Keirartworks's Blog

hmmm. hmmm? Observations, actions and connection points through art.


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Follow the loose rein

I stood grinning on a hill in the spring wind without the protection of my long winter coat and smelled the turning of the planet towards the sun.

Geese-are-back

This Titanic winter season has run amok of the inevitable.  As did the Titans when banished to the underworld and the unsinkable ship when torn by an iceberg, even the strongest behemoth must surrender, eventually, to change.  I can feel the chill through my window, yes.  But it can no longer reach my bones, which glow golden.

Everything is white again.

One of the blizzards from 2013-14.  I lost count.

In requiem to the five white months that are now passing I need to acknowledge my grief too, because I will miss it. This winter has tumbled and shaped me like a river-rock, exposed me like a quartz that had been encased in calloused grey stone – in the safe invisible of frozen white.  It was as though all internal weather was played outside these windows – serenity, calm, beauty so sharp it hurt, but also rage, fury, sorrow, wilfulness.  I’m different.  A lot different.

falls2_October2013

I’ve just agreed to make twenty pieces of art, write, record and rehearse twenty minutes of music and  – what the hell – twenty+ pages of a hand-made, limited edition book that will explore the idea of exposure and vulnerability, or “The Public Intimate”.  It’s a true child of the winter that’s passing, this show.  I’ve become deeply intrigued by what we do as humans and artists when we look at ourselves and make portraits, then publish them.  Selfies – Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Munsch, Cohen, Joni, Camus, Anne Michaels…  If all art is in some way autobiographical, then in fact, making and publishing ‘selfies’ are the job of artists.  We hear a song, read a book, see a great self-portrait, and we are moved to tears.  They are soul food.  But self-publishing is also the work of every human, right?  Even the duck-faced self-portraits published on facebook that are so vulnerable, awkward and exposed are expression of our human need …  to be visible?  Still working this out, as you can see.

My answers, for whatever they’re worth, will be published in a gallery in 13 weeks.  You can bet you’ll be hearing more about it.

Letting go

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This is social media experiment in making art.  As I worked through the process of this painting I wondered whether I could actually describe that process in a series of photos, and tell the story of the piece as it becomes itself.   Might be neato.  I’ve started this with my cover photos on facebook, but there are lots of them to come, and some FB folks who might get overloaded….

So here goes.  It was supposed to be a clamp.  One in a series of paintings about legacy and inheritance that were going to take me into the next decade.  With this painting, that idea got stopped in it’s tracks – I realized I was finished the series after only two:  Shovel and Axe.  If you really want to know why, ask me in person, but the why isn’t the point really.  The idea was over.  Suddenly.

Canvas is 4'x4' square.  This is a detail of the first yellow wash over white houspaint resist.

Canvas is 4’x4′ square. This is a detail of the first yellow wash over white house paint resist.

Then I drew the clamp on the canvas and stared at it.  It was a good drawing, but No.  Erased the clamp.  Stared some more.

Then in art class I needed to demonstrate the joys of washes over acrylic gel, which preserves the integrity of the colour and adds depth to the ground.  Washed a good red over the whole thing, let it drip…. Then in the next art class I needed  to show some things about composition and drawing and courage, so I picked the nearest object to draw and did this:

vine  charcoal for the drawing, which is what I used to draw the Clamp.  It rubs off.  In this photo I've superimposed a photo of the actual snaffle bit over the drawing to check my lines...

vine charcoal for the drawing, which is what I used to draw the Clamp. It rubs off. In this photo I’ve superimposed a photo of the actual snaffle bit over the drawing to check my lines…

I was going to keep this as a demo canvas for art class, but the painting was talking too much – like a river.  Can’t stop a river, so…

My full attention.  This is when I stopped answering my phone, five days ago....

My full attention. This is when I stopped answering my phone, five days ago….

What is it, what is it.  It’s a D-ring snaffle bit that I used on my pony when I was a tweener.  The bit is not connected to a bridle.  It’s not hanging in a barn, or waiting to be used.  It’s here because I remember Pippin and I like the shape.

