The studio is different, this second day of 2016.
It’s taking some time for the subtle but undeniably permanent changes to sink in. Some can be identified now; the bell paintings I began in December ring at a new frequency – thirty-six hours from now they will finish in a way I hadn’t imagined. There’s a kind of inner ‘glow’ to them – as though they were still in active process of becoming while I was elsewhere attending to christmas gatherings, encountering and engaging family; playing like someone 5 years old and far wiser with dear dear friends; making and sharing beautiful communal music; solving puzzles; sorting buttons by colour and size; breathing the outside air, forgetting worry.
These bell paintings are more fully themselves – I won’t need to work so hard to bring them home.
There’s more room in here, impossibly.
How…? I’ve not moved anything out except – oh ya. The Bell paintings already at the Bean Cellar, and two hanging in living rooms. Paintings that are finished take up a great deal of space and need to move on to some other wall, somewhere else. I’d forgotten how strong they were.
None of my camera batteries have juice left. I find patience, while they recharge and catch up with my curiosity.
While I wait for camera batteries I listen, and realize that a new set of materials call to me for the first time in many years. Paper. Ink. Plaster. Chalk. – these will be a re-visiting, since that’s where I started long ago. Pencil crayon, after seeing a drawing at the Durham Art Gallery that stole my heart in December (it now astonishes me in my kitchen, as it did when I unwrapped it at Christmas).
I feel I want to make use of Black for the first time since rejecting it’s place in my work 30 years ago. It is the absence of colour.
Why black? Now? That’s a curious thing.
Happy 2016, everyone. It feels new and full of promise to me. You too?
My studio is new and beloved. The paintings, the sewings, the drawings and the music have all surged ahead after long weeks and months of stasis. Patient, faithful and still, they have all waited like the good friends they are, for my return.
Ahhh. So rich.
Bathed in sunlight I stand at one of my six big windows and listen to the conversations flowing through the room – Faure with a fabric artist guru from New Zealand about interesting new trends in upholstery; Seamus Heaney with John Newton about Dan McGee’s gladiolus – that specific colour of luddite red; Ted Hughes roaring his laughter with hobbit-sized Edouard Bartlett about a sideways student who managed to astonish his audience; Sir Ken Robinson with my beloved Cow (a puppet made in Carnarvon 20 years ago) about the pleasures of a sharp pencil.
This morning a long-time friend and colleague sent this to me from her fridge:
Here’s a bio of ee. (1894–1962), who said this in summary of three final ‘non-lectures’ at Harvard University:
“I am someone who proudly and humbly affirms that love is the mystery-of-mysteries, and that nothing measurable matters ‘a very good God damn’; that ‘an artist, a man*, a failure’ is no mere whenfully accreting mechanism, but a givingly eternal complexity—neither some soulless and heartless ultrapredatory infra-animal nor any understandingly knowing and believing and thinking automaton, but a naturally and miraculously whole human being—a feelingly illimitable individual; whose only happiness is to transcend himself, whose every agony is to grow.”
So bless this Sunday full of sunlight and total engagement with the world. I’m going to go and paint with Seamus now.
Be well, everyone.
(*He meant “human”, I am sure. )
here’s the poem again – yes, she’s got it right.:
yes but even
n dis…cussing “parity” in l’hô
die can’tquite poison God’s sunlight