Friday, 9 September 2011

stale as an old boot?

I've just had four days away in in Cornwall, which was breathtakingly beautiful. Cliff tops and wind, sun and brooding skies. I don't know about this block thing, but the minute I arrived I was off down to the edge of the cliffs carrying a bag so full of paints I could hardly move. I just sat in the sun, not having a clue what to do (having never painted landscape, or worked outside, except for one brief period in India), and started something. I was a bit literalistic at first, but after only a couple of attempts, I started to see something move.  I only did one or two small things a day, but it was irresistable, natural. The painting here was the last one I did, on day three. It was so windy that the paint was blowing across the page and I had to stop.

Mmmm. Blocks. I feel now that I was just stale, stuck somehow, in a perceptual, non-responsive rut. But what does that mean? At the time, looking for an explanation, you try to push (back to intention again), try to make things happen. You borrow stories from around you, telling yourself that you are 'just making excuses', or 'procrastinating', or that you're overwhelmed with fear. You panic that it's never going to happen again. But I'm starting to think that all this is rubbish, that nothing happens that shouldn't be happening as it is; that it's all part of a process that knows perfectly well what it needs, which is unfolding in its own time.

The last time I went away I came back thinking that I 'needed more stimulation'. As I'd been in London looking at paintings, I thought that I should be doing that up here. But I found that I hated visiting the city and going to galleries up here. It didn't work in the same way. This time, though, I've been away to the source of my work - the land, the sea, the sky - instead of looking other people's products, other people's responses. It's quite different.

7.30 am. Howling wind.

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