At the start of the residency I had so many plans of what I aimed to accomplish while I was a way; sort my notes/organise my thoughts, learn about colour theory, devised some workshops as well as have a new body of work. I soon realised this was a bit/very unrealistic.
It wasn’t until end of my last week, I had gathered my thoughts, worked through some blocks and finally had an idea of what I wanted to do or where my work was going, something I am continuing now.
Daily meditation drawings
Initially I wanted to do daily meditations drawings while I was a way, (developing this further was another thing from my long to do list ), but I soon realised I was just doing them for the sake of it, they had become an obligation and I was no longer getting from them what I was.
I found that my drawings were developing, they were turning into drawings with words, pure, raw, uncensored expression which is something that I’m exploring in morning pages and with my face drawings so I decided to concentrate on them.
“Morning pages” are from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist Way, they are stream of consciousness writings devised to unblock and create awareness. I’ve been doing these almost daily for the past five years, it has helped me enormously, influencing and becoming a major part of my work.
It is the stream of consciousness writings, the expressions are the starting point of my work, going from thinking habits, to being present to consciousness.
The morning pages while I was away helped me to explore my time at the residency and my work, I came to the realisation that I need to be present in my work and let it naturally evolve, one small conscious step at a time, rather than having my work figured out before it had begun.
Readings and quotes
The residency helped me to sort out my thoughts. As I have said a many of times, my work looks at balancing visual, holistic thoughts with verbal, logical thoughts. For me reading is a big part of my process and helps me to satisfy the verbal logical side of my mind, as reading helps me to understand, explain and develop my work, just like my morning pages and these blog posts do.
For the past two years I’ve been almost obsessively collecting quotes from the books I’ve read. I collect the quote and categorise them into topics or how it fit in with my work. I’ll admit it, this got out of hand a bit and became almost like a compulsion, (especially seeing them all laid out) and at times I felt like I should throw them recycling bin but now I’m glad I didn’t. There will be easier working method but structures and logical think is not my strong point.
I decided on the residency that I would go through and organise these quotes. There were so many because I had so many different ideas and avenues I wanted explore, I was collecting pieces to a puzzle. It was only through doing the work and once I collected all the pieces I could begin to understand how they all fitted together. In doing so I chose the quotes that now relates to my work and in doing so dramatically reduced the number of quotes, with most ending up on the fire.
I’m still at the early stages of piecing all the notes and quotes together but now I’m finding ways to explain what my work is about.
I decided to focus on observational drawing while I was away. I’m interested in how this type of drawing can teach you to see/focus and lead to different ways of thinking.
I’m interested in drawing faces (it’s a subject I keep returning to), I think this is because I look at people as I were to draw them, it grounds me in the moment and allows me to focus on the interaction. I decided to draw my face because that was what as available at the time and I prefer drawing from life than a photo.
I did not want it to be an illustration of a face but to be an expression, have feelings. I am not talking about the expression of the sitter but the drawer’s feelings, the sensations that arise through the act of focused looking and drawing. I realised It isn’t about having a style or designing but a person’s own unique expression which naturally arises through the act of drawing and looking, this helps in creating their own visual language. I’ve also learnt the importance of using the right medium for the right job.
With my reading and notes I have been exploring the two different ways of seeing, one with lines/edges which is associated with drawing and the other masses/tones which is associated with painting and colour.
I’ve been trying to draw masses/colours with mediums and process’s that is best suited to lines, which made the job harder for my self and resulted in the colours looking muddy, not the most successful expression. It would have been more successful to use paints or other mediums that allow me to capture masses of pure colour but my own lack of self-belief held me back, thinking I do not know how to paint or mix colours when I do and what I do not know I can learn, I just need to believe in myself and have patience, to see then allow my own expression to come through.
Now I’m going to learn to express myself both linearly and in masses/colours using the best medium for the job, exploring the mediums tactile properties, to have a full visual langue at the disposal of my expression; to draw, feel, let go, have no preconceptions and capture what I see.