So, I'm still writing but I'm now spending time on art! It feels very self-indulgent, and given my depressed state of mind, very therapeutic. What do I like? Why? I'm one of those people that could make a good guess at what all the family would choose in a restaurant but then have no idea when it comes to me. It turns out I love words in paintings and loads of turquoise.
I started out with some new brushes, a box of elderly acrylic paints and paper and about a thousand YouTube videos watched over Christmas. With many thanks to all the generous artists who create tutorials online, like Louise Fletcher, Nicholas Wilton, Alice Sheridan, Lewis Noble and Pauline Jans. I signed up for a free workshop by Art2Life and was hooked. I'm now doing a 12 week course with Art2Life and it's a massive challenge, but hugely enjoyable. When it's all too stressful I remind myself that a) I teach creative writing and everyone who comes to the workshops has the same fears and b) I wander off and do some writing. My paintings are shit, but I think of them as early drafts since I work over them anyway.
Northern Penguins is almost finished, slowed down by a general depression and lockdown but now coming to a lovely finale. I've really enjoyed being the with characters, many of whom (with their consent) are based on my actual friends. No wonder I like them. I'm going to have to find a new agent though - it's nothing like the genres I've written before. No murders, no supernatural, just a man discovering his own past in renovating a house in a friendly and small community. There's a proper love story and everything. But I'm able to write at my own pace before worrying about what someone else thinks.
Now I'm balancing writing with painting and my imagination is getting a proper run out. I hope my mental health will improve in the better weather, longer days and time taken for myself. This was my first week's homework, a collage of things that inspires me (it's not supposed to be art, just to remind me). It was terrifying to do and I kept adding to it. Roll on week 2's tutorials and homework, I loved week 1! PS I intend to blog a lot more!