Having tried to find my yoga mat delivery (which I discovered had been sent to my old address, my mistake) I arrived late to Artcore after driving 8 miles to pick it up. I fastened the new yoga mat to the wall & prepared it for painting this afternoon.
It’s wonderful to be at Artcore at this moment, the studio is buzzing with activity as the 5 ceramic artists have started their residency too. Jack the Artcore web developer turned up with his guitar and it turns out he’s a brilliant guitarist aswell as great with computers.
Calmed by the wonderful music I am ready to paint. I’ve put some ideas together on mini mat again. For this one I’ve been drawn to the beauty of roses & the patterns on Muslim prayer mats, I also want to incorporate the Henna pattern I had painted on my hand at the Chai & the City launch.
When sketching the prayer mats I recalled the times I spent designing rugs when I was 7 years old. I filled my drawing books with all my ideas, I’m not sure where they came from!
I have been putting the finishing touches to my yoga mat working on the lotus flower. I was using the surface pattern to give shade & depth to the petals, I love the way the pattern is still visible. I chose this flower as it is the national flower of India and has sacred status, a prominent feature of Indian mythology. The Lotus flower symbolizes; spirituality, fruitfulness, wealth, knowledge, purity of heart and mind. It grows in muddy water but remains pure & beautiful. I painted a panel of lotus flowers rising above the water at the side of the yoga mat too.
Every part of the plant is consumable and also has medicinal properties.
In yoga the lotus is connected with the crown chakra and the Hindu & Buddhist Goddess Lakshmi is associated with the flower. I have included an image of Lakshmi alongside her vehicle the Owl. She is the wife of Vishnu, plays a prominent part in Hindu wedding ceremonies and festivals Diwali & Shared Purnima are held in her honour. She signifies the importance of economic activity in maintenance of life. Her 4 hands represent the 4 goals considered important for life: Dharma, Kama, Artha & Moksha. The latter two are unfamiliar
To me, mean understanding & enlightenment. Read more
This week Artcore has been full of festivity with celebrating India’s Independence day & the Chai & the City launch. New experiences for me included drinking chai from beautiful terracotta cups and having my first henna tattoo. I’m looking forward to Derby Feste after Stephen Munn gave a talk about this year’s plans. We also had a fascinating talk by Ivan Smith about his art residencies in India, followed by a talk from Nicki & I about our residency at Artcore so far. I feel so thankful to be in this place right now.
After the festivities I started working on my Yoga mat with the new acrylic paints. I’m really enjoying experimenting painting on a different surface it’s a real challenge. Usually I prepare a primed canvas with a layer of acrylic paint to created a smooth surface. The Yoga mat is the complete opposite with its textured surface. This I have played with, sometimes leaving the pattern showing through and other times layering the paint to give the vibrancy I wish to achieve. This is taking a lot of paint to give a good coverage & fill in the crevices. The small square patterns appeal to me, a development on my usual gold technique. The paint markers are fun to use too, it’s great to add the detail of the textiles.
Today I am working in the large lotus flower and will play with the idea of sitting Lakshmi on the small lotus flower underneath, I’d really like to bring her into the painting.
My new acrylic paints have arrived. Perfect timing, I can continue painting on my Yoga mat this week. The colours are exciting, the quality looks good, I can’t wait to get started.
Scrubbed clean with soap & water & left to dry overnight, I fixed my Yoga mat to the studio wall. It took a while to dare to make my first marks as once started there would be no turning back. I started to sketch out the painting with a thin layer of acrylic paint. I’m now enjoying playing with this new surface. The challenge of working with the texture and the pattern of the mat is very satisfying. I will leave it to dry and I’m looking forward to painting the detail with my new acrylic paints, I hope they are delivered soon.
Since the realisation my first residency painting was cut to the exact size as my yoga mat, I decided to experiment painting onto mats instead of my usual primed canvas. Working with new surfaces is something I was keen to do. So today I have been experimenting with a mini mat. ripping up sketches, photos & pieces of fabric creating a collage on paper.
Tomorrow I will take the bold step of painting this onto my own yoga mat. 12 years old I think it has served me very well and it is certainly time for a new one. Surprisingly I was quite emotional during my last yoga session it has been an island of calm seeing me through recovery from a back operation, nurturing 3 teenage children into adulthood and establishing myself as an artist. Many memories lots of love, laughter and the occasional trauma, a wonderfully rich chapter which I am eternally grateful for & the lessons it has taught me. Time to release the old to allow room for the new.
The natiional flower of India, has just started to bloom on our pond. Perfect timing for my current research on the Lotus, it’s symbolism & medicinal properties. Looking forward to painting it tomorrow.
Bit more work on the painting, working on the foreground.
Installation day 1 complete.
The penguins are beginning to take shape, with finishing touches to come tomorrow. After an hour of panic and tangled wire, everything began to *swim* along just fine. Mapping them out on a very large sheet of paper really helped to bring it all together. And the kind support of my lovely boyfriend in braving the rather large ladder that gave me chills and made my knees knock..
Tomorrow is another day, filled with achievements and discoveries. Happy happy happy.
Loving these little ladies.. Thinking about where they might be placed in the museum, lots of funny ideas going off in my head, possibilities of comical narrative that may go with them. I can almost hear them chattering away, eyeing up the last piece of cake.