Transformational Landscapes

I’ve finished my Transformational Landscapes sketchbook, a spread from which is featured above. 

I usually blog on a Sunday, but I’m currently experiencing technical issues uploading photos to WordPress, so if you are interested in seeing the book in it’s entirety, please head over to my Instagram feed here. You can also find some of the images on Twitter here, and on my Facebook page here.

Apologies for my technical rubbishness, hopefully normal blogging schedule will resume soon!


Another Circle Closes

It’s that time of year again… I’m working for the last time in the book I have shared over the year with Ben, before I post it back after Christmas. I’m feeling a sense of achievement as I look back over the pages we have shared, and the visual conversation we have had. I have been lucky enough again to share with two talented practitioners who have made me think, and have challenged my own practice.

My experiences on the Artist Teacher scheme have inevitably found their way into my sketchbooks this year, and vice versa, reminding me how different aspects of my practice all inform each other and are influenced by each other. Having the sketchbooks on the go alongside the ATS enables me to put ideas on the backburner and work on something else, or try things out in a different way, allowing me to explore and experiment in different contexts.

I have sent my sketchbook back to Louise for the final time, and I’m excited to see how she responds to my final additions. I have signed up for another year of the Circle, hopefully one sketchbook partnership and one digital partnership; I am already excited about where the experience will take me next.

What does it mean to be me?

So today I have been busy painting and mark-making in my artist books, and listening to a podcast on Radio 4 entitled ‘What does it mean to be me?’.

Yesterday, browsing in the Oxfam bookshop, I found a copy of my first undergraduate philosophy text book, ‘An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis’ by John Hospers. I came home and ordered copies of  Jean Paul Sartre’s Roads to Freedom trilogy. I have been dipping in and out of ‘Western Philosophy: An Anthology’, which arrived from Amazon last week, and I am continuing to read T S Eliot. I seem to have come full circle and be revisiting my undergraduate university education. Strange (or not?) that I didn’t appreciate it at the time, didn’t bother to read too deeply or think too hard; I wanted a lifestyle experience, and now, having had lots of lifestyle experiences, one of which nearly ended in disaster, I am back at the books and on my personal road to freedom.
The artists’ books seem to be a good place to try and explore what I’m trying to say; I’m still feverishly scribbling away in my notebook – ideas, quotes, thoughts, and the intuitive, gestural marks I have made in my hand-made books seem to echo some kind of written script. Interestingly, although I love to write in pencil in my notebook, the writing I did in my artist book felt more comfortable in ink. The use of the dip pen and india ink seemed to mirror the loose, intuitive style of the paint marks I had put down previously, embracing the relinquishing of control. The fragments of ideas, thoughts and quotes sit alongside the fragments of paintings and drawings. 

Fragments, half-forgotten thoughts, ideas, quotes, the fleeting nature of personal experience, personal identity, memory, making thought visible. All (some) of the detruitus which makes up the unique experience of what it means to be me.

Artists’ Books

This week I had a sudden urge to revisit the poetry of T S Eliot, which I first encountered in undergraduate English Literature; I recall feeling baffled by The Wasteland and unable or unwilling to get to grips with its imagery and layered, fragmented meanings. Now, all of a sudden, Eliot’s snapshots of the realities of daily life speak to me; I don’t get the whole picture (am I meant to?), but phrases leap out at me from many of his poems which seem to articulate some of the ideas I’m grappling with and trying to represent in my work – physical presence, process, thinking made visible, fragments, memory. 

I have also been exploring the idea of artists’ books; the versatility of this medium seems to be a fitting way to capture both the fluid nature of what I want to express, and my ongoing obsession with writing by hand. 

I’m still struggling to put into words exactly what is inside my head, and I don’t feel that my writing is doing my ideas much justice at the moment; but I’m hoping you’ll stay with me whilst I try and figure it out.

Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose garden. My words echo 

Thus, in your mind.

From Burnt Norton – first of the Four  Quartets by T S Eliot.