Beyond the Realms

Emma wrote this week ‘It seems logical to follow the path that started with breaking our practice down, questioning it on fundamental levels, and then building it back up again.’  This thought follows my every conscious minute and I suspect, my subconscious as well.

When I look at the ‘sixty seconds worth of distance run’, I marvel at the discoveries, the enlightenment, the breadth of knowledge I have acquired in such a short time.  But I am not ready to distill that learning into a single project yet, there is still too much to learn, to explore.  I am still in training for the event, I need another year just to gather my thoughts, the world is moving too quickly, the whisk is still whirring in my brain.  A friend compared my journey to the life cycle of a caterpillar and declared I was at the ‘caterpillar soup’ stage, just before the butterfly emerges to dry her wings.  The process is working, it cannot be hurried by prissing open the pupae.  It has to be worked through to be authentic.

But focus I must for the future is now.

Visiting curator, Harriet Loffler asked us to introduce ourselves and our practice, and the voice in my head was the visitor to our open studio, who unabashedly declared my work to be ‘random’.  I understand what he was alluding to, even if I found his delivery uncompromising.

So unpacking my work, what is going on?

In my life drawing, line and form dominate.  The mark making is thoughtful, empassioned, Bomberg is ever present.


A 10 min charcoal sketch A3

In my chalk work the process is meditative and tactile.  I am exploring my journey through floral images.img_3564

Work in progress 112 x 112cms

My watercolours are challenging me.  I am currently working on canvas to develop my technique on this surface, with a view to producing large scale works.  Again the layering is meditative, progress slow and thoughtful, colour and texture dominate.img_3569Work in progress 100 x 100 cms

For a while I was unable to fathom why I was compelled to paint this image, when at first glance it appears to be ‘just another flower painting’ and I have other, more pressing and relevant work to complete, but I slowing realised it is a response to Yeats’ poem, a gentle reminder, as I fret over where I am going.

The Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W. B. Yeats

I was asked why watercolour?  It has always been about the translucency, the delicacy, the marks no other medium can make, the challenge to push the work beyond conventional boundaries.

Next I will return to my family photos armed with my newly acquired drawing skills.

Working through my blog, I can feel the exploration of my world, who I am, where I have come from, my journey and the distance traveled.  It is a small world, which makes no attempt to tackle political statements, social commentary, injustice or any of the other issues that occupy my thoughts, instead it burrows deep within shedding light into all the nooks and crannies.

To paraphrase Rumi ‘Beyond the realms of right and wrong, there is a garden.  I will meet you there.’




Author: susanmilleruk

Watercolour painter living, working and loving Hastings and St Leonards on Sea. MA in Fine Art.

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