Taking a look back over the past year I can now appreciate it has been quite surreal. Looking back reveals an unfolding of time and emotions one never could have imagined; a period of my life that has been both pleasant and painful, but not for the reasons I would have anticipated, had I the benefit of hindsight.
Whether it is incited by you, or it occurs organically, change is inevitable, and one of the few absolute certainties we have in life. Sometimes the past can hold us back but moving on is a slow and steady process that I have found is best nurtured, rather than rushed.
As mentioned in my recent final reflections on lockdown blog, I have pursued a number of purposeful activities during lockdown, including an experimental project called ‘While the kettle boils’. I enjoyed that project so much that I have recently taken up a new experimental project observing and responding creatively to shadows.
Apparently, Shakespeare wrote King Lear in isolation during the plague, so the precedent has been firmly set for the potential held within purposeful activity during such times.
Having had some time now in isolation to reflect on my daily routine, I realise that although things have changed hugely in the bigger picture, not much has changed in the actual daily rhythm of things in my world. What I really have benefitted from, however, is the time and opportunity to really dwell and consider my choices.
Artists exist primarily in isolation. It is a normal and necessary state in order to focus on creating. Enforced isolation, such as that we have been experiencing over the last few months, however, is quite different as it is not a choice and therefore it feels quite different and we behave differently.
Most definitely, it is the yearning that drives me to practice and create. Quite recently I have become aware however that to create a painting, for me is not a simple or singular act of placing paint on a substrate.
We are told we should never say “I can’t” because we can and will if we practice. More accurately I am now aware as I progress on my personal journey, it should be “I can’t, yet”.
The challenges I face every day as an artist are quite similar to those I have faced all my life, and many are internally based.
Art is not the product of individuals, it is the product of a community. It reflects collective beliefs, values and ideas. My art reflects the collective beliefs of my family and friends and the many people I have met and spent time with along the way, and more recently as I have transitioned from my career as a weaver and linen shop owner to a full-time painter.