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I’ve previously suggested to my students that they think of the process of picture making as a conversation between themselves and the work. This week I’ve continued to labour over various versions of my preparing for pears image, that is, me lifting turf while unnoticed either side of me an angel explains to Dad that the reason I am digging up yet more of his lovely lawn, is to plant espaliered pears. Alas rather than a fluent discourse occurring, it’s felt more like a series of awkward silences interspersed with clumsy attempts to search for common ground.

I haven’t yet done the monotypes I considered last week, the image still needed further exploring and still does. I have though, been trying Pastelmat paper which despite my current dysfunctional relationship with my drawing was a joy to work on. And I finished lifting all the turf for the pears. Perhaps now I’ve done that, if it isn’t to late I could turn an apple tree pruning image.


Just over a week ago I was at the Royal Drawing School for two days with fellow ODDY students enjoying their real life company immersed in playful collaborative drawing. Back home I m having a crisis of confidence and stress. It’s the usual combination of time available / production of work / framing time and cost, that looms before an exhibition. Theoretically I have work I could show already, but I want to show drawings that say something specific about my thoughts, ideas and concerns. Unfortunately the confidence/stress pact undermines every mark I put on the page and makes me question my thinking to the point where I can start wondering if even my ideas are valid.

Moving away from the spiral of negative collapse, I have this week, put up panels of Sundealer board in my studio, something I’d been planning to do since I started using the space at the beginning of last year. It’s good to be able to efficiently display all that work I’m despairing of.

Therefore as I look up from my desk I can see two monotypes that I was excited by when I made them and I’m still excited by now, so tomorrow when I have studio time I will endeavour to do some more.


My year with the Royal Drawing School is both finished and unfinished, scheduled class commitments sit behind me, commitments to my own practice in front. Immediately ahead lie two in-house drawing days meeting most of the ODDY cohort in person for the first time and then a group exhibition in March. But also ahead I hope, is the continuation and enrichment of our group into a mutually supportive entity with its part played in all our future practice. 

The course imposed a discipline that on non wage earning days saw me in my studio daily from 10 – 5 and thinking about being in there, at all the other times! In the final term I began to long for time to develop a multitude of arising ideas and now I have it, or at least, I have it as much as I ever will. Participation in the ODDY necessitated a collaborative structure (isn’t that what partly attracts artists to courses?) the blocking out of hours and days for playing and thinking and doing. Post ODDY, the beginning of 2024 finds me assembling a new structure dedicated to giving those ideas life and still playing, thinking and doing.