What am I up to at the moment?

Hullo, welcome to my new blog – being started due to requests I have been getting about what I’m getting up to art-wise at the moment. πŸ™‚ This year has been a very difficult year and the last few weeks have been no exception. I’ve down graded my expectations a bit about what I thought I was going to be able to accomplish over the next few months. My biggest focus is keeping my own mental health on an even keel as much as possible. At the moment, that means – more making art, and less of the stressful business side of it! I wish I knew why I found it all so stressful, but at the moment it doesn’t matter. I’m maxed out in my capacity to handle anxiety and stress, so I’m dialling back everywhere I can.

Today I went down the Central Mental Health Service and spoke to a lovely lady there. I’d submitted two artworks for display at this years TheMHS (The Mental Health Service – a national annual conference) which would be very exciting as that is a big audience – and the perfect audience for a lot of my work. I’m also doing a talk at the conference about ‘managing dissociation’ so I’d be able to take a look at all the exhibits myself. πŸ™‚ The theme was a little confusing – ‘Resilience in the midst of change’. I like to make fresh works inspired by themes for exhibitions rather than brush off old ones and fit them into the theme. So I focused on the word resilience and came up with two artworks in time for the submission date – which was fortunately extended a few times. There’s a few different steps in the selection process and my work has apparently made it through the first one, I was asked to bring both works in so they could see them in the flesh. Here they are – New growth, which is ink and gold leaf:

and She Blooms, oils and gold leaf:

I’m very proud of both of them and very excited to be considered for the exhibition! If either don’t make it through selection, they will be included in the October Mental Health Week exhibition instead. Which is one of the projects I’m now working on – a body of work to be ready in time to display there. First however, is the haiga I’m hoping to send in to the Salisbury Writers Festival competition! Haiga is a combination of an image – traditionally an ink painting, but these days often a digital photo, and a haiku – a Japanese traditional short 3 line poem.

Considering that I love ink painting and poetry, this seems a perfect opportunity to stretch myself a little and combine the two. The rules specify that haiku or senryu are acceptable, but not tanka (the longer style). I’ve never written any of them before, my personal preference is blank verse and considerably longer. I do like the punch of shorter poems but none of those I’ve written have the feel of a haiku. So I’ve been reading a bit about how to write haiku, and playing around with the shorter form, hoping to come up with two haiku and paint them into two new ink paintings in time for the selection cut off this Friday. If I can’t make two in time I may use a photo for one. I love it when they allow you to submit via email because it gives you that extra day or two that your work would normally spend in the post… but I hate it because it involves fiddling around with digital images and trying to make sure your image is large enough to be printed out at quality, but small enough to be emailed… not really my forte, but I’m learning!

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