Well, kind of.

May is always a very difficult and stressful month work-wise. This year seems more difficult than previous years, partly because the Irish Board is growing in size and complexity, and I suppose also partly for any number of other reasons. And this week has been a nightmare. So engaging in creative activities is, to be honest, a welcome and maybe even a necessary distraction from real life.

Just at the moment, I don’t have the head space to really create. You know, like, think of new things or draw or paint. So, I’ve retreated a bit. I’m trying to finish some things I started previously, and I’ve been doing some things that are quite slow and repetitive, such as wood carving.

That all sounds a bit downbeat and, frankly, a bit miserable. Not surprising given my current mood. But, hang on, let’s look at this from a different perspective.

What exactly have I been doing over the last few days?

Well, despite that wood-carving related cut I gave myself at the weekend, I’ve been playing the guitar. I try to find new songs to play and sing each week if I can, to increase my repertoire and to give myself more of a challenge. This week it was Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars and Bruce Springsteen’s Secret Garden. Quite often I find that the chords provided on some websites for songs are either wrong or incomplete so part of the creative process, I suppose, is correcting or completing the chords. Not having learned music formally, that is challenging. (Playing Space Oddity this evening opened up the cut again so I may leave it for a few days.)

I have been carving/whittling: making progress on this …

And having a go at this. It’s an exercise which hopefully will result in two freely moving interlinked shapes carved from one block of wood. This is pretty slow and painstaking mainly because I’m working out how to do it as I go along. And, being me, I didn’t spend much time planning it and marking it out – I just jumped straight in.

I’ve been discovering how to use my airbrush. The last post described my first attempts. Not having had much success with acrylic paint, I tried ink. We have loads of ink here from my fountain pen obsession and Christine’s calligraphy work. Ink flows better through the brush and through trial and error (and YouTube) I now understand how the airbrush works. It’s got a trigger mechanism on the top. Pushing the trigger straight down moves the needle at the tip and regulates the amount of ink leaving the brush. Pulling the trigger towards the back of the brush increases the air pressure from the compressor and therefore regulates the force with which the ink leaves the brush. So one needs to use a combination of the trigger controls and the distance between brush and paper to make different marks on the page. This was yesterday’s experimentation …

This evening, I was trying to see if I could combine some colours and textures for the jellyfish I started to make a few weeks ago.

It looks messy but, from the second one, you might be able to see where I’m going with this.

So maybe treading water isn’t really accurate. Although I haven’t produced any finished object or work, I have actually been, let’s say, reasonably creatively productive.

I suggested above that creativity is a distraction from real life. Actually, it’s the other way around. CREATIVITY IS REAL LIFE. All the other stuff is a distraction from it.

Treading Water