I don’t know what it tastes like to you…
I don’t know what it tastes like to you…
In A Level Philosophy 8 years ago, the class was asked to write a paragraph describing a pencil. I got more out of that lesson than I did of two years GCSE English.
I instinctively knew what to write, how to articulate this tube of lead, surrounded by compressed wood that was coated in a film of lacquered paint. I cannot now do justice to the wording that I once used, nor do I need to - the response from my teacher confirmed my growing confidence as a cocky teenage creative.
Of course once again I write this on the bus journey to my sisters.
While passing fields and fields of various shades of green, yellow and brown I automatically switch from town habitant to country girl. I instinctively begin to see through my ‘third eye’ - the best way I can describe not just looking, but seeing. Every single colour jumps out at me, teasing me, while every contrasting texture on the landscape around me chops and changes with each field edge, road and hedge line. And it occurs to me, how many other people can switch into this at their leisure? While these thoughts race around my head, I try to think of an analogy to fit this. When a photographer looks through a camera lens, he focuses on an area of interest, while the surrounding scene lays in a fog of ‘bokeh’. I wonder, if this is how it feels to not actually SEE, but to peer at a minuscule amount of detail, while the world slowly passes in a hazy existence? The third eye that I refer to, is something we all have access to, and it seems that so many are unaware of it. I partly feel saddened for these people, while also feeling liberated and privileged to be so tuned in myself.
Recently I’ve found myself wanting to write about a number of things, and not knowing whether I should; will I offend anyone? Is it appropriate? Where is the fine line between what is and should be kept private and not?
The more I open my eyes, the more I find myself wanting to describe and articulate almost everything, in the same way that I have this impulse to sketch everything.
I no longer hold back on what I should sketch, and feel liberated as a result. Should writing be the same?
I feel the need to describe, every detail that I notice and experience…
… The way my lips instantly warm when yours touch mine, the way your stubble brushes against my chin, like toast being scraped against my skin…
… The way your eyes relax when you look at me, the second before a kiss, the single line upon your forehead when your looking down, and then the small indent between your eyebrows that changes colour with the sun, left untanned and white…
…the way certain parts of your skin feel particularly soft, the indent of the nape of your neck when shaved, the edge of your jaw line as it meets your lobes…
… The way you hold my legs, as your chin rests in that place… Your nostrils blowing hot air onto me…. That first bright eyed smile upon waking, letting me know it’s going to be another amazing day… The tiny flec in your right eye, that sits in a deep pool of burnt sienna… The ever so slight slope of your nose, and the way my fingertip feels when it explores the tiny hairs along your ear lobe…
Giggling… And giggling again… Suddenly the world distorts, brighter, lighter, stretched… Another giggle… “I think it’s working”… The television suddenly makes no sense… Her face brings another eruption of laughter, then reciprocated… Why are her eyes so big? They aren’t her eyes?
An amazing thought! I begin to say out loud, wait, where did it go? My goodness doesn’t his skin feel amazing… More giggles… Another amazing though lost… What’s that sensation? Hunger! Melon… Oh my, the melon. Ice cold and soft on my tongue, filling every inch of my senses… Another giggle, who’s holding the melon? Is that my hand? I’d better have a drink…. But who’s holding the glass??? That’s not my hand… Don’t drop the glass… Another amazing thought!!! My goodness, I can’t seem to let the words escape my mouth… My tongue is alive, and my mouth is numb… More giggles… The drink…. The edges of my tongue are cold, the centre of my tongue, warm and sensual… His skin…. More giggles… More amazing thoughts!! Brush my teeth… The mint! The cold…. Amazing… Bed… Oh my goodness his skin… His lips, the stubble on his face… His shoulders… Tingling…. Am I dreaming? Am I having sex? It feels so good. Relax…. Am I dreaming? Am I having sex?? So relaxed… Why is the bed wet? Did I dream? Was his stubbly face there? So so relaxed… Oh dear I must have wet the bed… Towel!
… Burning plastic… In my mouth! Oh god not a migraine, please no. Ol factory aura you can fuck off. I need to be sick. My heads in the toilet, a brown mess leaves my face, burning plastic exiting my mouth, more, and more. I can’t see… Where are my glasses…. Did I aim properly? Flush. Mouthwash….
… That smile… Burnt sienna eyes, slowly open, the smile fills me as our lips meet. What a night….
