SAL

I have been enjoying working on a series of works, using the same sort of stitching. This is one I am working on. I am sure the stitching will look very familiar.

Let me explain about the scraps of paper. (If you read my newsletter, you will know about this. Click here if you would like to sign up.)

My art practice has moved away from more botanic art influences, so I am rethinking my connection to those past works. At the same time I am wondering what I will be creating when I emerge from this strange time. This work in progress, and the others below, have come out of those thoughts.

I took a watercolour painting of a limpet shell and tore it up. Rather extreme, but I have also been thinking about the impermanence of things, how unfamiliar and unsettled our lives are. I selected some of the fragments and stitched them down. The couched threads go under and over the paper ~ emerging, disappearing. To create the texture I am using an open, quite random herringbone stitch.

These are the other two I have finished. One is a torn eggplant drawing. The other is another watercolour limpet shell, in blue tones. In this one I also added some material scraps ~ you can see them on the left, behind the paper fragments. They are small, so are quick to work on. At the moment it is important to not overwhelm myself.

I am part of a group of stitchers that share their personal stitching work every three weeks. Go and have a look at the wonderful work that is being done all around the world. Everyone is doing something very different, but always interesting.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

Contemporary embroidery

SAL ~ The Forest Regenerates #1

This SAL post is a couple of days late. Time seemed to slip away from me. This stitch-a-long is hosted by Avis, and should have been up on Sunday. At least now you will be able to check out everyone else’s posts (check the list at the end of this) and see wonderful stitching from around the world.

I have been working on free-form stitching of late. I enjoyed couching the threads on the last works, and have been carried away with couching on this current one. It is based on my love of trees. Many of you will know of my love of trees ~ not only individual trees but also the shapes and rhythms of them as a canopy. (If you would like to read more of where my tree obsession comes from, this post might help.) As I am stitching I am thinking of all the trees that have been lost in the fires over the Summer.

I am calling it “The Forest Regenerates”, but I may change forest to bush, to give it a more Australian flavour.

Its size is 25 x 30 cm, because that is the dimensions of a canvas I found to use when I am ‘framing’ it. I started without really thinking much about where it was going, only to find I was having problems with the tones. I couldn’t see which trees may be behind and which in front. Fortunately couching is very easy to pull out. (This photo doesn’t give you the true colour of the cloth, which is actually a vibrant purple.)

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So I began again. (The cloth colour is better, but it is still a more royal purple than shown here.)

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I was merrily couching along, until it dawned on me that it was becoming rather repetitive.

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Inspiration came from Patricia Brown who stitches over her paint cloths. I love her work. My work demanded some overstitching to help to make it zing.

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This is where I am up to…

Contemporary embroidery

And a close up

contemporary embroidery

Lots of lovely SAL projects at these links

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley,Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ

And a quick follow up on my reorganisation of my studio/playroom. I had some great suggestions in the comments about getting my table to fit so that I could face the window. It is all sorted ~ thank you!

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And again, while I have got you, a reminder about my Letter from my Studio, which comes out each fortnight (although lately it has been more erratic than I would like). In it I chat about my art and direct you to places where you can buy it. Jump to this link if you would like to sign up.

 

Beware…woman on a mission

My Mum came for a sleepover last weekend. We went up to Kyneton to see my work in a group exhibition; we had lunch with a friend; we chatted; we ate yummy food; we had a lovely time.

My studio (aka the Playroom!) doubles as the guest room. So to have Mum stay, which I love, and is so important to me, I have to make space to unravel the sofa bed. That means packing up and moving my stuff out of the room, dumping it all somewhere else.

After the success of getting the hall sorted I am on an anti-mess campaign. I was determined to not just throw it all back into the room after Mum left. I was a woman on a clean-up mission!

The first step was to put up a window blind. I did this without killing myself or my Fella and only a truckload of swearing, especially after I realised I had screwed the attachments too far apart.

Next I sat and pondered how to organise the room better. The answer ~ that I needed shelves ~ binged into my brain. On to the computer, where I soon found the answer to my dreams. Clicked on “Buy me” and two hours later I had picked two of them up from the local branch of one of those global behemoths.

I love to jump into things and was on my way to assembling the first one. I had the pieces all laid out when we were offered an appointment at the Falls and Balance Clinic that day. The Fella is priority so there was no hesitation in saying yes.

Back to it the next day. The book cases came together easily ~ much less swearing than getting the blind up!

This was the some of my disorganised stuff

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The work in progress (sorry if this photo gives you a touch of vertigo!)

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Finished, but on the floor

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Next came the fun part of deciding what to move into the little cubes.

