Let there be light - My Travel Tip!

What do you use yours for?

What do you use yours for?

Ah those eerie, mysterious, shadowy, obscure moments…

You know those dark moments when balance is key and you do not want to be toppling over.  Those muscle testing moments of free crouching, especially if it’s a number two.  Hey we all have to go some time, with shovel in one hand and toilet paper in the other, hand wipe/gel in a pocket.  Those bleary eyed moments when you want to reach that peak to see the sun rise peeking through the clouds, each step is felt but not seen, so tread carefully.  Those moments of realisation that maybe it’s time to get your eyes tested or are maps just being printed in teeny tiny fonts that squinting only makes it darker.  Those quiet evening walks in a local village or a sleepy town where only the stars twinkle high above yet it’s pitch black below….but how do you find your way home?

Oh, how handy is a head torch in all those moments…so handy it keeps your hands free to do the more important tasks at hand!

Now that you have seen the light…keep that head torch on you, during all dark times!

What’s your balance?

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I’m finding a new equilibrium in my life as changes occur and am liking it, in fact I’m loving it.  Whilst contemplating how I’m adjusting I started thinking about how I’m spending my time both currently and will be for the year, breaking it down into what role I play and percentage split…don’t ask what goes in my head!  Eventually I just had to work it out precisely and put some figures together and yep produce a pie chart…told you, don’t ask what I’m thinking.

Now it’s been charted I can relax!

I kept my roles simple…it’s me as an employee, a traveller, an artist, good ole me time and snooze time.

This was all triggered recently when I accepted a new role and went back into the corporate world of Telecoms, after my career break.  My break was to pursue the arts and really emerge myself to the extent it became a hobby…and it has, with my living room makeover into a studio I have an art space at home.  I work my hours in the weekday and my work laptop is shut by 6pm and the evening is me time.  My me time is a mix of travel planning, watching films, cooking, creating art, whatever I feel like doing or not doing…I did think about producing a Venn diagram of which roles overlap but thought that might be an overkill, hey I can’t help it!  My weekends are as an artist and travel is based on annual leave now…mind you, as I’m contracting I have a habit of travelling more!  I must say in my defence, these roles/percentages are just an average and I pretty much go with the flow and how I feel in the moment.

I will continue to keep this new found balance and promise I will not get into the ‘work 24/7’ mode which was the cause for my career break.  I’ve had a great break and will continue to challenge myself, venture new avenues and let life unfold through my adventures.

I’ve found my balance (well it’s a shifting one)…have you?

My Travel Tip – the humble pen!

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Ah yes, how the humble pen can be your best travel companion anywhere in the world.  I mean, it’s always needed (well mostly)…any shape, size, make or style but it needs to be of black ink.  Yep, black ink is a key requirement to fill in those forms/cards, you know them.  They come disguised as landing cards, departure forms, on-arrival visa forms, disembarkation cards etcetera etcetera etcetera!  It still amazes me to see people’s reactions when the realisation of having to fill in a paper form sets in, the panic button is pressed and the flurry to find a pen starts…they start asking others around them (sorry, I need mine to fill in my form), cabin crew, airport staff, member of authority, hmmm who have I missed!  All for a small handy object that takes up no room in your hand luggage.

Next time, unzip or is it unbutton or flip open, or whatever you do to open your bag, take out your pen and complete those forms in calmness whilst the immediate world around you sorts out their frenzy.

Mind you, there are plenty of other uses for our travel buddy…you could use it for sketching, oooh maybe to give an autograph (hey you might be famous), to exchange silly notes, write snippets for a book, jot down your thoughts, fill in a diary. Hey, anything that comes to your mind works.

Now that you have been tipped (I know)…keep that humble pen with you, at all times!

uh? urm, ok!

Sketching in Jerusalem (top) Israel, Athens (bottom left) Greece and Vic Falls (bottom right) Zimbabwe.

Sketching in Jerusalem (top) Israel, Athens (bottom left) Greece and Vic Falls (bottom right) Zimbabwe.

I’m sitting in a public place, sketchpad on lap, fineliner pens out and ready, looking and seeing my subject of attention and making that mark, pen on paper.  People, a mix of tourists and locals are busy doing their thing.  Some stop to see what I’m doing, some strike up a conversation, some are curious about my use of pens only, some provide input and suggestions, some introduce me as the artist to their kids (I know, I’m an artist sounds all professional), some ask if I’m an architect (this one throws me for sure) and then there are a few who ask for a photo of me sketching.  This still takes me by surprise and hence the initial response “uh?”, oh that’s me saying to myself “did I hear that correctly, a photo, of me?” followed by “really, well if that’s what they want” which kinda like comes out as “urm, ok”.  This is my intellectual response when asked for a photo by a stranger!

Let’s rewind.  My first course I signed up to when I started my art adventure was called ‘Drawing Views of London’ and was based outdoors, a different location every day for 5 days and using different mediums.  I guess I didn’t even think twice about feeling awkward sketching whilst people are buzzing around me, as that was the course remit!  I remember the 4th day was at Borough Market and a few of us sat together when these two ladies walked passed us a few times, each time giving their critique and each time telling me how mine was not very good.  It’s a good thing people’s opinions of me and what I do have no effect on me…thus my ease of sketching in public.  To me, art is an interpretation and a personal taste.  You don’t have to like my work, you don’t have to appreciate my work…it’s just that I have to enjoy my work and I have to love my work.

I do love what I do and am humbled when anyone stops to see and critique my work…and I’d like to send out a heartfelt thank you to all those that have stopped by and to those that will stop by.

See you out and about x

p.s. Does it seem like I’ve narrated two stories here?  hmmm!

p.p.s. Mind you, it made sense in my head!!!

Bloody Lines!

No, not of the school detention kind and no, not of the sniffing kind either!  I’m talking of the cold kind…yep, you heard right.  The wind is blowing cold, snow settled on the peaks yet quite refreshing even with all my layers on.  I’m walking up the road towards the church that fascinated me when I first arrived in the town.  I get to the top of the road and what do I see (apart from the church), is lines, a lot of lines, just lines.  Horizon line, visible points on the line, straight lines, slanted line, lots of perspective lines!  That’s what art has done to me…made me see lines everywhere and pretty much all the time.  It sure does introduce a different perspective (!) to my travels.  I find a place to sit, on the ground (did I say it was cold) at the edge of the road, gloves off, pen in one hand and sketchbook in the other…my purpose, to sketch that church.  It always seems to feel colder when you’re stationary and what happens when the tools to sketch get shivering cold, oh that’s my hands and brain?

I was in the Arctic Longyearbyen, Svalbard and this is my take on Svalbard Kirke.  Ooops!

I scream “LINES!  BLOODY LINES!” 

What do I do when I’m having a bad sketch day…yep, I draw more lines in all crazy directions!  Eventually, I tried to salvage from all my chaotic construction lines, a red church.

I was in the Arctic.

I was in Longyearbyen, Svalbard and this is my take on Svalbard Kirke.

Ooops!