Things have been slow here, for me, for a number of reasons. Let’s talk about them, honorable blog reader. Or rather, I’ll write about them and you’ll read my writings.
(If that doesn’t work for you feel free to go)
Recent posts here have taken the simple-to-understand format of an image, created by me, along with some text. Usually funny text. This has been going on since the first quarter of 2011, when I stopped trying to say smart things online and just concentrated on getting better at drawing and painting with watercolours.
This has worked out pretty well. I’m feeling confident about my ability with watercolours and drawing. People have started asking me to draw things for them, which is amazing (thanks guys!) and fun, and something I love doing. I’ve sold work at auctions, and even turned down sales (sorry guys!) and just generally had a lot more fun than when I was doing things with computers.
But the thing that’s missing is words.
Without the little bit of text that goes under my images, they’re just watercolours. Sometimes they’re not the best watercolours, but I’ve got a story I want to tell, and the combination of words and text work well. This is a problem for putting my work into a visual domain, as you can’t hang a picture with a bunch of text next to it. Picture galleries are really unfriendly to anything that breaks the mould of thing-on-wall-in-frame, because they want to ignore contemporary art (apart from the price-tags).
As you might tell from this blogpost, I can usually stick words together fine. Not for any meaningful stuff though – that always gives me the yips, and means I have to stop. I totally have a thing to write about my time in Liverpool (in April!) that I haven’t done yet. This year I tried to do NaNoWriMo and failed, because I found myself stuck in my office chair all day, slowly typing garbage into a word processor, while wishing I was drawing.
My problem with NaNoWriMo was twofold; the aim of producing 50,000 words by the end of the month was something that I had not prepared enough to do, and secondly, I didn’t enjoy writing fiction. I’ve recently discovered a fascination for history, and the strange stories it throws up (like the world’s first roundabout being visited by Stalin, or the Viking discovery of America).
But the big problem is that I just have no support groups to talk to. I have no like-minded souls here in Bedfordshire – I’ve got some excellent friends here, with busy and interesting lives, but there’s no creative community that thinks about making things. For a while, I tried to get a book group I was part of to make a fanzine about books, but the idea was just too foreign for them to carry it through.
I try not to talk about the other stuff I don’t have here. For the longest time, I’ve been holed up in a small market town, recovering, and the lack of a peer group (or even people in my age range) has been useful. Relaxing, even. I’ve not had anybody around me with whom I could compare myself, not even slightly – no need to “keep up with the Joneses” when you’re an artist and they’re an IT professional. But, without a creative community to be a part of, when does a lone artist start looking like a crazy fool?
So, in some ways, the slow-down here has been me trying to understand what to do next. It would be easy to fall into a despondency, to say “nobody understands me!”, but that doesn’t get stuff done. I like writing words, but can’t make pictures when I do. I enjoy making pictures, but they need words to mean something. So… some kind of words + pictures type deal?
But I am slow, dear reader. So very slow at doing things. I really struggle to make things happen, and I often get caught up in the minutiae instead of getting down to making things fast.