Isolated and Connected

Boxing Day is the best!
No prep, no cooking, no housework. Everyone is instructed to help themselves to whatever they want to eat.

My sons are game players so there will be an almost ceremonious clearing of the table to set out boards and cards and pieces. It can get noisy and competitive. There’s new music in the house to be listened to, and possibly films to be watched. But at some point we will all retreat, probably late afternoon, into new books… And there will be silence other than page rustling and tea slurping. This I think is my favourite bit. It might last a couple of hours, we will all five of us be in the same room as each other, but isolated and connected by our reading.

Isolated but connected.

I’m planning to draw. I have been given new crayons in new colours, so I have new combinations and connections to try out.

My eldest son and I had a conversation about my work that was quite philosophical … A late night wandering and wondering about the connectedness of all things:
How one establishes a strong position…
How one establishes other strong positions… Isolated motifs that work…
But then you have to find ways to connect that work…
The connections have to be logical and graceful…

We talked about the connections that work as if they were physical, bodily positions in a dance, or exercise… The transitions between one position and the next should be a smooth movement. The same with a song. The chorus can be very different to the verse, but the transition that takes us from one to the other should “feel right”… And there are many ways to achieve that.

My motifs/objects are neither animal nor vegetable nor mineral, but they are organic. If I veer too close to the vegetable/animal/mineral the drawings are rejected. If they hover between or encompass all, they stay.
In my sketch book I have a selection of new, acceptably ambiguous motifs, waiting to be used. Their positions are strong, but they don’t yet have the right connections. Abortive drawings experiment… And are accepted or rejected depending on the grace of their growth and mutation from what already exists.

There are family relationships and common characteristics.
Some shapes move from one state to another, they ripen… Mature… Mutate… Develop… Reproduce… Decay… Infect… Affect… But each change has a logic to it.

I keep my rejected drawings in one pile. They are more informative than successful compositions. Because if it works, it works. It’s natural and obvious. But the rejects are obviously wrong too…. Showing that shape A could never grow from shape B…. Or maybe it could but not with that connection…

Some examples of rejected connections:

I’ve proved that my trains of thought are complex. This is why I can’t do the inking when tired: all of these decisions about strength, and grace, and the choreography of growth and movement are nuanced and fine.

I am newly fascinated by my process here. My brain, while seemingly on automatic as I watch the pen glide across the paper, is firing on all cylinders…
These are absolutely NOT automatic drawings. These are purposeful abstractions from concept to composition.

The connections considered while I was stitching have been simultaneously simplified, and yet made more complex. This is the right way to go then. Deeper and broader than my needle could get to… At least at the moment….

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One thought on “Isolated and Connected

  1. Following this work and commentary with great interest, especially as I have purposefully withdrawn from 3D and textile work to try to focus on drawing. I’m finding it very difficult to a) get going and b) not self-sabotage when I do finally get to it. Also, unexpectedly, finding working with colour very tricky.

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