A painting is the showcase for my quiet observations - the blackbird who hops in my studio every day for his lunch, bulky black and white cows meandering up a green hill , whispering silver birches reaching for a black thundery sky. Waiting and watching for a glimpse of drama .... I can for example enjoy an out of body experience whilst absorbing the visual spectacle of pink lichen growing on an old Scots pine. This ability to hover often spills over into day to day life, making for instance shopping an unfortunately intense experience at times. It's hard to switch off.
It's fascinating to me, but at the same time perfectly understandable, that the best work often emerges after days of mistakes, hair pulling, sometimes tears and endless scrubbing out. It can be torturous and something which is not easily shared, then ... a wee chink of light appears on the canvas as though it had always been there, mischievously holding back the answer . This doesn't just apply to art of course. I learnt that fact when my son tried to master the game of golf.
Although the common theme here is hard work and persistence, one should at times hold back and drift with the tide just to see what washes up - these moments I use as golden opportunities to hook into what really moves me. Poetry is one such thing...
To my lips I raise this greenness,
This viscous vow of leaves,
This vow-violating earth,
Mother to snowdrops, maples, young oaks.
Look at me - I grow stronger, blinder,
Stooping before these submissive roots;
Can my eyes endure the grandeur
of this thunderous grove?
And the voices of the croaking ones,
They all come together, like drops of mercury.
And the twigs become branches,
And the mist becomes make-believe.
Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam