Post by Category : blog

20-20 Vision – The Haggis Party – Profile of a Hill

The Haggis Party, Pen and Watercolour on Paper

My latest few blogs are collections of art on specific themes. Certain themes recur almost without thinking. So these blogs are a kind of sketch book for me or mini exhibitions. (Apologies in advance for my poor photography of some of the images.)

Tinto Hill here in South Lanarkshire with its distinctive profile, is a daily view and over the past three years has shown up repeatedly in my art in cartoons, drawings and paintings.

Tinto is a hill with history.

Birth of the Clydesdale
Oil on Canvas
100 x 150 cm
The Clydesdale Horse originates from the farms at the base of Tinto. In this large painting, bleak winter weather storms over Tinto as the powerful Clydesdale horse blows in on the winter wind. Painted with copper and gold acrylic paint and overlaid with oil paint to create what I hope is an atmospheric painting.
When Dreams Fly
Available as a print, £20/£30
The saying ‘If Wishes Were Horses, pure men would ride’ was first collected by 1676 by James Carmichael. The Carmichael Estate is at the base of Tinto. This drawing is part of a series of artworks based on the expression. The dandelion clock is another recurring image in my artwork.
blog here

.A Magical Moon
A unicorn stands at the top of the hill.
The Unicorn is the symbol of Scotland.
Original drawing available
Link to this and more original unicorn drawings here
The Dream
A girl gets ready to ride up a mountain. Never stop dreaming or attempting to climb mountains!
Pencil on Paper
Original Artwork Available
Blessings
Available as a black and white hand signed and titled print
£20/30
Angel seeds, angel wishes, hope and life.
Nineteen Corvids
Drawn during lockdown for an exhibition in Lanark
Available as a hand signed and titled print
£20/£30
blog here
The Wishing Tree
This painting portrays trees and dandelion clocks and another recurring theme that of horse trees.
Mixed Media on Canvas
Available
The Haggis Party
Ink and Watercolour
A bit of daft fun. Harris’s Haggises!
Framed Original Available
Horse Landscape
Acrylic on Canvas
This framed painting is oil on copper so changes in the light. It is much more interesting in the flesh than in the photo.
Available
Make Moosic
Pen and Ink
Link to this and other original cow drawings Blog Power of Cow – here
If Witches Were Horses
Available as a print
£20/£30
The poster for an exhibition I organised in Lanark. I have been working over the past few years with The Tolbooth Lanark to bring together artists in this rural area and create a vibrant art scene. The idea for this is based on Hokusai’s famous portfolio 36 Views of Mount Fuji.
The Path
Oil on Canvas
100 x 150 cm
Very loosely based on a Hokusai print. I keep doing more work on this painting, so although framed who knows if it is actually finished!
Available

If you are interested in any of the artwork in this blog please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes

Kirsten

kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

20-20 Vision – Eye Level – Dogs

20-20 Vision – Eye Level – Dogs is based on my wee scruffy designer mongrel Maisie, aka Crazy Maisie, who inspired a previous blog 101 Life Lessons from my Dog, link here. I was Maisie’s third home as a 12 week puppy. She was, to say the least, hyper active – literally bouncing off the wall. I love her to bits! She is now six. During lockdown I spent a lot of time clipping her with a tiny pair of scissors and drawing her too.

This collection were all drawn from life in the garden over several days during lockdown, April – May 2020. I admire Picasso’s fluid line drawings – the way he makes a simple line look so easy as it flows out, the result of years of observations and skilled hand to eye coordination. It ain’t easy, I got better as the days progressed.

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24. Flat Out by Kirsten Harris, Postcard size, Ink on White card. £20
25. Eye Level by Kirsten Harris, Original Drawing. Postcard size, £20
Cultivate Fascination, A5 Print £10
Spring is Magical Pen and Watercolour, A5, £30
Follow Your Nose, Pen and Ink, A5 Size, £25
Playing Ball in Fun, Pen and Watercolour, A5, £35
Silence Speaks Volumes, Pen and Watercolour, A5 size, £35
Meditating is Bliss, Pen and Watercolour, £40
Power Naps are Essential, Pen and Watercolour, £40
This is drawn on white paper despite the bluish tint on the photo
26. Postcard size original drawing. £20
27. Postcard size original drawing £20
28. Postcard size original drawing £20
29. Postcard size original drawing £20
To buy and keep Maisie in an endless supply of balls, email me at kirstenfharris@btopenworld or PM me via my facebook page Kirsten Harris Art.
With very best wishes Kirsten and Crazy Maisie. x

Previous 20-20 blogs include The Power of Cow, Get Back on Your Unicorn and My Top Twenty Black and White Prints. More to follow – horses, cats and chickens soon. The original drawings in these blogs are not available elsewhere.

Lots of original paintings on my website. Thank you for looking. Kx

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

Maisie ball in mouth, chasing a crow

20 – 20 Vision – Get Back on Your Unicorn Gallery

Welcome to my Unicorn Gallery. 20 Unicorn drawings and cartoons from £20 as part of my 20-20 Vision project, drawing a weird and challenging year to an end. I expected everyone to be talking about 2020 vision this year not viruses, so thought I would create a 20-20 vision personal art project and challenge to keep moving forward smiling.

A bit about unicorns…

The unicorn, a mythological horse found in antiquity, is the symbol of Scotland, chosen as the beast powerful enough to stand up to the English lion. 

In Medieval times unicorns were believed to heal sickness but the wild woodland unicorn could only be captured by a virgin.

The virgin myth is thought to represent the Virgin Mary and the belief that the healing power of the unicorn was associated with miracles and thus represented Christ.

Magical healing ‘Alicorn’ powder made from the tusks of unicorns was sold in Europe as late as 1741. Unicorn horn (narwhale horn) was an extremely precious commodity. 

It would be easy to laugh at this if it wasn’t for the fact that the Chinese sickeningly still use endangered rhinoceros horn for medicine. Bite your own finger nails for all the good rhino horn is going to do to cure you!

I started drawing unicorns to illustrate a daft Alexander Technique inspired poem I wrote for the children I was teaching the Alexander Technique at The Edinburgh School of Music. Well one unicorn led to another…

Here are twenty fun original cartoons and drawings of the wonderful mythical unicorn. The third of my 20 galleries, links at end of post. Prices for original drawings from £20. I think some of these would look wonderful in a child’s bedroom.

To buy just email me at kirstenfharris@btopenworld or PM me via Facebook messenger on my page Kirsten Harris Art.

I hope you enjoy my unicorn gallery…

Bee Up!
Pen Ink and Watercolour
21 x 29.7 cm
£30
Prancing the Night Away
14.8 x 21 cm
£20
Prancing the Light Fantastic
14.8 x 21 cm
£20
Come Prancing
14.8 x 21cm
£20
Moon Shadow
25 x 25cm with mount
Watercolour and ink
Mounted with a black mount
SOLD
Flower Power
Pen, ink and watercolour
21 x 29.7 cm
£30
Think Up!
Pen and Colour Pencil
£20
If Unicorns Made Wishes
Pen, Ink, Watercolour
21 x 29.7 cm
£75
The Unicorn Tree
Pen and Ink
21 x 29.7
£100
Wee Three Unicorns
Pen, ink, watercolour and coloured pencil
12.8 x 21 cm
£20
Get Back on Your Unicorn
Pen, ink and watercolour
21 x 29.7 cm
£30
The Owl and The Unicorn Tree
Pen and Watercolour on Cartridge Paper
21 x 29.7
£100
Princess Wishes
Pen, Ink and Watercolour
21 x 29.7 cm
£40
The Colour of Hope
Pen, Ink and Coloured Pencil
£55
Balancing the World
Pen, Ink and Watercolour
£45
Unicorn Moon
21 x 29.7cm
Pen and Ink
£50
Even Unicorns Need a Back Scratch
Pen, ink and Watercolour
21 x 29.7 cm
£30
A Magic Moon
Pen and Ink
21 x 29.7 cm
£55
Once In a Blue Moon
Pen, ink and watercolour
21 x 29.7 cm
£50
Does My Bum Look Big in This?
Pen and ink and watercolour
£30

Next collection of 20 drawings and cartoons on the theme of cats! Or maybe dogs… or chickens…

Stay safe,

Love Kirsten

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

kirstenfharris@btopenworld.co.uk

Facebook – Kirsten Harris Art

Check out my 20-20 online galleries to date, a chance to collect original artwork from £20.00. You can reserve art if you want to follow this series. Thank you for looking. Kx

20 – 20 Vision – The Power of Cow Gallery here

20 – 20 Vision – Top Twenty Black and White prints here

20-20 Vision – The Power of Cow

Tough at the Top by Kirsten Harris
14.8 x 21 cms
£20

I love drawing. It underpins everything. It’s a zone, a skill and a challenge. When the hand eye co-ordination works and the line really starts flowing drawing is a wonderful place to hang out. A place to realise ideas through images.

In 2019 everyone was talking about how wonderful 2020 would be, 20 – 20 vision and all that! It went a bit pear shaped but the year’s not over!

My new 2020 vision is a desire to make people smile with my art.

Winter has definitely arrived here. With the wild wind and the nights drawing in, an idea blew in a few days ago.

I will do themes for drawings. 20 at a time, priced from £20. Original art for the price of a print. First come first served!

I don’t tend to sell my original drawings, let alone for twenty quid, but these are extraordinary times and I feel inspired. I’m hoping to channel my inner Picasso, the master of the fluid line!

I feel more fired up with enthusiasm than I have been all year so I hope I will draw 2020 to an end with vision.

My first theme is – The Power of Cow

I have been drawing cows for 10 years. Cartoons, daft drawings, ideas and the odd oil painting of Highlanders in between. Selling my cow drawings online is new to me. Cows have always been local. My lovely vet, for example, has a collection of original cow cartoons.

Join me, support me, make a collection of original art. Why not?

20 – 20 themes that I intend to draw and explore include – horses, cats, chickens, dogs, unicorns, hares, birds, Christmas and angels… and who knows what else. 20 drawings on each theme, from £20. (26 US dollars)

I will post out original drawings worldwide. If you wish to follow me and make a collection over the next couple of months I can reserve drawings for you and post in one go if you like.

Postage and packaging will be charged at cost. Drawings will be no bigger than A4 size. Maybe original art for gifts this year?

Wish me a good fluid line and I hope we connect between now and the end of 2020!

2020 – you are a challenge! Well, I am setting myself a challenge that actually interests me, so there!

Stay safe, love Kirsten

To Laugh is Human, To Moo is Bovine by Kirsten Harris
14.8 x 21 cms
£20
Cow Therapy, Try Mooing by Kirsten Harris
£20
14.8 x 21 cms
Seriously, try mooing, it feels great. Lol
Cow vid Nineteen by Kirsten Harris
£20
14.8 x 21 cms
Gotta love a bad pun!
Mood Moosic by Kirsten Harris
£20
14.8 x 21 cms
Make Moosic by Kirsten Harris,
14.8 x 21 cms
£20
6 Cards with envelopes £10
Limited Stock
I Herd it Through the Bovine by Kirsten Harris
14.8 x 21 cms
Pen on Paper
£20

To buy just email me at kirstenfharris@btopenworld.co.uk

Look out for my next 20-20 drawing project. I think I will be doing 20-20 Cats next. Sign up to my mailing list to be first in line or is that feline!

Stay safe, love Kirsten

Moon Cowlendar by Kirsten Harris
Pen on White Paper
21 x 29.7cm
£50

Email me at kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

I Miss You by Kirsten Harris
£20

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

COPYRIGHT

On Tintock Tap

On Tintock Tap by Kirsten Harris, Pencil on Paper

ON TINTOCK TAP – Traditional Rhyme

On Tintock Tap there is a mist,

And in that mist there is a kist,

And in the kist there is a caup,

And in that caup there is a drap;

Tak’ up the caup, drink aff the drap

And set up camp on Tintock Tap’

The traditional Lanarkshire rhyme, On Tintock Tap or On Tinto Top is for me less a rhyme and more a riddle. It could be suggesting that there is great wealth buried under the 4 metre high Neolithic/Bronze age cairn which is believed to be the biggest in Scotland and has never been excavated but I like the idea of it being a riddle full of symbolism.

Musings on the Symbolism –

Tintock/Tinto – Red fire hill. Fire symbolises energy, life, the inner spark, passion, sexuality, courage, determination, action and risk taking. Tinto – the divine fire hill. Fire serves as a beacon, seen from afar, especially from the top of a hill. The ancient Beltane festival and the Baal Fire are associated with Tinto – traditionally lit across Britain on May 1st to bring prosperity. Beltane, the time of dancing fires, when cattle were driven out to summer pastures. The simultaneous lighting of fires stretching across the landscape connected people, a giant fire calendar of hope. Many think Tinto looks like a giant breast the cairn being the nipple. Mother Earth herself.

Tintock Tap– climbing a hill or mountain symbolises the will to succeed, ambition, success and reaching your highest potential. The top of a mountain is the closest we can get to ‘heaven’ on earth. We are lifted by mountains. Mountains symbolise eternity, constancy and stillness.

Mist – symbolises a veil, the hidden, the ethereal, the mysterious. What is shrouded in mystery on the top of Tinto? Mist is a slow drizzle that blurs and distorts our vision preventing us from seeing clearly. Mists are like foggy thinking and lack of clarity. What can we find when the mists of perception clear? What visions for the future can we create?

Kist – A treasure chest. Here is a mystery within a mystery, the mist contains a treasure chest. How do we find the treasure and open the chest? Is this the treasures of the heart? Or something bigger than the individual?

Cup – Cups symbolise the spirit, receptivity, the heart, love, emotions, water, the holy grail, suggesting that the top of Tinto is an important spiritual place.

Drop – the mist has turned into a drop of water. Life itself. Is this a drop of blood, holy blood or the millions of drops of water that make a river and humanity. The human body is mainly water. Water is linked to the moon which governs tides. Emotions are symbolised by cups. The ebb and flow of the tides of life are alluded to. Water finds a way, water flows, water finds a course to the sea, to the whole. The mountain has been endured to drink from the cup. Is this to quench a thirst, physical or spiritual?

Set up camp – A steep path represents a journey that requires energy to persevere to reach the goal. To set up camp is an invitation to stop, to meditate, to look and experience a new or different perspective. To contemplate the journey made thus far. To be present to the beauty around us.

The astrological elements are represented in this verse – Fire, air, earth, water. Where better to study the astrological clock, the stars, the moon, the directions of Earth but from the top of a hill.

Tinto Hill is the defining landscape feature of this part of South Lanarkshire. It is in itself a map and marker. The rhyme further suggests Tinto is a place of spiritual importance.

Perhaps there is gold hidden under that cairn on Tinto Top. Wanlockhead, the source of pure Scottish gold, is within sight of Tinto or maybe the treasure referred to, is within.

On Tintock Tap by Kirsten Harris – Detail

In my drawing a rider has reached the top of Tinto Hill. She looks over the landscape. She has found great treasure. It is not actual gold that fills her heart it is journey that has made her rich. She knows that true riches are in the experience of loving life itself.

The hardest part of this drawing for me was the script, it took me hours to do and then I realised I had missed out a line from the verse and had to rub it out and start again. Drawings too can be mountains to climb.

On Tintock Tap by Kirsten Harris – Detail

Currently on Exhibition at The Tolbooth Lanark alongside photographs of Lanark Closes and other pencil drawings based on local history.

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

A Closer Look – A Photo Document of Lanark’s Closes

There’s so much history on the doorstep.

Not long after lockdown eased I decided it would be fun to take my eighty something mother, who had been shielding, on a tour of Lanark. She has only recently moved to the area. We decided to make a doorstep adventure.

Having once lived in York, I told mum that Lanark’s Closes are like York’s Shambles. Lanark’s Closes go back to the Medieval era too, so it seemed a reasonable if exaggerated comparison. Lanark’s Closes unlike York or Edinburgh’s Medieval narrow streets have been largely neglected. More buildings are scheduled to be knocked down to be turned into car parking or are in a perilous state!

One Sunday morning we had our first outing for months. It was an interesting walk. I took photos. We had a lovely morning looking for history by walking up and down the Closes, first one side of Lanark High street, and then the other.

Some Closes, I learned afterwards, are adopted way-throughs by the Council, others not. Other old alleys are now hidden behind locked doors to the High Street, so inaccessible.

Nowadays Lanark’s Closes seem to mainly lead to carparks. In the past they would have led to workshops and industries including breweries, skin works, rope makers, boot and shoe makers, public houses and more. So much history erased! But the evidence of activity and life through the centuries is still there if you take a closer look.

That evening I shared a few photos on my Facebook page and was amazed by the response including The Tolbooth Lanark asking to exhibit the images.

‘A Closer Look’ is this walk. My mother features on the poster for the Tolbooth exhibition, much to her amusement.

***

All photographs Copyright Kirsten Harris
Prints available on request

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

Painting ‘Too Big’ and ‘Too Small!’

During lockdown I was kindly gifted two large canvases by a friend, as they were ‘just too big’ and some mini canvases by another friend as they were ‘just too small.’

They say – don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and I was delighted. Here’s what I did with the too big and too small canvases.

I’m enjoying a palette of earthy colours and using copper, gold and silver paints.

***

These two paintings are 100 x 150 cm. I had the initial idea of surrounding the rearing horse by foals, but at this stage it doesn’t feel necessary. I usually leave the work for a bit when I get this far as I get kind of ‘eye-blind’ as to whether it needs more work or not. This style of painting is done standing up in my studio (aka ex garage) and is very spontaneous and free flowing. I do no underlying drawing, but just draw with paint.

Ascension by Kirsten Harris.
100 x 150 cm

After the weeks painting big I found it strangely addictive painting on a very small scale and was sorry when I used up all the wee canvases so bought some wooden blanks to make some Christmas decorations in order to keep painting small…

***

I think I may turn out to be the only person in the world who likes my Christmas decorations as they are very muted. But I had fun quietly sitting painting angels, fairies and winged horses and right now doing something you love seems to be a very good plan! I haven’t got another one. Self unemployed might be an apt description if I wasn’t a work-a-holic artist!

And now to make up this week. Maybe paint something a sensible size that is neither ‘too big’ nor ‘too small!?

Stay safe

Love

Kirsten

Ascension – On Exhibiting

Ascension, Work in Progress, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150cm

I miss people and I miss exhibiting. The social aspect of art is a big part of the creative process and I miss it. 

In April I was due to have a one woman exhibition but like so many other things a Covid fall-out.  I was looking forward an arty party in a castle – an opportunity to see old friends and meet new people. A chance to dress up and be a social butterfly. What could be better? Making art is a solitary business. 

Solipsism questions whether art or indeed anything exist unless looked at? Do my paintings exist stacked in my studio? They are certainly not alive in anyone’s minds or life carefully stored in neat rows. A castle’s worth of artwork locked in turret! There is no sharing of energy, inspiration, passion or joy if the work is not seen.

So, by extension, do I exist painting alone in a ‘turret’ in South Lanarkshire, Scotland? 

To be an artist is perhaps to be Schrodinger’s Cat, both dead and alive simultaneously. Van Gogh’s sunflowers are alive in everyone’s minds. You can visualise his work this moment with ease. His living presence is palpable in both the brilliance of his brushstrokes and your mind right now, yet he is dead. 

To be an artist is the only job in the world where people talk about you dying when buying. Surmising your art will be worth a fortune when you pop your clogs. I always laugh. It seems like the best thing to do. 

Yet paintings do seem to gather energy by being looked at. It’s hard to explain. It’s as though the presence of the artwork is increased or revealed by the viewer’s gaze on it. The more a painting draws a person in, the better it seems to have succeeded as a living entity. The more a painting is looked at the more it seems to gather energy. 

As an artist, meeting people energises and inspires. So many amazing encounters at exhibitions, lasting friendships made, insights shared, stories told, laughter enjoyed. I learn about my artwork from you, from what you notice, what you say, how you react. I miss it. I miss you. It’s a really important part of making art. Without it the creativity process feels incomplete, like cooking a delicious meal and then not eating it. It’s the reason I organise a yearly community exhibition for local artists too. I need the input of people.

I guess like many people I too feel a little lost right now or perhaps just a little philosophical. This blog offers no conclusions as to what happens next. I just wanted to say I miss you. I miss meeting people. I miss spontaneous interactions and conversations and I miss exhibiting. Perhaps it is a strange thing to say in this world of ‘everything is online!’

Meantime, my default position is – paint, for this too shall pass! I am so grateful to have painting.

Stay safe and hopefully see you soon! 

Love Kirsten 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

Allowing Hands

This drawing is an attempt explain something about the anatomy of the hand in relationship to riding. For those of us who ride English style we have been taught to hold the reins between our fingers where the digits poke out from the webbing of the hand. But there is no joint at this point and therefore no true movement.

Joints are the main movers! Without a joint at the point of contact with the reins the conclusion must be that we are blocking out horses and the flow of energy forward!

I believe it is really important to understand this. 

Turn the palm face up. The joint is in the middle the palm. 

Turn the hand over you will see that corresponds with the knuckles.

My thought is to experiment with holding the reins further back in the hand to rest at the joint, the mechanism of movement. It feels a little odd to begin with, but I think you will find increased feel and forward flow and your horse will feel happier.

The joint is where the feathers and dotted lines are. I’ve drawn the dots on a curve because everything that lives and breathes and moves, lives and breathes and moves spirallicaly.

The feathers under the horses chin are to remind that head – neck – back poise is dimensional, it has ‘sides’, an ‘underside’ as well as a ‘top line’. (None of these are places as such. Poise is balance in movement, not a place or a posture!)

The hard lines that create the outline of the horses head in the drawing corresponds with where the digits meet the palm, where we traditionally hold the reins that I believe creates a block.

Any block at the horses head will block the free balance of the poll, the primary movement of the body, or in Alexander Technique speak ‘the primary control.’ We want to allow the poll to freely lead the roll of forward movement, forward and up into poise and power over the earth.

I hope this bit of hand anatomy helps? Do let me know what you notice with your horse if you experiment with how you hold your reins.

For more you can apply to your poise and balance in riding you might like to check out my media downloads here. 

My three titles are – Body Magic, Breathe and Walking with Your Horse. Each download 50 minutes.

Best wishes,

Kirsten 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Art

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique

A Local Ghost Story

The Grey Lady of Shieldhill Castle by Kirsten Harris, Pencil on Paper

Are ghosts real?

At Quothquan near Biggar sits the historic Sheildhill Castle, seat of the Chancellor family for over 750 years. The tower built in 1199 still forms the heart of the current building, dating from 1820.

The Grey Lady, a daughter of the family, is said to haunt the building.

One story goes that the girl was raped by a soldier during the second half of the seventeenth century, known as the Killing Times, when Charles II tried to impose Episcopacy on the Scots.

A second story tells that she fell in love with a lowly farm worker, and became pregnant. The ashamed family locked her in a room. When the baby was born it was taken from her and left in a field. The grieving girl never recovered from the trauma and when she died her spirit remained at Sheildhill.

Reported sightings of a Grey Lady, who appears to be searching for something, have included various rooms in the castle, the roof and grounds.My drawing depicts her waking the grounds.

I have used the heraldic symbols that appear in the stone above the front door of the castle and incorporated them into the landscape. As well as ancient weeping ‘horse trees’ silently aware of her presence and responding to her grief.

Detail from The Grey Lady of Sheildhill.
The Grey Lady of Sheildhill Castle, pencil drawing by Kirsten Harris
Weathered stone on front of Sheildhill Castle

And for a bit of added spookiness some gravestones from nearby Dunsyre Kirkyard.

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

Bum to the Wind!

Weathering the Storm by Kirsten Harris

I’ve been thinking about how important it is to to keep a steady course in the midst of a storm, and that maintaining a steady course is a balancing act that requires courage, patience and trust.

I notice people sail mentally into the eye of the storm and then wonder why they feel anxious, stressed, depressed, lost or fearful.

In a storm, find calm waters. Anchor up if you can. Still your mind, still your body. The calm waters are within.

Or be like a horse!

Horses stick their bums to the wind to weather the force of the storm, resting in the most sheltered spot they can find. As my friend nicely put it, ‘animals blend’ with a storm.

Trees rooted to the ground, blend too. Weak rooted trees fall!

I drew this image last year but it seems apt for where we are in 2020, so thought I would share it.

