Do you remember back in October last year I wrote about the delights of treating myself to a little bit of visual loveliness ie buying myself a print from an artist? The artist in question is called Caroline, you can see her card above and get an idea of her style. It's very "me" don't you think?
This was the print I brought from her shop, it's called "Twisty-Twirly Town". Isn't it lovely? I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. Bright and colourful little houses will forever twang at my heart strings, I am powerless to resist them.
Caroline's work is delightful. She works her magic with papers and glue, I think the correct arty term would be "Mixed Media Collage". It's a simplistic medium for sure, I mean a four year old can snip up bits of paper and stick them down, can't they? But do not be fooled. This work is intricate and time consuming and the designs are deceptively sophisticated. I just adore the way that dozens and dozens of weeny bits of paper can all come together to create such magic. It's beautifully clever.
This is how each of Caroline's artworks begins it's journey, with a simple line drawing to scale (roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper in this case). Coming up with the design in the first place is of course much more of a process, and often ideas brew for a good while before they get to this stage. Take the above design for example, would you like to know the story behind it?
Well when I first discovered Caroline's work, in amongst all the beautiful flowers and birds I discovered a houseboat, and it immediately made me think of my beloved Connievan. So I emailed Caroline and asked in my bestest, most persuasive email voice if she would ever consider working a caravan picture? I described my dream caravan to her, which included most important details such as a cute, roundy-retro shape, blue and white gingham curtains, strings of bunting and pots of flowers. Sweet Caroline, she listened to me go on, but as she was already busy with a new creation (a gypsy caravan), she kindly and politely told me that I would need to wait.
Ok. I can do waiting I said. And wait I did.
That was until the beginning of last week when I had a surprise email from Caroline, telling me that she was about to make a start on the retro caravan picture we had chatted over last year, did I remember? ReMEMber?? Why of course I remember! How ever could I forget? Will it have blue and white gingham curtains? And strings of bunting and flowers and birds? And pretty please could there be a red spotty jug of flowers somewhere??? Oh I was soooooo excited, I cannot tell you. Caroline emailed me the above sketch of her design and I felt like my heart had been grabbed and squeezed hard. Honestly, I couldn't quite believe how exciting it was to see the beginnings of my her new art work.
During the past week, Caroline and I kept up a daily banter by email, back and forth, sharing the journey of this sweet creation. She would send me email updates ("I'm planting flowers!") and some pictures of her Work in Progress. It was so much fun! Bless her, she even consulted me on various elements ("the curtains are going to be spotty and not checked, I hope this is ok, I would hate you to get upset by the curtains lol")
Some of the pictures she emailed me of work in progress just made me swoon. Look at the spotty jug of flowers, how incredible, how teeny tiny and adorable!
The spotty jug of flowers (which I had excitedly requested) was placed sweetly on the outside table, along with a cup of tea. Sigh.........perfect. Just perfect.
I began to try and imagine Caroline at work, how it must feel to be her, sat at a desk/table creating this work of art. I imagined her contentedly snipping and cutting and placing, surrounded by acres of colourful papers. I began to feel very curious and a little nosey. I wanted to see. So I asked......
......and this is what I discovered. A sweet, light working space.....
.......and a to-die-for stash of papers! Yum yum!!
I have to tell you that seeing these pictures and reading Carolines regular updates ("ughhhh I am completely brain dead - the concentration just exhausts me so much!!") made me remember the way it is when you create in this way. I know what it feels like to be so deeply involved with a piece of work, because I used to work in an almost identical way with fabric and stitch. It's both exhilarating and exhausting, especially towards the end when there seem to be a gazillion little decisions to make in order to pull it all together successfully.
With this piece of work, it was the wee Birds that were the finishing touch and proved hard to get right. Too much detail can sometimes kill a piece of work, as can the wrong colours. But Caroline is an experienced artist, and she chose to sleep on it and come back to the birds "with fresh eyes". Yes, yes, I remember that trick, it works wonders to sleep on it. Good plan.
So I had to wait an extra day to see the finished piece, the suspense was huge! I kind of felt that we'd been on this wonderful journey together, and now we were nearly at the summit and she was making me wait! Bah, how cruel!!!!! And yet of course I understood.
The pictures that arrived on Saturday, were so worth waiting for though.
Take a look..............................................................................
WOW. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! Isn't it just the most delightful image? So much fun and happiness and carefree delight in that picture, it captures the essence of caravan holidays in such a perfect way.
I wrote to Caroline to express my happiness, it was actually quite hard to find the words. I wanted to say what a privilege it had been to be taken along on this creative ride, how very much I had enjoyed the whole process. I wanted to say how it seemed to me that she had managed to look into my heart and capture everything I most love about trips away in Connievan :: experiencing the joy of outdoor living, yet feeling so cosy and at home at the same time. Of stars and birdsong and cups of tea and nature and cosy family times. Of fun and happiness. The picture says it all.
Shall I say a little Ta-dah at this point?
A mixed media collage by Caroline Rose Art, entitled "Settle".
I hope you've enjoyed sharing this with me, I felt it was a story worth sharing. I love to celebrate creativity, it makes me so happy. It also makes me want to dash off with Connievan into the countryside, to string her with bunting flags, fill her little jam jar vase with wild flowers and settle down with a cup of tea to wait for the stars to peep out.
Edit to add :: thank you SO much for all your sweet words, it's been such a pleasure to find you enjoying this as much as I have. In case you missed it, Caroline left you all a message.....
"Thank you all so so so much for your lovely comments, I am so touched by all of your lovely words about my art. I had such a fun week with Lucy while working on this one and hopefully we will do it again soon!! If you don't see the print in my shop - just let me know - I am trying to keep on top of the sales but sometimes I lose track!!! xxxx"
Poor lass, she has been completely floored by the terrific response to her artwork, I really don't think she expected such a deluge of orders (although I did tell her she would be busy this week!) She is the most kind, sweet, modest lady and she asked me to let you know that she is doing her utmost to keep on top of everything and will get orders out as fast as possible. But please accept that there may be a very slight delay as she catches up with it all, I'm sure you understand. Thank you all so much!