Thursday, December 5, 2013

Its winter now

Winter made its presence known this morning. Gruffly whipped Autumn's mantel from the trees like it was being too decadent and had partied to long. All of a sudden its dull, grey, stormy and cold. 
But I beat winter I am capturing Autumn in the studio, remembering the riot it caused and how it made my heart sing as I drove the back lanes as I whittled by the streets, gardens and villages into cities. Yesterday in my parents garden I gathered some Liquid Amber leaves, grown for its wonderful colour this year it sang and radiated. I'm working on the layers of colour in felt and textiles, I like the idea of using pinned layers, so individual cobweb felt pinned for framing or perhaps some light stitching felting... experimenting the colours make my soul sing even with winter howling at the door.
Leaf motifs have long been a favourite and while I may not make leaves (yet) the semblance is there. If you are on Pinterest you may like my Leaf Motif board with great inspiration and making from illustrations, textiles and paper.
This work ties into a project I did five years ago for a school around a 'Poet-tree'. At the time I wanted to make leaves with each of the children but it was too much work for no funding, the project may be revived. 
In my personal arts practice the leaf motif that presents itself in paintings like 'Being doing' or 'Conversations' represents change and I have blogged about it before
Not that the work I make in the studio needs to be linked but it tends to be and often the links are part of my creative process, so to the studio... looking forward to the lightness of the fleece and experimenting.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Studio time

Been enjoying some time in the studio recently. Getting there with painting.
Two favourite brushes.

My favourite paint and colours I'm mixing at the moment.
Current inspiration...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Process integration

Non-prescriptive creativity is a thing to hold lightly. I challenged myself to follow the creative flow of the work this morning and not get in the way.
The blue piece almost like a fish escaped from a large drawing. The painting alludes to the gentler more fragile characteristics of self protected by outwardly gregarious learned traits. I sense it's finished for now but it also reflects natures Autumnal cloak. I like it.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Trying not to manage the out come of my work in the studio. Just letting the work take me to where my imagination and tactile experience of the material flows. I'm happy that the flow seems to be there. Often after a break it can take some time to get back into it.

I'm holding each step lightly. Trying not to judge harshly. My imagination wanders to textiles and installation type video on sculpture. Yet practically here in the studio paper, pencil and pastel mingle with water and paint... It is enough. I'm in the studio making work again.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Studio morning

Here I was in the studio just after 8am. Ready and anticipating getting my brushes colourful. I started writing, its my creative in. I wrote four ways pencil, ink, graphite pencil, charcoal and in four directions. But it was n't fluid I got interrupted by a cup of tea with my husband, a shell and photography, a phone call. All okay common distraction methods and some help pulling forward my visual senses and creativity.
 When your getting creative what's your in? What helps you open the door to letting your imagination flow and making?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

And here it is

The altered book, notebook gets doodled in regularly. I experiment with writing, charcoal, paint, oil pastels and pencil. Mixing mediums toying with words.
Tonight instead of tossing and turning or stupid TV I decided an hour in the studio. 
I got lost in the sensuous blue pastel with pure white emphasising, merging to hues of blues. 
The circular shape resonates & almost hovers off the page.
A very satisfying hour or two in the studio.
Who knows tomorrow I may paint...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A sense of urgency

Roisin Markham © 2013
I get to the end of the week, now.
I feel an urgency to be in my studio.
But I don't get there
Making things, painting, drawing. I'm sitting here now writing when I should be gone to bed. An early morning alarm call at 5.30am.
But I am not making. I am not painting. I don't get there its been going on for a few weeks now.

I have started one new project It's out there being published. Not here or over at No. the project is simple, personal and I'm not sharing it directly just yet.
So I still think I am not making or producing anything yet I am. Its not commercial, its just my daily dip into a specific theme.
I'm also feeling my hands are restless they want to be stitching or felting or beading...