Love Kirsten

Breathe – lessons in the Alexander Technique – link

Body Magic – lessons in the Alexander Technique – link

Walking with Your Horse – lessons in the Alexander Technique link

Perspectives on Drawing

How the Cat Got Nine Lives, Ink on Paper

I have been doing a lot of illustrative drawing recently and to my amazement have just discovered I CAN draw buildings which has inspired me to want to blog about drawing…

  • Ideas arrive in the process of doing. They appear when we show up.
  • White paper and sharp pencils are things of beauty.
  • Like snowflakes, thumbprints or leaves individuals have a unique line to draw out in life.
  • Drawings communicate ideas that words can’t always express.
  • A line on paper is a moment in life! When we enjoy and are truly present to what we are drawing, with no critical thoughts, the lines transmit that love and other people feel it.
  • Allow, allow, allow… space, time, pleasure to engage in the process.
  • Illustrative drawing is a way of conveying ideas. Illustration was something I didn’t think I could do as I studied painting and art history at art school. Illustration was a different subject! DAH! Drawing and attempting to communicate ideas has revealed and released a limited mind set over recent years for which I am truly grateful!
  • I CAN do perspective! I thought I was rubbish at drawing buildings but have really enjoyed creating street sets for ‘dramas’ to unfold in recent commissioned drawings (which I will share at a later date.) A bit of a revelation and reminder to NOT believe everything one tells oneself! How often do we say are rubbish at such a such and not even try? Negative self fulfilling prophecies are to be erased!
  • I love drawing! I knew that, but in a time of computer generated art and so many ways to ‘cheat’ ie marking out grids, projecting images onto paper, tracing etc, there is something wonderfully compelling, challenging, comforting, grounded and happy about letting the brain flow through the hand and out onto paper to find ideas and lines. No cut and paste for me! The style of drawings in this blog start as messy scribbles – hatchings of ideas that become more refined as I scribble and play. Balanced lines start to emerge from the chaos, ideas start to form. I then ink up the image which is a little like balancing on a wire, as there is no room for mistakes at this point and then erase the explorative pencil lines.
  • I truly believe it is absolutely impossible to be unhappy, stressed, worried or anxious about anything and draw! Drawing is high functioning brain work. The opposable thumb, that allows us to hold a pen or pencil, is considered the most advanced aspect of human development! To draw allows no space to think about anything other than drawing.
  • I think this is why prehistoric cave art is so captivating. We see in these amazing ancient drawings the human intelligence and presence of our distant ancestors. They speak to us, connecting directly through the images from the distant past, communicating ideas forward through time.

Ok, time to get back to the drawing board!

Love Kirsten

(all artwork Copyright of the artist)

Dawn Magic

All the drawings in this blog and many more are available as black and white hand signed prints. I post worldwide. Original drawings also available. www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

If Wishes Were Horses

Trust

The Guardians

The Journey

Artist Seeks Flow!

‘How the Cat Got Nine Lives’

Flow, we all want it, but can we always find it?

Flow, that wonderful feeling of ease and spontaneity, when life seems to magically take you forward. It feels great doesn’t it? And it really doesn’t matter what you’re doing because it all flows together seamlessly.

And then there’s the times when you wonder ‘where did the flow go?’ Things seem awkward, frustrating, uneasy, unsettling. Kind of like walking through thick mud and rough terrain, whilst getting caught on thorny branches. We try to grab at flow and it just doesn’t work!

So, how do you find flow?

Do you just make a start at something? Do you decide to have a day off, go for a walk or lie down and rest? Do you pray to the gods of flow to come to the rescue? Do you work on untangling yourself, finding easier ground to ‘walk’ or analysing the mental, emotional or physical blocks that are blocking the flow? Do you talk to a friend, tidy the house or set an intention?

All of these and more are no doubt good strategies…

Flow, when the paint is just the right consistency and applies to the surface with ease

Flow, when your hand draws well and lines have fluidity

Flow, when ideas simply arrive

Flow, when the painting takes you on an unexpected journey and tells you what to do

Flow, when your ego is sound asleep and you’re in the present moment, alive to the creative process not giving two hoots what the end result is

Flow, when you don’t run out of loo paper and have good food to eat!

Flow, when there is a sense of purpose in your art and you’re committed to it

Flow, when you trust the process and that and that alone is enough

Flow, when you allow life and creativity to happen

Flow, when you honour your voice and your life and don’t think it needs fixing or improving

Flow, accepting and enjoying what is

Flow the only way to go!

And here is the dictionary definition ‘…moving in a steady continuous stream or a supply of something…’

I love it!

Moving … steady… continuous… stream… Allowing a steady stream forward. Energy from within, energy from without… allowing the continuous supply of inspiration to move steadily through us…a stream of consciousness, like this blog! Trusting the rainy July Monday morning flow!

The Merlin Tree

This drawing is based on the wizard Merlin’s connections with Scotland. Legend tells that Merlin died at a small settlement called Merlindale at Drumelzier near Broughton, not far from where I live. This drawing is inspired by a visit last year.

About my drawing…

The three moons symbolise Merlin foretelling he would meet his end by threefold death – pierced by stake, suffering by stone and drowning by water.

Merlin is said to have died at the fork of the Powsail burn and the river Tweed, a beautiful magical place with a timeless atmosphere. An old thorn tree marks the spot, thus ‘The Merlin Tree.’ Certainly the name Merlindale appears on ancient maps, so who knows, maybe it is true.

Peering through the railings protecting the gnarled old tree, which replaces an earlier one blown down in a storm, it’s just possible to see a plaque, overgrown with nettles, commemorating Merlin’s death. I love the way Scotland, so rich in history, totally underplays such fabulous legends. You have to know how to find this place.

Tinnis Castle, an ancient hill fort, is in the background of the drawing. The story goes that Merlin fled from Tinnis before he was killed, having revealed a secret. I have used a bit of artistic license and relocated Tinnis geographically so it could be in the drawing, in reality it is behind the line of sight.

Three foxes form the trunk and deer make up its’s crown. These two animals are associated with the Merlin legend being the animals that Merlin is said to shape shift into. In Celtic mythology the fox represents quick thinking and wisdom as well as observing yourself and others whilst remaining unnoticed. The deer represents the gods of the forest and wild animals – the Celtic god, Cernunnos. Merlin was supposed to have spent many years wandering the forests of Scotland.

The wizard is also in the tree. The idea for this came walking in the fields behind my house when I spotted Merlin in a windswept beech tree and took the black and white photo below. I had walked past the tree hundreds of time and never noticed the figure.

Inspiration for The Merlin Tree. .
Nature says it so much better!

The foxes look towards Merlin for wisdom. The roots of the the tree and his hands are one and the same, connecting with the earth. His hands reach towards fungi, pointing towards shamanic altered states of consciousness, and of course I had to draw some dandelion clocks to represent the whispers of legends down the centuries.

This artwork heralds a new technique for me, working pencil on canvas, which has an unexpected fluidity. I made this drawing at the beginning of lockdown, sitting on the floor surrounded by pencils. Luckily I had bought loads of pencils from the car boot sale a couple of weeks earlier for 50p! A pencil point lasted about 2 minutes drawing on the rough surface of canvas, so I sharpened about 50 pencils and after a couple of hours drawing, it was a boring half hour sharpening pencils again.

Apt perhaps that pencils are surrounded with wood. Little magic wands!

‘The Merlin Tree’ by Kirsten Harris, Pencil on Canvas, 100 x 120 cm

www.kirstenharrisart.com

The Merlin Tree
Detail – The Merlin Tree
Detail – The Merlin Tree
Detail – The Merlin Tree

Further reading ‘Scotland’s Merlin – A Medieval Legend and Its Dark Age Origins by Tim Clarkson

Is it True?

Is it true?

I’ve let external criticism get the better of me and it’s been painful!

I’ve felt like the child who, having spent hours happily building a fantasy sandcastle, covering it with shells for windows and doors, building pebble pathways, constructing channels and fetching buckets of water from the sea to make a moat, has an adult walk over it, not noticing the sandcastle let alone the pleasure and delight of creative play, leaving the child bereft, distraught, dismayed and hurt. 

‘Not good enough!’ is the decree! Old voices emerge to bite one hard in the bum!

‘Ouch!’ 

This morning, after a week of attempting to recalibrate by furious tidying, I ask ‘Is it true?

On whose authority do I decide whether something is right or wrong, good enough or not, or true? Who do I believe and why? 

We are being asked to make these decisions in new ways at the moment. So many different opinions. On whose authority do we decide anything in life? 

And so, I commit to rebuild my ’sandcastle’ and keep creating because at the end of the day my choice is to trust my heart.

The Fate of Paintings

Me and the Chinese Ambassador

Artists want their artwork to find homes and be loved, For the art to become backdrops to lives and talking points. To be looked at and dreamt into. For owners to see what the artist saw and find inspiration and joy. This is the ideal, but after paintings leave the studio their fate is not always so straightforward. 

I love art history. I love documentaries about lost paintings that have been re-found or wrongly attributed or simply vanished without a trace to turn up on the other side of the world hundreds of years later and programmes about paintings still missing. It always seems quite shocking and the detective trails can be amazing. 

Washing up yesterday, mulling things over as you do, I could see, even in my career, how this happens. 

So far I have had one painting stolen from an exhibition at Perth Racecourse. It is now on the police stolen art register. 

A portrait, burned in a house fire. Weirdly only the face survived, which was, so I heard, thrown into the garden with all the other debris and then the burned remnant of the portrait was also stolen.

Another painting of elephants was also destroyed in a fire along with most of the other contents of the owners house. Scary stuff!

I heard that one painting, a painting of a big lion, came back onto the market and sold at a reputable contemporary art auctioneers under the wrong title. It sold as Three Flying Giraffes! How on earth did that happen? 

I know my artwork has reappeared in contemporary art auctions several times now.

I’ve heard that paintings have been the cause of bitter argument about ownership during divorce. Or given to now grown up children who want to take childhood memories with them into adulthood.

I heard about a collection of paintings that were lost in a house clearance after a death when the family just sold the contents without seeing what was in the house. 

One gifted painting sold on Ebay to raise money for Glencoe Mountain Rescue and several sold at charity auctions for Save the Rhino amongst other charities.  

Three paintings have been damaged in transit, one by the postal service, one by a helpful friend and one by me.  Paintings are definitely safest hanging on the wall! 

Two paintings were gifted by Edinburgh Zoo to the Chinese Government when the pandas arrived. I wonder if they are still hanging in the Consulate in Edinburgh and Embassy in London or are they now in China? I will probably never know!

No doubt there are other odd fates of paintings that I don’t know about and more paintings will gather stories into the future but hopefully most will still be treasured and enjoyed long after I am dead.

Being an artist, the only job where people talk about you dying and being successful!

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If you would like to come to my upcoming exhibition here in South Lanarkshire, please do email me to be put on the invitation list.

Horizontal and Vertical Directions

Crucifixion’ by Kirsten Harris, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150 cm

A jockey friend asked me if I had ever painted a crucifixion? Answer no. But I had been thinking about the symbolism of the vertical and horizontal planes and so decided to attempt this classical and religious subject. Gulp!

‘Crucifixion’ is inspired by Salvador Dali’s (1904 – 1989) famous 1954 Crucifixion painting ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’ at the Kelvingrove Gallery, Glasgow. My aim was to follow Dali’s musculature, structure and chiaroscuro as I placed the horses into the tree and then let my painting emerge.

I painted over a few days just before lockdown and put my shoulder into spasm doing it. I guess it was an intense process! A large painting. Dark, yes, representing my fears for the way we are continuing to crucify the planet, but, fingers crossed, hopeful, expanding and uplifting too.

The horizontal plane is our relationship with earth.

The vertical our relationship with the up that’s up there, the big up, deep space, the unimaginable hugeness. 

When we engage both the vertical and horizontal directions in our thinking we have expansion and freedom. Lengthening and widening! Lengthening and widening akin to a cross. Lengthening and widening which allows physical well being. Lengthening and widening into awareness of the space around us!

Two metres, twenty metres, two thousand dark and light years!

Holding awareness of both the vertical and horizontal is a necessary consideration for riding horses as these thoughts release the spiralling movement of muscle into length and allow freedom and flow for both horse and rider.

Forward we move and the horizontal plane travels through us.

Up, we think and we release the spring of life engaging our movement up and over the ground. 

The horses in the tree hold space open for us to love through all dimensions of time and existence…. Animals have not forgotten how to love, nor do they leave a hideous hoof or paw print like the dirty destructive foot print man has made. 

*****

Ascension by Kirsten Harris Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150 cm

‘Ascension’ was painted over lockdown and is loosely based on a painting of Jacob’s Ladder by the another Spanish painter, Bartolome Estaban Murillo. (1617 – 1682)

Horses ascend a ladder, seven steps skyward, to be greeted by horse angels, whilst other horses emerge from the seeds.

It is a painting about love of heavenly horses!

The seven steps of the ladder are symbolic. 7 days of the week, 7 chakras, 7 deadly sins…in fact the number 7 is significant in every major religion. Buddha rises and takes 7 steps, The Koran speaks of 7 heavens, Hinduism has 7 higher and 7 lower worlds, Muslim pilgrims walk around Kaaba in Mecca 7 times…  7 is a prime number and so it goes on… 7 is also associated with our short term memory and attention span…It appears 7 is a magic number!

Whilst appearing to be about death and other dimensions, I hope this painting has a lightness and wistfulness to it that it invites us all to think about what small things we can do to make the world a better place. 

That we too are delicate and beautiful like shimmering dandelion clocks and the wings of insects and our time is short. That we all hold our own magic and we must learn to use it.

For example the resurgence in interest in individuals, including me, in growing food during lockdown is wonderful.  In the darkness miracles take place. When we stop rushing thoughtlessly and are forced to consider our place on the planet we can make different hopefully kinder and healthier choices.

Deep in the grass there is hidden a Mother horse. She was central to the painting to begin with, but as it progressed her presence became more subtle, something to find…

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If you would like to be invited to my upcoming postponed exhibition in a wonderful castle here in South Lanarkshire please do email me or subscribe to my blog to stay in touch.

And now to paint…

Thank you so much for reading.

Nineteen Corvids, Unicorns and The Tree of Life

Corvid is the family name the crow belongs to. The crow not only symbolises death but also intelligence and destiny. I wanted to make some art to mark Covid 19. The Crow became my image. In numerology 19 becomes the number 1 which symbolises new beginnings.

The nineteen crows in the drawing aim to suggest peoples different experiences of lockdown, the rainbow coloured leaves hope and new growth. At the centre of the drawing is our local hill, Tinto – mountains to climb, the birds eye view. The dandelion seeds represent wishes and dreams, but also the spread of the virus and ideas.

The majority of the drawing depicts empty skies. Hardly a plane flying, hardly a car, just the sound of the wind and the birds. A space, a chance to breathe…

********

The second version of Nineteen Corvids is inspired by Medieval art, which I thought was apt as the Medieval era was a time of plagues and pestilence.

The Tree of Life, the lungs of the planet, life so precious! Two rabbits cuddle at its base. A vine of love wraps round the tree. Can we transform destruction to love and growth?

The water of life flows, abundant with fish. A kingfisher and swan guard the precious water. The kingfisher is said to be the first bird to fly from Noah’s ark after the deluge and is considered a symbol of peace, promising prosperity and love. Swan represents our ability to retain grace. A beautiful and elegant bird yet incredibly powerful. The colour white represents purity and the frog cleanliness and healing.

And so the river of life flows on, flowers grow. Spring turns to summer…

The three unicorns remind that life is ultimately mysterious – birth, life, death. The unicorn, an ancient mythological horse is found in antiquity and is the symbol of Scotland, chosen as a beast powerful enough to stand up to the English lion.

In Medieval times the the unicorn was believed to heal sickness. The wild woodland unicorn could only ever be captured by a virgin. This myth is thought to represent the Virgin Mary and so some believed that the healing power of the unicorn and its association with miracles represented Christ.

Magical healing Alicorn powder made from the tusks of unicorns was sold in Europe as late as 1741! Unicorn horn (narwhale horn) was an extremely precious commodity.

It would be easy to laugh at this superstition if it wasn’t for the fact that the Chinese sickeningly still use rhinoceros horn for medicine. They might as well bite their own finger nails for all the good endangered rhino horn is going to do them!!!

And so…

Do email me if you would like to come to my upcoming castle exhibition here in South Lanarkshire in due course or join my blog to be kept in touch.

Best wishes,

Kirsten

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk 

A Bit Medieval

I have been making art to fit frames as the picture framer is closed and I had some antique frames in the studio.

Medieval tapestries were the initial inspiration for these paintings and it struck me whilst painting that everything is a bit Medieval at the moment.

We are living in the time of a ‘plague’ and the only option for toothache, which I have, is extraction and then only if my face has swollen up like a sheep’s bladder, which it hasn’t! The skies are blissfully silent of metal and bird song is a wonderful to listen and paint to. Getting into the Medieval vibe has been creative time travel this week locked in my tower!

The owl is a symbol of change and intuition and the unicorn a Medieval symbol of purity and grace.

‘Pensive’ is for everyone living alone. ‘Beak to Beak’ and ‘Good Friends’ are about respect and equality. Gosh we need that in the world! Have we progressed at all?

Painting ‘The Tree of Life’ is a contemplation about my place on the tree of life and my continued determination to plant trees whilst I am here. There are over 30 birds as well as other animals in the painting. I slightly regret that I didn’t have a better quality board to paint on, but needs must, so I used what I had. I hope it lasts the tests of time as I loved painting it.

The frame used to house a painting of my great grandmother so have subtitled it ‘The Great Grandmother Tree’ and hope she doesn’t mind that I have pinched her frame! I have a matching frame, and plan to do The Great Grandfather Tree next …

Stay safe!

With love, Kirsten

Art work painted on hardboard using chalk paint and wax…

Going Backwards to Go Forwards!

I’ve been ‘excavating’ my studio as my friend calls tidying up!

Tidying up art style means going through every canvas and seeing if I can finish or polish it.

Years ago I met an artist shaman in Zimbabwe who told me to finish every painting I start as a key to success. It struck me as a very good, simple and yet challenging advice.

Even though I am mad keen to get on and make new work towards my postponed exhibition I have been going backwards to go forwards.

Thoughts drift through my mind as I paint like this phrase, going backwards to go forwards. In horse riding a few backward steps is a good way of gathering the horses energy to go forward with more power. Yesterday I revisited a series of car paintings (now added to website) that were languishing inside a box. As I did more to the series done over 5 years ago the thought that the past is getting resolved kept reoccurring. Energy expended then is being honoured and completed and traumas such as dad’s death from cancer, healed. Art is like that. It kind of talks to you.

And sometimes it just takes years to finish a painting.

I remember years ago I was working on a big lion oil painting. I couldn’t work out why it didn’t look finished. It took a friend to look at it for about ten minutes and then exclaim ‘there’s and ear missing!’ Dah! We both burst into laughter. A few more licks of paint and the painting was done! And then the friend decided he wanted to buy it.

This small thistle oil sketch was half done. I had sketched out the shapes in paint and abandoned it to the eaves of the studio. I thoroughly enjoyed finishing it the other day and it has given me ideas for new work…

And as I have been excavating my studio I see that a robin is nesting in the eaves, flying in and out of an open window. How wonderful life is!

Walking into Ideas

My art has become increasingly about ideas! I guess I’ve spent the first large number of years of my life learning how to paint and draw and now I want to express ideas and do more with my art.

So where do the ideas come from? Truthfully, I walk into them in the field. The ideas for drawings, projects or blogs just pop into my head. I do the same walk most days. The fields behind my house have become my source of inspiration.

For a little while in the summer the farmers cows live there and out of respect I don’t go, but for the majority of the year I am the only human visitor. It’s my own private wildlife sanctuary, my source of inspiration, my talking woodland, my stream of consciousness, my flowing viewpoint.

I love these fields with all my heart. They are ancient fields, many of the beech trees are dying and reeds are taking over the ancient paddocks. Remains of wire, where fences once were, have grown into the trunks of many of the beech trees. Victorian clay drains lie on the surface having been trampled to destruction by the cattle. The ground is rough underfoot testimony to Scottish wet summers. And the fields are full of wildlife. It is perfect habitat – a shallow stream, grassland, trees. Deer, badger, moles, woodpeckers, hare, duck, wrens, owls, duck, geese, wildflowers. The fields are alive.

This is ‘my’ remote island retreat in central Scotland. A burn more or less surrounds the area making it inaccessible to the casual visitor and a stream and stone wall separate it from the far end of the next farm.

These fields are my heaven on earth. They teach me, give me ideas and restore my soul.

In my big abundance manifestation fantasy dream heck why not think big vision, I buy these fields and create a wildlife sanctuary, allowing re wilding. With no cows eating the young saplings as they start to grow the re wilding happens quickly. I restore the ditches so that the beech trees no longer sit in floods causing them to die and pull up any ragwort that has blown in. And beyond that I surround the land with love and give it to nature and the animals.

Four years ago I was in the field admiring a dandelion clock when my mother phoned to say dad had died. Time stood still. The fields took on a whole new resonance.

This past year I have hobbled around the fields with a torn plantar plate in my foot, needing to walk despite pain and it’s never failed to be worth it. Then, returning home nourished, spending the rest of the day drawing or writing ideas that I have walked into in the field.

And these days as I walk I dream that I will manifest the way to buy the land and be a custodian of a wildlife sanctuary. Ahhh! It’s good to have ideas!

And tomorrow I will draw…

A few of the thousands of photos I have taken in the field!

Messages from Dog

I sketched Maisie from life everyday last week to get more fluent at drawing dogs. Yesterday we went for our walk and realised we were in the same bit of field as a week ago when ‘the sky’ told me to draw Maisie for a week.

‘Oh why not? I’ll lie down again!’

Looking at the sky feeling the muscles in my back let go the wispy clouds started forming dog shapes.

‘Ha! I’ve learned how to draw dogs, a sure sign if the clouds are turning into dogs.’

And then as suddenly as the idea to draw dogs a week ago came, a title for a series of drawings popped into my head – Messages from Dog!

Here is the start of the series…

Note to self – lie in the grass more often! I get ideas that way.

Chill by Kirsten Harris
Copyright


Dog Blog – 2 – Sketching from Life

I am drawing my dog Maisie, a little Cockerpoo, this week as an exploration of drawing, character and line.

Today more lighting sketches drawn from life with two thicknesses of pen. Maisie does not keep still even when she is resting she keeps moving, ever alert, so it is a challenge…




All images copyright of the artist

Dog Blog 1! Lightning Sketches

How am I going to learn to illustrate dogs?

My plan –

1 – don’t go for finished product

2 – do lightning sketches to work out how to draw hairy hyperactive dog Maisie

3 – see if a character starts to emerge

4 – observe and draw as fast as possible

5 – don’t make up lines

6 – do at least 14 drawings a day



Meeting of the Sky Gods


Last week clumsy me damaged a painting. It upset me but in the big scheme of things seemed trivial. Last night I spent half the night dreaming that I should repair it and to repair it by adding horses in the clouds. 

As I painted the three horses and restored the painting it seemed a metaphor for the world right now. 

We can’t return to ‘normal’ because normal was destroying the planet. We have to do better! 

I hope and pray we move forward in a more conscious loving way where we pay more attention to the earth and take more care of nature and each other. 

As my friend said the rip in the painting is like a hole in the ozone layer. 

So instead of a straight forward seascape this is now a meeting of the sky gods determining our future. Will we commit to consuming less, caring more and taking care of our wonderful earth? 

There’s no turning back, we have to
go forward and make things better! 

Much love and stay safe
Kirsten 
www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

Original seascape with rip and damaged frame


restored and improved painting

Portraying Movement

This is an edited version of a 5 day free class given via FB to a local art group during lockdown.

Day 1

Find a photo that speaks to you of something that portrays movement that you would like to paint.. running animals such as cheetahs, horses are favourites of mine, but it could be cars or cyclists, people, weather, the sea etc. Have fun looking for images

Day 2 

– When you have found your inspirational photo decide some words you would use to describe the kind of movement. For example flowing, fast, jumpy, swirling etc. 

Is there more than one kind of movement in the photo? If so describe the different movements 

– then with the minimum amount of lines on a bit of paper (printer paper or back of an envelope will do) draw lines to describe the direction of movement. So you may have a curved line, of several swirly lines or a couple of straight line etc. For example a photo a leg might be moving in one direction and an arm in another. Then you might need to use arrow lines to map it. 

Add your words to your simple lines. You now have a simple direction of movement map and words.

You may find you want to turn you abstract movement map  into an abstract drawing or doodle, but only think about the movement, not the subject. Stay abstract.

Day 3

– You now have your words and direction lines. Stay abstract and work out what medium best describes your words. If your word is glide or flow or swirly for  example find ways to paint in colour those words.  You can experiment with different media to find out what works best for this image – ie watercolour, pastel etc 

Let the brush follow the directional lines you’ve mapped out. This will help give the flow of movement in your finished painting. 

– task 2 – spend the rest of the day playing with actual movement your word describes. 

Gliding round the house or whooshing your arm or hand for example. So a bit of actual movement. Have fun with it. See if you can physically find a feel of the movement. This will help with your painting.

Day 4

A photo captures a static moment in time, a painting can do more than that. 

I think it is important NOT to have strong outlines if you want to portray movement in a painting, or your work will just look like you have copied a photo!  We will add detail in due course but it’s amazing how little detail you need for people to read an image.

So today colour a whole sheet of paper using your 

– direction of movement (your map)

– feel (the words you are going to think about as you paint, ie floaty, flowing, whooshing, punchy, fast…) and let the background and foreground mix together. Almost like camouflage. This will be quite abstract again.  

Think transparency, now you see it, now you don’t! There’s a dancer or dolphins there and now there isn’t. No hard edges! 

You will be getting to know your subject doing this and might be amazed by what you come up with. So think about colour and brush stroke that expressed the energy of movement you want in certain places.

