It seems so long since I have shared any of my own work as many of my recent posts seem to have been about teaching and classes and e-courses.

Whilst Autumn is without a doubt my favourite season, these weeks since I returned home from the US seem to have been endlessly grey and rainy, unlike the crisp, colourful blue sky, cold air days of Autumn that I love and long for. It had never occurred to me before that the changing seasons might affect my mood, but these last few weeks I have begun to wonder. I have spent more days than I would like to admit, curled up with a book and in-progress crochet blanket, a cat on my lap and endless cups of tea. I have also been comforted by the knowledge that after a busy few months of ‘doing’ I can take some much needed time to just be rested and to think and ponder and plan a little for what comes next.

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I have been getting into the studio too and working once again with the simplest of materials and my most accessible subject matter. Charcoal, as dusty and smudgy and messy as it is, remains my go-to material for just doing ‘something’ in the studio. Self portraits, as self indulgent as they may seem are the perfect subject matter to get me to the easel, work through my thoughts and emotions and yes, get me doing ‘something’ … ‘ anything’ as long as I am creating.

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I have long since stopped worrying about the size of my nose, how to represent my greying frizzy hair or whether I need to even make each drawing look like me – instead I feel free to capture a glance that says more about my present mood, or a turn of my head or the direction of my gaze that merely hints at my innermost thoughts and dreams. So each one of these could be of a different person – a different version of me (whilst always reflecting the heart of me) on any given day.

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Drawn from a combination of photos and the use of a handheld mirror it is easy to note where one eye does not sit too well beside the other or where the tones don’t accurately describe the forms of my face (so easy to be so particular when judging a face I know so well) but again, these things are secondary to just working away, dirty hands and black fingernails, dust up my nose and losing myself for a stretch of time to create these images. They are quite big – much bigger than any of the daily portraits I worked on a few months ago. At around 16 x 20 inches there is quite a pile of work appearing and whilst I am working on these I find myself beginning to also think about ideas that are still fuzzy and hazy. I am beginning to think about new pathways in my work and life, changes that are on the horizon that are big and bold and scary and exciting – just a whisper of new beginnings, still fleeting but gradually becoming more possible.