I showed a piece of art work to a gallery manager/owner last week. You know where you have one of those dreams where your standing in front of a zillion people and you realise your naked, well that’s how i felt! The pieces are still a work in process, im not sure which direction they will take but i wanted them scanned to a memory card so i can use photoshop to play with the images a bit more. It’s really like stripping back your skin and showing someone whats underneath when a ‘stranger’ looks at my new work, i feel very exposed and worried they will laugh at my efforts but he didn’t, he said that one was amazing and one had potential, phew wipes brow. So now i have to figure what the potential is and how to produce it.
I’m not sure about you but when im on a creative binge if i look at other artists work i find i start to emulate them, i know nothing is new but i find keeping to my own style, which is kind of fluid, quite difficult if i look at other artists and then the old self doubt raises it’s head but i think this time i may just have a look at Gustav Klimt as i appear to be going in that direction anyway.
And the curve balls don’t seem to stop coming! Life is a struggle for us all at the best of times, low pay, high taxes, poor living accommodation, child poverty, i could go on and on. There is all that and Covid 19 then just when you are going for the greatest thrill, a new grandchild, duck there’s another curve ball coming our way.
Our daughter struggled with addiction, not an easy thing to say but she came home, clean and has been sober for, oh i don’t know, something like 4 years now. She had an unexpected pregnancy and has a beautiful 2 year old boy and now has a loving and supportive partner and a new baby. That’s where the new curve ball strikes again, her pregnancy was troubled with severe back pain and she was prescribed painkillers which in the end became Tramadol.
There are serious side effects to Tramadol during pregnancy and we have now discovered our beautiful new grandson has quite a serious heart problem. He has a hole in his heart and a heart murmur which the doctors don’t think will close on it’s own so surgery could be down the road for our little one. Hopefully he will be home in a few days but In the mean time we are the lucky few who are looking after our grandson. He is such a beautiful child and it has been an honor and a privilege to be allowed to look after this little munchkin. He’s been so good, hasn’t shouted for mummy and daddy, slept through the night, (phew) and will play for hours with the simplest of toys.
It will be quite a wrench when he finally goes home but oh for the peace and quiet and being able to go out whenever we want! No more constantly watching him with our dogs in case fur or ears are pulled. On the down side we haven’t been able to work all week, on the up side we have had plenty of rest playing in the sunshine in the garden but baby we need to get back to work so please come home soon. Love you, Nanni xxx
No one can say that their lives are not influenced by their parents, it is guaranteed that your Dad will influence you in a different way than your Mum will. I am lucky to have had a very close relationship with my parents, we have understood each other the majority of the time. Yes there were times we argued, i was a teenager once. Somehow I became the daughter who was nominated as the caring daughter, I was the one who was left to look after my parents, I didn’t really mind , you don’t do you they’re your parents after all. When my Dad died my husband, son and I moved into the family home to look after Mum and over 20+ years we lived together through arguments, peaceful times, births, deaths and cancer. I was there for Mum 24/7 and when she was diagnosed with cancer, Multiple Myaloma, i became her carer. We were able to laugh through much of her battle, she was lucky with her Chemo she didn’t loose her hair or suffer sickness, we had the same sense of humour but at the end she did suffer terribly and when she finally passed away peacefully early one December morning my sister and I were able to say a peaceful and loving goodbye. I held her hand and told her how much I loved her and she was gone. Her funeral was a family affair, we were all able to catch up with each other, to talk and reminisce and wonder about the strong woman she was. After Dad died she restarted her education and ultimately gained a Ba hons in the History of Art and Irish Studies, a 2:2 no less! Last night with my loving family and my sister and her girls, we said the final goodbye when we scattered Mums ashes along the beach where we used to go in the summer, near to where Dad worked so he could pick us up in the late afternoon. We said goodbye just as the sun set in a riot of glorious colours and walking back from the beach i felt the weight of caring lift from my shoulders, when we went into our home i could no longer feel Mums presence, finally I am free to start living my life for myself, with the closing of the door a new stage of my life has begun and I hope i finally get to live it how I want not around others needs. Goodbye Mum, hello me.