And most of all have fun! Go for it! Swirl and twirl, whoosh and float, punch and walk some paint about…

Day 5 – the finished painting 

If you watch something move 

– you are not going to pick up every detail. So stay loose as you add detail

– you are going to have blurry or broken edges

– the movement is going to leave a trace of where it has been in the background. So let the colour of what has moved ie a piece of red material flowing in the wind, leave traces of red paint strokes in the background as though it’s shedding a bit of itself as it moves

You can add as much or as little detail as you like to your finished painting. It is your painting but If you feel you are losing  the sense movement refer back to day 4. 

This gestural painting is the feel you are looking for as you add detail. Balance your painting between detail and directional flow of the paint. The background now needs to have the directions of movement in it as you add detail to the foreground/subject. This will keep the sense of movement and give a feel of where the movement has already travelled.  

– think movement

– keep your arm nice and loose as you paint (I often swing my arms before I start painting to loosen and warm up,it definitely helps!) 

I really hope this has helped and all makes sense… 😄Most importantly have fun painting and go for it…

‘Boldness has a genius to it!’ Goethe 

Stay safe my friends ❤️

Extra notes – You may feel you have lost something of the abstract joy of day 4 in your finished painting, so there is a great value in having another go. I wrote a blog a while ago called Why Do Artists Repeat Themselves? (link here) and here is another blog on portraying movement link here.

Have fun and happy painting!

Visit me on FB at Kirsten Harris Art

How to mess up your back and create pain whilst thoroughly enjoying yourself painting!


1 – Decide whilst an arctic storm is blowing that it’s a really good idea to go into your unheated studio and work on some large oil paintings that you thought were finished and had framed but have now decided to change.

2 – Repeat this behaviour  pretty much daily for three weeks whilst three storms bring wind, rain, snow, sleet, hail, flooding and fallen trees.

3 – Because you have become sensitive to oil paint having painted obsessively since a student, decide to paint as close to the open door as you possibly can, allowing the arctic wind to whistle in thus ensuring good ventilation which you wouldn’t have in better weather. Realise you may have an oil paint addiction and be partially insane!

4 – Because you have put so many layers of clothes on to keep warm the layers keep riding up at the back and the overlarge overtrousers keep falling down. Not so much builders bum as artists bum! Get chilled to the point of being bone cold but keep going because you decide to shove a hot water bottle down your front.

5 – Whilst painting exercise the dog at same time! Repeatedly throw the dogs ball out of the open door at an unnatural throwing angle whist the majority of your attention is still on your painting. This is pretty much guaranteed to create a weird ouchy kind of twist that will eventually cause your back to go into spasm in the middle of the night. You don’t notice what a stupid movement you are doing as you are too engaged in painting and Maisie, who is hyperacive is being entertained which is a big plus.

6 – Between painting battle mud! Dig, barrow, sweep, move as much mud as possible. As the storms have created terrible conditions mud larking is a necessity. If you get your timing just right the weather will get much much worse whilst doing outdoor work. Find yourself singing mud glorious mud as the sleet hits you horizontally in the face and wonder if you remembered to put moisturiser on this morning.

7 – Don’t do any stretches or other warm ups before you do any of the above activities. Warm ups are for exercise freaks! You are only getting on with life, it’s not like you’re going to the gym or anything! 

8 – Whilst painting remember to have lots of ‘this painting is crap’ and ‘not good enough’ thoughts. This is pretty much guarenteed to cause your neck to tighten and create a domino effect of muscular tightness throughout the body which will aid in helping your back to seize up!

*******

Mad artist! Me? A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! I enjoy it!

Three Angels by Kirsten Harris, Oil on Canvas, 80 x 100 cms. One of the paintings I have reworked. Not sure if it is finished yet…

Extinction Rebellious Art!


What if all we need to do to create change and stop destruction is to learn how to stop. Sounds simple enough. Just stop, or pause and take a bit of time out to think about what we are doing. Stop to create space to allow something new to happen. Stop the stuff that doesn’t work.

Stop burying our heads in the sand!

Stop pretending that the holiday you need because you are ‘exhausted’ is not going to add to the destruction of the planet. Stop to take a moment or two to consider whether what we are doing is really for the highest good or coming from our own ego needs. 

Truthfully I think I am suffering from environmental anxiety. 

Contemplating the Earth Walk by Kirsten Harris
Available as a hand signed print

I heard anxiety described as being too aware of the echo bouncing, as though sound is trapped in a cave reverberating from the walls but not going anywhere. That made sense to me. I hear talk about environmental concerns but no real change in behaviour. ‘Oh but we recycle so it’s OK to go to 5 star hotel in India for a fortnight.’

I am not exemplifying myself here because I know that changing habits is difficult and these are socially acceptable habits –

‘We’re having a fabulous week in Thailand darlings … skiing in the Alps … trip to Disneyland…visiting Australia…bucket list…flying half way round the world to attend a self improvement course.’ But are we really thinking about the costs to the environment!

What if I spend the money for one trip to plant a bee friendly place instead? What if I spend free time picking up rubbish? What if I save extra cash to plant trees? What if we said fuck it to the bucket list and started a plan it and plant it for the planet list instead!?

In Nature We Find Ourselves by Kirsten Harris
Available as a hand signed print

One older man said to me ‘Oh planetary destruction is not my problem, I’ll be dead by then!’ Another person told me ‘I hate trees’ they make a mess! 

‘Not my problem’ and ‘one person doesn’t make a difference’ are common forms of thinking that are part of the problem!  

And what about that gym membership – grown men and women running on treadmills watching TV in air conditioned environments whilst other people are struggling. It’s kinda immoral!

So how about – This is my problem and what can I do to make a difference?

Now that’s a powerful question! Dare I say it – that’s a rebellious question in this day and age of unquestioned consumerism and travel.

My thought is to start by stopping for a little bit –  your wise higher self will start coming up with amazing, exciting, challenging, creative answers for you. We can all find inspired ways to make a difference.

To learn the art of stopping Alexander Technique constructive rest works for me – lie down in a warm place to let go for twenty minutes and allow for ease and renewal. Letting yourself stop can take practise.

Today, the big picture with all the problems we are facing can feel overwhelming. It’s much easier to ignore the inconvienient echo from the environmental scientists reverberating in the distance and just stay busy – plan another distraction. Not my problem! I won’t make a difference.

For me, stopping, is a definite start in the process of change and creativity.

Stopping takes us out of habitual activity and allows time for ways to move forward with courage and for grace to be revealed.

We really can start to make a difference by simply stopping. We have to start somewhere.

Stop and let go into an open zone in yourself where you can ask the question – ‘What can I do to make a difference?’

It is powerful question, a prayer almost. Answers will come…

The Guardians by Kirsten Harris
Available as a hand signed print

Postscript – Thanks for reading!  I hesitated to write a blog asking people to question the unnecessary travel they might do, but it’s time to let my inner rebel have her say. Time to be braver. I am not asking people to stop travelling but to question whether that next trip or holiday is really necessary or could they do something more rebelliously joyously environmentally friendly instead that might give you more long term satisfaction and peace of mind.

My solution for environmental anxiety is make art about the environment – and use the money I make to plant trees. I am also in the process of developing educational art workshops for primary school children locally, focussing on the environment and self awareness skills for 2020! Holidays, what are they? Every day is a gift when you open your eyes, ears and heart to it.

I truly believe in the power of the individual that combined make a powerful collective consciousness for goodness. Individually and collectively we can and do make a difference.

Merry Xmas and Happy Stopping!

With Love Kirsten x

To Earth We Return by Kirsten Harris
Available as a hand signed print

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Art

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique

Only Do the Good Ones!


My dear departed dad once asked me ‘Why don’t you only paint the good ones?’ He was trying to be helpful, and it made me laugh. If only!’ I said! ‘If I could I would!’ 

Sometimes I know when I have done a good painting, but sometimes it seems not. When I had finished drawing ‘If Wishes Were Horses’ I felt critical of it and was going to redraw it, but was too lazy and just shared it on my Facebook page anyway. People went crazy for it sharing it more times than any other image I have drawn. Looking back I remember being 100 percent absorbed and present working on it, studying the pioneering photography by Edweard Muybridge of horses galloping as inspiration.

Sometimes I will make an image that I really like and no-one responds to it. Leaving me to conclude ‘What do I know!?’

I paint and draw several days every week and have done so for years and years, ever hopeful of getting better at art. It is what I do.

So here are some drawings that I think are good ones and the one that I didn’t realise was good until all the facebook shares. They are all available as prints and I am ever grateful for the support my art has received over the years. Thank you from my heart as I endeavour to ‘only do the good ones’ aiming to plant a forest with the proceeds. Art for trees’ is my long term mission, my ‘if wishes were’, in this short life.

The Guardians
To Earth We Return
How to Make a Dream Come True
Dandelion Clock
The Magic Forest
The Happiness of Grass
Contemplating the Earth Walk
In Nature We Find Ourselves
If Wishes Were Horses

A4 Prints are £20
A3 Prints are £30
Printed on high quality art paper
Hand signed and titled
Shipping worldwide

Contemplating the Earth Walk

I am thinking about feet! I tore a plantar plate in my toe about 5 months, a toe is now floating. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but it has made walking very difficult. It is funny how injury clarifies what is important! Tree planting for me!

A foot is a powerful symbol for taking responsibility. We talk about putting our foot down, standing our ground and walking our talk!

A footprint fossilised in mud on a shore, the barefoot earth walk of our distant anscestor’s, inspires. Human and dinosaur footprints fossilised in the same layer of sedimentary rock seemingly disprove the view that humans and dinosaurs didn’t walk the earth at the same time. Anyway chickens are dinosaurs aren’t they!?

A pair of feet, an individual short journey on planet earth. Can our walk here be meaningful? It is what I am contemplating, how does one do that as a solitary artist?

When you can’t walk or drive you notice how much rushing around is taking place on the planet. People in a hurry, squawking about environmental crisis but still jumping on airplanes and ‘living the dream.’

So my thinking is – if we all cut down the amount of travelling we do, even just a little, and used any extra money we have to plant trees and give something back to the environment, then planet earth might stand a chance. That is what I am trying to do, on a personal and community level.

I have approached the local council to make a piece of land available for tree planting, to then use art and my experiences as an Alexander Technique teacher (think mindful awareness in action) to work with primary school children to teach the value of trees and our relationship with them. I recently did a series of one-off art work shops with primary school children and was deeply moved by the level of fear these young people are experiencing around environmental issues. I want to empower children by creating opportunities to be involved. To see that the act of planting even one tree is an act of love that has a positive and far reaching impact. That a tree teaches so many things. That their actions make a difference. The project is moving on and other agencies are getting involved and I have high hopes of it coming into fruition. Fingers and toes crossed!

Planting trees and making art about it, is work in progress. I’m on a tree planning mission for the rest of my life – Art for Trees! Your support is hugely appreciated.

All these images and many more are available as black and white hand signed art prints. £20 A4/ £30 A3 plus postage. Prints that plant trees!

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

Horses and the Tree of Life by Kirsten Harris


To Earth We Return
In Nature We Find Ourselves

Contemplating the Earth Walk

Feel

I am going to start writing a few blogs about the meaning behind my drawings. Hopefully, if you like the drawings, you will be able to find your own meaning too. My drawings more and more reflect my interest in horses, symbolism, teaching the Alexander Technique, positive thinking, tree planting and the environment and more. It has taken me years to find a visual language to bring my ideas, thoughts and feelings together. I am very happy with how things are progressing.

This drawing, Feel, is about how it can feel when we are faced with the challenge of the unknown. It’s about letting go of holding so that we can move into the potential space that is the future freely and with confidence. There is both hesitation and poise in the image. Have you noticed how the feeling of fear and the feeling of excitement are much the same? 

The hand suggests lightness. Light with each other, light with horses. 

There is a saying, whenever we point a finger at someone, there are also three fingers pointing back at ourselves! And another saying ‘Let go and let god’ advises us that we need to trust for the magic to happen. So this drawing is about trusting and taking responsibility for our deeds and actions and not blaming others, and especially not blaming our horses. 

This image also indicates how to develop feel. Great feel can be developed with practise, your hands are incredibly intelligent. Your hands are genius in action!

Only minimal effort is needed in the hand to lightly hold them forwards. Let go of all that is unnecessary. The horse, small like a bird, delicately sits on a finger symbolises lightness, up flow, sensitivity, poise and freedom. The finger points forwards and upwards – a direction for life, a direction to travel into freedom, a thought to which the mind and body responds. One way to develop sensitivity and feel is to start to think forward and up into the space around you as you let go…

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk
prints and original artwork 

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique for riders. 
copyright

Four Winds Medicine Wheel


‘Four Winds Medicine Wheel’ by Kirsten Harris 


I thought I would write a little about my drawings. ‘Four Wind’s Medicine Wheel’ is about emergence into light from darkness. It is about the mysterious deep space energy from which we all come. The element represented is air, the mind. The intuition of the moon calls us to look within to find our power.

This image is a meditation for our energy centres, asking us to allow our chakras to spin freely. Meditate on the flow of movement, the circle of life in the image to allow your chakras to move in good health. If we are blocked anywhere in our system we cannot be fully empowered. A sick population is controllable and passive. We are asked to become powerful, to move our energy forward and outward. The horses gallop us into our power to release our fears, asking us to be the winds of transformation, so much needed on the planet right now.

The feathers are a call for sensitivity. Travel light and in light. We are bodies of light. East, South, North and West, we are all connected. We are one. The horses can return to darkness, to the void or spiral out into light. We have important choices to make. In what direction do we spin? And the horses of course represent power. We need to harness our power and work as a herd, a community, a loving whole and not against each other and the planet. ‘From all directions come into your power medicine and save us’ call the horses…
www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk
Available as a print 
Words and Image Copyright Kirsten Harris

The Happiness of Grass


The Happiness of Grass by Kirsten Harris

I have been thinking a lot about grass! As you do! Under a powerful microscope grass looks like it is smiling. Grass is amazing stuff. Grass is happy and it sure has tenacity. No matter how trampled and muddy, parched and burnt or just plain sad and worn out it looks grass finds a way to go up to the light and just keeps on growing. It recovers and rejuvenates when sometimes you think it is just not possible. Grass is definitely optimistic! 

And of course ponies love grass and that’s another lesson. Too much grass and its richness will make a horse sick, too little and the horse will die. 

Grass is a great symbol and reminder to be balanced in what we take from the planet. Grass will happily give and give and give, but don’t take too much or the earth will be sick and so will we. We need to be balanced. We need to pay attention. In my mind grass holds the earth together. 

And is the grass always greener on the other side? 

Grass doesn’t seem to worry about where it grows, it just grows happily everywhere and anywhere, it really isn’t judgemental and is very forgiving. A little bit of nourishment from Mother Earth, light and water and up it goes. Just like us…

So my drawing is in hope of the continued happiness of grass! 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk
Prints and Original artwork

Heart in Hand – Destination Freedom

Riding horses is a destination not a position

Art is a destination not a position

Love is a destination not a position

The open hand is a destination not a position

Forward and up, the way of poise, is a destination not a position …

The open hand is an attitude of the heart and mind through which freedom, love, spirit, destiny and balance flow…

The open hand channels the loving heart and communicates our intention….

The open hand listens in the present moment…

The open hand allows connection…

Being present, heart in hand today determines our future destiny, the destination forward and upwards that is life revealing itself…

Heart in hand is the future flowing us forward…

When we take a position we block the flow of future possibility and thus that of our relationship to the world.

The challenge is to free ourselves from the position and limitation of our habitual self and our ego to be balanced and free in movement, to love what is, to be the heart of the open hand that allows us amongst other things to be the horse in his truth.

The challenge is to meet our art, our heart, our horses, our friends, our lives, ourselves with wonder and joy to the presence of the living soul moment by moment.

Let Yourself by Breathed by Kirsten Harris

L

Let Love by Light by Kirsten Harris

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – prints and artwork

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique

copyright Kirsten Harris

No Room For Doubt!

No Room for Doubt!

‘There is no room for doubt in art!’ Sean Scully

The opposite of the word doubt is confidence. Other words to describe the opposite of doubt include belief, conviction, trust, definiteness, faith, ease, truthfulness, solution, calm, clarity, knowledge…

At art school we were encouraged to be bold, to be confident, as a key to being an artist! That was the main input. Express yourself no matter what!

‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has a genius, power and magic to it.’ Goethe

In the documentary “Unstoppable, Sean Scully and the Art of Everything’ Sean says ‘There is no room for doubt in art!’ He describes doubt as an entirely unhelpful emotion that gives you nothing and creates a block. He says to be an artist you need to be driven, not care what anyone thinks and not doubt yourself.

I needed to hear those words! Maybe you do too?

I AM AN ARTIST not a doubter! I needed to be reminded to not doubt in order to reconnect with conviction, trust and ease to the flow that drives me forward. Luckily I have never had a problem with motivation up until the past couple of months when I have let doubt creep in, like an unhelpful ear worm, due to a whole bunch of events colliding, including an attempted scam where, despite my body screaming at me ‘there is something wrong’ I doubted what my intuition was shouting with almost disastrous consequences. Thankfully I woke up in time! However it left me traumatised and doubting myself.

Art is about exploring connections with life, love, god, creativity, spirit, whatever you want to call it. Art is about faithfully being yourself, whatever and no matter what! What else can you be!?

‘Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.’ Lao Tzu

We are often ‘taught’ to doubt, to not trust our intuition, to not trust our self, to not have self worth, to be humble and hold back, to not be at ease, to have fear, to give our power away and accept authority without question.

A whole load of (negative) events caused me to allow myself to doubt and block the flow of my art and therefore my life. DAH! How ridiculous can a girl get!? Don’t let the bastards grind you down!

‘If you stop doing the wrong thing, the right thing can do itself!’ FM Alexander

There is no room for doubt in art (or life). It is utterly unhelpful! Having faith and trust in yourself is a good thing, not an arrogance.

Art can transform experiences, trauma, disillusionment, hurt. Art can reconnect us to passion, to love, to life. Art can deepen our understanding of the experiences we have! We just need to show up wholeheartedly to the process and the solution is in front of us.

It is time to clutter clear doubt from my studio!

Time to just embrace that despite feeling a bit broken, including physically from breaking a bone, I can make art and be creative from where I am right now. The pain can have expression. What else? How else can change occur? That is clarity instead of doubt!

It’s a choice – confidence or doubt. Approaching art with definiteness that the years of knowledge and practice allow is an act of faith. In committing to the process the flow finds you …

Let go, make art!

I thought I would share these thoughts as doubt can show up in many areas of our life and I agree with Sean Scully – there is no room for doubt!

Trust your intuition! Trust yourself! Trust your heart! Trust your art!

Forward and up! Love Kirsten

(The image is a painting called The Moon Woke Me, Oil on Canvas)

Prayer to my Horse

PRAYER TO MY HORSE by Kirsten Harris

My horse, I am honoured by your presence and stand in awe before your divine beauty

May I be worthy of your trust

May I have sensitive wisdom to understand your language, so I may dance the dance of life with you

May I have hands that do you no harm

May I be a leader of graceful courage and clarity when you need me to have direction

May I grow in awareness and feel so I may learn to harmonise with your flow

May I be open to hear the lessons you bring

May you forgive my mistakes

May I be present to your timelessness and make time for your presence

May I have the discipline to be balanced

May I be patient, calm and kind

May our breaths embrace the elements and seasons as we travel the distance together

May I learn to remember how we are all connected on our beautiful planet

May our bodies grow old together, healthily and happily

May I be a fearless guardian of the earth so you may always have a home

May we both be free to experience the powerful intelligence of our peaceful wholeness together in harmony, friendship and love

May my heart be open to the Universal Love that is you, my horse

May my spirit by open to the Great Mystery that is you, my horse

May my mind be open to deep space so I may experience the Great Awareness that is you, my horse

My horse thank you for Being Present, I love you.



Illustration IN NATURE WE FIND OURSELVES. This and other horse prints and original artworks are available on my website
www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

copyright Kirsten Harris

In Our Hands

(I shared this originally as a facebook post on my art page Kirsten Harris Art. I wanted to write something to go with the drawing and to write from my heart about horses. I thought I should post as a blog here. I hope you enjoy it. ) 


‘In Our Hands’ by Kirsten Harris

5 Thoughts – 
1. Our hands have immense sensitivity. Can you let your hands be neutral? Do your hands know how to listen to follow your horse or do they control and bully? Do you use your hands to pull at your horse’s sensitive mouth and head? Or do you allow the energy of your heart-brain and the elasticity of your body to move through your hands into a flow of union and connection? 

2. Can you sit in balance on a chair, easily for a prolonged period of time without discomfort? If not, learn to do so before you sit on a horse. You are only bringing your inbalances to your riding and teaching your horse tension otherwise. You will create imbalances. Find your own poise first and then you will find the poise of your horse. It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.

3. Horses are teachers for our heart and soul. We have much to learn from them. If you feel anger, frustration or ego around your horse walk away. Take wise counsel, breathe, let go. A horse is not a sponge for your unprocessed stuff. Negative thoughts and emotions do not belong around your horse

4. Be patient and learn to be at ease with yourself. Meditate. Listen. Let go. Horses will teach you about timelessness, unity, flow, courage, the divine, non verbal communication, boundaries, energy… Horses will teach you how to think into the vastness of the universe and the great mysteries. Be patient with yourself and your horse. Learn to get out of your own way to allow the door of knowledge to open. There is plenty of time. It is all you have. Enjoy the process. 

5. It is OK to feel fear. You and your horse are both flight animals. It is not OK to take your fear out on your horse. Let your heart be open and soft. Love your horse with all your heart. Let your ego dissolve so you are pure around your horse. Be a child of wonder and awe in his presence. Be fully present. Enjoy what you are learning and experiencing right now. Don’t compare your journey with your horse with that of other peoples. The journey of ‘should’ and ‘ought’ will only get in your way. You and your horse are both unique and marvellous. Your horse is an honest loving mirror into your essence, your soul in space right now if you dare to peek. Do you love what you see? 

Written and drawn with love
Kx

copyright Kirsten Harris 
www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Artwork and prints
www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique

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Messages from Trees

‘In Nature We Find Ourselves’ Drawing by Kirsten Harris

 

Messages from Trees –

  • Breathe deeply of me I am the lungs of the world, my health and yours are one
  • Let your spine flow upwards and your limbs flow outwards in the sky
  • Life will shape you and sculpt you as you grow, it’s 100 percent OK to be you
  • Allow yourself to be ‘rooted’ in the earth
  • Feel your connection to all things, all life is one
  • Observe in all directions
  • The more you observe the more you will see
  • The light and seasons are always changing and you with it. You too are seasons of light
  • Though you were once but a seed you are a mighty presence and still growing
  • Be shelter and safety, warmth and home for others
  • You too are a guardian of the planet
  • Be kind, and let your kindness spread like a canopy
  • Sometimes the winds of life will be strong, you can endure
  • Transformation is inevitable
  • Find truth in being present to where you are
  • Lie under the spread of a tree and let your imagination fly
  • Trees are Life!

 

I AM ON A TREE PLANTING MISSION!

**************************

Hand signed and titled black and white prints are available of my artwork.

Free postage worldwide if you purchase more than one print. There are plenty more on my website. The prints are black and white despite my dodgy photos! : )

 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Art

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique

FB – Kirsten Harris Art

FB – The Daily Ease Alexander Technique

The Whisper of Trees by Kirsten Harris

Horse Landscape by Kirsten Harris

The Old Horse Chestnut Tree by Kirsten Harris

Horses and The Tree of Life by Kirsten Harris

A Walk in the Woods colouring book with hopefully inspiring Alexander Technique words. Link here

 

A Jar Full of Possibilities!

My friend, musician Emma Smith, wrote a lovely blog recently called ‘How to Deal with Overwhelm’. Link here

 

It inspired me to do my take on her idea and to finish off this year with a brain storm of all the thoughts, inspirations, ideas, intentions, goals and wishes I have for my artwork moving forward and write them individually on a piece of paper and put them in a jar. As my blue glass jar filled up I wondered if it would be empty next year or in fact be twice as full as ideas do seem to inspire more ideas!

 

One of Emma’s suggestions for the days when you feel a bit lost, overwhelmed or unsure how to proceed, is to pick out one of the pieces of paper and see what ‘chance’ wants you to do, which might be meditate or go for a walk. As mine is an arty jar I decided to add wild cards too such as go on an art date or lie in semi supine for twenty minutes and let go and let inspiration come to me . Link to Body Magic here 

 

However for me the main benefit of this magic jar is to get all my ideas stored in one place. I have a tendency to write ideas on scraps of paper or in different note books or on my phone, but collating everything in this way in a physical place feels really helpful and very heart pleasing.

 

It doesn’t so much feel like a ‘to do’ list or a bucket list but more a kind of sweetie jar of passion or a cauldron of possibilities and a beacon drawing me forward into the new year.

 

I am sure this idea can be adjusted for any passion such as blogging or health and fitness …

 

Wishing you much love and happy creativity as the year comes to an end.