I've started dreaming colours again.
It won't be long now...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fallow fields

It's Autumn the hedgerows have started be dipped in colourful hues of browns, oranges and umber. Berries and haws drip after plenty of summer sun. Deep purples and reds. Autumn reaps the rewards of a bountiful summer. The air get colder and the wind picks up again.

Fallow, my work has been small token like. I have been absorbing. Watching. Like the way one would crop rotate in a small holding or as in the practice of western farmers to leave land fallow to let it grow wild and recover, restore, rejuvenate before planting, growing and cultivating again.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Size matters!

Roisin Markham work sold August 2013
Towards the end of August there was great excitement in the studio. A visitor to the GasLamp Gallery in Gorey had seen my work and wanted to purchase two paintings and commission four more! Fab and Wow!
On going up to talk to Chris, the framer and a real knowledgeable guy in the business of selling art, the 'potential buyer' wanted SIX of my paintings for an alcove in his house. But they had to be a particular size.
There is a curiosity I maintain about how people buy art: will it fit, will it match my colour scheme, is it an investment? do I love it?
Roisin Markham work sold August 2013
In the studio I reviewed what lurked, framed work and unframed finished work and work that was unfinished with potential. I selected eight pieces returning to the gallery the following day, Chris and I discussed a selection of six and mounting them in the correct size for the buyer to view. A few nervous days ensued as I waited for news. Nothing is ever sold until the money is in your bank.
The work looked good, and the buyer selected six from the unframed pieces. They were the right size.
I'm glad the original two he picked were not cut down to size this would have be a disaster for one of the paintings. This all comes down to listening to what the customer wants and not being over precious about work made. That's a tightrope and artist walks if they want to sell work. For me it is important to sell.
I am delighted that a new patron now owns six pieces of my work.
That's happened before where someone buys several pieces. My painting work is colourful, energetic and has presence. It is not everyone cup of tea, patrons describe being drawn to it. So hopefully more people who like art colourful, energetic and with presence will be drawn to it and I look forward to selling more, Yay!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

You can use it I'll never show it...

I had the most hilarious conversation with Sandra Austin during the week of Bloom about the possibility of using a small process painting that I considered not finished and not worthy of developing...
I'd been working with The Community Garden Network with a few things recently. Mainly because Dee of Greenside Up and I, are mates. We've gotten to know each other the last few years via social media and well yeah we are firm friends and business associates now. We got to know each other via twitter a couple of years ago and then started meeting up regularly with a small group, Dee is the kind of person whom gives so much to community and her work the sort of person you'd bend over backwards for.
Anyway I spent the pre-Bloom Tuesday yarn bombing their show garden for Bloom 2013 with a group of 12 teenage girls from Navan. Great bit of fun although I did feel the pressure to get it done and looking good.
The great news is the yarn bombed tree was getting a response, which is fab!
The Community Garden Network Bloom 2013 postcard garden build.
The funny conversation I had with Sandra that Wednesday evening centred around the background board which is painted cream and was considered too blank.
The Community Garden Network Bloom SHOW Garden work in progress
After tossing around a few ideas via text and email that afternoon. I stood in my studio and dug out a lightly yellow painted canvas with mono printed leaves in blue and green on it. Took a photo of it and emailed it to Sandra as a possibility for the background. She loved it! 
While discussing it Sandra checked with me if I was okay to have a canvas outdoors for five days... my response 'yes its a light painted acrylic on canvas I'll never show it' then I burst out laughing! erhmm Bloom has an expected 80,000 visitors to attend  as Sandra pointed out and here am I saying I will never show it. 
These are the images from when I was making it.

Dee has written a great post and you can read my posts over on my CreativeDynamix blog here.
We agreed in the end the piece did n't work and reverted back to some yarn bombed items. 
I still don't think the canvas is very good, must ask Sandra if she wants to keep it! 
Just thought you'd appreciate the story... 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The shape of things

Sometimes all you can make is the shape of something...
I sat last night in the studio wanting to paint - but being fatigued I sat listening to silent brushes, unopened tubes of paint and flat unmoving paper. I finally reached for a map from recent travel. Have you heard of that theory the only way to fold a map is the wrong way. Well I considered that and then I went to making boxes which I often do when working with people.
With the very creased and used map it was a little trick to fold. I wanted sharp crisp lines.
Sharp folded corners I created a box
The process and looking, photographing went something like this...
I loved the total contrast, the smooth lines of a random crunched up ball of paper. While turning and looking it presented areas of intrigue. the contrast of print, folds, light and dark.

