A friend of mine has been sending me mysterious postcards. The first asked me if I want to be part of an art project – I filled in the postcard and said “Yes!”. The second asked me what I wanted the emphasis of the project to be (e.g. dreams, ideas, wishes – there were ten options) and how much involvement I wanted. I replied and said “100% – full on!” (with the disclaimer that I mean full on for me, somone with very limited energy!). The third card came with the words “I wish” written at the top and a blank card. Along with it came one already filled in by my friend. Here is what I have wished for:

I wonder what the postman will bring next!

High time I wrote an update on my creative endeavours… at first glance it seems I have been doing nothing. Yes, I know, my last post was in May… shameful. I have not actually produced (or at least finished) much in the way of art since then, but I have been ticking over. I have been working on a painting for my Mum, which has taken over my productive time much more than I anticipated, but I hope will come good and feel worth it in the end. I will blog about it and show you when it is done!

One thing I have been doing, and I do not know why I did not think to blog about it sooner, is pretending I am on a part-time art course at home! I am unable to go to workshops or courses, even those that are half-day, so I have been “creative” in my thinking and simply working on what I can at home.

I have read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and also listened to a recording of an interview with her, which talks about ideas from the book. Here is my feedback to the friend who lent the book to me:

I have really enjoyed reading it and have made quite a few notes of inspirational parts and bits that “apply” to me. It has been quite interesting to note that some areas are not a problem due to my current situation – I hardly care about giving up financial security to be an artist etc, and have worked through quite a few of the issues she suggests just by being ill for so long. On the flip side, I cannot take part in many of the exercises suggested and found it a bit exclusionary (such as “Go for a walk every day”), though she can hardly be blamed for that as people who are too ill to work as artists (or even go to an evening class/write morning pages) are hardly her target audience! I am at least blessed with much time alone which many people find hard to get.
It has been an interesting part of my “journey” to realise that creativity is so important to me and my sense of self and meaning to life, it is something that has been left with me after much else is stripped away. I am not able to do much at all currently but I feel I am not blocked particularly, which was nice to explore – I am often buzzing with ideas and do write them down. I lack the physical ability to develop skills to realise the ideas to a satisfactory standard, but maybe one day I will be an art student (ahh to dream). In the meantime I am reading art books, watching arty programmes and immersing myself in it when possible. My friend says that some artists just do the ideas bit and others do the actual art-making, but I feel the interaction with the medium is kind of important! hmm. Been watching artists at work on dvd and it is all so physical! I can’t even draw for more than a few mins. Am I the world’s least productive artist? I still think there is a benefit to “being” an artist, seeing the world in that way even if not “doing”, as such.

I have joined the mobile library and have been borrowing art books to read. So far I have read a book about Louise Bourgeois, some books on drawing and printmaking, as well as Enclosure by Andy Goldsworthy. I was also given Wood by Goldsworthy, a book I remember seeing when it was first published about 15 years ago. I was a student and it cost several times my weekly food budget at the time. I have yet to read much of it, I am saving it for looking at in times when I need some special comfort and distraction. I have read a few pages so far and am being strict with myself, making sure I read the text on each page rather than skipping ahead and just looking at the pictures. This way the book will last much longer and I will get more from it. I also bought his DVD Rivers and Tides, which is just beautiful; both rich and inspiring as well as gentle and restful – what more could someone ill yet creative want?

A good friend also sent me some programmes from the TV series Imagine to watch. One was about Anish Kapoor, one about David Hockney and one about Anthony Gormley (which I had seen before). I really loved watching the first two and found them fascinating. As I said above, it did hammer home how physical being an artist usually is – watching David Hockney (not a young man) stand at the side of the road all day, day after day, painting giant canvases really made him seem super-human to me.

Another friend has been sending me books to borrow. Most recently Paper Tear Fold Rip Crease Cut by Paul Sloman and a book by Rob Ryan (You Can Still Do A Lot With A Small Brain), both very interesting.

I am hoping that these activities will feed me creatively and accumulate somewhere in my brain for later use. When I am unwell, it is easier to read a little or watch a tv programme than it is to do creative activities, so I am just doing what I can for now.