Category Archives: art

2019 ends and 2020 begins

Usually I have done an annual review which was part of an education idea about self nurture. I haven’t even tried this year because people who are in contact see my Facebook, Instagram or rarer blog posts.

So 2019, what happened in those last two months:

– took on new role as a part time shopkeeper – I love it, working three days a week at present suits well and loving the interaction with visitors and customers alike.

– took part in my third and final Artisans on the Beach event on Swanage seafront – only part time because of commitments eg shop.

– continued to sell work and do my duties at Purbeck Artisan Yard in Wareham where I will continue to sell my work as well as in Swanage

– sold Christmas cards after an invitation to join the christmas event at “Shop: Dorset Makers”, Creech – successful new development

– had stock with HappyHay at her emporium in Lytchett Minster

– completed my work with Swanage Primary years 3 and 4, including two class sets of pictures drawn on my Art for fun overalls.

– a change of christmas plans as Anne rushes to hospital on December 23 for an appendectomy on Christmas Eve and return home on Christmas Day.

Yes,2019 finished rather full on. Rest days = 1.5!! From 30/11.

So we are now in January and a role for me at home making sure Anne recuperates and I do more to help and drive whoever to appointments as designated driver. Also I am going to help in Monday duties (only 2) to build a new artisans kitchen area at the Purbeck Artisan Yard. Also 4 Fridays leading the Art Workshop group in Swanage on the theme of Stepping into Nature. So another busy month with upto 5 days work each week (not good at this retirement idea).

2020 – relax, exercise more, get out and about with Anne more, not overcommit each month and to work in the shop and keep making art.

Shopkeeper

Two weeks in and the shop is developing nicely. I have spent an extra day in each week building items from scaffolding boards and pallet pieces. We are receiving a steady stream of visitors and making some sales, better than I expected initially.

Art table mark one, since I proved to make it more stable and also used as a workbench for other carpentry projects. The boarded wall to the left of the picture and the counter to the right were left by the former tenant and have helped set the theme for our rustic look.

Furniture in the shop now includes; a bench, two stools and matching tables that Lee from “Rescue and Restore” built for me in the summer. Items that I have built include the art table that will be used for “Art for Fun” once I start to have takers. I have also built a window unit that uses the small windows at the side to form small display spaces.

Then we have a combination of card carousel, print browsers, app,crates and pallets that Jo is working on. Next week we will be putting up our shop sign which Jo is painting the shop name onto.

The general feedback about the decor has been very positive from visitors.

As always I enjoy interacting with customers and visitors. I also have the bonus of parking so that I walk the seafront each morning and afternoon around the shop day.

Life is a changing

Since I arrived to live and work in Purbeck, Dorset at the end of August 2016 my life has changed several times.

September to November 2016

School teacher continuing into my 29th year as a teacher.

November 2016 to January 2017

Nervous breakdown (two in fact) and looking for a new direction.

January 31 2017 to present

Start to use the term artist for myself and producing work and selling it to others

March 2017 to September 2019

Seasonal job for Wareham Boat Hire, using my knowledge of kayaking and rowing especially. Working 6 months of the year outdoors and often standing in the river Frome.

September 2016 to October 2019

Joined and rowed with Swanage Sea Rowing Club and got to see the Jurassic coast from the water.

November 2016 to present

Attended Swanage Depression Support Group and then Wareham Depression Support Group and now act as fill in facilitator for Wareham.

July 2019 to present

Got involved in retraining at my own kayaking skills and developing a new love for sea kayaking which is now going to replace gig rowing for my water sports time.

The change from Geography teacher to artist has been the biggest change. I have now taken part as an Open Studio in Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) for three consecutive years. I now have my work in the Purbeck Artisan Yard in Wareham where I joined the co-operative in March 2018. I currently have a solo exhibition in the cafe at RSPB Arne due to the link with PAW. I have work with a friend’s business in Lytchett Minster. I am about to take part in my third Artisans on the Beach in Swanage, the last two of which have been as a member of the organising working party. This weekend on November 2nd I took the keys of a shop in Swanage in partnership with one of my fellow Artisan Yard artists. So now a part time shopkeeper.

This new role means that the boat job will go as I am only willing to work part time so that Anne and I can enjoy the remainder of the week doing activities together.

So let’s see where the new adventure leads . . .

Germs a shifting, back to business

So I still have the germs in the system but a week of steroids meant I went from about 30% to 100% lung capacity available for breathing. I have the energy to be back doing…

InkTober 2019 has started and today I will be doing prompt 7 – my aim isn’t to spend lots of time on each piece but more to think of different responses to the day’s prompt word. This often sparks ideas to return to on a larger piece at other times.

