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  • Writer's pictureAnna Curston

12th September - 1st October 2022

Hello and happy October! I realise that once again it has been a tad longer than two weeks since I last posted, but I’ve been very busy! Term is now in full swing and it’s keeping me on my toes. It may have been three weeks already, but I’m still trying to find my feet. It is safe to say that I have not got to grips with Nottingham yet and still find it very confusing to navigate – I will get there eventually. (I miss small little Aber where everything was close together!) I also feel like I have spent a lifetime waiting for buses these past few weeks, I think it’s one of the reasons I feel so exhausted! I work best with some form of routine, but that is still very much a work in progress too. My timetable has been a bit random and I’ve found myself heading home rather late a bit too frequently but, again, I’m working on it.

One thing I’m doing today to try and reset a bit, is make time for a few of my hobbies (amidst the work). My aim is 60% work, 40% relaxation. Hopefully I’ll end the day feeling less stressed about work (thus be able to relax more on my day off tomorrow) and feeling good about having done some things just for myself. I think that is partly why I feel so rushed, I’ve not really had much time to do anything that’s just for me and just for fun. I’m also going to try and make sure I get a really good amount of sleep this weekend so I feel much more recharged for my next week and hopefully will be more productive.

So, what have I been getting up to these past three weeks? Firstly, I’ve done a lot of inductions for workshop spaces that are available within the university (for materials like: wood, metal, digital etc.). We also got a tour around the place our studio spaces are (although apparently, I can’t find my way around the building alone so I’m going to go with someone next time!!) Plenty of other stuff has happened too, but I won’t bore you by listing everything!

I visited an exhibition opening at Nottingham Contemporary with some friends (and some of us went back to visit again another day when it was emptier) which was fun! I did really enjoy it and I felt like it had something for everyone’s art taste. It’s called Hollow Earth if anyone is in the area and interested.

I have a bit of a mounting to-do list, but my number one priority is properly getting started on my practice – it’s why I’m here after all! I’m hoping to be mostly ‘moved in’ to the studio by the end of next week if things go to plan, but we shall see how things go!

This past week I started to mind-map ideas for how to move forwards with my work, but until Thursday evening was having no inspiration. But inspiration finally came to me and now I feel like a finally have a direction and, more importantly, a starting point. What really excites me the most about space? Extreme environments. Places where the conditions are nothing like and/or not too close by (thankfully) to Earth. I’m excited by their strange processes and mysteries. This is my starting point.

What do I want to work on more regarding the process of my work? A thing that keeps coming back to me: circles. I work with geometric shapes, but have always stayed away from circles. (Partly because I have no idea how to ‘draw’ a perfect circle…) And alongside circles, I am interested in spinning. Again, I’m not overly sure how to approach this but it just keeps coming back to me so I think I need to give it my attention. Also, with space as my subject, circles (or ellipses/curves) and spin just make sense; both are very common in the universe.

Working with canvas and learning how to make my own is also on my radar, and hopefully both will start to be tackled imminently. Alongside canvas come my other materials; I am of course intending to continue my exploration of paint and perhaps even dabble in a few other mediums if it feels right.

Another returning interest that needs deeper exploration is colour. I honestly don’t think I will ever be done trying to figure it out; how to use it and how people respond to it. I also want to focus on, how to apply the colour to my surface. What to do with my brushes and other tools and body to make it do interesting things on the canvas. Mark and movement and the connection they have to the science I’m exploring are a vitally important thing to dive deeper into. I might be exploring science through my work, but as a painter I am always also exploring how and what I do in the studio.

Speaking of science, I have had positive first contact with the Physics department here at NTU and I am excited to see where it may lead; I am in the midst of organising a first meeting as we speak. I really want to explore this idea of collaboration and a mutually beneficial relationship between the subjects.

So that’s been my first few weeks at university! I want to get back to my planned schedule of posting, so I should be posting again next week, but who knows what will happen between then and now. Either way, I’ll be back again soon and hopefully feeling a bit more together. I hope that you all have a good weekend and remember to take some time for yourselves. I’d best wrap this post up and get on with my other tasks.

Stay curious and creative, my friends and I’ll see you in the next one.


P.S. Have you been following NASA’s DART mission? If not, go look it up!

P.P.S. Don’t forget that you can buy limited edition prints of some of my work in my shop! If you don’t want to/can’t justify buying anything right now, then don’t forget that simply sharing my shop is also a way to support me.

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