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It has been nearly three weeks since my last blog post… I have tried two or three times to write but nothing has quite hit the spot. The bits I started felt like place holders. Just words with nothing much to say.

This week though, I have been busy with family things. The new baby and his parents came to stay for a few days. Such a glorious distraction from absolutely everything else!

My father was Serbian, and on 14th November every year there is the Slava tradition to uphold. A celebration and thanksgiving for all things family, spreading out across the world to all our cousins, aunts and uncles. That is why my own family were gathered in, and travelled to my older brother who hosts the day, and we take our contributions in a selection of tins and boxes full of baked goods and bottles. As the baby’s first Slava, it felt particularly poignant.

I said these things were a distraction, but of course, now we have scattered again, I see that the occasion was also another opportunity for me to soak up these relationships, feel the love, share the experience of a close and loving family, appreciate it, and consider.

Yesterday as I drove into Birmingham with Helen Garbett to the RBSA’s Members and Associates PV, I talked about all these aspects of my multi-disciplinary practice and how it would be nice to have a short paragraph, a sentence or two that tied everything together. This morning, I realise that I can consider these aspects the family of my practice. I can pull them together for special occasions, they are related, but they also have their own lives to lead. This is a useful analogy, because it stops me worrying about the tying together so much. They don’t need to live in each others pockets. I don’t always have to be drawing songs. I can really push this analogy too… there are aspects I love, but don’t get on with as well as others; there are those I love deeply but definitely don’t see enough of; those I see only through my screen; those I get to hold close; those I know really well; and those I wish I knew better; those I understand; those I don’t.

So today, once my new stock of giant paper arrives, (hurry up FedEx) I shall head into the studio and continue the drawing of the stones I swapped at Kate Murdoch’s 10×10 installation.

I am enjoying the close observational drawing of these natural objects. Following on from the twigs, this seems a natural progression. The childhood nursery rhymes move along from five, six, pick up sticks, to sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. This new focus gives me the opportunity to re-introduce the words back into the family.

This will keep me happy for a while. Practice as Family. I will no doubt talk about it now I’ve hit on it… quite a lot… to get a handle on it. So let that be a warning to those people who usually find themselves on the receiving end of my ramblings… and also a preemptive thank you for joining in the conversation that helps me pull the idea together.