 

Kirsten xx

 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – Art

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – Alexander Technique

 

The Wishing Horse

 

Increasingly my painting and drawing is looking at ways to express ideas about mind-body-soul connection, horses and riding, drawing on my experience as a horse owner and Alexander Technique teacher, as well as hopefully connecting with some of the spiriitual magic and timeless inspirational power that is horses and the lessons we learn from being in their presence.

 

 

The Wishing Horse by Kirsten Harris

Oil on Canvas

 

A girl wishes on a dandelion clock, her wish is focussed on horse magic. All she has ever wished for is a horse. Her hands are open, soft hands, light hands, loving hands, giving hands. Hands that will groom, muck out, lift bales of hay and buckets of water. Hands that will rake and sweep and get calloused through the hard physical work of looking after horses. Yet these hands will also learn to listen, to give, to follow the lightest feel into the forward flow. She blows on the dandelion clock in her hand to wish the horse wish. The magic begins …

 

 

 

Wishing in the Flow by Kirsten Harris

Oil on Canvas

 

The dandelion clocks and seeds represent wishes, the power of intentional thought and timing. Divine timing. Thought seeds are directing from and beyond the open sensing hand. Hands that seem to drop through layers of muscle deeply into the living being finding connections that we never knew existed. Each thought a direct message, a contact, mind to mind, soul to soul, girl to horse. Freedom communicated through the lightest touch, spatial awareness, presence….

 

‘Forward and up, let go, allow, sense the feel, trust’ she thinks …  and up, up the horse takes her into the flow, into the mystery, into poise, into a vastness greater than anything she has ever experienced. Her dreams become embodied. She rides through the light, free as the wind, bravely into the unknown darkness ahead. The horse continues to teach her many lessons. Trusting the truth that the noble honest horse reveals she gives the days of her life to be with these divine creatures …

 

How to Make a Dream Come True

by Kirsten Harris

Available as a print.

Blog about this drawing here

 

The Magic Stop by Kirsten Harris

Available as a print

 

‘The Magic Stop’ was drawn in my minds eye when I woke up one morning. It is about using the breath to stop your horse, to let go and to find the forwards and upwards flow of poise.

 

The girl holds a dandelion clock in her hand representing delicacy, freedom, light hands. Movement, flow, kinaesthetic awareness are ever present even when seemingly standing still. Seemingly doing nothing the girl makes contact through the breath, her thinking and the delicacy of her poise. She learns to ride a stop with nothing but her breath and then ‘forward and up’ she thinks and rides forward into the wind on her breath too.

 

My media downloads too –

Walking with Your Horse  here

Breathe   here

Body Magic  here

Alexander Technique website. www.kirstenharris.co.uk


For original art and prints please visit my art website or contact me www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk 

 

All artwork copyright Kirsten Harris.

 

Best wishes Kirsten

What my horse drawings are about…

‘Connections’ –  A drawing of two horses about elasticity, flow, direction, spatial awareness and connection.

 

In February I set myself a drawing project, the weather was wild (snowed in home alone for 6 days) a drawing a day seemed like a doable project.

 

I decided to concentrate my artwork on horses. For years I have been slowly, tortoise-like, working to bring my passions together – art, Alexander Technique and horses. Moving to a small bungalow in the countryside with a wee paddock, saving up to buy a field shelter, a horse, more land, plant trees … working hard at keeping it all together and painting and teaching. Workaholic has been levelled at me! I never planned to do everything alone, but that’s the way it has worked out for me at present.

 

I have taught riders Alexander Technique and painted horses, seascapes and African animals. It was time to attempt to describe some of my Alexander Technique and horsemanship ideas and experiences in my artwork and focus on my love of horses.

 

Concepts I want to describe through drawing include lightness, flow, spirals, movement, forward and up, balance, connection, elasticity, direction, spatial awareness, daring to dream, the love of horses, hands on, the mystery that is horses, spiritual growth through being with horses, time, creation, the breath and breathing and some humour …

 

Quite a big list!

 

Dandelion clocks, feathers, the moon, spiders webs, the tree of life, seeds and hand prints are some of the imagery I have used along side horses to describe some of these concepts.

 

It has been an interesting year! In my attempt to draw some of the indescribable aspects of riding, horses and the Alexander Technique, somehow I have managed to speak to other people, with requests to sell my drawings as prints. This has been a really good development for me and I have connected with some wonderful people worldwide. (I have also been plagiarised, I am told that is a compliment!)

 

My drawings are ideas for paintings, most of which are still to be painted and I am looking forward to doing so. I have been minimising the time I spend working with oil paint as I have spent too much time in this medium over the years to the detriment of my lungs. They are getting better again, thank goodness. Viva drawing!

 

So now drawing is taking me in the direction of my dreams with my horse Angus and my two mini Shetland ponies, Walter and Lettie who are both my teachers and my inspiration.

‘Horse Time’ the mini Shetlands, the muses for my cartoons.

 

Patience is something that horses definitely teach us.  They invite us to stay present to what is in front of us without ego or expectation!  Horses I believe allow us a door to the mysterious aspects of the world we live in. They truly are divine creatures!

 

How to Make a  Dream Come True

Link to blog about this drawing here

 

The Magic Stop

About using the breath to move a horse forward, find poise and freedom and to ride a stop.

 

Connections

 

If Wishes Were Horses 

 

If Wishes Were Horses (colour print)

 

Four Winds Medicine Wheel

About the direction of energy, spirals and circles and space

 

Transformation

Transforming into lightness in the forwards and upwards flow

 

Equine Lunar Calendar

 

Sky Horses

 

When Dreams Fly

 

Seeds of Love

 

Up! (colour)

Lightness, up flow, the lengthening releasing spine

 

Free Spirits

 

Horses and The Tree of Life

For me this drawing is about being on a mission to plant trees!

 

Equinox

About breaking free into balance

 

Up, Up

Gravity and the up flow. Life and death

 

Flying Horses

Freedom is movement

 

Webs

About how we are all connected, internally and externally

 

Pony Shenanigans (also available as a colouring poster)

 

Angus, the muse for my black and white drawings and a dandelion clock

If Wishes Were Horses as a very large oil painting

 

 

All my drawings are available as hand signed black and white prints.

A4 £20

A3 £30

Free postage worldwide if you buy more than one print.

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

or email me kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

 

Many thanks for reading and for all the support I have received over the years with people buying my artwork. Truly appreciated. Love Kirsten xx

How to Make a Dream Come True

How to Make a Dream Come True by Kirsten Harris

 

I have been asked by someone to say what this image means to me, so here goes …

 

The girl on the ground is daring to dream, she leans on the magic dandelion clock, the wish machine, that will give her dreams wings. She barely knows that she is supported by the spine of the dandelion clock, that magic surrounds her, that she is even allowed to dream, let alone have her dream come true. She is wistful and longing. Alone and shy. She is the ‘fairy’ child that stays back in her back, the intuitive, the sensitive who loves animals with all her heart. She doesn’t know yet that her quiet seed wishes are being heard and making her strong. She is the dreamer who creates the future.

 

Plucking courage she breathes out, sending her wish into the future and miraculously she finds herself magically transported to the top of the dandelion clock. She never thought she would get this far. Her focus and direction have taken her forwards and upwards, closer to making her dreams come true. She stands tall and proud and waits. Feet on the ground, head in the air, heart open. Timing has it’s own magic and she is being taught lessons on divine timing. 

 

She watches the horses go by, connecting with their rhythm and beauty, their presence and spatial awareness. She sees the energy of the horse projects into a vast spatial field and she trains her mind to be open and aware. She learns to be in balance in herself before she sits astride for only then will she poised with the horses balance. She wants to be free, taken forward in the upward flow of horse power, connecting via the horses to the great mystery, free of her fears and limitations. 

 

She understands she needs to trust herself and trust her horse, She plucks up courage and ‘jumps’, a leap of faith, she may fail and fall and end up back on the ground many times or she may fly, up and up and up. There are no guarantees, just her tenacity, her courage, her trust, her ability to believe, her love of horses. There is time, plenty of time, she develops great patience. 

 

And then the miracle happens, she is truly poised, riding light, following the floating feeling. Up up up, the horse lifts her and they become one. Two free spirits sharing energy in an understanding of truth, being shown the spirit and nature of all things. 

 

And this is why she dared to dream and this is why she was patient and trusted and this is how to make a dream come true ….  Keep wishing my friends, the horses are our honest teachers. 

 

(copyright Kirsten Harris, 2 October 2018)

Black and White Prints Available

Lasting Impressions

My first art school teacher was the performance and instillation artist Kerry Trengrove, 1946 – 1991,  infamous for his 1977 performance An Eight Day Passage, where he was buried in a small cell under the Acme Gallery in London and had to dig his way out. The performance is still legendary as an epic endurance work.

 

I remember him telling us on the first day of our art foundation course at Epsom School of Art that he paints every day of the year and especially on his birthday and Christmas. I remember being shocked. Every day! Especially birthdays and Christmas!

 

I realise now that the opposite of courage is not fear, it is conformity, and he was inviting us to change our thinking about how we spend our lives, to be courageous, question our conformity and develop an attitude of endurance.

 

Funny how one comment can make such a lasting impression …

Happy birthday to me. Happily painting! x

Reflections on Plagiarism, Stress, Tattoos & the Kindness of Strangers!

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

If turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side

If ‘if’s and ‘and’s’ were pots and pans, 

There would be no work for tinkers hands!

 

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

Watch!  Some ‘turnips’ have no integrity or pride

They’ll plagiarise your concept, pass it off as their own hand

Tinkering with someone’s art is theft! Could it be banned!

“If Wishes Were Horses’ by Kirsten Harris

A drawing that went viral on 16th Feb 2018

 

I will admit I have had a stress headache that has gripped my whole back and also felt awash with cortisol the last few days. I don’t suffer from headaches but I do know the cause. Someone has plagiarised my work and is selling it as their own in the form of t-shirts. 

 

What to do?

 

My first response to finding out was to have a glass of wine and go to bed saying to my ‘higher self’ – I will know what to do in the morning. Morning came and the thought was to rewrite the original verse. I didn’t want to go into a fear rant nor did I want to ignore it, so writing a poem appealed to my creativity whilst figuring out how to deal with it.

 

The plagiarised design concept is one I called ‘If Wishes Were Horses’ a dandelion clock releasing horses into the wind. For some reason this concept spoke to people and it went viral from my Facebook art page on 16th February 2018, the day I drew and posted it. That one post being shared organically 661 times with 91,169 people reached. Suddenly I was connected to loads of amazing people worldwide, and despite being snowed in alone for 6 days was having a great time.

 

On Friday I posted the verse rewrite on my Kirsten Harris Art page and this resulted in me getting the support I needed to work out what to do. I wrote to the company and they took the offending plagiarised t shirt off their website that day on the basis that it infringed my intellectual property rights. 

 

My back released immediately, the headache lifted!

It was quite a startling feeling of energetic flow whooshing through me! Justice and right action resulting in total instant physical release! Woo Hoo! I was happy!

 

I posted on my page saying thank you and the support I received over the weekend has been amazing and I am so honoured to have so many fantastic people behind me. It means a LOT!

 

Last night three people messaged me to say the plagiarised work is being promoted again. I have written to the company again! Again I feel stressed! I feel the fear and tension gripping me again. I DO NOT want to live a life of fear and fight! I want to get on and be creative, be myself, and follow the creative flow of ideas and work to allow art to keep pouring through me. I do not want to be thrown off my path or sidetracked by this. So this blog is my way of letting go this morning.

 

People think I am either lucky or mad being an artist, but it’s not a choice. I have to paint for my own well being. It is something that chose me and not the other way round. I know other creatives understand this. It is not meant to sound pretentious. In some ways it is a bit of a curse, but of course a blessing too. Like all things light and dark is always there. (Chiaroscuro is the arty term!) 

 

So how am I dealing with this. I don’t want to buy into fear but at the same time I don’t want to be walked over and want to do my best to stand up for myself without getting rigid.

 

During the weekend I started painting a canvas about Walking One’s Own Path and having the courage to do so. It is a big painting 100cm x 150 cm and not finished yet, but part of the series of ideas that I drew in February as ideas for paintings. These are available as prints from my website, and again it was the amazing people on my page who encouraged me to do this.  Hopefully I will finish the painting in next couple of days as well as mentally resolve this issue!

 

Working on it all weekend has been a vehicle to work out some of this crappy fear stuff. It is work in progress …

 

My paintings are journeys. They have meaning. For years I have attempted to find a way to start describing my thoughts about Alexander Technique, my other passion, and the mysteries of being alive through painting. I feel that my work is going well, I have been at it for years, so am so glad to be feeling this way. I don’t want to be thrown off course by plagiarism. 

 

Several people have had  ‘If Wishes Were Horses’ image tattooed on them over the past months. I have received letters telling me how they have hunted for years to find an image to commemorate lost love and this image is THE ONE.

 

Someone wanting to permanently own my work on their body is a huge compliment. I have no issue with this. I feel it has brought friends into my life and I never in a million years thought I would be a tattoo designer so it makes me grin. I feel honoured.

 

However to rip me off for commercial gain is frustrating as f**k!

 

For me the image of the dandelion clock has meaning too, as I was photographing their ethereal forms when my mum phoned to say my dad had died. The drawings is part of my journey of letting go and that is probably why it has spoken to so many people.

 

 

 

So it leaves me pondering does one sit in a tight huddle too scared to share one’s ideas with the world or to be brave and share? I know that getting the courage to share has moved me forward in so many ways that are good for both my art and soul.

 

So I want to let go and make art and not get bucked off my metaphorical horse by this!

 

However my back is tight again and I know that fear has got a bit of a grip again for now. I will be doing lots of semi supine over the next few days and hopefully keep finding creative solutions to get through this.

 

So while some people plagiarise, other strangers have been unbelievable supportive! I choose to focus on the positive energy. Or as us Brits say ‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down!’

 

The fantastic people on my page are encouraging me to make my own products. Maybe it is time …. am going to see if I can figure out how to do it …

 

Forward and Up!

 

(I do not usually suffer from back ache and this particular back ache is definitely emotional/psychic, the sensation is a feeling of being stabbed in the back! Not all back pain is physical, it can come from many sources, but that’s another blog!)

 

https://www.facebook.com/kirstenharrisartist/?ref=bookmarks

https://www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

 

5 big oil paintings in this series

Uncluttering My Sluttery!

Apparently the Victorians had a word for a room into which unwanted, unusable, needing to be mended stuff was dumped – a sluttery!  I love it. Why do the useful words drop out of usage? So here’s to admitting that I have a sluttery!

 

I am guessing most other people have a sluttery too, though they may of course be in denial! But I bet I am not the only slattern in the vicinity!

 

Do you have a secret kitchen drawer or cupboard that you would be appalled at the thought of someone looking inside? Or perhaps an attic or shed that even bigger stuff is dumped into. All that ‘it might be useful one day’ stuff that we don’t want to deal with. My sluttery has  got so jam packed that it is overspilling into my life. I hide my inner slut no more!

 

I think we all have a mental sluttery too! Unresolved stuff,  that has got to be a good thing, a creative thing, to own and to take responsibility for.  We hold onto whole load of cluttering thoughts that stop us moving forward in life and keep us in a slatternly frame of mind thereby giving us excuses not to be the person we might really be. The ‘I am not x,y, z enough!’ stuff.  The excuses and procrastinations that we might just need to let go of.

 

From an Alexander Technique perspective this thinking stuff can manifest as physical aches and pains and emotional or creative sticky stuckness too. We all have unhelpful thinking habits in our mental sluttery that may keep us in a physical muddle.

 

So, these last weeks I have been uncluttering my sluttery, and the expression has been making me laugh and making the job a whole lot easier. The acceptance of my sluttish behaviour has been fun.  My inner slattern has been showing up in the stuff that I haven’t wanted to deal with or finish or throw away. The paintings that I am never going to resolve, the ends of paints that have dried out …  I have decided to dump the slut!

 

Good bye to the pretence of being organised and neat by shoving the crap into my sluttery and hello to owning a sluttery and sorting it out to create space and along with it the grace of acceptance of less than perfect me and with that the fluttery exciting possibility of new creativity coming soon and no doubt having fun refilling my sluttery again over time ….

 

So, here’s to our brilliant Victorian anscestors for actually naming the place that they dumped their stuff, rather than pushing it out of the conscious mind and here is to the revival of having a named sluttery and with it our ownership of our difficult to deal with stuff which is just work in progress on many levels after all …

 

 

 

 

Letting Go of Blocks to the Creative Flow

I have felt blocked in my artwork. Despite having masses of ideas bubbling to get out, the flow of energy to pick up a brush has not been there for a few weeks. That is a first for me for years and years!

 

So I have been thinking about letting go of psycho-physcial and emotional blocks and how to do it and why we get blocked in the first place. There are no profound insights here, but some musings as I declutter my studio.

 

– From an Alexander Technique perspective the answer to letting go would be to simply STOP,  lie down in semi supine, let the ground support you and allow time for the whole system to come back into balance.  A little bit of Body Magic required.

 

I haven’t particularly wanted to lie down recently but I have wanted to sit in the garden a LOT and just listen to the birds and watch the garden grow. I have spent mornings recording bird song and found balance through simply being the listening. And I have taken photos on my iPhone of bugs and dandelion clocks. Intuitive listening as to what to do next has always been part of my creative process. Trusting that listening and looking are simply enough has to, I guess, be enough.

 

– I am decluttering my studio ruthlessly. I totally understand now how folk in these TV documentaries become hoarders. The hoarding and holding on seems to come about in response to some emotional trauma that they feel unable to deal with, and thus holding on to a physical manifestation of their love and life becomes their way of dealing with that trauma.

 

My response to my dad having cancer and his horrible death was to paint even more than ever. The result being that I have physically run out of space in my house and studio for any more paintings or furniture to Up-Cycle Danishly! Short of moving house some radical decluttering is needed. Letting go physcically is feeling good emotionally. I have always aimed to finish paintings, an aim which can take years, as once the painting is started they can become problems that are hard to resolve. A couple of days ago I decided I was simply not interested in those problems anymore. They have been recycled. The first glimmer of space in my studio and brain. Yippee! I have let go of the physical manifestation of some past problems.

 

– As I oil paint in a space which could benefit from a lot more natural light, I had come up with the solution to hang lots of mirrors to throw light around. The mirrors are now all going back to the charity shop. Everything is only borrowed, let the borrowed light flow forward! I realised yesterday that the space they are taking could hang finished artwork and I will invest in some better lighting. Let there be light! More brain space and flow potential awakening. No doubt it is bad Feng Shui to have loads of mirrors anyway but I am no expert!

 

– I heard Robert Holden describe decluttering ‘as taking you back to what is important’ or words to that effect the other day. I think that is a lovely description. In this decluttering what I am left with are art materials and paintings and a desire to make my grotty garage studio a more light filled lovely space.

 

– Having always been someone with easy access to my emotions it has felt strange to me to hold on, unable to cry, needing to stay strong and solid rather than let go and potentially disintegrate. Probably living alone has solidified the need to stay strong. In some ways I have beaten myself up for this ‘lack’ of grief, but am now finding out that I am not alone in the inability to cry at the big events and that there is simply no right or wrong or ‘how to’ with grief. Death, like life, is a process.

 

Life and death surrounds us daily when we open to it. We are as part of death as we are of life, denying that or putting a ‘should’ in the mix of how to deal with life or death is to block the flow. My way to move through it has been to paint and write blogs. I have learned huge amounts in this process and am still learning.

 

Holding on and letting go are perhaps just mirrors to each other and part of the necessary human experience.

 

**********

 

Some of my bug photos – short, important, beautiful lives  ….

 

 

 

Wishing on Dandelion Clocks

Wishing with a Horse

by Kirsten Harris 

 

‘If Wishes Were Horses beggars would ride!’

 

I was the little girl who begged to ride. I mucked out all weekend at the local stables for a chance to sit on a horse and that might just be bringing the horses up from the field.

I was told horses were for rich people.

I guess we have all got our story.

Maybe the old saying had got into the collective consciousness.

 

‘If Wishes Were Horses’ is a 17th century Scots proverb which means that things are not always just as easy as making a wish.

Is that true?

 

I believe you have to have a dream and that making that first wish will take you one step closer to your dream becoming a reality.

How can you make something happen if you don’t know what you want!

 

Why don’t you make a wish on a dandelion clock today? I’m making a wish.

 

You never know …. <3

 

Make a wish ….. I love this photo today

 

If Wishes Were Horses was first recorded in James Carmichael’s Proverbs in Scots in 1628.

 

‘If Wishes Were Horses’

Pen and Ink drawing on white paper

by Kirsten Harris

Black and White prints available here

 

If Wishes Were Horses

Watercolour on Paper

by Kirsten Harris

Colour print available here

I Love Artists!

What could be better than gathering a group of artists who are scattered across this much over looked part of rural South Lanarkshire and who in the main don’t know each other and putting together an exhibition on a shared theme.

 

This time Tinto, our much loved fire hill, is the source of inspiration in a show at the Tolbooth, Lanark called 36 Views of Tinto, a homage to Hokusai’s famous 36 Views of Mount Fuji.

The last exhibition in October was inspired by the Falls of Clyde – Romance of the Falls.

 

So, a short blog of appreciation for all the artists …

 

What really strikes me about doing a group show with these people, whom I am just getting to know, is what intelligent, interesting, creative, easy going, solution orientated people artists are.

 

Artists are great!

It takes passion and courage to be an artist and a lot of self awareness.

 

To me it beggars belief that folk still think of artists as ‘mad’ and are quite happy to say it to their face, even if it is in jest. I am not being PC here, far from it, but making a point that sometimes we don’t question our assumptions.

 

For more musings in a blog called ‘Mad’ – click here! : )

 

So my thought for this morning is this – the world needs people with these amazing capacities as advisors, inspirers and general ‘earth angels’!

 

I love artists!

 

 

The Path of a Painting

The idea for this painting came from walking in the mountains. I wanted to make a painting which was more about the experience of walking uphill, than a portrait of a hill or mountain. I have called it ‘A Spiritual Path’, as it is about the push to keep going in life when the path seems steep or challenging.

 

I looked at Hokusai’s ‘Climbing on Mount Fuji’ as inspiration, in particular the abstract, atmospheric feel, the mark making and colour

 

 

Climbing on Mount Fuji

by Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849)

 

Maisie on my lap while I contemplate the work of Hokusai and plan my painting and Walter mows the lawn!

 

Painting mapped out

 

‘A Spiritual Path’ is a large canvas, 110 x 150 cm.

I painted standing up keeping the thought of walking on rough ground as I made the marks on canvas, inspired too by my current explorations with The Alexander Technique.  I wrote a blog as a warm up to the painting ‘On Being Wiggly, Part 2 – Here is a link to part 1 and 2

 

And here is the path of the painting –

Maisie with ball on table, she knows the game of art or the art of the game!

I have to chuck the ball out of the open studio door between brush strokes to keep her entertained while I paint.

 

Looking like a big breast at this stage!

I guess that is Tinto the fire hill for you.

Wanting to bring in a suggestion of

Fallburn Roman Fort at the bottom of Tinto,

the semi circle marks

 

Decide to

 

 

 

 

A Spiritual Path

by Kirsten Harris

Oil on Canvas

110 x 150 cm

 

 

Before

 

After!!!! Several days later

 

Brushes stuffed into rubber gloves to stop them drying out during the process!

Messy Painter! : )

 

This painting will be exhibited at 36 Views of Tinto Exhibition, Tolbooth, Lanark

16 May – 6 June 2018

A Conversation at the Picture Framers …

On my recent trip to the picture framers for 36 Views of Tinto Exhibition I had a conversation that I have been thinking about all week. I want to share it –

 

I was helping another artist choose a frame for her painting for the show.

A woman in the shop became involved in the discussion.

She was framing her husbands painting, who she described as one of The Scottish Contemporaries.

My artist friend starting belittling her own painting as ‘only an amateur effort that Kirsten has kindly included in the exhibition, I am not sure why, it’s not very good ….’

The other woman replied – ‘Yes, there are only two kinds of artists amateur and professional’ or words to that effect.

She wasn’t being snobby (well maybe slightly) but she was just stating a perceived truth!

 

‘Is that true?’ …. I thought, and found myself saying what I believe to be true –

 

‘There is only one kind of artist, and that is artists, because as far as I can see everyone puts there heart and soul into their work and that is the only criteria that matters!’

 

Come and see the 36 Views of Tinto Exhibition at the Tolbooth, Lanark if you are in the area – where local artists have put their heart and soul into interpreting Tinto our local much loved landscape feature. Maybe you will find something you want to own. It is going to be a great exhibition!

 

Look forward to seeing you … and by the way, my friends painting is very good and I am sure it will be snapped up!

 

 

Dandelion Oracle

If Wishes Were Horses

 

Dandelion oracle

I blow on your clock

Sending wishes into the wind

Tell me when

Love returns

 

A year and half ago I was in the field next to my house early in the morning photographing dandelion clocks when my mum phoned from Portugal to say that my dad had died.

 

This February I decided to do a drawing a day and see what happened 28 drawings later.

