It's been a while since I updated this. Two things have come into play since my last update here, in March.
The first is that I've lost momentum completely, and the second is that too many other things have muscled in on my time. Yes, the two must be related.
An artist's muse
I've managed to lose a bit of confidence in making my finished landscape paintings and linocuts.
This loss of courage happens every few years on some sort of cycle. It's a normal part of being an artist and nothing to worry about.
I often find a loss of faith comes before a notable improvement in my art making. What's at work at these times is a bit of a mystery, but I've learned to go with it.
So when the muse goes a bit quiet – it never shuts up entirely (if only) – I return to my sketchbooks.
Sketchbooks are an artist's playground. They're the place where an artist relaxes, free from the pressure to perform.
Sketchbooks offer a space to ponder, explore being a different artist, and to record random ideas.
I've written a small book about why artists use sketchbooks because it's a fascinating topic (available to buy here at some point in the future).
A bit of beach art
During all the covid experience, I've missed the sandy shoreline really badly. So I've been indulging myself in a lot of sketchbook beach art therapy at Bridlington.
So much so, that beach sketches are in danger of overwhelming my Instagram sketchbooks feed, as a result.
Unfortunately, with the 'holiday at home' theme this summer, Flamborough Head has been heaving. So I've had to shelve my plans for plein‑air painting in the location, sadly.
Fortunately Brid's beaches are expansive enough to swallow a lot of people with space to spare. This means a beach artist can work without constant interruption.
It's not that I mind interruption – I don't. There can be too many disturbances, though, making it impossible to maintain any concentration.
Sketchbooks are discrete, so don't tend to attract a lot of attention, unlike an easel or pochade box. It's another reason to use them right now.
Exploring landscape art and Gouache
I've managed to get up to Stokesley, in North Yorkshire, for a spot of sketching, too.
Near this lovely small town is the local landmark (a distinctive hill) called Roseberry Topping. This was my real target.
The Topping is a candidate for a future painting project. That, or the Hole of Horcum, which is also on the North York Moors.
The other thing I've done is rediscover my 'go-to' medium from my illustrator years: Gouache, sometimes called poster colour. I'd forgotten just how lovely a medium it is, and it's giving me a great deal of pleasure getting to know it again.
My Yorkshire Wolds Art Series
What with covid, and the wet weather, this project has dragged on until I fear it's lost all its momentum. A loss of confidence is not helping one bit either.
Though I've not suffered this bad a loss of artistic energy in a long-long while, it is all part of the ebb and flow of an essentially solo driven activity.
I suspect we're all feeling a bit similar. The whole covid thing dragging on and on, threatening to never end is not doing us any good at all. We'll get there, though I feel like I've been saying this for too long now!