I intend to research and discover all types of creative’s; artists, musicians, poets and writers who draw inspiration from being in the moment. I hope that this source of information will help me to understand my own practice and reasoning behind it, thus assisting in development of my work.
Generally what I find most interesting is where the individual seeks and draws inspiration from, thus creating a motive for their outlet. I find myself most fulfilled and inspired by nature, and being in the midst of it, however I find I can only output work when in a social scenario; this intrigues me. I want to discover why this is the way I tick, is this true of any other creative person, if so what can I learn from this?
The continuation of observational drawing, using my sketchbook in situ will then be influenced by my study and may develop or evolve over time. What will not change is my practice of having a sketchbook on my person, with the intention of documenting the moment. What will change is that I will document other creative’s I come into contact with through the means of my blog; my creative peers.
“In all these cases and more the openness and ambiguity of language has offered artists the means to provoke and suggest, urge and instruct, compelling the viewer or rather, the reader to explore realms beyond the physical presence of an object in a gallery.” Tate, 2014.
So much of what I write and say is dependent on context- the context of what is happening in the moment.
Text doesn’t put the art in context, but puts the moment in context, but the art is the moment.
I find this difficult to describe and dictate, because I live in the moment waiting to be captured and capture, I can manipulate the moment by adding text that is not relevant.
The text and the sketch are the moment that I’m living in and experiencing – impossible to capture them in one piece – means its something that’s living, breathing and captures real life moments because it needs to be explained and discussed with the viewer.
Falling in love with the captured moment - documenting each moment that I fall in love with through word or sketch – my muse is the moment. By looking at the work and motives of photographer Henri Cartier Bresson, I hope to develop an understanding of my own motives. “It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head.” Cartier-Bresson, H.
Relationship between images and text - does it matter if the context of the content is the same?
Am I using the text as narrative, instruction or statement? I will research the ‘enigmatic marriage of text and image’. Lubbock, T (2009) in the work of Ed Ruscha to inform my own practice.
Painting the pages based on where I am: In a pub – beer or wine, in a coffee shop, tea or coffee. Why? Does this affect the content – in what way? Is it important? What am I trying to say?
I’d like to begin documenting the contact between viewers and myself during situ – comments made – overheard and direct. Often the fuel for my drawings, I find the reactions and responses of people entertaining and often encouraging.
I intend to create a record of what happens to my sketchbooks on completion, some pages end up being exhibited, some are purchased, I will observe and document. How does the journey of each book make me feel?
Over the past few months, I’ve learnt to say yes to the right people and circumstances and equally no with the rest. Thus, I have experienced some brilliant places and people.
Last week I joined a group of people on a “Poetree” walk in Offton Middle wood. Amongst some that I knew and some that I didn’t, it soon became clear that we were all going to get on, and were all there for the same reason - the connection. After a miles walk along the road and field edges, we finally reached the wood. A woodland verse was handed to me to be read, which I did without question. Not wanting to waste a moment, i fell into the beautiful greenery unfolding before me, it’s roots connecting to mine as I entered. The rush, no words can describe. Filling each of my chakras, first my heart punched with a burst of adrenaline, next my stomach, butterflies slowly waking and spreading their wings, and finally, my head… Filling with every sense running through me, overflowing to the point of dizziness, my arm reaches out to the nearest tree, as I steady myself, and I smile.
On Sunday, by invitation I attended a step dancing entertainment afternoon… I had no idea what I had agreed to, however on arrival it became clear what direction to afternoon would take. A marquee set in the beer garden, we entered the ‘Worlingworth Swan’ for hydration before settling in front of the small stage set up inside the tent. Seeing the wooden beams inside the pub, and the furrowed brows of the flat capped chaps as they detected strangers, I knew I was going to have fun here.
Soon the dancing began, and after a while of studying the faces of those watching, I decided to sit outside to sketch the exterior of the pub. Around me I could feel the eyes piercing into me like lasers from every angle, and I smiled to myself. The performance I was creating intrigued these people more than what was happening inside the marquee, totally absorbed in what I was doing, and yet completely aware of everything happening around me… Of course the first brave enough to “come and have a peep” were a few children, completely in awe of what I was doing. Soon followed a mum, a Spanish woman named Goretti. Full of questions and interest, I explained to her that once sketched, I would paint with Guinness, to create a sepia wash. Often a raised eyebrow returned at this statement, instead I was welcomed with a glowing face of wonder and intrigue. After giving Goretti a card of my details, I continued working on the drawing, feeling content to have connected with another while working.