Yesterday, I made my way out to RSPB Arne where I hung what is essentially my first solo exhibition. I am pleased with how it looks and it includes a range of pen and ink pieces with marker pieces. Some are originals and others are giclee prints, I have also included my photo print of Hungry Hare which is still my most popular print.

In having the exhibition which will be on until the start of December and will overlap with the Artisans on the Beach event I am looking for a wider range of people to see my work.If anyone actually wants to buy a piece (some pieces) that would be an added bonus.

On Saturday I took part in the Fun Palace event organised at Swanage Library and offered “Art for Fun” aimed at families and children. It was great to have parents and children drawing alongside each other and the 174 colours drew people in. I did a fun piece of Swanage Bay with many types of water activity in it and I gave this to one of the participants. A second piece of a crocodile, which was proving a favourite topic for the children was given to the library. Both,I suppose are technically AndyKnillArt originals but we’re just fun drawings for me. The good bit was saying that I would be offering the same activity at the beach huts in December and hoped to see them there.

Purbeck Valley Folk Festival 2019 up to drawing 1.

This is the biggest local folk festival to us, previously I have been working and we haven’t investigated it. However this year the Saturday headline act was the Afrocelt Sound System whose music I have been listening to since the 1980s from recordings by Real Music. Also we previously saw Moishe’s Bagel at an Artsreach concert in Corfe and members of the groups have been interchangeable previously.

Anne and I booked our day ticket for Saturday – luckily for us the poor weather was on Friday and we had a dry sunny day, the poor weather moved back in as soon as we got home last night.

We arrived and parked up and made our way down to the farm having collected our wristbands and a programme. A first point of gathering our bearings – there was a singing workshop in the Long barn which sounded great and a Morris dancing workshop in the Big barn. We sat, drank our first hot drink in our new bamboo reusable cups.

Long barn singing workshop

Big barn

Then we set off to explore the Market area and Fire Stage field. On the way we saw the hay bale caterpillar and various photo opportunity boards.

The second photo looks up the Purbeck Valley towards Kimmeridge with Kingston and home on the left and Corfe on the right.

We looked about the market area meeting local friends and drew on pebbles with the Milmer family. We also saw Jessamy Keily from the artisan yard. We then settled down and listened to The Fox and The Owl followed by Tashkezar, the latter more manic and resembled many tracks I have at home. While they were both playing I worked on my first sketch (drawing) of the day.

Can you? Would you? …. Yes / No

These questions and similar became the bane of my life in the past. I had the tendency to say Yes when I should have said No. Our family social worker when adopting over 20 years ago used to say to Anne and I, “can’t you two just be?” and often the response would be no.

Why? We had plenty on our own plate with my career’s demands and the needs of the boys and … but often we found scraps of time to support others because by working as a team we could back each other up. Eventually it started to backfire and we started to say No more often, or attend meetings and sit on our hands so we couldn’t volunteer to do more.

So when my career crumbled back in 2016 – see previous posts from November plus 2016 and April 2019 – a change of status… the answer had to be a definitive NO.

Life has changed since.

From November 2016 I joined the Swanage Depression Support Groups and then helped when the Wareham Depression Support Group started. These two groups were part of me taking control of my depression and working to improve that aspect of my life and its impact on those around me. Eventually after about 18 months to 2 years I found hearing many similar stories over and over was not helping my recovery. I still attend when my life wobbles, we have hosted the May social for the last three years and now, particularly, my free time means that if a meeting’s cancellation becomes likely I am happy to stand in and help by facilitating the meeting be it in Swanage or Wareham. I did one of these back in May for Swanage and last night I ran the Wareham meeting. Groups like ours are not run by professionals but fellow sufferers who speak from experience, we support each other and we welcome others who need friends in their time of need. Last night reminded me yet again how special that link is.

Wednesday had been due to be a quiet and restful day only through a combination of circumstances I needed up attending a meeting in the afternoon and evening too. I actually came away refreshed mentally from both of them.

So what did I do in the afternoon? The first working group meeting for Artisans on the Beach 2019. Yes meeting in June to discuss the beach hut arts and crafts event for December. An event which exists to encourage locals to develop with their hobbies.

In 2016 I sat on the seafront with new friends very fresh from my November breakdown and leaving teaching, I drew a piece of the Swanage Beach Huts – my first piece to sell in 2017. In 2017 I took part, I was almost hyper at times, energetic, enthusiastic, drawing out in the fresh air, wearing outfits that caught people’s eye and I ended the event as ‘Artisan of the Year’. In 2018 I had become one of the two Artisans on the working group and we added some changes and structures to the event which continues to grow by reputation for participants and visitors.

In 2019 that role continues – my art hobby has become “AndyKnillArt”, I do two main events a year with PAW (Purbeck Art Weeks) and Artisans on the Beach, I also exhibit and sell my work year round as a member of the Purbeck Artisan Yard, it will never be a full time job, nor will it stop me pursuing other ideas but it is a channel through which I share my creativity and I love it.

