Halfway Up The Stairs


The domestic situation seems to have settled, the health of my loved one improving daily, and I’ve started to lower myself gradually from DEFCON 5 hyper-vigilance, gently down to something currently wavering between 2 and 3, but much calmer, I’m sure we’ll be back to normal in a week or so.

My thoughts then, have time to wander now, and I look back at this ever-increasing pile of drawings that are filling up the dining room table and spilling onto the floor in the sitting room.

Their starting point, a few months ago possibly… is now not really visible, or perhaps only to me.

They started as often happens with me, with an object, a garment, and a scribbled design in my sketch book. An object was made, and sits now on the coffee table with the needle and thread still in it, waiting for completion… maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t.

The way that I’ve been doing these drawings has taken me right back to being a child, and I believe the circumstances have led to this escapism. In my head I am in that place half way up the stairs, a small, square landing on the turn, sort of out of sight from above and below. Liminal…?

I’ve sat in my armchair, surrounded with a nest of paper, crayons, pencils, sharpeners, rubbish bin full of sharpenings that seems to get kicked over every time I move! It is booby trapped, this fortress, and there’s no room for anyone else but me. It’s not the sofa. I am completely engrossed. When circumstances allow me to spread beyond the A3, I’ll go bigger/smaller, but for now, there will be more. I don’t feel I have exhausted the methodology yet, because occasionally, mutations appear, and a new “set” emerges, related to that. On the landing, aged 8, I used to draw people. thousands of them, all different, clothing, hair, and colour and type, but all in the same stance, the same cartoonish style (also in pencil crayon?) I wish I’d kept some of them. The memory comes back to me now and I wonder if I could draw them again? Endlessly varied, but with enough similarity to hold them together. I’m sure I could get all metaphorical about all of this, but that would spoil the moment, because at the moment, “The Moment” is the important thing.

While M was in hospital I would sit here in the evenings, into the early hours drawing drawing drawing. And I’m still doing it. It is, like the other work, obsessive, continuous, relational. The objects/motifs I draw are related to each other, they communicate, they hold on, they reach out.

They are simultaneously, and by turns, botanical, viral, cellular, spore-like, diseased, pretty, strange, weird, floral, synaptic, nerve-like, pus and blood, animal, fungal, growing, infecting, nasty, macabre, delicate, angry and scared… and I think, rather beautiful.


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