-the-soul, truthful, unconditional-trust-type looking.
We danced to drummers, played zils, spun in the sunshine with silk veils, clashed sticks in Saudi folkloric dancing...
Happy, too happy.
happy enough to cry.
I do hope no one think s I'm a nutter, now, and doesn't visit the blog, any more!
I'll paint tomorrow!