I left for the studio saying I had no clue what I would do for today’s piece, but knowing that something would turn up. I am still feeling run down so didn’t intend to stay long. I had not been able to concentrate much at home this morning and had little hope that things would shift this afternoon. I lost myself in preparing some substrates (more gesso on Whitechapel Gallery leaflets) and trying to mix a particular colour red that would granulate when allowed to run wet-in-wet into a mix of deep blue. I got the colours right but when they mixed the separation was vulgar! Back to the drawing board on that one. All that allowed me to forget #Letter365, so when I turned to do it I was primed and open. A nice piece with legs soon emerged. I don’t mean that I drew something with legs (though I might have!!) but it was something which I might continue to experiment with.
That’s an odd thing isn’t it? I get suspicious when things go well and effortlessly. I had half a lame idea and was looking around for some materials in the studio and because I have a cold and feel a bit rough I was finding excuses for not getting the paper I wanted. Was there a scrap around? No, but I found something else which sparked an idea which continues an investigation and the colour is just right and a bit of fiddling here and some jiggling there and soon I was underway with a piece I really like …and then I start questioning it because it came so easily. Don’t you have to struggle to make art? Technique, look, composition, relevance – all a piece of cake. Does that mean it’s not very good? Well I would be pleased to have it on my wall and maybe I should start painting large canvasses
I want to talk about the interplay between contrivance and serendipity, but I can’t without telling too much about today’s piece, but it is interesting how I had an idea of what I wanted to do and how it would look (though as it turned out I changed its orientation in the making) but the moment I started to play with the materials I noticed something else, something very subtle, which really enhanced the idea and the piece.
I had this great idea for today’s piece. It was so good I thought I might do several versions of it and develop it into a larger work but the moment I began the second process I knew it was just rubbish. What was I thinking? How could it ever have worked? I hung on to the thought it was a good idea but that my realisation was poor, my physical technique was flawed. But I knew really that it was just plain crap. I still carried on for a few lame seconds but jacked it in and started on something fresh!
When I had it all finished I realised I had left my camera at home. Not quite with it, but then I had been Tweeting to a mad Swede about Latin, mushrooms and invading Northumberland!
I have an excuse – I’m not feeling well! I have a sore throat and chesty cough which has gone on longer than it should and today has drained me. Well that’s my excuse for not recording today’s piece properly and I didn’t even put a sealing wax seal on the back. Oh well! I did remember to do the artwork and out it in the envelope and put a stamp on and that’s not bad going!
I struggled for the best part of an hour to think of something to say, to think of a title but it seems I am brain dead tonight. Thank goodness the art was ok!
I know it’s a madness but then that is what this is all about: oddness, obsession and madness. It is madness because to post this piece I went out of my way on my journey between my studio and Bridport Arts Centre for the AGM and Polly Gifford‘s leaving do. But I had already put the stamp on so what could I do?
The piece itself revisits a recurring and constant theme with some more recent vocabulary.
Poor Bramble had to be put down today. She had cancer of the tongue and it had spread to her kidneys. She seemed ok in many ways but was unable to eat comfortably. Yesterday evening it was clear that she was uncomfortable and a little distressed and although she ate something this morning it was clear she was not going to make it. She had a nice last day in the garden and we were both with her at the end.
Because of this I do not feel able to make today’s piece available for sale. It is too personal and too painful, but it will be opened at the installation.
Yes, 200 up! It’s an achievement not to be sneezed at! Now where did that expression come from? The Plague years? Answers on a postcard please.
Today’s piece is quite interesting in that it is something I was thinking of doing some time back for #Letter365 but I was not sure if what I had envisioned would work on something that would fit into my regulation envelope. I only thought about it again because I opened up the wrong sketchbook and it opened to the page with the note on! I realised 2 things: first I now had a vocabulary that would make it work and secondly I could get the buyer to finish it off. So much of my work is quite demanding on the viewer and I often feel that it is not complete until the viewer makes their contribution mentally or optically, so why not leave it just slightly unfinished with instructions and suggestions for the final configuration?
After a period of popping my offerings in various mailboxes I posted today’s back at my local post box. I am just so tired I couldn’t be doing with breaking my journey and all that palaver. I really don’t want to be doing this blog, I didn’t want to do the envelope, I didn’t want to do the photography and if I am honest I didn’t want to do the artwork! I used up an idea I was wanting to develop elsewhere and in fact it worked pretty well and I was prompted to experiment a little so it was all pretty positive. But now I want to sleep. Well I have wanted to sleep since I got up at 7 this morning. Our poor cat is not eating and I am grieving. So that is all.