Archives for posts with tag: inspirational

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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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Revelations 2:17

I have had five encounters with incredible women of God over the last few days, and each time I have been awestruck in how, in each of these cases, the person has had the exact gifts and abilities for that moment.

The first was a wonderful artist friend who, because I couldn’t really move, took time to stop and be still with me. And so we sat and chatted, and out of that came great healing and realisation for both of us that we just don’t stop and seek the face of God often enough. Through my struggling she was encouraged to stop and be still.

The second was one of joy, and laughter and the occasional Lindt chocolate which lifted my spirits and restored my hope; made me feel accepted when I felt tired and removed and isolated.

The third was simple acceptance of me as I am, making my inability disappear as we talked and celebrated the success of others

The fourth spoke truth into my life. She didn’t even need to be near; she just understood and spoke truth over me, removing doubt and fear and guilt that did not need to be.

And the fifth encouraged and loved. She swept in like a practical angel, sorting and aiding before praying beauty and restoration over me, affirming my identity and sense of worth at the exact moment it was being rocked.

To these five incredible women, I thank you, knowing that my journey is smoother and more full, more beautiful because of your intervention and love x

 

It’s been a strange few weeks. It started with lower back pain, nothing really of substance, just a numb dull pain that wouldn’t shift. So I did what I assume everyone else does in these situations and ignored it! By the Thursday the pain was becoming a little troublesome and had started travelling down my leg, so time for a quick trip to the doctors, who were amazing and squeezed me in. An hour or so later and I was Googling ‘sciatica’ to see what was in store. I’d been offered pain killers but hadn’t accepted them as, to be honest it wasn’t hurting that much, but by that evening, my goodness me. My threshold for pain seems to be severely lacking and I was very glad to order some relief through the doctors.

It’s a peculiar thing not to be able to sit down. I can lie flat and still, and that is most comfortable, but moving again afterwards is just excruciating for a good 15-20 minutes until I think I just adapt to the pain and work through it. Once moving, moving is good and constant moving really helps. The danger, I’ve found, is overdoing it in that blissful hour when the medication has kicked in and you feel like you can pull out and hoover behind the sofa, under tables and maybe even consider some gardening. But boy do you feel it later.

In theory the whole thing is mind over matter. It’s a nerve telling you that you are in pain. There actually isn’t anything wrong apart from the trapped nerve sending messages. I remember being told before giving birth to breathe through the pain, to embrace the pain. I think if that person had been in the room when I was giving birth to my girl, not only would she have told in no uncertain terms that her suggestion was boloney but she might have been out cold on the floor! Saying that I have a choice: I can rest in bed and withdraw, wallow a little in self pity and hope that the pain will eventually subside; or I could just keep going, just keep moving and see what I can achieve in my current state. Disappointingly, ironing seems something I can do, as is cooking and cricket (to a very poor level!) I have very much enjoyed watching ‘Miss Potter’ with my girl who I believe could very well be an author one day. I can listen to my friend and provide a hug of encouragement. I can struggle with a maths problem with my boy, offering no help really at all but affirming him that he will get there in the end. I can listen and believe my man as he affirms me with kindness and love.

I think I’ve not only realised my threshold for pain is more than I originally thought but my capacity to help or to be useful through the little, seemingly insignificant things I can do means more to others and holds more value than I thought possible.

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One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how hard it is to leave my art work in a gallery or in its new home, especially if the pieces represent a personal journey of sorts. I dropped off the five completed pieces at the Emporium, Lichfield on Thursday and it once again took me by surprise, to the point that I had to explain why I was just looking at them and not moving or talking. The five pieces that are currently at Emporium I’ve called ‘tolmàō’.

Greek: tolmáō (from tolma, “bold courage”) – properly, to show daring courage necessary for a valid risk (“putting it all on the line”); courageously venture forward by putting fear behind and embracing the fruit that lies ahead for taking a necessary risk.

IMG_5784I said this on Facebook – I love that there exists a Greek word that needs nineteen English words to explain it!! But it exactly sums up what’s I was trying to say. Have courage. Go for those dreams. Step out from that comfort zone. You are brave. You are enough.

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I feel the need to do a few more of these pieces. Starting the layering of letters in the background, building up the text and the texture in a variety of colours before adding the main colour over the top. It’s a great drying day today so I should be able to get a few layers done before tonight. The weirdest and most wonderful thing at the moment is that I’m sharing my shed space with an up and coming artist of the future. Our wonderful girl has got a school project about Queen Elizabeth II and she’s decided to do a clay sculpture of her head!

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She’s worked quite diligently on it with a real passion and fervour. Can’t wait to see what it eventually looks like. Just enjoying being creative alongside her. She really is an encouragement just working beside me. All of them, the boy and the man, tend to believe in me more than sometimes i believe in myself. Seems to be rubbing off though. Love spending time in my shed. Such an incredible space, and when the sun is shining….. even better 🙂

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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 🙂

anna-crook-stitched-canvas-iiI am revisiting a body of work I completed in 2014 I think (really… was it that long ago!?!) in which I used the coast line of the Lake of Galilee to form the compositions of a series of pieces. I was speaking to a Mr. Jeremy Bournon, an artist I hold in high esteem, and we were talking about potentially having a joint exhibition come January 2018. He’d looked through my past work and liked the idea of approaching a coast from above rather than from the traditional viewpoint, so here I am thinking again.

This work for me held a conceptual meaning as well. I was considering how we often pick at ourselves in an “I’m not good enough” way, focusing on our faults and failings rather than seeing ourselves as a whole. We pick and pick at ourselves until we can become undone. And yet it is often these things, once overcome, that shape us into the people we are. They can define us in a different way. The coastline is textured through using stitching and yet the perspective is from above, removing the focus from the small stitches to the bigger picture.

20160819_134319This summer we went to Malaysia and there I seemed to find myself. For me it was such a real and raw place, everything uncovered and lain bare. You wanted a fish, it was gutted in front of you. You want something mending and the equipment used was there for all to see rather than hidden in some back room. And in contrast I felt I was all hidden away, false almost. During the holiday I felt these pretences falling away and in some respects I discovered my value again. This is something I want to express through the artwork to come.

The coastline of Penang and Malaysia will be my composition but now I’m trying to work out how to create the texture so it is both aesthetically pleasing and significant to me in a symbolic way.

20160825_092123One thing that really appealed to me was the walls. They are broken and yet beautiful. They are the  background to some of the most stunning street art on the island, artist Ernest Zacharevic transforming these walls through hand painted murals. I like the idea that part of my work could be broken and yet held together and still beautiful. Time to experiment in the shed.