Well of course the answer is “a fine piece of art for today’s #Letter365” and that is what I did. I am absolutely cream-crackered now after working on getting my #Collage365 show up at Bridport Arts Centre and I still had a task to work on this evening so I can get it just right before it opens at 10am tomorrow. Yet I still managed to create a decent piece for the project. I had in mind what I wanted to do and the result was great – though I could have done with something that took less time! But what you can’t expect is anymore writing here.
When I say I am on a roll I am surprising myself: I am really quite excited about what I am doing at the moment and already have plans for tomorrow, but I am frustrated that I can’t at present develop the ideas into my general work. In fact I am not really able to do any other work at present as I have been prepping for my #Collage365 show at Bridport Arts Centre (hanging tomorrow) and am trying to get sorted at the studio so I can have some spin-off viewings there too. I am feeling a bit stressed and my black dog of depression has been poking its nose in for a few weeks. So, thankfully, I am on a roll with #Letter365 and, thankfully, I am just about holding it all together for the show and stuff but that is hardly “on a roll” and as for the rest, well I’m wading in mud in wellies again!
I don’t deny it and, in fact, I am quite proud and excited especially since it probably is one of the best pieces I have done in this project. Now you might say if it’s one of the best then it’s because it was someone else’s good idea that makes it good! To which I would ask which of the many versions by various artists did I copy? Or is it an amalgam (an interesting word to pop out considering the context of this piece!)? Is it a cop-out or is it very clever? It references 400 years of the history of art, plus the history of physics and of chemistry; touches into the realms of philosophy and religion; demonstrates my understanding of the traditional technologies of communication and my knowledge of art techniques. Could it be said that the earliest two versions I know of were in themselves a cop-out – one that I recognise myself liable to? Then, taking all of that into account, I delivered a finished piece that is technically pretty good and almost perfect against the needs of the idea – especially in the choice of materials – as well as being pretty good to look at!
All that is pretty good when you consider that when I returned to the studio this evening I was vacant of ideas and got pretty despondent that my first fiddlings about were leading nowhere. There is a whole magnificent history of stealing other people’s ideas throughout the history of all the arts to be discussed. I have made this piece my own partly because of the intellectual content behind why I did it, which opens up another discussion about what art really is. Sadly I have neither the time nor energy to think about it right now, let alone construct an argument about it. Another day maybe.
I have been really enjoying my last few pieces and I thought I would continue in a similar vein. Towards the end of the process I had a dip in confidence and felt it was ok but not special. That changed when I stuck it on the wall to have a fresh look, then my response was, “ooh, I should do this for a living!”
See what the full moon has made me do? All upside down and blowy and rainy too. The artwork inside is, however, svelte yet satisfyingly sumptuous.
You know, I really enjoyed making today’s piece. Yes it is satisfying when something goes well, but part of the joy was just because I was making some art. I am getting so little time each day to do art at present that I am going a little nuts! I know it’s important to do all the other things to make a successful show (my #Collage365 show opens next Tuesday at Bridport Arts Centre) and I did take some welcome time out today to spend time with an encouraging and interesting friend, but I would really, really like to just spend whole days just working!
Today I pass the two-thirds-done marker, so it is time to up my game and get organising all the other aspects of this project, but I can just for a moment relax and give myself a little congratulation for getting this far. That is eight months, fresh and unique every day, no cheating, with no breaks and to what I believe is a pretty high standard of work.
I still have this nagging feeling that I might be able to reconnect with whatever it was that I had in mind to write about, but I have an equally nagging feeling that if I remembered what it was I would be disappointed! Whatever it was it was snatched away from me by tiredness and stress and lack of time – a bit like today’s piece was snatched away by an efficient, friendly but in a hurry postie. I never got a chance to get a better picture and hardly know what was going on. It was like reverse Father Christmas: a huddle of people handing over packages to someone who put them in a sack! I was aiming to have a night off and go to the film society, but I just didn’t have the energy. I am doing far too many things that need to be done and far too little time is left for art. Though I have to say that some of that time went in just looking at the piece I created, not looking for faults or checking if something else was needed, but just looking at it, admiringly I suppose. I really enjoy looking at this piece! What that says I don’t know.
Here’s another example of time being spread too thinly. Today I had completed my piece by about 10.45 this morning and yet it’s now 11pm and i haven’t posted to the blog yet. True I didn’t do my final check and review till late afternoon and it was gone 6pm when I posted it. So where has the day gone. I have been busy all day but apart from #Letter365 I have only done one other small piece of art! The rest has been preparation work for my #Collage365 show: picking up work from the framers, gathering label information (had some help here) and a bit of setting up stuff at the studio ready for some viewings. All necessary stuff and I was pretty effective most of the time but so little on making art!
I have written about that moment when you can be afraid to add something to a piece in case you spoil it. I can get quite timid and have to force myself to do what I know in my heart is right. Today I just knew something else was needed and it was plainly obvious what it should be – even to the degree of control and how much leeway for chaos to play. No hesitation. So why so bold today and so timid some other times?
Time and money are two things that no longer seem to spread far enough any more. Admittedly I was up late this morning catching up on the sleep I missed the night before, but the day just disappeared so it was 3pm before I managed to get on the road to drive to Gillingham to at Paul Newman’s show. Now it’s only 43 miles or so but in Dorset that is a drive of over an hour! When I found that Paul was there the time stretched in conversation and so I wasn’t back till gone 8pm for dinner and so it was 9.20 by the time I left for the studio to do my #Letter365 piece. I was happily working away on something at the same time and enjoying the process when suddenly I realised how late it was and I had not photographed my piece. And that is where I got caught out by the clocks. I had not changed my camera back to GMT, so all the photos are dated 2/11/2014 because they were all taken after 11.00pm. But I wasn’t really late, honest!