I did an hour and a half work in my sketchbook before breakfast today (and I have just done similar this evening!) and I did a large drawing (may not yet be finished) at the studio plus some sorting out there. It’s so great to be able to spend some real time on my work rather than only being able to make time for this project. I know I need to put this project in high gear very soon if it is to be a real success, but I need to do some other things first if I am to retain a semblance of sanity.
Having really prepared everything for a productive time at the studio I realised I had forgotten to take the envelope I had printed. Head next!
When I say I am on a roll I am surprising myself: I am really quite excited about what I am doing at the moment and already have plans for tomorrow, but I am frustrated that I can’t at present develop the ideas into my general work. In fact I am not really able to do any other work at present as I have been prepping for my #Collage365 show at Bridport Arts Centre (hanging tomorrow) and am trying to get sorted at the studio so I can have some spin-off viewings there too. I am feeling a bit stressed and my black dog of depression has been poking its nose in for a few weeks. So, thankfully, I am on a roll with #Letter365 and, thankfully, I am just about holding it all together for the show and stuff but that is hardly “on a roll” and as for the rest, well I’m wading in mud in wellies again!
Here’s another example of time being spread too thinly. Today I had completed my piece by about 10.45 this morning and yet it’s now 11pm and i haven’t posted to the blog yet. True I didn’t do my final check and review till late afternoon and it was gone 6pm when I posted it. So where has the day gone. I have been busy all day but apart from #Letter365 I have only done one other small piece of art! The rest has been preparation work for my #Collage365 show: picking up work from the framers, gathering label information (had some help here) and a bit of setting up stuff at the studio ready for some viewings. All necessary stuff and I was pretty effective most of the time but so little on making art!
Well that headline is a lie. It’s just trying to add a bit of drama. I spent a decent amount of time at the studio today. I had hoped to do a bit more sorting but really needed to try out working on something much bigger than usual so I can assess the best way to set up the studio. So after sweeping out and cleaning some fo the drawers of my recently acquired plan chest I created a paper work area about 2.8m by 1.2m. I was going to leave it at that point so I could get the #Letter365 piece underway but well…I had to try out something!
There was never any intention that I was going to force such a large (in any case as yet unfinished) piece into the envelope. My #Letter365 artwork today is more modest in scope and somewhat more refined I would say.
For a change I am showing a larger view of the double-mouthed post box I have been using of late. There is also a return to a picture of the back of the envelope:
I have been in a really low mood today. I do suffer from depression and have been pleased that despite the death of our cat and feeling unwell and a number of other stresses, I have not been attacked by the black dog for quite a while. But this cold/cough/sore throat/flu/sinus/toothache bug or bugs that have been bugging me for weeks had ground me down. I am just so weary at a time when I have lots I want to do and this had made me frustrated. A number of things I try to avoid have got in over the last day or two as well. So all in all it is no surprise that I am down today. Whilst it is a pretty low mood, I do not feel that the black dog has come to stay. He has been sniffing around for a few days and has nudged open the door today to see if he can come to play, but I think I am just physically exhausted and I’m feeling just ordinary low rather than starting to be invaded and inhabited by the alien being of depression.
Anyway, my state meant that I have found it difficult to do much today. I had some correspondence to catch up on, one item of which was in the “usually avoid” territory so was not helpful. The rest was pleasant enough or necessary but I still found it took ages for me to do even after using up all my avoidance strategies! So the day went by without getting to the studio and I ended up really not having the energy or interest to go to the studio this evening. Instead I lit a fire in the Pig Barn (my old studio in the garden) and did something completely different; something I have not done previously in this project; a totally different approach to making images and even though tempted to stick in a bit of tried-and-tested technique I resisted and stayed with the vision and am pleased I did.
It really hit me today when I was finishing off No221 that I may never see it again. Nobody may ever see it again. I rather liked what I was doing and wanted to share it and get some feedback and move it on with other versions, but I can’t do any of that. In ordinary circumstances if I sell a piece there is a finality to the transaction and I may or may not see the piece again, but then I am settled to it. Not knowing and not being able to talk about it is really weird! Plus I’m only 60%of the way through! And, of course, in the Spring it may all go on the bonfire! It makes me wonder even more about those people who create their work in a vacuum and who don’t share it, expose it, exhibit it and sell it. What a torment that would be!
And it’s not just this aspect of the #Letter365 project that is painful: I have taken on a studio that will be freezing in winter. There was just a sense of it this afternoon. Today was the first time I have worn gloves this season – albeit fingerless ones – but I can imagine that I will be wearing them in the studio soon! More self-inflicted pain!
So the headline continues from yesterday. I wasn’t expecting to get much work done but I had hoped to get more admin-type things done. Of course, this state of normality I seek is a total fiction. It’s what I would ideally like to be the case – especially since I have so many things I want to explore in the studio.
This thing about silence on the envelope: I wonder what proportion of people might connect it to Simon & Garfunkel compared to the proportion who may have thought of John Cage?
Because I have been busy today, mostly nursing and fretting over our sick cat, I didn’t get to do the #Letter365 piece until this evening. I am so pleased that when I bought the photographic lights I got a set that had a soft box on a boom – and that I set it up the other day – without it the studio is not very bright.
I’ve been so busy preparing for and procrastinating about my show in Ramsgate today that I almost for got to post this blog entry – then I realised that I had forgotten to post the letter in the post box. I did it hours ago and just forgot to stop off on the way back from the studio. I did forget to date stamp the outside though.
I nearly didn’t make it tonight! I posted No152 with just 12 minutes to spare and only posted a holding page here at 23:58! To be frank I have struggled all day, mostly because I was struggling with designs and words for invites for the Ramsgate show – mostly still trying to get some quality reproductions of my work! I think I can be better placed to get what I need when I next have a photographic session.
So in my usual slightly-overconfident fashion I was leaving #Letter365 until this evening. I had not taken into account that working from home today I had only a minimal range of materials and decided that I really needed to go to the studio. I also did not take into account that my printer might malfunction in a much more complete way than a visit from Violet Lines. When there is a problem my printer communicates the issue by specific numbers of flashing lights. In this case it was twelve. I looked up what 12 flashes meant in the manual but the list had a reason for 11 flashes and an explanation for 13 but 12 was omitted from the list! Fortunately my partner, Sally, was able to print it for me. This little scenario made me even tighter on time and I was a bit “flustered” by now. By the time i got to the studio I was back to a composed state and set to work. Even after a false start – well two false starts – I remained confident and relaxed. I even took a little time out to make some notes of ideas for something else and to try out a little technique to see if it would produce th eresults i was looking for. I only started getting stressed again when I was photographing the elements when I heard a drip that was clearly inside the studio. It was lucky that I was there to put a bucket under the drip or else a sketchbook and some drawings would have been ruined. I moved everything else that might suffer to what i hoped was a place of safety!
An unfolding artwork created a piece each day for a year