Summer 2016

My summer was a mixture of very special times and very sad times, looking after my lovely, wonderful Mum who was taken ill whilst staying with us here in Pembrokeshire and could not return to her home in the North of England. Sadly, she passed away on November 3rd and now I have to rebuild my life without her. I shall never stop missing her.

I am now in my first year of a Fine Art Degree and having missed  most of this terms work, am determined to catch up. I am so loving the challenge of drawing and painting, the self discovery and the freedom of art beyond the lens. I am fortunate enough to have some of my work from my June exhibition, which Mum saw and admired (of course she loved it – she was my Mum), on show now in Oriel Q, in the Winter Open. It has given me such a boost. The opening is tomorrow, and we hope that everyone who can, will come and join in the opening, have some Mulled Wine and support this amazing gallery by buying some of the 100 pieces that are on exhibit there.

I shall try my best to keep my blog active now – those of you who have followed in the past must wonder if ever I shall – but I am going to give it one last, best shot.

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Access to Fine Art – a year of toil, tribulations and amazingly exciting discoveries into art.

My last post, Sept 2014, not only signified the end to four fantastic years of my photography degree but also the beginning of the most difficult year yet. OK not so much difficult, as loaded. So loaded I have not once updated my website.  However, it was even better than I could ever have dreamt of, as I have been introduced to the joys of painting, drawing, printmaking and ceramics.

The year is coming to an end and today I put up my exhibition in Coleg Sir Gar, Carmarthen’s School of the Arts, as usual with a little help from my amazing, incredibly supportive husband.  I am really excited to be opening, along with my fellow students, this Friday June 10th at 7pm.

All are welcome and we look forward to a fantastic evening.

My main images will go onto my website this weekend after the opening and then please look out for pictures of our home project. The joint one with John, repairing the really interesting part of our home, a WW11 Happidrome. A real part of history, a really special part of our home and a real space for the developing of photography and the creation of art.

Thanks for reading. I am having a truly fantastic journey – I really hope some of my readers are also experiencing the joys of new ventures; I don’t think I will ever stop.

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King Street Gallery – Graduate Exhibition

Today is one of the most exciting days of my University endeavour; it kind of brings to an end, rounds off in the best possible way, my four years of learning. That is, learning to be a Fine Art Photographer. King Street Gallery Graduate Exhibition, 2015 – opens today at 17:30 and I am one of the lucky six graduates to have their work on show.

In this last year of my degree I have received two special awards, the Dissertation Award, awarded by my tutor, Amelia Kilvington and the Carmarthenshire Learner of the Year Award, for which I was nominated by my Tutor Iain Davies.

Recieving My Dissertation Award from Amelia

Recieving My Dissertation Award from Amelia

Both are absolutely fantastic to have achieved and I couldn’t have done it without the fantastic support of John, my Husband and my tutors.

John, my husband, Iain and myself

John, , Iain and myself

This exhibition, at the King Street Gallery couldn’t be more appropriate as a perfect finale to a fantastic four years.

My ‘Spirit of Ynyslas’ installation piece is one of the six exhibits chosen to be a part of the King Street Gallery Degree Show. I feel very honoured but most of all, really excited that my installation will be seen by a such a wide audience. I hope that everyone who comes to see it gets close to feeling the excitement and awe that I felt when I first experienced standing on the beach amongst the ancient roots of the 5000 year old submerged forest.

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“to BLOG, or not to BLOG, that is the……………………….

Just how can a simple, really quite trivial in the big picture , question of blogging disturb my mind for approximately 18 months? So much so, that the hundreds of blog posts I’ve written are still filed, not to be shared through lack of conviction as to their worth.

I know that I have been a complete waste of space with my blogging BUT I do have a reason; totally justifiable to myself, but not really to others I am sure.

18 Months ago a highly regarded Tutor, and Director of a highly regarded Gallery & Art Space, suggested to me that blogs linked to a Professional Site should be professional and not personal – oops -not my style you know! BUT, I totally took it on board – hence half of my blogs are still filed, not POSTED. The following week my other tutor, highly regarded as being knowledgeable when it comes to judgement regarding marketing, (and the number of words/length of lines in a module workbook if you want the tutor to read it) advised that any blog post longer than 250 words was not going to be read. So now, the other half of my BLOG POSTS are  filed , NOT posted.