 

As the month started with the full blue blood moon I decided to start the 28 drawings with ideas about the moon and time. Within a couple of days dandelion clocks started to appear. Every day I posted the drawings on my Kirsten Harris Art page on Facebook. On day 16 Something happened that has never happened to me before – the image I shared started to be shared and shared – 662 times in a week. Beautiful ideas for titles were suggested, the most popular being ‘If Wishes Were Horses’ and people started messaging me and writing on the thread. It felt like love was just blowing in on the wind …

 

It seems that I am not the only one with a personal connection to dandelion clocks. This week I have heard moving stories about what dandelion clocks mean to other folk – memories of lost family members, much missed horses, love, happiness, freedom … a spiritual connection resonating with others.

 

It has been a deeply moving week for me, with requests for prints and permission to tattoo the image. Folk have sent me gorgeous photos of their horses, photos they have taken of dandelion clocks, stories of arriving home from exhilarating rides with dandelion clocks attached to them …

 

These seeds on the wind have connected me to other horse lovers world wide. It has been truly amazing and I am utterly grateful to FB and the world wide web for a week that has given me a much appreciated boost and brought joy into my life.

 

Here are the seven images I have chosen for prints which are now available …
I have never made art prints of my art work before so this week has definitely moved me forward as an artist too. I hope you like them

 

Best wishes

Kirsten

 

PRINTS AVAILABLE – These are the eight prints I am getting made. They are a LIMITED EDITION of 100 A4 size and 100 A3. I will hand write the title and hand sign and number each one ready for you to frame. I am happy to write any words you may want to personalise.

 

A4 – £20 and A3 – £30 plus (plus p&p at cost worldwide.)

FREE postage if you buy more than one print!)

 

A4 measures 210 x 297 mm or 8.3 x 11.7 inches.
A3 measures 297 x 420 mm or 11.7 x 16.5 inches.

Printed on high quality white art paper. Posted in a cellophane bag and cardboard backed envelope.

 

AVAILABLE AS BLACK AND WHITE PRINTS (please excuse my photography here)

Please email me if you wish to order any prints kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

 

1. If Wishes Were Horses

 

2. Sky Horses

 

3. When Dreams Fly

 

 

4. Free Spirits

 

 

5. Flying Horses

 

 


6. Seeds of Love

 

 

7. Transformation

 

8. Equine Lunar Calendar

 

Please email me if you wish to order –  kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

Withdrawn and I

In my last blog (link) about drawing through February I used the word withdrawn, realising I have been a little withdrawn of late. It is an interesting word in the context of drawing as it appears negative, withdrawn as in stand offish or depressed, but is it?

 

The act of drawing – to move a pencil around paper, to make images, marks, lines on a flat surface – is by it’s very nature withdrawn, a solitary activity.  A degree of withdrawing from the world is necessary to make time for art, to be in the alone zone, that is creative. Withdrawn can mean to be depressed but it also means to take money out, withdrawing a deposit made earlier.

 

To draw is to put money into the bank as an artist. Explorations in drawing are deposits of energy that can be taken out for future use later, either as skills, ideas or artworks to sell. To draw, is to make a journey into the unknown To draw can mean to leave something undecided, no obvious winners – it’s a draw. Drawings don’t have to be finished.

 

To withdraw also means to inhibit, to draw back, to step or retreat back, which is interesting in an Alexander Technique context as being back in your back allows a space to occur where something ‘magic’ happens. ‘Back back’ we say.  It is a skill that that is as profound as it is light.

 

Withdrawing can also be a form of meditation or constructive rest (link), withdrawing from the urgencies of the day at least for a while, to allow ease, change.

 

Staying back in your back is important for drawing, not only the arm connecting to the back to avoid pain, but back enough from your work so as to not be lost in the detail. Backing off enough to stay aware of the whole image but being drawn forward enough to actually create something. An opposition of direction, an expansion of awareness.  It is an art in itself.

 

Withdrawing can mean knowing when to stop because this is a ‘battle’ you are never going to win. A waste of unfocussed energy. A waste of life. Why is withdrawing seen as negative when it is in fact powerful?!  Withdrawing to allow change. Withdrawing, not so much about being defeated but more about looking after yourself.

 

Backing up a horse is a useful exercise. Asking the horse to take a few steps backwards gathers the horse’s energy so that stepping forward again is done with more controlled spring, coil, balance, poise … You can train a  horse so that you only have to think ‘back back’ and your horse will go back, drawing his energy up into poise, drawing you up on his back. (link)

 

As a self employed single person I have to draw on my own resources constantly. Withdrawn in terms of a relatively isolated location it would be easy to fall into feeling lonely, especially in the middle of winter. But day after day, year after year, the act of drawing, literally drawing up energy from the well of a creative source somewhere inside, takes me to a place of peace, calm and ease, where the days pass happily and drawings are made. If I feel negativity I only have to show up at the drawing board to be drawn into a happy focussed place within minutes. I learn to trust , my mantra –  ‘everything I need is already here, I just have to line up with it!’

 

Withdrawn? I guess I am just with drawing!

 

 

‘Ahhh Ha!’ by Kirsten Harris

Pen on White Paper

 

The Daily Ease, A Walk in the Woods, Colouring Book LINK TO BUY

28 Drawings Later – Drawing some conclusions, half way through

I’m doing a project called 28 Drawings Later aka getting through a shitty February in the wilderness! (Us Brits like to moan about the weather, a national form of therapy and endless fascination!)

The title 28 Drawings Later appealed – the suggestion of a journey, the suggestion of arriving in a new place – bring it on!

 

Hmm, I thinks to myself – drawing through the depth of a snowy winter means I can stay inside and watch daytime TV, not like last years madness of painting seascapes in oils all winter in my freezing cold studio. Drawing will be a doddle by comparison and give me a focus through the hideous weather.  I’ll do it!

 

I envision myself knocking off a quick sketch everyday no problem, but instead it has got me ‘drawing conclusions’ about my lack of method and random processes as an artist as well as my desires and hopes. It’s the 13th of Feb and I’m nearly half way through this drawing everyday thing and feeling like I haven’t even got going …

 

Conclusions drawn so far

  • I have different styles of drawings for different moods. Guess I must be moody!
  • Initial enthusiasm soon turns into an inner dialogue of … why are you doing this? You work every day anyway … why am I making myself DO a drawing project, it’s not like I need motivating … I ignore the chatter and start
  • I have an idea that I want to draw horse anatomy. So far, day 13, I have got nowhere near that work. Procrastination February!
  • Week one, I seem to be in a quiet cartooning mood, with ideas developing around lightness, buoyancy and uplift.  The drawings make me smile and feel ridiculously content and happy, which is just as well as the TV seems to have got stuck on a channel entirely devoted to true life murder stories.  Days pass and daytime telly becomes a gruesome backdrop of how and why people kill each other, horrible and yet quite fascinating! I convince myself that Goya would have watched these documentaries unable to switch back to my usual diet of antique and cookery programmes or put some music on. Animals start floating off the page … I discover programmes about forensics, I like anatomy I tell myself, watching cop shows is research!
  • Week 2, I manage to turn the telly off, but rather than get on with the ‘oh so accomplished’ anatomically correct horse drawings that I can see in my ever hopeful mind’s eye, I start finishing bits of furniture, up-cycling Danishly! Doodling and finishing stuff is part of the process, I console myself, feeling like the Queen of the Procrastinators whilst sensing some fear around finding that my inner Leonardo da Vinci really doesn’t exist!
  • Having got rather carried away with buying and painting furniture recently I spend most of the second week thinking I really must sell some of it. (Artist as hoarder.) I seem to have a particular ‘thing’ for chairs. Feeling sad at the thought of restraining my trips to the car boot I get a genius brainwave –  if I rid the house of two sofas and a very large arm chair, bought for my even larger now sadly deceased dad, that I never sit in, I can paint more furniture and buy more random objects that appeal and I don’t have to sell my painted furniture that I like and takes ages to do.  I could even do some still life drawings to justify buying more stuff! Realising the total genius of this idea I conclude that sofa’s are crap for the back anyway, take up a ton of space and it means I can make another drawing area where the sofa was and start channeling my inner Leonardo properly. It is now totally obvious to me that I am not drawing the way that I want to because of the sofas! I  just need to find a van and a man to help me take said lumps of back breakers, posing as comfy chairs, to the charity shop. I am, it turns out, not a hoarder at all but the High Priestess of clutter clearing!
  • Feb 13th happy with my plan to release sofas from my life, I realise that I have been a bit withdrawn (interesting word) of late. I am just tired, tired of the endless snow and rain in South Lanarkshire and mud, lots of mud, but my brain is now racing with  ideas of what I would like to achieve with my drawing and painting. The next painting is always going to be the best one! This is exciting! This is motivating! So as it is February and snowing again, I decide to allow myself to be with nature, and rather than beat myself up with my coloured pencils and sticks of charcoal, align myself with the bulbs in the garden that are just beginning to show and know that all these brilliant drawings too are hiding just out of sight, a bit frozen in my consciousness but about to burst forth when ‘winter’ lets go of its grip.
  • This seems like a jolly good reason to do lots of resting in semi supine aka The Alexander Technique aka Body Magic (link) to help the budding art grow from the inside out and of course give Leonardo a chance to find his way to Scotland … maybe he just doesn’t like the snow either! Happy that the Alexander Technique always illuminates,  I am off do do some drawing … or maybe just lie down for now … Spring up spring!

‘Love Time’

by Kirsten Harris

Pen and watercolour on White Paper

The Lightness of Being a Horse

by Kirsten Harris

Pen and Watercolour on white paper

‘Up!’

by Kirsten Harris

Watercolour and pen on white paper

‘The Bird that Wanted to Fly’

by Kirsten Harris

Pen on white paper

 

 

My painted furniture – side panels from a corner cabinet and set of shelves

 

More Alexander Technique drawings here The Daily Ease A Walk in the Woods. Colouring Book

 

Mad!? Part 2

About a year ago I wrote a blog called Mad!? It was a rant about why artists aren’t mad, in response to being called a mad artist one too many times. Mad!? Link to blog

 

This blog is a consideration of the fact that ‘mad’ might be a very apt term after all!

 

Mad – when you find your self dressed in oversized, second hand, blokes’ sallopets and wooly bonnet, painting in an unheated studio, with the door open for ventilation and a hot water bottle strapped to you, when it is minus 2 outside and blowing a gale.

 

Mad – when in those said conditions you are painting a herd of zebras in the warmest colours you can find for an exhibition straight after Xmas in Lanark, and realising that the painting will never dry in time.

 

Mad – when you are wishing Xmas could be cancelled so you could get on with painting and then realise that you painted right through Xmas for the last few years anyway.

 

Mad – When you would rather paint than do anything else, but every painting is a giant struggle to achieve.

 

Mad – when your dog plonks her ball on your paint table and between brush strokes you throw it out through said open door to keep her amused, over and over and over again.

 

Mad – that the dog loves it when you paint as she finds distracting you a very good game indeed.

 

Mad – When the electrics in your studio are not working so mid winter Scotland you are working in the near dark, trying to catch the last rays of light before night falls at the ridiculously early 3.30pm, and then feel frustrated for the rest of the evening as it is over 16 hours before the sun rises again.

 

Mad – when you wake at 4 am, think bugger – still 5 hours before daylight, might as well write a blog about art in the meantime.

 

Mad – when you have long since run out of wall space in your own house, and can barely swing a cat for finished paintings and painted furniture, but rather than focus on selling you just want to paint more, as the next one will be THE good one!

 

Mad – to live in the middle of absolutely bloody nowhere and be a self employed artist. Great for the peace to get on with it, terrible for the scarcity of folk and general total lack of social life. Urban self gone missing!

 

Mad – that despite that you realise that being a somewhat reclusive artist might be who you really are!

 

Mad – to rather buy art materials than clothes or have a holiday. Nothing makes you happier than to buy white paper, clean canvas, tubes of oil paint and new brushes.

 

Mad – the price of aforementioned paper, canvas, oil paint and decent brushes!

 

Mad – to be the great ruiner of brushes!

 

Mad  – because it’s only 4.15 am and not daylight for another 4 hours at least!

 

Mad – because due to freezing studio conditions over last 3 days, your back is feeling somewhat tight and you have a bit of a chill, but you can’t wait to get back out there and try to resolve the massive painting you have started!

 

Mad – to start a massive oil painting in the first place when you could sit in the warm house and draw.

 

Mad – about art!

 

Time for a another coffee and to do some drawing until dawn  ….

 

With love,

Mad artist … or not so mad …

Mad!? Part 1, link here 

 

www.kirstenharrisart.com

 

 

 

Framed for £100!

Do you want to collect art, but don’t know where to start?

Do you want to give someone a really amazing present for Xmas, a wedding or special birthday?

Do you already collect art and want to add to your collection but are running out of wall space?

 

  

Here is a solution –

  • This collection of small seascapes framed for £100. They are like windows to the beach. An attempt to portray a feeling that looking out to sea the view is unchanged … I am seeing what the cave people saw. Our distant ancestors of the neolithic, the bronze age … Perhaps when I paint the sea, I am connecting to my inner cavewoman! Looking inland at the landscape it is changed probably beyond all recognition from that distant past, but gazing to the horizon of the sea, there is a sense of the infinite and the timeless.
  • Small paintings are ideas being worked out, emotions explored, a passion for the sea and the sky – the moving elements captured in paint. Small paintings are intimate and personal.

If you are interested in any of these treasures washed up by the tide of 2017, you might want to check out my blog too.  I wrote over 40 blogs called ‘Diary of an Exhibition’ this year about painting the sea

 

I LOVE THE BEACH  AND I LOVE THESE SMALL SEASCAPES 

All paintings are oil on canvas or oil and sand on canvas and are £100 each, framed with a white frame and gold slip and signed on the front.

 

 

SMALL SEASCAPES GALLERY – FRAMED FOR £100 Click this link to see what is available. 

 

Email me if you see anything you like …

kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

Postage worldwide will be charged at cost.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Paint my Camouflage Style, for 5 Year Olds

I received a request this weekend from a primary school teacher wanting –

 

‘to focus on a particular artists art and produce a similar sytle with a school art gallery and parental showcase to promote education through art. I love the camouflage style look with animals and cars and was wondering if you can tell me what  your inspiration is for them and how I can teach the style. Most are 5 year olds.’

 

So I thought I would write a blog to answer the question as I know from the past that children relate to and love this style of painting. I have never been an art teacher so here is my third ever ‘how to’ blog. (Links to first two   How to Portray Movement in Paintings  and How to do a Truly Terrible Painting and Have a Totally Terrific Time

 

HOW TO PAINT MY CAMOUFLAGE STYLE, FOR 5 YEAR OLDS

by Kirsten Harris

 

  • First decide what you are going to paint? If it is an animal, how many animals are you going to paint in your picture. Are there going to be baby animals hiding amongst the legs of the adults? Or too many fish to count? Get excited about painting, you are creating an adventure.
  • Where does that animal live? Does it live in water, or the forest or amongst long grasses? Or maybe it is a cat or dog camouflaged by the pattern or colour of a sofa or rug? Look outside, can you see any birds hiding in the trees? How are they camouflaged?
  • Choose one main colour for your painting. It can be absolutely any colour you like. What is the one colour that most speaks about that animal to you?
  • Or what is the colour of the place the animal lives? It can be any colour you want to choose.You can choose a colour because it is the main colour of the animal i.e. yellow for giraffes, pink for flamingos or for a mood you think the animal feels. I have done blue, purple and red for elephants and pink leopards. Or it may be the colour of the time of day or the place the animal lives. This is your main colour, so you will need most of it.
  • You want people who look at your painting to see a big block of your chosen colour first, then to see the animal or car or something else that is hiding in your painting.
  • Now make some other colours that are similar to your main colour. If you have chosen blue, how many shades of blue can you make, by mixing other colours with your main colour. Make little puddles or pots of paint. You can use paint, and then crayons or pencils on top when your picture is dry to get more colours and variety. The more shades of one colour the better. Look around the room you are in, you will see lots of different types of blue all around you.
  • If you want to paint lots of blue elephants for example, you may want to team up with a friend and make a big painting with lots of elephants in it.
  • How many different names for the colour you have chosen do you know? There are lots of different names for every colour. You can also make up funny names that describe the colour.  i.e. elephant stomping blue.  One of these colour names might become the title of your painting.
  • Now paint and have lots of fun. Use brush or fingers or flick or dribble paint or sponge your main colour, lots of different patches of the different shades of that colour that you have made. So if the main colour is yellow make the surface of the paper really interesting, kind of messy! Make lots of different types of that colour and lots of different brush marks and textures.  Messy is important. As you paint, think about where your animal is going to start to appear. Any minute you will start to see your camouflaged animals appearing in your picture!
  • Paint the animals in a similar shade to your main colour, not a different colour. So if you have chosen yellow, paint the animal in a slightly darker or lighter yellow, so that it is camouflaged.
  • Sometimes the paint will start to look like an animal on its own and you can turn it into something. It is brilliant when that happens, a bit like join the dots.
  • Let it dry out a bit and flick or paint more paint on the picuture, this time use some different colours, so you get some little specks and details of something different on top of your main colour. You can let the painting dry in-between or you might like it if it runs and the colours bleed together on the paper.
  • Your job as the artist is to make it look as though the animal lives in a really interesting colourful place that you would want to visit and that the animal has somewhere to hide too.
  • If the animal has a pattern on its coat i.e. scales or stripes or spots , you can paint some of the pattern both on the animal and in the background. This will make it look camouflaged.
  • Let flicks of colour be long grass or ripples in the water. Splash a bit more paint on and see what happens. YOU CANNOT GET IT WRONG. That is the magic of art, anything is possible. 
  • To add detail you can chose different contrasting colours. Paint an eye peeking out, a bit of the head, a bit of the body, some legs with a bit more detail. Just enough so you can see the animal, but not so much that it is sitting on top of the background. It has to be hidden and part of the layers of paint.
  • Imagine there are lots of animals hiding in the picture. Can you give the suggestion of more than one animal. You might just paint some more eyes hiding in the trees for example.
    • It is your painting, you can do EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.
    • THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL – HAVE FUN! HAVE FUN! HAVE MORE FUN! PAINTING IS FUN!
    • ENJOY THE COLOUR AND PAINT SOMETHING THAT YOU LOVE.
    • I LOVE ANIMALS, THAT IS WHY I PAINT THEM. 

 

( I would advise that you use as good a quality of paint and paper or canvas that you can afford. Children’s art is amazing and free and it always seems a shame that they are given rubbish quality paper, paint and brushes to use! Kids produce masterpieces that can be kept for ever, framed and hung as contemporary art, if only the materials were better at the outset! I have supervised very young children using oil paint on canvas with stunning results.)

 

Link to my colouring book for children and adults Here 

 

  •  

www.kirstenharrisart.com – ART

www.kirstenharris.co.uk – ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE

Have you ever thought about investing in a dream?

EPSON MFP image

Have you ever thought about investing in a dream?

My current dream goes like this –  I want to make more Alexander Technique inspired cartoons next year and I want to plant trees, to do my bit for this beautiful planet we live on! I also want to engage children and teenagers with the Alexander Technique thought processes, so that is simply something that they naturally know from a young age.

I am an artist and Alexander Technique teacher and I have been slowly working away creating images that hopefully express AT in a fun way. A task that I find exceedingly challenging, but very engaging.

One teacher, phoned to ask to use one of my cartoons to promote teaching the technique within the BBC. She said  ‘The Alexander Technique needs more images with a sharp wit like these.’ Amazing feedback!

Another teacher said I was wasting my time making art to promote Alexander Technique, that people simply were not interested!

If I am wasting my time, so be it! I care about Alexander Technique with a passion. It can so simply and profoundly transform peoples lives. It transformed mine. If I can do a wee bit to bring it into peoples field of attention via a cartoon or a verse or something else, yippee! To me that attempt is not a waste of time – it is my dream.

What do you think?

This is my latest project. The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods.  An Alexander Technique inspired colouring story book for children and adults. All profits will be used to plant trees.

It is the sort of thing as a child I would have loved, and I think would have given me a ‘heads up’ on some useful thinking that might have kept me out of trouble in more ways than one!

If you have ever thought about investing in a dream, perhaps you will think about buying one of these. You can enjoy the black and white images as they are, colour them in, read the stories and AT inspired ideas contained within to a child, enjoy them yourself, give as a gift or know that a tree has been planted.

To buy click here

 

Free postage in the UK, please email me for international postage. kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

Many thanks, Kirsten

fullsizeoutput_15f1

‘Feeling a Bit Prickly!?’ detail from ‘The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods’

 

Kirsten Harris 001

‘News – Skeleton Slumps at Screen!’

FB logo for The Daily Ease – Alexander Technique.

Art, Bamboo Glasses and a Foul Mouthed Pub Landlady

Last night at the exhibition opening of Seascapes at the Old Chain Pier in Edinburgh, stories were told about the eccentric landlady who presided there in the 50’s and 60’s. Her family had owned the pub since the turn of the century.

 

My friends mum and dad, revealing how they went on their second ever date to the Old Chain Pier 55 odd years ago, reminisced.  Last night was their first time back…

 

Apparently Betty Moss was a character and a half, always resplendent in oriental costume and bamboo glasses. She swore like a trooper, shot a gun to the ceiling to call last orders, swung a cutlass over her head to deal with rowdy customers and told everyone to ‘fuck off children’ at the end of the night. It was a sailors pub and she was in charge! 50 years later she is still talked about, her photo, found by the present owner in the cellar, hangs above the bar.

 

 

(Betty Moss – check out the earrings!)

 

Back then every inch of the pub walls were covered in postcards from all over the world. There was no picture windows to the amazing sea view! I guess sailors don’t want to look at the sea whilst drinking a pint and a nip. In fact everything about the inside is different, yet the memory of Betty Moss lives on.

 

Later in the evening my friends gave me ‘how to’ instructions on a contemporary kind of postcard,Instagram, wondering why as an artist I hadn’t made use of this ‘postcards to the world’ form of communication to show my paintings.

Um, no answer apart from not knowing how to do it! Dah!

So I was given a brilliant impromptu masterclass from a professional marketeer, the art director of an ad agency and someone who has 1000’s of followers on the said platform… WOW! Thank you guys, I hope it all went into my brain. Brilliant stuff.

 

I wonder what Betty Moss would make of the social media conversation? By the sound of her she would have embraced it long since, have made big ripples in new medias and be talked about all over the world!

 

Hmmm ….. where are my bamboo glasses?

 

 

 

 

Exhibition on until the end of January.

Framed seascapes from £100

check out my website… www.kirstenharrisart.com

 

‘My Walls are Too Small!’

‘My walls are too small for a big painting!’

 

It’s a comment I hear a lot and it always makes me laugh. I look at the person and think, ‘What a load of rubbish, you don’t live in a hobbit hut!’

 

So here is my low down on why ‘my walls are too small’ is not true!

 

  • It may just be a matter of education, you may never have tried a big painting on a wall and so have no idea how amazing it will look, so are possibly assuming your walls are too small.
  • Did you know that a big painting in a small room will make the space look bigger?Breaking up the space with lots of small paintings can actually make a room look smaller.
  • A big painting adds wow factor to a room. It can save decorating. Just hang a big painting and bobs your uncle, you have impact. I am not a fan of rooms with a TV a sofa and white walls, the so called minimalism. Add a big painting and your room will suddenly have a heart!
  • Most ceilings are much taller than you! (I will make an exception for very tall folk entering low ceilinged ancient cottages) Most big paintings won’t be taller than you. Therefore your walls are definitely not too small!
  • If you buy directly from an artist most artists will be more than happy to let you try before you buy. I am like to hang a painting for someone who is interested in my work and try different wall positions to see if the painting is going to work in the space,  with absolutely no obligation to buy. So do ask. In fact my sister would say I should come with a warning as I will probably help you rearrange the furniture too!
  • On the subject of redecorating – if you are redecorating think about choosing the art work first then the wall colours after. It’s logical if you think about it!
  • A big painting can add structure and cohesion and flow to the look of a room, pulling all the elements together. By the way you can hang oil paintings in bathrooms.
  • And here is a radical thought, it is ok to take paintings down and put new ones up. I rotate my paintings all the time creating a new vibe in the room instantly!

 

So, go on … I dare you, think about being bold and buying a big painting. A big painting needn’t be more expensive and your walls are probably certainly not too small!

 

 

Wind and Sea and my hair being buffeted by the weather! – SOLD

A Falling Romance – SOLD

 

 

A big painting and some handsome men!

SOLD

Michael Douglas and a big giraffe painting … Genius me, I managed to get both him and the painting out of focus! I think I was too excited by having him at my exhibition! What an incredibly nice man. He loved the giraffes ….

 

There is another big giraffe painting hanging at the Tolbooth in Lanark this week.

 

Two upcoming private views – this week

 

 

and now for something completely different here is a link to my colouring book – I love it! Xmas pressie idea …

The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods  Colouring Story Book HERE

 

My Colouring Book

How about a giving a gift of planting a tree via a colouring book this Xmas?

At the same time you will be sharing a a healthy dose of Alexander Technique and mindfulness nature wisdom …

 

If that sounds appealing you have nothing further to do than click here and buy The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods, my Alexander Technique inspired colouring story book.

