Striking the right note

little fish

For most of my life I have considered myself an artist. Often I have a terrible crisis of confidence wondering if I’m actually an ‘Artist’ or just someone who paints pictures. I have to remind myself of what I say to my students: I believe that as soon as you pick up a pencil, pen or paintbrush, with the intention of creating something, you should start to think of yourself as an artist.

Having been an incredibly and impractically prolific painter (artist!), I reached saturation point when my capacity to store my work ran out. This had the undesirable effect of suddenly switching off my creative button. It was not just the storage issue, that is just one side effect of not selling my work. Two other obvious side effects are a total loss of confidence in my work because it hadn’t all sold and a feeling of guilt and stupidity at not being able to effectively market my work. I stopped feeling like an artist.

Luckily for me, unluckily for Jim, his own creative outlet was suddenly curtailed when both of the bands that he performed with disbanded in quick succession. I was able to step in as a partner in music as we decided to start gigging together to perform Jim’s own songs. Then I got the bug. A few hastily scribbled words and I had the beginnings of the lyrics to a song. I wrote a few, Jim wrote some and composed the music, we tweaked words and music, worked out musical parts and harmonies, rehearsed, tweaked, performed, tweaked again and have some really good stuff.

We’ve now recorded several of the songs and I’ve helped to design the artwork for the EP (‘extended play’) Little Fish, a CD of our songs. I had wanted to do a wood engraving to print on our lovely Adana press, but time was short so I made a lino cut. That was fun and I am itching to do more. My creativity returned gradually as I wrote lyrics and made the prints. I started work on large, imaginative pieces (not quite abstracts, shapes that evolve – more on that another time). It seems to work every time – if you hit a creative wall, a block, just turn your creative talents to another outlet, form, medium to discover new and varied inspirations.

Now I just need to get better at marketing and selling my work, especially as I am working larger than ever, otherwise we’re going to have to buy another shed to store it all!

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