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.
I recently found out about March Meet The Maker – a month long creative practice diary hosted primarily on Instagram, started by Joanne Hawker. I am enjoying rising to the challenges of the daily creative prompts, and I’ve decided to record these creative snippets in batches here on the blog, so I have a longer term record of them. Are you sitting comfortably?
Day One : Story
‘Just Create’. Beginning my #MarchMeetTheMaker, telling part of my story. This is a piece of art, made and given away four years ago, as part of LeapDay 2016. It symbolises letting go and it encapsulates the creative essence of Leap Day and the free art project I started, shortly after this art was made and hidden. Letting go is a life’s work, and it’s partly why I became an artist. After my Dad died in 2012 I struggled to deal with my grief. In subsequent years I experienced anxiety and depression and worthlessness in ways I didn’t know were possible, even though I’m fortunate to be part of a loving family. Through this time, my art has helped me see things differently, given me some purpose and enabled me to connect with the wider community. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that art helped to save my life, along with Carole, Keira, and some fantastic counselling too. Note: I didn’t make this piece, I wish I could recall who did, as it contains much joy and wisdom for me. Thank you.
Day Two : Hands at Work
Hand drawn hand. Oh come on, it’s been a long day!! ? I work with all kinds of materials- on any other day this photo could show clay, spray paint, watercolour, acrylic – pretty much anything!
Day Three : Time
Today’s #MarchMeetTheMaker is all about time. A good friend recently told me ‘Life is short, live it well’. I wish I’d started arting sooner but hey, I’ll make what I can while I can. In the words of the late great Neil Peart : ‘The arrow flies while you breathe, The hours tick away the cells tick away, The watchmaker has time up his sleeve, The hours tick away, they tick away.
Day Four : Branding
I don’t currently have a logo for my creative work, but my artistic identity is strongly associated with stencil art, spray paint, and frequently features sheet music. When people spot my work I want them to see a contemporary artist working with a mix of new materials and ideas, on older, repurposed surfaces. Something like that anyway. What do you think my ‘brand’ says? I received some very interesting, useful replies to this question on LinkedIn.
Day Five : Close Up
This is work in progress on a carefully crafted guardian – a 00 sized brush drags acrylic paint across rough watercolour paper. Maybe not the best tool for the job but I love the texture on the wing of the finished piece. An exercise in patience.
Day Six : Reducing Waste
Lots of my work is new art on old surfaces. Sheet music, maps, and money all feature in my work, and my Vinyl Junkie project uses old LP records. All these surfaces were unwanted, destined for the bin. Transforming them from junk into new works of art is one small way of reducing waste, which is what today’s #MarchMeetTheMaker is all about.
Day Seven : You
I’m not often in front of the camera, I prefer to let my work do the talking ?. Here I am working on some stencil art at a conference in Berlin. This was part of a three day visual exploration of creativity and innovation with a client. When I’m not doing this, I paint from home, I rent shop space in a lovely pop up shop in Reigate, I run community art workshops, and I make and hide art in my neighbourhood. My free art project will be four years old soon – watch this space and help me celebrate this anniversary.
After hearing the news of Neil Peart’s death earlier this week – my thoughts turned to how I might acknowledge his life through the free art project. I wanted to reference his lyrics and connect these with a design familiar to Rush fans.
The song Afterimage opens with the lines:
Suddenly, you were gone
From all the lives you left your mark upon
The song later begins to conclude with:
I learned your love for life
I feel the way that you would
I feel your presence
Neil Peart was a private person, and news of his ill health had successfully been kept from the media – so in that respect, his death came as a shock. These words feel apt.
As an image – I chose to adapt the Rush Starman design originally by Hugh Syme. Peart once described the design as ‘the abstract man against the masses’. I’ve chosen to represent the design with tiny dots – and sought to create a fading out appearance towards the bottom of the design. ‘Afterimage’ will be the next free art drop and it will be accompanied by a print out of this blog post.