Tuesday, 1 June 2010

On my art ' career' and the passing of time ...

Here is my completed May page...

and here is June.

I made my first calendar in July last year, but didn't post them on my blog so I have nearly completed a whole year. These are more accurately a diary as they are a record of my days rather than a calendar of appointments etc. But I have found them useful to look back on - when was it I went to visit so and so etc? The June pages are in my new journal, my third since starting to keep an art journal about a year ago. The first one I filled up really quickly, the second has been going since last August. Most pages I have not 'published', they are usually of no real interest to anyone but me, or a bit too personal. However I have found the whole idea very liberating. I will share a few pages with you as I reminisce.
Journal page - January 2010 'Action is necessary' self motivation

When I first started keeping an art journal I was rather in the doldrums having retired from teaching, which I loved, but had in recent years drained me, I found myself in the position of wanting to do something creative, but did not know what to do. I was brought up to be full of self doubt. I also felt that although I knew I had a talent for drawing I did not have the passion or confidence or the know-how necessary to follow a career in some form of art. When I was fifteen - at a secondary modern school (11+ failure) I told the careers teacher I wanted to be a 'Window dresser' and I remember he laughed and said "Window CLEANER! - better stick to your shorthand and typing" I hated shorthand and studied hard and achieved enough qualifications to get into Teachers Training College. I did study art at college, but not at a high level as I was training to be a primary school teacher, and although I never stopped drawing everything went on hold. In the late 80's I went to watercolour evening classes with Gerald Kent Wood (now deceased) who changed my life. He taught traditional watercolour, which really was tinting pencil drawings. He had trained as an architect and produced wonderfully detailed drawings and had exhibited at the RA summer exhibition. He encouraged his students to submit work at the highest level and through his encouragement I had work exhibited in open exhibitions with The Society of Botanical Artists ('88), the Pastel Society ('88&'90) and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours ('89) However at about this time the impact of the National Curriculum hit and my spare time vanished and I found it harder and harder to find enough time, not only to paint, but to take time to get up to London to submit work.

Journal page November '09 as a means of recording interests

That really put a stop to a lot of my art although I did manage to go to evening classes in Life drawing and was constantly encouraged by my friend Sally who is a practising artist. My 'artistic' life changed again when I began to study photography with the Open College of Art. When I gave up work, I had no excuse - I could do what I wanted, but all the old inhibitions came crowding back. I am sure it will take longer than a year to undo all the gremlins about worrying if my work is 'worthy', that I could be doing something more useful with my time and what am I going to do with it all? And what is it all for?

Journal May '10 'Nothing seems to work'

But I keep on telling myself I am doing it for myself, that I don't have to do anything 'with it' and above all I should just enjoy myself without inhibition or worrying about what anyone else thinks. It is still hard. But keeping a journal is a great outlet. Keeping a blog has also been liberating - meeting so many women who are on their own art journeys.

April into May '10 Journal page

I  hope I haven't lost you along the way of this rather long piece, everyone's comments are highly valued. I love to hear from the confident folk who don't give a 'feather or a fig' to what others think and I also love to hear from those who feel like me, still groping in the dark.   I am looking forward to another year of journal keeping and sharing my adventures with you. I hope you will be with me on the journey.