Sometime the smallest of adjustments can make all the difference to a piece of work: adding a line, blurring a colour, trimming. cropping, or whatever is necessary can make it come alive. Sometimes it is easy to see that something is missing and what needs to be done, but it is when you know it is not quite finished but can’t put your finger on the reason that keeps it, frustratingly, stuck in “work in progress”! Luckily I knew immediately what was needed for today’s #Letter365 piece: still not sure for some other pieces I am working on!
I was concerned that having had to finish off my tax return and not being in the best of myself I would: 1. not be able to create anything worthwhile; 2. not be able to tell whether it was any good or not. I think we are fine on both accounts!
It’s sometimes as difficult to get the right balance in a piece of work as it is to create a state of equilibrium in a life. Tension and fragility: stress and strength. Without the long pole it is harder for the tightrope walker to walk erect without wobbling; without peace and principles it is difficult for a life to have stability; without aesthetics and intelligence it is hard for a piece of art to have meaning.
Whatever style or medium I adopt I think you can always recognise my hand and eye in all my work. Perhaps it is because I just regurgitate the same stuff over and over and don’t notice or remember. Perhaps it all looks familiar because I have seen it during the process of construction and recognise it as something I made! I am pretty sure I have never done anything quite like today’s piece, yet it is unmistakably mine.
When things work, down to the last fraction of a millimetre; when I don’t wish I had just angled something a little bit this way or made a space a little thinner; when the colours and tones are exactly what I want: when the balance between calm and agitation is spot on; and all that stuff: then I can say “Oh yes!” And that is particularly important on days like today when I’m questioning value and worth: when my confidence is shaky and the black dog of depression is constantly nagging at my sleeve. I just hope that I am not delusional as well as depressed!
It’s odd how my brain makes me think about things and how I sometimes can feel that some images I create are only of worth to me, that nobody else will be excited or interested. With today’s piece I crossed a line I had been keeping myself behind but wanting to cross before and I have managed to do it in a way that brings together so many of the things I am interested in visually. It is firmly rooted in the work I have been doing over the last couple of years and says much about how I see the artist’s role (as indicated by the envelope message), as well as linking into certain aspects of the history of modern art. I’m delighted with the result and yet there is a little voice in me that says it’s nothing special!
It seems a long time since I created today’s piece. It was hours ago and I’ve driven 160 miles and as I write this I have remembered what I made. I wish I could say it was inspired by Richard Long, but it’s only now that I have thought of him because of a very, very tenuous link in my mind.
I have just spent the last hour or two trying to track down the sudden slow running of my PC. It’s a pretty powerful machine and it is not often that I have cause to complain at its speed and capability even when editing multiple large images. I quickly found that none of the processes were using much CPU power so I looked at the services and found something using 25%! It turned out to be the monitoring system for my UPS. I updated the software and immediately the problem went away. But of course while looking under the hood I happened to notice a couple of other things using more than they should. Of course I have no clue what most of these things are and what they do so I end up reading forum posts and trying to track down why these things are misbehaving. They are not affecting the system enough to slow it up or cause me any problem at all and yet I am spending an hour or two trying to get a solution when I should be writing this and a hundred other things. But of course it is because I have a brain that does that kind of obsessive hunting that I have taken on #Letter365 and am carrying it out in this way!
Which brings me to the fact that I have not had a day off for almost 2 years! I think it is now 672 consecutive days that I have created a piece for either #Collage365 or #Letter365 and for a few weeks both. Most of the time it’s fine, usually more than fine, but occasionally I wish I could cheat. Like tomorrow we are going to be away and I don’t want to do my #Letter365 there so I will have to do it in the morning and I may end up restricted by time and may not have the full range of materials open to me because of drying time, say, or getting-it-wrong-a-few-times time, or run-out-of-ideas time. How great would it be if I had already created tomorrow’s artwork? But of course that goes against the whole idea of the project. However, that reminds me, there is nothing to stop me at least doing my envelope in advance.
I am talking about the sun and mist not the Hokey Cokey. I don’t know what to say really. All a bit of a struggle really today. A small interest was raised by playing with an automatic pen but I couldn’t do more that just trying it out. I haven’t the energy or concentration to attempt the ideas I have in mind. I did another piece I may send off for the collaborative “Drop me a line” show at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery. That’s about it really.
Oh, and did I mention I have lost the will to live?
After I had signed today’s piece and went to photograph it I started to wonder if I had got it the right way round – OK you guessed, it is an abstract work (of a naked person lying on their side or possibly standing on their head). I decided to leave it but now I have looked at the images again I think I like it best rotated 90° anticlockwise! Bugger, I can’t really cheat now! I wonder how I will feel if and when it is opened?