I hope you’ve got time to read to the end where there’s some very exciting local news :))
“Insecurity and paradox are baked into life and living itself.”
The quote is Buddhist in origin. I’m not Buddhist but I like what they have to say. And, being honestly straightforward in general, the self-promotion that artists are expected to do, requiring steering a course of relentless positivity, I find a strain. And disturbingly untrue. However, don’t worry this will not be an outpouring of misplaced self revelations!
I mainly just want to honour what my real. actual experience of ‘the artist’s life’ is: that there are more days when I am uncertain about who I am, why I’m troubled, and what I really want, than there are days of focused, goal-centred organisation. And this is the ground of paradox on which I stand to “make” (or bake?) things: music or visual art.
Success! for “Several shades of grey”
In a moment where my confidence firmed up, I entered this large (~1m wide) watercolour for the Sir John Hurt Prize exhibition in the Holt Festival. I was delighted when it was selected, and look forward to seeing it at the Preview and prize giving on 23 July at Glandford Barns, Norfolk. Click the button to see the whole range of selected works. (Hopefully if you can be at the ‘Private’ view, you can access the invite below).
In the studio, or should I say in the garden or in the sea, where I potter whilst in the state of uncertainty about setting foot in the studio – I am waiting. . .
. . . for a sense of what or where next.
Fallow is good I think. And I’m growing in my ability to cope with it, meaning cope with not yet having much of an urge to pursue any particular direction in making art. In fact my attention is on other things: looking after the garden, playing in the sea, and towards music: exploring where I can take my singing: into new genres I hope. Just for fun.
I do note however, how difficult it feels to allow myself these alternatives!
A few years ago I made this video for my You Tube channel.
In oils and acrylic inks, these early and more recent pieces demonstrate how there has always been something I relate to in simple shapes. (If they are simple). I wonder if ‘insecurity and paradox’ play a part in this attachment to simplicity?
When the call to attend to garden, sea and music lessens, I will return to reflect some more on where I’ll go next with mark-making. Do have a look at the new page on my site though for interesting information each month on what I am making. Click below to visit the page.
Perhaps the ‘where I go next’ will follow occasional ‘visions’ that have entered my head regularly over the last few years. I see large sheets of paper with areas of colour on them: different each time. It’s as if they are asking to be made! But these visions have not yet moved into actual physical forms.
In hope that this pause will roll on into making, my instinct is to hold onto the word ‘baked’ in the Buddhist quote. Maybe we can all rely on our uncertainties to one day take settled form in the baking.
Some signs that they may, occur now and again if I drift through the welcoming, bright space that is my studio.For instance, the small scale improvisations below catch my eye as I leaf through sketchbooks, and claim my liking.
Check back in next month’s newsletter to see if any of them have finished baking :))
Last but by no means least, if you are in this part of Suffolk between Thursday 20th and Saturday 22 July, catch these last 3 days of a vibrant exhibition in the brand new local venue of Holton Lodge Barn. Curated by artist Hilary Garner and her husband in their newly renovated barn complex, the work of 22 artists is on display. It’s a very exciting and beautiful space to have on the doorstep. I have 8 works in the show.
Norfolk Suffolk’s new venue for the arts.
Visit the launch exhibition. Click below to visit Hilary’s Instagram account.