X - Design Museum, London
Further observation, sitting with the object. Processing. There is no depth of field with the i-phone camera app - the shoots were a simple record. I think the paper playful exploration might be worth a longer study and a decent camera. The making of something 3D with my hands translated into images through lens based work is a reflection of process. 2D - 3D - 2D negative positive space moving between structure and composition.
folded depth a hint of culture
Again pulling the paper not caring in the end demanding the used disposable map deliver on some vague promise of the shape of something
almost floral
the promise was subconscious but I expected something concrete. The issue was how fast was the creative enquiry delivering?
On typing now I am reminded about the Visual Theatre Workshop last year and when painting was too flat.
just reshaped, same map
And so what of it? I pulled the paper it ripped a little, I wanted it to stand... did it look like something? Did I care? After all its just some paper play.
The map is no accident either the paper playfulness is a way to prototype thought, action and  further exploring the 'texture of my map'.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's finished! or is it?

Chris at Gaslamp gallery and  in 'Gorey
measuring one of four pieces I have in Artfest
Do you make creative work? For yourself or for others? Just to make work or to sell it commercially?
When do you consider your creative work is finished?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Framing, selling work + local Artfest initiative

I'm sitting here with the sun streaming though the window, the house is quiet except for the hum of the fridge. Although its cold, the sun through the glass warms me. Sunday morning bliss!
My thoughts bounce around. Framers yesterday. I love that Chris responded so well to framing my small mixed media piece and the large leaf piece.
Waiting for Spring is a mixed media piece of watercolour, acrylic, dried tulip, handmade paper, sand and watercolour paper.
It's a very particular piece.
He also got very excited to frame a large acrylic and pencil piece that is my most recent work.
I'm not sure what to call it but it does represent a sea of change.
I'm really impressed with The GasLamp Gallery and Framers, partnering with the local Gorey Chamber of Commerce to do something different and definitely innovative for the local artist community, Artfest. It is going to increase their profile plus bring something different to Gorey. For artists its a good opportunity to get their work in a creative space on display and for sale. I over heard someone saying the catch was that you had to get your framing done at the gallery - that's not a catch that is business! But I suppose that is a very subtle point to argue with creatives whom do not understand the economic terms in which the artist, framer and gallery currently operate. I was delighted to avail of the 20% discount on framing last Saturday!
#Artfest smacks of someone being very creative and willing to take a risk to offer the space for exhibition, competition and sales at no commission to other creatives. Check out the terms and conditions. The prize is €500 framing - that would frame an nice collection of work.
I really believe a piece of art is not finished until its hung on the wall and typically that involves framing. Not always but typically. Now I'm fussy about my framing.
Since moving to Wexford seven and a half years ago I've tried several framers in the county. It's been a mixture of okay to excellent but expensive. As a professional artist I think it's important to frame my work properly, a frame is a punctuation mark for my work.
I respect a good framer someone who knows there craft well. It's one of the reasons I ended up back at my framer in Dublin, Liam Coyle for my last two exhibitions. Amazingly I discovered Chris the new framer in Gorey was trained by Liam - so I expect his work will be excellent by association.
It is a very particular thing when a framer gets excited to frame a piece of your work.
In the end I decided to get 4 pieces of work framed and have maxed out my budget. I believe it's a good investment towards selling my work and I'm happy to support this local business initiative. If you're an artist with access to Gorey you should be too.
Looking forward to seeing the work framed on Thursday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What is the texture of my map?

