Attempting to be creative in a day when we are pressurised to get onto the property ladder, take on a mortgage and struggle to pay back student debts along with the regular bills, is difficult and often demoralising. It’s easy to reduce the time spent at the artist’s easel/work desk/kitchen table, to an hour or two on the weekend, in between seeing friends, checking facebook and doing house chores rather than setting aside a whole day or more to really get stuck into something. It can begin to feel a bit pointless to even try in the face of simply getting by. And it can be daunting too, to clear a space, gather materials and then face a blank page (literally and metaphorically) and there’s the likely risk of disappointment. This perhaps is the real, deep-down, reason the two of us will put off creativity for more mundane tasks. There’s promised satisfaction when the mopping’s been done, when the letters on the doormat have been sorted, when the family have been fed and that game of Solitaire won (after many, oh so many tries). The same cannot be said for art. With every word, with every cut, snip and stitch, with every mark made and note heard, there is the potential for what we had imagined to turn out not as we had imagined it. This can be pretty disheartening at the best of times, but when such rare and precious hours have been spent and then, seemingly, wasted in failure, it can be overwhelming and, knowing that attempted rectification will have to wait for a week at least….. hopeless.
In other words, there are a lot of very good reasons for not attempting creative projects and just getting out your brushes. We do it all the time (we’ve told you about the perils of rainy days and TCM, right?!?! And in England there are a LOT of rainy days!). But recently we’ve been trying to do something about it.
This blog was the start, and working on our novella of course, but we’d fallen into the same trap we’ve just spoken about, squeezing a few prized hours together when we could in between working in London, days at the farm shop, volunteering and MA assignments. So Merle took the brave step of quitting her job in London, sacrificing the four hour commute each day to concentrate her efforts on fulfilling her ambition of becoming a freelance illustrator.
The last two months have been riddled with self-doubt at the possibility of failure, uncertainty over money and trepidation for the future. It can feel foolish to try and follow what makes you happy when there isn’t a guaranteed pay check at the end of the month. But it has also seen an explosion of artistic endeavour that has been transformative.
In the meantime, Abra has come the end of the first year of her MA and in the next post we are hoping to share some of her work with you. After a relieved mop of the brow and a well-earned rest, she is ready to commit to some longer hours working on The Waves, the Waves. So expect more posts about that too, over the course of the summer.
It’s proving a hard task to lead the creative lives we dream of. Every day is a struggle not to give up but we are trying and willing to dare greatly.