I made some short videos today, of myself, making little books out of post-it notes. The work feels good and also not yet quite right, both at the same time… I’ll share the most succinct, a tiny, quick book about book-binding. This was work of thinking with my hands, feeling my way towards something important.
The videos go together with some other work in progress, which perhaps appropriately, is about unresolved and open pieces of work. For example these groupings which I laid out today :
I have a video to share, which goes along with my drawing of the mountain and one of its thorn trees, a drawing which is now feeling much more possible, and maybe even nearly finished. Here is the video:
In the print workshop today, making screen prints onto large sheets (to cut up and make into artist books…)
Working with my letter to myself about keeping things unresolved.
These pictures were taken today whilst I was laying my work out on a very large table, making some tests towards an ‘installation’ of the work in a loose and open format (for a virtual exhibition).
I still don’t know exactly what a virtual exhibition might really be capable of being, and I must admit to initially feeling underwhelmed at the requirement to prepare work for one. But perhaps that was only fear: the age old trick of not trying difficult things, in order to avoid trying and failing.
So I am come round to it. And in any case, I am blessed to have tech support from some truly capable and generous people. And of course this makes me grateful, makes me want to do all I can to remain open to experimentation, and even to joy – in the face of difficulties, fear, the unknown.
How will I know whether I am succeeding or failing? I guess I may not know until afterwards, or maybe I will never know. And the truth is that questions of connection and engagement are always going to be present, and will apply in all circumstances – its only that they are heightened and brought closer to the surface by my need to figure out what it means to prepare work for a virtual exhibition.
So what am I trying to do here, what to achieve ?
I suppose what I want first of all is to make sure that the work is generous. And I have a growing feeling that there is a value in showing the unresolved, the uncertain, the unfinished. That it is the less ‘proficient’ of the things that I am making from my kitchen table, and my little room in my little house, which may be the most generous of the things I can offer to show to someone right now.
Secondly, my work is a lot to do with attention, connection. Therefore, if the work becomes something to consume with a swipe, a slick shiny grabber of a fraction of another person’s precious second, this will be a contradiction and a tension that may consitute failure in my own terms.
And also, (which seems a bit selfish), I think I will learn a lot along the way, which has got to be a good thing.
Testing concertina and pamphlet book forms today. I wanted to see how the different forms work for these paintings that I’m making. The scrolls are still the most direct, but these have nice rhythm. I pasted card covers on a few concertina books. It changes them so much to cover them, even open like this, turns them into something altogether different.
Testing lots of combinations today – ending the day half way through…
I’ve been working on drawings and paintings today.
These are a group of eight small scrolls I made in watercolour and mixed media, based on my walks at Mynydd Llangyndeyrn:
Today some small experiments – making scroll forms from one of my prints.
By unrolling the taller one, you can read the writing: a paragraph from one of my letters to myself:
Yesterday you wrote about the strangeness, the unfamiliarity of the ordinary. This is a fundamental perception, that we don’t know reality until we go out of ourselves to meet it; we mustn’t assume or pretend knowledge. Reality is brutal, it has hard edges, and we want it tame or knowable, but this is a failure of courage. The roughness of rock, this is part of what the mountain is. These elemental conversations. The spin and orbit of the planet, the depth of time. The seen and the unseen, the ‘tidal conversation’ in us. There is no standing still.[NB, the idea of ‘tidal conversation’ in us refers to David Whyte’s writing, and is from his wonderful book, ‘Consolations’ ]