I have found this course a huge struggle, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy and I don’t suppose things will get a lot easier, but I now have the right tools in place to keep moving forward. I still lack confidence in my work, but I’m getting there. I‘ve printed out the quote from the lessons and have it on my studio wall.
“You are perfect the way you are….and you could use a little improvement”-Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
- I have disbanded the committee-this was an epiphany for me-the collage I made is on my notice board
- I have my alignment and recalculating list on my notice board. This was also an amazing revelation-I know what I know, and where I want to go next.
- I’ve always worked in series, but now I am doing more planning, and also allowing myself to have more than one theme – another move forward. If I get stuck on one theme then I can swap to the other.
I found the writing part of this course very very difficult. Not because I don’t write, I have written poetry and short stories since I was in my twenties. I have just never, ever, kept a diary other than for appointments, so that’s what a diary was for me.
I discovered Penzu about six weeks ago, a free online diary, and have managed to develop a habit of writing in it most days. I check emails first thing, and then write the journal entry – they send an email every day to remind you which is great. I hope this might help any others who finding writing difficult.
Most of my daily entry is in the form of a list, but this has been incredibly helpful in getting me to ‘just do the work’. It’s probably the biggest change for me, after disbanding the committee, in having a list of things to do today. I can also go back to yesterday’s entry and use the ‘strikethrough’ to mark things done. It sounds so little but it is a colossal move forward. I comment on the work from the previous day – again in list form, and this informs today’s ‘to do’ list.
Another habit I’ve developed during the course is the ‘bird by bird’ jar. It looks after the accountability side. The pot of bird charms is on my desk, one bird for every hour worked. I love seeing it fill up.
I’ve subdivided this idea and now have an ‘animal by animal’ jar for all the writing and admin side of work – looking for exhibitions to enter, sorting work for framing, and all the ‘sitting at the computer’ stuff. It stops me using this as an excuse to not actually ‘do the work’.
Last month I applied for and have been accepted for an artist residency in a nearby town. I would never have even thought of applying for something like this before I did this course.
My plan, I will…
- Show up in my studio, at least 6 hours, but preferably 10 hours a week and do the work on my Penzu list for that day, or at least plan it for the next day.
- Continue to work on the themes of ‘Coast’ and ‘Landscape’ with particular reference to man’s use and abuse of these areas, with a subheading of ‘Pathways of Desire, the way of least resistance’ for the next twelve months. The research will include more ‘walking, observing’ recording’, once a week at least, scheduled in via my online organiser calendar (another first for me and brilliant help in‘just doing the work’).
Pathways of Desire are where people walk, cutting off corners, making a track across grass verges, the way of least resistance. They can also mean something like the worn place on a door where people push rather than using the handle. It’s a form of Wabi Sabi, the traces of human marks made over time, beauty by action, engaging the rebel. I also thought it was a great title for anyone like me, struggling with work-don’t fight it, chose the way of least resistance and ease past the obstacles.
- Accept that the work will be what it is – painting or textile, it will be me. I want to get back to textiles, but accept maybe now is not the time.
- Look for and enter both local and national exhibitions and competitions. At least two a year. I have already accepted the artist residency, and have been invited to join an Open Studio group in October.
- Apply to join one of the national exhibiting groups by September 2016.
- Continue to do one or two workshops a year, particularly the ‘mentoring’ type rather than technique lead. I have a course booked for July this year, and have already bookmarked several websites for next year’s considerations.
Any online recommendations of this type of course would be gratefully accepted.
I am also waiting (impatiently) for Jane’s new book to come out in June. I intend to follow the course through again, this time with a more open mind and heart.
It would be nice to keep in touch with CST students, but I’m not good at going on Facebook, it just doesn’t feel appealing. I used to belong to a couple of online groups via Yahoo groups years ago. If anybody else would be interested in starting a group for creative support, I would love that, and would try to work out how to set it up.
I have already shared some of the work I have done in the last few months. My work is getting more and more expressive and loose. The piece below is one I did last week, an exercise in using a palette knife to paint with.
Whilst I have painted in a loose way for maybe a year, it’s only in the last few months that I feel OK about NOT painting in a realistic way. I live in a seaside holiday town in a rural area. People mostly like to see realistic views of the surrounding countryside. I used to feel that my paintings had little worth, but now I can accept (most of the time) that they are me, my expressive view of the view. Whether other people like them or not is only their opinion, not a criticism or evaluation of my work.