Painting as a holding place for moments of and stages of consciousness
Collage as contemplation
An opportunity to slow down, observe, balance, use what is
Mending as conscious practice
A place to rejuvenate, re-use, add, make gentle decisions.
Painting as a holding place for moments of and stages of consciousness
An opportunity to slow down, observe, balance, use what is
A place to rejuvenate, re-use, add, make gentle decisions.
So it’s been a time of going inward and gradual emergence for all of us and it’s strange coming into the world again don’t you think? For me renewed contacts have been a joy where they have been possible, but it is not without caution.
However, during the time of lockdowns and insularities I have moved studio to Maker’s Dozen which is part of Wolverhampton Art Gallery and I have been painting in a beautiful bijou(ish) space.
It’s time to welcome you, my friends and supporters to visit. I have an Open Day on Saturday November 27th from 11am until 4pm to wish you a happy Yule season and show you some endeavours. There will be prints, cards, seasonal cards, special offers and originals.
As an added bonus I am very excited that my lovely artist friend Rachel Shakespeare will also be opening her studio next door. Her work is divine (literally) and she creates a sacred space to show and tell within. She will also be displaying the work of Nicky Perriman.
Couple this with a visit to Wolverhampton Art Gallery and an exhibition there by Wolverhampton Society of Artists and you have a nice trip out seeing the good side of Wolverhampton. Incidentally there is going to be the British Art Show 9 coming to Wolverhampton from mid-January to April AND a beautiful new cafe in the Art Gallery opens to coincide with that. I was fortunate to be invited into the building site to see it developing this week. I can see it is going to be a favourite place in Wolverhampton to spend time eating, drinking and attending events.
My studio can be accessed from the rear patio of Wolverhampton Art Gallery – either go through the gallery itself or go up the steps off Wulfruna Street opposite the Arena Theatre. We are asking for masks to be worn if possible.
If you can’t visit this day then do message me and we can happily open up another time.
Meanwhile – stay warm and safe.
Maker’s Dozen Studios
5 minutes walk from the station.
I’ve been pondering recently about imaginal thinking and how it can shape change. It involves, for me, more often than not, taking two or more seemingly unrelated images, putting them together and creating meaning from them. An act of ‘wondering and wandering’.
I work a lot this way in my notebooks / sketchbooks. From the semi-intuitively produced image comes larger thinking and access to parts of my consciousness that may be dormant – the subconscious or unconscious and makes it iterative and conscious.
Practice with materials leads to and becomes part of the exploration. Wider aesthetic thinking occurs (something we in the West have largely lost) which leads to thought and words. Afterwards I might write or just ponder as I garden or cook or do the daily tasks. Sometimes there is a notion of an imprinting in the body (embodiment), the book is closed and other life is resumed. Closure….for now.
Here are a few examples from the past week:
and here is a way of going:
I haven’t posted since April – where did the time go? Hope you are all staying well and enjoying some more freedoms than before and some lovely summer weather. I am revelling in the gardens and hedgerows at the moment – literally rolling around in grass like a puppy sometimes – I think it’s just a release from the darkness and enclosure of a strange winter.
There’s plenty of inspiration for shape, colour and pattern down there at welly level!
Now we can freely travel and visit places again, you may like to visit this gorgeous village in the heart of some beautiful countryside. There are antiques shops, bookshops, a yarn shop and plenty of lovely food outlets.
Excitingly I have an exhibition there for the whole of July – although please note that the venue, The Guildhall, is open Fridays to Mondays 11am – 4pm. It’s an amazing building itself – built in 1540. You can go into the courtroom and the council chamber which features the most exquisite wood carvings and furniture.
Cards and prints will also be on sale and I will be there on some of the days – this morning, next Friday afternoon and the 11th July. Other times I will drop in too. Let me know if you would like to meet.
The exhibition is my response to lockdown, featuring birds and wildlife that we could see through windows as we felt so trapped inside. But didn’t we come to appreciate it? Didn’t we notice its importance? Also I am addressing in my work, the need for new myths and tales to be told for our future generations about what we have learned about changes to environment through the actions of mankind.
The address of the Guildhall is 1 Wilmore St, Much Wenlock TF13 6HR.
There are stairs to climb to the first floor. The exhibition and entry to the building is free but please expect to wear a mask. The red blob below on the map is opposite the Guildhall.
