Following a different path.

A while ago I made a decision.

For the last 3 years or so I have been painting and sculpting.


Painting and sculpting. Sculpting a lot and not painting enough. Sculpting for hours and hours on end and painting when I had a spare moment. I love sculpting, I love my wee creatures, I love painting, I love creating painted narratives. I work from studio and I also have a part time job. I have never counted the hours in a week I work (many many many), it does not matter to me. My artwork is a part of my life that is not counted in hours spent – more in how it makes me feel, how I express myself, how I live.

At the end of last year after a particularly gruelling few months preparing for the 5 large contemporary craft shows I exhibited at and the various exhibitions I took part in, the hours and hours of sculpting were causing problems in my hand and as it turns out I have damaged the ligaments in the palm of my hand – nothing that rest will help, scar tissue has now formed and sculpting causes me great pain.

Gillian Iphone pics 105

It should have been devastating.  Those wee creatures are my pride and joy, they are created from my hands and I love when people see them for the first time, I love the response they get even from those who do not love them as I do. BUT this hand injury has brought about the biggest sense of relief that I could never have foreseen. It has caused me to make a decision that I would have perhaps not made otherwise. In all the months of preparation for shows the sculpting took over and the painting was put to the side and it never really felt right. I was starting to focus on the making and selling rather than the creating and expressing and storytelling.

Soooooo!! At the beginning of this year I made the decision to focus entirely on my painting (alongside my part time job) and explore avenues for teaching art and to put the sculpting aside (perhaps not forever, but certainly for the foreseeable future). A change of path indeed. I pulled out of a show I had been wanting to attend for years, I did not apply for any of the brilliant contemporary craft shows I normally attend and I have been painting and drawing since the new year.  It feels great. It feels like the right thing to do. It feels as if I am on the right path. It is scary and freeing and exciting all at the same time.

Gathered at the shore

Now that we are half way through the year and I have not sculpted for more than 6 months I have no regrets (although I do miss them too) Perhaps someday the half finished sculptures on the tray in my studio will be finished but for now the ideas for new paintings are flowing, boards are waiting to become works of art, sketches are waiting to be developed. I could not be in a better place.


Getting to the easel…

Getting to the easel...

… is half the battle.

This is a lesson I need to learn and re-learn and make a poster of to hang on my studio wall.

With only one full studio day during the week now and a few weekends of out and about busy’ness I have been feeling a bit under pressure to ‘come up with the goods’ on that one day. So last Thursday, as I was sitting at my desk feeling a bit tired and sorry for myself, procrastinating and willing myself to begin working, 3pm came alot quicker than I could have imagined. Giving myself a swift kick and finally getting up to my easel determined to just put paint to paper no matter how it turned out I soon found myself enjoying just playing with the materials and lost in the process.

So yet again I ask myself ‘Why could I not have done this at 9am!?’ I would have had many more hours in the studio and enjoyed it a lot more. But again, I try to take note and learn the lesson. Sitting moping gets me no-where. Standing up at the easel and just putting brush to board, starts the process – and no matter what comes out, it is worth it.

So now to make a reminder to myself to hang on that studio wall!

What motivates and encourages you? What tricks do you use to get yourself out of those times when you feel less than inspired?

I would love to know!

The above piece is just one of the peices I finished in those few short hours – mixed media on paper.

New Year, New Start

journal page

Tis a bit later than I intended but I have been meaning to get back to blogging for a while now (September being the last time I posted) but of course the longer the absence goes on the harder it is to get back to. I am not even going to attempt to catch up on the last few months, suffice to say it has been a busy old time and a time of changes, both work-wise and personally. Last year was all about finding a new ‘normal’ and adapting to changes that were outwith our control and are ongoing but we are getting there little by little and whilst some things fell by the wayside (the blog) other things slotted into place just when and where they needed to.

But life is still good and I am working on a new schedule to fit around my increase in hours at my part time job which has been a necessary development. Ultimately last year I had been hoping to decrease my hours to dedicate more time to my artwork but life doesn’t always follow a plan and the result is that now I have less time in the studio but I am working on being even more focussed in the hours that I am there.

So the beginning of this year has already been about creating a new balance and a new structure and I am over the moon with how it is working out so far (please may it continue). This year will be mostly about painting and creating artwork that expands and develops my aesthetic and skills. I am excited about seeing how it develops. I have been beavering away in my large moleskine watercolour sketchbook, creating pages of imagery and writing and the ideas are coming together for a cohesive body or work. It’s all looking rather good!

