Perhaps it comes from knowing that the year is drawing to a close, but this month I have had the urge to attend to unfinished business as well as things that I feel haven’t been working so well. I’m not sure that I have reached a conclusion on all fronts, but I have certainly made a start.
Here is a snapshot…
1. What I have been working on…
I am developing my series of large charcoal works (see more about my creative process over here) as well as creating work for some upcoming group shows. I have been looking through some of my folios to decide on which works to submit and in the process have rediscovered old drawings. As I rifle through them all I recall exactly where I was and what was happening when I made each and every one of them. It is also interesting to look at where my early interests lay and the influence this had on my work then.
2. What I am practicing…
With so much alone-time spent in the studio, and no-one to interrupt thoughts as they begin to descend, the idea of monitoring negative self-talk over a 24 hour period sparked my interest and so began an experiment this month.
I found that taking steps to reduce negative self-talk required more intervention than I had expected. I thought that I was going to just ‘listen in’ during the quiet moments and redirect my thinking. I actually found I had to be much more selective about what I exposed myself to. As someone who already avoids the anxiety-provoking doom and gloom of commercial news broadcasts and monitors social-media usage I found the triggers were far broader.I found that I needed to be more considered about the conversations I had and more careful around any content that I knew would rouse comparisons and challenge my sense of self.
The next step is to feel strong, clear, firm in my own decisions and unwavering in the face of all these challenges. it is a work in progress….and it may take a lifetime.
3. My favourite quote this month..
“It took me a few seconds to draw it, but it took me 34 years to learn how to draw it in a few seconds.”-Paula Scher
I am constantly working on finding simplicity in my artwork. Paring back. It’s harder than it seems.
4. What I am watching….
The documentary film Gayby Baby, about children growing up with same-sex parents. The stories are so beautifully told from the children’s perspective, looking at how they navigate the complexities and prejudices they encounter.
And then, at the end of the credits there is a long (very long) rolling list of people who supported the movie through crowdfunding. I watched as the list scrolled down the screen and I felt so moved imagining these brave children standing out front, telling their stories, whilst this supportive community stood behind them, backed them, and cheered them on.
5. Studio routine….
I usually love to listen to podcasts and talks when I am working in the studio. Once the direction of a work has made itself clear it leaves space for my mind to wander and take in some new information. Over the last few weeks though I have been drawn to playing music instead. I am really enjoying being able to set the mood and create an atmosphere to work in. Plus, like I did in my room as a teenager, I love the emotional journey of really immersing myself in the music. It’s medicine for the soul.
6. What I am listening to….
‘Hallelujah’, on high rotation. Every interpretation, but KD Lang’s version will just about do it alone.
RIP Leonard Cohen.
7. Best artist date this month….
Rone’s huge mural in the old proscenium arch of the Lyric Theatre, Melbourne was an impressive feat of scale.
8. Greatest parenting challenge….
Finding new, creative answers to the question “when are we getting a dog?” This month’s ‘we’re thinking of tearing down our house’ may or may not be true. Too far fetched?
9. Unexpected blessing….
I recently felt that we could really do with a break over the summer. A holiday away from home. For those who are more organised than I am when it comes to such things you may not know that trying to book a summer holiday one month out leaves you with 1.over-inflated airfares and 2. hideous accomodation options (been there before – we once had to buy our own cookware, crockery and cutlery to survive it). After reassuring my disbelieving sister that something would work out we received an email from a family whose house we stayed in 2 years ago. They had seemingly just decided to go away themselves and suggested that we may like to rent their house again this summer. Seems all the late-planners of the world just need to stick together!
10 Secret pleasure…
Old fashioned aerobic classes (to shake things up). Yep, been doing some – 80’s choreography, electronic music, pumping heart rate, fluro leotards and leg warmers (whoops, no,I don’t leave the house in those). Lovin’ it!
These themes tend to move in cycles and seasons and perhaps you too have been upgrading parts of your own life. Attending to the stuck places? Finding solutions to old, nagging issues? I would love to hear your stories. Let me know in the comments below.