I finally had an epiphany earlier this week and I do think I have solved the problem and so, shall return to blogging, which I secretly enjoy immensely. Here is how I shall do it :

  • I shall split my blog post into two
  • the first half shall be absolutely on a professional basis, short sharp and to the point
  • the second half shall be hidden away in the “click here if you want to get personal and have time and the desire to listen to my rant”

SO lets TRY IT!   For the ‘longer, exclusively ‘Jane’ bit’, click here Continue reading

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‘Spirit of Ynyslas’ ~ Lost Kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod

When I first stepped onto the shores of Cardigan Bay, in Borth, Wales, I wasn’t certain of what I was going to find. I’d heard about the submerged forest but had no other information – I was on a rekkie for my Advanced Creative Project part one (ACP1), my next to last module in my degree. I had already virtually decided that it would be based around the ancient woodlands of Lawrenny. In fact that is exactly what ACP1 turned out to be;  ‘Spirit of the Druid’ ~ Lawrenny

However, once I stood amongst the 5000 year old remains of the ‘seashore forest’, I just knew that I was in the right place for my final ACP2 work. I wondered amongst the tree remains, some just small stumps and some much larger; there was lots of silt covered peat where there were more roots buried below and lots of  peat with just fragments of root appearing through the blackness. I felt in awe of their longevity; even though they had been felled or damaged beyond hope by the power of the elements, they had survived in some form; a wonder for us all to see. The following are some of my first attempts to capture that feeling on camera.

Because the weather is often unpredictable on the coast my first images were taken using strobes in low light due the tide coverage during the day. However, on my next visit the tides were different and I was able to experiment with water movement and alternative lighting, all the time looking to portray in my image, that strange, mystical feeling that I was experiencing when amongst these ancient roots and trees.

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The following images do not in any way reflect my own visualisation, however I have included them here to show how the light creates such rich colours when falling on wet Oak and Pine.

Later in the day, as the light began to fade, the sky became more interesting and as I walked further along the shore, I became more a part of the forest and realised that there was much more to explore than I had first thought.

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For those of you who are still with me on the shores of Cardigan Bay, I say a huge thank you and promise that when we finally get to the Lost Kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod, beyond the Submerged  Forest on the shores of Ynyslas, you will be pleased you put up with my protracted journey – is it called ‘setting the scene’? I guess it is. And, as my exhibition doesn’t open until Friday, I don’t want to pre-empt the moment.

See you tomorrow, and thanks, again!

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2015 Coleg Sir Gar Degree Show – and my Installation is on Exhibit

COLEG SIR GȂRCARMARTHEN SCHOOL OF ART, Degree Show 2015

23rd May, 10.00 – 16.00         CLOSED during Bank Holiday Weekend,                       27th May- 5th June, May 23rd, 27th, 28th, 29th & June 3rd , 5th – 9.30 – 16.00,              June 1st, 2nd, 4th – 9.30 – 19.30 •                                                                                         Ceramics & Jewellery • Fine Art: Painting, Drawing & Printmaking • Photography • Design • Digital Illustration • Fashion • Textiles                                                                                       Coleg Sir Gȃr, Jobs Well Road Campus, Jobs Well Road, Carmarthen SA31 3HY             

My exhibit is an Installation of Pure Silk Hangings and Lightboxes, with addition of a Handmade Artist Book and 8 * Giclee Prints in a custom made presentation box, entitled:

‘Spirit of Ynyslas’ ~ Lost Kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod

We shall start my pictorial search for the lost kingdom tomorrow and each day move on toward Cantre’r Gwaelod, through the submerged forest  and into a world long gone.    Just for today, I shall share one of my first views of the submerged forest – 5000 years oldSunken Forest fro Graphite-0075_72pxl_cr

It is now nearly the end of my degree in photography and I can’t begin to tell you how much it has meant to me to be have been able to have done it.  Mm.  I’d better not begin to tell you or you might think I am quite mad. I used to be of the opinion that arty people were slightly ‘touched’ – by what I didn’t quite know. Well I guess I’m touched with the same thing now and I’m more than happy to know it. I went to my interview and apologetically asked what ‘conceptual’ meant – just how did I get a place on the course?

