Ten studio days over the next couple of months to find a rhythm. Daily exercises as a discipline and as a structure to build on. Time to experiment.
ELEVENTH MONDAY – AFTERWORD
People came to see the work on the Thursday and Saturday open days for TEN MONDAYS and I had several interesting conversations including one about repetition and ritual. This has extended my ideas about how to continue and develop the water collecting. And also made me think about the rhythms of this residency.
Drawing the ten leaves was a way to start each week, to deal with the ‘blank sheet’ of the day. The weekly reading opened out ideas and stretched the skin of limits, of the stuck edges of my thinking.
FIND WATER AND YOU FIND LIFE
Finally the map worked – a folded A4 sheet, free to take and find the water places for yourself. There are more watery holes and streams to discover, more damp fields to cross and fences to struggle over.
The regular days of the residency have been useful to focus attention, to make time for ideas to come up and to work on them away from the distraction of the computer and all the other parts of my life.
How to continue? I think a half day per week at a desk, light and airy, would suffice, somewhere away from home. Have to keep my ears open for an opportunity. The rhythm of a disciplined approach is fruitful.
Residencies provide stimulation for me. Writing the blog has provided space for reflection and consideration.
I took the show down today, the eleventh Monday and painted over the inscriptions. A project completed.
Today was the final Monday. I cleared the studio and started to put up work. This is a whole other process. Once you put something together, you can make decisions; how it works with another piece; how it would work better over there. So I move things round; and again and then again. That’s better.
Struggles with the water map are ongoing.
I have been researching leaves and famous artists. I picked an acanthus leaf for William Morris; dandelions for William Nicholson. I looked at waterlilies for Monet. I flicked through reproductions of Odilon Redon paintings and found ivy leaves. I like this quote from him: “…avec les yeux ouverts plus grandement…” Catches something of the importance of looking long and wide, grandly.
Whatever I am reading, I tend to find something that links to the things I am thinking about. In ‘The Orchid Thief’ by Susan Orlean I found:
The disadvantage of self-pollination is that it recylces the same genetic material over and over, so self-pollinating species endure but don’t evolve or improve themselves. Self-pollinated plants remain simple and common – weeds. Complex plants rely on cross-fertilisation.
This makes me think I need to talk to more artists, see more shows, discuss, argue. Held a long conversation with an artist with more traditional views on the allotment this Sunday. But I do love weeds.
Here we go again, so much to do, I go from one thing to another, spinning.
The shelves are up and a light is fastened above. The huge bucket of white emulsion is open. It takes a lot of coats to cover a blackboard.
Realise I cannot fit my cards in the space – will have to think again.
Map is in progress and I will transfer the waters from a mix of juice and plastic water bottles into the set of clear glass ones.
Is this residency achieving what I set out to do? Has the structure of taking a day a week to work in a studio helped? Have the exercises opened a way to focus and let new ideas rise up? It is hard to assess this clearly. But I have been making some work. It will be useful to see and hear responses from people on the Open Days next week, Thursday 30 June 5-7 and Saturday 2 July 12 -3 – more info on www.rozcran.co.uk
Back to work now.
On the home run now. Much to do. But the workmen are in the studio installing a new boiler. Have to postpone my day. But I am able to try out the data projector and test my slide.
EXERCISE: Will draw my ten leaves at home.
I have collected all my waters and am struggling with a map to mark the gathering places.
THINGS TO DO: buy pots of paint, plan stencils, put up shelves, put slide on powerpoint, draw leaves, send out flyer for the Open Times (Thursday 30 June 5-7pm and Saturday 2 July 12-3pm) etc. etc. etc.
READING: from HOW TO BE AN ARTIST by Michael Atavar:
Just do one thing today. It doesn’t really matter what it is. Just do it.’
Process is all. It’s the heartbeat of creativity.”
‘You are the source.”
“No artistic activity is wasted, however small or seemingly unseen. Its impact on you is forever, held in the body.”
The reading each week has been steadying, optimistic, realistic. Perhaps reading is enough.
Later I spent some time staring out of the window at the rain and wind blowing the trees, branches swaying, leaves twirling. That too is enough.
Back in the studio after a break, will this give me perspective, renewed vision?
I get some feedback and feel heartened. Think about how to use the space on the Open Day on 2 July.
EXERCISE: Draw ten leaves.
Practise with the video, like the rhythm but not the content.
Get out the lovely letters and try out sizes and chalks. Should I do this direct on the walls? Or on paper? ‘Direct’ is the key word here. Less between us and the world. Closer, raw, touch, crumble, dust, plaster. Move closer, smell it. Listen. Always there is noise from the Trust offices above, feet trampling, people arguing, bangs and bumps of goodness knows. Life going on. Very comforting.
EXERCISE: reading for the day – Art and Fear again:
Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding.
Top marks awarded to self for high levels of uncertainty. Half marks for tolerance of it.