Writing blogs, making art and taking a break

Follow Alison G Saunders Art on WordPress.com

I have been consistently writing blogs now for a decade. In the past four years theses have been specifically art-related and aimed at artists wanting to start or improve their new business. I am delighted that I have been able to help so many of you and I plan to continue. However, finding something new to write about every week is not easy. In fact, it is very difficult because I want what I write to be useful. This means I spend a lot of time researching what I put down on paper and I then employ the skills of my amazing editor to ensure that what I write makes sense.

As many of you will know, these past 18 months have been pretty horrendous for my family and me. Having lost my father-in-law and my father in quick succession, probate was made worse for us by my father’s former girlfriend refusing to even answer letters. We had to find the money to pay the tax man, although she is liable for a chunk of it, and even our solicitor is at a loss to know how to resolve this without costly litigation. This is looking more and more likely and is causing us enormous strain.

Moving house has had its problems, too. The previous owners left us with a costly pond lining replacement job which should have been resolved by the end of October, but we are now being told won’t happen until March. The septic tank needs to be replaced and the oil tank, which is located inside the garage, must be both replaced and relocated outside. The natural pond in the garden needs dredging and, after many attempts to get the man to do the work, we will have to find someone else. If you know anyone who can operate a digger, please send them my way.

We are very fortunate that our new property includes part of a large ancient woodland, but woodlands need to be managed and our tree surgeon cannot see any evidence of any work ever being done. We have already had five dead trees removed, six others with large dead limbs have been made safe and the remaining work will take a team of four men about six weeks to put right. The company is creating a rolling programme of works to tackle the issues in order of priority.

If you read my monthly newsletter, you will know that I haven’t been making art for a few months now and that has caused additional stress for me.

So, why am I telling you all this? Well, I think it is very important that you all understand that when things get too much, it is OK to take a break, step back, reassess the situation and don’t allow yourself to become too stressed about the lack of production. Art is about being creative, not being a production line so give yourself a break.

That may be easy for me to say but, honestly, a break is good for so many reasons. When your plate is overflowing, concentrate on the important things around you that need doing first. Even if you are not actually creating work every day, you won’t forget how to, and the break is very likely to feed your subconscious. When you do get back to making art, something very different could emerge.

With my own artwork I want to continue exploring primarily colour and circular shapes with my painting but something more human for my printmaking. Portraiture, maybe? I’m not really sure but have some ideas brewing. Hopefully they will have come to full strength by the end of this year.

I reached rock bottom, in terms of not being able to make art, some weeks ago. I don’t have a space to work in and all my art products are still in boxes. Building my new studio is not going to start until February at the earliest and I really have been struggling to decide how best to deal with the situation.

The first thing I did was book myself onto a one day ‘art surgery’ course. I told the course leader about where I am in terms of my headspace and the lack of working space at home and asked him to help me remember how to make work which makes me feel good. I also got a keyholder’s position at a local print studio, meaning that I can have space and time to work there to take the pressure off trying to work at home. I tend to work large, and I use some rather smelly products so finding a space to use in our home is just impossible.

I have found a way forward through the problems of the past couple of years and am feeling really positive about my ability to make work in the future. As far as my blog is concerned, I am going to take a break because I think it would be a good move for me and my readers to have that rest and come back with more vigour.

I am only taking two weeks – 26th December and 2nd January – off so look out for my next blog on 9th January. I have no idea what I am going to write about, but I hope that I will be feeling more refreshed and will have some interesting things to share with you.

For now, though I want to thank you for following me this year, to tell you that taking a break is a good thing, to wish you a safe and merry Christmas and to wish you prosperity and creative renewal in 2022

Sending hugs to you all.

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