Thursday, March 30, 2017

I am an artist

As I'm still struggling with words, let's do this bullet blogging style. I don't know why the words haven't come back I feel fine in myself, it's simply that I can't write a coherent sentence on here at the moment. I've been deleting drafts all month. Pfft. Whatever. Here's my world in all it's glory.
  • I am an artist. 
  • It does not feel at all real. I announce: "I'm off to my studio" on Facebook and fall about laughing. Yet, here I am arting away. Artist are as artists do.
  • The session with Nicola, my mentor focused my work for the month. I had suggestions of activities I could try, as well as artists to look at.
  • Nicola has got me rethinking artists materials and surfaces. I've put away my usual drawing pens and am now using a dip pen and drawing ink. Given my cartridge pen was taken away from me at school because I covered everything except my paper with ink, it's been a challenge.
  • One of the suggestions was covering a 10m roll of wall lining paper with my stick forms. I've only managed about a meter and let me tell you, ten meters is quite a lot. 
  • It turns out I like using dip pens and ink to draw my shapes. It gives me The Happy.
  • I'm beginning to let go the idea of me being a figurative/representational painter.
  • In fact, I'm not even sure I can call myself a painter...or that I'd even want to.
  • I'm still getting used to the idea that what I'm doing now isn't so much about learning to be a better painter (which I've been working hard to do), but rather my challenge is to explore the length and breath of my artistic practice. 
  • My work with Nicola isn't only about how prepare for my application to an Master of Fine Arts programme, our time is also about how I build a solid artistic career.
  • I've known for some time that retirement will be something that other people do at the end of their working lives. I won't retire because I intend to create art and (hopefully) to write until I stop making sense or I drop dead. Whichever comes sooner.
  • The lack of retirement means I am thinking about creating an artistic life from the foundations upwards. To this end, I've overhauled my morning routine of coffee, social media and squabbling with strangers on the internet. Julia Cameron, author of the Artist's Way strongly recommends doing Morning Pages before anything creative. I've taken this on board and have already finished on Moleskin notebook.
  • I'm also working on my meditation practice. My sanity is a precious and fragile thing and daily meditation is beginning to help me keep my thoughts under control. 
  • Yoga and daily exercise is a goal I'm working hard for. My physical fragility is a constant source of frustration recently. I want to be out there running and lifting weights again. I miss feeling awesome. It also means I'll be physically more robust in my later years.
  • It turns out there's ten years of dust and cobwebs gathered in my brain. My ability to think critically (which wasn't all that great to start with) needs a good dose of WD40 and a massive wrench to get it going again. Anyone got any jump cables?
  • I'm working on several projects at once. This gives me The Happy. I like having several different schemes of work to dip in and out of. It means if I get stuck in one, I can hop over to another, giving my unconscious time to resolve the issue. It keeps me from getting blocked.
  • As well as preparing for the show next autumn, I've been invited to submit work to an exhibition at the end of April (this April, like April 2017). It's called Sardines & Beer and is being held at Thirteen A in Norwich. I'll be putting in three pieces of work. One is actually Dave's, it'll have an NFS sticker on it. The other two I'm working on now and they will be for sale. I've only got about ten days to get them ready as they've got to be framed. No pressure. No pressure at all.
  • The exhibition next month means I've got to get other things sorted like: business cards, know all the marketing stuff I should be all over, but actually have been ignoring.
  • I am an artist.
  • I've got to think about myself in the world in those terms and that's a bit scary. People believed me when I said I could do this and now I've got to get the mass of ideas from my head onto paper and canvas. Easy peasy.
  • The chickens are still in lock-up. Unfortunately, with the warmer weather, they've discovered how to dig. Dave and I moved them to give that patch of grass a break, he glanced out of the window and called me over. On a totally fresh bit of grass, within an hour Scrabble had dug herself a lovely hole up to her chest.
  • Bantams are brilliant for getting moss out of grass. If only they would stop there.
  • Apparently, I'm feeding the pheasants too much. Dave says their obese. Nonsense. I say they're just puffed up!
  • Jenga was kicking up a fuss, when I went to see, the massive cock pheasant was strutting around like he owned the place. I did try to get a picture, but he became suddenly camera shy. 
  • It's definitely Spring around here, though I am deeply resentful of the hour lost to British Summer Time. I don't care what the clock says, it still feels like 5am when my alarm bloody goes off.
Well, that's enough for the moment. In my typical fashion, once I got going I was fine. Ah well. Let's try this again next week, shall we?


