By Lily Mae Martin
Ink on paper
Articulating new work has been really hard. I get the impression that people think artists come up with an idea in their head and then make it. Maybe for some artists it does work that way, but it never has for me.
It is very important to me that I see some sort of progression throughout my pieces. I understand that not every work will be a masterpiece and I know not every work will be moving forward as there can be a sort of one step forward two steps back kind of thing. As frustrating as this tends to be I can generally move through it.
At the moment, however, I am a little stuck. Perhaps this is a life thing too – there are moments where we feel like we can’t get a break, can’t get a win. I just can’t seem to crack it. I’ve begun many works that I have had to abandon, I’ve also been working for a very long time on a piece only to realize it is an epic fail and or I’ve accidently ruin it! Very disheartening.
I guess with art there’s no trajectory. I thought I was on an up for a bit – my work was moving forward and the many, many applications and prizes that I enter paid off. But this year, so far – brutal. I cannot get my work to move forward, or I am failing to see/ work out how to satisfy this within myself and the work. I feel like I’ve burnt out but hardly done anything. Or have nothing I really want to show.
At the moment I can’t see anything good in my work. It’s nowhere near where I want it to be and I have no idea what I am doing. I’ve set myself the task of spending a few hours each day, doing something practical in the studio, When the alarm goes off I leave and do other things with my time and try not to get too emotional about it all. It’s a massively emotional thing for me – so much of my identity is tied up within this. So failing over and over again – well, I feel pretty rubbish.
I’m trying to do new things, I think it is good to try and push oneself. But it’s also good to be able to see when it’s not working out. I don’t usually allow for this. Time restraints weigh heavy on me… I don’t like having to do difficult things in my studio when life is a little difficult at times and then I end up having nothing going my way. But – I’ve been wanting to try things and it is getting to a point that I think if I don’t do it now, I never will.
So I have been painting, and I’ve been trying out different drawing styles – so far I’ve just pushed myself to keep going with them until I feel like I have explored it enough. I’ve also been reading a lot – some fiction for a book club, and a lot of history on ancient Celts. I’m also reading about climate change and thinking a lot about landscapes and our demands on it.
Incredibly fascinating stuff.
I thought I had an idea where all of this is going, but I don’t. It’s a little terrifying at times but I do boxing to balance out my frustrations and we will see where this all goes or doesn’t go.
Keeping most things offline have felt important at this time too. That was hard because notifications are like a drug ( shut up, you love it too ) and I can’t help but want to be reflective online rather than present in real life. I’m trying to correct that too. I keep thinking about 2008 – ten years ago, when I was in my final year of university and how I let that large body of work develop in my studio and no one saw it until the exhibition at the end of the year. I’m aware that this is not how things really work now and progress shots are interesting – however I need to balance this out better and I find social media is too much involved at times it shouldn’t be. For me, anyway.
I’ve not successfully completed a work for some months now – except for two small portraits of animals, which I think worked out pretty awesome – but this is OK. This is good to do, or so I keep telling myself 😛
I begin teaching next week, here are the details and at the bottom are some handy links 🙂
Observing nature with Lily Mae Martin
Wednesdays, 25 April to 13 June (eight weeks), 4pm to 5.15pm
Have a look at Lily Mae Martin’s work at www.lilymaemartin.com — want to know how she can draw like that? Well, she’s coming along to share a few of her secrets! This is an entry-level course, introducing you to ideas of observation and breaking objects in nature down into simple shapes. Learn the basic skills for translating your observations from your mind onto the page. Ideal for students looking to further their studies in VCE.
Recommended Ages: 10 to 18 years
To book go here: FOLLOW THIS LINK
Also I might add that you should really go see the BECKLER’S BOTANICAL BOUNTY: THE FLORA OF MENINDIE – 24 Feb to 27 May, LINK
And you also must see EUGENE VON GUÉRARD: ARTIST–TRAVELLER – 24 Mar to 27 May, LINK The paintings are interesting but what makes it for me are the sketch books and small drawings, they are really, really wonderful so go see them!
Stuff You Missed in History Class released an older episode about the history of the domestication of the cat. It is really interesting so I suggest you have a listen: LINKY
Podcasts are the thing I listen to while working and one day I will make a long list of all the podcasts I love to listen to, but not yet because the washing needs to be hung, the banana bread needs to be taken out of the oven ( and eaten ) and the words need to be read.
My back is very sore but my heart is pretty happy. We’ve been working very hard on the garden and it looks so different from even just six months ago. Gene is so bloody good at wood working and has built some beautiful things. We have a whole lot of late blooming sunflowers which are very joyful.
I’ve also been potting and re potting the patio and indoor plants. It’s only been a couple of years now that I have really tried to garden and I think I have gotten a lot better at it.
There are many seedlings sprouting – they are just little colourful flowers as I know Kidlet will love them. I’ve also planted a bunch of Australian native plants but they will take a little longer to establish and grow.
G’Day blog – I am so sorry that you are neglected at the moment. It doesn’t mean I am not working. I just tend to not feel such a strong urge to scan and post every sketch and little thing I do anymore. I’m in that place between – the end of one project and the beginning of another. There’s really not that much for you to see during this time. Plenty for me to see, though.
It’s been a rollercoast – as it always is during the Inbetweens – but I feel like I am making progress. I’ve been researching and reading and had a few sessions with models and am going to visit a historian next week and even if my ideas all fall flat ( they won’t ) it’s still very interesting and good for the mind.
It has been a while since I have approached an art project like this, which got me thinking about how much social media has impacted on my practice – both good and bad. It is a wonderful thing but sometimes I think sheesh, calm down world, things take time. That’s the reason for five weeks between correspondence.
You can’t read while writing.
Also this year is ten years since I graduated from VCA.
T E N Y E A R S !
I never did get to do that year at the London Drawing School – by the time we were living in the UK I was pregnant and then the reality of having a baby and the thought of traveling and being away from her – well, it didn’t happen. But that’s OK, I got a baby and I still draw. Also the baby is almost eight and she is my drawing buddy so it’s pretty bloody fantastic really.
Though sometimes I miss the UK so hard it hurts. I think there are always going to be places that I miss.
So here I am, scratching away at the drawing board and gardening before it’s too cold to go outside.