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My work table fits nicely up against the wall. However, it means I have to sit with my back to the widow. Firstly I don’t like working in my own shadow. Secondly, I don’t look at the treasured stained glass window that my Dad made for me. I wonder too whether having most of my art materials on my left side will be a problem. Anyway, I’ll try it.

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There is still a lot of mess left, but I am determined that I will sort through each box and basket and messy pile.

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For now I am basking in the delight of a very clean and very tidy work space. It’s amazing what a woman on a mission can achieve!

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Some of you may not know that I write a fortnightly letter from my studio. Well, it has been rather erratic over the last months, but I am going to get back into the fortnightly schedule. i hope to write one this weekend. So, if you would like to know more about my art, you can sign up here. You even receive a free drawing of one of my ink feathers.

Getting organised

I treasure things, little quirky things, small things that I find on my walks, special gifts from people who know what makes me smile. Then there are the things that might be useful one day. A third group of Things In My Life are things that I never really know what to do with.

So I end up with a playroom studio that looks like this….

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and this….

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and this….

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until I feel weighed down by all those things.

The time has come to make a start. Not just tidying, but sorting and throwing/composting/recycling. A real clean up. I am not good at this, as you can see by the things I accumulate around me.

Asking myself three questions was an excellent sorting process.

Does it bring me joy? I have rephrased that, as ‘joy’ is a big expectation to put on an object, to Does it make me smile? Unexpected things got to stay when I asked this, like the origami birds and the jar of sea treasures gifted to me by Jan and the babushka doll from my trip to Russia in the 80s.

If the answer was ‘No’ my next question was Is it useful? The pin cushion was in, with the bonus that it makes me smile! The old maybe-I-will-use-these manilla folders  were out.

Which lead to the next question Can I get another one if I need it? This was the key question for all my natural treasures. Can I get another gum nut/feather/leaf? Yes. Amazing as they are, do I need a whole box full of feathers? No. Off to the compost. My nests went back and forth from one pile to another, but I decided that I couldn’t get others, so they have stayed. And they make me smile.

As I went I found another question waiting to be answered  — Does it weigh me down? These are the things that I find difficult to part with, but don’t really want to keep. For example, a gift made for me by a child I taught. I appreciate the thought, time and care she put into it, but I never used it. At the same time I felt that moving it on was disrespectful. Whenever I saw it there, cluttering up the desk, the negative emotion froze me. I was unable to deal with it.

Now I know I have well and truely given that gift enough of my “oh my, she created this just for me” emotional energy. (She would have moved on from the creation many years ago!) So, it’s off to the op-shop and hopefully someone else will love it and use it.

Now I have a clean tidy mantelpiece and a mood board ready for the next inspiration, an uncluttered computer desk, where I can get to the printer, and a reasonably tidy work table. Still lots to do, but beware the woman on a mission!

Treasures to keep….

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It’s the fortnight my letter comes to you, straight to your inbox. In this week’s letter I show you some of my latest work, a series of trees, not unlike the oil pastel ones I did last year. These ones have sewing ~ now there’s a surprise! And I explain how my reading on creativity has helped me understand how these came about.

Like to sign up? And receive a free feather drawing? Just click here.

In my studio, December 2016

What’s happening in my studio?

Well, not much painting-wise. Like you, I have been busy with other interesting things that this time of the year throws up, including a very interesting talk by Dr. Tom May, who spoke about “From mushrooms to the mycobiome”. But that’s not what this post is about…..

My Cullen painting is at the same stage as last month. It’s not going to be finished in 2016. 😦

I have sent off my #stitchingsanta parcels. It is a fun idea organised by Sheila at Sewchet. Back in October she sent out an invitation to play along this year. I love making connections around the world, so I was in. I asked for two people ~ a sewing and a knitting/crocheting secret santa. Then Sheila’s email arrived telling me who I was going to collect for. I had so much fun collecting things. But challenged too. They need to be things the present-opener would like, as well as having an Australian theme and flat enough to go through the post as a letter. I think I did well, but, as it is a secret, all I can show you is this…..

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In my studio I have some new treasures……

I can never go far without picking up something to bring home. These caught my eye on the path near the Botanic Gardens. I love how the weighty seedpods contrasts with the delicate wings, the smooth and the finely textured, the green and the pink, the shadow and the light ~ all this in one little miraculous package.

The other treasure is a print from my very talented friend Melanie Lazarow. I saw her recent exhibition and enjoyed her abstracts. Some are large and a wild mixture of vivid colours, some are small with detailed geometric shapes. She is also a wonderful photographer and her passion is recording how people fight against injustice. However, it was this print that cried out to go home with me.

