Running out of Gold Foil is not fun!

This is Me.

Well, i ran out of Gold Foil and on my shopping trip i bought, 100 sheets of Gold Foil, photographic spray mount, a pack of A3 foam board and half a dozen frames. Nice shopping list but what is it to do with you? Nothing, just making conversation. The project i have been not really giving my attention to keeps calling to me and every so often i will go and attempt to draw something from my stagnant creative heart. An exposure here an exposure there, maybe a deconstruction of some Polaroid film but im not really feeling it.

Anyway, i have a Polaroid Lab (on SALE now) and I’ve been taking photos on my phone whenever I’ve walked the dog, so throughout the Autumn (Fall) i have collected some really nice photos. This day i exposed a film on my Lab of a beautifully coloured leaf, the Lab is so easy to use, you have an app on your phone which allows you to do single images or up to nine images creating a beautiful collage, you open the app, select how many film you want to make up your collage, pop your phone image down on the Lab and press the big red button.

Deconstructing the film

Once i had my film exposed i had to wait around 10 minutes for it to develop full then i took it into the kitchen and deconstructed it. You slice the edges off with a sharp blade, cut the black strips that hold the film together and peel the backing off carefully. The developer is toxic so dont put your hands near your face and dont let it come into contact with anything edible.

Emulsion off the plastic front

You then pop the image into a dish of hot water and watch as the emulsion floats off the plastic front, this jelly like thing is the image you will then transfer into cold water and place onto a piece of watercolour paper. However, i didn’t do that this time, i left the image on the plastic front and played around putting Gold Leaf on to the back. (This is the bit where i ran out of Gold Leaf). So now i have this piece of film covered in gold and for the life of me i just dont know what to do with it next. Inspiration has left the building.

I feel such envy for those artists/photographers who are creating at the moment, the only thing i am doing is arguing over the rights to the photographs i took for someone as a favor. If you think you can help drop me a message in the comments. I feel conflicted, torn in different directions, do i have a go at hand making a photo book of my Polaroids, do i have a go at filming, just with my phone, do i spend the night over in Liverpool doing night photography, or forget my camera and just wallow in social media, go and learn something new on the internet? Its just push me pull me.

I’m sure im not the only person in a funk, 2020 has been the worst year ever which is an understatement. My mum passed away at the end of 2019 and we are coming up to the anniversary of her passing so that doesn’t help but i am grateful that i have not got troubles as bad as some. Lockdown eases on the 2nd December and the shops will open again, hopefully that will help with sales of my work, there are actual physical markets happening again, yippee, i miss talking to people about my work, oh yeah, Christmas is just around the corner. Turkey, mince pies, family, gifts, love and time together, maybe its time to forget about work and time to concentrate on family and myself, have a drink or three and just have a bit of fun!

Shop Small Businesses

You never know if its any good until you try. Quite a good mantra to live by. The craft fairs i would normally sell my work at have been cancelled due to covid 19, this is the time i would have been able to sell to the public so i have had to find a different way of selling.

Not so long ago several people had the great idea of using their instagram following to host on line craft fairs, wish i’d thought of that! Bringing together creatives, charging a small sum for the privilege and banging out post after post with the most amazing crafts! I’ve found the amazing Bronte’s Gnomes , she makes the most delicious gnomes from Harris Tweed and i want to buy them all they are so cute!

So i have joined in with the selling and have posted and shared and liked and followed those who have intrigued me, now its YOUR turn, show some love, shop small and join me on instagram Look out for me on the Maker Bee on-line fair on the 28th and 29th of November, the @Handmadehour on-line fair on the 19th November and the Winter Arkade, Regents St, Liverpool on 13th December which is a physical market.

Shop small businesses this Christmas and support local artists and artisans during this very trying time, thank you.

Money, money, money……..

I had very vivid dreams last night, of being young and being introduced to a world i hadn’t been admitted into yet, one where you held power if everyone knew your name, you held power if you were associated with that name. I know what it means and this morning i have woken up feeling pretty powerless over my future.

I am trying pretty hard to create a new future for myself and my family, i am studying social media, watching webinar’s and reading up on best practice, finding representation in shops to sell my art but it is all so frustrating. I wish Covid would just fuck off, why now when now is the time i am finally free to do what i want, go where i want, any time i want, why now?

My creativity is coming in fits and starts and i seem to be relying on older work to get me through this, i just find the frustration levels so hard to deal with. I could sit in the corner and do nothing all day and feel bad if i let it get too much but im made of stronger stuff than that and the corner can just go and do one! I have money to make, bills to pay just like everyone else so why do i feel as if i am standing still in one place?