Something happened this week and i just didn’t have anything to post, im not a naturally gregarious person to start with so me and talking dont really go hand in hand. I have been artistically busy though, i stumbled upon a video series on painting and drawing leaves just by using numbers which was fun. The article is called ‘Colour Play’ by Este McLeod I had a lot of fun with free form drawing and using the numbers to create leaves coming up with a rough bunch of leaves with some flowers in, much to my surprise. I haven’t picked up a pencil or a paint brush to draw or paint in so many years and got quite a kick out of it.
I also, finally, got my camera out, went for a walk and picked some flowers (from where they wouldn’t be missed) and set up out in the garden to do some natural light photographs. That really got my mind going and some 200 images later i may have one i like! I wanted to find and incorporate a LadyBird into my pictures but for the life of me i could not find one which i found very strange as the weeks before we had loads in the garden, weird! Head over to my instagram page to see a few of the images i took.
Found my brand Logo, found my brand colours and font but wait my brand has a personality too! Why did i start my business, what are your beliefs and values, what do i do better than anyone else, what makes me special, what three words do i want my customers to describe me by? All questions that i need to answer apparently. It seriously makes you think about yourself and what your trying to accomplish as its not just about going out and taking your amazing photographs or making your fantastic art, that’s just the beginning.
I personally started taking photographs as a form of therapy, to deal with pressures of family life and it snowballed into a business. I suppose looking at the questions it kind of helps to form a very loose start to a business plan, if you’ve not got one to start with. I really loved pulling the words together that i felt symbolised what i wanted my brand to say and how i wanted potential customers to think of me then matching those words to colours. Words have such power and create a response in your audience that i wanted to get it right, out came the mind map and colour wheel and i think i have my three colours for my brand.
Blue —— Reliability
Orange —— Artistic
Green —— Friendly
Head text —– DrCarbfred Pro
Subtext —— Elina web
Body text —— Acumin Pro
Putting it all together i now need to make my templates for social media posts on facebook and instagram, these are the two i regularly use, i use Adobe Spark to make my templates but there are other apps to make them in and after i have my templates made i seriously need to get down to making some art! I have neglected to an extent my photography as we haven’t been able to go anywhere, my garden is empty of flowers so i cant get inspiration there so basically i have not done a great deal. However my lovely husband bought me a very exciting birthday present this year and i am going to enjoy using it to make my photographs in a different way.
My next project is Polaroid Lab, hang on to your lens caps its going to be a fun ride…………………………………………………………..
After the agony of finding my brand shape and colour i now have to find a logo, i want my logo to be cool, on trend and i want a little of me in there too. I looked at my business name ‘Spikey Mouse Photography’ i want something photographic in there of course and spikey mouse is a Hedgehog in Bengali, read my back story to find out WHY, so i want to incorporate a hog somewhere but i am also aware of the power of shape and colour which need to be incorporated too, so how do i get it all into one logo?
I have looked through page after page on google, cute hogs, graphic hogs, hogs with colour, hogs in lots of colour, how do i make my mind up! I downloaded 10 free vector images from Shutterstock and had a play around with colour and text, i then sent the three i liked the most to various members of my family and we took a vote. So i have my Logo now and its not the one i liked but in retrospect it was probably too cutesy, i will probably use it for a photo watermark though because i do like it.
Next is Font, now im going to drive myself crazy going through pages and pages of Fonts on the Adobe website, wish me luck…………………
Many, many, many years ago when i was a young woman not sure of what i wanted to do with my life i decided to explore Graphic Design as a career. Baring in mind this was around the time when schools had just started to invest in IT and were finally buying computers for their ‘Computer Lab’s’. The IT tutor was a dinosaur when it came to teaching women, he wouldn’t have them anywhere near his precious computers actually, so i learnt graphic design the ‘old’ way. I really loved the whole concept of designing a brand from the bottom up but at the time, the whole community was so tight knit that it was incredibly hard to find a job, unfortunately when it came to it, i just dont think i had enough of what anyone was looking for to move forward, so i did something else instead.
Now as i design, or should that be, redesign my website and branding i’m finding that i actually need to learn a ton of new stuff and it is so interesting. I started by looking at my brand name and to be honest, even though i have been told to change it as its, well what it is, i’m really not going to, i’m going to stick with it no matter how naff some think it is because the most important thing is ‘people remember it’. It has a back story to it that i can use to interact with clients easily, everyone likes a good story, so it stays. I’ve a Tag line too, then i looked at colour, i loved colour theory and how different colours make people react in certain ways.