I have achieved the desire of a lifetime which is to by myself a Campervan (not a VW trend-setter one!) to travel, read, write and spend time discovering more of our beautiful natural world. You could call it a mobile ashram and painting studio! There is loads of room for art materials and the potential for lots of silence, stillness and solitude. Expect more of this:
… anyway it’s all too exciting – I am looking for places to park up cheaply, walk and paint. I could deliver a mindfulness and art workshop near you with a group of your friends?
I have decided to take a small break from our fabulous art club which has happened monthly online over the past year and we will resume in the latter part of the year. We all need to be out there at the moment, whilst we can!
I’m in the middle of two funding bids at the moment for some funding for great projects – watch this space – should know more at the beginning of August.
Meanwhile get out there, smell the roses, make some marks, draw some and ENJOY THE SUMMER!
Love and best wishes
Well the lockdown is lifting and we are not sure what the future holds. Many people in shops and pub gardens enjoying themselves but I am wary. Not anxious, but more practising being in the field of the unknown and working on being OK with that.
Fortunately I have a happy hermit mentality for the most part and making art, writing in notebooks and growing plants and veg keep me fairly isolated. What I am looking forward to is a few visitors to the studio and chats in person about art and meaningful stuff. Meaningless babble welcome sometimes. 3D people would be a bonus. In moderation. Introverts unite (well, the unite bit can be tricky!).
So I have enjoyed working on the PhD – very in the head with that but I also need to get out in the air, move my body, practice yoga and sitting in total silence as a contrast. I am working on the balance.
Pieces like this run daily at the moment alongside written thoughts.
I am working on some larger oil paintings and small pieces for a solo exhibition in July in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. Some are inspired by new myths created for changed times for we are sorely in need of new narrative.
The exhibition is part of the ‘Word In Edgeways’ storytelling festival which covers July in the town. The paintings can be viewed at The Guildhall, Much Wenlock. More details when I know them.
I am still running Wolf Town Art Club online once a month on a Sunday lunchtime – if you fancy a bit of art fun do join us for the cheaper than chips price of £5.80.
Next session is Sunday April 18th 11am-1pm – no experience necessary – the theme is birds this time – read all about it and book here:
Something else I love to do – the practice is my total foundation. I am qualified and overjoyed to share. Please find sessions on the Boundary Way Project events pages and also Gatis Community Centre’s Eventbrite listings. These sessions are competitively priced or free.
If you are visiting and would like to visit the studio please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07976 350062 to see if I am in and covered in paint!
Stay well and safe
It is how it is and I have given up planning. There isn’t much point in wishing it otherwise so really I am concentrating on making the most of every day aren’t you?
I would love to hear how you navigate through. Do post in the comments.
I am walking a long walk each day (unless it’s really wet – I confess a tendency toward fair weather walking!) and busying myself with artwork – some large oil painting when I can get to the studio and a lot of small sketchbook work and trials with materials.
I have also enjoyed making some short films – here is one celebrating the faces in West Park, Wolverhampton. This is a space where I am allowed to go for exercise. Who know there were so many faces there!
I have called it West Park Ghazal which is becasue it sits alongside a poem in this form that I made on a workshop with Emma Pursehouse and Steve Pottinger last week as part of the Boundary Way Project. Emma is the poet laureate of Wolverhampton – do look her up she’s insightful, poignant and humerous. She features in Wolverhampton Literature Festival next month. I might be performing for the first time on February 14th – eek!
West Park Ghazal
In West Park the sun is lower – om shanti
The mist obscures at an early hour – om shanti
Ice sheets crackle in blue chipped wonder
The tiny moorhen, a struggling rower – om shanti
Geese sliding comically on landing
Webbed feet losing control and power – om shanti
Trees drip fog drops to the slippery paths
Azalea buds with a promise of flower – om shanti
I pity the birds, the struggle for food
A leaf too tough and a berry too sourrrr – om shanti
I give thanks for my lot
at this early hour – om shanti.
– Clare Wassermann Jan 2021
and here was the day itself – wasn’t it beautiful?
I have been enjoying teaching both meditation sessions and art online. If you would like to join one I have :
Wolf Town Art Club – next session is Sunday lunchtime on February 21st – here are the details on Eventbrite. 2 hours of fun for £5.80 – cheaper than Sunday lunch.
Meditation sessions are available through Gatis Community Centre – look for Mindfulness, Meditation and Wellbeing – they take place on Tuesday nights online. These are free for now.
Also at Boundary Way monthly meditation, movement and mindfulness sessions in January, February and March on a Monday morning at a very reasonable £2.50. We are lucky to have been awarded funding for this work.
