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This week I have managed a little of everything and that accumulation of small acts has aired old ideas and propagated new ones.

  • On Monday I returned to a woodcut previously pushed aside and made a new registration block.
  • Tuesday I met with Jane Watt to read some lines from Robert Smithson for a film she’s working on. Each time I read the quote out loud, listening to the words whilst she recorded, they became more meaningful. I rarely have occasion to read out loud now and I’d forgotten how understanding is enriched by the act of saying the thing as opposed to silent reading.
  • Wednesday was the inaugural session of Perienne’s Christian’s Creative Cafe, I enjoy her work and have previously taken part in her online Royal Drawing School classes. She conveys a sense of play and intention alongside gentle steadfastness and calm making the community she’s brought together a safe and inspiring space. I’m very much looking forward to what it will bring to my practice.
  • Thursday, intending to prepare something new, I picked up an abandoned canvas to reuse the stretcher, but instead resolved what was on it into something that now works.
  • And yesterday I met with Val Bright-Jones visited a new exhibition space we’d booked and swapped news, thoughts and enthusiasms over coffee.

“One’s mind and the earth are in a constant state of erosion. Mental rivers wear away abstract banks, brain waves undermine cliffs of thought, ideas decompose into stones of unknowing, and conceptual crystallizations break apart into deposits of gritty reason.”

Robert Smithson (1968) ‘A Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects’


This week for the first time in months I managed to set aside a whole day for my practice. Having not had a chance to paint for so long it felt like loosening rusty joints, with screeches, squeaks and scrapes accompanying every contact of brush with canvas. At the end of the day I had a blissful feeling of exhaustion and time well spent. Not that the outcome of the painting itself was in anyway special, but being within the process again is. For the past couple of weeks or more honestly the last couple of months, my thoughts have dwelt less on the content of my practice and more on the making of time and space to do it. I put myself in a position where rather than finding a way through, I threw up more barriers so that I couldn’t get close enough to my fears to face them. Painting today felt like having the courage to get under the bed and prove there was no monster there – there’s no monster, but there’s a lot of dust, fluff and cobwebs to deal with, but the monsters gone – that is until it’s there again….


Last week I returned to teaching after an unexpected week caring. Ordinarily I don’t bother with New Year, but this year I watched fireworks peppering the sky, lighting my way as I retrieved my father from A&E. Concussion; stitches; more medical appointments; endless cups of tea; making work? Not so much.

My practice mostly concerns the narrative of possessions, that is objects and homes; links to personal and community histories and beliefs traced by the things we have. Before I moved a couple of years ago, I started a project called Postcards from Home. I printed postcards from lino blocks documenting 20 years lived in the same house. The postcards show my life through things, a catalogue of conscious and unconscious decisions.

Being at Dad’s for the week made me aware of his things or rather the lack of them. He has honed his ownership such that whilst cabinets and drawers fill the space they are often as not empty. Whilst our possessions speak of our past, maybe they are as unreliable as memory. Drawing at Dad’s I reflected on his spaces and what was absent and on my space and what I’d put there.