This morning I attended a Professional Development Workshop organised by Creative Leicestershire. Led by Cathy Grindod, herself a practising poet and author, the workshop is intended to enable you to reflect upon where you are at present in your artistic career, where you would like to be and the steps you need to take to achieve your aims. Free to attend, I took the opportunity to participate in the workshop, not only because it provides a chance to network with other artists and professionals, but also because I felt I had reached a crossroads or stalemate following the end of my Connecting Threads exhibitions.
It’s all too easy when being reflective to concentrate on the negatives so it was useful to have to list your achievements to date and the times you were most happy in your artistic career – and to consider why. The subsequent exercises were designed to help you determine your own personal goals, and how you were going to achieve them; identifying any obstacles, what you need to overcome them and by setting realistic goals. To some of you this all might seem fairly obvious or just common sense, but sometimes it helps to have a fresh viewpoint, to have someone question what it is you really want. Suffice to say I have now set myself a list of goals (and dates by which I hope to have achieved them!) – I must pin this list up in the study so that I see them everyday!!
One of my stumbling blocks was that I was undecided as to what path my practice should take; do I concentrate on installations/sound etc or develop my drawings/painting? This course helped me to realise that the two do not have to be mutually exclusive – one can help the other. This realisation is hugely liberating – it’s almost as if I have given myself permission to do both without feeling guilty.
As I said, one of the reasons for attending the workshop was the opportunity to network – the chance to meet other artists, to acknowledge and discuss issues that are affecting you, and to know that you are not alone in doubting yourself – and today was no exception. Today’s group was a mixture of those of us just starting out on our careers and the more established artists. Cathy was very astute, asking just the right questions to focus the discussions. She also had some great words of wisdom such as ‘Never compare yourself to someone else’ and suggested that we keep a diary to note what we are doing and when, to keep a record of our progress and to see how far we have come!
If you do feel as if you have reached a crossroads, or are unsure as to how to push your artistic practice forward, then I would recommend attending this workshop. Creative Leicestershire are in the process of developing their autumn schedule so keep an eye out on their website for further details. I will definitely be looking to attend more of their events and workshops! Hopefully I will make more new friends to go with the ones I met today!
For now I need to concentrate on my drawings ready for an exhibition in September at Blue Owl Art, Grantham.