So I hope I am back, back to writing and updating this space with my artwork and goings on.

So I am here to wish you a very very happy new year and I hope that 2013 is a good year for us all, full of hope, productivity, creativity and happiness.

x x x

Postcard from London

People watching at kings cross, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Dear blog/blog readers

I wish you had been here with me last week.

I had a wonderful time with my dad in London. He got the train down from Edinburgh and I got the coach from Nottingham. We walked till our legs and feet ached and we talked till were hoarse. We plotted and planned and were ridiculously excited to be in London for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I am sorry it is all a bit secretive but I promise (hand on heart) I will let you know more as soon as I can. The weather was mixed but it was ok and the food was great. We went to the Portrait Gallery and spent a lot of time at the Mall Galleries. We got to meet some lovely people and I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

Lots of Love


x x x

PS – life is a little crazy right now but I will try to keep you updated!!

Sculpting away …

Sculpting away, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Hello there! Thanks so much for all your recent comments – I am terribly behind with replying to them all (as ever) but hope to get it done soon.

Today is a day of appointments, my creative writing meet-up and odd jobs. I have been busy sculpting away this week in preparation for all the events I have coming up and I need to prepare for my upcoming workshop this Saturday so it is just going to be one of those days where although I am bobbing about everywhere, all I really want to do is sit and sculpt or start the next painting. Oh the life of a self-employed artist. I am glad to be on annual leave from my part time job this week so that I can get caught up.

Hope you are having a wonderful week!

Off to class ….

Off to class, originally uploaded by gilfling.

The last few weeks have been full of exciting news, some of which I have been able to share and some that for now I have to keep secret. This week has been no different in that I have discovered that thanks to Seek & Adore, Tomas has been popping up in a few magazines and newspapers as part of a feature on Fairy Tales. I was then delighted to receive a phone call from Design Factory letting me know that they were featuring me on their website as their very first ‘Blogger of the month’.

So with a noticeable rise in my blog readers and comments received, I had better make sure I continue to write something as often as I can! Thank you so much for popping in here and/or leaving such thoughtful comments whether you have found me via the Design Factory website or are a long-time reader.

This morning I trotted on off to class. I have not mentioned it here but for the last few weeks I have been attending a creative writing course at my local Maggies Centre* and I love that walk up the above steps on Friday morning where I have a chance to do something completely different from my normal day to day. The tutor is brilliant and I have learned so much about how I can write and just be myself using prompts and various writing tools. The course is coming to an end soon unfortunately but I think the class members are hoping to continue meeting and inspiring each other with ideas to keep writing so I shall be doing that for sure.

One thing that I think may come out of it is that I am hoping to regenerate my very short-lived blog ‘A Notion To Wander’ which I began a while ago but the timing was bad for me to continue it. Now that I am writing regularly again I hope to revisit it and possibly share some of my meandering thoughts over there. I am also hatching another wee plan loosely connected to this so will keep you updated on that!

This afternoon is a date day with my husband and we are off to the cinema and for something to eat so cheerio for now!

*The Maggies Centre website seems to be down at the moment so I have linked to an article which explains a little about them and what they do

x x x

Working things through….

Charcoal drawing, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Oh I am a bad blogger. I know it. I go through fits and starts. I have lots to say but I worry that I am boring, repetitive, self-obsessed. I wish to be more organised and schedule posts and really think about what I want to say and show here but I just can’t quite get to it.

Sorry for the whiney post. It is late and I should be in bed. Life is a bit tough at the moment ….stuff….you know how it goes. Life stuff, Health stuff, Heart stuff. It is just typical that when I am desperate to voice my thoughts and talk… I clam up here. I admire folks who can be truthful and honest on their blogs.. I really do. But there is much that I cannot say here.

I am working away in the studio as much as I can but finding it hard to balance with my part-time job at the moment and am feeling completely overwhelmed with how quickly time passes by and all the things I want to be doing. I need to get focussed and get real about what I can do.

I need to not whine into the ether and just get on with it all. I need to not be tempted to delete this post in the morning and just let it be….I guess it shows that real life happens too. I will be back!! With exciting news – things that are happening and work that is being created in my studio. This one above is one of my recent favourites – this is the kind of art I want to make. Intense and a bit challenging. Not wishy washy like some of my work can tend to be. Perhaps this is the root of my exhaustion and uncertainties – change is afoot in my work and I am battling through it. Tis not the sole reason but possibly part of it.

