Post by Category : Equestrian Art

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 – 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

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

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

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…

********

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.

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

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…

The Journey


A horse stands on a telegraph pole, other horses bravely move forward, balancing on a wire. The drawing is called The Journey. 

Sometimes we get stuck. It feels as though life is moving on without us. Our emotions, fear, circumstances or past experiences leave us in a place of hesitation or doubt. 
It may seem as though others are more balanced or more fearless than us, more able to do the things that we want to do. 

Do we have the courage to move forward? Are we actually able to take the next step? 

I was thinking about how in this day and age it feels as though negative emotions are seen as bad, whilst positive ones are seen as good. When you think about it that’s a bit of a nonsense. Maybe all emotions are absolutely OK, honest and genuine and it is the trying to prescribe emotions as worthy or not that is dishonest. 

Perhaps standing still, just being and waiting or saying no is the brave thing to do. Sometimes we are fearless and sometimes we are not. Sometimes we are part of the herd and other times we are not. Sometimes the journey takes us forward and other times it leaves us stranded. The journey is about these choices and realities. 

How does the horse turn back and climb down the telegraph pole? He can’t. We are only ever where we are, moving forward… 

This drawing was inspired by a hen doo on zip wires with a bunch of great girls. After the first wire, I found my body was unable to move forward. I stood at the second pole and watched the others fearlessly move forward, moving further and further away from me. More people were coming from behind wanting to get on. There was no time for me to listen to what was showing up for me and I was unable to proceed. So I chose to bow out. I beat myself up for being stuck. The drawing helped me understand myself and that it was OK for me to be where I was that day. 

I am looking at the drawing now and it moves me. By having compassion to all our emotions I think we find more compassion to others and especially the animals in our care. Sometimes a horse will be unable to do what you want. He is not being stubborn or stupid. All sentient beings have emotions and past experiences that inform the present moment. Patience, understanding, time, love compassion, waiting, willingness to learn, willingness to listen and feel… will help us find the next step and create lasting change…

A simple drawing that means a lot to me. 

Available as a hand signed and titled print

www.kirstenharrisart.co.uk

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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 : )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy Shifts

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’

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.

How to Create Movement in Paintings

I often get asked – How do I create the feel of movement in my paintings?

So I thought I would attempt to write a ‘HOW TO’ blog!

 

How to create movement in a painting –

 

  • Keep your body and your eyes moving at all times. A key is not tightening your own body. A free neck equals a free arm equals a free painting! Alexander Technique in action – the other great love of my life!
  • Don’t sit and paint –  stand! Work at an easel not at a table.
  • Dynamic action, including making sure you are breathing and your free body movement, is revealed in the paint. Dance with the paint. Move your body and the paint will also move.
  • The paint is a vehicle for your thinking. Be quick in your decision making. Don’t over think it! Allow the next thought and the next to guide you with an urgency.
  • To create action in a physical object, such as a painting, let yourself just go for it! Art is a journey not a relaxation!
  • Paint fast. Action and activity again. Cover the white paper or canvas with paint as fast as you can. You WILL have a dynamic painting that way.
  • Connect your arms through your back all the way down to your feet. Each step of the painting is a step over your feet. Move your feet as you paint. Let the painting keep you on your toes!
  • Respond to the paint. Let the paint take you forward… now this colour, now a bigger brush stroke here … here and now, now here ….enjoy not knowing. Let yourself feel and flow your way forward.
  • Trust your intuition. Let the painting paint itself! Listen to inner guidance. It is there, I promise!
  • Fast sweeping brush strokes portray action. Use the whole arm not just the wrist and fingers.
  • Let the brush strokes do the work, don’t try and hide them. Each stroke is a gesture and therefore energetically loaded.
  • Let the brush stroke travel in the direction of the movement you are describing.
  • Throw and flick the paint at the canvas, allow random marks, the happy accident. It is a great technique for portraying movement – action painting.
  • Don’t worry about going wrong! That will slow you down and you will lose the dynamic movement. There is no wrong in your painting. How can it be wrong? YOU DID IT! It is a representation of your life force!
  • Paint big, so your artwork doesn’t get restricted by a small scale. Be bold, paint bigger than you have done before!
  • Don’t ‘worry’ the paint. Paint doesn’t like to be worried, it goes muddy. Paint likes to spread and flow, bleed and run, merge and blend, drip and spread. It likes to be trusted, not worried over!
  • Apply the paint with confidence.
  • And most of all, enjoy yourself. Let yourself get taken over by the activity of painting. Your present moment enjoyment WILL be revealed in the finished artwork whether you like it or not!

 

Hope that helps  : )

 

Bottoms up

SOLD

 

 

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SOLD

 

 

Even Field

SOLD

 

 

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‘The Moon Woke Me’

Current work

150 x 100 cm

To be exhibited at Dundas Gallery, Edinburgh in 26 – 30 April 2017.

POA

 

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Wind and Waves

120 x 100 cm

Current work

To be exhibited at Dundas Gallery in Edinburgh in 26 – 30 April 2017.

POA

120 x 100 cm

 

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The Race

Oil on Canvas

For Sale (click here.)

120 x 100 cm

 

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Forward

Oil on Canvas

80 x 100 cm

Currently available on website (click here)

 

  • Free creativity e-course link below(8 days of inspiration delivered into your inbox)
  • I am offering Skype tuition for artists or creatives who would like help finding a freer creative flow from the beginning of May. Email me for details.
  • Upcoming workshop tuition –   ‘Any Body Can Paint – Let Go Make Art’ at the Findhorn Foundation in September

Please contact me for more details …

kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

 

Diary of an Exhibition – Abandoned

 

‘Art is never finished only ever abandoned’

Leonardo da Vinci

 

Last week I revisited abandoned paintings …

Paintings that hadn’t been resolved but had something going for them that was worth a relook.

 

A week of attempting to reconnect and find resolution with abandoned ideas.

 

Sometimes we all need time to restock, reboot and recharge – paintings are like that too.

 

Time gives us a perspective and a fresh eye on things.

 

I have another theory about time and paintings – that paintings ‘gather energy’ over time. The more that they are looked at and appreciated the more alive they become. It is a long standing thought and although it sounds vaguely bonkers, I believe it is in alignment with current theories in quantum physics. Who knew?!

 

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‘Rising Tide’ Oil on Canvas, 80 x 100 cms

 

My paintings of horses gathering dust not energy in the studio – reconnected with, more energy added, possibly to be abandoned again or more time spent together?

 

I am thinking about sea horses, attempting to add a feel of this element to the work –  big breakers seen last weekend  –  wave upon wave of power, force, rythm,flow …

 

Standing on the beach looking out for the really big wave to come rolling in, waiting for it, the breakthrough.

 

The sea horses are a bit of a side track from pure seascape.

However it’s a good studio discipline, attempting to resolve everything started.

Learn the lessons to break through to something new.

 

Each separate one a relationship, a dialogue and a journey with a possible surprise, a happy ending, a resolution in store.

 

Sometimes it takes months, even years to find resolution.

Other paintings arriving quickly and seamlessly, barely remembered … The ease a result of the journey, struggle and time spent on the abandoned works in progress …

 

(Incidentally, discovered if the temperature is cold enough in studio the oils have no fumes, Scotland in Winter!)

 

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‘See Horses’ Oil on Canvas, 80 x 100 cms

 

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detail

 

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‘Wave upon Wave’ Oil on Canvas, 100 x 120 cms

 

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detail

 

 

 

Any Body Can Paint – Even A Horse!

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Last year Angus learned to paint – with a little gentle encouragement from me.

A roll of pre-primed canvas and some black poster paint brushed on his hooves…

He loved it – anything for a carrot, and I love the result!

Angus’s paintings have been hanging on my kitchen wall ever since.

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There was a serious aim to the fun idea.

I wanted Angus to be bolder, more trusting and accurate about where he puts his feet.

I just thought I would turn his training into art.

And of course, how cool a painting horse!

I believe any body can paint…..even a horse! He has a body, he can paint!

I have a painting horse..

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Have you always wanted to paint, but think you’re not good enough to be an artist?

Well if a horse can paint art that people love, you definitely can!

 

I loved the scroll that Angus made, very Japanese looking, but decided to cut it down and frame the result, after applying a bit of hoof oil to the canvas to give a sepia tint and disguise the inevitable odd muddy mark.

 

What do you think of the result?

Would you buy an abstract painting made by a horse?

Angus whispered to me that he might consider taking commissions… : )

 

I am offering a FREE online art course, available at the end of this blog.

I think the Any Body Can Paint Course is a creativity course that can be applied to music, coaching or writing etc as well as painting. That’s the feed back I am getting….

 

It is written combining Art and Alexander Teacher and is designed to free up your inner artist.

 

Why not give it a go and see what creative ideas you come up with… Let me know… the madder the better….

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My Shetland Ponies, Lettie and Walter, feature in the course too!

It’s a bit of fun and it’s free.

The course is in the form of 8 emails delivered over 8 days into your inbox.

 

Giddy Up…Give it a go…

 

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Stop and Smell the Roses

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Inspired by my miniature Shetland pony, Staplow Lettie, I  have started a series of pony cartoons.

They all come framed in white frame and mount.

As she is currently unexpectedly pregnant, look out for foals in the cartoons soon!

 

 

Bottoms Up

Communication

Breath

Oil on Canvas

140 x 80 cm

The Conversation

Roly Poly

Oil on Canvas

Approaching Thunder

Oil on Canvas

80 x 100 cm

Best Foot

Waves

Oil on Canvas

80 x 100 cms

Winner

Oil on Canvas

120 x 100

Racing Bottoms

Ponies on the Hill

Oil on Canvas

23 x 40

Icelandic and Shetland

Oil on Canvas

30 x 50 cm

Mare and Foal

23 x 30 cm

Green Transport

Oil on Canvas

100 x 120 cms

Through the Night

80 x 10

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Oil on Canvas

23 x 30 cm

What’s That

Coming Through

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Oil on Canvas

80 x 100 cm

Galloping Horses