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By: Anthony Boswell
My life and work as an artist
# 34 [21 October 2011]
I was thinking about the dawn and dusk, how it is a time that seems to reveal more than any other time, as if there are images to be shown under a special lens and see the unseen. And so I woke today looking at the dawn, the sun already increasing the light even though it was still below the horizon. Did I need that special lens I asked myself? The light had a voice that beckoned the question from within myself, as if teasing me that I had the ability to see what it wanted to show, to hear what it wanted to say, knowing that I may not have the skill, the means to exercise the vision.
So it is necessary that I capture the morning on camera, in the hope to trap the life therein and see it in a form where it will be halted, captured and tamed, remove its sting that is future time. Yet in my soul I have the haunting beauty that comes with the knowledge that the fleeting presence of life within it as really slipped through the net once again, the realisation as if waking from a dream, where it will slowly drift like mist through the hours, sighing at dusk and waking again the next day.
# 33 [14 October 2011]
I set out to start a new film short, in the process have made the ten minute soundtrack and now, caught having to make a decision on the images for it, have made a recording on disc of the sound as a work in itself. The thing is, i like it, it allows the listener to make their own situation guided by the sounds on the timeline. I never thought I would get involved with digital media of this kind, but sometimes the choices I make; to disregard some areas of my practice, to resurface others, makes sense because it filters out that which does not go deep enough in finding what I am looking for and allows me to concentrate totally on the medium I am most proficient with. I am now left with decisions as to what to do with the piece of work, several choices are there including using the soundtrack solely in an exhibition situation alongside other work. Of course, I could create longer passages of sound as works in themselves.
In keeping with what I am looking for, the soundtrack still plays on the process of time, I have tried to confuse the forward motion whilst keeping a theme throughout. Listening to it does set certain feelings and ideas into play immediately, some I am a little uncomfortable with emotionally. At the moment, I can't see myself working in the future on anything more than my drawings, film and sound, with the writing to go alongside of it. Sometimes it takes years of exploring before finally tying things down so the real work can begin on a level deep enough to uncover things. I think it is like an archaeological dig, the slow unveiling of something I either now is there but not sure where or how and that which is unknown and either remains elusive, or gradually shows itself.
There are still challenges ahead. Over the past few mornings, there has been a brilliant light on the horizon, how do I capture the essence and emotional power contained in it by drawing and sound, without the obvious route of filming it or making an image of it and showing it simply as it appears? The light comes up slowly, changes colour and mood, reveals ancient time and an unknown future, weighs so heavily in its quietness like the deep unknown in the slit of a great creatures half open eye. How do I get that, how do I find myself and define all of the moments in my life and my fears of the future?
# 32 [11 October 2011]
Early morning yesterday, there was a beautiful light on the horizon, making itself felt between the leaden sky and the ground. It was the sort of light that brings strength to oneself on a dull day. I watched, felt something of the fact that all around me, both outside and inside, there was very little light except that which I looked upon and it felt distant. It made me question the importance of the visual in my work.
Thinking more practically about my current project, I am torn between image and sound, one without the other. I have created ten minutes of sound that I am happy with, yet as I sat in the dark of my room listening to it, trying to picture the images in my mind, I was aware of it as itself, without images. Should I try to let it be a vehicle for the mind to create its own film, or put my visual passage to it to direct the mind in a certain direction? Maybe I should put it out there for a trial, add images later?
New post too at www.anthonyboswell.blogspot.com
# 31 [9 October 2011]
I ask myself about Arcadia. Do I project it from myself, this idea of a place where time is the melancholic slowness of existing in the face of possibilities? So inside or outside, something of a place fills me with the same feelings, I am drawn by attraction. Don't expect me to explain what or why, I struggle myself to understand it, I have only just remembered that it has always been there and that I had forgotten it. What exists inside that exists outside, or am I facing two separate questions? When I am in a place to witness the far horizon and sense the atmospheric pressure of a coming storm; to have the desire to be part of it, to feel it, I am moved equally as standing listening to the quietness within the rooms of the house. It makes me think about the same things and fear the same fears.
I am at great pains with myself to allow this tension to come through in the drawings, I have allowed myself to stop painting because for me, they are not fundamental enough for my particular needs, drawings give me a way into understanding and bringing back the emotions, to allow me to relive a moment. What of the house goes with me, and what is brought back into it? Maybe I am meant to only ever chase after the elusive, that the meaning in my work is to only ever to be on the verge of it, that by keeping all the images captured around me they are but a reminder of the times I came close.
To be in the house is to know the familiar, to venture outside is almost to be compelled to do so.