Deep down i know what i want to do! I want to have my own shop/gallery and i want to help other struggling artists to grab the attention of collectors, shoppers and anyone else just passing but it feels like its just out of my reach. I know what i need, a shop, money, artists, money, stock, money and oh yeah money and a shop. It just goes around and around and makes me feel like im failing, it is the perfect time now, christmas is around the corner, people are buying gifts etc and i feel like i am missing the biggest opportunity of my life.

If you have any useful ideas drop them in a comment please, i think one of the real reasons why im struggling is because i no longer have my sounding board, my back up, the person who believed in me no matter what…. my Mum and i need her. This time last year she became so poorly, her cancer so aggressive and hospital admission was just around the corner, ultimately her passing away early December. I miss her and feel like im floundering around in life at the moment, free but not quite free because of covid holding things back. I suppose i could use that as an excuse for a long time but ultimately it stops at me and i am the only one who can make this happen. I need to pull on my big girl knickers ( pants ) and just do it, so i will!

A little experiment that went awry.

Today was one of those rare days when i had the house pretty much to myself, husband off on a film shoot, kids on half term but hiding in their bedrooms playing computer games, so i decided that i was going to take this as a sign that it was ok to make art. I had been looking at some of my Polaroid images and decided that i could sacrifice two in the name of art. I wanted to experiment!

I can safely say that the first experiment was a complete and utter disaster! I put one of the Polaroids into the microwave and turned it on, within seconds it had burst into flames and i couldn’t turn it off in time to save it. I ended up with a small plastic lump, no way was that going to become a photographic image. In the bin it went.

Experiment two was better, i didn’t put it in the microwave this time, i held it over a flame on my cooker top, just enough to heat the back up, then i cut down the sides and peeled the back off leaving the developing chemical residue on the back of the film. This meant i could then do a ‘Lift’ of the emulsion and put it onto paper.

I decided to use gold foil on the paper so applied that first, then i placed the film into a bowl of boiling water and waited for the emulsion to bubble and lift from the film. I then used the clean film to place the emulsion into cold water and slipped the paper with the gold foil under the emulsion and removed it from the water. After a little maneuvering i had the image on the foil in the place i wanted it, i then dried it off with kitchen towel and after it has dried and been flattened i will mount and frame it in a simple black gallery style frame.

polaroid lift on a gold foil background

Maybe tomorrow i will get enough time to use my Polaroid Lab and print off some of the images i have on my phone!

My Flash Sale is Live.

Good morning everyone, my FLASH SALE is now LIVE! I am offering an amazing 10 x 8 print of ANY image on my website for the outstanding price of ONLY £15.00. This offer is too good to miss and closes at midnight TONIGHT. GRAB A BARGAIN WHILE YOU CAN. Screenshot the image you want, DM me on instagram or email me karen.lawrencephotographer@gmail.com and i will send you a paypal invoice and then your photo, easy as pie! Free postage to the UK ONLY.

https://karen-lawrence.pixels.com/
Seascape; red sun through the spartina grass in the sand dunes west kirby

Super 1 Day only Flash Sale

Make sure you are following me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/spikeymousephotography/ As im having a 1 Day only Flash Sale.

Step up your Christmas shopping with my 1 Day Super Flash Sale on instagram https://www.instagram.com/spikeymousephotography/ Treat yourself to some beautiful new Landscape Fine Art Photography or just go for a nosey. Follow me, like, comment and share to your stories! Thank you.

The Challenges of being an Artist Today

There are a lot of ‘Challenges’ going around on social media at the moment, #30daysofart #atistsupportpledge drawing challenges etc. Some designed to help with online sales others to explore your talent. These are all great BUT does it take away the time you need for creating your work? I’m finding it incredibly difficult making art, as a photographer you would think it easy, just go outside with your camera and take photos right, WRONG! I’ve tried the drawing to get inspiration, got bored, tried setting up my lightbox and getting wildflowers to photograph, bored! Thought about photographing the sunsets as they seem to be wonderful at the moment, no inspiration. I think im broken.

I’m not sure if it is depression, after all i am in morning for my mum, we are living in strange times closed off from everyone, i can’t make money selling my work the normal way and online is certainly not working for me at the moment. Online social media course being taken. I need gallery space, i love gallery space, i’d love to sell during the Chester Art Fair but as I’ve made no money recently the £700.00 fee is just too much, so just what am i going to do?