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Image copyright: Melanie Lazarow

I love the colours in it, its moodiness, and of course the plants.

While my Cullen painting has been languishing, I have made progress with my embroidery.

It is such a different process to my botanic art. When painting I know exactly how I want the final image to be. The point of botanic art is to replicate the plant in fine detail. Many of the decisions about composition, colour, tone, the process and so on are made before I start. Major problems I encounter during the painting process have usually arisen because I haven’t thought through issues at the beginning. The colour may be wrong or I haven’t really considered how I am going to paint those fine hairs or realise that the original drawing was incorrect.

The embroidery is so different. I have an idea of how it is going to be at the end, as I often work from a photo, but that only gives me the broad outlines, the shape of the tree or where the sky is going to be. I am always problem solving as I go. What stitch is best to make this look like grass? How am I going to show the highlight? Is my yarn giving me the tones that I want? Why don’t I try this thread? So many ‘What if….?’ questions. And I love that about it. It’s playful.

So….what’s happening in your creative space? You will notice that I am not saying “studio” except in the title. I like the sound of it there! Creative space is much wider ~ I’m thinking studio, kitchen table, sketchbook, computer, note book, anywhere you create. And I am not limiting it to painters. Writers and quilters, printers and poets, everyone is welcome.

And it doesn’t have to be a final, well rounded piece. It can be, but it might also be a look at what you are working on, a tip, a technique, a new piece of equipment. It might be a photo of your work space or your inspiration board. Or even an inspirational quote!

Leave a comment below with a link to your blog post, Instagram photo, Facebook entry….whatever.

 

In My Studio November 2016

I started this series a year ago, almost to the day. But ‘series’ quickly became too grand a word ~ two posts don’t really make a series! So, I am starting it up again. I began with this intention:

So….I am inviting you to let us have a peek into your creative space. You will notice that I am not saying “studio” except in the title. I like the sound of it there! Creative space is much wider ~ I’m thinking studio, kitchen table, sketchbook, computer, note book, anywhere you create. And I am not limiting it to painters. Writers and quilters, printers and poets, everyone is welcome.

And it doesn’t have to be a final, well rounded piece. It can be, but it might also be a look at what you are working on, a tip, a technique, a new piece of equipment. It might be a photo of your work space or your inspiration board. Or even an inspirational quote!

How will it work? Many of you join in with Celia’s In My Kitchen feature and you will know that I have taken that idea and given it my own slant. Each month I will put up an In My Studio post. I would encourage you to post one on your blog and then link to it in the comments of my my blog. Clear? As mud! Maybe this will help:

  1. Each month you write about something happening in your creative space. It doesn’t have to be a special “In My Studio” post. I know lots of you do monthly roundups of your creativity.

  2. Come to my blog and find my In My Studio post.

  3. Leave a link to your post in my comments section. Then others can follow the link to have a peek into your space. [Sorry, I am not as clever as Celia, and it may take me some time to get the blog roll down the side.]

  4. You don’t have a blog? Put something on Facebook or Twitter or wherever and give us a link to that.

Hopefully the monthly routine will stand up this time! If not, well, it will happen when it can. 🙂

So, In My Studio this last month……

….has been a timid effort at cleaning up my work space. When I came back from the trip it looked like this

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Now it looks like this…..

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My work table

Not a lot of difference, but I know that most many things still around me are things I need.

My clean up also included my palette. Again, it might not seem clean to you…..

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Paint palette

While pottering around in Spotlight (one of those super craft/art/material/homewares type of store) I found this LED lamp. It was marked down to $15 but at the till I only paid $10! It is battery which means I don’t have to link up leads and power points. The head tilts too.

In My Studio is an inspirational book, on loan from my friend Liz. Every page makes my finger itch to sew and experiment. It is where the idea for my samplers came from.

Stitch magic: ideas and interpretation by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn

Here are a couple of my latest samplers, done in the caravan. The first was inspired by the colours and textures of the arid area around Menindee. The second was in response to all the water we saw on the trip.

In My Studio are two works in progress….

The first is Cullen cinereum that I have been working on for quite a while!

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Cullen cinereum (Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)

It is close to completion, but quite a few more hours yet. There is a lot of fine detail to go, and I am working with a brush so small it is ranked as 000.

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The other work is my embroidery. This is an evening project, and I love the problem solving that it requires. More on it at a later date.

So, what’s been happening in your creative space? Remember to put a link into the comments.