Purple, who doesn’t love purple?
Adobe Purple; #361354
It’s cutting edge, wise, feminine, shows wealth and luxury but is also playful. Does my work mean any of these? Well its expensive so that could be a luxury item, not sure about the rest though but i do love Purple.
Red, a very hot colour!
Adobe Red #E50305
It gives a sense of excitement, passion, anger, its loud, playful, youthful and modern but im not a great fan of Red so im not sure that’s the colour for me. I could go on but google it and you can find tons of stuff to read on the subject.
I then set about looking at brand shapes, did i want to appear intimidating or harmless, friendly and inviting, gentle, light hearted and cute, if so then i’d use a circle or was i going for intelligent, stable and cool, then it would be sharp and angular shapes. Then there is the dependability of your brand to think about, who knew that would be a triangle! Maturity, alternative, bad ass, powerful and sleek are all triangle, is that what i am, it is what im aiming for and i do have maturity on my side, so yes i’m a triangle. I haven’t been able to decide on one colour so i’m using lots of them. And the begining of a brand is born. Now i just need to find a Logo………………………..
Being bored and not able to go far from home, what a nightmare! I am constantly being told ‘enjoy it while you can, soon you will be back to normal, running around after everyone wishing you had more time for your self.’ True! Too true but it doesn’t help, at all. So what do you do? Spend money of course. I decided that if i can’t take photos outside away from home then i would make it possible to take photos at home. I bought a light box and a couple of lights and i am going to start a small project photographing fruit and veg among other things. I have a fancy for creating some photos with snails, i found a small snail climbing a flower stem and liked the look of it and wondered if i could reconstruct it. I also want to photograph thin sliced fruit in fizzy water, flowers against coloured backgrounds. There are numerous ways for me to use my new toys. All i have to do now is, well, do it!
I don’t know what to call this post as i haven’t written anything here for a while, it’s not that i haven’t been busy I’ve just been busy in a different way. I have had a difficult working year up until now, nothing seems to have gone right and at every turn i seem to have been hindered in one way or another and not able to make my art.
I have been battling with ill health for many years now, i have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis among other things which have both got to a point where i have struggled with every day life. The arthritis in my hip had become so bad that just to walk i was taking morphine and paracetamol to get me through it. I have a great Doctor, she helps me so much and we both decided that we had to do something about the hip, she told me about the prerequisites for having the hip joint replaced and armed with multiple leaflets i went home to talk it through with my family. We would need to put a lot of thought into it as i am a carer for my mum who has cancer and i am the only driver in the house, the one who gets everyone everywhere on time. There is a lot resting on my shoulders that would have to be delegated carefully to others.
One thing on the list for the hip replacement was weight, body mass, i hold my hands up and can say that yes Chris and i have let things slip a bit, ill health and medication with side effects of weight gain weren’t helping me and i was told i needed to loose weight.
I guess in my heart i new that this year was going to be the year things had to change, i looked deep inside and new that i couldn’t go on with the way things were and made a pact with myself that i would do everything possible to fix my hip. I committed to loosing weight to take the strain off my joints and so far have lost over 2 stone and dragged Chris in with me which has been good for him too.
At the beginning of April i went in for surgery and had a total hip replacement. I was a model patient, did everything i was asked to the best of my abilities and pain threshold, which wasn’t easy i can tell you! Now at home i am forced to sit quietly with my feet up wearing the most ridiculous white pressure stockings, taking many short walks throughout the day. I am healing incredibly quickly and recovering well but oh am i bored!
November is the start of the truly busy time for craft fairs, artisan markets and most notably for myself, the Chester Arts Fair. This will be my third outing with a Deepbridge sponsored arts fair and hand on heart i have to say i just love them. You are guaranteed a very healthy footfall, fabulous art work from truly great artists who are all very friendly and you are guaranteed to find something to buy at reasonable prices. If you fancy visiting, Christmas gifts and all that, i have added a ticket to my Facebook page that you can download for free and this will give you free entrance in to the Arts Fair.