I’ve given myself two weeks to answer a list. On my list are relatively small goals but they are necessarily comprehensive, since the overall aim is to break through a log jam of old unfulfilled ideas, to clear out what is no longer useful or appropriate, and give form to the ones with a vigorous pulse. So.
Ten paintings finished and hung in a public space in two weeks.
Two public performances booked for cello ensemble, so that we HAVE TO polish these beautiful pieces, and present them.
(If you’re interested in hearing us: December 1 Aids Vigil at the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, and December 16 6:30pm at Owen Sound City Hall)
One new project for 2016, very dear to my heart, fleshed out and taken to the collaboration table.
Eight long hikes.
Three non-fiction books finished.
One grant application mentored and sent.
Five daily rituals carefully designed and established.
Kol Nidrei (arranged for cello & piano) on the stand beside The Bach Suites. Above and to the right, a clock and the first viola John Newton made as a student (no bridge or strings – I’m honoured to keep it safe here). Then the big black hanging fish, then my sewing machine, then the axe painting and the shovel painting.
Beside the Shovel painting, the 2000k lamp, and the light table. On the light table the prototype windhorse prayerflag, yellow. Continue along the east wall – a kundalini print from NYC; Crow; a framed sketch of a thinking woman bought at a Roxy Fundraiser; an almost-completed painting of a chopsaw and a teacup. Then pliers, wire cutters, canvas stretchers, clamps, staple gun.
Closer to me a voracious ivy in the window below a green blind with a wishbone painted on it, now in silhouette. A candle, three china teacups on their saucers, a photo of Edouard Bartlett holding a Strad; my cello in a case that Ed ordered for me; my grandfather’s wall thermometer; a round mirror framed by the world snake, Orobouros; and before the next window my old draughting table, with lino cutting tools, pencils and ink drawing tools on it.
Mary Magdalene on the wall behind my left shoulder, surveying it all. She stares out through three layers of technology – a painting made by Piero Della Francesca in the early Gothic era, a photograph of said painting taken sometime in the past twenty years, and a print of the photograph onto the postcard my mother found in Spain, and brought home to me.
I am getting ready to step into the rhythm of this studio – I have all day for this – rare indeed. I will draw on the shovel painting and stretch the axe canvas. I’ll draw the remaining symbols for the prayer flag (leopard, tiger, dragon, gurudas, Fran) and get them onto the lino block, ready for carving. I’ll paint the small hanging sea creatures black and white, and find the correct places to put eye hooks into them. I’ll practise my cello – long, deep practise off and on all day – to strengthen muscle, build callus, embed Bach and Brahms into my bones. I’ll read about colour, tools, light and materials, and make notes for my exhibition/ installation proposal.
I’ll take breaks to write letters with my pen, fold them and put them in envelopes. On my trip to the bank I’ll take these to the post office and mail them.
I’ll teach tonight, from 5 until 8, by which time the room and I will be singing and alive in all our corners.