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  • Writer's pictureAnna Curston

14th November 2022

Hello friends, I’m back with another blog post. It’s been a pretty good last couple of weeks. I’ve started a painting, started an accompanying piece of writing, it actually looks like some more canvases will be in the making imminently and so I’m feeling good.

I completely cannot remember what had happened when I was last writing a post, so sorry if any of this is repetitive… BUT… I’ve a wonderful couple of meetings with a member of the physics department (but sadly no solar observing yet due to the weather) and I’ve found them very inspiring and reassuring. I really appreciate the enthusiasm and could not be more grateful for the help in understanding my subject better.

I had a bit of a revelation about what my practice has become, the other day. I realised how much I am using painting as a method of understanding the concepts I am basing the paintings on. I research the facts and mull them over thoroughly in my brain as I explore them through the paint. The painting aspect helps me focus on specific parts of the subject and consider them more fully. Once I feel I have understood the material, my painting becomes a little more lost and less purposeful as I begin to ask more questions. After searching for the answer to them, the process starts again and repeats until either more questions arise or I feel the painting is complete. It is this interesting process that I think could be really well complemented by an accompanying piece of writing that I could work on alongside the painting.

I have started a ‘lab report’ style piece of writing alongside the painting. I have to admit that it was not my idea, but I absolutely loved the suggestion. I think it could be really helpful to explore my thoughts, writing down what, how and why I’m doing things will help me get a wider view of my practice as well as potentially inspire more ideas. I also think it could be a fun thing to present alongside my work; both a nod to the scientific experiment and research process as well as an insight into my personal process and ideas. By using the format of the lab report, it gives space for overviews, explanation, reflection and, excitingly for me, a space to elaborate further on the science behind the painting in a way that could not be realistically achieved with even a label. I also hope it will invite the audience to stay with the work a little longer: to look at it, make their own judgements and interpretations, then get an insight into the ideas behind it, and then to look at it anew with the extra knowledge adding to their initial understanding of it.

The painting that I’m working on is progressing really well, I think. I feel positive. It is far from complete but I feel like progress is being made and a I’m getting a lot of good energy into the piece. I’m really trying to focus on my movements at the moment and think about the movements I’m trying to mimic as I make them. The action of painting is the real focus at the minute – trying to physicalise what I’ve learned – thinking about the vibrations of the particles or the hectic movements of the electrons or the movement of the light. I’d love to at some point develop this kind of idea into a workshop, but... we’ll see.

I’m currently trying to bring a sense of claustrophobia/ closeness to the painting. Nuclear fusion, after all, has to have extreme pressure and thus heat to actually happen. Trying to create a sense of squeezing in and pushing out at the same time is certainly a challenge but, I love a challenge. I’ll let you know how it goes! I feel optimistic after having a bit of an artist research eureka moment the other day. After looking for an artist who creates this overwhelming and close atmosphere I'm searching for, for a while, I suddenly realised that one of my favourite artists did exactly that and was right in front of my nose the whole time! (It’s Shara Hughes for anyone interested.) Ideas have now been formed. Time to test them.

If I’m honest I wish things were a little further along in the studio; it’s slightly alarming that we are already mid November! But we are where we are, and there is no point dwelling on how things might have been if the past two months had gone smoother. I just have to trust myself and my process, and the wonderful people around me. Good things take time, and I intend to enjoy every minute of the journey.

I leave you in good spirits today. I for one am planning to put my Christmas decorations up this week, so I’m very happy about that! But whatever you are doing over the next week or two, I hope life treats you kindly.

Stay curious and creative, my friends!


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