Decisions and Diversions

“Sometimes just the act of writing down the problems straightens out your head as to what they really are.”

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Chapter 9

I have decided to make writing a regular and more integral part of my practice. I am quite a compulsive longhand writer anyway; I find the repetitive rhythm of writing by hand soothing and almost hypnotic, and it is an activity which helps me to slip into a state of ‘flow’ easily, like doodling. I am also irresistibly drawn to the shapes made by words, fonts and handwriting, and I am a compulsive list-maker, sometimes writing, re-writing, editing and copying several times over.

Today I started my day by drinking a bottle of water and sitting in the quiet early morning writing in my notebook; it was quite intense. I sometimes experience what I call ‘sensory overload’, when everything seems magnified; often I experience stronger visual contrast between light and dark, and background noises come forward and I can almost hear the surrounding silence. I am trying to be more present in the moment, limiting time spent on social media and computers and connecting with my surroundings more deeply. I am becoming more interested in background noise, the noises we don’t usually notice like the noise of the pencil on the paper, our footsteps, distant traffic. I think this somehow ties in with my interest in discarded, forgotten objects, disused spaces, graffitti, urban decay.

I am trying new things within my own artistic practice, exploring new avenues, using different materials, moving out of my sketchbook. I found some old offcuts of wood on my allotment a few weeks ago; yesterday I brushed them down, painted them (not too carefully) and photographed them against a coloured background. I enjoy manipulating my images with photo editing software; it fascinates me that one image has infinite variations.

Today I have continued with my large-scale, gestural paintings. These are changing and evolving, too; I am using layers of paint and pastel, adding and rubbing back, using my non-dominant hand to make the outcome more unpredictable, enjoying relinquishing control. I have been photographing my paintings in parts and editing the images to make new ones – almost like shards of a fragmented whole.

Counting my paintings, notebook and photographs, I am making a fair attempt at producing 100 pieces of work before going back to Uni in September.


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