Tag Archives: process

I’ve told you what is inside!

#Letter365 No313 gets posted
No313 goes in the box

Well you or I never expected that, but there again I could be lying! This is what I have written on the envelope:

Message about the contents of No313
Message about the contents of No313

I had hoped to expand on last night’s mullings on conceptual art but I have wasted much of my day in preventing hackers from getting into some websites I look after and I need to get ready for bed as I’m going to London for a couple of days.

The thing is, assuming I have done what I have said on the outside, nobody will be able to know what is what. If I have done what I claim I have actually complicated it further as the pieces of paper, if that is what there is inside, are not identical but have been marked so that it would be possible to make an assessment as to which is actually the artwork – only I have already forgotten which is which!

A have also forgotten the last bit of this post which I had written but got lost when I got logged out when the session expired. Oh well.

And I am certain I have never done one like this before

#Letter365 No311 gets posted
No311 goes in the box

I know the outside looks pretty much the same each day, but inside …inside I had to cry.  No, no, no I made a mistake, that’s from John Martyn’s “Make No Mistake”! What I meant to say was that inside these similar envelopes there is an original piece of art and I have never done anything based on the idea I produced today.

As you can see I have written no messages on the outside of the envelope again.

I can’t afford comparison except to a standard

#Letter365 No308 gets posted
No308 goes in the post box

I don’t know why I let my brain start comparing pieces qualitatively against each other! Right at the outset I decided that my criteria for inclusion would be that I had to be happy to have the piece on my wall: I would not allow myself to put anything in an envelope in this project which I did not sincerely believe to be of quality. Now it may turn out when they are opened – if they are opened – I may feel differently about them but at the time of sealing them up I need to be happy they pass muster. So there is a qualitative assessment done every day, but whilst I may have been particularly pleased with a piece and even suggested it might be one of the best yet, I never wanted to rank or compare them. So why today do I suddenly, after 10 months, start wondering if today’s is better than yesterday’s? This way madness lies, though with another Beefheart quote on the envelope I’m probably part way there!

It’s odd the way things turn out

#Letter365 No307 goes in the box
No307 goes in the box

I really thought I had made a big mistake with this one! As it progressed it got less and less appealing and closer to appalling. It nearly got binned but I put it to one side and did something else (had some lunch and did a crossword). When I took another look it didn’t seem quite so bad and I decided to at least follow through and complete what I had intended and then reassess it. As I added the final touches it seemed to suddenly be a different piece! It had a glow and an intrigue and I, cynic I am, didn’t trust that reaction. How could I be so dubious one minute then so positive the next?  Time to put it out of sight and get on with something else (a large experimental watercolour). Quite a bit later I felt unbiased enough to reappraise the piece I had done for #Letter365 and I found that it was good. In fact I like it very much and nearly didn’t put it in the envelope to be ignored and probably burnt in a few months time.

Subtle things happen when you find a clear spot

#Letter365 No306 gets posted
No306 goes in the box

I was feeling somewhat stressed today, but decided just to take some time out and go to West Bay to look at the sea and takes some photos and maybe some drawing. It was a peerless day: sunshine and a deep, deep sky almost cloudless.  I was good to spend a couple of hours in a clear spot, focused on just being there.

When I finally got to the studio I found myself a little stressed again. My idea for the day’s piece involved drying time. I confess that I did a few pieces that I would choose the best or the driest from! That shows I was not that convinced I could produce what I wanted in the perceived time available! While waiting for them to dry i had a cup of hot chocolate and found myself in a clear spot, unhurried and relaxed. I started to clear up a few things around the studio and sort some paper into the plan chest. As I did so an idea began to emerge – not specifically for #Letter365 – and a handy few bits of materials happened to get placed together and in minutes I had decided to work it all out and bingo, it fell into place brilliantly. Super subtle and a visual coincidence, unplanned, indicated perfection (well almost!)

So Captain Beefheart is right again!

I fretted for a while but it’s OK now

#Letter365 No271 goes in the box
No271 goes in the box

I have been low and feeling a bit stretched, so when I finally got to the studio I wasn’t brimming with confidence! I aimlessly and half-heartedly poked around at this and that for a while. Nothing popped into my head to even start playing with and for a while I was concerned that this might be that time, that first time, when I couldn’t come up with the goods. I knew that I mustn’t start fretting and if I applied myself – went to work – all would be well. Sure enough things began to fall into place and gradually I found myself gathering elements and ideas and in the end I had a completed piece that I was happy with. I documented it, and the envelope, and popped it in the post box and that is when I started to fret! My lack of confidence swept over me and I went through  a whole negative process that encompassed far more than just tonight’s piece. It is only now having finally seen the images on screen that I feel comfortable that I’ve kept to my contract.

