You could say this is my full circle. I finished my Foundation Year at Brighton College of Art in 1968 then, through a series of accidents, political strategisings, and some actual conscious decisions, spent a lifetime as a clinical psychologist for people with learning disabilities. It’s hard to think of anything I could have found more rewarding, more painful, and at times more fun than that – especially when the last two years of work involved hanging out in a virtual world and calling it research!
Now I’m back to give art another go. It feels like the right time although goodness me when I look at other people’s work I wonder if anyone else will. I picked up a pencil again just over a year ago after faffing about in a local art group making digital marks in some (really rather good) painting apps such as Rebelle and Flamepainter. Then my sister, an actual arts graduate, bought me some inks for my birthday, a hint if ever there was one. By Christmas (my birthday is in November) I’d armed myself with basic packs of paints, pencils, pens, and a table top easel, then shortly afterwards spent an eventful time putting together an actual easel that came in bits and with an attitude like a vengeful wooden octopus. The conservatory was re-purposed from being primarily a cats’ place of refuge from the dogs* to my personal play area where I can waft about in a distractedly arty way and trip over that darned easel’s feet as a reality check.
I hope I haven’t forgotten how to be creative. Will I be able to think like an artist? Did I ever do that? Does a lifetime in science skew the kinds of analyses eyes and brains are capable of? I don’t know how that will pan out, I’ve yet to get started on my first drawing assignment [It’s October 13th 2018, in case I forget to come back to this page, which wouldn’t be for the first time.] and I’m prevaricating here, a strategy I think I can extend into backing up my existing sketchbooks. Who even knew that was a thing?
I have a website with links to other places such as my writer’s blog, the sciency one, and the one about promoting literacy by adding voice tracks to reading materials. For anyone who’s interested, I’m on twitter as both @strayficshion and @demtigerpaw, the latter my in-world research avatar who sometimes got to wear wings and once sat next to a crow at a conference. Instagram – that’s @fishbits, and tumblr is @straykatfish. Bit of a pattern there.
*No need to feel sorry for the cats; my last dog went the way of all good dogs in January 2018 so they have the whole house to themselves as well as the conservatory which still has two cat beds in it, a large biscuit reservoir, and their gateway to Narnia, aka the cat flap. They are well served. Also they are excellent models once fed and static.
1967-68. Foundation year, Brighton College of Art.
2018- . Open College of the Arts, degree in painting. Completion by 2027.
Lockdown Locks. Print rights purchased by Swatch, 2021.