Comforting diversions

It’s a busy Autumn. November sees a group exhibition of The Pie Factory Artists, late October is The Pie Factory Margate open studios (in a few days), and we’ve recently ended the SGFA’s annual open exhibition DRAW18 in London. Other work is also heating up.

Aimless creative play is vital, particularly when most of my time, creatively or otherwise, is spent in long-session, detailed and intensive focused work. With a couple of large, detailed, intensive artworks completed, I thought it time to play a little: ease the pressure, enjoy the process for no other reason than the hell of it.

Drawing for the sake of it is freeing, yet difficult to justify in a buy world that demands every waking moment is functional and earning. More affirming activities take a back seat too often: it’s a daily battle for me.

A few fun images was the result of hours of “just doing it” (and a few pieces of paper in the recycling bin). I think I need to actively schedule some of this time into my week. It was fun.

Another one done

Another solo exhibition is done, works are either off to new homes or once again wrapped in storage. Its a strange feeling.

If you have ever put together a solo event, you’ll have some idea of how much effort is involved in making it happen. Most artists will appreciate how much we put into what sometimes appears to be just a matter of sticking a bunch of works up on a wall. It is deceptively straightforward.

This year’s show at Ramsgate’s York Street Gallery was well received, and, thankfully, some sales. I am already thinking about something special for next year.

The current post-exhibition breathing space offers low-pressure creative time. In place of planned, structured, deadline work, the studio schedule consists of random experiments and playtime with different and new materials. There’s usually so little time for such no-pressure playtime.

Pastels anonymised

I de-labeled all my soft pastels.

Pastels are glorious: intense colour held together with a minimum of binder. Their purity is their super-power but also their flaw.

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The re-organised pastel box – for now…

Quality soft pastels are expensive, and I find myself overly preoccupied by which brand I’m currently scraping across the paper. Brief thoughts wondering how much that sky just cost, clutter thinking and interrupt focus.

Yesterday I did two things: reorganised my studio pastel storage (a regular task, particularly when there are a few new arrivals); tore off all the labels.

Of course it’s not hard to distinguish the make of a pastel once in your fingers. Size, shape, feel, colour intensity all point to its origins. But no labels mean the primary consideration is colour – exactly how it should be.