 

I am super proud of it – it is hand drawn and written with love inspired by walking in the woods with my dog Maisie. All profits will be used to plant trees, so please do consider supporting this environmental/educational project.

 

Front and back cover .. showing details of drawings inside…

 

  • ‘A very beautiful combination of writing and pictures’ John, AT teacher
  • ‘It’s making me want to go for a walk … That’s amazing in itself!’ Dougie
  • ‘Within the Words and magical illustrations are lots of wonderful reminders of the wisdom and teachings of the Alexander Technique. It is a delightful, gentle, joyous book of wisdom for all ages.’ Sally

 

The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods buy here! 

(sample pages when you follow link)

 

Please ignore the bit on the link that says local pick up only. I haven’t figured out how to change it!

Free postage in UK.

Please email me for costs to post abroad.

kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

 

I hope to hear from you

 

Love Kirsten and Crazy Maisie dog x

Maisie walking int the woods in Scotland

 

 

If you love art you will adore an open studio …

Every year all over the country artists open their studios to the public.

This is a fantastic chance to buy directly from an artist. It is a win win situation for both artist and art lover. Here is why …

 

  • No commissions to pay to middle men aka galleries, art websites etc. This means that the artist does not have to add money to the price of the artwork to allow for commission, meaning that you the buyer can purchase the work at a better price.
  • The artist gets to meet you the buyer. Over the years many of the people who have bought my work have become great friends! Why? Because we share a similar vibe as evidenced by the art that we both like. Some unspoken, unquantifiable, joyous link is established. When you buy through a gallery or a website the opportunity to make that connection is not there. It is huge loss.
  • From an artists point of view it is absolutely brilliant to get feedback, positive or otherwise from your visitors. You learn so much by folk coming to your studio. Don’t be shy to talk to the artist about their work. It is also brilliant to know who has bought your art. Having put your heart and soul into the art work, to not know who has bought it is a little bit sad.
  • Open studios are often in the artists home. Visiting you get to see what influences the artist, how they live, what they surround themselves with, the environment the work is made in. Very famous artists studios have been known to be dismantled intact and rebuilt in a gallery situation after their demise! I can think of two examples local to me. Ian Hamilton Findlay’s amazing garden Little Sparta is now an out post of the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. I was lucky enough to meet Hamilton Findlay and look around his garden before his death. Link to Little Sparta Trust here. Also Leith born artist Eduardo Paolozzi’s studio has been rebuilt in the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh Link here.
  • An artist will want to find you something to sell at a price you can afford! Trust me on this! It is such a good feeling when someone want to have your work in their home, it gives you impetus to keep on creating. At an open studio you will see work that you won’t find on websites or in galleries. Ideas, work in progress, sketch books, unframed masterpieces … you will find treasures!
  • The artist will be delighted to see you. It is a lonely business being an artist. Folk paying an interest in your work is amazing. You will probably get a cuppa or a glass of wine or a bit of amazing home made cake!
  • It is a great day out. These days artists  often collaborate to make a yearly artist trail in their area. My open studio this weekend is part of the Biggar Little Festival.
  • www.kirstenharrisart.com

Check out this Free Creativity E-Course Testemonial

This blog is a letter from someone who took my free creativity e-course. (link below.) Maybe you can relate to what she says about spending 50 years thinking she wasn’t creative …

 

‘Kirsten, through your online art course you made me feel like I CAN be creative after 50 years of thinking I can’t! You opened my mind to a new possibility and showed me art – my art creations – in the simplest of things. This is a mind opening, chink of possibility. I have yet to transform this new way of thinking into an actual, physical piece of art although I did go and cover my walls (the canvas) in paint recently. It was hard physical work and my arms ached for days afterwards but as I did it I reminded myself that this too, the simple act of decorating a room, could be classed as art when thought of in this way. Paint on a canvas. Strong roller strokes of a colour I love … And now I love the new feel of the room I have recoloured and recreated.

 

I want to find another slightly less physical way of covering a canvas in paint. I like words. They too are art I now realise. Squiggly lines on a piece of paper that convey something – a thought, an idea. I love the thought that putting on my moisturiser and painting my face with makeup is also an art form. This opens up my mind so much to all these ways of being creative. My garden – selecting just the right flowers and placing them in certain places that I choose, is a creation. Who knew? Me! Artistic. What a concept!

 

I love the concept of the physical body and the mind working together (or maybe letting go together) to allow a piece of art to flow and become. My art. My expression of something – as it is and as it shows up in that moment. But can I manage not to judge it? That’s a challenge. Years of internal criticism habits are hard to erase. A lot of old thinking patterns to break and yet you have helped me make a beginning. I don’t think I shall really draw or paint – I don’t think it’s my medium although I don’t rule it out, but you have opened my mind to the possibility that I can be artistic in so many other ways… my signature, my writing, an arrangement of objects, flowers, a choice of a photograph to take – oh so many possibilities suddenly appear. And art can be fun it seems – not too serious a business after all.

 

You work your magic in so many ways. Thank you for all the thought, love, experiences and fun you poured into this wonderful creation of a course – I loved it. It is a gift.’  Sally, Scotland

 

Why don’t you sign up for 8 days of ideas about creativity in the free e-course below, it is totally free, just an artists way of making connections …

 

 

 

Free Creativity E – Course – Testemonial

This blog is a letter from someone who took my free creativity e-course. (link below.) Maybe you can relate to what she says about spending 50 years thinking she wasn’t creative …

 

‘Kirsten, through your online art course you made me feel like I CAN be creative after 50 years of thinking I can’t! You opened my mind to a new possibility and showed me art – my art creations – in the simplest of things. This is a mind opening, chink of possibility. I have yet to transform this new way of thinking into an actual, physical piece of art although I did go and cover my walls (the canvas) in paint recently. It was hard physical work and my arms ached for days afterwards but as I did it I reminded myself that this too, the simple act of decorating a room, could be classed as art when thought of in this way. Paint on a canvas. Strong roller strokes of a colour I love … And now I love the new feel of the room I have recoloured and recreated.

 

I want to find another slightly less physical way of covering a canvas in paint. I like words. They too are art I now realise. Squiggly lines on a piece of paper that convey something – a thought, an idea. I love the thought that putting on my moisturiser and painting my face with makeup is also an art form. This opens up my mind so much to all these ways of being creative. My garden – selecting just the right flowers and placing them in certain places that I choose, is a creation. Who knew? Me! Artistic. What a concept!

 

I love the concept of the physical body and the mind working together (or maybe letting go together) to allow a piece of art to flow and become. My art. My expression of something – as it is and as it shows up in that moment. But can I manage not to judge it? That’s a challenge. Years of internal criticism habits are hard to erase. A lot of old thinking patterns to break and yet you have helped me make a beginning. I don’t think I shall really draw or paint – I don’t think it’s my medium although I don’t rule it out, but you have opened my mind to the possibility that I can be artistic in so many other ways… my signature, my writing, an arrangement of objects, flowers, a choice of a photograph to take – oh so many possibilities suddenly appear. And art can be fun it seems – not too serious a business after all.

 

You work your magic in so many ways. Thank you for all the thought, love, experiences and fun you poured into this wonderful creation of a course – I loved it. It is a gift.’  Sally, Scotland

 

Why don’t you sign up for 8 days of ideas about creativity in the free e-course below, it is totally free, just an artists way of making connections …

 

 

 

Wonderful World

Imagine an art gallery in an industrial unit?
The sort of place you might go to have your car MOT’d!

This is Resonate Arts House in Alloa and I love the space!
An artists dream in fact – big wall spaces, well lit, run by art historian Clark, whose passion and knowledge of the visual arts is contagious.

 

Mini Rant coming up! …

To be truthful a gallery run by an art expert IS totally wonderful to me! One of my gripes over the years is that most gallery spaces are basically shops, that you the artist hand over free stock to. Usually run as a second ‘nice wee income’ by the wife of an accountant or such like. There is no real interest in the thinking behind the art, the process or the artists development, just how much money are they going to be able to make selling your work! Yes that is commerce, I get it, but it is very limiting for the artist in many ways and not at all exciting. OK moan over!

To have someone who is actually interested in the work itself in it’s own right is flipping fantastic and very unusual! That is Clark and that is Resonate Arts House, putting the development of the arts right into the heart of the community. It is so much more interesting to be able to discuss your work with the public and get critique and comments good or bad, than just to hand it into a gallery with no feedback whatsoever.

 

Wonderful World, is an exhibition of oil paintings and drawings on show at Resonate over the next month. The name was chosen not only because Louis Armstrong’s Oh What a Wonderful World is one of my absolute favourite songs ever, but to describe the passion I have for painting. In fact I seemed to have rather ‘over egged the pudding’ for this one as I have somehow managed to make rather a lot of work.

 

This week is wonderful week.

Romance of the Falls exhibition also opens in Lanark. My first go at organising an ‘artist led’ group exhibition at the fabulous 15th century Tolbooth. It makes me smile as, recently refurbished, the Tolbooth now describes itself as ‘community arts hub since 1590!’ Love it …. um, amongst other things it used to be a prison!

 

Here are a few of my favourite paintings for the Wonderful World Exhibition in Alloa

 

 

and Romance of the Falls

Press Release – Romance of the Falls Exhibition

During the Napoleonic Wars when Europe was closed for The Grand Tour, The Falls of Clyde at Lanark became a ‘must visit’ place on what became known as Le Petit Tour.

 

Determined to continue the Romantic tradition, Romance of the Falls is an eclectic, exciting group contemporary art exhibition at the newly refurbished historic Tollbooth in Lanark’s High Street, opening on the 12 October for a month.

 

Following in the the footsteps of JMW Turner, Jacob More, The Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott to name a few of the greats who have drawn inspiration from this spectacular scenery over the past centuries, a collection of artists are once again being inspired by The Falls of Clyde which have been flowing at full power all summer. It was the building of the hydro electric power station in the 1920’s that caused the Falls of Clyde to fall off the art map! (See before and after photos at end of this post).

 

Painters, sculptors, steam punk makers, furniture creators, illustrators, glass workers, jewellers, textile artists and a film maker exhibit side by side in this powerful exhibition, each interpreting the theme of Romance of the Falls in their own style, ranging from wildlife to landscape, abstraction to surrealism.

 

A percentage of sales from the art will go to the Tolbooth to continue their exciting refurbishment work, bringing this fifteenth century former prison into an exhibition and event space with wow factor. The next phase is refurbishing the magnificent high ceiling upstairs room.

 

Art work will be exhibited on both floors during this show.

Come and see what amazing artistic talent there is in the area!

 

ARTISTS EXHIBITING – Jacqueline MacAteer, Mark Davies, Myra Gibson, Veronica Liddell, Stephanie Whatley, Julie Grey, Evelyn McEwan, May Carnan, Nancy Scott, Kathleen Stewart, Pat McKenzie, Ellen Mc CAnn, Isobel Stamford, Jill Sievewrithg, Jean Mellin, Eve Whittle, Trudi Green, Kaye Shearer, Andy Cross, Hazel Findlay, Elspeth Wight, Jo Green, Janey Horberry, Eileen Hood, Christine Brown, Jane Kirkwood, David Randall, Ewan Cameron, Trevor Taylor, Kirsten Harris

The Falls of Clyde by JMW Turner

Two photos of the same view at Bonnington Linn.

Firstly as Turner and the Romantic artists and writers saw it and the second with the hydro electric diverting it’s power most of the time these days.

 

Above the left hand waterfall is a little iron bridge, now uncrossable, that led to the island in the middle of the falls and a folly temple. It must have been so exciting to cross the fall with it’s 30 ft drop.

 

Remains of the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ opposite Corra Linn.

Mirrors gave visitors the feeling that they were standing inside the waterfall.

Now under threat of collapse from development work at the hydro electric sub station.

 

 

 

Romance of the Falls Exhibition venue – The historic 15th century Tolbooth in Lanark’s High Street and it’s beautiful community gallery.

 

 

Press in the Lanark Gazette

A Falling Romance – work in progress …

Detail from a much bigger oil painting’ A Falling Romance’ work in progress  ….

Looking down onto Cora Linn …

Looking across to Bonnington Linn

 

An old postcard looking up to Bonnington Linn.  Details of the upcoming exhibition

 

In the days when The Falls of Clyde was on the ‘must paint’ list for artists, visitors were able to get to the base of Bonnington Linn to paint the scene.  There was also a little red iron bridge, now unusable, over one of the cascades to the rocky island in the middle where the two falls separate, which housed a temple. The island is covered in trees so I have no idea how much remains.

 

The experience of the waterfalls then must have been more intense. Coupled with the fact that since the 1930’s the hydro electric has ‘stolen’ the water, subverting it though the power station. My guess is that action alone caused the Falls of Clyde to fall off the ‘must see’ list!

 

Unbelievable luck for this group of contemporary artists ‘Romance of the Falls’ as coincidentally the river have been running in it’s full glory again all summer due to repairs to the substation. So, in part, we have been able to see what Turner, Wordsworth, Naismyth, Burns and countless others greats saw. The left hand cascade on the old postcard is now-a-days usually dry, though not at the moment, so go soon if you get a chance.

 

Researching the history, I found an old etching by a nameless etcher.

 

I decided to imagine myself into the view from below, using the etching as inspiration. Many of the romantic paintings and engravings of the past show naked nymphs prostrate at the base of the cascades too. Not a naked nymph in site during my walks in the beautiful woodlands by the Clyde this rainy summer so decided against nymphs!

 

I began and soon realised what a flipping difficult task painting a waterfall is. I don’t want to paint a portrait but somehow portray something about flow, power, movement, energy, growth in a semi abstract way.

Water coming from the sky, over the falls and into the earth.

Wow and I thought painting seascapes was hard!

 

The first layer of paint came out as a pretty but fantasy-like waterfall picture. Hmmm, ok, but not what I had in mind… more walks …. more layers of paint …. more and more respect for the unknown etchers level of detail and truth about the landscape ….

 

To be continued …

 

 

A Walk in the Woods – Art Muscles and The Tree of Life

‘The Tree of Life’ by Kirsten Harris

 

You don’t get big bulgy biceps, if that’s your thing, without a lot of time spent developing them. The same can be said of art – developing a painting, an exhibition or collection of drawings takes time and dedication. Skills, like trees, take decades to grow.

 

Many years ago dad said to me –

‘If someone ask how long it takes to do a painting say  – a lifetime. Each painting is a culmination of your lifetime spent painting.’ I felt very supported in that moment.

 

I have no idea why I paint, I just do. But sometimes ideas come to me whilst painting.

 

Having spent the last 15 months since dad’s death painting even more solidly than ever, I started fantasising that it would be great to stop painting for a bit and develop a different kind of muscle.

 

The ‘Aha Moment’ came – tree planting!

A tremendous rest of a lifetime project waiting to be explored and grown.

 

So, with that aim in mind, I have made a colouring and story book called The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods. Hopefully it will appeal to children and adults alike.

 

The exciting bit – all profits will go to planting trees. The time spent quietly drawing these past few weeks will hopefully see a woodland habitat growing in the future. I want to plant trees! Trees for life on our beautiful planet.

 

A Walk in the Woods is a story and colouring book with a message – kind of Alexander Technique thinking meets eco-warrior meets animal lover meets tree hugger with a couple of unicorns thrown in for luck! Get the picture?

It is a walk with a black pen over white paper with a good intention.

 

Buying The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods, you will be part of this artist’s tree planting project. Together we can do a bit for the planet.

If you are interested  please email me …

Colouring book pre-orders being taken (or should that say tree-orders!)

 

It will be available to post in the next couple of weeks with a link on my website.

A Walk in the Woods is for sale at £10 per copy (plus p&P) – which is the projected cost of planting one tree.

Pre-order now

Let’s plant trees!

Love Kirsten x

 

Contact me – kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

UK 07711 903537

 

(When you buy a painting directly from an artist, support an art project, comment on an art work or give feedback, please be assured it is worth its weight in gold. Artists have no paid holidays, no line managers, no work reviews, or promotions, no bonuses or incentives. You do that job by being supportive. So a big thank you for all past and previous support.)

 

 

 

 

 

What a Nun Taught Me

Sister Marie Therese, an ancient French nun, was the art teacher at our convent school.

 

She was very keen on us copying and seemed to have a large supply of chocolate boxy 1930’s style pretty pictures for us to chose from, which is odd considering her own art work. (See blog The Nun, Picasso and Me.)

 

One day whilst happily copying an idyllic thatched cottage featuring a little cat beside a bowl of milk, Sr Marie Therese did her rounds of our desks and declared

 

‘Zat painting eez finished.’

‘But Sister, the cat is terrible!’ I replied.

‘No Kirsten, it eez finished. Only God is perfect. Ze cat must be bad to make the rest of the painting good. Stop now’

 

My fourteen year old brain was rather confused by this odd statement and horrified by the cats spindly legs and tail, but dutifully packed away my paints.

 

Now having just ruined a very large canvas of four cheetah in my search for perfection, her words came back to me. Why did I think the painting was not good enough? I had liked it for a year and then suddenly changed it dramatically because something was not quite right. Maybe that something was just my own thinking!

 

Today I will have another ‘go’ at the said painting and by the end, if I can resolve the mess, it will be a totally different painting to the one that I tried to perfect. Dah!

 

So Sister’s lesson is perhaps to beware perfectionism and not good enoughism to allow a channel to flow through. Accept your painting will never be perfect and let go to humbly enjoy the fun of painting in the perfect moment now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The White Elephant and Treasure

The White Elephant, Oil on Canvas, 150 x 100 cm

 

I remember as a 5 years old at a village fete being totally fascinated by something called The White Elephant Stall. Where was the white elephant? And why a white elephant? It was the best stall as it was full of interesting stuff and weird objects.

 

I have just googled the origins of the expression and so it goes – the Kings of Siam gave such animals as a gift to courtiers they disliked, in order to ruin the recipient by the great expense incurred in maintaining the animal.

 

The title The White Elephant came to me towards the end of painting this huge canvas when I added a tiny calf. Despite the fact that the painting is mainly magenta, purple and cerulean blue, the focal point of the painting is the tiny white elephant lit by the moon and the river.

 

I have painted the theme of elephants at a water hole before (see blog ‘Why Do Artists Repeat Themselves?’) inspired by seeing a huge herd at the river in Chobe, Botswana on a camping trip with mum and dad. An amazing wonderful never to be forgotten sight that I love returning to in my imagination.

 

So to collecting treasure – art and stuff …

Art is subjective. As well as elephants, you would definitely have to love magenta and want to make a big statement in a room to own The White Elephant. A painting you love may not appeal to someone else. One person’s treasure is another persons white elephant. Exciting.

 

Car booting is a favourite Sunday morning expedition. Treasure hunting in a field, Maisie gets lots of attention and dog biscuits from kindly fellow treasure hunters, who like me are gleefully clutching their new white elephants.

 

This summer I seem to have been making a collection of wooden boxes, I even found one with an elephant carved onto the lid. I don’t know why I am drawn to collecting boxes at the moment and I don’t really care, stables for white elephants perhaps, new treasures yet to be found.

 

Time to get up and go to the car boot, a walk at the Falls of Clyde then back to the studio for the rest of the day to work on a huge waterfall painting ….

 

Link to The White Elephant painting here

 

Punctuation and Painting

I am lucky to have a friend who is punctuation and spelling goddess. Or as she would describe herself, a pedant. My ability at both p. and s. is OK but I always seem to make silly mistakes: often the same one. Habitual grammar gaffes. Dah!

 

Looking through a piece of writing and finding your own apostrophe catastrophe is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Impossible to see. Fiendishly good grammar pals are a blogger’s godsend, although she tells me that writing about punctuation is bound to invoke Muphry’s Law: that’s the one where you will inevitably make a punctuation mistake.

 

Today I have been going over seascape paintings with fresh eyes looking for the missing brush strokes, the tiny blob of paint that can make the painting flow and sing. Punctuation for painters!

 

My question to myself as I look for completion is ‘Can I add brilliance?’  Highlights and lowlights to add meaning and drama; black and white paint are on my palette.

 

This is a very different and more considered process in comparison to the one described in my blog: ‘How to do a Truly Terrible Painting and Have a Totally Terrific Time’.

 

Before every exhibition I set aside several days to look at my paintings and ask whether I can add an apostrophe-like dot or dash of paint in just the right place to complete the painting’s flow or link a passage of paint. A painterly full stop. Sometimes the full stop might be just a completely random contrasting flick of colour, or simply realising I’d forgotten to sign the painting.

 

Historically, the Royal Academy of Arts in London had a day called Varnishing Day. The artists would climb ladders, brushes in hand, to their already framed and hung paintings, and make these tiny finishing touches.

 

Framed and signed paintings on a clean wall look different from unframed canvases in the studio. The frame and space reveal another dimension to the artwork.

 

A painting is never really finished until someone buys it and takes it away. Until then there is always the chance that I will see another missing comma, which can lead to a whole new passage of painting – even a total repaint. Looking for grammar mistakes can be a dangerous business!

 

If you miss the full stop because you didn’t listen to the voice that said ‘Stop Now’ but instead keep going enthusiastically, you then have to keep on painting until another one reveals itself. That can be quite frustrating. It’s easy to miss the ‘Aha’ moment: that moment of completion.

 

So, here are some thoughts on painting and punctuation. If you too need a proofreader then I highly recommend you employ wordsmith Woodstock Taylor. You can find her on Facebook. I will be asking her to check my punctuation for this blog, so any mistakes you spot are indeed Muphry’s Law in action!

 

Below are some seascapes that have been checked for visual punctuation today.

 

I always have small framed paintings available on my website for £100, plus p&p worldwide – a great way to start collecting original art or a fabulous gift.

I love doing my small oil paintings and as for a gift –  who doesn’t love the sea?

 

www.kirstenharrisart.com

 

 

 

Make Art Not War – Weapons of Mass Creation

At art school a tutor commented that my brushes looked like they had been at war. A comment that stuck with me, but I did not really understand.

 

Twenty years later whilst painting I was listening to a Radio 4 programme on post traumatic stress disorder, previously known as shell shock and realised that I had grown up with a father with shell shock. A man blown up in Cyprus working for Special Forces. It came as a shock to me. A revelation – of course why had I not seen it before!? It was so totally obvious. The programme went on to talk about secondary PTSD, that growing up with someone suffering these conditions the child could/would inherit a version of the condition.

 

Another ten years have passed, I have done nothing with this knowledge apart from to consider it and be utterly grateful that I discovered Alexander Technique at the age of 24 beginning the process of letting go of holding within my system and understanding the incredible power of transformation that our thinking and awareness holds for us. The past thirty years without Alexander Technique seems totally unimaginable!

 

My dad died a year past, and I have been painting solidly as a way of coping with my grief and the shock and the freezing of my surface emotions that came with his revelation of cancer and painful passing. The only way I have been able to let go is to paint, unable to cry and with no-one about to hold me or comfort me, I channelled my whole self into art, painting and writing. (Having been a person who cries at Lassie movies my entire life this inability to cry really surprised me.)

 

It came to me the other day whilst painting that what I have been doing since a little girl, when I would hide in my bedroom and paint, is channelling war – channelling the aftermath, turning destruction into creativity, finding a way to stay me and hold my course, be in my life line, despite the reverberations, the echo waves, the explosions, the untransformed shock that these soldiers hold within, past war scenes and battle fields that would leak into a suburban household.

 

I stopped painting last week, suddenly utterly exhausted. I come out of this phase with the thought that my paintbrushes are my weapons of mass creation and that artists are totally necessary for our beautiful planet right now.

 

Please create –  find ways of expressing your self, your ideas and inspirations, making connections – channeling what comes through you, listening deeply. Our job as artists I believe is to allow beauty, inspiration, truth, light, hope, healing, power, passion, the good stuff to shine through us.

 

So my war cry is – art warriors of the world rise up!

I truly believe your unique contribution is needed right now!

Enough of this nonsense about artists being mad or self indulgent or your art not being good enough. Art is healing on many many levels and this planet could do with some of that, the more the better methinks …

 

(written with love and tears)

 

Alexander Technique link

Artists Statement

As a painter my interest lies primarily in the process of painting – brush strokes, mark making, colour – the surface texture of paint, the flow of a line, the feel …

 

However, what lies behind the feel, flow and joy of painting is something I have started blogging about this year. That is, how my training as an Alexander Technique teacher influences my artwork. An influence much like the wind over the water that creates a wave … the breeze rustling the leaves of a tree … that invisible influence that changed my life and art. The awareness that the direction of my thinking influences me as I paint.

 

I am becoming more and more interested in what blocks and what allows creativity – yours and mine. I have been writing about it in my blogs on my website. The blogging becoming an important part of my art process this past year.

 

How does our thinking and sense of ‘self’ affect our artwork and creative minds?
I am sure the world needs unblocked creative thinkers right now!

 

An open flowing in the moment awareness and conscious balancing psycho-physical presence at the easel reveals something that is both palpable and recognisable to the viewer but at the same time mysterious and somewhat undefinable.You know ‘it is there’ but can’t quite put your finger on ‘it’ …

 

That mysterious thing was pointed out to me many years ago at an exhibition. Most of my paintings had ‘it’ a few didn’t. The visitor took me around my own exhibition and asked me what I had been thinking about and it struck me that she was absolutely right, the ones where I was truly present, without trying hard or thinking about the end result had a quality that was missing in others. They had it factor!

