Kennack Sands

Creativity Crash

Kennack sands acrylic painting
Kennack Sands 10″ by 8″ acrylic

Well, that’s it then, I’ve definitely had a big creativity crash. I find it difficult to understand how I can go on holiday to the Lizard peninsular in Cornwall with great weather, drop-dead gorgeous coastline, and so much to inspire and enthuse and come back with virtually nothing; just a couple of ill-judged watercolour sketches and a forced plein air beachscape.

I wrote about how much I was looking forward to this holiday in my last post, and I’d packed loads of plein air gear and panels along with high hopes of knocking out a painting or six. The reality is, once I was there, I simply couldn’t get enthused. I tried to force myself, thinking that simply pitching in would break the deadlock, but no. Don’t get me wrong, the holiday itself was a very welcome break away from everything, and yes I did enjoy the time with my wife Carole, all the walking, the wildlife and in particular the long periods of staring aimlessly out to sea on my evening walks. I got quite good at that.

Alice Hole and Ade Turner
Great to meet talented painter Alice Hole

There was one special highlight too: meeting talented Helston based artist Alice Hole. I’ve known Alice as a digital friend on Twitter for quite some time, and it was so nice to actually meet up over a real life coffee. You can visit Alice’s Facebook page here. Besides reinforcing my long held desire to move to Cornwall, Alice also encouraged me to start actively using my dormant Facebook account. She told me that as a professional artist she finds Facebook a very useful tool, and more effective than Twitter for encouraging sales.

Although I’m very familiar with Twitter, this was new territory for me. So, over one rainy day in our cottage I did my research and went live. You can see, and ‘Like’, my ‘Ade Turner: Artist’ page here. I have to say, Facebook really isn’t as intuitive as it could be, and there are many areas of confusion and potential for privacy slips.

For me, the main difficulty was getting my head around the relationship and differences between my personal account, and my artist ‘Page’. Naturally I would like to encourage people to ‘Follow’ my page, but you can only add a ‘Follow’ button onto your personal page.

Now, my personal timeline is filling up with the usual banter between friends, which will be of little interest to anyone looking for my artwork. So I thought, not unreasonably, I’d start a new Facebook account specifically for Ade the artist. Nope, can’t do that. Apparently it’s a big Facebook no-no, and they will challenge and close multiple accounts held by one person. That is so dumb.

The ‘business me’ is a very different entity to the ‘private me’ with distinct needs and expectations. Why shouldn’t I be able to separate and manage both while retaining useful Facebook functions across both? As long as I can prove I’m a genuine individual responsible for the content of each account, where’s the problem? I can run as many Twitter accounts as I like. Facebook really needs to sort this, as it sounds like it’s a common gripe on forums.

Thumbox2 open for business

While I’m talking of online things, I succumbed to a spot of art-based retail therapy while I was away and bought this Guerrilla Thumbox2 pochade from Dick Blick art supplies. There’s nothing like the anticipation of new kit to cheer me up, and I’d had my eye on one of these for a while.

The American art market seems spoiled for choice when it comes to plein air gear, and their service was brilliant. We ordered on a Sunday, had an email to confirm the shipping cost was OK on the Thursday and it arrived on the following Monday morning. Just over a week from order to delivery. I’ve had longer waits from some UK suppliers!

Guerrilla packaging
Pristine in packaging

It arrived well packed, and the quality is what you’d expect of a mass produced item. The finish is a little rough here and there, and I’ve a few little gripes like the palette extension doesn’t sit flat at 90 degrees as described and the nuts holding the tripod plate are a little intrusive in the box cavity, but these really are minor things and I love it.

Of course, now it’s arrived, I can’t summon up the enthusiasm to get out and use it…

You know, I’m pretty sure this creativity crash is all part of my grieving. It’s only just been over a couple of months since my dad died. Odd thing is, if you ask me how I’m coping I’ll probably say OK. In truth, deep down, all is not as well as it would seem on the surface. There’s an underlying numbness and disassociation which I just can’t shake. Some days even getting out of bed is a struggle.

And now here I am, back home, trying to reignite the spark. These pages may be painting free for a while, please bear with me.

6 thoughts on “Creativity Crash”

  1. I read through with great interest and was saying to myself that you are putting yourself under pressure and far too soon after your fathers funeral to do anything. Be kind and caring to yourself and all will be well, the visions of Cornwall will remain with you and will spill out onto the canvas when you are ready, trust me.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Chris. You are right of course, it’s difficult sometimes to step back and get a sense of perspective and let things take their natural course. I’m often my own worst enemy. It’s a weird feeling, knowing something so familiar and personal is missing, and not being able to find and reconnect with it.

      I look forward to when time has run it’s course and the raw emotions have softened. Meanwhile I’ll take it as it comes. If I fancy painting, I will, if not then the garden’s set for a good make over! Take care.

  2. I went through a ‘what’s it all for?’ period after my Mum died. I found a lot of solace in doing still life drawings of some of her things, usually items she had kept for a long time. I didn’t always know why she had kept them, an old pair of leather gloves, a worn out purse, old sewing paraphernalia … It really helped me to feel a connection. Grieving takes huge amounts of mental energy, so try and rest if you can.

    1. Speaking with other creatives this sort of shut down sounds like a fairly common reaction. And you’re right, grieving does takes a lot of mental resources so it’s not surprising that all the energy just drains away.
      Your still life idea is interesting, although I’ve yet to start properly going through my dad’s things. It’s going to be doubly hard as all mum’s things are still in the house too, untouched since 2004. Might be something to consider. Thanks Viv.

  3. Can’t really add anything more to the insightful comments above regarding your creative crash – other than I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the creative pick-up truck trundles along!
    Regarding Facebook – not being burdened with friends, I tend to use my personal account mostly for business and my ‘art page’ as an interactive portfolio – not that I’m very active on either at the moment!

    1. Thanks Andy, let’s hope it doesn’t get stuck in traffic! I know it will return.
      Facebook continues to puzzle and frustrate in equal measure. I’m considering becoming a split personality 😉

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