My final degree work is ‘conceptual’ and for those of you who think that the word is some kind of arty secret; well let me tell you; most arty people would like to keep it a secret. But it really isn’t that big a deal. My images for my degree exhibit are of an incredible natural world occurrence; they represent a quite stunning landscape spectacle. However, and here is the conceptual bit, I mean them to be more than just stunning images that people might admire. I hope for them to represent not only the incredible beauty of our natural world but also, the fragility of our world. Maybe in seeing them, those who have got lost in the bit of a mess that is our modern world, might find the time to go explore, find the beautiful places that are still there for us to see, to experience, before they are gone forever.

 

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So, for a photographer and artist, just ‘What is Success’?

I promised a post on what I thought is ‘success’. Was it really back in January?

Having just handed in my final module work for my Photography degree, I should really be referring to that event. Not so, right at this very moment I consider success to be the claim of anyone who has managed to get through this winter without being attacked by the horrid, debilitating cough which has overpowered me twice now – and for months each time. So to all of you who have avoided it – REALLY WELL DONE – no mean feat.

And to those of you who, like me, are still suffering from a lack of ‘drive’ after spending weeks of sleepless nights, coughing – then you have my greatest sympathy.

BUT, back to this word ‘success’.

Back in time, before the cough really took over my life, I put in an application to attend a Fine Art Degree course; I know! But all this creativity that is bubbling out of me after my Tog Degree is longing to express itself though drawing and painting now. Anyway, back to the application, where, as a finishing comment I tried to look ambitious and added that my aim is to be a successful artist. Silly, silly statement. So, what does it mean?

I was told by a tutor a few years ago that you won’t make any money out of photography unless you teach it or write about it. Mm, mostly true. But although we all need to make money to live by, to be a successful artist can mean something completely different to each and every one of us.

  • it can mean enjoying your creativity so much that it takes you away from the worry of having to make the ‘live by’ money
  • it can mean sharing ideas and thoughts with other like minded arty people – always fun
  • and it can be when someone sees, in your work, something special to them, like the lady who  went all the way to the Tower of London to see the Remembrance Poppies after seeing my own Poppy image
"at the going down of the sun"

“at the going down of the sun”

  • or like the couple who were so inspired by my Spirit of Druid – Lawrenny series, that they just had to go for a walk there, in the ancient woodlands, even though they had just a few hours of their holiday left.

Drui_4

I shall always treasure those memories. I am now experiencing another feeling of success, one that comes from being in the right place, at the right time and being able to produce a uniquely special piece of work.

My final body of work for my degree is ‘Spirit of Ynyslas’ – Lost kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod.

To have been able to photograph the amazing submerged forest off Cardigan Bay, to have captured images of ancient tree remains that might be now covered in sand again, for a lifetime or more, is incredibly humbling. I believe I have something truly unique which I can share with others and personally treasure for the rest of my life. Success might not be quite the right word for it but whatever it is, I am glowing in it.

Tomorrow I shall post details of the Degree Show and hope that some of you might be able to come to see all the art that has been produced by myself and my fellow graduates during our degrees. And thank you for your patience; I am now back on board.

 

 

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Spirit of Enterprise – A gallery for artists – A PBI initiative

It may all be over for the Spirit of Enterprise programme, but not for the ‘test traders’.

The ‘Spirit of Enterprise’ gallery was set up, with Welsh and European funding,  by Pembrokeshire Business Initiative, PBI, to help artists, regardless of preferred media, gain experience by ‘test trading’ their creations and getting work experience in a gallery. The gallery displayed a wonderful diversity of arts and craft, from oil and mixed media to photography, sculpture, graphics, jewellery, embroidery, knitting, ceramics, felting and creations from recycled materials.

