What a blessed relief it was to submit my PPP and Contextual Study for assessment. The end is in sight and I am now free to focus on the last few paintings, which are in various stages of completion, safe in the knowledge that even if I couldn’t complete them, I have already produced enough work for the exhibition.
Exhaustion and stress do not really explain what has been happening for probably the duration of this journey. Absence or disconnectedness would be a closer description. The process of packing so many new concepts and ideas into a lethargic brain has induced a permanent trance-like state, where the real world is somewhere over there. The next year will be about reestablishing a balance, gardening, walking, even cleaning, inspired by Alison’s project.
This has been an extraordinary journey, not least because it has been all about proving to myself that I can do it, and I have, and every drop of sweat has been so worth it. There were times when I despaired, felt out of my depth, overwhelmed, but as my daughter said, if it were easy everyone would be doing it. Now I can reflect on the distance traveled and the lessons learned.
My voyage of discovery has taken me into the big wide world and deep in the annals of time. I have read dozens of books, some of which I understood, some of which I will return to reread at my leisure, informed by my research. I have discovered the world of art and artists in all its extremities, and learnt that it is OK to challenge and be challenged. I have learnt about pigment, about colour, about visual manipulation, about time and space. I have been awakened to philosophy, to psychology, to Taoism, to the world of possibilities. Most importantly I have learnt that the way I work is not random, but underpinned by robust academic scrutiny. I now have the language to talk confidently about my practice and my work, secure in the knowledge that ‘resemblance’ is just a pleasant human weakness. (Oxlade, 2010, p. 139). My journey has, surprisingly, also brought me back to where I started many years ago, with thin diaphanous washes, the difference is that now my work is underpinned by knowledge and purpose.
Indian Summer, 2005. Watercolour on paper 76 x 56cms
Where now? Chinese, Japanese and South Korean artists and art practice have had a profound effect on my work. Taoist philosophy, meditation, subtlety, calligraphic marks, trace and line will all be explored as I move towards Oxlade’s ‘feelings about form, and space between form and formlessness’ (Oxlade, 2010, p. 151).
High Days, 2017. Watercolour on paper 76 x 56cms
One thing I know for certain is that there is still so much to learn and I will never stop being curious.
1 Oxlade, R, 2010, Art & Instinct, London, Ziggurat Books