Anyone in the Stroud area…I’m having a Studio Sale on Sunday! If you’d like to come, please let me know and I’ll give you directions.
I painted in the evenings and while my one year old had her daytime naps, and her naps never seemed long enough for the work that I wanted to do. I worked on a coffee table and had to clear it all up whenever I stopped.
Most of the books that I worked on after that were painted at a table in my bedroom…until I’d painted enough illustrations to afford a studio in my garden.
Recently I’ve been sorting out my studio, and looking through the artwork that’s been piling up. I realise that I need to make some space for my new work (both physically and mentally)…I don’t really need to hang on to all these paintings.
And I still love the fact that I can spread this many paintings out in one room without having to put them on a bed or worrying that someone will stand/crawl/draw/scribble on them!
A couple of weeks ago I went on a one-day Writing Retreat led by poet and therapist Jenny Barton. It was a wonderful opportunity to think about what we need in order to write and what stops us from doing it (in my case I’ve spent years trying to find the time to draw and paint and am reluctant to use that time for anything else).
We also had time to sit quietly and write, without any pressure to share what we wrote, and I found myself writing a story unlike any I’d ever written before – maybe because I wasn’t thinking about the illustrations, or who would read it. Or about trying to make a Children’s Book that would have a certain number of pages.
One of the exercises that we did was called ‘Dangerous Writing’. Jenny asked us to sit and write for a short time, knowing that we would destroy what we wrote afterwards. It was like writing the Morning Pages that Julia Cameron recommends in her book The Artist’s Way, a practice that I rarely do these days with three bouncy kids around in the mornings. Jenny encouraged us to keep the words flowing, saying that if we got stuck we could just repeat the last sentence again…and again.
And after we’d all finished we destroyed our pages!
It was so helpful to me that I’ve continued to write in this way since then, once the kids are at school and I’m in my studio – tearing up the pages as soon as I’ve finished writing them. It clears my head for getting on with artwork or writing. This morning I lit a fire in my studio woodburner and burnt all those pages, along with some very old drawings – and it felt as if I was making more space for new things to happen