Blog » Reflections (Wednesday, 3 June 2020)

By far the most wonderful thing about the Tough And Tender Beauty residency for me has been meeting and spending time with the other artists. I listened with fascination as processes and techniques unfamiliar to me were explained.

I heard my own doubt echoing back, as each of us experienced the inevitable questioning of our talent, value and worthiness. My heart swelled with the generous support each artist offered the others when those moments showed up.

I was inspired and motivated by every post, picture, video and story as each artist progressed with their projects. I’d like to say I hope I gave back as much as I got… but I don’t know if that’s even possible. I might settle for a quiet hope that I contributed something worthwhile.

One of the other artists - Shelley Engwirda wrote a post last week about her Reflective Practice which nudged me to reflect too. So, with a nod and thanks to Shelley for sharing a useful format, here goes:

What were my best moments during the past month?

Hands down, our weekly Zoom residency ‘meeting’, which I’ve already mentioned. Reading a poem to the group was a highlight – which sparked an idea to record all the poems that will accompany the Wise Women portraits, and make the recordings available to listen to while viewing the art – adding an audio element to the project would NEVER have occurred to me without that moment.

Sharing the work and the process was another source of ‘best moments’. Sharing process and progress isn’t entirely new to me, but the residency gave me a direction and pushed me to consider new ideas – which led to responses that helped close the creative ‘loop’.

How can I have more moments like it?

Keep Going. It’s simple and obvious, but sometimes we need to remember to just keep going.

What were the most challenging moments?

Challenging moments in a residency are just like any other challenging moment – generally sparked by self doubt or frustration. The nagging thought that you’re out of your depth; the frustration when a piece is ‘stuck’ and you can’t seem to get it to move forward.

How will I respond next time?

Keep Going. But take a break first. Which sounds contradictory, but refocusing and clearing your head when the challenges are closing in on you is the magic medicine which enables you to Keep Going.

What was the biggest obstacle to learning?

I’m with Shelley on this one – time. But perhaps that’s because there was SO MUCH I wanted to see and read and participate in, that it wasn’t physically possible to do it all. That’s a tendency I have to keep an eye on. Fear Of Missing Out is a real thing which, as I think about it, might have been the real obstacle to learning…

So here I am at the end of the residency, with five imaginary portraits in various stages of completion – some fully, others mostly – a few poems tucked safely away in journals for final polishing and recording, and a growing excitement about a body of work that a month ago was a dream.


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