Finally the heatwave has broken and my studio is habitable again!

Having a workspace at the top of the house has many advantages – the views out onto the stunning Oxfordshire countryside probably top the list – but it also means it gets incredibly hot in the kind of temperatures we’ve been having this summer.

As the mercury hit 30°C+ day after day, the only way to keep the room at a workable temperature was to keep the blinds closed. Unfortunately this also eradicated the natural light that makes the space so perfect for creating art in! After struggling with the heat up there for the first few weeks to get a selection ready for drop off to a local gallery, I finally decided that it was a battle I wasn’t going to win. With the artwork bagged up and ready to take to the gallery, there was no pressing need to be working in sauna temperatures so I cleared up my workspace and instead packed up a travel art kit to take on my holidays.

Stepping away from my studio was difficult as I’ve been so in the flow lately I was afraid that if I interrupted it, I’d struggle to get it back. Yet I knew I had some holidays coming up imminently, so in fact I was only taking a week out here and there around a series of mini breaks. Still, for those first few days I felt twitchy and despite my efforts to concentrate on the admin elements instead, all I wanted to do was get my paints out and get working.

Stepping into my studio in that heat was all the reminder I needed, and eventually I accepted that it was okay to take a break and that actually some time out between finishing one series and starting another could only be a good thing.

Now, 5 weeks later, I’m appreciating that decision immensely! The places I visited on my holidays and the time to rest and relax have inspired and invigorated me. Much of this time away was in coastal areas, on the Isle of Wight and my beloved homeland, Cornwall. As a Piscean I find being near water nourishes my soul and lifts my spirits, and with the sea being so warm this year I swam nearly every day. The stunning natural landscapes, earthy colours and endless blue skies have been more beautiful and inspiring than I could have imagined and on the last day in Cornwall we were blessed with a sea ‘mizzle’ that muted the colours into soft hues of pink, purple, blue and turquoise. A photograph of this has become the starting point as I start mentally sketching out ideas for a new body of work, something no less dramatic than the one recently completed but in a softer, more understated way.

Strangely I feel in no great rush to get started on this, even now the room is useable again. Unusually for me, as I’m actually pretty impatient, it feels comfortable to let the ideas formulate in my mind for a while. I find they are changing, evolving, maturing – getting clearer and more defined before I’ve even made a mark. This is new territory for me, and something I’m embracing as part of my new practice. In my last body of work I went through this process on the board – each piece going through many stages and changing drastically with every layer. This was experimental and, I have to say, hugely enjoyable! It’s something I’ll continue with moving forwards…. yet right now I feel that I want to see if I can go through those early stages in my head so that when I do start laying down paint I have some intention rather than it being totally random!

I’m not sure how it will turn out – I never am – but for now it feels right so I’ll honour it. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for work in progress pics!

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© Natalie Day 2018

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