below: painting from my sketchbook of today’s dog walk. Worked from memory. Watercolour and graphite
Having spent a large portion of last week clearing out my studio and recycling unwanted paintings and drawings. This week has had to be about “so what now....” I have spent the last year thinking about the destructive use of the planet and particularly the use of plastic and how it ends up on our beaches. I care passionately about this but I wonder now if this is actually my art practice. At the end of last year I helped a fellow student with her MA show, well only a small aspect of it, in that I illustrated a book that she wanted to put into her show as part of her installation “A38 tourist information centre” Toni has been collecting snippets of conversation overheard on her travels. These “Eves droppings” were turned into a book of this title. Toni described each one to me and through conversation, drawing and description we gradually came up with a picture for each one. These were done on the iPad and were definitely illustrations not “paintings”.
Over the summer I have found it harder and harder to engage with the plastic work I was doing in the first year and have become increasingly engaged with the practice I have been doing for years; telling stories and painting memories, working from my memory and imagination. There has been an element that this has been a “secret practice” and I need to think about why this is so. I found paintings going back to the beginnings of my working life as an artists, paintings that no one has really seen. Many of them have over the years been “recycled”. Amongst them where paintings of the very first moment I saw my three children. These are powerful and precious remembered moments. They are exciting images too.
I have had time to look at a particular sketchbook that has a number of these images in, moments that are not so happy and needed expression.
Alongside this I have been thinking about a collaboration with Musgrove hospital’s Art For Life coordinator, Lisa Harty. This will entail working with a couple of hospital wards, the children’s education centre and the care for the elderly ward. We are beginning to talk about a project that centres around memories and more specifically memories associated with the seaside and holidays there.
I was enthralled by the Grayson Perry channel 4 programs on Rights of Passage. These seem to talk massively about art, memory and community. I was especially interested by the episode on death as I think this is such an important area and believe art can play a part in difficult and challenging times in our human existence.
I have only the beginnings of ideas for the direction my work will take over the next year of the MA but I feel as if I have an exciting new starting point. One that will perhaps reboot my art practice for years to come.