White Branch

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A white branch for December! Even though we hardly ever get snow down here, I still can’t help but imagine it. It’s been ages since I’ve sat and worked on things like this, so I’m feeling a little rusty..! This is one of about 7 versions that I’m toying with.

This branch has last year and next in its branch and seeds, so it seemed right for now!

Wishing you warmth, friendship and love, through December and on.

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Clearing

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I was excited last weekend to find that my music and photographs were featured on Elsa Mora’s generous and lovely blog, Art is a Way.

I’ve been a huge admirer of Elsa’s work for several years now – her intricate papercut work and other fantastic creations are so inspiring.  I feel really honoured to be listed there!

The first featured image was one that I had kind of put to the back of my mind, and it was nice to be reminded of it. It inspired me to give this small girl a new view..

 

Dream Fishing

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Sleep just didn’t want to happen in this wild and windy night tonight, so I distracted myself and made this collage.

Layer upon layer of golden fossilised fish..

(this is taken from a scan of a Mene rhombeus, which, according to Bristol University (take a look at their brilliant cabinet of curiosities), is a beautifully-preserved fossil fish from the famous Monte Bolca (or Pesciara) site, in Verona, Italy, from some 50 million years ago!)

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Minimum

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I’m working on some new collages at the moment. There are so many decisions to make – how much to include, what works with what, how everything you add creates an extra layer of meaning – does that layer add interest or distraction? Too many choices!

Then sometimes I come back to the original, paired right down, and I like it with no alteration. This is the base that I am working with, an image from a few years ago. After exploring the thousands of possibilities, I’ve ended up now quite enjoying its space. I often come back this way, a confusion of noise, settled down to a few quiet lines.

I’ll post up the layered versions next time, would be good to hear what you think!

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Collaborations

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This past two weeks, I was excited to collaborate with the fantastic visual artist, Elena Caravela. Both of us exchanged work, for the other to add to and manipulate, creating something new.

Part 1: Adolescence and Thorn.

A few of Elena’s Bird-Children figures flew from her hands to mine..

In this piece I have combined Elena’s wonderful watercolour figure and birds from her Adolescence work, with photographic work from my Threads photographs. On viewing the bird’s inquisitive beaks, these thorns came immediately to mind. There is a huge sense of both vulnerability and defiant strength that sings out from the figure, which I have tried to engage with. Here we have caught her at a defining moment, in which anything may turn..

It was a great learning experience for me to work in this way! Travel over to Elena’s blog to see the work that she has undertaken in this project!

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© C.E. Rennie/Elena Caravela, 2013

Postcard Progress

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A few weeks ago, I invited people to take part in a small project. Having been inspired by a postcard exchange I had taken part in with Stephen MacInnis in May last year, I wanted to do a similar thing again on a slighter larger scale. And so I sent out a collection of cards that I had printed to various corners of the globe, hoping to hear some news of their arrival.

Here are a couple of pictures of a few of their adventures – so exciting to see them in their new spaces..more to come!

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From Exeter, UK to…

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Puppy postcard arrived and newly homed with Antoinette in Oregon, USA..

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Small trees, sitting happily on a desk with artist Sydney Lancaster in Alberta, Canada..

(p.s. I’ve just seen that Sydney has just posted about this on her blog today too!)

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nathan 5_72Exploring all corners in the middle of Kansas, USA, in the workspaces of Nathan Filbert and Holly Suzanne.

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Thanks so much to everyone for taking part – this is an ongoing project too, so if you would like me to send you a postcard, get in touch! You can read the initial posts here and here.

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Postcards

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I’ve been printing little cards of my most recent pictures. It’s great to hold them all in my hands, little collections. There’s something comforting about them. I only have a cheap old printer at the moment, so they are not perfect, but they are lovely to hold.

I had a small idea that it might be fun to post some of these to different people, and also to leave some about out in the world for strangers to pick up and hopefully take home and/or share.

The idea would be that I would have details on the back stating that this is a postcard to share or keep, and to ask the recipient to let me know that they have it in some way, maybe take a photograph of it when it arrives, and email that to me, so that I can take account of my cards travels..then if that person would like to send it to someone else, as a gift, for them to photograph too, it would keep them on their journey.

I would then post these travelling card pictures on a blog page.

Do you like this idea? Would you like me to send you one? If so, leave me your details on my contact form, I would love to send you a picture and watch it travel!

(p.s. I won’t tell you when I am about to send it, so it would be a surprise..:) )

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New Space

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Some of my favourite new corners in my new workspace.

It’s a great space to reflect and learn. I’m setting things out and making a home there.

I’ve added a wall of favourite shots too, to look over slowly.

Today was grey, but misty and light.

It feels good, just now

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© C. Rennie, 2013

New Years Thoughts

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Every New Year I feel the urge to re-invent myself just a little. To become better in some way. That unblemished new leaf, an opportunity to put mistakes behind, step forth into the brave new day, in a new pair of shoes.

I make lists, promises, tidy things. I buy pens, order my shelves. Clean cupboards. Wipe away cat fluff. It is all so hopeful.

And then, as the year rolls by, life happens. Pens get chewed, promises fall by with a blush, more stuff fills those perfectly arranged shelves. More fur drops, everywhere. Unexpected things always happen, good and bad, things fly at you and you have to change track. And mistakes? Well, lets not count.

But still again, like a fresh Spring breeze, January 1st will arrive and I will take my breath, climb up and reach the summit of good intentions once more, and love that view – clear, clean, new. Forget the rocks back down just for a second.

And isn’t this just how it goes? We all have our circles and lines in which we move, we all have old skins that sometimes we need to shed. I need this sense of renewal each year. But I should expect mistakes. Mistakes are human. I want to be kinder to myself and allow them. Because, maybe each time we do grow just a little wiser, maybe imperceptibly, somehow we do learn something from every mis-step. Maybe each new skin that I grow is just slightly more formed, just that little more me.

I’ve been reflecting a lot over the holidays on creativity, and my relationship to it. Sometimes I am comfortable with it, sometimes I am achingly not. I struggle hugely with maintaining a balance between a huge onslaught of ideas and creative impulses and a strictly over organised framework where I get things done but become too narrow and judgemental, and don’t allow myself time to breathe and explore. More balance is needed. I read a great quote on the fabulous blog by Elsa Mora – “Art is a Way“. She quoted Henri Matisse thus:

“There is the heart and the mind, the Puritan idea is that the mind must be master. I think that the heart should be master and the mind should be the tool and servant of the heart. As it is, we give too much attention to laws and not enough to principles. The man who wants to produce art must have the emotional side first, and this must be reinforced by the practical.” – Robert Henry.

He says of an artist:

“He must have an excellent mind which he must command and use as a tool for the expression of his emotions”

I really like this idea, of the heart and mind working in balance.

I feel like I’ve learned a lot this past few months through my photography and posting here..but..I am missing other areas of my creative life too and I’d like to reach out a little and explore some more. I feel like maybe photography might be part of what I do, not the whole, like maybe there is more to go with it..I miss my handmade work too, it would be fun to try and incorporate both.

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I am also very excited to finally have a little room of my own to work in! I have been working on it over the holidays and it is feeling like a very exciting, invigorating, and reflective space. It’s on a hill and overlooks some of the town and countryside – with a teeny view of the estuary if you lean out the window a bit…!  I have printed some of my work and put it on the wall – it’s been great to do that and take an overview of things. I must allow myself the luxury of printing more – I like to hold things in my hands, it feels like part of me more somehow.

Hope and light, and the promise of a brand new day. My resolution this year is to be brave and honest both in my work and my life. Let my heart speak.

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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