About Me

Post Exhibition Blues

Bored Cat


Well, I knew it was coming. After several months’ worth of focused activity on painting and preparing for my madeinroath festival exhibition, its’s all over. The paintings are back on the wall in our front room.  They are lucky, this house is so full of paintings the majority never find a space to hang on the wall but spend their time propped up on shelf. I knew it was coming. This feeling of “what now”? I really enjoyed having a project to work towards, writing a bulb for my catalogue and blogging about the process.

Now, I am feeling down and a bit at a loose end. Its rather a lot like like that uncomfortable feeling you used to get as kid three quarters through the long summer holiday. You’d run around and played with your friends/siblings but now it was overcast or even raining. Entertaining yourself seemed to take more effort, all of a sudden. It was called boredom. I learnt that it was no use asking my mother for suggestion as to what to do (for some reason her answers always seemed to involve housework).

I just had to sit with it until an idea came to me. It was usually something creative. I wrote a lot of poetry and descriptive pieces. I once even wrote a play about a fine art heist one finger at a time on a manual type writer. How I loved the “clack, clack” of the keys hitting the ribbon. I was living the dream! I was a writer! I was writing nonsense but enjoying doing it. I drew and coloured and painted. My bedroom. The cat when she was asleep. The view outside the window.

Boredom wasn’t a feeling I got to experience much as an adult. Stress was more normal.  As secondary school teacher as it was usually subsumed into exhaustion. I loved teaching but the work-load was crushing. Summer holidays were increasingly about sleep and recovery.  I don’t know whether kids experience it much now as they have smart phones to hand.

Yes, its a lot like boredom. Maybe this isn’t boredom but its rather a lot like that bit before you think of what to do next. Funny thing is, I am still painting but not sure if I am going to continue in the same vein. I am definitely in a painterly “groove” and I loath to pull myself out it just yet.  I have a few ideas knocked around the back of my head …  I think that creativity as all about trying things. Some of them work and some don’t. It doesn’t matter. It’s all process. The point is to try stuff and develop the stuff that you feel “works”.


Bored or thinking?

10 replies »

  1. I’ve experienced something similar recently, having completed the first draft of a book – I need to let it ‘rest’ before I work on it so I can come to it with fresh eyes, but it left me without anything creative to do, which is fatal for me. At times like this, music helps – I’m learning a new piece on the piano.

    • Dear Annabelle, Thank you for your comment. Many many years ago I wrote a Ph.D. thesis (in Medieval History, no less) and the day I submitted it I was surprised that I wasn’t elated that I had finished the darn thing after 4 and a half years of hard slog. No. I was absolutely bereft. I had spent those years being a Ph.D. student and now, what was I? I was no longer a graduate student with graduate student friends. I had separated myself from them. I wasn’t sure what I was now. It was quite a shock to me. I remember walking around town that day feeling terrible. Yet, later, after my viva when I was finally awarded my doctorate I was absolutely delighted. It was something that couldn’t be taken away from me. No matter what. Funny, I left academia a long time ago but completing the doctorate is one of my proudest achievements. Our feelings often surprise us. They aren’t always what we expect!

  2. Your entire post is summed up perfectly in the last paragraph—“I think that creativity as all about trying things. Some of them work and some don’t. It doesn’t matter. It’s all process. The point is to try stuff and develop the stuff that you feel “works”.

    I will now try to figure out how my orange cat got to Wales…😹

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