July marked ten years since I wrote my first ever post here and I meant to acknowledge it.* The recent heatwave, plus contracting Covid for the first time, means that life’s slowed down somewhat over the past few weeks/months, however and I just haven’t found the motivation to write.
I’ve missed writing here and as I’ve said so many times, maintaining this blog over the years has provided me with a good, solid record, not just of the work I’ve managed to make, but the multitude of things that come with that. It helps me look back, tie up any loose ends and often, guides me towards new ideas and work. I invariably complete a post, feeling more organised, more settled and ready to move forward.
Bringing all the loose strands together and maintaining a thorough record of the various things I’ve been involved with or have been working on, feels positive and restorative – centres me. It picks up forgotten, coincidental stuff – the bits of work here and there, the gallery visits, the zoom calls with other artists – all so easily overlooked, but all of which fill my time and contribute to living life as a working artist. It’s good to remind myself of this every now and then – to remember the ‘coincidental stuff’ the next time I’m beating myself up for not making enough work!
Time for reflection can be equally as important as making the work and I’ve had time over these past few weeks to take time out, sit quietly and look back. To acknowledge ten long years of keeping it going with this blog, I looked back at the very early posts I wrote in 2012. One of them from July 2012, was about an invasion of rats:
I remember being a bit reticent writing about it at the time, having vermin on the premises revealing a pretty unsavoury side of my life. Admittedly, it was confined to the garden shed but it still felt far too close for comfort, rats so commonly associated with dirt and filth. I had the choice of not sharing anything at all about it, but a lot of the materials and objects the rats destroyed were intended for my future work. I remember being really upset finding some precious items, wrecked beyond repair – so, why wouldn’t I mention it! Life, with all its highs and lows, is part and parcel of being an artist – you can’t just separate the two!
The rat invasion has definitely made me feel a bit nervous about my imminent plans to move my stuff out of storage and into a recently built shed in my garden. I’ll vermin proof it as well as I can but they’re pretty determined creatures by all accounts and short of steel storage boxes, I think I just have to hope for the best. (In the meantime, anyone with any tried and tested tips, do please let me know!)
It’s nothing new for me, as juggling with space and storage and huge amounts of ‘stuff’ is an integral, ongoing part of how I work, but it’s about to really get going in the next few weeks or so. In order not to feel completely overwhelmed when I made the big house move in June of last year, I separated my art materials and took them to a nearby commercial storage space. I budgeted for the cost (high!) and the plan always, was to keep the art materials in storage for a year in order to focus on sorting the house first. It’s August now and that plan’s nearly 4 months overdue. But as I said, life goes on and all sort of obstacles get put in the way and what you think will happen might not necessarily be so. It was a complete pleasure to have him, but having one of my adult sons at home for a while and leaving behind his stuff before heading off for a year in South America, followed by me recovering from Covid, has inevitably stalled things a bit. But that’s okay – it is what it is and, though addressed to a mouse rather than a rat, a line from Rabbie Burn’s poem sums it up perfectly: ‘the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.’
In terms of catching up and using this blog as a space for recording what actually has been happening, I was really pleased and truly honoured, I have to say, to be contacted by painter Graham Crowley, letting me know that he’d created some paintings of the studio space I had at Bond House in New Cross, London. And it was a real treat to be able to see one of them in real life in the first part of Graham’s solo show ‘Workplaces & Wildspaces’ at Monica Petzal’s spectacular Print Room Studio in Sweffling, Suffolk at the end of May this year. You can see Graham being interviewed about the show by artist and founder of art review website ArtTop10, Robert Dunt here:
And you can also see Graham’s paintings of my studio (Kate Murdoch’s Studio 1, 2 & 3) under ‘Recent Paintings’ on his website here:
I’m looking forward to getting back into the studio and establishing some sort of routine again soon. Things have slipped a bit since having Covid but I’m feeling much better now and eager to get back to work on a couple of ideas. It feels good to feel more organised, in my head at least, in the meantime – all helped by finally finding the energy to sit down and write this blog post.
I had no idea when I first started ‘Keeping It Going’ in July 2012 that I’d still be writing it after ten years. It’s clear, I think – and in this post, particularly – that I’m really glad that I have.
There’s more to catch up on with other things that happened over the summer months – ‘Always on My Mind’ for example, was an amazing exhibition organised and curated by painter, Harry Pye at the Fitzrovia Gallery in London. But more about that in another post because, just like the decluttering of stuff that’s about to start, it’s also good I think, not to clutter the blog with too much information!
And so, more anon …
* It was however, acknowledged by Stephen Palmer at a-n who kindly published an article, inspired by conversations between Stuart Mayes, Elena Thomas and myself about the impact of long term blogging. I hadn’t quite reached the 10 year mark when the article was published last year but I’m there now! If you’re interested, you can read it here: