Saturday, 5 September 2015

WORDS FOR THE SUMMER

Summer is nearly over, and it's time to get back to reality. For me summer is the best time of year, I just love the sun, the colours, the light, but it can often feel like a sort of purgatory as nothing productive really gets done. Or does it? 



I know productiveness is often seen as a physical thing, and I'm a big culprit for thinking this way; as a creative person I like to see physical evidence of the time and effort I've exerted, something 'real' like a piece of art. But why can't memories be real even if they aren't physical?

At times, especially when I've had a day where I haven't made any art I feel disheartened or even panicky that I've wasted the day, but this is never the case. You can't really 'waste' a day. There's no rules as to how you should spend a day, you made those up yourself, and once I realised this I started enjoying myself more.

Instead of thinking that a lack of physical evidence makes a wasted day, I started seeing productiveness as myself moving forward. I try to move through the days collecting pieces that improve me as a person and discarding anything that holds me back. After all, what's the point in experiencing anything -- be it good or bad -- if you don't move on from it, and take things that make you better?

I really hate motivational quotes and all that, they're so condescending. But I guess what I'm saying (and I'm aware I'm sounding preachy but I'm not trying to be I swear) is that I've learned things this summer, and although I've had a lot of fun and met new people etc. it would all have been a massive waste of time if I hadn't improved as a person. I like myself more and more everyday, and I believe I'm a much better version of myself than I was three months ago when the summer started.

Keep improving and never stop. What's that quote on Tumblr again?

I give up. On to Autumn.

Emily x

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

AUGUST FAVOURITES

 Hello, I do believe it is Sepember, and it's time to talk about my new stuff. More important than this random load of stuff I've gathered this month, there's been numerable things that have happened that have made me very happy this month.

Firstly, I go to university in Northampton which is in the midlands; because of this, I seem to accumulated friends from all over the country which is great because I've spent the month visiting them and had them visit me. This meant I got to see cool stuff all over the country and have a laugh. Highlights were visiting Yorkshire Sculpture Park with my friend Caitlin (you need to go there it's amazing if you're an art nerd like me), getting pissed in Stourport with all my flatmates and exploring the Lake District (where I live) with my good friends Luke and Megan. Secondly, the lovely old time I had at Hayton Castle meeting all the wonderful people there and having a right laugh playing guitar till the early hours of the morning. And finally, Solfest. I have little words to describe how much I love this little festival, and I got to spend it with some pretty amazing people. Good times all round I'd say, hurrah to August!

Now on with the random crap.

 As it's September I'm in uni mode at the moment, and couldn't resist these sunshine yellow pan and wok set from Aldi. Hopefully it'll make me feel better about cooking, but that's a long shot.
 I made this cushion! I'm very pleased with myself and think it'll fit very well into my uni room. Also, have you noticed the colourful backdrop? This is an offcut rug that I bought from Solfest. I just love these rugs, they're really cheap and add colour and cosiness to any room.
These beauties were found in charity shops on my travels, in total I spent a fiver! The jumper, as it says on the logo, was actually hand knitted, it's so cute. The floral number is actually a button up dress in a chiffon material that I use as a long kimono.

Anyway, onwards to September for Freshers, moving, gigs and lots of job applications! I hope you've had a wonderful month too.

Emily x

Thursday, 27 August 2015

DOGS ON THE SHORE

Hello, I hope you've had a good week! This week I've been away visiting some of my friends from uni round the country which was pretty fun. It's only when you go away that you really appreciate the things that you love from your home town, which is why when I got back I went dog walking with my friends Ciara and Gareth.

To be honest with you, my travelling around the country - well, mainly the midlands, I don't want to pretend that I'm some avid explorer/adventurer - was somewhat challenging for me. I find trains themselves very stressful (who doesn't?) but taking them three times in one week was a bit much for me, especially when they dragged up a load of weird-ish memories that I didn't appreciate reliving when I was dragging a suitcase around on my own. However, I managed to get where I wanted to be in one piece; I may have lost my phone and a little bit of my sanity on the way but I'm okay. Needless to say I was relieved to pull into Carlisle station on Sunday.

