My Creative Quarantine (part 2)

After finishing my commissioned piece, which I mentioned in my last blog, I set about working on my YouTube channel and setting up my Facebook group, both called Dave’s Art Club. The idea for the art club is to promote artistic creativity and to help folk discover their inner artist. We all an inner artist but due to being told at an early age that you’re not good at art, many of us have denied its existence. I teach art in care homes and I’ve had so many residents tell me they can’t do art and then I show them a few simple things and they go and create something beautiful. It’s so nice to see the change in them when they realise they can do art. On the Facebook page I post images of art that has inspired me and I encourage others to do the same. If you want to go on a journey through art, be inspired then you can join this group here.

At the time of writing I now have 4 videos on my YouTube channel. The first is a time lapse showing the making of a piece I did in Inktense coloured pencils. I got myself a tripod so I could film myself drawing from above. That video was fairly simple to produce as I just spliced the bits of time lapse video together and added some music. The next videos proved a lot harder to make. Videoing the process was easy, it was the voice over and filming myself at the beginning and end that I found difficult. I realised that it was really just a matter of getting used to seeing and hearing myself on video that was the problem. Once I got comfortable with that, I found the process speeding up and getting more enjoyable. I plan to do many more videos.

One positive outcome from putting out these videos is that a friend called me and asked me to give art lessons to her daughter. It's the first time I've taught kids and I have really enjoyed it.

My mum told me that Grayson Perry was doing a TV show called Grayson's Art Club on Channel 4. I don't have a TV and I limit my online viewing but I have enjoyed the things he has done in the past and thought I'd tune in. Each week he asked the public to enter artwork based on a different theme. My work is based on fantasy and one of the weeks themes was fantasy so I went full-on into painting a canvas. At the start of the lockdown I created a picture of a Weechee, an inter-galactic microscopic creature that eats viruses. I imagined something that would save us all, save the economy and release us to live a normal life again. So I set about painting another Weechee. The first one I did was in Intense coloured pencils. I really enjoyed working with them but they are limited and I wondered how a Weechee would look in acrylics. It took me 4 days of solid painting and this is how it looks.

I am fairly happy with it but I do want to do another one at some point. Every time I make a piece I learn from it and want to put what I learnt into practice immediately. It had been years since I had painted something like this in acrylics and I just wanted to get stuck into something else. But then I experienced something I had not experienced for a very long time, exhaustion. For two days I had no energy and my mind was not able to focus on anything. It was a strange experience for me. I slept a lot and did virtually nothing for those days. I am a very active person so it was not enjoyable for me to be like that. But I am grateful that I had the time recover well and reset myself.

A couple of friends had asked if I had stuff they could buy from me. For many years I have created T-shirts and sold either online or on market stalls but I had yet to set up my shop on this site by then and so that was going to be my next task. I love that I have an online shop but the setting up of it was a real pain. As I have quite a few designs I wanted to get them all on there. I now have 76 products for sale. Most of these items are printed on demand which is great for me as I don't have to buy and keep stock.

Once I had got most of my products into my online shop I turned my attention to getting another video out for Dave's Art Club. That one was showing how to make a simple bird out of cardboard and masking tape. That was my 4th video and I enjoyed making that one the most. That video is above in this blog. As soon as I had finished editing that I felt charged up and wanted to get stuck into a painting.

I have a few small canvas boards (20cm x 20cm) and I decided that I wanted to paint something small and simple. I looked through one of my sketchbooks and quickly found a doodle that I thought may look good as a painting. With hindsight I would have chosen a different one but I was feeling like just going for it and not thinking too much about it. I finished it within 24 hours. Increasing the speed of my painting is something that I want to achieve and so I was very happy that I completed it so quickly even if the finished product is not the best thing I've ever produced.

As soon I finished this one I just wanted to start a new one, which I did. During this lockdown I have been really charged up and I have been feeling that I need to produce and get better and not waste this time. But sometimes I can be a little over the top and I need to slow down and take a deep breath and analyse what I am doing before jumping straight into something new. And if I don't, life will slow me down and that's what happened, again. I had been so focused on painting, Dave's Art Club and my website that I had neglected my Creative Minds care home work. Because care homes are the front line of the Coronavirus I decided not to hassle them to see if they want the Art Activity Boxes. I just thought it best to let them be for a while as I thought they would be having a hard time and didn't't want to interfere.

So I put my latest painting to one side and got back into Creative Minds mode for a couple of weeks. Although it was hard letting go of painting, it was good to focus on the care home side of what I do. It's all about finding that balance. But I did manage to spent some evenings painting and I have now finished that piece. Now all I want to do is start another one. Anyway that's all from me for now, I will leave you with my latest work. See ya!

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