home truths

I found myself doing much more reading on my ‘art holiday’ than I had imagined, as I got a terrible cold which confined me to bed for most of the week. At first I was irritated, even angry about this, but decided to be open-minded and spend the time reading, writing and thinking productively even if I didn’t produce much work. I spent a fair bit of time working rather haphazardly and sketchily through The Artist’s Way*, which although definitely qualifying as navel-gazing of the highest order, did prove to be quite illuminating and helped me make sense of some of the thoughts spinning round my head. I was particularly inspired by the exercises to identify your creative dreams and aspirations. In between sniffing and sneezing and eating too many Easter eggs, I learnt/admitted/discovered these things about myself:

  • I would like to paint large canvasses
  • My most cheer-me-up music is trad jazz
  • I’d like to learn printmaking
  • I worry a lot about wasting time
  • I’d love to dye my hair very blonde
  • In another life I’d be a singer in a band or a window dresser for Anthropologie
  • I wish I was braver
  • I’d like to own red shoes, more silver bangles and an easel
  • When I was a child I wanted to be a ballet teacher
  • I am getting better at believing in myself

What I need to do as a matter of urgency is carve out regular, uninterrupted time for myself to paint and draw. How I do this I am not yet sure... what I do know is that, perversely, it is something inside me that stops this happening just as much as external events. I need to stop fighting myself.

*The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

art holiday

This week my sons have gone on holiday with their dad and I am free of family responsibilities for five days, so I decided to book time off work and have an art holiday at home by myself.

The house is clean, all our clothes are clean, and there is food in the fridge... I plan to tell no-one I am here and just get up in the morning, go for a walk, come back and hang out in my artroom all day. What bliss. Knowing my life, something will probably happen to disturb all this, but that is ok... I have prepared myself... a pessimist is never disappointed.

Today began rather early (at four o'clock) so the day has been a little slow to get going, but I have had a peaceful time drawing funny little apples from a picture in a magazine. I am finding that I am still preoccupied with experimentation in lots of different media and seeing what pleases me and what effects I can achieve. It is pleasing to my tidy mind to cross candidates off the bottom of the list and not bother with them much again: charcoal, chalk pastel and coloured inks have all had three buzzes and left the stage, and the jury is out on oil pastels.

I hope to have some more to show you by the end of the week... if all goes well.

Elizabeth Blackadder

I wish I could tell you this was my work... but it's Elizabeth Blackadder... I'm really looking forward to seeing her retrospective at the Scottish National Galleries this autumn.

I've been a bit of a renegade on my art course and haven't done the last two assignments. I have been doing a lot of experimental drawing though, which I think is more valuable to me in my growth and development. Nothing even half good enough to show... but maybe one day soon.

PS Hopefully I have sorted out the missing picture now... please let me know if you still can't see it.