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  • Writer's pictureAnna Curston

8th July 2023

I am finally back, sitting at my computer, writing another blog post. I realise it has been a long time… Both a lot and nothing at all has happened since I last sat down to write, but a lot has changed. Since my last post in April I have done no painting whatsoever. Things didn’t go to plan at all. I did successful meet all my deadlines however so I can be proud of myself for at least achieving that.

Since April however, I have made a big decision: To leave my Masters course. As I reached the end of the first year (of the two-year course) I realised that I could no longer hide from the reality that it just wasn’t the right place for me to be. There were many moments throughout the last months that I had been questioning my place on the course, but I tried to cling on for the sake of all the good stuff that was happening in the background. I feel very at peace with the decision though, so know I have definitely made the right call. I think because I have completely the whole year I may get some kind of qualification from it, but I’m not too sure how it works. I haven’t completely given up on getting a Masters though and am going to ‘finish off’, so to speak, at a different university on a one-year course that I will do part time over the next two years.

I have partaken in the final aspect of this year’s course however; the end of year show is currently on at BACKLIT in Nottingham until 13th July (12-5pm) and Thursday evening was the opening night. I think it went well, it’s hard to tell with these events as so little of them seems to be people actually looking at the work, but there were a lot of people attending so… I’m not sure I will every enjoy exhibition openings, they are very busy and stressful, but I know that it is considered important to attend as an exhibiting artist, so attend I do.

As much as my long break from painting (and space stuff) is in many ways disappointing, I think it has been important. I was feeling very unmotivated and finding no joy in even the idea of my work, let alone in trying to do it. But I have spent the last few months allowing myself to be uninterested and doing other things and I feel refreshed for it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned I may have lost interest for good, but happily that did not happen. I’m starting to get excited again, dipping my toes back in the water with small compositional sketched and preparing for a small(ish) painting (which I have now started). I’ve also been enjoying listening to Art Juice, a podcast for artists.

I have begun to catch myself up on all the lovely space news, and managed to get excited about space again, just in time for the launch of the Euclid telescope and a big gravitational wave announcement. (I would recommend checking out Dr Becky’s YouTube channel for an explanation of what Euclid’s mission aims are and for an explanation about what was been announced about gravitational waves and why it is exciting – as well as how they did it.) For other space content I would recommend: Space Mog (YouTube), The Royal Institute (YouTube – general STEM talks but plenty of space ones), The Supermassive Podcast (Podcast..obviously.. by the Royal Astronomical Society), Radio Astronomy (Podcast by BBC Sky at Night Magazine), and Astronomy Cast (Podcast).

In the short term I have a couple of aims, all based around keeping inspired and creating. Firstly, I want to make sure I paint somewhat consistently over the summer to maintain and improve my skills as well as constantly find inspiration. Beyond making sure I paint, I’m giving myself no rules about what I paint. I just want to make sure I do paint! Secondly, I want to feed my inspiration and motivation by visiting galleries and museums. I’m planning on heading back to the National Space Centre in Leicester as well has hoping to head to some London galleries and maybe the Science Museum. I’m also interested in potentially checking out Art in the Park in Leamington Spa in August, but we shall see.

In the more long-term, I want to work towards exhibiting and selling my work; getting my art and the idea of astronomy out to people. There are also two artist residencies on my radar at CERN and the Niels Bohr Institute. And in the probably much further long term I am very interested in heading back to university to re-attempt my astrophysics degree.

As part of a competition I have entered, five of my paintings are available as cushions until July 14th! Get them while you can!

To summarise, it has been a very odd few months but I’m feel good again and I’m excited to get back to my work. I hope you are all having a good week, and hopefully I’ll see you again for another blog post soon!


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