#theimpedimentexperiment

I had an idea, an experiment

– the question being

can a group of artists create a canvas, without touching it?

collaborating with the public

instructing them to make the marks we wanted to see

limiting the palette and materials

using long brushes and sticks

creating challenges for both the public, and the artists

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There were some flaws in my plan…

the timing was wrong, I was way too busy

unable to be there as I had hoped

my group of artists found more exciting things to do

than carry our my experiment.

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lesson one

do it yourself and don’t do it on a 6 day art trail event

where your shop is flat out and you’re in two exhibitions

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day one was great, there was time and instruction,

and hope, and graphite…

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day two got messy

less time less instruction… but still hope

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…by day three the horse had bolted

left to their own devices

the general public, unsupported,

clasping meter long brushes by the ferrule

resorting to doodles, spirals and love hearts

and, strangely, several renditions of Homer Simpsons face.

most, looking at me blankly as I asked

for a simple non representational mark

panicking and drawing a love heart

*

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 day three

all hope was lost…

like a half eaten carcass in the African grasslands

I let them feed freely

the experiment had turned into something else

becoming way more interesting to me

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upon surrendering to the understanding

that there was no way to reign it in

I watched

without judgment of the experiments success or failure

I learned a lot

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what I learned was this

good abstract art is not an accident

…your three year old could not do it

for if that were the case

we would have a lovely painting right now

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I became immensely grateful

that I have had the privilege learning with great artists

who taught me so much

about the elements of design

the language of art, the history of art and my place in it

the necessity of responding to, and refining a work as it evolves

how to react to the challenge of impediments

how those impediments can refresh my practice

how to get through the ugly stages of a work,

which is the task that lays before me now.

 *

on a personal note

this canvas has been interesting to me

the town has just been affected by a massive flood

we are still healing, much has been lost

we are rebuilding

the canvas reminds me of the detritus post flood

the muddy canvas seems appropriate in some way

there has been a lot of beauty in the community post flood

I hope to bring some of that out

as I respond to what is on the canvas

and create a work which we will auction to raise money

for local artists who lost their studios

here is where we are…

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watch this space

working title – “after the flood”

 

 

 

 

to be moved…

“Emptiness is the track on which the centered person moves” -Tibetan saying

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I have worked out what’s going on

with these letters to no one

published and forgotten.

I am testifying

purifying through action

*

throwing breadcrumbs…bending branches

marking trunks …writing on walls

getting lost

leaving a shul

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I had the pleasure of coming upon this picture

…yes, I was aimlessly peeling

pinterest’s onionesque layers

seeking that moment

no one can absolutely explain

when you experience something

that inspires intimacy

an object or work of art

a piece of writing

a surface, a piece of music

…wanting to be moved

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Untitled (A Painting in Two Parts) (Part 1) 1896  – Cy Twombly

and there it was

like the rush of a drug

but better…purer…

like everything that is beautiful and terrible

within this existence encloses you completely

and you feel the perfection of everything

you disappear for a moment

and for a couple of seconds

you understand why you are here

it all makes sense

*

I’m only looking at an image of this work

what must it be like to stand with such a piece

to set aside the fact that it was painted by a great artist

and all the weight that comes with that

to put away all ideas of whether you think it is good or bad

to just stand there and look

even in reproduction

it holds a raw energy

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these pieces, when I find them

leave a shule in me

they teach me how to look

they confirm what I am seeking

they remind me why I continue to work

why I want to engage in a dialogue

with artists living and dead

to be part of the conversation

that is art

*

(Tibetan: shul, “a mark that remains after that which made it has passed by,the scarred hollow in the ground where a house once stood, the channel worn through rock where a river runs in flood, the indentation in the grass where an animal slept)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on being ok…

…speaking of doing

I have been finding it difficult

to start working again after the holiday break

I’ve hit the point where the rubber must hit the road

where you stop imagining what you might do

and get on with the business of doing it

*

my cupboard is a little bare

whilst others around me seem to have

of personal cornucopia of inspiration

little drawers stuffed to the brim

ideas dropping from pockets…

“I’m just having so much fun in the studio”

“working on 10 paintings”

“I’m banging the work out”

*

greedy fuckers…

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I’ll let you in on a little secret

I have no idea what I am doing

I just show up, and I wait

I busy myself

stare at things for hours

until what I need to do

reveals itself

if it doesn’t I am grumpy as hell

and I am just as surprised as anyone else

when something good my way comes

in the mean time….

chopping wood – carrying water

*

we like to pretend that it is all

inspiration, inebriation and intuition

it’s a myth we all agree to

but it seems to be more about living it

to the point where I don’t see it

as something I have to do

just show up and be ok

when all you can do is clean your brushes

or read a great book

follow a lead down a rabbit hole, watch bad TV

or troll pinterest to remind myself

of what it is that I like

not expecting

that what I like

will actually appear in my work

being ok with that.