 

Since training as an Alexander Technique teacher in 1993 with the late Don Burton, my artwork has flowed. The unblocking of my ‘self’ and return to an easier balance allowed art to move through me, without me getting in my own way all the time. It is of course an ongoing challenge that keeps me going into the studio day after day. Life can be tricky and unhelpful habits can re – emerge. The question, how to stay in the flow, keeps the process of painting interesting and engaging.

 

As well as ‘presence’, another theme running through much of my work is portraying movement. I am moving at the easel, the natural world I am portraying is moving too! Kinaesthetic awareness in a ‘static’ painting. Seascapes have become the latest challenge to express this interest. The ephemeral quality of the sea and sky provides a huge challenge.

The sea is constant yet moving, light changing and influencing the vision and moment.
The body of water a metaphor for my own body, the light – the living soul.

How can I express the beauty and magnificence of what I see and feel?
A question that I will be working on for a long time.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Kirsten

 

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk – art blog, free creativity e-course
www.kirstenharris.co.uk – alexander technique blog – the daily ease

 

 

 

 

Writing a blog is better than talking to yourself!

Cartoon of negative chatter that gets in the way of creativity

 

I have been writing blogs! And it is interesting to me because it has now become part of the creative process. A bit of a revelation really and something I would recommend to any artist. Totally vulnerable making for sure, but it moves you through your ‘not good enough’ stuff and other unhelpful habits the moment you press PUBLISH. You move forward, learn about your process and despite blogging being solitary, as is painting, it is a fantastic way of connecting with people and the feedback is incredibly useful. Blogging has become part of my creative flow. I would never have thought in a million years that I would become a blogger! Blog on!

 

I am a painter and an Alexander Technique teacher, not a writer, but the challenge was set about a year ago to see if I could write about how AT influences and impacts on my art. It does for sure but writing about it?

 

So the title of this blog – well AT people and painters talk to themselves!

As an Alexander Technique passionista I am using my conscious thinking to maintain an easy upright stance. An internal and external present moment engagement. Helpful thinking that brings me to an easier loving sense of balanced self which is turn helps my painting!

 

As a painter there is a dialogue about which colour next, which mark, which brush to use … following the journey in something I am loving doing. The more I am loving the moment in paint and really comfortable in and with myself (thank you AT for changing my life) the better the result. People see something that they relate to.

Talking to myself in an AT way as I paint causes something to flow that works much better for me AND the artwork.

A line becomes an image becomes a day engaged in the present moment being creative and balancing in the ‘tension’ of it.

 

A bit like learning to drive … at first it is exhausting being so aware and concentrating on the road, but as you become proficient it becomes an easy habit. Painting with AT thinking driving the creative process is a habit for me. Folk come and visit and say ‘You have so much work!’ … as though it is not right! But what interests me is how artists get into the creative flow – unblock and become prolific.

 

I look at my paintbrushes( which do look as though I have ‘been at war’ as a tutor remarked way back at art school, nothing has changed there then!) and think – these are my weapons of mass creation! Surely that is what the world needs right now MASS CREATION. Individuals who are in the creative flow. Not locked up tight slumped in front of the TV thinking they are not good enough, not talented, not an artist in any way, filling in time with other peoples creative production instead of bringing their unique creativity out into the world!

 

So I will continue to talk to myself in my art stream and enjoy the moments of shared positive up flowing connection that the blogging brings too. Another creative layer, the writing informing the art from within and without.

It can be lonely being an artist … blogging connects.

Amazing world!

 

(Interestingly the more I write about art and AT, the more crazy it seems that I have two separate websites, one for the art and one for the AT! www.kirstenharrisart.com and www.kirstenharris.co.uk)

 

 

 

Looking Through Your Eyes

The process of painting is fundamentally abstract – colour brushed onto surface.

So why are artists driven to abstraction? What is the motivation?

And does a painting gather energy – become real, gain a life force, by being seen by you?

Does a painting actually exist if no-one looks at it?

 

I have a theory that paintings gather energy over time by being looked at, until images, take Van Gogh’s sunflowers, become part of our consciousness. The dialogue that Vincent had with oil on canvas becomes a time and space that we share with him and part of our own visual language. The past act of painting becomes our present. It is simply there in our minds. Images to fall into. Spaces to contemplate and inhabit and mind about.

 

It is all a bit quantum and no science based arguments here … but I believe the act of looking at art has something very magical in it. Do paintings exist if no-one looks at them? (Sorrow for all the paintings locked in vaults and museum basements and not sharing their soul with people!)

 

In the abstraction of the act of painting, me the artist, sometimes stops clearly seeing the art work. This is why many of my paintings take years to finish. And I mean years. To work out the answer to the problem started. To find the end of the abstract story for the painting to become its own compete presence and have a ‘soul’ and talk to us in a way that I believe only real paintings can! A place for you to contemplate the abstract –  that place that motivates me to show up and paint day after day, year after year. A kind of other world.

 

Computer generated art undoubtedly makes fantastic images, but the direct bodily relationship, that physical human transmission in the act of painting, I don’t really think is there. That undefinable presence.

 

This is why we still go to galleries and look at real art.

Standing in front of a painting we are able to talk directly to the artist.

Seeing through the artists eyes – seeing the surfaces, the images, the ideas.

What you are looking at is what the artist looked at, the very thing.

You can feel their soul, their life force, their physical energy.

Their hand and heart and thoughts transmitted through marks and colour, line and form onto canvas.

Their presence in time. That moment then, this moment now.

It is a gift. If you don’t live with a real painting, buy one and see what happens to you (I sell original oil paintings starting at £100 because I really want people to own real art. Small framed gems to contemplate) or go to galleries and be awed. Listen to the artist speak to you across time.

 

For me it is a two way passage –  the mystery returns to me when you look at my art and talk to me about it.

By the time you are looking at it, the painting has its own life force that has nothing to do with me …

I was just part of the abstraction making it …

I showed up and used some of my time on planet earth doing it …

Now when you look at it – your dialogue, interpretation, desire or dislike for the work means I start to see it differently again.

You become part of it’s story too …

 

Is it talking to you?

Are you held, captivated as I was in the dialogue of paint and colour on canvas?

Is it finished?

Are you seeing things that I haven’t noticed?

Does what you feel about it mean you just have to own it?

If yes, the journey of the painting into the world begins …

How many years, centuries will it be out there?

How many people will look at it?

Will children grown up with these images and colours as part of their psyche?

How many hands will it pass through?

How many conversations will it provoke?

What will the painting witness?

 

This weekend a friend came to visit and the helpfulness of his eyes over my work was profound.  His eyes just looking and honest feedback really helped me see my own work more clearly. I saw through his eyes. Paintings are meant to be a dialogue after all …

 

So PLEASE KNOW when YOU look at my work and have a response, you are adding energy to the painting.

I don’t need you to be nice and say it is good, JUST honestly look. The paintings have a life force of their own and your energy adds to it, our consciousness becomes shared.

A painting at its best opens a window onto another dimension that is really hard to describe in words …

A dimension that hopefully lasts over time and becomes part of the visual dimension of your life.

 

OK enough musings on art, back to the studio ….

 

 

I painted ‘Darwin’ about 15 years ago and kept him as I love his soulful eyes.

Might however put him into the next exhibition details below.

Exhibition starts this Friday …

In fact he may become the new poster boy as I sold the elephant on the flyer yesterday : )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solo

I have just been offered another solo show. It will be my fourth this year and I have said yes.

Solo – alone! Yup, that is true! Me, my paints and my animals. But somehow when I am working I am not alone. Painting definitely bridges the gap between here and there and keeps me present moment present tense aware and in the flow. And so I work. No point being addicted to worrying about the future. Best just enjoy the journey as I have no idea where I am going, but it is probably to the studio!

 

Filling four galleries, plus organising a group exhibition and doing an open studio event has made me think of the expression ‘rising to the challenge’, as I crawl into bed for an hour with my computer before going out to teach an Alexander Technique group class this evening!  Rising?Perhaps a bit of sinking for now!

 

Alexander Technique –  Forward and Up! FUP! Why not rise to the challenge? FUP It!

Life wouldn’t present the opportunity if I couldn’t do it surely! So just show up and paint. Let the challenge rise me!

 

The breath breathes itself, we can consciously control it, but we don’t have to think about our every breath.  My breath breathes me, why should the art not paint itself? Flowing like the breath onto the canvas. If I get out of my own way enough something interesting happens and the strange thing is that the more present I am to allowing painting, the more other people can recognise an undefinable but palpable quality. It sounds pretentious I know. But the reverse is also true, we can worry the paint to becoming an ugly muddy mess.

Allow painting, allow breathing, allow flow, allow solo …  or resist – think the work is not good enough, that there is not enough time, hold the breath, lose trust, worry about lonliness …

Choices …

Do I live life or does life live me?

 

Solo! So High!

Can’t wait to start painting again tomorrow …

 

 

 

 

 

Does lying on your back make you a better painter?

Michelangelo (1475 – 1564) – Self Portrait as Skin from the Sistine Chapel

 

We all famously know that Michelangelo lay on his back to paint the magnificent Sistine Chapel. This has always intrigued me – how did he do that? As an Alexander Technique teacher it is appealing to think that he found some sort of blissful connection to his back, his lengthening and releasing spine, allowing his genius to pour out. Some kind of High Renaissance version of semi-supine, aka constructive rest, that allowed him to paint with ease.

 

As a painter I have always been dubious. It turns out that the fact that he lay on his back to paint is a myth. Michelangelo was not comfortable in his skin at all, as this fascinating poem shows and the Self Portrait as Skin also seems to reveal –

Michelangelo: To Giovanni da Pistoia
“When the Author Was Painting the Vault of the Sistine Chapel” 1509

 

I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture,
hunched up here like a cat in Lombardy
(or anywhere else where the stagnant water’s poison).
My stomach’s squashed under my chin, my beard’s
pointing at heaven, my brain’s crushed in a casket,
my breast twists like a harpy’s. My brush,
above me all the time, dribbles paint
so my face makes a fine floor for droppings!

My haunches are grinding into my guts,
my poor ass strains to work as a counterweight,
every gesture I make is blind and aimless.
My skin hangs loose below me, my spine’s
all knotted from folding over itself.
I’m bent taut as a Syrian bow.

Because I’m stuck like this, my thoughts
are crazy, perfidious tripe:
anyone shoots badly through a crooked blowpipe.

My painting is dead.
Defend it for me, Giovanni, protect my honor.
I am not in the right place—I am not a painter.

 

Michaelangelo describes in great detail the physical discomfort he was in, not lying on his back but squashed into a crazy distortion to do the work. It really does make more sense that he had to contort himself to create such an extraordinary feat on a ceiling.

 

He says being physically stuck is affecting his thoughts, that he doesn’t feel right, that he has lost his confidence as a painter – ‘anyone shoots badly through a crooked blowpipe.’

 

I find this utterly fascinating and can relate to the lack of confidence that comes from being or feeing ‘screwed up!’ Simply put slumping and holding tension in the body effects the thinking processes and emotions.

Pyscho-physical unity of poise leads to more confidence and better thinking, as Michelangelo says – being in a bent  stuck body leads to thinking that is ‘crazy, perdifious tripe!’

 

Learning Alexander Technique certainly released my creativity. During my training with the late Don Burton I would regularly go into the movement studio in an evening and paint and paint filling the walls with artwork overnight.  The art had started to flow as the Alexander work released my ‘knotted and folded’ self.

 

I would suggest that anyone interested in developing their own creative process would do well to learn some Alexander Technique ‘Body Magic’ and lie on the floor and use the thinking like a magic paint brush. Learn to paint your own anatomy from the inside – exploring the shapes and contours, landscapes and places of your body with your mind to free into your unique creativity.

 

So does lying on your back makes you a better painter?

 

When I first came up with the blog idea title it made me titter in a very silly British humour kind of way! However, thinking about the question and discovering the poem by Michelangelo, I think it is a really useful question for painters and other creatives to think about. Maybe we don’t have the extraordinary genius and talent of Michaelangelo, but we can learn from him and recognise the truth in his words that being ‘stuck’ (tense, slumped, held, in pain, sore, physically contorted and out of balance) really does affect our thinking and our creativity and leave you, as he says, ‘not in the right place.’

Cartoon ‘The Zone’

Lying in semi supine to free up your creativity …

 

If you feel ‘a crooked blowpipe’ here is a link to a media download, BODY MAGIC, to be listened to lying down for you to work with  – CLICK HERE 

‘The Hallmarks of the Alexander Technique are creativity, spontaneity and adaptability to change.’ A.R. Alexander

 

Cartoon ‘Art and Anatomy’

(Me screwed up at art school!)

How to do a Truly Terrible Painting and Have a Totally Terrific Time …

To do a good painting you have to be prepared to do a really, really shit one.

So here is how to do a truly terrible painting in oil paint and have a totally terrific time

 

  1. Put on some rubber gloves, yup a bit kinky this ‘art thing’ darling, and if your lungs are sensitive like mine you can don a face mask too. Sexy, not!
  2.  Squeeze a good worm of scrumptious oil paint directly onto the canvas
  3.  Smear the paint on with your fingers – give it a good old enthusiastic rub and enjoy the sensation of colour and the tactile give of the canvas, add a few more colours and play
  4.  Sprinkle sand onto the painting. ‘Sand should surely look like sand in a seascape’ you think to yourself.
  5.  Get a palette knife and push the oil paint and sand around – crusty!
  6.  Blob some thinner over the crusty, lumpy oily paste, ‘oh heck it can’t get any worse!’
  7.  Mess about with a brush and realise using sand on a paint brush is going to wreck it really quickly …

 

Your painting should have gone through several truly terrible stages by now

 

8.  Keep thinking about the thing you want to paint (seascapes for me) and imagine being on the beach and wonder why you are working in the studio today? Promise yourself a trip to the beach asap, you need a holiday! Art is a tough business!

9.  Scrape paint off, squeeze more paint on. Repeat process. Repeat again. Try to forget how expensive oil paint is.

10. Start to wonder what the heck you are doing?! How on earth can you make such a terrible painting and wonder how this is ever going to come together? Totally embarrassing!

11. Be appalled by the fact that the horizon isn’t even straight!

12. Beat yourself up mentally a bit more and wonder if Van Gogh had such problems and then remember that he did and feel a bit better.

13. By now you have probably got oil paint on your face, your arms and your bum if you have been for a pee during the process.

14.  Oh well ‘keep calm and carry on’ and then you think ‘What calm?!’ Art is about suffering and passion!’ Suffer baby suffer, feel the passion, go for it and paint some more.

15. Somewhat desperately you wonder if you could call on the dead for help and try psychically channeling Turner and Rembrandt to paint for you …

15. ‘Oh! Maybe that worked’ …. suddenly something starts to emerge from the flotsam and jetsam of smeary colour, a beautiful brush stroke, a delightful colour combo that is ‘talking’ to you and then suddenly – AHA there is a seascape!

16. Feeling really rather proud of your masterpiece you reward yourself with a sink full of washing up, because your hands are now so covered in paint, despite the rubber gloves, that they need a jolly good soaking even after several scrubbings. This is no problem for you as you have a terrible habit of using a new mug every time you have a cuppa so there is a tsunami of crockery waiting for your attention …

17. You go to the kitchen, feel appalled and uninspired by the total chaos at the sink, (I thought I washed up this morning) make another cuppa, decide not to wash up and go do another painting instead!

 

She paints seascapes …

www.kirstenharrisart.com

 

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Dreaming of Love

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm

 

Beautiful Old Grey North Sea

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm

 

 

How Far to the Other Side?

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm

 

 

The Moon is Falling

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm

 

 

 

The Light

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm

 

Fire Ball

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm

Early Light, Oil and Sand on Canvas, 23 x 30 cm

 

Oil on Canvas

40 x 50 cm

Rain on the Beach

Oil and Sand on Canvas

 

Rain, Oil and Sand on Canvas, 40 x 50 cm

 

A Strange and Beautiful Place

Oil on Canvas

 

Stealing Clouds

Oil on Canvas

40 x 50 cm

 

Life is Beautiful

Oil on Canvas

40 x 40 cm

 

Early Evening

Oil on Canvas

40 x 50 cm

 

Light Rain

Oil on Canvas

40 x 40 cm

 

 

 

 

The Field

Tinto and Stone Walls 23×30 cm Oil on Canvas

 

‘Paint the field of intention’.

The words ‘the field of intention’ were with me all day. A weird instruction from my ‘higher self’ if you want to call it that.  Words to override the blues and feeling that I might be a tad mad, that I woke up with. Too much time spent alone no doubt!

‘Paint the field of intention!’ …

Ok! I will paint the field … plein air paintings and see what happens … positive action. If in doubt .. Paint!

 

Always assisted by Maisie the day goes like this …. paint, throw the ball, paint, throw the ball … all day!

She makes it very easy and ensures the ball is in reach …

Both obsessively doing our own thing and keeping each other company.

Crazy Maisie and Me!

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I watched a documentary recently about the Japanese artist Hokusai 1760-1849 – who in later life called himself Old Man Crazy to Paint. He did a famous series of woodblocks called 36 views of Mount Fuji. It came to mind as a bit of artistic license crept in – Tinto Hill started to appear in some of the landscapes.  Not quite Mount Fuji, but I can feel a series of paintings coming on with views of Tinto! I can see Tinto Hill, with it’s distinctive profile, from the other side of my house.

Ideas come when you paint …

 

I have mainly avoided landscape painting for a long time but was encouraged back to it the other day by a neighbour. Thank you! I enjoyed my day doing these small oil paintings, studies in the field of the field. A blue start got colourful.

 

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Hay Field and Scots Pines, 23×30 cm, Oil on Canvas

 

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Field with Sheep, 23×30 cm, Oil on Canvas

 

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Tinto and Stone Walls, 23x30cm, Oil on Canvas

 

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Rain Clouds, 23x30cm, Oil on Canvas

 

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Enclosures 23×30 cms Oil on Canvas

 

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Rain Clouds and Cows, 35x35cm,Oil on Canvas

 

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Grass Field, 23 x 30cm, Oil on Canvas

 

 

The Field of Intention, 23 x 30cm, Oil on Canvas

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Summer Clouds, 23 x 30cm, Oil on Canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Form and the Formless

Cartoon of me at art school

 

In contemporary art anything goes! Artists have ultimate freedom! No rules! Break rules! Push boundaries! Explore! Create! Be original! Be daring! Be courageous! Be bold!

 

There is no paradigm, no truth that holds art together.  Unlike music which has an agreed set of notes and scales, a form from which to create from and from which to break the rules.  Artists can do anything and call it art! Any medium goes. The formless – well that sounds easy! Just let go and make art ….

 

Alexander Technique – I prefer the name Alexander Principle –  has a paradigm at the core of it. That is why I love it so much. It is reliable, interesting, illuminating. A technique implies something one learns, practices and imposes.  A principle is the truth. True for all. Something to uncover and reveal, something to understand. The head neck back relationship governs the functioning of the body, our thinking effects our functioning.  How does your head balance on your neck? Posture and poise – posture an imposition, poise a truth!

 

I am thinking that the reason Alexander Technique is taught to actors, riders and musicians, for example, rather than regularly to artists and at art school is because the head neck back relationship more obviously improves performance in music or riding. Don’t pull your head back and your voice will sound better.  Find balance and your horse is free to balance and move. Is this true in art where there is no agreed form from which to observe from?

 

I know as an artist that my ability to stay in the core of not knowing, the freedom to create, is vastly enhanced by learning Alexander’s principles. I know I have only dipped the surface of what is possible allowing freedom as an artist. One can so easily get caught up in technique – how to apply oil to canvas for example or simply paying one’s own way. One can be limited by other peoples taste and judgement and by our own.

 

Having no boundaries can create a muddy puddle, energy simply seeping and disappearing – a river is channelled by its sides and flows forward. Form containing the formless. Water directed by structure.

So as an artist what is the channel?

The channel your intention, your focus, your desire to create, your passion?

Forward and up in focus feeling your way forward not knowing?

An understanding of how the channels of flow in the body work?

An ability to be freely balancing and notice when you are not?

 

Artists and anatomists worked together historically, dissecting and drawing to understand the human body. Science and Art. Anatomy is at the core of art. The bones of it. I believe that knowing how to draw the human body is a key to freedom. A license to do what you want. I am a bit old fashioned that way perhaps. Life drawing classes have been at the heart of art training for centuries. Drawing from the body giving a framework to a body of art –  both the form and formless.  The artist and the artwork. Drawing the skeleton, muscles and person to enhance inner and outer knowing. Alexander’s ‘directions’ an art form, an anatomical skeleton of awareness. Paintbrushes of thought drawing our whole self to its poised potential within and without – our key to freedom in creativity.

 

I wish I had been taught Alexander’s principles and actual anatomy at art school rather than just sitting in front of a naked body hour after hour and drawing it without any understanding of the balance of the human form, mine or the model.

 

Is learning about balance a way of understanding both form and the formless and freeing our creativity? The art of art!

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about Alexander Technique you may be interested in my media download Body Magic – here is a link.

 

 

 

Head Up, Head Down

It’s a strange thing … I was mulling how the brilliance of Alexander Technique could be summed as ‘head up’, yet somehow it has given me the ability to keep my ‘head down’ and focus. Just get on with things.

 

Well the neck is a flexible mobile thing, so perhaps it is not so strange.

 

I was also mulling how being an artist is at the same time a lonely pursuit yet a place to find oneself and a connection with something greater and so never lonely.

At one or alone?

Or all one –  like the body.

 

Thoughts whilst walking waterfalls …

 

A waterfall is about constant flow, power, being in one’s power, being free to move yet in cold conditions a waterfall can freeze, unlike the sea which is about ebb and flow and much less likely to freeze.

 

I found my way into Alexander Technique because my neck froze, became immobile and painful. The best thing that could have happened in retrospect because it was an invitation to self discovery and the flow and gave me a second career and ‘backbone’ for my art.

 

My last exhibition was all about the sea, this one is about the river and waterfall … and both are giving me an opportunity to explore and merge my art and Alexander Technique thinking. Which one informs which?

 

A painting can be a bit like a waterfall. Go with it and it takes you into flow, its journey, listening for what to do, breathing and freeing yourself to it …

Judging the process is like hitting a rock, it is going to hurt …

Your thinking can hurt you or free you …

Let your neck be free and paint, flow with the tides of breath and inspiration …

 

Letting a painting take your energy over the waterfall into the unknown is like the metaphor sounds both scary – a potential neck tightening experience and exciting.

 

Why sit on the banks of a painting … be prepared to drown …

Why know what is going to happen next?

 

The Alexander Technique journey is a like that too – move out of the known into the unknown and into the flow …

Where is it going to take you?

 

Painting the first waterfall yesterday already feels like an invitation to further abstraction, from form to the formless.

Water flowing, paint moving, an invitation to let go more …

Head up to flow downstream …

 

I revisited the waterfall today and it is so interesting that even after one painting the relationship with the place has changed.

The image seen has altered, the noticing increasing …

 

One waterfall, renewing constantly … like the body

 

I am enjoying this new subject matter and have no idea where it is going to take me …

Just heading downstream …

 

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Flow, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150 cm

 

Upcoming exhibitions –

 

Edinburgh Festival

Glass and Thompson

4 Dundas Street

Edinburgh

 

4th August – 5 October

Moray Arts Centre

Findhorn Foundation,

Morayshire

August 30 – October 4th

 

Romance of the Falls Exhibition

The Tollbooth

4 High Street

Lanark

12 October – 12 November 2017

Waterfalls – Symbol of Abundance

 

Waterfalls – Symbol of Abundance

 

I love a good symbol!

 

In the Chinese art of Feng Shui (Feng meaning wind, Shui meaning water) waterfalls and images of waterfalls, in the form of photographs or paintings, symbolise an abundant flow of wealth, prosperity and good fortune.

Feng Shui is described as a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relationship to the flow of energy (chi) and how it effects us in our environment. It is 3000 years old. Applying Feng Shui helps to balance your home and health and creates abundance!

 

In order to attract a flow of money into the home, Feng Shui experts advise that waterfall paintings should be hung in corridors, offices and living spaces.

A space that you move through where every time you see this symbol of abundance you activate your good fortune! In other words waterfalls paintings are wonderful things to have in your home.

 

This all sounds very good to me as an artist currently painting waterfalls and organising a group art exhibiton called Romance of the Falls drawing inspiration from the spectacular Falls of Clyde near my home in South Lanarkshire.

 

Feng Shui experts also suggest carrying a photo of a waterfall in your purse to ensure that money always flows into it.

I have currently taken hundreds of photos of the four Falls of Clyde on my iPhone – Bonnington Linn, Corra Linn, Dundaff Linn and Stonebyres Linn, I wonder if that works too!? : )

 

Whether Feng Shui is correct or not (it is an ancient system so why not) one thing seems abundantly clear to me – the idea to organise this art exhibition  has come at a very auspicious time …

The Falls of Clyde, which has attracted artists and visitors for the past 300 years is running at full force for the next ten weeks.

