Art Camp – Week 7 Review

Phew, from the sublime to the ridiculous! After last week’s flurry of posts, I must now apologise for not uploading anything this week. While I was in the Lake District over the weekend all I wanted to do each evening was draw and paint, but the moment I came home all enjoyment went out of creating art and all attempts to do work for Art Camp or A Wren’s Tale became exhausting, distressing and quite unproductive! I’ve struggled all week to regain my sense of excitement, and finally got it back today, but that left me with only a few fairly poorly executed studies for my Art Camp assignment and very little time to make any decent ones. Nevertheless I have done my best, and am trying to take it philosophically.

Such slumps in artistic drive are to be expected every so often – especially when as tired as I was after travelling back from the Lake District and fighting off a slight bug whilst away. Even so, every time art block strikes it is terrifying, and always feels like it will never end. I think part of that is that I still consider art something of a leisure activity – to be done when too tired to do other things. Thus when I’m unable to enjoy artwork, or even make it at all, it must be due to some inner failing of devotion, rather than simply exhaustion or other external factors. Obviously this logic is flawed!

This time, the lack of enthusiasm for artwork was not helped by the topic of this week’s Art Camp, which was material studies. Attempting to paint and, more importantly, memorise and internalise the reflections in complicated metal shapes, or the diffusion of light in fur is a rather daunting prospect when not feeling enthused! However, in making the attempt I have discovered a couple of tricks for getting past this sort of art block. One important thing to remember is that I work much better from my own photos – which have memories, sensations and, most importantly, reams of imaginings attached to them – than I do from stock photos. To get around this, I need to ‘inhabit’ the photo as I paint it, interpreting the atmospheric conditions, what sounds and scents would have been there, constructing vague narratives around the image… anything to breathe life into the 2D screen. The other technique I tried was simply giving my brain a stern talking-to and reminding it that it loves painting and it mustn’t dare to tell me otherwise – it worked eventually!

Fortunately, I have now regained my momentum and am keen once more to get going with the next week of Art Camp and the next page of A Wren’s Tale, which will be going up as usual this Sunday night =D Thank you everyone for bearing with me!

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