Artist diary: The Madge Gill Co-commission, part one

In the first of her artist diaries, Julia Oak reveals how it felt to be awarded the Outside In and Pallant House Gallery Madge Gill co-commission

Waiting Is So Hard.
After  I had made my submission, it began, that  gnawing feeling of self doubt.
So I started drawing
I set my self a task to explore all the makes of white pens and use them to draw on black A3 paper. I kept track of the make and how many pages I could draw with one pen.
Each day I avoided checking my mail.

Drawing by Julia Oak

Then one day I checked my email and a little rush of excitement flowed through me.
I had been short listed, the feeling of self doubt lifted a little.
I continued drawing with the white pens on black A3 paper, 14 images in all  used up all the pens.
I keep them in a brown cardboard box.

Drawing by Julia Oak

Next I started on a concertina sketchbook with my favourite pens, but this time in different thickness.

Drawing by Julia Oak

The date and time of the interview arrived. I tried my best, treating it as a normal interview even though it was on Zoom.

Again the wait.


Now I was actively avoiding checking my mail. As always is, drawing had become my safety net, calming my breathing and taking my anxiety of rejection to a manageable level. I completed the sketchbook.

Drawing by Julia Oak

Finally, mid morning of 10th November I dared to check my mail.
I wanted to scream from the roof tops.
I had been selected.
All I remember was having to keep quiet about it until all who had taken part had been informed.
I really felt for those people, those artists, because I have been one of them on many occasions. I hated that others might be hurting as I had in the past

By 12th November reality had begun to take hold.

Sigh of relief
Beyond belief
Re-read the brief
Turn over a new leaf.

Happiness abound
Cast out the sound
Of that doubting hound
Gnawing in my minds ground.

I had been overwhelmed, in awe, glued to the spot, running around like a headless chicken, my emotions had been on a helter skelter, I had butterflies in my tummy and the adrenalin was flowing.

Need to draw
Breath

Need to draw
                     Relax

Need to draw
                            Calm

14th November, I can now begin to draw the most important piece of work in my life.

I can breath.
I can relax.
I am calm.
I am drawing.

4 Comments about this

  1. Tess Springall

    Looking fab Julia. I can’t wait to see your creative responses exhibited in the Print Room!
    Congratulations😀!!!

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