# 30 [7 October 2011]
I had not been aware of any fear of the outside till it was pointed out, then it came to me, the vulnerability of the elements. I have been made aware also of the effect of erosion. Will there be dangers of working away from the interiors that I have become to know so well, more than I understand? How will these compare to the dangers of familiarity bred by the constant recycling of memory, time, walls, doorways and reflections? The happiest of days, keeping it all alive by the making of work and image, will it all be at risk by venturing out into the places where time plays a much harsher role? Will it be like standing upon the edge of high cliffs to see the deep waves below? Buried deep to the shoulders, I witness the spray blowing from the rough seas, the sky appearing and disappearing. Maybe sometimes it is necessary to put oneself at danger to understand the reality of things? And does it make any difference being indoors, when I read my own statement about home not always being a safe shelter? Do not the elements out there creep in from time to time?
So much of me belongs to the open moorland, the oceans edge, the shadowy streets and derelict buildings. My work, a long time ago, used to reflect all of this till I lost it by pressure to conform, to sell, to be excepted. It was only time that was going to resurface the truth of the need. Our artwork shapes us as much as we shape it. It is always a case of staring into the void. So my work is changing to suit the need, to deposit the stuff not needed and the methods that are not right so that I can try to get to the truth, to reach a little closer the almost unreachable.
# 29 [2 October 2011]
Simple things make me stop and think, just walking down the road.
# 28 [30 September 2011]
I sometmes feel the more I delve into the familiar, I get more lost in the unfamiliar, that even sitting in the chair, watching the regular movement of seasonal sunlight, the sunlight of early morning or late evening that I know will be there on a given wall on a given month, even this will seem like being fearfully part of the elements roaming unchecked over the skin of the open hillside. All this that is regular, drawn out by time, is stolen by time. I think that by my work I try to understand time, and through understanding comes the repetitive control of fear. By searching out what I want my work to be, I may be keeping myself in Arcadia, but eventually, the I too was there becomes a falling out of that place, only to eventually return again. The leviathan that is the slow moving weight of the shapeless form of place, memory and melancholy, is moulding me into its very self. I am working with the inside and the outside together, peering in and out through the very same windows.
My work is the shapes on the wall, the possibilities of the half open door, ocean against rock, lightening against the night. A place I know and don't know.
# 27 [25 September 2011]
I have started to realise that the house is all but one part of myself, in conversation it is made clear that what is inside is carried outdoors. I wonder how much is taken out from the house and how much is brought back inside?
It is all about this beyond reach and that exists everywhere. I will be dealing with the thickness of what/who else may have been in places. Will I want to blend it all together into one essence as a whole? I will have to work twice as hard to pick up the echoes.
Inside there is the quiet, the sound of the outside; wind, rain, the night. Outside I will feel these things, not just their external presence, but their actual qualities.
I found my drawings of hills; barren, weather covered. I can feel it all there still and I like the intensity. The move outside removes the protection of walls, even though that may have been fleeting sometimes.
How much will there be of the umbilical chord of the house stretching out as I stand by the beating waves and unforgiving rocks?
# 26 [24 September 2011]
How I make things so awkward for myself by making problems that don't exist. Well, they are decisions that just need a little working out, but those internal doubts put on by external pressure make mountains out of molehills, to put it simply. Today, I went through a pile of sketchbooks that have been lying around, some I have been able to discard. Amongst them are pages of landscapes and my tree studies, which I started and put aside because of ideas being followed elsewhere. I firmly believe an artist should do what encompasses their true interests, but I manage to fight against my own rules when it comes to different ideas. I need to either just get on with them, bringing them as separate studies into one practice, or find what links them. And what does link them are variants of this that is almost untouchable. I have also been thinking today about the extended arm, not in the practical drawing method sense of the phrase, but in the emotional effort to reach forward to touch with the hand what is beyond vision, and bring that hand back to the paper with the essence of what I may have touched. I have always found drawing a very important part of my life, it seems a shame that some of the better stuff gets left in unopened books. What made me think about this is the blog post on archiving by Natalia Komis. Now that I have got them out I will leave them out, some readers of my blog and followers of my work can expect some different things, but not to the neglect of the importance of my interiors. Really, it all belongs to the heart of myself and therefore belongs in my practice. For now, doubts answered.
# 25 [22 September 2011]
I was described today as someone who's work was looking for something almost out of reach. It probably is correct, because my tying myself down to finding the right moment to capture is so difficult a constraint simply because it is almost out of reach. It is said because I don't make work that fails, but work that is born out of the intensity of that looking. I find that what is deemed almost out of reach is actually there, it can be felt, the presence is so far in the layers of time it is very difficult to get at. Yet this is what keeps me trying. I think this is why I get so tired of mind, of effort sometimes. And the frustration of when I think I'm on the verge of touching it I have to think hard again to find the best way possible to express it in the best work I can do. The world around us, that is so intimate, hides and then uncovers itself afresh requiring a new piece of work often removing the previous efforts to dissatisfaction. The pieces of artwork become as fragile as the moment they tried to capture.
I stood at the top of the stairs and thought how the front door below just isn't the same as the internal doors, there isn't the depth. This, I thought, was touching upon that which is almost out of reach.
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