Meanwhile I continue to walk and draw when possible outside – in itslef a very mindful activity – ages can pass and I can be almost completely frozen solid before I notice my body!!
I discovered Haiflu today too.
Created by Spoken Word Artist Liv Torc and supported by Forward Arts Foundation, National Poetry Day, the British Library and Arts Council England
Featuring over 600 contributions from all over the UK and beyond and told through stunning weekly film instalments. This is not just lockdown art, it’s a historical record of human beings and society in the midst of great change. Here is the website and there’s a great Facebook page too if you like short poetry and film. It’s all very current.
Best wishes to all of you out there – stay mindful, warm and well.
love – Clare
Not sure whether we are really finding it a season to be jolly this year. There has been so much pain and suffering that it’s hard to think of Christmas parties, gathering families and carol singing without feeling whistful and sometimes quite sad.
We have, I suppose, to find our own way through and find things which give us pleasure in a deepening winter and a confusing world. We may need to rephrase and instead say: ” ‘Tis the season to be grateful.”
Gratitude can go a long way towards finding some kind of contentment in small moments. I am finding ways to celebrate what I have. In the words of Dr. Andy Cope, (doctor of happiness at Loughborough University) I wake up each day and say to myself “my teeth don’t hurt and my pancreas is glowing with health.” Try it – it’s a good way to start the day!
As you may know I am moving from my huge studio where I had held lots of wonderful classes in creativity with groups of fun loving and eager art makers. In the time that we have been keeping ourselves to ourselves I have worked from home and therefore smaller.
For me, spending time drawing and painting, is great – it is fully absorbing and is time away from the news and social media which only serve to fuel fear and mistrust. I have also enjoyed taking photos on my long tramps around the streets and along our urban canal network. With more time it is amazing what you can notice right under your nose – particularly small details. Documenting shifting light through photography has been absorbing.
Last week I undertook a little online challenge – Folktale Week 2020 which involved prompt words and in my case paints, pencils and pastels working just to A5 size. I liked the discipline and sometimes only finished my daily prompt just before midnight by the skin of my teeth!
Here are my images …. along side them a story emerged quite natually, of a kestrel on Dartmoor! More of that to come maybe but here are the images:
On December 13th I will be hosting the second of my Wolf Town Art Club sessions online. I used to have open house at the studio once a month on Sunday lunch time for people to come and work on their art and meet like minded folk. We can’t do that for now so art club is online … do come and join us – no experience and limited resources needed.
This time we will do a mindful drawing exercise and look also at colour palettes – read all the details here – there are a few places left at the moment.
If you need to buy art materials in a hurry Jacksons is brilliant – if you don’t have an account at the moment click the banner below and you will get 10% off and even if you DO have an account click on the banner anyway because you will still get 5% off – I get all the materials I can’t get locally from them.
I am currently loving Caran D’Ache Luminance pencil crayons which layer up beautifully and Faber Castell Pitt pastel pencils which sit on top of every other media. Yum! Oh yes and gouache paint by Turner – handy for travelling!
All the above links will give you a 10% or 5% discount. Think Christmas!!!!
We don’t really know what it holds do we but I have invested in a new space to work from – it is pregnant with possibility! And when events can safely go ahead I will look for venues to hold our workshops. We will survive!
Here’s a little link to my Etsy store
Unfortunately the robin Christmas cards have all sold out.
In addition to this I have some original artwork getting ready for exhibitions next year – drop me an email if you are interested in viewing sooner….email@example.com
Thank you for reading
This Autumn, more than ever, is a time to gather resources for what seems a more hunkered down hibernation than ever before. Covid-19 means we will all need to protect each other and restrict our movements out of the home.
My resources include:
Restarting a particular art practice
Investing in Pranayama as a daily nutrient
Daily exercising. Meditation. Yoga. Taking in only healthy things wherever possible, particularly with regard to through my eyeballs – this too counts as nutrition.
Caring for my garden …. singing a lot!
I would be interested to know what are your preparations for this ultra-isolated winter?
My new daily practice will be returning to Intuitive Art making. I will write a post shortly about this soon but it is based on deep meditation and opening to creative prompts which feel as though they come from a place within which connects to the connectivity of us all without.
Here are a few recent examples:
Eventually these may translate into larger paintings but for now I will work smallish for convenience. It feels good to be working back this way again and my method will contribute towards the PhD I’m working on.