The painting is about being unbridled.  And it’s about horse – wild horse, old horse, powerful horse, running horse, free.  Bronze age white horse of Uffington:

And the river of painting chatter gets deeper...

And the river of painting chatter gets deeper…

Now it’s just watching, layering, washing, dripping, listening, writing, and recording music while the paint is drying. Run up and down the stairs for energy.  Write some more.  Paint.  Don’t ever stop.

Green wash for the Uffington hills...

Green wash for the Uffington hills…

white wash to pull it together.  I love this part...

white wash to pull it together. I love this part…

Pull the bit back in (conte).  Now there's interesting spatial stuff happening....

Pull the bit back in (conte). Now there’s interesting spatial stuff happening….

I’m not done yet, so I can’t take you to the end.  I’ll keep shooting while I watch the paint dry, and will update here to tie it all up.

In the meantime I need to say this:  that if you let it, if you actually surrender your will and just let the river flow, art can take you through all the blocked, backward, toxic stuff of your life and wash it all off.  It’s ALWAYS worth it to make something out of nothing but your mind, your heart, and what ever else is to hand.  If you have kids, tell them that, over and over again.  Tell them that there are no mistakes, ever.  Just change.

Trust change, and let go.

Yesterday when I ventured out for food and batteries I found myself in face-to-face conversation with people.  I think I was using words, and I think everything went ok because when I got home I had food and batteries as planned.  Oh and an indigo hyacinth.

To anyone I spoke with this week who felt that I wasn’t really there – you’re right, I wasn’t, despite my best efforts.  I was really in my studio of many rooms eating soul food.

Happy Sunday.

This gallery contains 7 photos


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Burn-Out: the Friday morning list

Thank the weeping hose, love the water that runs through it

We burn out.

It’s a slow process – maybe similar to what a snake feels as its skin ages, dries out and becomes less flexible – I can imagine so.  Its only gradually that I notice I’m repeating my stories, turning good rituals into mindless habits, missing cues I’m normally quick to pick up on, sparking forward-moving ideas less and less often.

Experience has taught that this slow erosion of self inevitably leads to the day when I realize that all my body & mind want to do for the rest of my life is read and sleep: Passive please, not active any more.

But my soul?

Always in these times, my soul needs attention.

I’m not quite there yet, but I’m close. Here’s where I’m at:
– some jobs (just 2, and we’ll stop there) have become bewilderingly impossible to complete (OMG. Why can’t I DO this?),
– incomplete conversations spiral dangerously close to big daunting emotional messes that will require serious clean up…
– I’ve taken many small measures  to save time – some essential soul-feeding things went first.  I know better too – it never helps, since more mindless tasks & needless commitments rush in to fill the available space….
– the TO DO list has grown overwhelmingly longer and longer
– urgency increases at the same rate that new obstacles appear (also a definition of road rage)
– intolerance – from bad spelling to unfortunate choice of clothing – all seems grounded in a pandemic lack of courtesy, and I Am Now Crotchety.

what strange beings poppies are

So no, this time, No burn-out.  Instead, I attend to my soul.

Friday morning List:

1. write a friday morning list. (HA!)

2. jump in the lake at least three times daily.

3. read Marasu Emoto:  Messages from Water and the Universe, because Mister Emoto’s theories provide  simple, beautiful soul-food.

4. examine all commitments, find in them what feeds my soul,  Then engage.

5. lift one thing out of habit and place it back into the sacred.

6. sing, loudly, for at least twenty minutes.

7. with gratitude for its’ past service, find something I no longer need and actively give it freedom.

8. arrive somewhere unexpectedly.

9. sit absolutely still for longer than I think I can.  notice.

10. Transform every complaint into appreciation.

soul food.

Happy heat wave, everyone (it’s kind of like a series of snow days, except in summer:  it’s okay to slow down a little).

‘best,
K