Wednesday, August 29, 2012

But is it art?

Have been experimenting with textured paste, acrylics and koh-i-noor.
There was a shop in The Butts Centre in Reading in the 1970's called But is it art? I worked in the music shop across the way - always loved that name!!!


Have been consciously taking photos of images that are meaningful for me that day. Am going to explore them to see what it is all about!!
Damaged Gate (with Fudge in shot)

Map of local railway

Sign at Otterburn Mill

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Over the years we have been lucky to visit Snowdonia.
Inspired by looking through old photos here is a photo collage of mixed media collage - words from The Prelude by William Wordsworth.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

More fiddling

Mixed media - acrylics and pastels


Went out for breakfast at The Hearth at Horsley - looked round at the studios.
inspired by Mandy's new drawings - below my effort..


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Walking in Heaton Park this morning my dog lead got entangled with another’s - one of the people shouted at me and I got very upset. They were power walking 3 abreast and I was in the wrong!! Why can't people be nicer and why do I take to confrontation like that so badly? One of the trio over reacted to the incident and I was put in the wrong. I ruined their walk and they ruined mine!!

I am tired of feeling powerless and without a voice. I have things to say and I want to reach an audience but I don't know how to do that. Writing in an academic journal won't do it as so few people actually read them. Writing in "popular" journals doesn’t do it as I have found that they don't get read either. So how to let people know what I know and test it out?

Any ideas?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012



Derwent Walk

August musings

We have been away in North Yorkshire again and could begin to feel the inspiring landscape doings its stuff!! Felt more relaxed and calmer.

Lizzie is on a tennis course this week from 10 til 2 and I have promised to write 1000 words when she is there. I got carried away yesterday and wrote over 1700 although I am not sure what it was all about. Mostly free writing but my thoughts went all over the place and I landed in all sorts of spots.

Last night I started experimenting with textured paste and acrylics - I am quite pleased with some of the outcomes and can begin to see how I might develop this approach.

See below.

Also went for a long walk along the Derwent walk this morning after dropping Lizzie off at Tennis – a poem began to form.

Derwent Walk

She listens to the ghosts along the line

Sooty lungs and coughs

that keep folk awake at night

The wails of mothers

Whose sons have been killed

by untethered wagons

or rotten pit props.

Graves leave the sons’ names

but not of those left behind.

She wonders if they ever

found a place to rest.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Playing about

Had lunch with the wonderful Dr Sheree Mack today what an inspirational lady. I met Sheree nearly 8 years ago when I first embarked on my creative writing journey. I met Sheree on the Wrtiing and Health course at Newcastle University run by Cynthia Fuller (with Rima Handley) in 2004. We worked together on an exercise and have kept in touch ever since. Sheree was responsible for my first "outing" as a poet when I read at the Lit and Phil for National Poetry Day in 2006. It was a significant event and will be etched in my mind forever.
Came home and played around with some art work. This is a textile that has been scanned and then modified.

Original textile

Monday, August 13, 2012


On the MA at Northumbria (2005-6) I found myself writing Haiku as commentary to the landscape around me. My tutor at the time commented that she did not see the point of them and "what was I trying to say?". Her voice has stayed in my head ever since then and I struggle to ignore it. I think my stuff is derivative and worthless. This feeling is compounded when this tutor is at poetry readings. The words get stuck in my throat and I just have to ignore the voices telling me to get a grip, stop thinking I have anything to say and shut  up!!
One of the haiku I wrote at the time was about Hownsgill viaduct near Consett. We crossed it on a bike ride and I was struck by its isolated position and the tree canopy below. It was in the local news last week. Officials are going to erect "anti-suicide fences" in an attempt to reduce the number of people who die there. Notices and the Samaritans' phone number has not deterred those who come there in deep despair.
It really got me thinking - along the Derwent valley there are a number of viaducts and this one seems to be the "hot-spot" for suicides. Is its isolation or is because of the depth of decline in and around the town and local countryside in that part of Durham.
Part of my problem back then was I rushed to do the MA and had not found my voice. I read the feedback I got from the MA at Newcastle (2007-8) and I realise I had just started my journey when I finished the course. I was just getting there when I got the qualification. Hey ho - maybe i can stay with the positive feedback i got from the Profs on that MA and silence the other.

Hownsgill Viaduct

A relic of the past when wagons
took  coals from Newcastle.
Men searched for meaning
now it only breeds

Folk come here to end this
in this place.
maybe they hope never to be found,
to disappear - vanish.

Land owners have to bring
the bodies in.
The bodies of those
the notices do not deter
from falling here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Image making

I have been fiddling this afternoon with stencils and various media I have bought over the years. Quite pleased with the outcome. I used to do this quite a bit and then scan them into the computer, fiddle a bit more and then make them into cards.
I managed to sort the scanner out so that it now works again. here are a couple of fiddles from today!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Thoughts

Am not at all sure what I want to write about this week. I thought I would post a daily insight but have not had the energy to call into here and post anything. I think I might look at using the camera more as I do have a dabble with paint etc but I get very frustrated as I don’t produce stuff that I feel satisfied about. I have lots of idea when I am out walking the dog and I have to find a way of retaining the thoughts…

Thinking through the lens and exploring the image might be way of peeling back the layers.

Had an idea for the name for what I want to do as a business. Not sure why I think getting the name right is so important but it does seem to be holding me back. Next thing is to have some business cards and flyers written up and then distribute them.

The guide by the side

 coaching for personal and professional development.

Helping the helpers.

Focussed conversations to explore potential, performance, service improvement and change management in the human services.

Been down to Gibside today – maybe the inspiration I need is on my doorstep. We are so lucky to have such wonderful landscape literally on the doorstep.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

North Yorkshire

Been away for a weekend in North Yorkshire, in Commondale. It was a lovely trip and I began to get quite inspired by the landscape.
Maybe I can relax and unwind down there; find a place to write and read.
The views are wonderful and it is so quiet.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Seeing right through it

On my way back from dog walking the other day I noticed the view through this top window for the first time. This old Co-Op building in the village is in a very sad and sorry state. It used be the thriving hub of this end of the village and now it has lost most of its insides and only the front survives. The shops just about help to keep the building going. It is such a terrible shame but at the same time the view seemed quite symbolic at the time. Buildings have to be transient things but we do make a fuss about keeping them going. The trouble is if the humans are not around to give them meaning then they lose any significance for me - so without the stories what is the point?
 I thought of seeing if I can have a creative idea or output each day through August. There is not much work stuff to intrude into the artistic side of my thinking so I thought it might be a good time to give it a go!!