Friday, February 27, 2015

In a child's world

Print, mounted

Illustration and wet palette

A beautiful book

In the time that has passed since my last blog post I became an aunt (my older sister had a beautiful baby boy), which has opened my heart in  wonderful and wondrous ways.

Lately, a big part of my work has been populated by illustrations and paintings for children, and what a happy dwelling place it is. Several prints of the festival artwork have found new homes in nurseries and children's bedrooms (but not exclusively; it is nice to see that adults want the picture for themselves, too), and I am planning to do more in that vein. After years of teaching mainly adults, a new opportunity has come up to teach children again. Children's books and illustrations are such a big passion of mine, it is lovely to now be so immersed in this world as an aunt, artist and teacher.

Just before I was offered the new teaching job, I had made the decision to free up some space in the summer (the fringe festival I worked for over the last five years has been put to rest and will be replaced by a new festival, which I chose not to be involved in). I have a two-person show in August and hopefully another exhibition in September, and it feels good to see the next few months shaping up in quite a different way from previous years. Not least because this summer will bring another nephew or niece!

On a much much smaller scale than the truly life-changing events of my sisters becoming mothers, my working life has been revolutionised by the purchase of a wet palette. It keeps acrylic paint wet and means I can snatch 20 minutes here and there working on a painting instead of spending 20 minutes cursing the tubes that are so hard to open, running them under hot water in order to be able to open them, trying to gauge which colours and how much of each I need, mixing the colours, sticking the palette in the fridge afterwards in the hope they'll stay wet until the following day, when inevitably I won't have time and end up with hardened paint yet again. Now all my colours are there for me to use straight away, and when I'm finished I just put the lid on the palette and rinse the brushes. Increased productivity lies ahead.

Now that the busiest time of the year is over I am looking forward to doing things that have been neglected because they were neither work-related nor crucial for survival. One of them is to bake something from the book in the photo above, which my sister gave us. These cakes include vegetables and alternatives for regular flour, and, while far from healthy, are certainly better for you than cakes made the traditional way.

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