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  • Writer's pictureAnna Curston

15th April 2023 - Plodding On

Hello again. This blog is coming to you a week later than intended, but by this point I would be surprised if you found my inconsistency surprising. The only consistent thing in the last 6-7 months has been inconsistency… Oh the irony. So, I am plodding resignedly on. No overly optimistic ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ talk from me today, just brutal honesty. (That being said I’m not one for pessimism, so I shan’t be too glum.) You may wonder by the end of this post why I am wasting my time writing a blog post when I have deadlines growing out my ears, but I thought it would be healthy for me to just sit down and try to put my thoughts, ideas and stress down on paper (or on a Word document I suppose…)

Quite frankly I have lost my creative spark. The joy I get from making stuff feels awfully damp and I am frankly burnt out. I’ve been wobbling backwards and forwards between exhaustion/frustration and optimistically carrying on since November, and I think it has officially caught up to me. I have no excitement, no motivation and no desire to do anything at all, let alone what I need to get done. And as negative as it sounds, I am simply struggling to care. The only thing dragging me forwards currently, is my intense dislike of failing at things and the what others and myself have come to expect from me in terms of achievements and quality. The deadline is certainly not helping me feel inspired; how do you make exciting plans when you know you only have few weeks to work within?! I’d say I’m currently feeling incredibly frustrated with a good dollop of indifference… not exactly what I would call peak emotions for creativity!

That all being said, it isn’t really that I don’t care, I simply do not have the energy or brain capacity to acknowledge anything other than how tired I feel. The problem with that is as much as I love making stuff and researching around/for it, I get so intensely into my work that it takes a huge amount of energy out of me. How can I devote energy to my work that I simply do not have? Sadly, I have not figured out the answer to that, so I shall simply keep plodding on for now.

So, what have I actually got to do? For my deadline in May, I have to write a 6500 word ‘reflective document’ and a couple of other accompanying bits and bobs. While I am pretty good at rambling on, this writing is supposed to be about my practice and the things that relate to it… Well, in the last 6(ish) months I have made three paintings. There is another in the works, but I simply can’t say for definite it will be finished in time to be a completed fourth. How am I suppose to write about my work and things relevant to it when there is simply no work to talk about? I have many qualms about how this is going to go, but all I can do is try my best with what I’ve got.

Naturally the most important thing on my to-do list, for me, is PAINTING. I need to actually get into the studio and do some work! I should be heading in on Tuesday, and I’ve got a few things on my list of what I want to do then. Of course, a priority is priming a canvas so I can actually start painting it once the idea is ready, but while that is preparing I also what to experiment and explore a bit. I’m going to bring some large sheets of paper with me, to lay on the floor and play with mark making and colour and experiment with materials like oil paint, oil pastel, maybe ink, and of course my dear acrylics. I am going to dedicate the whole day to simply playing around and enjoying making mess. Among other things, I am hoping this will help me feel a little more inspired and excited to head back in the next day. (A side note: outside of the studio, and the deadline, I want to get back into drawing more realistically as I think my observational skills have dropped significantly through lack of use over the last year. I also would like to work on some small realistic oil paintings on the side. I find they use a lot less brain power than the abstract pieces, so they are less ‘work’ and more therapeutic for me.)

My current painting idea is a little vague… I have the idea of the sun, the colours blue and yellow, and the idea of light and segments. When looking for a square canvas to work on, I couldn’t find the size I wanted so I thought it could be fun to work on four smaller canvases as if they were one whole one. Then for displaying the layout and gaps between them can be played around with. Also, lots of images from the likes of the Hubble Space Telescope are actually mosaics; the subject being too big to get in one shot, a patchwork of smaller sections is imaged and put back together. These squares feel like a nice nod to that. Who knows exactly what idea I’ll end up fully settling on, but vague as it is currently, I think it has potential.

The Juice mission launched safely yesterday. I had intended to watch the launch but completely forgot until it was too late! I was sad, but I am so happy it is safely in space now! For those that don’t know, the Juice mission (I love the name) is going to Jupiter to study its icy moons: Europa, Callisto and Ganymede. A mission conceived and driven by the European Space Agency, it is also a great example of how space encourages collaboration, with many other space agencies (America, Japan, Israel) also contributing hardware or scientific instrumentation to the spacecraft. It will take Juice 8 years to get to Jupiter, arriving in July 2031. Once there it will spend the next 3 years doing flybys of the icy moons before going in to orbit Ganymede, observing the moon closely like this for around 9 months. Ganymede is especially interesting as it is the only moon in the solar system that generates its own magnetic field! I don’t know about you, but I am more than a little excited to follow the progress of this mission.

I think that is all I will discuss for today. If you see me again next week to resume my usual scheduling then perhaps I have managed to scrape my life a bit more together, if not then I will just be plodding onwards! I hope life is treating you well and the week ahead brings you much happiness and much time for rest.

Stay curious and creative, and I’ll see you next time.


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