So what did I learn and what can I pass on that might be of interest – be it with regard to showing and/or selling your work, either in a small fête or arts and craft exhibition, through the internet or in a full blown art gallery? I have no permissions to show photos of the gallery and individual’s work; however, I’m certain you will create your own picture:-

  • ‘marketing is of prime importance’ (1) – though the gallery was selling paintings, photographs and sculptures amongst its exhibits,  the window display was filled to capacity with the smaller, inexpensive craft items and cards – it therefore attracted a narrower market than was potentially achievable and the majority of sales were for under £10 – the marketing should attract the right people for the product, or range of products. It is important to target the right audience, from the very first step in choosing a name for a business to the locality and décor of a potential venue all the way to the choice of design for a website and its content (advice from PBI)
  • marketing is of prime importance’ (2) – over the period of the five months I was at the gallery, I was amused to see the way in which the gallery layout was changed every time a different trader was on duty – their work was suddenly ‘front of shop’ regardless of overall clutter and presentation. The PBI marketing manager, on a day when no-one else was in attendance,  helped me to rearrange the shop floor in a creative manner . He made space for customers to stand back and appreciate the goods on display, created interest and brought people further into the inner areas by blocking the view of small areas when seen from the window and entrance; he created harmony through colour and content. The effect was transforming and  our sales achieved a much higher level than usual, both in number and in item value; a really valuable lesson
  • context is everything‘  –   in this instance, if  I wanted to sell my work, I needed to fit the above, hence a range of mounted, unframed images, books and cards based on my work were more viable than my large framed images. However, the framed images were the ‘hook’ that attracted customers to my less expensive images & books etc
  • read your client’ – I discovered that though it was exciting to talk to people about my work once I you saw they were interested, it was invaluable to wait for the right time to approach a customer – give them a chance to fully appreciate my work first
  •  ‘be enthusiastic with regard to your work‘ – I was initially embarrassed to show my pleasure at someone’s interest in my work; however, through my experiences, I learnt that once I had  acknowledged a customer’s interest, if I showed my enthusiasm, it was catching and the customer became even more interested

I had a very interesting few months, and though my future business project involves very little focus on selling, it will be heavily dependant on appropriate marketing skills, from website to venue to personal contact. I have had a valuable insight into the ‘art’ of exhibiting and selling, thank you PBI.

On a lesser note, PBI had a ‘Spirit of Enterprise’ website which included all the test traders, past and present, and included biography’s and images of their works. It was a disappointment that PBI chose to redirect everyone away from this site, back to their own. http://www.spiritofenterprise.org.uk/test-traders/ If you are reading this PBI, please consider re-instating it.

Nevertheless, and of great personal value, I gained confidence through the experience and I became aware of my own interpretation of what being a ‘successful artist’ meant to me. What does it mean to you? I shall share my thoughts, along with some images, in my next post. Thanks for listening.

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Catch-up Time – well overdue!

If you followed my blog last year then a huge thank you for your patience. I had hoped to be posting back in September but every time I started, I had reservations on what to blog (I shall explain in a mo’), then, when I had finally sorted my head out, in November, I caught this awful virus and it was all I could do to finish my Dissertation in time. Yep! It is my final year. And today, for the first time in weeks, I have actually nearly stopped coughing, have a bit of energy and am raring to go.

The reason I was hesitating ref my blog is a bit silly really. After all it is my blog. BUT,  I was given some advice (regarding my blog) from a tutor I hold in high regard; ‘problem’; I just couldn’t take it. Here’s the thing. I am working on developing a really exciting business and I was advised NOT to include anything personal in my blog – keep it purely to photography and the arts – so me being me, every time I wrote a post, I had conflict in my head and so, my blog dried up. Now I am SORTED. The last months have been a real time of personal development – how good does that sound, Ha! Seriously, for those of you who have already done a degree you’ll probably know what I mean. Age is not relevant – you go in as one person, get dragged every which way there is, and then come out at the other end changed, hopefully with a clear and confident focus on your future plans. So tomorrow I will blog – as ME, personal & professional; I’ll start with my time, July to November, working with Spirit of Enterprise, Art and Craft Gallery in Pembrokeshire; hopefully sharing some useful ideas too!

My ‘space’ in Spirit of Enterprise, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire  –  a PBI initiative,    sadly now closed due to end of EU funding.

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Uni work all done for this year! Now to get to work! Ha!

It is so exciting getting to a stage in my degree when I can really focus on what I personally want to do, instead of focusing on the specific module requirements. Ok, so they were a vital ingredient of the degree and, obviously, the discipline that got me this far but, I really do have to say, in order to really get the best out of my learning, it has been absolutely ‘full on’. Now I want to try to pull it all together, relax a bit and make it my totally my own. I have already started really. My last module, ‘Spirit of the Druid’ was absolutely my own, pure indulgence in the direction I want to go with my work. It is also the basis of my exhibition.

