Archives for posts with tag: Anna Crook

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It really is amazing how many surfaces you rediscover in your home when you declutter in preparation for an art sale! Hubby will be pleased to note that dusting is taking place too (this is the woman who didn’t even nest when pregnant!) so, even though it looks like a bomb has hit the house in certain areas, especially the upstairs spare room, eventually surfaces are being reunited with the light!

I’m having an art sale on Sunday. The shed has need of more space so the paintings must go…. on the dresser, on the walls, on any shelf or protruding nail. It’s only when you have a decade of work samples in front of you that you can see the development of style and visual voice. You can see how one idea led into another, how changing one element opened the door to a new series of work, how particular colours are used and returned to again and again. You also realise how dirty your walls are! Finger prints from toddlers alongside the same child’s sticky fingers years later. A whole history of food consumption could be found by forensic scientists. I actually found tomato pips on one section of wall and I recall exactly when it happened…. We were making a fish dish, me and the kids, they must have been three and five, used scissors  to cut the cherry tomatoes. Genius idea, mmmmm.

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The one thing it does make me want to do is get in the shed and do some work! Which can only be a good thing. I’m currently working on pieces that are so completely not me it’s weird. They’ll probably be white washed so this below becomes a base layer, but I have set myself the challenge and I need to follow through to wherever it ends up. Also painting material again and hoping to stitch into it/create garment with it. Again, no idea where that will take me but actually enjoy going the no knowing. Feel like a kid again. Playing.

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Told you it was unlike me!! But who knows…..

Details of the Art Sale on Sunday 1st October from 12-3.30pm can be found by contacting me. Do drop by if you’re passing 🙂

 

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Anna Crook-stepping out i ii iii

Just got back from the wonderful emporium gallery in Lichfield (http://www.emporium-gallery.co.uk) after dropping off these three pieces. It was a bit of a wrench, I suppose because they are so close to my heart. It’s funny how some paintings do that to me; it’s like I’m leaving part of myself there, which I suppose I am really. I want to know where they’ll end up, that they’ll be looked after and achieve what I pray they will. Even sitting in the gallery my hope is that they will affirm and encourage. They have to me.

Anna Crook-close up beautiful and brave

They’re about taking that first step; stepping into life, and although sometimes it feels like stepping off a cliff, once the step is made we can soar.

The stitching is like a ladder vertically through the canvas, and for me ladders symbolise journeys whether psychological or physical. The stitching also naturally splits the canvas and this gave me the opportunity to make one side dark and womb like, the other more like sky. I think when the act of stepping out occurs it can initially be like stepping into nothing, into wide open space. Darkness ironically seems more supportive and solid… maybe therein lies the problem. The texture in the background is built up through painted words, words that are about courage and being brave, making that first step. These words are then scratched into the surface of the paint, transferred and written on. I used pencil for I feel the moment is not indelible but could disappear if not taken or seized. The top and sides of the paintings are brushed red. This is a reference to the last of the ten plagues in Exodus before the Israelites are freed from their captivity. The Israelites painted their door frames with lamb’s blood. “When I see the blood I will pass over you” and the plague did not touch them but instead paved the way to freedom.

Anna Crook-close up step out

The thing is, the place we’re stepping from can be like a warm safe place, womb like almost in its comfort and safety but restrictive and limiting all the same – it can be all we know. We can be stuck by circumstance, through illness, through words spoken without thought. Taking that step needs encouragement, demands courage and requires self-belief, all of which may be lacking when we’ve been too comfortable or stuck. I wanted these pieces to be a daily reminder that it can be done, that change can be better, that stepping out can enable us to soar once again.

 

 

just flicked through my posts and I posted pictures of these a year ago…. I knew then they weren’t complete, even with the red on the sides. love that a year later their perfect timing has helped me where I am now 🙂

and it makes no sense at all. I cannot visualise the artwork that is to come but i’m seriously excited. been reflecting a lot over the last few weeks and tomorrow is a day of action.

now, my hope is this – that tomorrow, when I drop the kids off and I grab a mug of tea and walk down the garden to my shed, I don’t get distracted by the dust gathering on shelves and the hoovering that needs doing and the dishwasher that will inevitably need unloading and the bulb that needs changing and the clothes that need sorting and the wall that needs painting and all those thousands of excuses and ‘but….’s, BUT that I stride past them all and keep walking to that incredible space that God has so generously provided for me and that I am obedient.

 

Just suddenly realised that I’ve got so caught up in my work that I haven’t blogged for an age and loads has happened.