That's been a question on my studio wall since I attended an open space facilitation organised by Bluedrum in 2011.
I lived it and dreamt about work I would make and lived with it some more...
Last week I walked into my studio and laughed out loud - look what my 15 year old teen graffitied on it!
So it's time to make the space to do the work... the typography lays itself out before me even if it's Minecraft.
I'm still laughing...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lovely love

From my fathers garden a wonderful rose
...hope you loved yesterday and it continues to blossom today.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


In the process of being creative as I reconnect to a medium or just actual time physically making I always feel I have to practice through crap first. An artist friend of mine always referred to it as dross.
The problem is I'm grumpy about being in that creative stage I want to be constantly brilliant. I am impatient to get to great work. So this morning I'm sultry, not for long... but for now my best work awaits to be brought in by practicing through dross.

its not the wind, nor the moon...

For the past week I have been convincing myself to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Why? I need sleep to function... but and I'm writing this more in self acknowledgement ...I've been convinced it's the full moon, the wild wind, the... the ... but in fact its my need to turn to the studio when the house is quiet and I have had sometime to myself to think, to squander my thoughts and my energy by foodling around.
What's been keeping me awake is my wonder lust to get squishy with paint on canvas or paper... to get into that messy space where I can't dictate the outcome, well I can but in painting I choose not to - where I loose and find myself all at the same time.
So why now? why not to bed like the evenings before?

tonight I am broken.
I am broken, my soul on the floor
the only way I know how to live this emotional onslaught is to create through it.
Its not the moon, nor the wind or my longing to paint it is all of those things and none of them.
I find myself reticent to start. But this is just for me. This may be all I share.

In the hospital today I heard some one say "how do people with no faith get through this?"

I spent a soul destroying afternoon with my parents watching my Dad, my dear ould Dad as his life force drains out of him as chemo gets pumped in. Cancer sucks.
A white page awaits me.
Paper, water, graphite, paint, bristle texture tone I am spent. Satisfied I've started.

What do you do when you are broken?

2013 clearly time to clarify creative direction

Earlier in January I wondered what I was going to do with my creative practice this year. Actually I wondered that all last year too... This is not a hobby this is my life's work my core soul purpose. That sounds a bit dramatic I know but that is the sense of it as I write.
As I enjoyed the Christmas break I thought I'd nothing clarified as a goal or a must do for 2013...
Then I started listing out what I wanted to do in 2013 in no particular order:
• clean my studio including archive client work and edit my own work
• paint simply paint
• make felt
• create a large textile wall hanging for Wexford Fringe Festival, I visualise a long textile that you can stand inside hung in a spiral that you walk into a curve giving you a different experience of the textures, translucent tactile opaque nature of the work
• bring my work 3D
• do a physical computing course
• create print exhibit sell iPhone edited fine art print range
• make great art
• find suitable spaces to sell work
• communicate regularly with patrons, owners of my work, potential buyers, fans and commissioners
Realising I'd already a list in my head without really thinking about also puts how I work into perspective.
Now as we all know it's so important to write out what you want to achieve. It is also important to publicly state your goals. These are my personal practice goals these are not my work - community or client - goals - I've even bigger plans there...
Where are you with your creativity, arts practice or creative process?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


look at it differently, Roisin Markham 2012
Its almost the end of January 2013 and this is my first blog post for my personal practice! Whats going on you may ask - well work and volunteering. Its been a huge month. Hope the rest of the year is going to live up to it!
January is always a good buzz.
But alas my studio remains cluttered. The skip has been ordered and the plan is to be ruthless - yes I winced.
I realised before Christmas last year that I would be busy and not getting studio tie for a while choosing to be reasonable and allow myself slow down and not be in such a hurry. So right now doodling, digital photography are gathering momentum but painting it still lies in the tubes. But the dreaming has started and the waves of colour flowing as I day dream. Each night before I climb the stairs I hanker to come into the studio and paint. But I wait... allowing myself the time to regroup. Allowing myself space, to take my time, to edit what I keep to toss stuff away, to offer work for sale, yes to regroup. Yes space and time as I'm not making my best work yet.

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