This is Awkward.
And so, finally time to come clean on this shiny new website and on a shiny new blog. During the last eighteen months or so, it may have escaped your notice that I have been writing more than making artwork. Although the initial literary slide began, a few years ago, during MA study, it was writing a regular-ish blog on here that really kicked things off. I began to write a novel (this is the first time I have actually written this down) and soon small stories began to burp up along the way. A few months ago I began to send them out into the world and amazingly two are going to be published and the third was shortlisted. And then while coming to terms with that, I received an award, The Sapphire Award for Excellence in Contemporary Narrative, for my story The Parrot Dress, published this month by Labello Press. And I am still in shock, I never expected to get anywhere, certainly not this fast.
I am saying all this to excuse my diminishing artistic output and to make sense of where I am. I have sometimes broken off from writing and made art, imagining that the two art forms will somehow nourish each other and be mutually beneficial. But it hasn’t worked like that. Writing demands creative rigour the sort of rigour that I poured into my work during and after the MA, when I longed to make work for “fun” and without thinking. What I am trying to say is that the work I have managed to make recently feels, flaccid, tired and forced. So I have decided to try letting writing be “it” for a while and let myself make art to relax, (if I had a pound for every time that has been said to me!) and to support the thing that is sapping all my creative energy.
And I have agonised about keeping this blog, my website and Axis account and there’s the rub, I like it here, I can write here, where this “other” creative energy was spawned and I really don’t want to give it up. I could move to a “writer’s” blog site but I can’t imagine that they will “get” me in the way my remote artist friends do here. So superstitiously, I think I will press on, if that’s okay with you?
However, I still get the urge to paint, mix colour, make marks, make things, and occupy my hands with strange materials. And it works both ways, the writing is so saturated in art in lots of ways, like this piece of writing that I have never shown anyone before, but I am compelled to put it here. It is an awkward little piece of quasi-fiction loosely based on the relationship between my father and me. I want to say here, that I would never have had the courage if it were not for the brilliant Marion Michell’s inspiring and fearless intensity in her writing.
I have included some “play” paintings made in support of the text. The image accompanying the story is a sampler made up of some of my most used colours, each of them lovingly mixed with the colour in the title of the story: Lemon Yellow. Please find it below.