*

when there is no separation

between the Artist and my Self

I forget what I cannot do

and I am curious

and that is always a good sign

*

“I am not what I am

I am what I do with my hands”

Louise Bourgeois 

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detail  – the zen garden (of good and evil)

glorious mistakes

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casualty – lisa arronis (wax,shotgun and pigment on paper)

greetings faceless internet

I spent the holidays cleaning my studio…house…life

(as you do)

and hanging art I have collected over the last couple of years

(long overdue)

*

there are moments between making

(obligatory holidays…visitors…stuff)

…like the new years studio clean up

(that thing you do while you wait for the return of your mojo)

where you imagine the work you might make this year

and there is a sense of anticipation…possibilities

it is delicious

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I am curious about my ability

to navigate my new found freedom

(terrifying… liberating)

what course should I set myself

now that my course is over?

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when artists teach you art

unbound by establishment

it is intimate and strange

you’re in their studios

you make their marks

(if you’re lucky you see this)

you stare at their work

(greedy… desperate for a clue)

you change your work because they tell you to

always seeking approval

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all the while, I suspect

they are just hoping

that you will just get it

that you will find your stride

that you will take what you have learned

and find your own way

and make your own glorious mistakes

and so I shall…

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“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes,

then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living,

pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.

You’re doing things you’ve never done before,

and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself.

Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes.

Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before.

Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough,

or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

– Neil Gaiman

(thanks Neil, I needed to hear that)

Doing…

well hello again…

its been more than a year since I wrote…

I have finished art school

and reluctantly decided

I will not have a rebound relationship

with another institution

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so as I unshackle myself

from the roll of perpetual student

my choices seem to be

artist or crazy cat lady

and as my husband is allergic to felines

I feel it is my duty to choose artist.

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I know I promised to keep in touch

and maybe you won’t read this

but I’m going to write it anyway

*

these letters…

to no one in particular

(but to you, at this present time, dear reader)

will tell the story

of one who has decided to

“stop thinking, worrying, looking over (my) shoulder,

wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rambling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at (myself).

Stop it and just DO”

here is the frustratingly perfect Benedict Cumberbatch

reading Sol’s letter to Eva to celebrate our renewed contact

very good advice…

fear and trust…

A deadline is a great thing

it creates the impetus to show up at the studio

to allow yourself the luxury

of not feeling guilty for being totally obsessed

I enter the studio most days

fuelled on anxiety and fear

possibly too much caffeine

and a bravado that wilts by the end of the day

*

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the muse is an elusive whore

and cannot be relied upon at all

You feel like an artist…you act like an arsehole

you smell like turps… there’s paint in your hair

the household arranges itself around the squall of you

*

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I have been working toward a solo exhibition

it’s due in three weeks

prior commitments, life, family and sleep

taken into account…I only have 8 painting days left

no more time to pretend that the ultimate piece of work

(that one we chase)

will show itself at this time

apparently god created the world in seven days

I should be able to pull a show together in eight

*

I head to the studio

wondering if I can salvage a show

from the paintings I already have

 …time to face the work I have already done

*

I sit with my work

I am aware of the flaws and the beauty

they are finally free of me

and sit in their own energy

doubts drop like rocks from a wet overcoat pocket

 I don’t hate it

and that is enough

*

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And, to those of you wondering why  blogtober ended for me at at day 4

well the topic for day 5 was “what’s your favourite app?”

…I just had better things to do with my life

day 4 what is left on my bucket list?…

Well, this one has stumped me.

All day I have been thinking about it.

I do not have a bucket list.

Should I make one up for the challenge, I thought

Climb a mountain, swim with dolphins, write a novel,

achieve my happy weight?

If I did make a list of the things I want to achieve

before I kick the proverbial bucket

it would be short, and might go something like this.

 soften

forgive

 trust my Self

 let go of past hurts

 relinquish judgement

 to understand why I am here

and to make a piece of art that touches someone

cy

An image of Three studies from the Temeraire by Cy Twombly

I sat in front of it for an hour

there is so much freedom in it

and I am so not free.

it made me cry.