Saturday, 22 January 2011

Returning to my roots

Well, here it is. The New Studio. This is my room, relatively ordered and organised for now. I'm sharing the workshop with my sister, who has a clothes design business (see her blog, Sustainable Styling). We have a large front room, which will serve as cutting room / gallery space, and then two smaller rooms at the back, of which we have one each as workspace. It's right in the centre of the village, Chagford square, which is great. It means it's easy to reach, easy for people to come in, and (for me at least) will force me to be more sociable. I became particularly hermit like last year, working from home, and I don't think it's good for me! Most importantly though, it should make me more disciplined about working. I fell into the classic trap of working from home - I ended up simply doing all the chores that needed doing around the house, and rarely getting around to painting. Of course, it will put added pressure on me too - there is the small matter of rent to be paid, and therefore earned!

But for now, I have decide to treat myself to a 'no pressure' first month. Instead of hurling myself into uninspired paintings in a desperate attempt to earn some cash, I have taken the time to pause, and ponder just what it is about illustration that I love. In moving my possessions to the studio, I boxed up, and then unpacked all my precious books, and in doing this, took many hours, ginger tea in hand, to look through them. To remember again those beautiful illustrations from my childhood, that formed my earliest memories of books, and influenced my first drawings. The books I saved from my own children's youngest days, favourite illustrators working now. So many.....
I grew up on a diet of Arthur Rackham, Aubrey Beardsley and Edmund Dulac, Alan Lee and Lisbeth Zwerger. Shirley Hughes.(Alfie and Annie Rose irritated me, but I adored the story of Dogger).Maurice Sendak's illustrations for 'Charlotte and The White Horse' As I moved on to older fiction I loved the spidery line drawings of Charles Keeping (especially the unicorn in 'Elidor') and Victor Ambrus ( the wild Spanish mustang in 'The Wild Heart'). Honore Daumier's paintings of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. I bought for my own children 'The Highwayman' illustrated by Charles Keeping - possibly my most favourite of all!
Having children of my own introduced me to a whole new generation of illustrators, and more treasures for my bookshelves. Jane Ray, Jackie Morris, Helen Ward, Shaun Tan, Russell Ayto to name just a few.

My work feels as if it has become more and more stilted of late. I have been feeling constricted, and uninspired, painting from necessity and not from joy. This week I have felt like a child in a sweet shop. Gone is the restrictive pressure of 'painting to order' and instead I am scribbling and sketching. Drawing from life and not from photos. Doing 'rough' paintings as working sketches, and reworking the same theme over and over in a myriad different ways, just to see what happens. Picking up my dipping pen, which is oh-so liberating! I may be broke, but I'm SO happy! It's becoming hard to drag myself away in order to collect the children from school, and I feel deeply resentful of other jobs which take me away from my studio.

A part of me feels panicky - I'm really not sure I can afford to rent this space - so I must get as much work done as possible. A creative frenzy is upon me.
Another part of me feels guilty. Is this not incredibly selfish? Not only am I using something from our meagre household coffers to do something JUST FOR ME, I am very happy and do not want to share my space and creativity with anyone.
Mainly I push these worrisome parts of me away, into the dusty corners, and just feel a slight swagger in my step as I say to friends and family "I'll be in the studio all day". It's so much more satisfying than saying "I'm going to the shed until I can bear the cold and the creeping fungus no more"!
I've even taken a 'commission' from my daughter. She of the 11 owls.
I fear she is going to be a very demanding client!

19 comments:

Amo said...

Best wishes in your new venture Danielle. I'm sure it will be a wonderful success.

Karen said...

Congratulations! The fact that you keep saying how HAPPY you are shows that you've done the right thing! The rest will fall into place now.

Valerianna said...

Congratulations! Its soooo good to be re-enchanted with ones creative process.... and I love the two, loose drawings for the commission. And, well, of course, I DO love owls! Much abundance to you and may your excitement draw exactly what you require and more to keep your studio and know that your work is needed.

Rima said...

A thousand bravos Danielle! You sound inspired and your working feels different :)
I shall be knocking on your studio door ;) xxx

Kath said...

How exciting and how tidy ;-P
I am so looking forward to seeing what you create here.

Lynn said...

I've been enjoying your blog (and art)for a while, but this is my first post.

Wanted to wish you all the best in your new space. It's a big and wonderful move.

And I agree with Rima's comment: there seems to be a different sort of freedom in your new pieces. I look forward to seeing what's ahead.

Bovey Belle said...

Best wishes in all you do Danielle. You have such talent. I have been trying to stir my creative juices with participating in A River of Stones recently. It has helped me - a BIT . . .

Betty said...

I have been following you for a while - it's lovely to see you taking premises and becoming an established artist I think. Wishing you lots of happy and creative days in your new studio. betty

The fearless threader said...

It looks so warm and cosy. I am so jealous. I know what u=you mean about cold studios, I've been rather avoiding mine in the recent cold snap, its so unpleasant to try to work there.

Elizabeth Rimmer said...

I know where you're coming from about the guilt and the juggling, but this is such a positive step, and will have spin-offs for everyone. Go for it, Danielle, and good luck!

Dan said...

I'm sure your new venture will be a great success. It was lovely to read about how your old books have inspired you. You'll probably find that your new studio will help to boost your household coffers no end!
Good luck!!
Dan
-x-

Swan Artworks said...

I think you've listed most of my own influences there!
Hope you enjoy your new studio space - its certainly something I crave! And it sounds like its had a positve influence on your way of working already... good for you for going for it!

A mermaid in the attic said...

Wonderful Danielle! I know exactly what you mean, when you work at home it's so hard to leave everything else and say "Today I'm painting"...there's always something else that needs to be done that somehow seems to be more important than following our creative inspiration! Bravo!

Gail H. Ragsdale said...

Oh I am sooo envious of you! It matters not the money, I think you will do quite well as your talent shines so strongly in your work!

Best wishes, I shall keep positive thoughts of you across the miles.

Aisling Kiernan said...

Congratulations Danielle, your new studio looks great. You have taken the hardest step and I know you will manage to make it pay. I understand totally what you mean about the guilt thing but I read recently that by being happy we are doing a service to a world with too much misery in it, we are creating a vibe which spreads outward encouraging more happiness in others. So you see the world needs more people like you. Now I am off to practice what I am preaching!!!

Heidi said...

I love your work and this is my first post to you.

What a wonderful way to start the new year in your own studio. And yes, definitely allow yourself time to play. The Muses that live in the studio walls love that!

Dartford Warbler said...

Wishing you many happy and creative hours in your new studio. You sound so positive and optimistic. I`m sure you will do well, and how lovely to be working alongside your sister.

ullam said...

I'm here today via Jackie - your notes on her taxidermy made me laugh out loud! I too wish I had access to her amazing collection that inspire and help her dream... Your space is wonderful, and of course you deserve it!!! Why is it that artists are so often telling themselves that we need to be poor and have little space? I find myself hearing those words within often as well. Lets grab the moon and pull her close! We deserve to make dreams come true too!
Hugs
Ulla

Blackfeatherfarm said...

No guilt required, this will be a success. Art is a big part of who you are, to be out and shinning will make you joyful and your loved ones will be happier for it. Best of luck !!!

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