Categories
artists books painting

more mountain scrolls

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:

Categories
artists books photography

mountain scrolls

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’ ]

Categories
artists books video

folding an envelope, thinking things through

(Thanks to Roz Moreton for showing me how to make this a few days ago).

Categories
reflection Uncategorized

on simplicity

What is simplicity? Not something narrowing, or closed. In the context of multiplicity, abundance, a full universe, what do we mean by looking for what is simple, longing for the simple? Is it elegance: like the use of Occam’s razor say – a direct route? Or is it to do with leaving behind that which is not needed, with paring back? Is this what simplicity is?

Thinking about this, feeling uncertain, I took the step of looking up the word in a beloved dictionary of word origins.

The word ‘simple’, it turns out, is not itself without complexity. It comes from root words meaning ‘same’ and ‘fold’ (‘ply’). And the meaning is described in the dictionary as “not multifarious”. Sameness runs through the word then, linking simplicity it to the idea of unity: perhaps we can understand that the underlying meaning of ‘simple’ has to do with unity in multiplicity.

But to me, the loveliness of the word is in the surprise of the element ‘ply’, which the dictionary says comes from the latin ‘plicare’ (or ‘fold’): this is the part of the word that pleases, touches the heart. This is because I feel this word, this folding action, in my hands – and that means that this word carries inside itself a way of thinking with the hands.

Imagine folding clothes or sheets, or a sheet of paper or putting a letter in an envelope.

And then, notice too that the words multiplicity, complicated, and implicated are also built around this word root ‘ply’. How wonderful.

Categories
art artists books

putting things together

I’m now running out of space in my studio for my body – every surface is heaped, including the floor, the chairs, the tables, the shelves, the drawers…

The picture shows the pile on my desk which is touching my left elbow as I write.

It is a few of the things I am putting together in my mind today: I had very many photos printed, glossy ones with twilight views of the mountain, and I want to try and find a way to integrate them into an artists’ book form with my drawings and writing.

So far so good – although really speaking, this is basically a slightly formalised pile. So at this thought there was doubt, and a light despair, and then a good friend of mine suggested that I look at the work of an artist called Helen Carnac, and I found that she has said the following wonderful and enlightening thing in an interview with ‘Norwegian Crafts’, about the work of moving things around, putting things next to one another:

‘I’m interested in combining things, showing how they move or change in relation to each other. In reality, this is a staging of the relations between things. To move things around has almost become a mantra in my artistic practice. This movement also includes me, whenever I leave the studio to participate in various projects.’

Categories
artists books painting

night desk

Just spending a moment tonight looking through what I have made earier today, and wondering where to start next tomorrow. (Answer – one thing at a time, one day at a time, start with colour mixing.)

Aims for tomorrow and the week:

To explore. To step outside of comfortable. To not be precious. To not hold on to things. To step towards my audience. To begin. To carry through. To immerse myself in the work. To enjoy the process.

Categories
artists books painting

two paintings

The windows in my room face west, and today the sun streamed in, just at five o’clock, lighting up the chair where I was propping up some test paintings.

These paintings are done with watercolour, coffee and ink. I like the coffee because it half resists, half mixes with the paints, but its mucky, especially on absorbent paper like this, so I’m not sure what to do about that. I’ll do some colour testing next – to try and refine things.

I am playing in my mind with different book forms, and am thinking of folding the second of these into a concertina folding book to see whether that is a good move.

Categories
artists books drawing

drawing with card

Drawing doesn’t have to be on paper, it can be with paper – or today with card and objects.

I don’t have a clear idea where I am going, but I’m wanting to experiment with some artist-book forms, and so I feel like I need to play with shapes, and to bypass my mind and think some things through with directly with my hands. I’m just making a beginning by playing with offcuts of card on my workbench.

Categories
artists books light

a video fragment

A fragment of another book of the dark (video), made on Mynydd Llangyndeyrn.

There is something that I like very much about this one, it may be that what I like about it is that it is so deeply imperfect, to the point of awkward.

A bitter-sharp wind. My hands clumsy, numb fingers sticking out of fingerless gloves, feet stumbling as I was turning.

[To see the best of this video, it helps if you cut down the relflected light in your room].

Categories
artists books light

book of the dark

what is a book of the dark?
having no idea how to answer this, I have made one
it is a test or a draft
a starting point for myself
something to work from