Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Busy time of year

One of my favourite times of year
-actually I could say that most months.....
but now it is Rajasthan Tours time and they are our first baby and special.

I love to wander, very happy to tuck a group under my wing and show them people and places I love. It is a buzz.

This year our Teacher's Tour- a collaboration we have run with Liz Smith for the better part of 10 years I think
[question to self- why did you not keep better lists back then?
- Answer well I did but back in those days when your computer croaked it you did not have back up!! Now we have external hard drives and clouds and things are still around. .... 8 or 9 years ago when things went down the gurgler, they stayed there !!
self- OH OK]

and at the end of the week our Rajasthan Tour starts.
We have to skirt Diwali and this year that caused a little overlap. Praveen is looking after the Liz group, I will start with our Raj people and he will catch us up a few days later in time to play indigo out our place.

We have also been super busy and enthusiastic working on new ideas.

One I am are super excited about is "Sketching with Jo Beal- on the road to Rajasthan"
Years and years ago we did a Sketching Holiday Tour to Vietnam, I really enjoyed it and have wanted to follow up on the idea ever since.

One of those I beena gunna things [for non Aussies that translates to "Something I have been meaning to get to...." ]

Well here it is.

Jo has kindly contributed a blog entry for me to introduce herself....I know her as a fun person we have travelled with, who I have greatly admired watching draw and wanted to join in. Here is our chance.... wow has she been immersed in the Arts for ever- check her history :)

Meet Jo

I’ve always had a passion for art, for drawing, painting, stitching and working with natural materials. As a girl I loved drawing and would be so excited to receive a new pack of coloured felt-tips for Christmas (I still am!), or a colouring book or other creative activity. I enjoyed art at school and went on to study General Art and Design at Basingstoke College of Technology, followed by gaining a B.A.(Hons) in Public Art/Art for Architecture at Chelsea School of Art.

I’ve lived in Swindon, Wiltshire for 12 years and I’ve worked in arts development for 25 years. I have devised and delivered all sorts of community arts events and worked for charities, the Arts Council, Local Authorities and arts organisations.  

In recent years I was the Artistic Director for Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts, running an international street festival and carnival. I currently work part time as a freelance arts project manager for internationally renowned arts organisation Kinetika, which combines world-class design with community projects to produce spectacular outdoor events that engage diverse audiences all over the world. This summer I walked 147 miles around the Thames Estuary as part of Kinetika’s annual walking, taking and making festival T100 – Welcome to the Kitchen Table. I also lead drawing workshops for Kinetika as on a project for the Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme called CommunityMapping – 100 Stories.

Since 2016 I have been delivering my Adventures inArt Journaling workshops in art centres and community venues in and around Wiltshire as well as outdoors, combined with walking and exploring. My aim is to help people build a daily creative habit in a fun and experimental way trying out different approaches to art journaling including drawing, block printing, collage and creative lettering. I provide top tips on tools and techniques to inspire people to fill their sketchbook pages with amazing art, gaining confidence in their drawing along the way, and most importantly, really enjoying it!

In 2016 and 2017 I kept a daily drawing diary. I bought a small regular diary, the sort that shows one week to a page. The daily entries provided enough space for a small drawing to capture something interesting or significant or memorable about the day. Each drawing was quite quick to do, and I like to look at the whole page as one composition and help the viewer through it, as if telling a story.

I’m inspired by nature and love to walk in forests and up mountains, collecting interesting and beautiful samples to draw. In 2018 I made a whole year of nature drawings. I did a daily drawing of plants and flowers as the seasons changed. Some drawings I did fairly quickly in say 30 minutes, others took much longer, even up to four hours! But this is what happens when you get the drawing habit and become engrossed in a subject, you get absorbed and time flies. You also end up feeling really good as drawing can really help you to focus and relax.

I set up Urban Sketchers Swindon in 2016 and we soon became an Official UrbanSketchers Chapter. In March 2018 we were featured in the organisation’s DrawingAttention publication. We meet once a month to draw, share ideas and support each other.

I also set up Swindon Samba in 2009. I played in the band for about 5 years, and sometimes led it too, until work commitments took over. The band is still going strong. They’ve changed their name to Ministry of Samba and have just celebrated their 10th birthday! Sometimes I think about joining in again as I love the rhythm of the drums.

I love to travel and have enjoyed three tours with Fiona and Praveen, two to India and one to Vietnam. Spending each day with sketchbook in hand and capturing as many of the sights and 
sounds as possible in it is such a joy for me. A bit like my drawing diaries of 2016 and 2017, I like to fill a page with a whole range of drawings of different experiences, sometimes using lettering to connect drawings up or to express a feeling or capture something I’ve heard.

I take my sketchbook everywhere and can be found drawing on the train, or sitting in amongst the bracken in the forest, or at other times staring at a portrait in a gallery and copying it to try and understand how the artist painted it. In Vietnam this year I discovered I could draw whilst in a mini bus, which was fantastic!

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