  1. Anonymous8:34 pm

    Sardines & beer ?
    Both comes in cans, but that's all I could come up with.

    And of course, no pressure ... *whuhahaa* *cough* ... deadlines, who needs them anyway ?

    1. I think the name is a play on the situation in the gallery. It's a tiny space. It's going to be a bit of a squish.

      By the way, you didn't need to share your germs. *cough, cough*


  2. I am especially intrigued with the 10m art roll project. I imagine it is to develop technique. But I can also imagine that one's style would evolve during the during the project as well. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it. Anyway, I look forward to any current or future comments on this.

    1. I think you've hit the nail on the head, I've been completely stuck with my sticks. Nicola wants me to think beyond traditional "art materials" and perhaps to think less about what I'm doing. I'm still quite uptight about the whole process. Doing 10m, I've lost that perfectionism which was holding me back.

  3. My brain needs more than WD40, I'm thinking more along the lines of a complete transplant!
    Well done, you! I wish I could even begin to get my act together.
    And thank you for your kind words regarding the dip pen :-)

    1. Do you think if we apply together we could get a buy one brain, get one free? Let's do it. Or perhaps we could go for a bulk discount?

      Not kind words at all. My respect for what you do has no limits *she says as she mops up ink*

      Consider yourself lucky you live on the other side of the country. There was one day when I was very close to seriously bugging you on FB, fortunately, I sorted it out...but jeez. You'd never believe the places I've found ink.

  4. Congratulations on your progress so far and for the April show. I would love to see what you're sharing, if you've got time after the show. It's all so exciting! You are an artist!

    I'm glad to hear the chickens and pheasants are robust/rotund...It means they're healthy. Seeing as they're descended from dinosaurs, I'm imagining your rooster and the pheasant making angry dinosaur noises and posturing as they rumble over territory in your yard.

    Cheers and Good health and Best wishes!

    1. Anonymous4:16 am

      Now I imagine Godzilla & Co in a Norfolk garden ...

    2. Mr Swings, thanks very much. Now I've got this post out the way, I've started thinking about other posts including pictures of the 10m roll. I'm hoping if I tell myself often enough I'll start to believe it. Still doesn't feel very real at all.

      It was very funny watching Jenga get upset with the cock pheasant, who completely ignored him and worse, kept strutting back and forth calling for his ladies.

      Herr Mago, it is exactly like that, but with less skyscrapers.

  5. Ooh, so many good tips here.

    *nabs as many as can grab hold of*

    Thank you, Roses! I've already had some success with the rethinking of surfaces and materials - I've discovered that I quite like collage.

    Happy arting, and good luck!

    1. Darling, do you know there's what I call a guerilla drawing class every Thursday fortnight at Anteros Art? It's a £5.00 for a two hour session starting at 6pm. It's a call and rock up. Mel does lots of exercises to get you to loosen up and then there's the longer drawing session after the break.

      It's lots of fun and it helped me so much.

      Thanks darling and I look forward to seeing more of your stuff too!

  6. It all looks good so far. If you've been invited to exhibit, you're definitely an artist! But why Sardines and Beer?

    My brain needs more than WD40. A hefty dose of full-strength axle grease is probably what's required. Or a brand-new hard drive.

    I don't have any plans for retirement either, but my body might decide otherwise.

    1. As Nicola said, I'm doing the work, I'm an artist. That I've been invited I suppose, yes, other people think so too. It's very exciting and terrifying all wrapped in one.

      Perhaps you should come in with Ms Scarlet and me, book a brain transplant on a bulk order?

      I'm hoping the exercising will keep my body functioning for longer. Wish me luck.

  7. Anonymous3:37 pm

    10 meter ... the Chinese did these very long pictures, ink ("Tusche"), rolls, I remember the Qingming-Rolle - but this monumental thing is just 5 meters long. Hope you can get on a roll ...

    1. Yes, I've heard of those scrolls. They were beautiful.

      Ten meters...10m....*sigh*

    2. Anonymous9:01 pm

      Don't look at the length of this thing. Just see it as a diary : Reserve half an hour or so daily for it, sit down, get working, let it flow, never look back - that's reserved for sometime later. You could leave a colour or a point or a line for tomorrow, something from where to start again, a thread through the labyrinth, dear Ariadne ...

  8. YOU are an artist. There you go. xoxoox ;)


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