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So here I am again… I’ve got myself into a groove, literally and figuratively.

Music is important to my practice. I make it, sing it, listen to it, and sometimes very consciously DON’T listen to it.

I had a heavy admin and form filling day yesterday, so today I’m finding some joy.

Started with three times round The Little Unsaid’s ‘Imagined Hymns and Chaingang Mantras’ then on to Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘By The Way’… great stuff… and drawing the grooves the whole time until I get to ‘Don’t Stop’ at which point I always have to stop whatever I’m doing and dance.

“This life is more than ordinary…”

Despite the arthritis, which thankfully today is not too bad, I get up and madly throw myself about the studio. I don’t think anyone else is in the building, so when the track is finished I turn it up and put it on again. And again. And possibly again.

Then it occurs to me that my ability to dance while no one is watching is a rare and wonderful thing, so I attempt to video myself as a reminder that this is what good days look like.

“This life is more than just a read through…”

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8DyziWtkfBw

 

 


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I suppose my work has always had women at its heart… mothers, daughters (I am one, but I haven’t got one), sisters (not that I have one) and so on…

Women as parents, carers, teachers, lovers, as wives, as people whose role as an individual can be subsumed. I have become more actively feminist as I have got older, more aware of unfairness. I don’t know if this is an age thing, a maturity, an ability to step back from it all a little perhaps, seeing the big nasty picture…

But if my work has ever been sexual, it is almost by accident, a sideways glance. And to be frank I have probably avoided it because I don’t know how to have those conversations really …I don’t think…

But, this morning, unexpectedly, my drawing has taken an alarming turn and I am beset by a string of connected vaginas.

This is the drawing I started after the gig on Sunday, that I wrote of in the last post. This drawing had a title before it started. ‘The Grey Women’. It was for them and for me. I lay down some paint yesterday and came back to it today and washed most of it away and gently dried it off. I had been thinking about hair, styled and dyed, and hair left naturally grey. But when I look at the remnants and stains of the lamp black paint, all I see are vaginas.

So I have to go with that don’t I?

I’ll figure out the conversations when they happen.


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Stick with me… there is a point to all this rambling about the olden days… this kind of follows on from the previous post…

I remember a time when I didn’t think I could mix it all up.

And when I look back at that, I am proud of the growth I have made as an artist over the last ten years or so.

The biggest thing, obviously, is confidence. I now have inside me the KNOWLEDGE that in terms of my art practice I can do what I want because it’s MY art practice. I used to worry about what was acceptable, without even knowing who I was wanting to be accepted by.

I can remember thinking I had to be a painter. Thinking that quilts didn’t count. Thinking that I would never/could never do installations. And then when I did that, thinking that I could never do music. That it didn’t count. Then I remember coming to terms with yes, music does count, but only in the gallery as part of the aforementioned installation. Then thinking I’m not a performer. Performance art is something else, it’s not what I do. Then I sing with the band, but that’s not really part of the art is it?

Somewhere along the way, I really can’t pin it down, it being so gradual a process, I learned to trust myself. I learned to trust my thoughts, my processes, my skills: both long established and newly hatched.

Now… I trust that what goes on in my brain isn’t always shown to me consciously until it’s made and done. Sometimes, other people have pointed out to me connections that I hadn’t twigged. The thoughts join up, because they are all mine. And if I am true to my thoughts, those trains of ideas, principles, beliefs… then all will be part of the whole and one area enriches another.

So… I love writing and singing with the band so much it has just become a huge part of my life and my thinking, and I give no thought now to if it’s ‘allowed” or not.

But there it is you see, if you have faith, confidence, self belief, trust, or whatever you want to call it, the meaning arrives later. Make the work, sing the song…

We did a gig this weekend, the standard pub gig, but Sunday afternoon, so perhaps a different crowd to the post 9pm Friday night lot… we did about 6 songs all squished up into the bay window of the crowded pub. It was fun. It didn’t go perfectly, but then it never does! (you learn to trust that too).

Afterwards, as we packed up, and moved through the room, I was approached by four people… all of them women, and three of the four with grey hair, I suspect the fourth was dyed. All of them were so complimentary about the lyrics, my voice, and also the fact that I was up there doing it. One said I was “rocking it for the grey women”.

And there it is. That is my connector. If I had waited for someone else to give me permission, If I hadn’t gained the confidence to just do it, I would never have known the connection to all my other work was so very real.

The cross pollination continues. I have a drawing in my head that I want to do, dedicated to the grey women.


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