Fire starters and fuel gatherers

It’s the first Monday of the year and I’ve just had an idea I am hoping will become one of the links between writing and art making that I spoke of in my last post. Through my Middle Distance Arts group, I am going to start an art and writing (and scribbling/sketching/jotting/thinking) journal. I am going to invite anyone and everyone to join me, to dip in and out or fully immerse. I will post prompts each week and invite you to share where the prompt took you.

I haven’t worked out all the parameters, just that it will be ongoing. Perhaps for the year. I am setting it out in this unfinished way because it is the first Monday of the year, and that must be a time for beginning and so I want to propose it before the day is gone.

The title of this post is because in art and writing any little scrap can start an idea. Discarded thoughts will fuel a future idea. The act of being creative is both ignition and fuel. Even when we don’t yet know what for.

Why not join me? Use a dedicated notebook or sketchbook or pick up an old envelope if and when the mood takes you. If you feel the need to invest in your inventive mind, get a blank book, notebook or sketchbook, and commit to having a go at each of the prompts. Or you could focus either on picture making or writing. No one need see the results.

But remember, crucially, there is no such thing as wrong work, bad work, inadequate work in a sketch book or notebook.

So if you would like to share what you came up with, you can do so on social media using the hashtag #MDAfirestarters. (MDA stands for Middle Distance Arts) on instagram, twitter or facebook.

I have dug out a part-used but emptied A6 notebook that I will be using as my journal. Later I will post what I did in response to the following prompts.

Week ONE, #MDAfirestarters

The first prompts for 2022 are:

Words: Write a haiku, or fragment of verse that contains the word ‘begin’.

Pictures: Imagine you are standing at the beginning of a path and draw/sketch/scratch out something, or all, of what you can see ahead. Is it in the distance or a few paces away? (And then of course, you have to at least wonder about what might come next!) You can try over many pages or just one. You can persevere or start again. You can draw, paint, or use printed or found images to collage. You can use colour to create the abstract sense of a mood instead of an object or view. You can cut widows, fold pages, add layers – or you can simply sketch vague shapes and write a note of what you are seeing. It’s your journal.

The words and images can work together or be separate.

If you feel shy about writing, drawing or picture making, try to be brave enough to give it a go – creative activity is for everyone and by doing you will learn.

And if the fire catches, if the embers spark, take it onto the lap top, the canvas, the installation and keep going. But rest assured that just by trying you have fed your imaginative mind, and that is never a waste of time. It’s soul food. 

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