There’s a lot happening at the moment around Tony’s health, and it’s a time of considerable change for us. I’m not posting the details yet, for family reasons. One of the things that helps me rebalance myself and manage the feelings is my art journals. I pour the words out, often unreadable, and it helps me think things through. When things are tough there’s often a theme comes through and that’s the case at the moment. Two themes are strong; the first is change, and the second is the comfort I find in the Tao te Ching (thanks Dr Wayne Dyer).
I have been dreaming a lot lately; usually a sign my mind is very busy, which would be a fair comment. I’ve started a new series of paintings, after going back through old material form my years at The Learning Connexion and doing some fresh research into the artists we studied and whose work spoke to me. I re-read some comments from my tutor, Peter Adsett, and thought about how they apply to my work now.
Once I started painting I found I’d gone right back to being fascinated by the edges of the canvas, and that my memories of the old Patea Freezing Works buildings – which I have painted before – have reappeared. I think those shapes are strongly ingrained in my mind, and appear in my dreams and when I am painting without thinking too hard about it. The first one hardly referenced the buildings, but the shapes get stronger as my hand keeps working.
Here are the three works I have done so far – one may need warming up a bit yet, but I am watching it for a day or two. The white is not as stark as it appears, I kept getting glare on fresh paint from the lower afternoon sun.
I’d been thinking about the sea, playing with collage,and remembered some work I’d seen in a Somerset Studio magazine years ago that combined the two so had a play. It was fun for in my art journal but this is not a good direction for me. It’s doesn’t feel natural (even in a stumbling beginner way) and would not hold my attention for long enough to make a series. I’m glad I tried it though, especially on Father’s Day. Dad was in the Navy, a champion swimmer, and loved fishing in the sea. So, this one’s for you Dad.
The quote is from the poem “Sea Fever” by John Masefield:
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
From time to time I test out new directions, usually after being inspired by reading about and watching other people’s work. I love watching other artists on YouTube and letting that inspiration feed my work. I don’t want to copy their work and, even if I did, I am a hopeless copyist. What I do as an artist is what I do! Sometimes Tony will see a work and ask if I could do something similar. The answer’s always no. My hands and brain are wired to create in a certain way, so when I watch a lot of someone I can see their influence in my new work, but it always ends up looking like mine…
Recently I have been reading about Flora Bowley, and my dear friend artist Martha Marshall put me onto Jane Davies. Here are to test pieces; I am sure you can see the influence of their style. I’ll be doing more pieces in my art journal until the new way of working becomes part of what I do and feels integrated into my art practice. I’d love to know what you think of these directions.