My favoured place to write, in particular blog posts, is on the bus to my sisters. For one hour and ten minutes, I fill what would be empty travelling time, with thoughts and words. A rural journey between Ipswich and Eye, and Eye and Ipswich. Now on the second part of the journey, I’m on my way home from spending time with my sister, niece and nephew. However today, my sister was also looking after her friends little girl. I can safely say that the past few hours have been the best form of contraception… Listening to this child screech, question, criticise, I did my best to not let this ruin my time with my precious family.
Whenever I venture out to this part of the county, something inside me alters, I feel a longing for the countryside; almost homesick, but in a sentimentally pleasant way.
While typing this on the bus, there are 7 people scattered around me. I have headphones in so to absorb what I am doing. 1 of 3 men behind me is talking particularly loudly to a woman closer to the front of the bus than the back, and is therefore interrupting everybody else on the bus. I wonder what in these peoples minds leads them believe that this is how to behave socially?
For the past 2 weeks I have been thinking about a 500 word essay that I am required to write to mark the beginning of a new module at uni. A “learning agreement”, stating what I intend to do for the next 6 months, the journey I intend to take and how I intend to get there. In the context of this blog, writing comes completely naturally, however when I am told to write something, blank. I’ve scribbled odd notes onto scraps of paper, however I struggle to form these into structured sentences. After 20 years in education you’d think it’d be more natural now?!
Alas, for the rest of this pleasant and oddly intrusive bus journey, I will attempt to write 500 words of what and why.
Since I last wrote on here, I’ve moved house. For the first time in a few years, I’ve started to create a “home”, something I didn’t contemplate myself doing again for a while. I’ve made holes in the walls to hang photographs, paintings and things that have generally taken my fancy over time but have never been formally displayed. I’ve unpacked the majority of my clothes, of course out of habit some bags are still hiding beneath my bed. My kitchen cupboard is full of food, complimenting my equally full fridge. These are such simple things that so many people take for granted, however having felt the need and necessity of living out of a bag for so long, I must say this is quite a novelty. The notion of watching tv on a Friday night - unheard of! I’ve worked in the pub trade since I was 16, and have worked the majority of those Fridays over the years. I’ve had Friday nights free (from work) since I started the Dove in October of last year, however have always managed to fill every spare second of free time. I don’t intend to sit in watching the box on my Friday evenings, however it is a novelty knowing the option is there at my discretion.
2 days ago, I finished my sketchbook; Volume 6 (since completing my BA, June 2012). Each time, I regain the odd familiarity of marginal emptiness - satisfied having completed another book, slightly melancholic having become so attached to said book, and excited about starting the next. Each time, I carry with me a blank sketchbook for 2 or 3 days while i become accustomed to its presence. Of course, the new book is sitting in my bag next to me as I type. On my usual bus journey to visit family, the empty time travelling I once decided to recycle into blogging time. Alas, here we are. I was hoping to begin my first page today, however I appear to be the only person aboard.
The title of this blog post, is a carefully constructed series of words, attempting to describe not only the ways in which I attempt to illustrate faces and people, but how these faces are illustrations in themselves. I’ve wanted to articulate this for a while, and after a conversation with a poet at work, this is what we managed to come up with. It perfectly says everything that a drawing cannot.
June 2014 has thus far proved to be a positive and amazing series of events.
After years of wanting and wishing, I finally ventured to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play the Movie Gala. An experience second to none, I began to well up during the second composition.
Having loved film scores for years, watching my favourite orchestra play in one of the best venues in the world will stick with me forever. I remember the moment I fell in love with classical music - at 15, ‘Stressed’ and unable to sleep, my doctor suggested falling asleep listening to Classic Fm. After doing this for a year, my dad gave me a 40 disc classical collection. The first disc I chose was Ravel. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed on a dusky school night when Bolero began to fill the room… Creeping and crawling into every corner, over every static hair on my arm until my heart was racing in time with the ever climbing crescendo. At that moment, I was in love with the orchestra. Standing in the gallery of the Royal Albert Hall 8 years later, history repeated itself in an epic level of brilliance.
