March and the beginning of April have been very difficult weatherwise for the sheep and the humans. We seem to be over it hopefully -- yesterday it was 80 degrees. Farm chores continue everyday. The lambs are growing and soon the grass will be too. The sheep and lambs are still in the winter barns. Food needs to be brought to them at least twice a day. In a month or so when the grass and vegetation has grown they will move out onto pastures near and far. But first the portable electric fencing will need to be set up.
I've been trying to get my creative mojo going again although it doesn't seem like I have much time to spare. The past couple of years, I have been taking a once a week in the evening pottery class with Lucy Fagella. I have really enjoyed it and it is a night out away from home and family which I haven't done much of in 18 years. Lucy is an incredible potter and I learn something every evening. She studied at Alfred and has been making her living as a potter since 2004. You can check out her work here. She has a nice Instagram feed too.
Last term I worked on vase shapes. This term I have been working on bowls. I've had some bisqued porcelain pots waiting to be decorated so that Lucy can fire them for me. Bisque is a first firing and it is the one which makes the pots somewhat hard and unbreakable. After bisquing, they can be transported home for me to decorate with my flower designs. I got it together last week to decorate them with underglazes my underglazes. Here they are.
I tried something a little different with this large bowl. Instead of all painting the entire design with a brush, I applied some of the underglazes with some foam brushes. I can't wait to see how it fires but it will be a while for that.
Often when I am in a creative rut, I turn to looking at my art books to see if something will inspire me. I'm a big fan of the Bloomsbury artists and this new title about Vanessa Bell - called Vanessa Bell - was just published to coordinate with a show at the Duhlwich Gallery in London. Wish I could get to it but not a chance. The show is on until June 4, 2017.
Here are some of my favorite pages from the book.
This book is nice because not only are there photos of her paintings but there are also a lot of personal photos taken by Vanessa of her family and some from when she was a young woman. There are also several long essays about the different periods in Vanessa's life and how it affected her art.
Here is a video by the Duhlwich Gallery about one of Vanessa's abstract pieces.
I had a vase to paint and was inspired to use a bit of Vanessa's motifs. She often painted ceramics that her son Quentin made as you can see in the photo below. Here is my unfired vase with the photo which inspired me. It will look much different when fired - the colors will come out much brighter and it will have a slightly glossy finish.
What do you do to get out of a creative slump? Would love to hear.