Thursday, 26 July 2012

Is This Art?

The latest in my peacock adventures. Just a miniature little study, but it's another step in the experiment with a good look at all the colours that flutter around the feathers. I've painted this from a real life feather here on my desk. I can't stop playing with it.

The rollercoaster has been continuing here. Mentally I'm feeling in a whole different place now. This week I've felt some seriously lovely stretches of wellbeing, moving from contentment to being what I can only describe as really happy. It's been quite emotional in a lot of ways, and rather than trying to keep it all inside  I've allowed myself some tears, lots of laughing and oodles of time with my beloved, sharing the joy. He in turn is feeling much better and keeps telling me how good it is to have me back. Who knows how long it'll last? Having said that, I wouldn't have believed anyone if they'd told me six months ago that I'd be having a week like this. I'm grateful indeed.

On the down side, I caught a virus about three or four weeks ago. It's one with a nasty chesty cough and temperature and all that. I went to my GP after about ten days and got some medication, which is gradually helping me show an improvement. I'm still feeling a tad feeble and breathless, but mostly I'm fighting it off now. I reckon this time next week I'll be fighting fit again. I'd better had be - I just won't put up with this nonesense!

I don't know if anyone's ever caught the TV show called Show Me the Monet? Someone recommended it to me and I've been really getting into it (BBC2 iPlayer on catchup). My heart is in my mouth for the artists and I am transported back to my university application interview where I received a very similar grilling. Really scary stuff. My hub watched an episode with me last night and we had a good old meaty discussion about what is and isn't art, especially when applied to the work we both do. 

Please step this way into my can of worms......

I have no doubt that the panel would hate my stuff and throw me out for being merely a decorative artist. I don't think I have ever used art as an expression of my emotions, as seems to be the requirement for these guys. I've asked myself whether I would consider it as an approach, and right now I'd say no. I simply don't have any desire to intentionally "speak" via a painting. I don't even feel a need to create a dialogue with the viewer. Does this make me fall short? That one's open to much debate I suppose.

All I can say is that I've spent my whole life with ideas desperate to burst from my head onto a page, or a creation. In recent years I've had the opportunity (and confidence) to let rip with it. Interestingly, this has come many years after completing my art degree. I never really became comfortable with my work back then like I am now. I am always delighted when someone connects enough with a painting to want to own it, so that's my dialogue happening organically I guess, which is what I'm most comfortable with.

In conclusion, I think I'm a sneaky one, hovering round the edges of "art" (am I allowed to tag myself thusly?) and loving it when a person stumbles into me. Appreciation is a fine reward, but I don't force it. That's pretty similar to the sort of character I am too, so at least there's some continuity round here in a way.

Friday, 6 July 2012

July's Here Already. Blimey.

It's been a long month here.

I'd intended to write frequently, but I couldn't bring myself to spew forth pages of blah blah without having any artwork to sweeten the pill for you poor readers. After all, this is my arty blog, and while personality is part of it, it's not the whole.

This week I've painted. Aside from that last picture I posted (which sold a few days later, amazingly!), I was unable to pick up a pencil and do anything for quite a while.

The medication rendered me a shaking wreck, and despite reviews and alterations to what I was taking, I kept getting worse. Eventually one morning, after taking the nine pills I was having every day, I decided enough was enough.

I've had similar medication before in the past and it was difficult getting to grips with it, but this time I found myself eight weeks in, with nothing to show but extreme anxiety and a lack of anything positive in my life. So I went cold turkey. I quit taking everything all in one go, which is not recommended, but I strongly felt I needed the freedom from it.

It's been a tough few weeks, though I do feel a lot more human. There have been one or two really bad days that I thought I wouldn't get through, but I did. Better that I battle my own demons than those of drugs that change everything for the worse. I know this isn't the way for everyone and I wouldn't urge anyone to follow my lead, but it's definitely the best way for me right now.

So, on Tuesday, after a hideous day Monday, I woke up feeling more positive than I can remember being in a long time. By 7am I was at my previously abandoned desk, painting and painting. I barely stopped to come up for air, which is how I always used to work. I actually felt normal, real and whole for the first time in months. I'm not naive enough to think that this is the end of the troubles, but I take great solace and pleasure from having achieved something.

I had a review at the doctor's on Wednesday. I was concerned that I'd get a telling off when I admitted to what I'd done with the medication. As it turns out, I got quite the opposite. Heidi, the lady who has been looking after me since the beginning of all this, told me that she had never previously seen me smiling as I was that day. I hadn't realised that I'd never once given her a smile or a laugh, which is a big part of my personality. She must have thought I was just a miserable bugger! She approved of the change in me and also commented that I've lost weight. The latter will of course reverse itself soon enough, as it was the pills taking away my appetite. On the other hand, I do have a minor desire to start cycling and there's a bike in our shed that could be make servicable again, so you never know.

I can't make a summary here, or offer any great insights. All I can do it potter on day after day going with whatever my daft brain happens to throw at me. I can however show my paintings, which have already been aired on Facebook, Folksy and goodness knows where else. Plenty of you will have seen them already, but just for the record:

Large painting, one of my faves so far

And some ACEOs, all framed up nice