Water is abundant!

Who knew that the Scottish Hydro would be doing repairs for ten glorious weeks? Not me. I am absolutely delighted!

 

The Falls are a power place …Energising
The noise of the Falls is exhilarating
The walks beautiful

I totally recommend a visit ….

 

During the Napoleonic wars when trips to Europe on the Grand Tour were not possible, The Falls of Clyde were on the route of Le Petit Tour …

 

I am so happy to go be able to go there as often as I can over the next few weeks and walk and look, be inspired and paint the area. Following in the footsteps of JMW Turner, Wordsworth, Robbie Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Samuel Taylor Coleridge to name a few …
I am loving learning more about the amazing history of the area and connecting with new people locally.

Feeling abundant just being in the idea of the Falls of Clyde and very happy with this new adventure and exhibition to work towards and today I painted my first waterfall painting so am embracing the new theme.

Happy Summer!

 

Romance of the Falls

Contemporary Art Exhibition

The Tolbooth

4 High Street

Lanark

12th October – 12 November

Link to Romance of the Falls Facebook page here – please LIKE to see the work of other artists as they make it over the next weeks …

 

Flow

Oil on Canvas

100 x 150 cm

 

 

Diary of an Exhibition – Midsummer’s New Moon

It is the summer solstice and a new moon …

A strange energetic time shift ….

A turning point …

Am I the only one who is feeling a bit strange, a bit tired, a bit well … moody?

 

I have been working on old paintings these past few weeks, attempting to resolve the past perhaps? It came to me, that despite my varied subject matter, there are three main themes  – movement, poise and humour …

Movement –  racing horses, waves, an E-type jaguar or an elephant thundering towards you …

Poise – a lion, a leopard, a startled hare, an equine portrait …

(both these themes are probably not surprising considering my other passion – the Alexander Technique.)

And humour in my cartoons and drawings … I just love love love line drawing and somehow always discount it as serious art but think it could be a major goal for the future.

 

It seems so obvious now to find these threads but was a surprising revelation from returning to old canvases and different subjects after a winter of painting the sea.

 

Finishing everything if you possibly can is a good discipline as you DO learn even if it can feel tiresome being that disciplined!

 

Today I took the strangeness of this midsummer energy to work up two more old paintings. I guess I am needing more resolution before the next part of the year spins into action and the days shorten again. A pause before undertaking the unknown voyage of painting the waterfalls at New Lanark for Romance of the Falls exhibition, following in the footsteps of Turner and other greats.

 

Here is the result of my midsummer madness ….

(By the way it is flipping cold in Scotland, so was in my winter studio clothes – a ski suit! Oh joy!)

 

Before ….

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After ….

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New Moon, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 120 cm

 

 

Before …

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After …

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‘Changing Tide’ Oil on Canvas, 40 x 50 cm

 

I think they are finished!

 

Upcoming Exhibitions 2017 

 

  • The Art of Kirsten Harris – Cartoon and Canvas, Edinburgh Festival Exhibition, Glass and Thompson, 2 Dundas Street 4th August – 3rd October
  • Moray Art Centre, Field of Dreams, Findhorn Foundation 28th August – 3rd October
  • Romance of the Falls, Group Exhibition, The Tolbooth, Lanark, Starts 12th October
  • Open Studio at my house, South Lanarkshire – weekend of 28-29th October  – PARTY!! ….

 

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Detail – ‘New Moon’

The Drama of Art

Recently a friend suggested I like drama …I do!

As Shakespeare put it  ‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts.’ (As You Like It)

I used to teach Alexander Technique to actors too – I loved that job and the drama students that I worked with.

So, guilty as charged, give me a good drama with great dialogue and I am happily entertained, especially if it has a joyful, illuminating or interesting ending.

 

Up until painting in the studio today, I have always seen myself as enthusiastic audience for stage or screen production. Today I recast myself as star of my own production – the drama of art.  Well why not … funny thoughts come to you when you are painting.

 

Today as I worked on a huge very colourful painting of a running cheetah that I started about 15 months ago and abandoned for as long, it came to me that being an artist really isn’t so different to being in theatre … creativity in all its forms is full of drama, pathos, tragedy, comedy, adventure, surprises …

 

As an artist you are of course the producer and director of your own scene aka a painting, but also the hero or villain of the piece depending on how it plays out.

Your painting can become a stage set for life in someone’s home.

A great painting invites you to look at it over and over and allows a dialogue of thoughts to unfold in the viewers mind over time. A great painting holds the viewer in front of it and even changes a persons breathing. Watch people at an exhibition – you will see it –  captured and entranced, the breathing deepens and slows, perhaps something akin to love.

 

Some paintings are like action movies, in production they unfold rapidly. It is exciting. The excitement and movement recognisable to the viewer.  Energy transmitted. When I am the producer of that kind of painting I can say that my direction has been clear. I knew exactly what I wanted, was organised and focussed. I allowed the painting to emerge and enjoyed myself hugely.  The painting itself becomes the hero of the action.

 

Other paintings are like soaps – they go on for months, sometimes years. I did some work on a painting that is at least ten years old today, it is still not finished. It is definitely a soap opera kind of painting – a creation scene with lots of animals swirling in a vortex.  These soap opera paintings teach you lessons about art along the way. These paintings are problems waiting to resolve. Every time you spend time at a soap opera painting you leave dissatisfied – oh well next episode I might find out what happens. You rarely do! But it is great fun making all those bits of story line –  painting over and over, reworking the same image in a slightly different way.

 

Other paintings are episodes in a long running series of paintings, complete stories in themselves but starring the same cast, for example Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers, Munch’s the scream series or Monet’s garden scenes.

 

And of course there are cartoons and animations. Simply narratives where anything can happen. The madder or more exaggerated the better. Drawings can be just a rough or scratchy stick person,  it doesn’t matter – just a  great idea played out.

 

Now to the villain – sometimes paintings are simply bad!

They have to be painted over, destroyed, abandoned, discarded. After you have tried to nurture, coax, reform and bargain with the painting and failed miserably several times, you only have one option – to just give up and put it down to experience.  Chucking away all that time can feel like failure.

 

So before you give up on a painting –  fight the good fight with all thy might –  with your sword – your pen, crayon, chalk or brush,  and use these paintings to make a right old mess of things. It is liberating and something interesting might happen!

 

Hope it helps thinking about art as a drama?

What dramas are you having with your creativity?

 

 

‘Be More Maisie!’

Maisie photo bombing with ball …

 

Ever since I was given Maisie, my Cockerpoo, as a 3 month old ‘please have her we can’t cope’ pup,  I have been saying to myself ‘Be More Maisie!’

 

She was wild!

She still is highly energetic and completely obsessed with catching her ball and making sure it is as easy as possible to reach. She is the queen of anticipating your next move. Extraordinary, as she really does seem to be ahead of my thinking. (‘Dull humans – not very bright’ she no doubt thinks!)

 

So my motto is ‘Be More Maisie!’ Because Maisie was never going to be more me!

 

Maisie needs a lot of freedom, a difficult dog to hand over to someone else to look after, so I stay at home more than ever. No holidays just Maisie appropriate trips like the beach, which led to a decision to do an entire seascape exhibition over winter. Good decision, thank you Maisie!

 

‘Be More Maisie’ has led me to focus even more deeply on what is important to me and made me realise what ‘ball’ has been my absolute underlying motivation with regards all decisions and my desire to work hard since the age of 15. That is owning and riding my own horse at home. I had a moment of absolute realisation this week that painting and teaching Alexander Technique has been very good to me and allowed my dreams to come true! A long route to a goal but achieved nonetheless.

 

I am not from a horsy background and I forgot to marry a wealthy man (actually I forgot to get married … Whoops!  Ha Ha!) so I have painted my way towards my goals. Each exhibition achieving another step in direction of my teenage vision.  A house, some land, a stable, a horse, who turned out to be a messed up horse who needed a lot of patience, a companion who turned out pregnant, so now 2 mini shetlands! A studio overlooking it all …

 

I have just kept painting for years. Self motivated and self disciplined. No you don’t have to be in the right mood to paint, you just have to do it!

 

My motto prior to ‘Be More Maisie’ was ‘If in doubt Paint!.’

I guess there has been a lot of doubt over the years because I seem to have done a huge amount of paintings!  Smiling.

 

My next goal is saving up money to build an arena. Meantime this summer I have decided to forgo my garden, the only flat area I have and turn it into a mini arena. I have been training Angus on sloping ground but it makes the job of balance a lot harder for both of us. So as long as it is not too wet I will hopefully avoid turning the lawn into a mud bath.

 

This decision has reminded of another thing I say to activate my creativity –

 

‘Everything I need is already here, I just need to line up with it!’ It is a useful saying as it eliminates all excuses and gets me thinking …

 

So I have lined up with riding peacefully in balance on my lawn which is a great idea! I could have done it years ago, but had to let go of some old fashioned thought about lawns being mowed and pristine. OMG really! The Shetland ponies taught me that there is no need to mow the grass they were more than happy to be gardeners. Years of relentless pushing a mower no more! Less is definitely more …

 

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Wee Walter and Lettie

 

Painting is a solitary activity by its very nature and latterly more so. But rather than resisting aloneness and thinking I am missing out on ‘the party’ I endeavour to remind myself to  ‘Be More Maisie’ and keep my eye on the ball. There is a huge massive pleasure in being present. Really present to one place for a prolonged amount of time.

 

‘Being More Maisie’ is helping me say ‘No’ and stay focussed because I simply can’t say ‘Yes’ as much as I might other wise with her in my life.

Maisie is no people pleaser … Maisie is a Maisie pleaser!

Maisie knows what she wants to the exclusion of nearly everything else – no snoozing, bug hunting, sniffing and other doggy pleasures for Maisie. She wants to catch a ball.  If she has a ball in her mouth she is not going to be distracted from her mission of getting someone to throw it for her to catch again and again. Focussed and happy, crazy Maisie has become my teacher ….

 

Knowing what you want is often the hardest thing in life.

It seems a stupid and simplistic thing to say but I think it is true.

In Alexander Technique terms I would call it ‘finding and maintaining your direction in activity.’

 

Once you have that figured out it is just a matter of keeping your eye on the ball and practice. Success coming from a clear focus on your goals, even if it takes decades.

 

So the lesson from one small hyper active Cockerpoo – stay focussed and ‘Be More Maisie’ – in other words do what you LOVE with commitment and passion and enjoy yourself … A little bit of dogged determination goes a long way and brings joy.

 

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What are you doing on that laptop – here is a ball!

 

For more Maisie inspiration – click here for ‘101 Life Lessons from my Dog!’

 

Thanks for reading

 

Forward and Up!

Kirsten

Slow Cooked Art!

When you have been painting for years you, the artist, are inevitably left with a pile of ‘also ran’ paintings …

The ones that were just not that good, the ones that no-one snapped up, or the ones that you turned to the wall because you couldn’t resolve the problem you set yourself by starting!

 

It is part of the process …

 

Last week I decided to go through the pile of  ‘iffy’ paintings and see if I could finish any and find the magic wow factor.

 

There was a bit of logic in my decision to do this …

I have two one woman shows coming up and need a lot of work …

I am also curating a group show locally …

 

Revisiting the also ran paintings is smart art, as the majority of work is already done … it is just the illusive finishing point that needs to be found.

 

I got into the flow of reworking and achieved a lot …  thoroughly enjoying myself, I think it shows …

 

It is almost as though some paintings have to cook in the oven of your mind before you can see the way to resolution. This cooking process can sometimes take years! This batch of paintings are the slow cookers and I am really pleased with the result.

 

All currently available on my website from £100 upwards, click on titles … I hope you like the results?

A visual feast of African heat … animals poised in the sun or on the run …

 

 

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Pink Puddles

 

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Poised

 

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In the Same Direction

 

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Listening into the Depth

 

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Forward

 

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Watching

 

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Bedazzled

 

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Zebra Crossing

 

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Leopard Grass

 

Upcoming Exhibitions 2017

Edinburgh Festival Exhibition, Glass and Thompson, 2 Dundas Street Edinburgh. Starts 4th August …

Romance of the Falls, Group Exhibition, The Tollbooth, Lanark, Starts 12th October

Open Studio at my house – weekend of 28-29th October

Planting Seeds and Heavy Boots

A quote from Elie Weisel author and holocaust survivor came to my attention this week, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

 

‘The most generous thing you can do is receive everything’ Elie Wiesel

 

Do you receive everything?

Ideas, compliments, different opinions, criticism, questions, gifts, love, inspiration, attention …?

I learned this week I definitely have more work to do on learning to receive.

 

This week I have been working on a colouring book. I seem to be incredibly slow at the drawing. Putting in long hours figuring out each one. It is a challenge.

My idea is to find a way to illustrate Alexander Technique concepts with simple line drawings and verse …

Something children will enjoy!

Something that might plant some seeds of good advise and direction to last a lifetime.

Something that if I had owned and loved as a child might have prevented me slumping and putting my back out at the age of 24. This is a ‘gift to the universe’ type project. The kind of project that I hope will make a difference to someone somewhere – a butterfly effect book with transformation within.

 

A second piece of advise came to me this week – to seek sponsors and patrons.

Again the message about receiving. Ask and receive … Wow a new concept, thinking about that one.

I was told that there are people out there who want to be angels to the arts and help artists realise there dreams, especially ones that improve the world. Maybe you are one of those people? Certainly art patronage has a long tradition historically.

 

So to the heavy boots …

New seeds in art taking root can feel like being an explorer in a dark cavern …

You have the germ of an idea that is planted in your mind and then the seed starts to push through the ‘mud’ to find its way to the light like a little plant.

The creative act is a seed being born.

If you don’t protect, nourish and cherish the sapling plant heavy boots can trample it without realising. Ideas are a bit like that. We have to be tenacious as artists – sensitive enough to do the work yet strong enough to keep nurturing our art and let it grow. A balance. And not tread on our own ideas with our own heavy boots.

 

Ideas for The Daily Ease colouring book were emerging this week and I blogged about the process, I was feeling excited like a child. Then someone asked me a perfect legitimate and probably loving question asking for more … I heard it as criticism!

My stuff coming from that child place! The wounded child rather than the creative child emerged and had an internal reaction and so instead of looking at my stuff and turning it around Byron Katie style I reacted and deleted my blog from the page thereby losing the opportunity to respond. I know it is idiotic, but wow I have learned a lot from my daft behaviour of thinking what I had offered wasn’t good enough rather than receiving the comment which was helpful if I had allowed it to be!

 

That is what Alexander Technique is about, learning to change habitual reactions to give us the chance to make better choices.

 

My reaction showed me how important this particular art seed is to me, and that this colouring book has growth in it for me as an artist and a human being as well as the potential for growth that I hope to share with the world.

This fact of course must be true for how can it be a genuinely helpful ‘gift to the universe’ if I don’t learn and grow in the process of making it?

 

So I finish this blog with more ideas for images –  seeds and big boots and butterflies!

Back to the drawing board aka garden of creative endeavour …

 

Oh, and if you have a creative seed remember that with a little light – the is your attention – seeds can grow and thrive. If you think you are not good enough then think of the plants growing out of cracks in the pavement in the most impossible conditions! It is often just our own not good enough habits that stop us from being creative.

Seeds want to find the light.

 

Thanks for reading.

Forward and up!

Kirsten

 

 

The Daily Ease Colouring Book – Alexander’s Story

A few years ago to entertain the school children that I teach, I wrote Alexander’s story in verse.  Mad I know but they love it and it is a fun way of sharing the history of the technique.

I usually wait until one asks ‘Who was Alexander?’ and then the verses comes out!

They lie in semi supine and I read them the story.

The children are usually hugely impressed that the whole thing rhymes and very complimentary … They are well brought up children!!

 

I loved rhyme as a kid and think it is a memorable way to learn.

Perhaps we listen in a different way anticipating the rhyme?

So today I started illustrating the Alexander story verse for the Daily Ease colouring book. My plan is that each illustration has a rhyming teaching aid to go with it.

 

About 3 years ago a very strange thing happened …

Rhyming verses started ‘downloading’ into my head. I literally couldn’t write them down fast enough.The result is a huge file of Alexander Technique inspired verse. They are a great resource for my teaching but I have also felt a bit guilty not doing more with them as it felt like something I was given. (Weird but true!) … But a huge book of poems? Hmmm!

I got stuck and they have sat in my drawer!

By the way I had never written anything like it before nor since! So all a bit strangely wonderful.

 

I am delighted to be making a colouring book. It’s a challenge and will take me a bit of time but I am UP for it!

I can cherry pick some verses and illustrate them and make a resource for kids and adults too. It feels right.
Work in progress … should be ready by September at the latest.

 

Hope you like the idea? Your feedback and ideas hugely appreciated!

Ok, back to the drawing board ….. literally!

 

I am taking pre-orders click here …

or message me

kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Daily Ease – Colouring Book

The Daily Ease – Colouring Book

 

I have been working on the front cover of an Alexander Technique inspired colouring book today ….

A few weeks a friend who was feeling low commented that she wished she could draw as it might help her with her anxiety. I suggested she buy a colouring book and it has been a great success for her.

Of course a seed was planted …

An Alexander Technique colouring book, teaching some anatomy, the principles of balance and the brilliance of Alexander’s discoveries in a fun way that the children I teach would enjoy …

So it is underway. Hooray!  Feeling excited and motivated by the project and seeing if I can realise some of the ideas I have in the form of a colouring book.

 

Also today I had a mad incident with colour!

I was asked to paint an oil painting of elephants in greens and blues. I delivered it to the gallery who had commissioned it earlier in the week. This morning I woke to a message saying that the elephants were ‘Too green for Glasgow!’

It is a painting of elephants for goodness sake  … Crazy!

 

However the incident of the green elephants has made me think that I will blog a bit about colour as I create my colouring book.

Colour IS emotive!

And colouring in is enjoyable! I love it!

And the Alexander Technique is wonderful and I think everyone should learn it, especially children and teenagers!

So hopefully my colouring book will combine some of my passions ….

 

(To pre-order whilst I am making the colouring book, click here, between now and September 1st you will receive a free colouring book for every 3 ordered, great Xmas presents and teaching aids in the making!)

 

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Here is the painting that was ‘Too Green for Glasgow!’

 

Spring Greens

‘Galloping Free’ Oil on Canvas

 

Spring! This past 2 weeks in Scotland for me has been all about green –  suddenly the trees have burst into life, fabulous shades of green – bright, fresh, acid, shining, shimmering, vibrant, new green.  Amazing, wonderful, startling, inspiring …

 

I was commissioned to paint green and blue elephants

 

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‘Cool and the Pool’, 80 x 100 cm

Oil on Canvas, Commissioned

 

And then did some more green paintings for fun –

 

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The Hare in the Moon, 23 x 30 cm

Oil on Canvas

Unframed £100

 

This cute painting would be perfect for a child’s room!

 

(I love the idea of children being bought paintings to cherish and live with for a lifetime rather than all the plastic crap they are given. One great present rather than loads of rubbish! )

 

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Galloping Free

Oil on Canvas

80 x 100 cm (approx)

£1100

 

Freedom and power and nature – what more do we need in life!

 

It has been a green couple of weeks in the studio!

Enjoying myself immensely.

Waterfall

Water falls

From heaven to earth

Nourishing

 

Waterfall

Symbol of transformation

Release of energy

Power to harness

Infinite possibility

 

Fluid yet immutable

Ancient yet brand new

 

Sound of water

Breathing

Flowing life force, subtle energies within

 

Ever changing yet permanent

Each drop gathering force

Making the whole

 

Illusionary manifestation

Paradoxical like life itself

 

Waterfall, an entity

Yet never the same

A continuous evolution

Changing its mind moment by moment

 

Down flow of water

Upthrust of earth

A body in movement

A living impermanence

 

Waterfall –  healer of mystic tradition

Teaching place for spirit renewed

River falling, bending, moving, flowing

 

I learn to change my mind too!

 

 

Anti Art!

Walter Yawing… Animals have no problem being exactly who they are!

 

These last two weeks I have been like a bee in a bottle, buzzing but not flying!

 

A few years ago a friend told me I had a bad habit of going from one art project to the next without stopping to take time out to celebrate my successes. I took the advice to heart and changed my behaviour.

 

This time round I have come to the conclusion that it was not good advice for me!

By stopping to celebrate and recuperate I lose the flow …

I am lost and frustrated …

The kindly advice was anti what art is to me and it’s time to let it go!

Funny how we can take on ideas that are not a good fit for us!

 

Not being in the flow of creativity/painting is like being in some kind of weird ante chamber waiting room with lots of doors in it, wandering up to a door, hesitating and going to another door but not entering …

Not committing is torture for me!

 

Art is my honey and without it nourishing me I am a bee in a bottle, buzzing but not flying, seeing the field but not being free in the field.

 

Today I started to paint again and I am smiling.

My eyes are smiling again … contemplating colour, the feel of brush on canvas.

Well being cascades …

It’s science … the eyes smile and the entire physiology responds positivity. It really is all about how you see things!

 

Not painting puts me into a mini startle pattern! I get tense, tetchy, tired …

I paint and life flows!

 

It is a beautiful day – bluebells and crab apple blossom. The swallows have returned to nest in the stable. Angus is droopy lipped and wanting scratched.

No car noise, no humans, just nature humming … and the thought that I am in paradise.

 

Today I embrace my ‘paintaholic’, and no longer need to stop to celebrate successes!

Instead I allow every day to be successful, everyday to be a celebration of all that is wonderful that is our Planet Earth and happy to feel happy again because I am playing and writing and painting….elephants!

The Field of Intention – What is it?

Maisie and Me in the Field!

 

What is The Field of Intention, other than the name of my next  painting exhibition and workshop that I will be giving at The Findhorn Foundation’s Moray Art Centre later this year.

 

The Field of Intention is my name for the magical creative IT!
It is not only an internal direction – that is a psycho-physical direction that profoundly effects all of you – bringing you into ease but also a simple clear focus.

 

The Field of Intention is to do with time, amongst other things. Time is magical – infinite, limited, cyclical. The Field of Intention is a magical place that creatives inhabit. Being in it is part of what drives artists to create. We want to be there, because it feels great, mysterious, exciting and wonderful …. and the results are surprising. The creative buzz lives in the Field of Intention.

 

You can inhabit it too …
Because I completely believe that EVERY BODY IS CREATIVE.
You live in a miraculous creative body and any lack of creativity is just caused by blocks, habits, old stuff. Simply put if you are not feeling creative you have got in your own way!

 

My 30 years experience as an explorer and teacher of FM Alexander’s discoveries and career as a selling artist has led me to being asked to bring the two together and teach how Alexander Technique and the flow of creativity work together. I have began writing about creativity and my own creative process over this last year. This is a work in progress, challenging and exciting!

 

Simply put, to activate the Field of Intention, first you set your direction then you cast your attention forward in time like a spell and allow things to start to line up. Time opens out and the space of The Field is available to you. Then you just show up and get on with it. You give yourself a spell of time to be creative.

 

It is so simple yet difficult too!
A dichotomy and a bit of a conundrum that takes skill and awareness.
On the one hand it is a lifetime practise and on the other totally available to you right now! It is intriguing, beguiling, bewitching and bemusing and befuddling at times too but totally worth exploring and activating.

 

Deciding what you want to do can be tricky. We have so many choices that sometimes we simply forget to choose or can’t decide or won’t commit or are scared to.

 

Another problem is that many people are not living in a way that they can line up with the flow. The psycho-physical mechanism of creativity is out of balance and they have no idea how to activate it.
The magic wand of manifestation, the spine, is out of tune …
Not functioning correctly …
This is where deeply understanding the brilliance of Alexander’s discoveries comes in and why training in the Alexander Technique helped me.

 

Alexander Teachers can help you tune up your ‘magic wand’ and things start to work again. For me the creative tap completely turned on during my three year Alexander Technique training course with the late great Don Burton. It has not turned off since. Learning Alexander Technique activated my art.

 

By learning to trust your Field of Intention you open to being a visionary, a seer – a focused flowing creative thinker.

 

The world needs creative thinkers right now  ….

 

Forward and Up!
Kirsten
kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

www.kirstenharrisart.com

Field of Intention

All winter Crazy Maisie Cockerpoo and I have walked around the field behind my house. I walked, she ran and ran and tirelessly chased her ball.

 

‘Be more Maisie!’ My new motto since she came into my life!

 

All winter I have had the thought that I could do an entire exhibition based on this one field. Every day it changes – the sky, the clouds, weather, light conditions, plant growth, colour. I love the trees – old beech trees, gnarled scots pines, a little stream running down the side, sometimes deer, hare – old land.

 

Today I was meditating on ‘father time’ before my walk.

Have I enough time to do all the paintings I want to do in the amount of time I have? Of course … I decided!

Time is magical … set your direction, cast your intention forward in time like a spell and it will all line up. Time opens out and the space is available.

Then you just do it, show up. A spell of time to paint.

 

In the field this morning seeing the first dandelion clocks of the year I remembered I was walking amongst them last year when mum phoned to say dad ha