Hello dear readers! August is almost at a close, this last part of summer always flies past in a swelling of seedheads and browning of the hedgerows. Personally I love the outdoor lifestyle, heat and long evenings of summer but there is something about the coziness and twinkly warmth of Autumn to look forward to as well. While the school summer holidays are still with us though I have been squeezing every last drop out of them, spending precious time with my children, cooling off in the sea and eating mostly tomatoes, chard and courgette from my garden…a glut this year!
It’s been a quieter month on the work front for me because of the holidays. My husband and I juggle work and childcare by splitting our weekdays down the middle while our children are off school. Three days are divided in two with one of us working in the morning and the other in the afternoon, but each week we make sure we each have a whole day with them and another whole day working…both of those long days are worth it, to have a whole day off with the kids to myself to go out and do something fun and not have to rush back to work and then another whole day to get stuck into work without having to cut off half way through or only managing to deal with the essentials for that day. The best of both worlds I think they call it!
I have been pottering away sorting out the next bird in the series, sketch booking for when I have more time to make some bigger work, thinking about new pieces to make for licensing and sorting out the finer points of a new illustration project that I will be working on in the Autumn. It’s felt like a proper time to reenergise before what is always a busy Autumn in the run up to Christmas.
After writing that I realise that there are a lot of different elements to running my little business and also making sure I get time to check in with my creativity too. There’s the shops, the wholesaling, the illustration, making work for license and also this writing side and the YouTube channel…I’ve dropped a couple of balls this month, the main one being social media, I’ve just not really had the headspace for it other than a little check in with Instagram here and there, but it got me thinking that though it is important, I feel that it’s also important not to post for postings sake…It needs to be genuine and something I’m excited to post. I’ve decided to be more relaxed about it in that regard, pour my energy into my art and when I am ready to, share it. The algorithm may not be favourable to me because of it but if it makes me feel better in myself then I am all here for it.
I’m also loving writing these long blog posts and making the monthly vlog for YouTube. It makes me really think about my craft and where I am at with my work, what is inspiring me and what I want to work on next rather than just bouncing from one day to the next without a plan.
Writing like this has been like producing essays for college work, and now I realise why they made us write and not just make art all the time (though admittedly back when I was at art school the dissertation was only 5000 words long, ha ha!) Writing hones your thinking skills which in turn gives your mind time and space to delve deeper into the broader ideas and concepts about your work. My work has always had a theme but since I have been writing more I have been able to drill it down even further, perhaps that is why I have felt the need to push some of my work into a more abstract space these last few months.
Making work for illustration and license is a wonderful thing to be able to do. Honestly, there’s not many feelings better than a company wanting to collaborate and put your art onto things, (when they could have picked anybody!) and then finally holding those things in your hands…it’s brilliant! But sometimes it is a little bit restrictive, work has to be made for a product based market and while I strive to bring myself to my illustration more and more there isn’t quite the freedom involved that comes about from pursuing those ideas that really make you tick from a brief-less creative position. I worry that it can sometimes be perceived as self indulgent and frivolous but getting to the bottom of these ideas, both visually and conceptually (which feels a bit like a delicate archeological dig of the mind sometimes) is an important exercise in awareness. It feeds into the illustration too, making my offering a bit more meaningful and relevant than it would be otherwise…I hope that’s the case anyway!
On the shop front, which takes up most of my time really, packing your lovely orders, ordering new stock and supplies, keeping on top of SEO and tags and all of that, I have released my newest work as prints! You may remember I shared a look at them in last months post. The Words to Live By pieces are a collection of words that offer up a little bit of encouragement and power and I have set them as a triptych of florals with blobby abstract backgrounds, a proper bridge between my older and newer styles of work (which I also talked about last month when my mind was on finding artistic style and leaving behind older ways of working). They are available as individual prints or as the set of three. I am excited to send these out into the world!
That’s about it for this months meanderings, a true mind wander if ever there was one! Thank you for reading and I hope you will hop over to the YouTube channel to see things in motion. Enjoy the rest of the summer and the start of Autumn if you are in the Northern Hemisphere and if you are in the Southern half of the world then I hope the promise of Spring is making Winter an easier place to be.