Being in a process makes mistakes easier to handle

#Letter365 No266 goes in the box
No266 goes in the box

It’s not often I completely balls up a piece, but today I did. I remember Mrs Williams, my teacher when I was about seven years old telling me how to make a mistake in a picture into something else. I tried that kind of thing but it just made it even shittier! So admitting defeat and not having an alternative to try the original idea again it was start afresh. Which worked out just fine. Now, I keep coming back to this point, the fact of a continuum, this small-work-every-day process, means that I need not worry or fret over a small amount of lost time. Yes I experienced a short bout of mild irritation, because if it hadn’t been for a failure of materials/equipment pretty much out of my control it was a good idea and I will pursue it again at some point with appropriate adjustments. So I learnt something and then had the joy of creating another piece, a piece which I wasn’t afraid to just add a last element to finish it off. If I had ballsed that up it would have been a shame, but same goes, the next piece would be fine.

Like Schrödinger I probably didn’t think things through properly

#Letter365 No264 get posted at a crime scene
No264 gets caught at the scene of the crime

I had decided to use the headline earlier but events overtook me. I was going to write about the messages on the front of the envelope but, as you can see, I have photographed it upside down. Here it is before posting so you can read it:

Envelope of #Letter365 No264
Envelope of No264

So I was going to talk about all the things that needed to be taken into account in the set up of Schrödinger’s mind experiment. I was reckoning on pointing out flaws that if Schrödinger had heard would have irritated him, you know little nit-picking things like the size of the box and the amount of air in it and would the cat suffocate first and how had he calculated the amount of hydrocyanic acid? But of course my planning went to pot. The first flaw in my planning was that someone parked across the front of our house and blocked my car in. Usually it is just someone nipping to the Post Office and they are back in a few minutes. This person left it for about half an hour and went to their friend’s house. (I won’t recount the full story of her excuses for fear of stirring up my wrath). Then when I got to the studio I got into conversation with my neighbour and out of politeness ignored the alarm on my phone and another neighbour joined us and that led to some other discussion by which time it was time to get a late lunch. It was only when I got to the shop I remembered to look at my phone and discovered I was already 10 minutes late for a meeting with some friends! After that I bumped into someone else I’d not seen for ages and we chatted for a long while and…well, Bridport is a friendly place…by which time the afternoon had disappeared and I only had time to do my #Letter365. Even that I messed up a bit and stamped yesterday’s date on the back (altered and a new stamp added).

Then when I get back home and pop to the Post Office to post the piece I have to step over the police cordon to get to the box (you can see the tape at the top of the photo and you could say they have cordoned off my work!) Sadly the Post Office had been raided. Fortunately, although Andrea and Peter were slightly injured, they are OK and three men have been arrested. Seems like those men may not have thought things through properly either. Clearly I didn’t today, so who am I to nit pick over Schrödinger’s experiment and try to make witty comments about it?

Oh, and nobody noticed my deliberate/not-deliberate mistake yesterday!

Oh, and the piece inside? You’ll have to take my word for it it’s either really good or really bad or both at the same time depending the interpretation – but that’s another story!

Meanwhile. I am actually more interested in the water droplets hanging round the top of the post box:

Rainwater droplets round the post box within the police cordon
Rainwater droplets round the post box within the police cordon

I do make work for myself

#Letter365 No259 gets posted
No259 gets posted by the mobile fish and chip van

I do not know what it is in me that makes me create more work. After a long break when I managed not to write anything at all on the envelope in the way of annotations, today I write a note on the back. That means I feel obliged to include the photo of the back and write about it maybe. All I was doing was making a note to remind me what I wanted to write or say on this post. Normally I would just put a note on the blog in a draft which I could elaborate on later, but because I had to do a factory reset on my phone last weekend (the latest Android upgrade broke it!) I had not set up my WordPress blogs and couldn’t remember my log in details! Which has just made me think i could have done it on my tablet – but then I probably haven’t set the phone up to link to the tablet … and now i see that it’s Android that made all this extra work!

What I realised as I was creating today’s piece was that it had strong resonances to a strand of work that I did at college 45 years ago. I was approaching the same place from two directions but with a similar outcome in technique and look and feel. This has prompted me to have another poke around in that area – well I have already started – but to also revisit the technique. The interesting thing is that I had a very strong idea for today which I perhaps approached with the wrong medium, so found myself in different territory! Perhaps that one will happen tomorrow!

Back of the envelope of No259
Back of the envelope of No259

I must remember that I don’t need to be totally different each day

#Letter365 No254 goes in the box
No254 goes in the box

It is odd that, when I am now keener than ever to develop themes and work through ideas, I find myself feeling guilty when I do that in #Letter365. I have been here before, having to remind myself that its ok to do things that are similar. Many artists have done countless versions of the same thing or developed similar works along a theme.