Something that returns to me like a boomerang every so often is a whimsical acknowledgment of the butterfly effects in my life. The tiniest details and decisions made years ago now return to me as a thread of experiences, perhaps not obviously connected until a pinnacle moment. I love joining the dots of events, trying to trace the root, like a tree of memories.
Something that often returns to me is an experience of being 17, working part time in a pub (the first of many) and falling head over heels for a man the same age as my dad. Many roots come from this branch of experience:
—- I am still learning lessons about the way I reacted emotionally, and how this affects my thought process now when in any kind of relationship.
—- This time saw the beginning of my observational sketching. I was sketching in the pub where I was working, sitting alone at a table observing the small crowd at the bar. The chap in the trilby that I had just started to sketch stopped on his way past to the toilet, and peered over my shoulder. Taking an interest and wanting to know more, he gave me his business card. At that moment I was smitten… And naive.
—- I have since acquired a collection of hats, around 12 of which are trilbys.
—- The first time I drank real ale was with the chap in the pub I worked in. Attempting to impress, I kept up with his heavy drinking for an evening, ‘downing’ pint after pint of Adnams Broadside… Later that evening, we staggered ‘back to his place’ where I stopped outside to poetically gaze at the full moon while weeing myself and then projectile vomiting over the path. In the most peculiar way this incident didn’t seem to deter him…
—- I’ve worked in more pubs than I can count of my hands, that sell or specialise In real ales.
—- The pub in which this experience began held open mic nights where the chap in question performed, including versions of The Sick Note by the Dubliners, and Dirty Old Town by the Pogues - that I instantly fell in love with.
—- I downloaded a Pogues Album a few years later, after my Irish interest was awakened.
—- Last Saturday, I stood at the front of a crowd of thousands, to see the Pogues live. My first proper gigging experience, which I am sure will now be an instigator for many more.
I love that through this journey, I have learnt and done so much, and yet it’s just one branch in my tree of life, if we’re to dissect each current experience that I have, I could trace them back to the root. Each and every person could do the same, if this were to be illustrated it would be a most beautiful thing….
Commission: sketching at a wedding for the first time! What an amazing day!
Commission; 3 hours, pen, watercolour and masking fluid.
"Who among us has not dreamt, in moments of ambition, of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical without rhythm or rhyme, supple and staccato enough to adapt to the lyrical stirrings of the soul, the undulations of dreams, and sudden leaps of consciousness".
"Credited with coining the term ‘modernity’ to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that experience". I love the way this is written, it romanticises our duty at artists, in particular those who choose to document and work from life, naming it our ‘responsibility’. "An awareness of individual moral complexity, an interest in vice, and refined sensual and aesthetic pleasures, and the use of urban subject matter, such as the city, the crowd, individual passers-by, all expressed in highly ordered verse, sometimes through a cynical and ironic voice". I couldn’t say this any better myself!
"The poem as a self referential object." In the same way as drawing or sketching is - in a way biographical.
Baudelaire created while under the influence of drink or drugs, whereas I create while observing the drunk - my subjects walk around drugged up on stress and prescription drugs. I wrote this a while back and am trying to understand what I meant, perhaps the way in which the majority of people seem to be in some kind of haze, bordering on day to day by hiding behind materialism and being sucked into the news and media. It’s interesting to sit back and observe this happening, externally.
"Advocacy of modern music and painting"
"In the early 1850’s, Baudelaire struggled with poor health, pressing debts, and irregular literary output. He often moved from one lodging to another to escape creditors. He received many projects that he was unable to complete". Similarly, I struggle to stick to living arrangements, constantly moving around and taking on many commissions, some that I never seem to complete, not for want of trying - time management is a big issue of mine.
"I don’t care a rap about all these imbeciles, and, I know the book, with its virtues and its faults, will make its way in the memory of the lettered public…"
"Baudelaire denounced photography as an art form and advocated for its return to "its real purpose, which is that of being the servant to the sciences and arts". Photography should not, according to Baudelaire, encroach upon "the domain of the impalpable and the imaginary".
"The more a man cultivates the arts, the less randy he becomes. Only the brute is good at coupling, and copulation is the lyricism of the masses. To copulate is to enter into another - and the artist never emerges from himself." I have spoken many a time about artists being unsociable, in the past having tried to organise social events of which no one has made an effort to attend - I’ve come to accept that this is the way creatives work, and sometimes find myself slipping into this way of working.