Anyway, I wanted to talk a little about a lovely lady called Linda that I met this summer and how her dogs make me very happy indeed. Linda has nine dogs, all of whom are either rescued or taken on by her if their owners can't look after them anymore. The dogs are all happy, healthy and love playing together and keeping each other company, this is why I love walking them along the shore and watching them run and explore and just generally have the time of their lives, it's lovely to be a part of. I think because the dogs are always so happy to see you and excited about everything it rubs off on you and has a sort of calming effect, I love it.

Each dog has their own character, and trying to capture that on camera was very difficult as they all went wild on the sand, I must have had to delete so many blurry photographs! However, I hope from the photos here you'll be able to get an idea and that they make you smile as much as they make me smile.








Emily x

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

RECENT DRAWINGS


Hello! Here's a sneak peek into my sketchbook again of what I've been sketching over the past few weeks. In my last post I mentioned about my creative block that's been plaguing my life recently, the last recent drawings post I did (read it here) includes the drawings I had been making during the block, so today I'm going to show you the drawings I've been making as I was coming out of it. I don't know about you but I can notice a big difference between them!

Stop rambling Emily, show them the drawings...

Okay here goes:
The first drawing is actually a drawing of Aaron Johnson, don't ask me why. The second is the outcome of taking my sketchbook out on a night out with me, I can't actually read half of it or remember writing it al all, but there it is.

I know this isn't a drawing, but I just love pressing flowers! I was given a huge bunch of flowers for helping out with an exhibition a few weeks ago and I couldn't resist pressing some.

The first one is space-related things in fineliner, and the second is a ceiling fan in biro from when I was sitting in a pub. As far as fans go that one was pretty useless.

Fucking feminist. Just because. And that's a rather rushed self portrait.

This is my thought process when researching and coming up with ideas for my drawings for Neon Moon last week. It was fun creating a drawing that I wanted to be both inspirational and empowering at the same time. See the post and the finished drawings here.
There you go, my visual diary for the month. I'll be heading out on a little tour visiting some of my uni pals this week so I hope to have a few more interesting drawings to show for next time. I hate trains with a passion but I have to admit they're good for sneakily drawing unsuspecting travellers. Until you get caught staring at someone that is, it's pretty awkward after that...

Emily x

Saturday, 15 August 2015

PHOTO DIARY

Over the summer I seem to have uncovered a new-found love for photography, something which I have always had an interest in but never had the time for. If there's one thing I've learnt at uni this year it's been the ability to find beauty and interest in unconventional places or things. In fact, one of the most important things I've learnt in my artistic education is that a good artist can make anything look beautiful, and the way you capture it makes all the difference. This summer has been filled with some rather breathtaking views, lovely walks, painfully boring days and one crippling creative block all mixed together, and these photographs are the result.

Carousel in the Lakes

Maryport Dock at night

The train track

Maryport Aquarium

Maryport Aquarium

Old Farmhouse

Muddy Puddle

The view from Dodd Wood (Derwent Water)




 It's difficult to take a bad photograph when you're stood on top of a mountain overlooking miles of picturesque little towns and countryside, and I suppose that's what my creative block felt like. I've never had one before and it took me a while to work out what was happening to me, I was still making art, still drawing and generating new ideas and such but all my work seemed rather stale and flat, like what I wanted to make wasn't coming out onto the page. It was extremely frustrating to have all these ideas running through my head and not being able to make anything that amounted to anything; everything felt like a humongous waste of time. Yes it was pretty but it wasn't what I wanted.

Anyway, how I got out of it was simple. I kept myself busy doing and experiencing things other than my art, having a laugh and surrounding myself with the people who make me the best version of me that I can be. Although I was still sketching daily (something I try to do no matter how successful the drawing is) surrounding myself with the people, places and experiences that inspire me began to have an impact on my drawings, and I began to be able to communicate visually again.

I hope you enjoy the photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them. Have you ever experienced a creative block? If I ever have one again I know how to deal with it that's for sure!

Emily x

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

WHAT I'VE BEEN LISTENING TO


Today I want to talk about music. It's one of my favourite things in the world - after art of course - and I've had a constant love affair with it since I was very young. I have my parents to thank for introducing me to some classics that form the base of my music taste. My Dad for the likes of Led Zeppelin and Hendrix, and my Mam for Fleetwood Mac, ELO and Foo Fighters. I've recently expanded my music taste and found loads of new artists that I've never listened to before (I have my Spotify subscription to thank for this one); there's no greater feeling than finding a band, instantly falling in love with them and listening to their full discography non stop for the rest of the week. So here's a playlist of new and old favourites that have filled my ears this summer:
I've been loving Florence + the Machine after watching her set at Glastonbury. How can you not love an artist that shows so much passion and excitement when performing? She was so overwhelmed and thankful to be there and I can't help but respond to that with equal enthusiasm for her music. Also, Kiss with a Fist is such an empowering song and makes me walk down the street with an attitude!