If you are still visiting, thank you…really. I do appreciate it so very much. If you have any ideas on how I can inform and entertain you then please let me know!!

See you on the other side!!

(PS – thanks to Al for giving me the boot up the bum that I needed to pop in here and say hello….visit his blog – it is ace)

x x x

My witterings…….

Aubrey, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Hello again!! Blogging two days in a row after such a long time away….you can tell I am still bedridden! I have so much to do and yet I am being forced to stay still and rest, which is not me, at all. Tomorrow I am going to try some sculpting and see how I get on…

In the meantime, I thought I would try and catch up on telling you of a few things I have been up to in recent weeks. The show I exhibited at, last weekend was Holmfirth Art Market and was a really wonderful day for me in terms of meeting previous and new customers and chatting to folks about my work and inspirations. These events are always tiring and hard work but the contact with people who show an interest in what you do is so gratifying.

The wonderful Fiona from The Art Markets recorded a podcast with me the week before the show and asked me some really interesting questions about my work and inspirations which really worked my brain! So much of what I do, I just ‘do’ so it is interesting for me to have to think about the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’. I can’t for the life of me work out how to embed it into my blog but if you are interested in listening then you can find the interview here.

Thank you so much for all your good wishes regarding my accident – I really can’t believe how incredibly kind and supportive folks have been towards me and I have had so many lovely messages and offers of help that I feel quite overwhelmed. So thank you.

x x x

A clumsy return….

Lustre, Nov 2011, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Again…. so, so very long since I have blogged. So easy as it is to get out of the habit, to worry that I am boring you, repetition of the same old, same old stories.

But I am back and we shall see what I have to share…………. I have been so incredibly busy these last few weeks (months?) and really I have been on a one track path, just working, working away and preparing for all the upcoming shows of this season. I have taken on a lot this year, my busiest ever and now I have 2 shows, a showcase and one exhibition behind me and 3 shows, a showcase and an exhibition looming ahead which is exciting if a little scary!

I am naturally nervy whilst preparing for shows and exhibitions, but this year has now been made a little more stressful by way of a fall down a flight of stairs in a coffee shop 2 days ago which resulted in a trip to accident and emergency and the diagnosis of at least 2 fractured ribs and possible sternum fracture – and more bruising and aches than I care to mention!!

Tis a long, long story which I won’t bore you with but needless to say it all leaves me in a bit of a pickle. This is the 3rd consecutive year of disasters during my show season. Two years ago saw me running from show, to shop, to hospital, to p/t job whilst Mark was quite ill in hospital for several weeks – last year of course I was being treated for breast cancer so was only able to do one show (disastrous when I am a self-employed artist depending on the income) and now this year!! With all the money I have paid out to do the shows I can’t afford another year of calamities!

Luckily I have the best friends in the world. I put out a call for help on facebook last night and I have been overwhelmed with offers of help from friends and strangers alike. I have been bed-bound the last 2 days and any movement leaves me in agony (goodness knows what my neighbours must think of the screaming every time I have to get out of bed) and with my next show only a week and 2 days away (and 2 more on the consecutive weekends after that) I was in a panic about how I would manage. But folks have offered to drive me, carry stuff, unpack, set up and man my stall and I am so, so humbled and grateful. The artistic community is a generous one and there is always that sense of ‘we look after each other’ and never has that been more clear.

So the next show is pretty much sorted and I will be trying to sculpt away in my sick-bed (the only place I can get comfortable as the slightest movement leaves me in agony) and hoping that I can get up and about in a few days to do a little sewing of mice and rabbits and melancholy girls.

The photos’s above were taken at my first show of the season which was the brilliant Lustre in Nottingham. It was my best show ever and I was overwhelmed with the response to my work, so thank you if you came to visit, purchase or even just to say hello and show an interest in the things I create. It makes it all worthwhile!

x x x

Where I’m at….

awaiting arms, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Hello there. I am so behind at blogging all the works in progress I have on the table at the moment, but here is one, just to let you know that I am here. I am spending alot of time in my studio these days and I am so happy to do so. Life stuff is happening. You know the kind…. head hurting, heart-aching, covered by a cloud, weight on my shoulders kind of stuff. But I shall plough through it as is my way…. it feels foggy and blurry, but finding my way through and keeping on creating are my two main goals in life at the moment.

I shall see you on the other side.

x x x