For various reasons, most of which has been way beyond my control, I have had to step back from my practice and tend to other activities.
Well, light is glimpsing at the end of that particular tunnel, and although I may not be able to return to full power just yet, I have actually made it back into the studio! Hoorah!
So, then of course the first thought was, ermmmm?
I always find it interesting trying to get back into things after a break (and bloody frustrating as well), so, I returned to the old favourite by revisiting the doodle. It always intrigues me where this process takes me, and that I still battle the desire to chastise myself for ‘wasting valuable studio time’.
However, yet again, I have become aware of the importance of making marks, loosening up and just generally allowing the mind to wander unhindered by the pressure of achieving specific outcomes. I am firmly convinced that if you give the mind time untethered, interesting things usually start to happen.
What I find most intriguing about this process, is my need for bold colours. Seems quite distant from my book work. I’m sure there is a very good reason… it just hasn’t surfaced for me yet.
I have been rather fortunate in that my scalpel rarely strays from the intended path. Yet of course occasionally it wanders, slicing as it goes (fortunately all skin is intact!). This latest deviation from the path was really quite delightful. Ok, so let’s be honest here. That wasn’t my first thought. I am just being polite not to share the first word that popped into my head at the time, especially, as is so often the case, when you are nearing the end of a piece, this tends to happen. But yes, serendipitously delightful. The section that I originally wanted to retain in the work and now forcibly abandoned happened to be the words ‘Wisdom and life’.
Like many artists, I have to supplement my income with other employment to keep the wolf from the door. Apart from my creative facilitation, I am also a coach driver. This is something I have done for years, and actually, I still enjoy the need to be up with the lark first thing in the morning (hmm, what time do larks arise I wonder?) and that I have but a couple of hours of the day that this particular role fills leaving me free to pursue my other more creative activities. The down side of this, is that due to recent legislation, I am required, along with every other UK driver, to complete further training (above and beyond my PCV license), in order to maintain this position. Now, I’m always open to learn new things. Alas the course we have to complete is generic in form for various transportation workers and as long as we attend 35 hours training by an approved trainer, no matter if it is repeated modules, then we get the green light.
Well, I have just finished two days that about 35% of the content was directly related to Coaching (the same module repeated), there was a long discussion about temperature of fish transportation be they living or dead and the fact that pineapples should NEVER be stored with avocados… Oh, and lets not even go there with green onions, they really are the bad boys! None the less, I wanted to find a way of staying engaged, so I doodled! I did have a discussion with the trainer beforehand about scientific study concerning increased attention levels and doodling, but I’m not sure if he was convinced. I was of course worried that it might be perceived as being rude, hence this discussion, and felt sure he was testing out this theory by asking me a great deal of questions (not necessarily acknowledging the answers), and leaving others in the room to sleep! I am glad to report, I answered all questions correctly and completed the quizzes at the end of the sessions without difficulty.
I must say, these trainers are working a particularly difficult crowd, drivers, owners, transport managers and mechanics who simply do not value the course purpose… and then they get me, some strange artist/coach driver who wants to engage in a left field discussion about psychological theory of doodling!
So, here we have evidence of my last training day this year, 7 hours well spent?
I have been somewhat preoccupied by other work lately, the kind that pays the bills alas therefore not being able to find too much time in the studio. When I have managed to make it in, all of my focus has been developing my first artist book. Ok, honestly, perhaps not completely ALL of my focus. I always need some necessary side steps to doodle, think, digest and return to the task at hand, evidence of this below.
I am actually very pleased with how the book has been coming along and indeed it is rather delicious seeing the sea of cut pages filling the desk at the moment.
I have finally finished cutting the pages, and I have been slightly surprised as to how dark the narrative has become as the work has evolved. I am heavily influenced, of course, by the original book content, though I am always careful not to read the novel first. Reading the new tome, I can also see I have been influenced by current affairs.
I am now ready to mount them in preparation for photographing. So, if anyone can recommend a great artist book publisher, who maybe interested in a new artist book author, please do let me know.
Ok, so I have been doing alot of procrastinating recently. Life just kind of, well, gets in the way. So here are some of my doodles / visual explosions that ultimately, but sometimes painstakingly slowly, unravels the brain.
And then I began some self portraits for the first time ever…
If nothing else, undeniably cathartic… thank goodness for creative outlets.