I weigh all the parts of my life up in a logical fashion, and I have few reasons to be this gloomy, but I know it's the darkness and the rain weighing on me, and I try and recognise that...
It feels like a lot of people I know are going through big life changes (some good, some bad) at the moment. I am lucky to have an amount of consistency and levelness, but alongside that, I do sometimes wrestle with a desire for change and movement (and even envy those who have it forced upon them). I need to work on finding ways to achieve that variety and adventure without tearing apart the stability and security I've worked so hard to achieve.
My lovely Alex is going through challenges of their own at the moment. I'm lucky to have them, and we probably owe each other more appreciation than we regularly give (but we try, and we talk, and we know this, which is half the battle). I had a flare up of some old back pain and ended up having to spend a day not doing much. By pure coincidence, it was a day when Charlie was going out on adventures with someone else — I'd planned on using that as an opportunity to catch up on lots of household tasks, but in the event, had to lie very still, which might have been just as good for me overall.
Luckily my back pain eased up enough to allow me to go to a show in Manchester, at which I danced the rest of it vigorously away (somehow?!), then stayed overnight at Kim and Sylvia's place before getting a train down to Brighton the next day. I was greeted in the morning by a friendly neighbourhood cat who came and curled up on my bed and enthusaistically rubbed itself on me, but then, abruptly, bit me. A friend of mine had been bitten by a cat a couple of weeks prior and had to go to A&E because apparently cat bites can get really gross and infected really quickly... Despite this bite barely breaking the skin, I am a hypochondriac and got VERY PARANOID
(Clearly I was fine though)
Back in Brighton, got to go and have dinner with my friend Zoe, who now lives in a house backing onto the garden of my beloved old Brighton home. Got a bit homesick-nostalgic-emotional.
BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE
Went to visit my parents who've got a new puppy. Promptly forgot how to do everything, including draw well.
Flying visit though (I'll be back soon), nice to get home to Alex and Justin and my own lovely doggo Charlie.
But also: welcome to my world (of detritus)
People who've read a while will know that a long stated aim of these visual diaries is for me to get better at drawing people and capturing likeness. I practice a lot but rarely share as it's still an uphill struggle. This is still wrong in a great many ways but I really enjoyed working with the ink, and it captures more than I usually manage of this distant friend (as I wrestle with our ever shifting time zones)
Yay visitors! Hannah came to visit the same weekend as Tom and Harriet, and we had a jolly weekend of chatter and walks and delicious food.
Linework from an editorial illustration (a piece I didn't entirely agree with), but again, capturing likeness has always been a challenge for me, and while this is not perfectly Theresa May, it is more Theresa May than I could have managed, for example, a year ago. (Pink notes added are my own. She has commited unforgiveable atrocities against the most vulnerable members of our society throughout her time in government and deserves no sympathy or forgiveness whatsoever. But still, just IMAGINE how many awful men she must have had to put up with over the course of her career. I shudder.)
It's that time of year when I do lots of drawings about walking for hours a day in the rain. Hi.
One big bright spot for me has been recent forays back into letterpress, after a long break since access to the workshop at Brighton university.
I loved it then, but also as a student was very much not in the headspace to give it the time or attention it deserved, so I'm delighted to be getting a chance to revist and relearn those skills. (My local co-working space the Egg Factory aquired a collection a few years ago, but haven't had anyone with the knowledge/patience/time to fully engage with it. I'm not even sure I have enough of those things, but I'm giving it a good go!)
Sometimes its fog instead of rain, and I'm quite into that actually.
Sorry, got a dog on me again!
On a very different note... I ummed and ahhed for ages about whether this one was 'too much' to share, but I really enjoyed a different style of drawing (after years of wrestling with feeling like I didn't have a 'style', I think I'm now often guilty of working too predictably), and it's a thought process I've been having recently in terms of the subject matter of the work I make, personally and professionally. I like weird art. I'm a fan of a super wide range of illustration and that's not neccesarily reflected in my own work because I feel like I'm too 'nice' to create stuff that's a bit more challenging. I mean, this is hardly pushing at that many boundaries really (you've all seen a bit of body hair before), but its more the thought process around where my creativity lies going forward. I don't want to fall into the trap of playing it safe all the time, both technically and in terms of subject matter. Don't worry, I'm not suddenly going to get super weird on you all (and I mostly keep that stuff to myself on the rare occasions I do anyway), but I think it's interesting to think about. (And if I see any fellow creatives/illustrators in real life soon, I'm keen to continue conversations and share thoughts around this kind of stuff, about growth and development, and the kind of work we want to do vs the kind of work we fall into)
Christmas shopping is... hard this year. Maybe it always will be from now on. I don't feel like I can carry on consuming in the way I always have done. I've got a long way to go, but I'm trying to change the ways and the things I buy to more sustainable ends. (I quit using Amazon about six months ago, and you know what, it's been easy. I'd encourage you to do the same, as a starting point.)
So here's the big thing, and it's new news to me as well, I'm excited/terrified again, and probably will continue to be so until the time comes... Since visiting the US back in April/May this year, I knew I needed to return, to LA especially. It was a complicated kind of place but it stole my heart as I'd wondered if it might. Since then I've been working harder than I ever have done before in order to save up enough money to go back. One of the main things helping see me through this winter has been the knowledge that I may be able to escape to sunnier climes in January, and I've just had confirmation from my work that I will indeed be able to do this. I booked flights yesterday, so there's no going back now. LA friends, I can't wait to see you again.
But in the meantime, focus closer to home. I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful creative community at the Egg Factory, and we're currently in full pom pom production mode ready for our Eggsmas craft fair on December 8th and 9th. I'll have a stall there selling my wares, and we'll be running a print-your-own Letterpress Christmas card activity too (among much else!). Please come visit, if you're in the area! I'll also be down in Brighton/London again December 10th – 15th, so hopefully one way or another I might get to see many of you this coming month.