I am always working in sketchbooks though – it doesn’t matter what it is really I try to draw every day – sometimes waiting in the car, for an appointment or sometimes deliberately setting out to sketch. All of it contributes in some way to the recurring theme that is ‘fear of getting started’ – most people experience it!
Last week I was lucky enough to spend some time in Wales and enjoyed drawing in harbours, hills and beautiful beaches. Sometimes the weather was quite moody – always good for atmosphere and Wales specialises in it!!
As this constrained winter approaches I am thinking about running my Sketchbook and Art Club online – let me know if you’d like to come. It used to be in the studio but restrictions will not allow for that to happen easily so I am working my head around adapting. We can share what we have all been making and I can lead some fun exercises!
Maybe wine would help????
Back soon – I am going to try to keep this blog more regualar so sign up below if you would like to see my journey and develop yours perhaps too.
Autumn Preparations for a new kind of Winter – blog post.Tweet
‘Seeking the Olive Branch’.
It’s there if we look. That symbol of renewal and rebirth.
Planting it comes next, and following that nurturing it for transformation.
This will take work and determination and a simpler attitude to life, so that there is time to water it daily and provide a healthy environment.
Circles in general feature often as a symbol in Buddhism. Mandalas representing the universe are made in sand to remind Tibetan Buddhists of impermanence and as an aid to concentrate the mind. The idea of the Dharma Wheel, the wheel of reality is important and is said to turn in both directions.
The ensō is one of the most common subjects in Zen calligraphy. It symbolises enlightenment, power, and the universe itself. It is a direct expression of thusness or this-moment-as-it-is.
Generally it is a brushstroke, or sometimes two, painted in a single breath and can be symmetrical or irregular, thin or thick, heavy or delicate. They are generally accompanied by a verse (san) composed either by the artist or a separate commentator. The enso acts as a visual koan.
Koan pictures, alongside the riddle of the words, represent that moment between not being and being enlightened. The idea is that everything around one can be used as an aid to enlightenment and one just needs to have eyes to see it and apply it to whatever problem you are facing in the moment.
The circle may be open or closed. If it is open it represents beauty in imperfection and transience (wabi-sabi), allowing for movement and developmentand if closed, perfection and completion.
The notion of wabi-sabi is that beauty is found in combinations of symmetry, irregularity, simplicity, weathering, basicness, simplicity, without pretence, freedom and tranquillity.
Painting of Enso is be used as a spiritual practice as often as once a day by many practitioners. Once painted it evidences the state of the practitioner at that moment and is not added to or redrawn.
This spiritual practice of writing Japanese calligraphy for self-realization is called hitsuzendō meaning ‘the way of the brush’.
I am currently working with the breath to create enso.
The breath is life, ch’i, prana, the vital force. Don’t take it for granted.
Current exhibition online:
“Out Of Darkness Cometh Light” – a collection of work by twenty one artists in Wolverhampton remaining creative during lockdown: http://www.newhamptonarts.co.uk/out-of-darkness-cometh-light/?fbclid=IwAR22tcQ0VMWu38m65qHXZHC2J1jFsDH6Kde3RvsIp5kseVV2I6pSD8j3Lis
So I think it is week 7 of Lockdown – although truly, after Boris’ unclear and blurred message to the nation last night it is hard to say if it is still to be classed as such. You are supposed to go to work if you can. Well I think it is very premature myself. The traffic hum is more this morning – a big increase – those felt impelled to go to the workplace out of need or pressure from employers
The world laughs at the UK, at our incompetence, and the government attempts to PR itself into a what is a self congratulatory flag-waving mess.
Anyway – I have found it hard to create or find meaning in creativity. Maybe it iscreeping in more now. I have no income but it seems wrong to try to create art to sell when there is so much loss and sacrifice around. It seems trite.
I have more recently gone back to making art to think instead. Occupying the hands. Taking the chatter away by doing and creating space for more important questions. Mostly my sketchbooks are the place for that. My thinking spaces contained within a holding place for a doing thing.
I have a couple of small paintings on the go, a large piece of creative stitching and the increasing volume of sketchbook work.
I wonder how it is for everyone else who makes art?
Otherwise I do big physical things in the garden, small detailed things in the garden, walk and practice yoga. I try to shop for others, more needy once a week and participate in some family cooking and attempts at positive thinking.
My preference would have been for the government to look at making it safe to cycle here – semi closing roads and allowing us to commute, exercise and shop safely by bike. Wishful thinking.