Monday, June 28, 2010

Noosa Travelling Scholarship

I heard recently that I’ve been selected as a finalist for the Noosa Travelling Scholarship. I’m really delighted to have be included, and it offers the first opportunity to  exhibit my artists book Judy & the Jacaranda. 

The exhibition will be at Noosa Regional Gallery from July 29 – August 29, although the opening is on August 6 with the “big announcement”.

The application involved submitting a small portfolio of six images of my work and providing a proposal for how I would use the travel.  I’d like to go to the Women’s Studio Workshop, New York state, which offers the rare opportunity of an artists book studio and a ceramic studio under the one roof and collaboration with R & F Encaustics just down the road. Well, a girl’s gotta dream!

The list of finalists is on the gallery website, and there are some impressive names,  both young, up-coming and experienced artists, as you can see. It’s a wonderful opportunity to show with these people and to see their work, and the Noosa Regional Gallery has a special interest in artists books. I’m really excited to be a part of this event.

And for those of you who are part of Book*Art*Object, and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of your very own copy of  Judy & the Jacaranda, I’m pleased to let you know that it’s close…


Watson-Will:Judy and the Jacaranda

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Embracing my duality

This week I’ve been in a very dozy state of mind. I don’t often talk about the cognitive effects of cfs on this blog, and more dramatic symptoms like migraines or physical weakness are better known by the general public. However, what is generally described as “brain fog” is a major part of the syndrome.

I used to have a fantastic memory. And I used to be very organized and capable of thinking things through in a highly analytical way. Sadly, this isn’t the case any more.

It’s easy to believe that the issues I’m trying to resolve are just more complex and abstract than the problems I had to deal with at uni, and of course my brain is aging too. And I know lots of my friends do show similar albeit milder memory problems, but that is with families, careers and generally really busy lives to manage.

I’m talking about the days when you stare at the clothes in your wardrobe for ten minutes, trying to decide what to wear, and you aren’t even planning to leave the house that day. And eventually you walk away, still in your pjs. The only decision you’ve made is to try again in an hours time. It seems to me that there’s little doubt that your decision-making skills are “affected”.

The interesting thing about one set of skills diminishing is that it can lead you to enhance another set. As a teenager taking maths, chemistry, physics and so on, I focussed on being  rational, thorough and logical. All good, you might say, and generally I agree. Although…does that mean I can never be spontaneous, intuitive and passionate? I hope not.

I recently read Eric Maisel’s book “Coaching the Artist Within” and in it he discusses duality. He argues that it is easy to set up dualities such as logical and intuitive, disciplined and flexible, doing and being, and then opt for one side of the duality, taking it as your own. His point is that the creative process demands all these things at different times, and to declare that you are logical and disciplined (as I have in the past) and apply it rigidly, is to install limits that can only hinder the process.

I started off talking about the cognitive effects of cfs, and I’m not suggesting they aren’t limiting, or that they aren’t serious (obviously they are very serious as they are caused by insufficient blood flow to the appropriate areas of the brain).

However, what I am saying is that on those days when my physical energy is okay, but the brain fog has rolled in, I am forced to work in an intuitive, responsive, visceral way, and this has been a valuable lesson.

I’ve been working this way this week, using a trial version of Adobe Lightroom  (more soon) and Photoshop to process some of the photos I took on my recent beach holiday. I find processing photos is one thing I am able to do when my energy is very low. I tried to print some out and quickly found I was not up to the problem-solving required to make my printer behave, so for now these images remain screen-bound. I hope to have prints available soon and also to experiment with them a little further with some mixed media.

Amanda Watson-Will Kingscliff Community Hall

Amanda Watson-Will: afternoon on the beach

Amanda Watson-Will: blue monday

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The end of an era

amanda watso-will

I’ve decided to post an excerpt from my journal rather than re-write the content for the blog.

I came to this decision partly because I’ve been a bit unwell, and it saves energy to do it this way, but also because posting the hand-written entry suits the subject matter, I think.

If you click on the page, you should see a larger view, which you will be able to read. It’s unedited, and I’m sure this shows when you read it, but hopefully you’ll be able to overlook its imperfections, and take it for what it is.

amanda watson-will

amanda watson-will

When I visited the house during the week I was amazed to see buds on the plum tree in the backyard already!

A reassuring symbol of a new start.