So…?

I attended two meetings …. I said yes. Does that mean I now say yes to every opportunity / query? No, I don’t. I need my free space to explore, relax, enjoy. I have earnt that right after 28 years teaching, after 20+ years of parenting and seeing both our sons live elsewhere.

Moving forwards

I am investigating more ways to use my motto “ArtForFun” where I host activities for any age to do some art for the joy of it, no judgement, mindfulness, relaxation, … whatever suits. This is also not going to turn into a ‘crusade’ that sucks me into overcommitting myself timewise and emotionally. I will do it from time to time, e.g. every time I do a duty at the artisan yard I post on the AndyKnillArt Facebook page so that passersby can drop in and have a go. When I do events like PAW and Artisans on…. then I can offer it again. I don’t want it formalised into an activity which engages all those officialdom forms and risk assessments and … been there, done that, thrown away the uniform. As the ‘tag’ suggests it is about “fun”.

Many years ago after working in outdoor pursuits prior to my pgce (teacher training) I adopted the motto “Life is not a rehearsal”, I now have time to enjoy my life, I live in a location where I can enjoy my life, I have Anne whom I enjoy life with. So sometimes I will answer yes to queries. Often I will say no because I need my enjoy life space now.

For you

Are you a yes, a no, a mixture? Volunteering makes our society work. It is the glue that supports communities. Please consider saying yes occasionally, but at a scale that you can cope with.

Thanks for reading

Andy

Skills and interests that reappear

When I was teaching especially from 2004 to 2014 I did lots of IT (school term ICT) based work both in terms of subject content taught, responsibility posts and developing ideas and presenting at Teachmeets etc.

Having grown up essentially pre PCs once I could access the technology and use it to enhance my teaching I did lots of research and tried out many ideas. This led to swapping ideas with education colleagues globally teaching a range of ages. I became a geek or nerd, not sure which. Two aspects I really took to were the use of apps to enhance teaching and the use of the tools and capabilities of Interactive whiteboards.

After leaving teaching many of my IT skills were neglected. I now use my excel skills to organise my finances and art stock. I have always had a smart phone and tablet, usually iPad so have used apps but nowhere near as much as I used to.

The slow death of the family laptop meant a new home computer was needed so I decided to buy something which would help with photographic and graphic work to use alongside my hand drawn art. My first iMac. I also wanted to be able to draw and add work onto computer apps, at first I thought this would need to be a graphics tablet like a Wacom costing hundreds of pounds. Luckily despite such items being advertised in the Apple store they weren’t stocked in the Apple shop I visited. I decided to delay the purchase as I enjoy the use of pen and paper.

Reading an Apple magazine this week it talked about a new opportunity the new iOS 13 and macOS will offer at the end of the year using something called Sidecar. Not available yet so today I did some research and found Astropad Standard that essentially allows me to draw on the iMac using my iPad as a graphics tablet in effect but for under £30 so I have invested and look forward to developing my designer and photo editing skills with both Apple devices that I have.

This will be an extra with my art and I may invest going towards 2020 in a good standard photographic printer so that I can produce work of a suitable standard to offer as part of the AndyKnillArt portfolio.

It feels positive to reuse skills I had started to develop while teaching. At the same time I would still prefer to spend the evening watching a deer or Hare graze in the garden than sit in front of a monitor for hours, so we will see how this develops.

So art Weeks finished…

Hi, two weeks of sitting at home waiting for visitors and what the weather will throw at us. Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) 2019 was my third time opening my home studio in the outbuilding to the public, it was a fantastic success with visitor numbers rising from 271 last year to 428 this year. Sales also increased by 50% with many more sales of prints and originals. Also I sold over 300 cards in 16 days which was just mind blowing to me.

My mental health – in a good place, I am now comfortable with the tag of being an artist. On reflection the amount my art has progressed ,and I have to, since the end of January 2017 is amazing for me.

So back to work at the boats from this weekend and many art ideas to follow up on.

Exercise has slipped badly since the trip to Canada and I have not been doing my Freeletics programme. It is something I need to work back into. I am cycling most of the time at least one dir cation for my boat shifts most times. This summer isn’t as hot as last year which suits me better, I just need to get out there.

Just a sort of catch up for anyone who still looks at this blog.

Art focus

I am currently running my Open Studio (22) as part of the Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW19) and am blogging daily with linked posts on Instagram – @Andy.Knill and Facebook page – AndyKnillArt.

If you wish to see the posts there are all linked on the Facebook page or http://www.andyknilllart.com.

My art started for my mental health and mindfulness – it still is and I am keen to spread the message that “Art is fun” at all events that I attend.

Andy