Just a few days to go to the holidays. It's hard to know what to make of it all this year. This time last year we knew for certain that the world was on fire. It may be again, or it might not be, so very difficult to know. All we can do is keep calm and carry on, literally! As a family we have had a bit of a tricky time since the last blog so the holidays will be what they are, we will make the best of things and that will be fine.
As I write (a day or two before I send) it is the shortest day of the year, it certainly feels like it too. This is the day I focus on during the winter as I know that tomorrow we will have maybe a few seconds more light than today - the beginning of the end. I prowled around my garden with my little 4-legged wingman earlier today and we spotted plenty of spring bulbs starting to push their way through. Each is a reason to be optimistic, definitely going to hang on to that.
I am still playing with the images of muddy puddles and ponds that I made during my trip to The Lakes a few weeks ago. I am learning a really important lesson as I work and that is not to delete RAW images if, at first glance, they don't seem particularly promising. These images in this mini-panel are created from a couple of source files each flagged for the trash. Maybe I should've followed through and abandoned them but I am pleased that I didn't.
Words for this series are still elusive but I am working on that. Based on experience, words will appear from nowhere while I am engrossed in something else, nothing forced or rushed. I wait in hope and expectation (fingers crossed)...
I am generally wondering if I have a distinctive style running through my work. The title for this series is 'Invisible Threads' in the hope that it builds, however subtly, upon previous work. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, I am not sure I can be the judge of that. The mix of darks and lights are comforting while retaining a similar look and feel. Something to build on moving forward.
Right now I am feeling reflective, trying to identify some focus in my work and to understand whether I really do have a direction of travel. A bit 'scatter gun' feels more like it. I find it so hard to be objective about my own work.
It being that time of the year, I have gone back over the last 12 months to see if I can tease out some creative threads which I can build on over the coming months. I always try to look forward but where we have come from is just as important as where we are headed, it's one journey so the past can't be ignored.
Before I launch in to any sort of creative reflection I am going to pat myself on the back for showing up every month. When I started this blog I made a promise that I would write something (anything) each and every month. This keeps me accountable, if I have nothing to write about then what have I been doing with my time! (lazing around watching TV most likely...)
It's too easy for the days and weeks to spin by with nothing to show for it so every month I must have something to say. So far so good… I now believe that keeping to this schedule has pushed me to keep at things when I might've given up with the 'what's the point' mindset. If nothing else I have the blog to keep myself accountable and for me that's a gamechanger.
The year started in deep lockdown which affected me incredibly, I was convinced I was fairly bomb-proof, apparently not. Living on my own I really felt the isolation and desperately missed contact with my family and friends. I went for months without touching another human, that realisation still terrifies me now.
I lost my mojo for a period and when it returned I found myself working through my frustrations in bodies of work centring around being trapped. While this was cathartic, I find it difficult to view the work objectively now, I reflect through the lens of frustration. Maybe that's inevitable.
Freedom to Play
As Spring turned into Summer and we were parolled back into a very different world my mood lifted. My work became lighter and I embraced the need to be creative to maintain any sort of balance. I also enjoyed playing and being experimental without any fear of wasting my time. I felt incredibly free and grateful to have the time and space fail.
Finding the fun
Towards the end of the year I found myself questioning my approach to my work and whether what I was doing was still working for me. It was good to question, and to question again and again. It's easy to lose confidence when working largely in isolation, I think this might be a default state. For now I am happy with what I do and that's good to acknowledge.
Printing has become a huge part of world. Allowing a print to jump from the computer into my hands is incredibly satisfying and is something I will work to evolve. I feel the need to try new techniques and surfaces to see what the next level might be. I certainly feel the need to experiment again. It all takes time and patience but I am excited and motivated to find that time.
I am still not sure I have found any threads to my work, it all feels very diverse but maybe that is my style after all. It's completely clear to me that my work reflects my wider emotional state rather than the day to day highs and lows. Work towards the end of the year is much lighter and more cheerful than at the start, it will be interesting to see if there is any difference in longevity. Holding on to a lighter feel will be critical, I guess time will tell...
Thank you and happy holidays...
Thank you again for indulging me in this blog, it truly is something I enjoy enormously.
And how could I sign off without mentioning my little Sparkle! She is my partner in crime and I can't imaging not having the joy and chaos (and lack of control!) that she has brought into my world. We both wish you all the very best as we navigate these crazy times. Who knows what lies ahead of us but we must take things as they come, not over-think or catastrophise and try to remain positive, always.