However, back to my blog. I keep threatening to get back on top of  writing it in a regular fashion; I shall do eventually but just not quite yet. I have to catch up on all the things that have been neglected in favour of my uni work, and that is a lot of stuff. Good word, ‘stuff’. It can mean just about anything and everything. In my case it means a whole list of things that have been totally neglected over the past two and a half years. Things like ME, Myself, Me again, My diet, My fitness,  My home, My garden, My car, (did I tell you I ran out of oil?), Oh and my husband, my daughter, my Mum and my friends etc Oops meant just to say – my Husband, my Daughter, my Mum and my Friends, obviously in that order. Anyway that’s just for starters so I might be while.

My aim is to really make this blog a TOG BLOG, with lots of thoughts and notes on what is working for me, how and why. I can’t wait to get back to the total indulgence of playing with my Toggery – toggery, (just love that word – got it from a Tog Tutor – mad world) Anyway, I do just have so much to get involved in, not that I’m being too ambitious. There’s digital, 35mm film, 6×6 film, 5×4 film, B & W, colour, studio, location, developing,  scanning, printing,digital and darkroom. Oh, did I forget to include the deeply hidden art of taking & making of pictures.

But just for a while now, I am going to get my house in order, as the saying goes. Then I shall be ‘back blogging’ in good form I hope. I really mean it when I say “thanks for following” – you have all made it so good to do, just knowing someone is actually interested enough to look at my blog means a lot. I hope you are still there when I return. In the meantime, have a great summer, and even though I probably won’t be posting, I shall be enjoying reading and viewing all of your blogs.

Ta Ta for now.   ;-}  Continue reading

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Second attempt at Video – Now Re-Edited but still with issues.

As a part of my BA Hons, Degree Enterprise Module, I have made a ‘shameless’ self promotion video. Ha !

My first attempt was not what I hoped it would be, with very poor quality in some of the images – they were pixelated. However,  I did get some guidance from my tutor this morning and have re-edited it with the images more appropriately sized, hoping for a better result. Continue reading

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Documentary – 2 minutes – on Website

So now I am a movie director? Continue reading

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I awoke with a Smile – nice, really nice, feeling!

Today I awoke with a smile!

Western Telegarph

Oriel Q, ‘On the Stairs’, Queens Hall, Narbeth – Opening Night!

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‘On The Stairs’ Exhibition at Oriel y Q

Invite for blog

An Opening Night! And Continue reading

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Still ‘Blogged’ Down with Uni Work – Oh & Exciting Exhibition Stuff! Also, My Blog is soon to be part of a Website!

Every time I try to get back to blogging I have a crisis – all good crisis’s; as you must already know if you’ve even read an incy bit of my blog, mostly I see even the not so good things as ‘good’.

So, I am Continue reading

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My Book Published – well, in a draft mode at least! And Now! Finally, a chance to revitalise my Blog!

It was definitely wishful thinking , back in August, that I could keep my blog going this semester. Part-time is fantastic in that it gave me one module to focus on but, heh, I got so involved with it, and Continue reading

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Lightroom, Raw and JPEG

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So here’s the thing. I’ve been at uni for the last two years, trying to learn as much as I can about photography – reality check – they expect you to know all the practical stuff before you get there! Oops!

Anyway, everyone seems to know so much more than me, so that when I find myself wanting to explain something on my blog, I kind of feel that I’m maybe trying to teach my Grandma to suck eggs. And that’s not what I’m about! But, Continue reading

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It’s been an OK Summer – (so? I’m playing it cool)

Summer Fun

Alright! So it’s been more than OK – hasn’t everybody’s’ been a whole lot better than the rainy Summer of 2012. Hope so. Continue reading

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I did actually promise to “Keep my Blog Alive” – what a “rotten egg” I am! Sorry!

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Keeping my Blog Alive ! And Keeping my Blogging Friends !

The end of this semester is approaching and tomorrow morning is the deadline for the Specialist Professional Skills Module of our degree in photography. My Blog has been a part of it. Continue reading

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