Some self reflection

I took a step back from the internet – I’ve always had some sort of presence on social media – when my Husband finished work for the Christmas break on the 15th of December. I was using some websites pretty avidly in the month or so before this date and honestly, I was feeling like it was taking over my life (again)

The break has been welcome and now I am looking over my actions with hindsight I can see how badly I was using the internet and social media; I was in the grips of addiction. The decision to take a step back was both welcome and eye-opening.

I took a quick peep on my dA account while I was writing this post; as that’s the place that I have been most active and it’s all doom and gloom. People threatening to kill themselves over (honestly) the dumbest stuff ever and all I want to do is scream at them to get a grip! I think, in part, it’s because that now I am a bit older I don’t really feel like I fit in with the younger people on there these days. Where issues like, Apu from the Simpsons suddenly being outed as a racist character, seem to be more relevant and important to discuss than third world poverty. Or where the ability to pick and choose ones gender on a whim seems more un/acceptable than the so-called rape culture we live in. I am generalising for emphasis here; but these are the things that I was encountering daily on the wider internet. And also being labelled a stalker for reading the pages of another persons blog  – surely, that is what a blog is for? Reading?

Needless to say, it all just became too much and the decision to leave it all behind was a welcome one.

But, what am I thinking of now that I am in the midst of this break? I’ve used the internet to define a large part of who I am for a very long time. Websites, like DeviantArt have been the platform for my voice and my art for the past 14 years – longer than some of it’s users have been alive – so I have been left to do a serious amount of thinking. If I leave these social media sites behind me I know I will overall be happier and leave a more fulfilling life and I won’t be carrying around this addiction anymore. Yet, I would cut off some people I have known for a very long time, people I see as good friends and some of the only social interaction I get sometimes. I know I’d hear a lot less from some important people in my life – to the point where I doubt I would hear from them at all.

Do I stay in a place that ultimately isn’t good for me, but gives me a platform to express my creativity and gives me contact with people. Or, do I use the internet and the social platforms I have to keep in touch with people and express my creativity at the expense of my mental health?

I can see pros and cons for either side of the argument and I am thankful that I have enough time to ponder the conundrum for a while longer before the husband returns to work and I am left more or less alone with these thoughts.

I am thinking that there must be a healthy medium somewhere, but considering how the internet feels like an addiction surely using just one website (including my blog) is like an alcoholic or drug addict saying ‘One won’t hurt?’

Advertisements

Why do I/You paint?

Why do I paint?

I’ve often asked myself this. Why do I create paintings, drawings and write?

It’s mostly addiction.

Not to the process of creating itself, because I personally have taken breaks from the creative process before. But addicted to that strange and often horrible feeling afterwards.

That feeling of euphoria that you’ve created something from your imagination and put it down on canvas sucessfully. Nothing can replace that feeling. You’ve made something from scratch and it’s all you. Your brain child. A part of your soul that you get out of yourself and share with the world – regardless of if you actually show anyone or not, it’s still there.

Yet there is also that horrible emotion that you actually feel utterly rubbish at everything you do and you’ll never get something looking right or how you’d like it. You’ve failed your brain child by making them something that doesn’t look perfect.

Then there is turning that emotion into a positive force that makes you try all over again.

It’s an addictive process really. I don’t know if every creative person feels this way about creating whatever it is they create or if it’s just my underlaying lack of self confidence and / or esteem, but I feel this way about a lot of the things that I put my creative mentality towards. Be it painting abstract art, drawing characters for others and myself, or hobby modelling. I look at what I have done afterward it is finished and rarely feel happy with what I have done.

I know for professionals it’s a part of their working life, illustrators have to create because it’s how they get paid. Fine artists create to impress galleries in order to showcase their art and sell paintings or to get private commissions. (This is a grand generalisation I know) I never really got along too well with the pressure I feel in either of these stances, so I can’t say that I paint for the money.

Yet a day or so after the feeling of dejection fades and I want to pick it all up and start over again. Maybe I am just a sucker for punishment! I don’t know if this is the real reason that I paint, but it is a part of it certainly. That drive to want to better myself in the craft I’m working on. Maybe I just paint for myself.

I’d love to hear other peoples thoughts on this question.
Why do you paint?

Teasing composition

I’ve been doing a little bit of playing about with some painting planning again today. It did Scan10001involve drawing out some more fish. As I wasn’t entirely happy with what I had come up with before, only just hitting the mark with the last one. Besides, it’s always a pleasure to play about with designs and colour pencils!

I felt that I needed to keep the fish a bit more abstract, while still keeping them as readable as fish – so I really hope that comes across.

Then comes the really tricky part…
Putting the fish onto the canvas in a way that doesn’t look or feel wrong. So, I thought I would scan the pictures of the fish in and play with them in photoshop as well, seeing how the position of the fish would work on the background I’ve planned to put it on.

Composition is something that I have always struggled with so I am honestly still at a bit of a loss on where I am actually going to paint the fish onto the canvas. I have this problem of over thinking things and second guessing my instincts.
Maybe I should take the background and just… go for it and see what happens?

Which actually feels really daunting whenever I look at the canvas – it’s not a very big thing and I feel if I do something horribly wrong it’ll all be a tragic waste!

I am still also not certain about the colours of the fish – not sure if I want to go for something that really contrasts with the blue (Such as the orange here) or something that blends a bit more subtlety with the blues, like purple. So there is still a lot more to think about when it comes to this particular painting! Whoever said making these decisions was easy certainly lied through their teeth!

Further Progress

I started some of these images last week, but only really got round to posting them today – mostly due to the feeling of a stressful and upsetting weekend thanks to my jaw playing up.

