Edinburgh – the return!

But this time the weather wasn’t quite so kind. We’d been having a mini-heat wave in the Midlands so I’d been wearing shorts for at least a week which of course meant when I went to pack for my little trip up north I completely mis judged the clothing I needed. In the end I resorted to emergency buying some jeans, spent the rest of the week wearing them too…

…I did think to pack some much more interesting art supplies this time though. I took a pad of pastel paper with me as well as a box of artist quality chalks. They’re so nice (though messy) to use, just a dozen in a range of greys. With this I went up Arthur’s Seat again…

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…when I finally got fed up of fixative being blown back into my face I broke out the pens…

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Kit cameras

Cameras fascinate me, especially unusual and quirky ones, so what better than a camera that you get to build yourself. I ordered this off Amazon, and when it arrived it was just a collection of bits packed carefully in polystyrene, with the instruction manual, a neck lanyard and a magnetic screwdriver which turned out to be essential. there are some screws that would have been impossible to put in place without it.

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It was interesting putting together especially the trigger mechanism which required some very delicate adjustments to get it to work just so. I have no idea what the shutter speed is on this little camera except the instruction manual recommends using this camera with 100ISO film in sunny conditions, (the manual also recommends not standing on roads or at the edge of cliffs while taking photos. It’s surprisingly concerned with the safety of its users).

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Yes it suffers from light seepage. Unfortunately there’s a part that clips on permanently that means I can’t get back into the camera’s bowels to fix the issue. Of course this means when I get the films developed I’ve ended up distressing the processing people despite warning them that any aberrations on the images are entirely the fault of my camera. It’s also difficult to wind on the film, so double exposures are also something of an issue as is camera-shake, but to be honest I’m not that bothered. The results are interestingly strange and atmospheric, and extremely unpredictable.

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Broken Eggshell

Latest drawing. This is another image based on “found objects” (or should that be found things) that I’ve taken photographs of.

I used coloured graphite pencils for this one.

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And a little close up…

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I’ve always been a little nervous about being able to see the pencil marks in a drawing. If they’re not carefully handled they can look very messy and ruin an otherwise good image. So I’ve been working hard on making sure I’m always working in the same direction. It’s been very worth it.

So I finally had a holiday…

…in Edinburgh, somewhere that I’ve never been before. Which turned out to be absolutley brilliant.

I’d been assured by family members that it would be cold, so I took a nice sensible coat and plenty of jumpers and other warm clothes, none of which I ended up wearing thanks to the week long heat wave. I spent much of my time wearing jeans and t-shirts and worrying about sun-burn, and wishing I’d brought shorts.

The top two floors of the middle building belong to the flat we stayed in, and the right hand gable was my bedroom window. Absolutely awesome 😀

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And this was the view out the front door. I got used to sprial staircases very quickly, and frankly stairs in strange and random places fullstop, because Edinburgh seems to have more than its fair share of them.

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And then we have Arthur’s Seat. It’s like a baby mountain plonked down in the middle of Edinburgh surrounded by smaller hills and little lakes and a river on one side, and it is utterly beautiful. As soon as I saw it I was determined to go and climb up it.

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And so I did 🙂 and met some of those famous Scottish midges while I was about it. I think they must have been confused by the unseasonal heat.

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A litte random extra – on my way up on the train I spotted this little house huddled by trees, straight out of some grusome fairy tale.

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Road Kill

Some time ago I started taking pictures of any unfortunate creatures that I happened to walk past on my daily travels, mainly in the hopes that one day I’d turn them into or use them as the basis for drawings or paintings or something creative. The stupid artist’s block had got to stop at some point hadn’t it?

Hence one afternoon, spotting a very dead and rather squashed rat I rushed over and took several photos on my phone, ignoring the suspicious looks the workers at the car-tyre place who’d drive I was busily crouching in were giving me. After I went on my way they came to investigate and when I went past the dead ratty was very definitely gone. But I got a drawing out of it.

This was coloured pencils. I hadn’t really thought of them as a legitimate medium since I was a kid, but since getting back into pencils I thought “heck why not.” I’m very encouraged by the results.

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Artist’s Block

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Otherwise know as the artist’s ulitmate nightmare, a soul crushing inability to produce a single meaningful image at all…and I’m only just begining to see the other side of it.

This wouldn’t be the first time this happened to me. After I completed my art foundation I found myself utterly unintrested in art of any kind at all, a state which lasted nearly a year. This time had been rather diffrent, I’ve wanted desperately to draw but everything I’ve touched as turned to ash, at times even being unable to put pencil to paper, it’s been that extreme, an increadibly depressing situation to be in. The only approach I have found that works for me in this situation had basically been to go and do something else for a while.

Thank goodness for the fan-fiction, it has been keeping me sane, and creative in the meantime.

Except it’s now been close on two whole years since I’ve actually managed to do any meaningful art, a terrible situation for anyone to be in. Which led me to looking at the coping methods of other fellow afflicted arty types…a quick scurry over to youtube and I was amazed and feeling much more cheerful about the whole situation, given the literally thousands of videos dealing with the topic. There were so many approaches and opinions and…and…
This one particulalarly caught my eye, and made me feel a lot more positive about my situation. I had just never considered Artist’s Block like this before…