It’s Getting Harder To See The Birds

Marking time and getting things done

I’m fortunate to live close to many parks and woodlands and I’ve just returned from a chilly morning walk. Pretty much all along the way I was accompanied by birdsong, and I spotted wrens, robins, great tits, blue tits, blackbirds, thrushes, goldfinches, pigeons and more.

As I wandered – I resolved to write something on my return. I used to blog regularly – and after I took time out to process my post fraud anxiety, I wound right down. I wasn’t short of ideas – but I had no motivation or energy to write, choosing instead to focus on getting better and keeping my creative practice ticking over through my art.

As the gap between blog posts got longer, I convinced myself I had no business scribbling anymore. How long is too long? Have you ever had that experience before now – where you’ve left something so long you end up believing you ‘can’t’ go back to it? I suffer from this tendency – and having got over myself a few times lately and been pleasantly surprised by the results, I’ve decided to stop suffering and get on with it.

I’m sitting here flexing my fingers, tapping away, and enjoying the experience – feeling the rust crack from the hinges of my hands. Coincidentally I’m listening to an interview with Dave Gregory who has just responded to a question about getting stuff done by suggesting that rather than find ‘time to spare’ to practice, we should dedicate time instead. I think part of my drift has been made easier through not scheduling writing time – so I’ll experiment with putting something in the diary and see how I get on.

What to write about? I have a strong desire to explore and write about the subject of fairness, so I’ll do some work on that. I’m also tempted to share aspects of my creative process too. I learn a lot from my experimenting and I’m curious to see what happens if I share more about that.

Spring is advancing – and though it is still cold out, it’s lovely too. There are bright greens in abundance as the trees come into leaf, which is beautiful. It is getting harder to see the birds, but I can still hear them, and they’ll be back.

An abstract patterned image - looking down on an imaginary woodland from above.
A Walk In The Woods – Tombow and Posca pens on card

HumanKind : A World Mental Health Day Free Art Drop

The last physical free art drop I made was way back in March 2020. I didn’t think it was right to continue the game during lockdown, so apart from a few online drops – the project has been dormant for a while.

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, and as someone who has benefited from counselling to help with anxiety and depression – this feels like a good time to restart. The mental health charity Mind is inviting us all to do one thing for better mental health – and this free art drop is my one thing.

I’ve sprayed my newly commissioned ‘HumanKind’ design onto an LP – I’ll hide it somewhere in the neighbourhood over the weekend. This is the only time this design will be released as a free art drop – a unique opportunity to get your hands on one of my favourite recent pieces of work.

HumanKind : hand cut stencil and spray paint on vinyl LP

It feels good to be back – and I hope you will do something for better mental health too.

Running Into Resistance

Getting stuck, and trying not to worry about it.

I’ve stopped. It’s probably just a pause, and for several weeks now I’ve not picked up a paint brush, a pen, or a pencil – much less created anything artistic. I feel stuck. I have a sense I know what I want to do – but I’m not currently able to make it happen.

Back in 2017 I made a series of ‘blindfold’ drawings, and my current stuckness has reminded me of these artworks. I can’t see what’s right in front of me?

The last time my creativity got seriously stuck, someone recommended I read The War of Art by Steve Pressfield. It’s an interesting book – exploring the notion of resistance, why we resist, and how we can get going again. I enjoyed the book at the time and once I’d read it – I felt more confident to get back to working. As we know: ‘Inspiration will always find you working’ (quote adapted from Pablo Picasso), so I’m going to read The War of Art again – and I’m going to stop worrying about this current drought in my creative practice. Maybe I’ll try enjoying it instead.

I’m not currently planning any creative practice sessions – but once my work starts to flow again, I’ll organise something and let you know when it’s taking place. In the meantime – you can follow along with any emergent creative practice (assuming there is any!) on my Facebook Page and my Instagram feed.

I used to write a lot – and I’m conscious that as my artistic practice developed, my writing tailed off. Maybe it’s time to switch things around again for a while, we’ll see. While I decide what to do next, have a good summer, stay safe, and please – feel free to get in touch if there’s anything I can do for you, and if you’ve any creative stuff you want to share, please do. 

Take care – Doug