Friday, 26 August 2011

I've set a date for my small exhibition. It will begin on Monday 21 November and end on Saturday 10th December 2011. As the exhibition will be in 2 glass cases on the first floor of the library, I'm hoping to use the split in order to theme my exhibition around firstly current work, and secondly, as a kind of retrospective of how my pen and ink work has developed over the past 10 years. Looking back at my older pieces now I had forgotten how small I began back in 2000, when my work was then mainly done in A5 sketchbooks. They seemed to take forever to do, and the nibs I used were the finest kind, I didn't begin to use a variety of nibs until 2005 when I began to experiment with larger pieces.

Those early drawings, like this exhibition, were exercises in self-confidence building. I find that confidence is like the weather; changeable and subject to uncontrollable circumstances. The mind, like meteorological forces, is unpredictable and sensitive.

Meanwhile the rain beats desultory time on our neighbour’s conservatory. My bookmark marches in sad fascination through Douglas Botting's biography of Gavin Maxwell. It's a strange biography - both sympathetic, admiring, and at the same time it never flinches from baring the man warts and all. I'm three quarter's through it, hooked. I know it ends badly, but I can't stop reading.

Monday, 22 August 2011


I'm planning a small exhibition of my artwork at the library where I work. The library is a Carnegie library, a beautiful building with a particularly striking entrance hall where a marble staircase spirals gracefully up to the first floor and the imposing double glass cases which people can hire (for free). I've seen all kinds of things exhibited here, from displays of local artists' work and photography groups, to origami and collectable cigarette cards.

I can never resist looking up every time I climb the stairs to the first floor, because the domed ceiling with its round skylight is wonderful. Wolverhampton Central library is a gem of a building.

Anyway, I'm hopefully putting together a small exhibition of my artwork in these cases, later this year all being well, when the extensive work that's been going on at the library since last November is finally completed. I've begun by planning out the space, as I hope to present my pieces mounted but not framed. I've begun doing this by measuring out with string an equivalent space to the glass cases in the back garden, then laying out sheets of paper cut roughly to the size of my drawings within them.

I know this looks eccentric, but it helps me work out whether I've got enough pieces to fill the cases. The left hand case is going to be my most recent work, basically themed around my most recent exploration of a motif - trees. The right hand case is older work, with exception of the furthest right hand piece, which will be my as yet unfinished drawing Frou Frou. The older work pretty much represents the last 10 years of my visual artwork. I will exhibit the smallest pieces, which were the first drawings I made when I began to practice my visual art again, about 10 years ago now.

I'm hoping to approach this small thing as profesionally as possible. Hope nothing goes wrong. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Bright Water

I have developed a very strange twitch in my right eye, I've had it since last Thursday. Probably I'm just a bit tired at the moment, but it's uncomfortable.

So today, apart from continuing with the home repairs that have gobbled up the last few weeks of my life (it feels like forever) I have been dashing into the garden between showers to sit in the warm and windy outdoors reading a biography of Gavin Maxwell I borrowed from the library, which is totally fascinating.

It's a sign that I've managed to find a little bit of space this week, that ideas have started to bubble up again. But they are frenzied kind of ideas, so many of them, so various, that I become paralized by choice. So while I'm happy that my creativity hasn't died totally, I am uncomfortable as I usually am when the dearth becomes a kind of creative death as I am plunged into a frustrated impasse.

I've managed to do about half an hour's work on my drawing. This is the first time I've touched it since my last blog entry on the subject. I'm struggling with enthusiasm for it, but I must finish it over the next few weeks, I can't give in to the impulse to let another thing go.

Googling Gavin Maxwell I found this lovely blog. Wish I could take it outside with me to read, or to work, where I will be tommorow, for my brief commute. It makes me yearn to be in Scotland again. Really does.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

In the pink

The last few weeks I've been mostly in our verandah, fixing the aging masonry (with the help of the neighbours, who pointed up their side of our old verandah wall)...

...painting, filling, fixing, more painting and tending our garden (Mom tends her plants, and I mine)...

(Mom also trims the hedge, and cuts the lawn, and everything else)

...I love the view from the newly painted verandah...

...and I love the accidental harmony of pinks, it's quite by chance that every plant I've bought or grown this year (except for the sunflowers) have hovered around the pinkish purplish, reddish end of the spectrum.

I've done no artwork, and am begining to feel a little rough with uncreativity. I never feel well when I don't work, either on my artwork or my writing. Partly to compensate, I've begun building an archive of my poetry on my website, publishing one poem from every year I have written (or I have saved digital versions of my poetry).

I've not polished any poetry for a couple of years, though I've written in small bursts. Small bursts have occured recently, usually when I'm very very tired. Writing in the dark is often the only kind of writing I can do. I don't know why that should be.