So I've been working with The Artist's Way now for the last three and a bit weeks, and oh boy, have I done some writing...more than I've done in years, and longhand to boot. You have to write three pages of A4 drivel EVERY morning - which I manage most days (some are v. hard if we have to be out early; you try handling a two year old at 7am and writing three pages...!), so that's well over 50 sides of A4 now, and there's a bunch of exercises to do each week as well. I can really recommend the "morning pages" - it's hard work but it really empties your head of the day to day gumph that swirls around. I'm also supposed to do an "Artist's Date" each week but getting the time alone to do that is incredibly hard and I haven't managed much more than watching a couple of films by myself and taking a candlelit bath. I'd really like to have a look at a few museums and exhibitions though. There are loads locally, which is really surprising, but unfortunately childcare (and transport) is a bit of an issue right now, I need to work in the only time I have available.
Anyway, so far I've discovered quite a lot - where my attitudes to art and music come from, where I'd really like to go, a lot of hidden and unacknowledged stuff that was driving me a bit crackers. There is absolutely and definitely a blocked musician in there somewhere, and the outlet at the moment is S&S - but I'm looking at improving my singing skills (have got a couple of new books and technique CDs; James, if you read this at all they are fab, will loan them to you) and perhaps even digging out my flute before it collapses into a pile of dust. I finally got iTunes and the iPod sorted out and have forked over a rather annoying amount to get some new music which I'm enjoying very much (even though I can only play it on the sodding iPod or in Windows - a huge PITA for a Linux lover)...I'd forgotten how to dissect music and put it back together, and it's all coming back to me.
Surprisingly there's a painter wanting to get out as well - except that for some reason I have a crippling fear of messing up the materials; quite possibly because I don't have a lot of money to keep spending on silk and paper and canvas and paints to do the kind of practice I need. I have the same problem with sewing, to some extent; ruining the fabric by cutting it wrong is quite a problem as fabric really isn't cheap. I have a fair bit of kit lying around due to the same issues, which is rather sad really. Anyway, I think part of the solution to this is to start working with A's "Right Side of the Brain" drawing books that I've mentioned previously. I got into this book because I wanted to improve and open up my design skills for cross stitch - I haven't got any further with that at the moment but I think it's a much slower process than I'd anticipated. Getting some confidence with drawing and painting will probably help a great deal.
However, week 4 is "reading deprivation week" - you're not allowed to read anything! The idea is that if you stop filling your head up with other peoples' words, you might just find your own. I'm finding this so, so hard...reading is not just a love, it's a habit. I had to declutter two drawers instead of reading at bedtime last night, for heaven's sake. I decided that since The Artist's Way is ten years old it probably hadn't taken into account the effect of information overload from the Internet as well as from books, so I'm having a self-imposed news ban (no websites, no telly, no radio, no teletext, nothing; other than important research, TV which is not current affairs and music, preferably new or haven't-heard-it-for-ages stuff). It's very hard to stay away from certain sites though, since these are a way of maintaining friendships with people I don't see often (I don't exactly have a coffee morning of local friends I could go to). But I am trying. And I have to read bedtime stories to K, of course!
Filling the time when usually I'd grab a book is certainly a challenge. A bath without a book! It's unheard of. And tonight I tried knitting again for the first time in ages - it's absolutely laughable, lumpier than school custard. Why am I K1P1-ing when I know absolutely nothing about it and am not even sure I'm purling right? Because I dive in and can't be bothered with a nice neat practice square, that's why. At least I'm having fun and K will probably love a nice scarf for one of her animals just because Mummy Made It, bless her. My fingers do remember how to knit from being about eight, though, which is nice (thanks mum, and hey, I can cast on now - yay me!). I must grab myself a crochet hook at the weekend, I need to pop to Hobbycraft for a skein of 827...
One last thing which is new - as a family we sat down and made a huge mess on Sunday with papier mache. We had a heap of old receipts and personal stuff that desperately needed shredding, but the shredder is so noisy that K is scared of it. So A and I ripped it all up on Saturday night, soaked it in glue and water (Hobbycraft had a really good deal on PVA, btw), and we all spent a couple of hours getting sticky. We probably didn't do it right, though, most of the paper ended up very fragmented rather than in strips, so even today half of our models are still damp! (Mind, given that A used huge clumps of it to model Groucho Marx's features, I'm not really surprised...). I did manage to snag rather a lot of the flat strips to paste over a balloon to make a mask with, though, and this is actually dry now. We still have half a box of paper and some old newspapers to shred, and another bottle of glue, so perhaps we'll give it another try at the weekend. Technically the plan was that we'd model on Sunday and K and I would paint stuff on Tuesday since this is a bit of a "dead day" for us atm, but I'll be surprised if all of it is dry by next Tuesday.
Are you supposed to sand papier mache before painting it? Cos lordy lou, it's lumpier even than my knitting...