I guess I’m kinda back…

I last posted at Christmas 2020, though subsequently archived the posts back to July 2020 because there were no images associated with posts after that date and they looked weird on my new theme.

So, what happened? Well I went off and did other things. I started posting mostly on Instagram because my attention span has been so badly damaged by work stress that short-form writing was all I could manage. Plus a couple of friends and I were hoping to make some money selling our designs and were marketing them via Instagram, but this project fell through.

My mental health was already on the downward slope in late 2019. I had successfully had art accepted for a prestigious London exhibition but it cost me a lot of money and led to zero sales, then I exhibited work locally in an art festival, in what turned out to be a tent in a field miles away from the main event. Again, no sales and little interest from those who did turn up. Plus my social anxiety made any attempt to converse or market my work impossible. Subsequently, of course, there was Covid and a recession. I can take a hint and decided to let the dream die. I still draw a lot but only as a hobby.

Covid actually improved my mood for a while, not least because work was far more peaceful with the majority of other staff working from home. And I also had a really good excuse for not going anywhere or doing anything πŸ™‚

Our household managed to avoid Covid for two full years, then I got it in April 2022, and my wife in July. Neither of us was very sick. She was bored by isolation, whereas I was quite happy watching horror movies on Shudder via my phone in bed. I was almost sad to eventually test negative and have to go back to work.

Many of my pre-Covid dreams never came to fruition. And some friendships drifted away, as they do.

Therefore I find myself back at the point I started blogging seriously in 2017, only without the same energy and optimism. I hope this is going to change.

My plans for the next few months:

  • Catch up with your blogs.
  • One person who has been a constant throughout the gap is my lovely friend Sarah at http://secretartexpedition.wordpress.com , we have been in touch and collaborated on artwork, she has even recently been writing some Latin for me. Anyway, she asked if I wanted to join her in signing up for https://nanowrimo.org as she is one of the few who knows I started writing a novel last year.
  • Continue to diversify my art. I will obviously still be doing botanical work but I have created other things over the last two years that I hope to share on here.
  • Hopefully get back to the gym.
  • Return to Montreal after too long a gap, to visit the lovely Dominique again.

Finally, for now, a thank you to the wonderful Chandra ( https://iamchandralynn.com), whose kind comment asking after me has been the final push I needed to post again. Please go and congratulate her on her tenth year of blogging.


  1. My friend, I am so sorry to hear that your various pursuits haven’t come out as you would have desired. I’ve been remiss in not keeping in touch as all of this was going on. When I read this post, I was going to write something witty about one of your cards having a place of prominence on my fridge (it does) but I am at a loss for words to try and express how special it is to me, and therefore of great value in this world. My world, at the very least. But my wit has left me these days, or perhaps I’ve misplaced it. I’m sad you drifted away from WordPress, but then again, so have I. Perhaps we’ll both get our mojo back one day. At least we had Covid to cheer us up! I had to laugh when I saw that you looked at Covid as a blessing in some ways. Me, too! Holing up in one’s home is ideal for introverts like us. And what have you been up to while hunkering down? I’d love to see what you’ve been working on. I bet it’s lovely. But is it Cornville, Maine fridge-worthy? πŸ˜‰ I bet so…and beyond. Don’t give up on selling your art. You just haven’t found the right venue, yet. When you do, I bet your mojo will be right there waiting. ❀️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t feel bad dear Linda. Life has pretty much stopped for all of us over the last two years. And keeping in touch is hard when nobody has any news thanks to covid, and especially any good news. Writing about it just makes it feel worse.
      I have missed you a lot, but figured you were just holed up and trying to survive, just like me.
      Even my sense of humour has deserted me in recent months – and it can normally be relied upon πŸ™‚
      My next post may cover some of my drawing during the gap. ❀️


  2. Dear Darren, welcome back to your blog. This is like two posts for the price of one to hear from you and to get news that Sarah also continues to pursue her creative projects with you and others. I owe her an email.
    I love your photo btw and look forward to hearing about your new pursuits.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Tracy😍. It is good to be back. Yes, Sarah is still creating. I fear that her kindly translating my poor Latin grammar this week may have melted her brain though πŸ˜‚.
      Thank you – the photo is a Hoverfly on Allium senescens and happened to be on my desktop when I wrote the post, having only taken it an hour earlier.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Welcome back! I am sorry about your art shows. My husband had a similar experience with his photography. Much later, he has sold more and had other galleries very interested in his art. His confidence has been shaken but hopefully he will pursue this.
    My mental health mirrored yours in the pandemic – I felt much better in my Hobbit Hole not having to chat about inconsequential stuff at coffee with acquaintances. No stress at work, either. As soon as I had contract work at the airport, I caught Covid and gave it to my husband (for our 40th wedding anniversary).
    Love, love the hoverfly – we don’t see them in Texas. Hope blogging again helps to feed your artistic juices. K x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Kerry πŸ’•.
      I am quite philosophical about the art shows now. It feels more free to be able to create without the pressure. If it happens later, as it did for your husband, then great.
      I do think we introverts thrived during the pandemic.
      No hoverflies in Texas? Wow. I love them. Especially at this time of year – they are such valuable pollinators for late flowering plants.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good to see you back Darren. I can relate to everything you wrote, although you put a humourous skew that I can’t really do right now, or at least not convincingly. I look forward to your foray into other illustration topics and reading more about your novel. I finally finished the one I started before my firstborn blessed this world – some 20,046 drafts later, it’s with a publisher for consideration and I have an agent so everything is crossed. Can’t wait to see your new work and I hope to see your work selling, because it’s beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I get completely why you feel unable to do humour just now. And I really hope that eases for you over time.
      Congratulations on finishing the novel! I really hope for the best for you and I would love to read it when it is published.
      Well, the art will continue. I am enjoying the writing process too. The novel is written in the first-person and my protagonist’s voice will hopefully remind you of my humour in my blog and my IG posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Welcome back, etc, etc. Unfortunately, I can understand your “letting the ‘ol dreams die” because I’ve had little time to pursue what I love. Perhaps we should shelve them rather than letting them bleed out.

    Is there anything Sarah can’t do?


    Liked by 2 people

  6. So happy to see you back here! It will give you lots of ranting space once we hit NaNoWriMo! πŸ˜‚ And thanks for the shout-out. Totally agree with Lani about shelving our dreams!! πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry to hear the last few years have been difficult However look at the response you got despite your hiatus! I missed you and see all your fans did too. Glad to hear you are back! Hang in there.
    I had medium luck selling my wildflower photos at the local Native Plant Fair. Not so much the photos themselves but cards – which have fast gone out of style. As one young lady said, “how quaint… cards!”
    I made friends with the nice photographers in the booths next to me and then discovered I was undercutting them and they needed the money. It was no longer a feel-good-thing “promoting native plants” so I had decided to quit even before Covid. Miss it a bit though (not the money – I was hardly breaking even!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you Cinda πŸ™‚
      Yes, it used to be that folks would buy cards even if they couldn’t afford or have space for full size prints. Some of us oldsters still do. It was a nice reliable bit of income for artists. I’m sorry you got discouraged too.
      I definitely never broke even. I never expected to earn a living but it would have been nice if it had paid for itself. Still, my drawing time is, in theory, my own now. x

      Liked by 1 person

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