Sheffield paper artist Melanie Pearson "Les Fruits de Mel"
No idea where this is going, or what it’s going to be, but at the moment I love this colour!

Transition….whenever I say this word to myself, I can’t help getting a burst of “Fiddler on the Roof” in my head, and Topol singing “Tradition”!

Yet with Transition, when you’re going through one of these times you are pulling away from all your traditions. It’s new and exciting and uncomfortable and there is no map for where you might be going. I am having one of these times at the moment. Apparently it coincides very neatly with a series of lunar eclipses. How about you? Chances are you know exactly what I’m talking about because so many people seem to be going through something similar. And obviously the wider world is in terrifying turmoil. These are strange times.

Knowing how lucky I am to live in relative peace and security, it feels wrong to be dissatisfied but I’ve been unsettled lately. So many things seem to be not quite right anymore – living in the city (even in the lovely neighbourhood I am lucky to inhabit), the layout of my room, my hair, my clothes, my job, my social life, and most of all my creative work. It’s been disorientating and to be honest, quite distressing and sad. It feels a bit like the dismay when you reach for the fail-safe party frock or favourite jumper that once fitted so perfectly and you could just throw on without thinking, and suddenly it looks all wrong – too tight or too shapeless or just plain ugh.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting with painting, and it has opened up such a can of worms because I’m really not very good at it! I wish I was but whatever I do, I just can’t seem to control the brush and it does its own thing. It always results in a dog’s dinner. The whole thing has made me feel quite depressed.

At the weekend I was talking with an artist friend whose work and creativity I so admire, and was telling her about my inability to paint and she said she was just the same (and this is a woman who has been to art school, works across many media and is immensely talented) At some point, she said, you get these times of creative hiatus and you just have to sit with it. Be here now, and accept that it is a time of change and that it is not meant to be comfortable. I felt better after our chat. I decided that I’d stop trying to be a good, or even competent, painter and just go back to my sketchbooks and the playfulness of collage, just have some fun again. Sometimes you simply have to let go of attachment to an outcome, and be with the discomfort and the not knowing.

The funny thing is, I came home and started making some collage AND a painting, and although as usual the brush and paints have a life of their  own, this time it felt different. Like it might actually work out. So I am telling myself to hold my nerve, to feel the discomfort of not knowing where I’m going, and just try to have a bit of fun with that.

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