I’m trying to avoid writing this blog post for many reasons and so in order to avoid sinking into the displacement depths of cleaning the flat – and that would take several days to make any impact – I am here.

Yes I am.

Ok so you can’t hear my thoughts….I actually have to put something down do I – really?  Mmmm what do I think? Well that depends…

and so – to the coaching session ….much the same!

I can do all the stuff in my head but now I am expected to articulate it which means pinning it down. I appear to have a very strong aversion to looking inward. Don’t get me wrong I can think about life and stuff. I can really think – I can think for ages – really clear and firm thoughts but making those thoughts real by saying them is stupidly hard.

At this point I want you to meet a friend of mine. I gather she’s been around forever but I don’t know what she looks like, she’s clever and a bit sneaky, keeps herself just around the corner all the time a bit like a fox…(hey that might just come in handy later on…)

…introducing ta da… the saboteur….

this foxy foxiness is the presence and the voice that keeps cutting in – keeps preventing me from just blurting out anything without fear of judgment and justification. I have to make a portrait of this saboteur and I think there is 2 aspects of it… an aggressive mean side that’s like a dark presence, a smokey fuzz of a shape, like a minotaur with eyes, definitely eyes – I can hear this one already making comments. The one to watch for is the silent sleek slinky fox that sneaks around my subconscious mind I have to be on mega alert for that because I can’t see or hear it. I think I might be able to train myself to feel it…by trusting my instincts and using my gut not my head.

Dang the thing…it’s been me all the time! I am the saboteur. But hey I’m making progress here so don’t knock it Ms Minotaur.

I’m sitting in  a relaxed state in a flat in South London, imagining a place, how it feels and who or what is there. I am going to meet the captain. This captain is pretty cool, she know everything and can do anything. She is only there for me (shush minotaur) She knows the seas and has sailed her boat across them in all conditions for ever. I can ask her anything. She’s coming and I get nervous, I don’t know where she’s coming from or what she looks like I’m trying to ask her questions and I can’t even see her never mind hear her answers because I’m just repeating the questions. I’ve lost my place here in this world – I have lost the trust I need to stay here and let  the imagination thing happen….my left brain has gleefully taken control and is locking me back into my head’s clear see through box where I can safely think without needing to express it.


I give myself a talking to and try to get a grip – re focus….there’s the captain – what does she look like? Is she me? Does she look just like me? Or like what I think I look like…or is she like someone I’ve seen in a picture? argh..too many thoughts…. maybe I need to ask myself what sense or presence does she have about her, does she have a warmth or a smell? A colour…is she a smokey ethereal thing or a human form …

It slowly dawns: it doesn’t really matter and either it will come later or if not I can go with this for now… she brings me a gift and I do get a an idea then of a box with a porous but smooth stone in it. She gives it to me to hold and I have to use both hands it’s the size of a big cake. It’s light coloured almost white. We are standing by the edge of some water looking across the surface. The word ‘miner’ hangs around.

Trust yourself.

Do not worry what other people think.

I have made the decision to publish this even though it’s quite personal because I think its important that other artists are able to see and hopefully identify with the inner workings of this development process. Despite the saboteur trying its best to stop me being so open – being concerned with thinking who might read it and how it might look – because we all have this struggle and integrity is an important value to me – I think its best for me to be honest in this process and expose the dirt if and when it surfaces. Regardless of whether it makes me ‘look good’.

I visited Colin for the first coaching session and before it began he showed me his art collection, wow I have never had someone walk me around all the art work they have collected (mine amongst names like Auerbach, Hodgkin and Salter) It was a deeply personal experience and the excitement and enthusiasm with which he and his wife spoke of the pieces and when they had acquired them was brilliant. It was both humbling and magnificent to be represented in someone’s own portfolio of art. I saw a painting I did a few years ago that I had never photographed and was blown away. Just as I was by seeing The Way We Live Now, a limited edition (195 of 200) handmade book of a story about AIDS written by Susan Sontag and illustrated by Howard Hodgkin in 1991 wrapped so carefully in tissue. I’m hopeless with names and should have been making notes however I just wanted to keep looking at these pieces in the secret privacy of the collectors home without getting all nerdy and technical – there’s so much work it’s all over the walls, balanced on book shelves and hidden in portfolios ready to be swapped into frames for the constant re curation that keeps the collection fresh.  Colin is preparing some art history lectures for the local art college and his skills in writing, art appreciation and coaching are becoming interwoven with each other.

So next I have some coaching homework to work on developing my values and today I started working  on a new series of boards which are derived from the surface of USS Yorktown, a massive aircraft carrier I visited last year in Charleston, South Carolina.