I had to get Bombay Bicycle Club in there somewhere, they're my 'go-to' band that I always return to if I don't know who to listen to. Their So Long, See You Tomorrow album is utter genius and one I like to listen to as a whole, there's not many albums out there that I won't skip a single song while listening to it all the way through.

Arctic Monkeys don't need an explination because they're an old favourite and Alex Turner is a lyrical genius.

The Vaccines, Ella Eyre and Lucy Rose were all artists I got to see at Kendal Calling last week and they were all amazing so they had to get onto the playlist. Comeback (Stripped) by Ella Eyre is a beautiful song; it's just her voice and a piano and because her voice is so pure and raw it really draws you in. The same to Lucy Rose who has such a beautiful, haunting voice that sounds exactly the same live (her cover of Taylor Swift's Bad Blood is better than the original, soz!). The Vaccines were undescribable.

The Stone Roses are definitely a very summery band that never fails to make me bob my head like a maniac and smile my head off! I will never got bored of the song Waterfall, which reminds me of being at uni actually.

Everyone else on the playlist is well worth a listen if you're looking for some new music to listen to, I know when you get stuck in a rut and can't find any new artists to listen to it can be quite frustrating so hopefully here's some ideas for you. What've you been listening to this month?

Emily x


Sunday, 9 August 2015

I LOVE COCONUT OIL

I know I'm a bit late to the party with this one (as with most things) as coconut oil and it's benefits has been floating around the internet for a while now, but I just couldn't not mention it on here because I think it's amazing! I'm going to tell you what I use it for and how it's helped me in my beauty regime.

Coconut oil is multipurpose and cheap, so I've replaced a lot of my usual beauty and skincare products with it. It's great not having that massive bundle of products to carry with you when you're travelling or to clutter up a bathroom with.

The first and most obvious use for coconut oil is as a moisturiser. Now, be careful with this one, because depending on your skin type, coconut oil might not be compatible to use every day with your skin. I have oily skin at times, so I use it after shaving or if my skin is feeling particularly dry. Another useful tip is to use it only at night time before going to sleep. It's quite oily (duh!) on the skin for a while, so if you use it at night then it'll give it time to soak in over night and leave you with luscious soft skin in the morning. Likewise, don't apply it just before doing your makeup, out of experience the makeup will just slide right off your face...

Secondly, I use coconut oil as a hair mask occasionally. Just before washing my hair I apply it all over my hair and leave it for maybe 10 minutes. I then wash it out with shampoo to get the greasiness out of my hair, use my conditioner as normal and it leaves my hair nice and soft! If my hair is feeling a bit dead and dry between washes I usually stick a little bit on the ends and leave it to disguise my split ends.

Another key use for coconut oil - and this is my favourite - is a makeup remover. I mentioned before how it makes your makeup slide off your face, this is what you want from a makeup remover right? I take a small piece (about the size of a pea) allow it to melt in my hand, then gently rub it over my face - but don't scrub! Try not to get too much in your eyes, it won't hurt them, it just makes your vision a bit cloudy when it gets on your eyeball. Moving it around my face breaks up the makeup so when I get a cotton pad and wipe the oil away the makeup comes with it. After this I usually wash my face with my cleanser to remove the oil completely and I find my face is moisturised already so I don't have to use moisturiser! You'll find that not only is this method better for moisturising your skin (better than makeup wipes anyway), it also helps strengthen your eyelashes.

I use it on my lips if they're feeling particularly dry at times. I often put a small amount on my lips and apply some lipstick over the top to create a tinted lipbalm when I don't want a really dark lip. Sometimes I find lipsticks clump on my lips when they're dry anyway so this really helps to prevent that.

Okay, I've finished kissing coconut oil's arse now (although it can kiss mine as much as it likes). I'm sure there's loads of other uses for it that I haven't discovered, so please let me know if you have any other tips.

Emily x