In My Studio

If you would like to show us what has been happening in your creative space over the last little while, write a post about it and then link to it in the comments. That way we will be able to see what other creative people have been up to. It doesn’t have to be a finished product, it may be a new technique or a poem that has inspired a short story or something that you have been working on. It doesn’t have to be a post either. Give us a link to your Facebook or Instagram page. Let’s share!

In my studio I have been busy creating things for my Etsy shop… like shells.

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This is a small part of my shell collection. There is always inspiration here. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)

I haven’t done any for a while and I enjoyed using watercolour wash techniques that I have been learning in other parts of my art.

This sequence of photos shows how I painted the bottom shell.

Top left shows the initial drawing, with blobs of masking fluid to protect the white of the small holes. I have written more about masking fluid and why watercolour artists use it here.

The bottom left photo is of the first few washes. These lay down the base tonal areas and I have a depth of paint to work on.

The big one on the right was taken as I was adding in dry brush work. This is stroking small amounts of paint onto the image to build up the colour and tone.

And look, there is a secret lustre area on the painting that you can only see from certain angles ~ just like the lustre on the real shell!

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I have also bought three frames. I want to give a little oomph to the listing photos on Etsy, and to show people how easy it is to use my paintings in their house. There are lots of inexpensive frames around that would work well. If you follow me in Instagram and Facebook, you will see these three frames pop up in different photos…..

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My new frames (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)

….like here!

I am back to painting the Cullen cinereum, for the Beckler’s Botanical Bounty Project, and I am happy with the progress. It was hard to remember where I was up to after a 6 week lay-off!

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Work in progress on the Cullen cinereum (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

To refresh your memory, the Beckler Project is the one that takes me up to Menindee each year. You can find out more here. This is the fourth species I have painted in the Cullen genus. This one was growing on the very dry Lake Pamamaroo.

So, what have you been up to in your space? I would love to see. Just leave a link in the comment section. Too easy!

 

In My Studio

So much for making this a monthly post! It is well over a month since the first one…but that’s okay. It’s been a busy time.

If you would like to show us what has been happening in your creative space over the last little while, write a post about it and then link to it in the comments. (When I get really clever I will learn how to do a blog roll thingy at the side of the blog.) That way we will be able to see what other creative people have been up to. It doesn’t have to be a finished product, it may be a new paint brush you got from Santa or a poem that has inspired a short story or something that you have been working on.

Today I am going to show you a variety of things.

Firstly, this little box was a gift from my brother. Yep, it was a box of pastels, from Japan. (My brother loves Japan.) Like so many Japanese things, it was packaged beautifully.

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Take off the lid….

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take out the “Welcome to your new pastels” note (as I don’t speak Japanese I am choosing to translate it as that!)…..

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take out the piece of paper that tells you the colours (I am more confident about that translation) to reach the pastels. Each one is about 2 cms.

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Don’t you just love the treasures in little boxes ~ and thoughtful brothers?!

I also have a gift voucher from my Mum (xox).  It is from my favourite art supply shop, Melbourne Art Supplies. I love browsing in art shops almost as much as I love spending gift vouchers.

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You won’t be surprised to know what my Christmas presents to the family were this year ~ sketchbooks! Remember when I went a bit crazy over making sketchbooks? Some of you accepted my offer to send you one. Well, I went into sketchbook making mode again. I decided to make three different sizes, all with different covers. I put them in a box and let people choose the one they wanted. It was okay if they didn’t want one, but I was pretty certain that most would. My family loves projects and recording things, especially in handmade notebooks.

The photo, which I put on one cover, is my grandpa setting sail for WW1. He looks so young, and fortunately he came home again.

You may be curious about the work behind the gift voucher. I had a lovely time playing with images of fungi, repeating, flipping, turning to make these patterns. Because I was giving myself time to play, my mind was free to think about other things I could do. So I added coloured pencil and worked on black paper. I hope to show you those some time. They are not an end product, although often my mind tries to make them one. At the moment they simply are patterns on my noticeboard.

Lastly, in my studio are things to hold my brushes and pens and pencils. I use things that I am fond of.

This delightful mug was decorated by Xavier a gorgeous boy I taught in Grade One. Look how he made the dragon go right around the mug!

The ceramic brush holder was a present from my friend Tess. It has a wonderful African abstract embellishment. The water mug is a tea cup I brought back from Russia. I got carried away over there, thinking I was going to drink tea out of glass mugs with interesting holders. The fancy didn’t last long, but I enjoy using it as I paint.

Who can resist the fancy cardboard cylinders that Chinese tea comes in? Or a shiny milk jug? Or the flat pencil case just the right size for my pencils?

What do you keep your bibs and bobs in?

