I have now finished the mentoring course at the Newlyn School of Art. We had a very successful exhibition in the PZ gallery, Penzance, and said our farewells. Some good friendships have been made and I am sure that we will all keep in touch. Plans for a collaborative project next year are already underway with artist Mike Thorpe from Macclesfield.
What did I get out of it?
Every person on the course would have different things to say about it, as each of us was there for many reasons and wanted different things from it. I found the course difficult at times as I had to think very hard about what I wanted from my life as an artist, what my work was about, and what I wanted in the future. Once these things became clearer I found that making them happen was easier than I had initially thought.
Learning how to be critical of ones own work, as well as being able to be constructively critical and supportive of the other students, was the most demanding but rewarding aspect of the course. Overall I would say that my work has not changed direction, I was on the right path, I was just not sure where it was going and I didn't have enough confidence in myself or my abilities.
After the dust settled I spent a few months making changes to the way I live and create art. In doing so I changed my attitude towards my work and implemented ways to improve my practise. It is very easy to get stuck in ones ways and think that the current way you do things is the right way and cannot, or does not, need to be changed.
I have made three main changes:
Firstly, we sold our house in order to downsize and reduce outgoings - we move into our new place in August.
Secondly, I have taken on a studio away from home.
And thirdly, my partner Tim has stepped in as my administrator, website manager, technician, accountant and delivery driver to allow me to spend more time in the studio. To be fair, he has been doing most of these things as best he could whilst working full time, so dedicating a set amount of time for these roles in the future will also make his life easier.
My studio is in RedPod Studios at The Clay Factory near Ivybridge. This is an emerging Artists Hub and we hope it will become a vibrant creative community. I have been there 4 months andI love it. I find the separation of home from work is far healthier. As soon as I go into the studio I focus on artwork and as soon as I leave I switch off from it. Of course it is much cheaper to have a studio at home but on the other hand, having a smaller house probably saves far more in the long term than the rent I pay.
The other huge benefit is that there are other artists in neighbouring studios providing support and friendship, we also have an exhibition space and plenty of room for running workshops.
I will be programming in some workshops dates for late autumn and spring next year. I know some of you have been waiting for printmaking classes for a while now .... I'm on it as soon as I have moved!