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  • Writer's pictureAnna Curston

3rd August 2023

I am once again back, and it’s only been a month this time rather than three! I think I’m getting better! So what have I been up to? Well; I finished a painting, did a casual intuitive/experimental piece, updated my website and got a job. When I put it like that, I think it’s actually been a pretty successful month! Let’s hope I can keep it up!


So, let’s start at the beginning. I finished my first painting since March! Slightly terrifying how long that gap was, but I do think I very much needed a break from everything and I’m definitely feeling less burnt out now, so that is all good.


It is a pair of interacting galaxies known as Arp 273. While far from perfect, I finally reached a point on Tuesday that felt like a satisfactory end point. This painting did cause me a little trouble, especially the galaxy at the top of the image (the bottom one I ‘completed’ in about a day). First I struggled to get the very distinct shape I was looking for, and then I managed to overwork the image so it looked far to rigid and a little flat.


This painting was the first realistic space painting I’d attempted in over a year, and only the second painting this academic year for which I worked in oils – the other being Giant Impact Hypothesis which I only finished off in oils. It was also the first time I’d attempted to incorporate any aspects of my abstract work into a realism piece. So, first painting in 4 months, first full oil painting in 16 months and first time ever trying to partially merge abstract and realism, and the first time using linseed oil… Especially considering all this, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I also definitely learnt a lot from it. Celebrations all round.


I did have a bit of a mental block with that painting for about a week, so I decided to cut myself some slack and just have a play around with a different canvas. This time in acrylics, I just let the colours and shapes guide me. I started with a base of a beautiful brick red. This was fun because I moistened the surface and sprinkled some raw pigment on the top and then just spread it around with a silicon wedge tool for a bit. I’ve never used raw pigment before, and it was SO satisfying. The colour just screamed that it wanted to be paired with purple, so that’s what I did. I did have a vague image in my head of the place I’d walked to that morning as I was painting, but only really in regards to composition. It was just a playful, intuitive painting which I thoroughly enjoyed creating.


If you are on my mailing list (and if not, then why not?) then you probably saw that I updated my website. The Store page now tells you exactly what paintings are currently available for purchase. At this time, I am only able to sell within the UK unfortunately, but if you see something you like, then please just send me an email via the contact page or give me a DM on Instagram!


Along the lines of selling, I know I need to up my marketing game, but it is a pretty foreign concept to me. I am working on it! (It doesn’t help that my main platform is Instagram and they are making it increasingly difficult for small accounts to reach new people!!!) But I’m working on it.


If you haven’t seen them already, Webb has released an anniversary photo (and another one since then) which is, obviously, stunning. And the first test science images from Euclid have also been released, so you must go check that out as well!


I haven’t done much in terms of arty or sciencey trips this past month, but I did go to see Oppenheimer in the cinema. I honestly loved it. It was beautifully made and the soundtrack was STUNNING. The soundtrack made it go from ‘really good’ to ‘goosebump inducing’, honestly can’t express how great the soundtrack was and how beautifully it went with the visuals.


The only other thing worth mentioning is that I got a job. On the day this will be published I have only done one shift so far, but I am now officially employed. Hooray! I am very anxious to make this work alongside my art ‘work’, because I have to. Basically. I do have qualms; I have in the past found it basically impossible to work and create (or even do basic things like cook and shower) because I’ve found it so mentally draining… but third time’s a charm! Kinda got to eat and buy art supplies, ya know!!


That’s all I’ve got to say for now, hopefully there will be at least one more blog post before term starts, but we’ll see how we go! Just in case I don’t check in again before then, I hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer and get a good bit of relaxing in!


Stay curious and creative.


Anna.

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