Go on, tell us what has been happening in your creative space over the past while. I’d love to know.

In My Studio

(The first in what I hope to be a monthly post. Scroll down to the bottom to find out how you can play along.)

I am very lucky to have the spare room as my studio. It is known to the Fella and me as the Playroom, because it is where I have the computer and my art stuff. It is such a luxury to be able to come into my own domain, to sit at the table and continue on a project. I can spread my things around me and if I can’t find them I only have myself to blame!

However, as it is the spare room it doubles as the guest room. There is a divan that folds out into the bed. Because it takes up the whole floor space I have to pack everything away when a guest comes. I look on it as a chance to tidy away and clean up!

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My very messy work table.

You can see from the photo that I work with a lot of stuff within reach. I have a habit of using something and then putting it down close beside where I am working. It means that my working area gets smaller and smaller as more things encroach on it! Each week I try to clean up to give myself a larger space to slowly fill up again.

I have to show you this very cute rubber that my sister gave me. You can see where she got it from!

So, what’s happening in my Playroom this month?

I have been working on an order of ink feathers to send off to the States. It is exciting and I will tell you more about it in another post soon. Here is a sneak preview of one of the feathers.

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Ink feather. (Image copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)

Also I have been playing some more with watercolour washes. These are some of the paintings, which I have pinned up onto the wall. They are close to being finished but I need time and space to evaluate areas that might need more work.

I’ve always been reluctant to pin things to walls. I hear my Dad’s voice in my ear telling me not to ruin the paint work and pull off the plaster. That is until I found this great hanging system.

It is the 3M Commander series and I am only mentioning the brand name because they actually work. I found out about them last year when we had our group exhibition in Menindee. The curator suggested that we use them. They are adhesive, but pull cleanly off the wall. Dad would be very happy because they don’t take off the plaster or the paint.

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You can see the tab peeking out from the paper.

There are two sorts.

I am using one for posters ~ that’s the one with the cat. Each tab has adhesive on both sides and you press one to the wall and the other to the paper. For the exhibition we used the other sort on our framed paintings. You squash two of the tabs with the velcro stuff together and then put them on the frame and the wall. They are surprisingly strong.

When you want to remove them you pull the tab straight down along the wall. It stretches out and then pulls away.

So that’s a little peek into my studio.

Would you like to let us have a peek into your creative space? Just write a post about it (or put it on Facebook, Twitter etc) and link to that post in the comments below. Hopefully we will visit spaces from all parts of the world!

Remember though, it doesn’t have to be a grand studio nor a polished piece of work. It might be your favourite pen or the outline of your story on your computer. What helps you become creative?

In My Studio….

Don’t you love having a peek into the creative spaces of others? It’s like having a glimpse into their creative process.

This morning I went on a studio crawl and visited three studios that were open as part of the Alphington Open Studio weekend ~ Anne Warren, Beatrice Magalotti and Sharon Madder. Three very different artists but each welcoming and interesting. [There were other studios to visit, but my time was limited. Follow this link for the full list and artist profiles.]

For many months I have been planning In My Studio as a monthly feature on this blog.This morning was the impetus to set it up. It is based on two ideas.

Firstly, I know I am not the only one who loves to look into the creative spaces of others ~ you do too, I’m sure.

Secondly, I also know that creative types are very generous with their knowledge, and suspect that most of us love to share what we have been up to.

So….I am inviting you to let us have a peek into your creative space. You will notice that I am not saying “studio” except in the title. I like the sound of it there! Creative space is much wider ~ I’m thinking studio, kitchen table, sketchbook, computer, note book, anywhere you create. And I am not limiting it to painters. Writers and quilters, printers and poets, everyone is welcome.

And it doesn’t have to be a final, well rounded piece. It can be, but it might also be a look at what you are working on, a tip, a technique, a new piece of equipment. It might be a photo of your work space or your inspiration board. Or even an inspirational quote!

How will it work? Many of you join in with Celia’s In My Kitchen feature and you will know that I have taken that idea and given it my own slant. Each month I will put up an In My Studio post. I would encourage you to post one on your blog and then link to it in the comments of my my blog. Clear? As mud! Maybe this will help:

  1. Each month you write about something happening in your creative space.
  2. Come to my blog and find my In My Studio post.
  3. Leave a link to your post in my comments section. Then others can follow the link to have a peek into your space. [Sorry, I am not as clever as Celia, and it may take me some time to get the blog roll down the side.]
  4. You don’t have a blog? Put something on Facebook or Twitter or wherever and give us a link to that.

I am going to post my first In My Studio on Wednesday of this week then you will be able to tell us what is happening in your creative life.