Working on the cyanotypes today, trying things out and making tests, enjoying a bit of sun on the face.
I have been thinking that I’ll draw the sky. Somehow. Or maybe not draw, but at least work with. Start from a feeling of immersion. My main problem : that drawing immersion in sky is a crazy and difficult job, and I don’t know how.
I made an earth drawing instead today – from a video of the mountain. I’d taken the video last night on the way home, just after what would have been sunset, but since it was a cloudy and gloomy evening there was no colour, little light. The drawing needs more work – for me to approach closer to the feeling of last night, and to the evidence of the video. I need to make it fuzzier, less distinct; have less contrast, less interest, less resemblance.
The video is strange and obscure, technically dreadful. I think that what interests me so much about it is just that, its poor quality. I’ve found the outside boundary of the technology, and then crossed over it. The light levels have gone down beyond my camera’s processing capacity – it’s having a breakdown, it can’t find this in its programming, its changing its mind every half a second – what is air and what is objects, what is the appropriate focal distance, what is the space of the mountain? Things recede and return, in and out of focus, all is flattened and fuzzy. Our eyes break down at that light level too, we can’t trust what we see. But we’re better adapted than our phones – we still perceive and still keep some clarity; still retain something of three-dimensionality, the volume of the space, enough to navigate through it.
To return to my idea of drawing immersion in sky, my drawing is a drawing of a place that, because of its shape, is basically all round sky. So I think I can call it an atomosphere drawing, if not a sky drawing.
a few more small experiments this evening
gusty wind, light rain and a strange glow over the sea
Mynydd Llangyndeyrn, 4 to 4.30pm
last of the sun, bone cold, a few flakes of snow falling
making a few small experiments in framing
This evening much colder.
Up onto Mynydd Llangyndeyrn, following the road to the cattle grids, then crossing the common and climbing up to the right on to the ridge above the standing stone. Walking round to the east.
A hawthorn tree tangled in sky, on the ground low brambles looping and scratching across jeans and boots. Birds passing singly and in small flocks, low, urgent.
Distance disappeared, cloud gradually climbing the dome of the sky from north and west, dim and ominous, bruised and yellow purple, thick with sleety rain. Half a roof covering the high house of the hill. Three quarters now, the lid sliding grey and purple across the moon. Light rain gently falling as we turn back.
Before leaving, letting the silence settle on me, to carry through the evening, back to my other home.
Exploring hope again.
So I am continuing work on my essay, writing about hope in the work of visual artists, but I’m also thinking about hope in my own work. How that might be.
I have started a short writing workshop , and have been introduced to a powerful poem by Denise Levertov, ‘For the New Year, 1981’, starting with the line
‘I have a small grain of hope-‘
The poet also compares hope to a piece from the root of an iris, where she says
‘Please share your fagment
so that yours will grow.
Only so, by division,
will hope increase’
Feeling my way towards the fine-grain texture of things, and the surprise of colour up close, and how that feels like hope.
For example, the flower of gorse in December, how a plant can flare up yellow in the grey-blue dusk light.
bare oak reflected
between sunset and moonrise
in the heart-shaped lake