Any suggestions? They are all welcome but PLEASE, be nice! There is one thing that is calling to me. I was bought a Polaroid Lab for my birthday in May, I’ve used it once and IT IS SO GOOD! The down side is the film, its so damn expensive, you only get 8, yes 8, images out of a box and its around £15.00 for a box, three boxes for £55.00 with shipping, so i really don’t want to use it but i do but i dont, HELP! I could experiment till the cows come home but i only have one and a half packs left and i could use that in a day, then no more, then i would have to find a way to sell them to buy more film, see the vicious circle i’m in? Oh how i wish i was a painter or felt artist, anything that is easier than being a photographer!

But a photographer i am and that is not going to change, so i need to get my act together, make a plan, keep to it. Go for it with the #artistsupportpledge and get my work out on Instagram (@spikeymousephotography) It works i’ve seen the SOLD by peoples art, i want it to work for me too. SO this is what im going to do, sit at my computer and make multiple posts to use over the week of the art i want to sell, post it, do the social media thing and comment on my favorite artists and friends posts, try to get myself seen by more people. Im going to create! Im going to use that Polaroid Lab and all of the film and enjoy myself while it lasts, then im going to look for galleries that are open and talk to them about showing or just stocking my art. Oh and shops, those too and i am going to DO IT and enjoy myself too. Isn’t that why we make art?

So that’s my plan. If you have been patient enough to read down to the bottom here this is where i have the big ask. PLEASE go onto my instagram account @spikeymousephotography and have a look at the work i have posted, the work for sale through #artistsupportpledge and think about buying a little something, my work starts at £25.00, all of the Polaroids are original one of a kind and will never be reprinted so your getting a great deal on them! And they really are beautiful, eye catching and very collectible. You will be kindly helping an artist who in turn will help another artist and the support goes on.

Quiet Time

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.

My website dilemma

I’ve never been sure if i should have a website dedicated to showing off my photography, i use flickr and Viewbug to show some of my work but i don’t pay, by choice, for the privilege. In fact i object strenuously to having to pay for a website because i dont think i actually use them to their best advantage. I think my money is used in better ways, like for food, than hosting a website i forget to post on. I have had several attempts at building a website on different platforms, wordpress, wix but i never can make my mind up how they are supposed to look, which coloured background is the best, which font and dont get me started on Google Analytics! How do you use it?

Poppies

My attempt on Wix was, i think, my best effort to date but i had to pay for the website and the domain name, the first year was cheep, the second year was not, i designed the thing and then forgot to post anything on it, so it went. WordPress is free but you need to pay for a domain name, I’ve made a couple of different websites but they got forgotten because of ‘life’. It makes me wonder, do i really need my own website, well actually i do and i need to get it seen by people and shared about. What’s the difference this time you may ask, well two things really, the first is that i have more time to myself now, my Mum passed away in December last year and having nursed her through cancer i now have so much time on my hands, the second is, I’ve found i have access to a FREE website builder, yes FREE and it’s the bees knees!

New Brighton Lighthouse

I use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom and have a photography subscription which allows myself and my aspiring artist daughter use of lots of different Adobe programs for our art. In the package is Adobe Portfolio, its free and you can get a domain name through namecheap where i managed to get a .com domain name for something silly like £8 a year. Its a lovely website builder, easy to use but its quite limited which is actually a good thing for me, i dont get bogged down in trying to decide which looks best for my site. I am building it slowly, i have to decide which photos are good enough to be shown and that is hard! I also find it difficult with all of the metadata, keywords, long keywords etc its so time consuming but i am making myself do it this time.

This amazing FREE website is www.spikeymousephotography.com and i am really quite proud of my efforts so far. If you would be so kind as to go and look through it yourself and leave a comment and share i would be very grateful, thank you. My answer then is a resounding YES i need a website, just as long as its FREE!

seascape; sunset over hilbre island from the spartina grass mid way between west kirby and red rocks

You can’t NOT write about Covid 19

How many weeks have we been in lockdown in the UK now? Feels like its been MANY months to me! You know when you suddenly realise you can’t actually remember the last time you actually worked, well that’s me, I no longer recall my last sale, now that is a SCARY thought!

Last year was, you could say, quite a year. I have cared for my Mum for over 8 years as she battled cancer and last year, after being in remission, it came back. She passed away in December thank God as i know she would not have made it through Covid 19. But i hadn’t been earning even before that as i was a full time carer, so when and what was my last sale? Who the hell knows but i would like to know what and when my next one will be so follow the link and have a browse around my FAA website, support the small businesses, a small sale goes a long way. Thank you.

https://karen-lawrence.pixels.com/