A day in the life of a Creative Industries Student
As a mature student, nearing the end of my first year studying Contemporary Art Practice (CAP) at Perth College UHI, I would like to share a wee bit about how I arrived here and a bit about the course.
I’ve worked in full time creative related roles for many years - from being a paste-up artist (when there were no computers…imagine!) to a graphic designer and digital 3D modeller – all for a large defence company. Although I enjoyed all these roles and travelled worldwide with the company, creativity was often stifled due to the nature of the company. Not quite knowing where to go at this point in my life, I became a chartered marketer and worked for a touring contemporary dance company based at Dundee Rep. Being in a creative theatre environment was the start of my itchy feet and I started feeling the real need to create something of my own. After 3 years in this role, I quit full time employment as I was looking to take things a bit easier. I longed to do things I could never do as I was always working, rushing around not really seeing anything and constantly responding to emails. I didn’t really know what the future was after a few months not working, but art was coming through loud and clear. I started having the luxury of time to think, and was able to really look at things and see there were things and opportunities around me that I had never noticed before!
I joined a part time leisure water-colour class through Perth College UHI and as I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush since high school, I was more than a little wary but excited. However, I was delighted at what was still in there from school and I learnt lots of techniques and knew this was going in the right direction. At this point I was painting very small, detailed water-colours (this was all I knew). How wrong I was! I applied for the CAP course and was fortunate to get an interview and then an acceptance. This was it and here I was at the grand old age of 55 going back to school. Excited and nervous I began the course. More on that a little later.
At this point I need to tell you something that was key to me joining the course. You may be asking how I could give up full time work and become a student?... no, I hadn’t won the lottery or had a windfall. At 18, I grudgingly contributed a small amount to a company pension and after a while I didn’t even notice or miss what I was putting away AND the company were adding a contribution. I was told how important it would be in later life, although I wouldn’t see any of this until 65 – I didn’t get it but did it anyway. In 2015 pension freedom came about, meaning that you didn’t have to wait until retirement age to take your pension (for me this had now gone up to 67). This new rule meant that at age 55 you could access your pension early. So, to cut a long story short, this allowed me to receive an income and achieve something that many people my age can only dream of. After all the frustrating years not creating real art and commissioning others to do it, I could now be that person creating the art!
Perth College UHI Contemporary Art Practise course has really opened my mind and allowed me to explore many techniques and do things I didn’t know possible, plus I have met some really nice people on the course. …and the lecturers are pretty cool too. I thought I could only draw and paint in detailed water colour as I mentioned previously, but no! On my first real acrylics project I wasn’t really feeling the love for this medium after a few experiments, but I started watching the others in the class and decided I needed to loosen up. I loved the freedom to layer the paint and not plan and just see what happened, and suffice to say, when we got to abstraction there was no stopping me and again, inspired by what the others were creating around me, my paintings just continued to flow. Here are some examples from my Abstraction project.
It was so liberating, and I just wanted to do more and more and in my new happy place of no work stress and no emails, what is there not to love! In addition to the classes for each project we create artist research which is interesting and very valuable, as I now understand a lot more about how and why people paint and what they are trying to achieve. However, It’s not just about painting. Life drawing is so fast and free and again I hadn’t done this since high school. Here are some examples of life drawing sketches below.
Currently nearing the end of my first year on a part time basis (HNC), it is important to stress that working this way allows me to manage the workload and deadlines and not feel overloaded. It does mean that the HNC will take me two years instead of one, but at this moment I am not looking for a new career and part -time studying gives me plenty of time to practice yoga, volunteer, walk and just have time to enjoy life while creating art.
My other subjects this year also include Art and Design context – another interesting class researching different art movements and creating pieces accordingly. Here are some examples from this class below.
I’m currently working on “ What is Enviroment” final project and here are some of the development paintings prior to the final project.