One of the most wonderful things was that ‘Nana’ and ‘Self’ were shortlisted for the Lichfield Prize, and then ‘Nana’ was selected for exhibition in July. It was just wonderful to be part of this great exhibition, which was housed in both Lichfield Cathedral and Lichfield Garrick, as well as the Emporium gallery itself. The quality of work was simply stunning in some cases. Nana is now back here, wrapped up and ready for her next journey to my Mum who I know will treasure her.

The work for New Wine was completed in time and was even dry! I struggled with one piece more than the others and that needed varnishing the day before. Even so, I was really pleased with the pieces. They are at New Wine right now and so will I next week. So excited to see what God does with them. It never ceases to amaze me how He uses every day things to speak to others. The whole experience in incredibly humbling for they are nothing more than canvas and paint and yet He can use even this small offering to His glory.

 

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Today is a good day. It is a free day, a long day and today I am focused. I started these pieces for New Wine and was only able to get two layers on them previous to today because the weather was so damp the paint refused to dry!! But today it is warmer and I have a wonderful 6 hours still ahead of me. These pieces are created through layers and layers of painted words being painted one on top of the other, the paint being watered down in some cases and left in others. The surface builds and builds and as they do i am just soaking in the words of truth. Quoting Meg Ryan from the film French Kiss, i “feel all pruney!” Love it!! The pieces change so quickly and often I lose them part way through and then find them again later on, but the layering of words of truth is just such a wonderful way to paint and create a textured background.

Some of the pieces were originally failed paintings that I am painting over, and that in itself is interesting as the texture of the painting below is still fighting against the new letters. I find this fascinating. Exactly like me. Recently I’ve been fighting against tiredness that has come out of nowhere and with no real origin…. unfortunately it’s not the result of late nights of wild living, and a real lack of conviction, which is ironic really as I feel a strong sense of direction at the moment. Who knows what’s going on in my mind. But today is good.  Today it is going well. Today I feel I am getting somewhere and so I will take this day and embrace it.

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It’s a most peculiar thing. For a long time I have had a drought creatively but something over the last two weeks is slowly being released. Been looking at the theme ‘Shadow’ for the up coming Lichfield Prize associated with Emporium, Lichfield. I’ve taken the theme literally for both pieces with an additional twist. For my own I’ve tried to explore the two sidedness to my personality: the hiding, dark negative thoughts, withdrawn and often haphazard side contrasted to the much more presentable and confident positive side, the shadow of the darker one always present but often subdued or pushed back by the positive one. Weirdly, part way through this piece I couldn’t get the lip colour correct and this coincided with a random nose bleed….. the exact colour I needed!!

The second piece is of my Nana and will be much more realistic, a pencil drawing on crumpled paper. The thought behind this one is to explore the growing truth that as one becomes older, one can seem to become a shadow of our former selves and yet all that we are is still present and tangeable to those who know and love us. The scariest thing about this piece is that after sketching in the initial outline to ensure composition and accuracy of feature placement it looked a lot like me, which I suppose is predictable but startling all the same.

Enjoying the sunshine and the shed and the pigeons landing and hopping across the roof as I come to terms with my own mortality and try to embrace the whole of my personality.

I submitted the small canvases yesterday for the Shrugborough Hall exhibition which starts on Tuesday. Was really pleased with them but something was missing. They didn’t resonate and I found that frustrating. Then something came to me I was thinking about recently and that was to paint blood red on the top and sides of the canvas. The Passover is celebrated just before Easter and it was for the Israelites to remember their deliverance from the Egyptians recorded in Exodus 12 and 13 of The Bible. “When God sees the blood on the lintel and two door posts, God will pass over the doorway, He won’t let the destroyer enter your house to strike you down with ruin.” This powerful image of saving blood, the Old Testament sacrifice of the lamb, is replaced by the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus crucified, but the image of the lintel and door posts being smeared with blood holds power for me. So I painted the sides and top of the canvases with red and this completed the image for me. I think I will use this again in my art work.

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It was a little peculiar leaving the canvases in the dropping off room. I think Greg thought I was a little spaced out because I just hovered for a while. Very strange. Deadlines are such a help to me but to complete the pieces and then to have to relinquish them so quickly was quite peculiar, didn’t quite like it. I didn’t even enter the room with confidence, apologetically almost. I unwrapped them and placed them on the floor ready for him to sort and then waited for nothing in particular, not really even speaking, which I must be careful of!! It’s a strange thing. You make something and live with them sometimes for months, even years, and then you let them go and the next time you see them they are on a wall, in different light, almost not yours any more. It’s a peculiar type of grieving.