We’ve more or less come to the conclusion that the jaw is due to stress, worry and anxiety anyway over the up-coming change in our lives. That doesn’t overly help much in the ways of what to actually do about the jaw and the problem it’s presenting other than taking stronger pain killers (Which have helped) and trying to be as relaxed as possible (Which the husband has been an absolute God-send over! Especially seeing as the dog managed to chew up my mouth guard today!)

Anyhow, back onto the pictures! I’ve had the idea of painting something flower-esque 20160209_123139onto the yellow, pinky coloured painted canvas. But, keeping in the theme of abstract I was wondering how I could paint flowers without dipping into the realm of realism. So it has been a case of practising with my Coloursoft crayons – which I adore no end – and seeing what sort of shapes and colour combinations that I could come up with; and I think I’ve got something that I can put onto the canvas and be happy with now. So, I am looking forward to getting the paints out again and giving it a go.

However the other two canvas’ hadn’t been quite so accommodating when it comes to giving me ideas for what to put on them. I was convinced that flowers (Or there about) was the answer for the three of them.

Then it dawned on me that the effect I was looking for for the blue and white one was20160209_123119 something water-based when actually trying to paint it. So, I got to thinking what else could be done on it. What else do I like? Then I saw the fish tank in the corner of the living room and had that eureka moment! So today the fish were what I practised with; which was actually rather nice to do.

I just need to figure out the composition of them both and I’m good to go.

And have a bit more of a think what to do with the darker of the three canvas. If anyone has any ideas then please, let me know what you think?

20160209_123101

Having a spot of bother

I’ve been upstairs twice this week – onto the top floor of my house and into my studio space. I haven’t been using it lately, but since writing this blog I’ve actually had the desire to create something… anything!

But the top floor has become a bit of a dumping ground for things gathered as of late and it needs a bit of sorting out before I can even think of doing anything up there. On both occasions I’ve come down feeling really deflated about it. I can’t seem to get everything organised without coming across just another pile of ‘useless junk.’

Things that for some reason I feel like I should hold onto, just for the sake of it. Old School work from Primary school, certificates of achievements and awards for things that don’t mean anything anymore. Photographs of people whose names I can’t even remember anymore, that sort of thing!
Do people actually keep these things in their lives and would it be all that wrong just to get a big black bin liner and throw it all away? Have a massive declutter before the baby arrives so in my mind I can actually feel some sense of order and not feel at all bogged down by this collection of once-upon-a-time meaningful items?

The things is, I know it’s not just up on the top floor I have some of these collections. In the under stairs cupboard I have another big box or two of more of the same. College work that I have kept hold of for no other reason than I feel like I should, even though I haven’t looked at any of it since moving into the house – or while I was living in the last one.
I just don’t feel like I want to be sentimental enough to keep it cluttering the place up and with no where to really put it that will remain an ‘out of the way’ place (Like a loft or basement) I don’t see what else I can do with it.

But the main big question is.
Do I really want it anyway?
Would I be keeping it for myself, or because it’s what I feel like I should keep hold of, because that’s what ‘everyone else’ does?

The new start

I am currently standing at the forefront of the biggest change in my life. I am six weeks away from giving birth (Roughly, as we can never really predict these things exactly) to my first child.
I am in a stable and very loving relationship with my husband – we’ve been together for nearly 9 years, and married since 2014. We brought our house in march 2015 and made the addition of a dog, Barley, to our family not long after. He is currently upstairs asleep on the bed after a very tiring hour long walk this morning!

12642789_967989136613737_5150124479810363631_n
(Curled up, mid-yawn)

And yet.
I cannot help but feel utterly lost and confused with myself. I’ve never been a serious ‘Go-getter’ when it comes to a career, just someone who flits about from job to job wondering what I am going to do with my life. I am still trying to have this conversation with myself even though I am going to be having a baby really soon.
“What is my ideal career?” or “When am I going to do something meaningful with my life?” and I really need to stop stressing about it, because now really isn’t the right time to be worrying about it all and over thinking it.

Actually, more importantly, I’d just like to be able to find a little bit of myself again. At the moment I feel so blank. I spend silly amounts of time reading sad posts about dogs on facebook and making myself upset. It’s really not healthy! So, I need to have a change of heart and find myself again.

I’ve always been interested in the creative arts – I have a rather large collection of materials up on my top floor, but I’ve never really felt at home creatively. If I sat in front of a canvas or piece of paper right now I wouldn’t have much of a clue on where to start or what I would even like to create. I have had input and support from family, but a lot of the time it comes across as criticism; it’s not always the case I am sure, but it feels a lot like being judged or told that I can do better – in the ways of making money from my artwork. Which is a step I have never felt ready for, and thus I put it all down again and go back to being pretty much a nothing. Uninspired and absolutely flat.

I have tried and looked at ways of breaking through blocks via the means of self help books and the likes, but generally they don’t really speak to me. I find them all a little bit spiritual and hippyish, which is something I don’t really feed into aside from lighting a nice smelling candle every now and again to get rid of any doggy odor!

So while I was having a lie down earlier today, I was wondering what I can really do to help myself get out of this dead-end slump. How can I connect to myself a bit more and feel a little happier with my life, even at this horrendously late stage in my pregnancy? I have heard that just writing about thoughts and feelings can help, so I thought why not start a blog going? What’s the worst that can happen? I could find some people I can connect too, look at other artists here on wordpress and see what happens.
I am a bit of a wordpress newbie, but it’ll be good to be able to see what others create and if I can maybe feel a little inspired along the way. Who knows where this will go exactly. I have tried keeping a diary before and it’s not always gone down too well, but this might be a bit different seeing as it has a community behind it all.

It’ll be nice to meet and talk with some of you, be it about impending motherhood, parental advice or anything artistic and creative.

A new start online as well as in life.