The Practice of the Everyday

In these busy pre-exhibition weeks I have to remind myself that time away from the studio is still time well spent.

I find myself harking back to the time when it actually dawned on me like a really obvious truth… like the four tree trunks that turn out to not be trees but the four legs of a huge monster… my view shifted and I realised that all of the aspects of my life were my practice. I didn’t need to squeeze everything onto the dining table in two hours on a Sunday afternoon. All parts are my practice. I realised this morning I am focussed only on drawing. But actually I could do with stepping out of the studio for the big beast view on life for a while. A deep breath.

I apologise if what I say here becomes a bit unintelligible, but I’m trying to reacquaint myself with the concept. A reminder of who I am.

My practice grows outwards from who I am and so therefore everything around me feeds that, and needs attention.

The factors that made me who I am, in this moment, are directly responsible for my work. These 58 years have fed the work. All of it. Not just the art bits, but the rest of the childhood that wasn’t spent drawing. The woods, the grasses, the fields… the spotty teenager angst… the jobs, college and university, the training, the money and the lack of it. Relationships with my family, friends, boyfriends, then husband, children, home. The teaching I have delivered and received, teachers and students loved and hated. My grey hair and my shape, my politics, my love of cake alongside my giving up of gluten and sugar, my arthritis, and the health of my loved ones. All of this is in my drawing. Love, loss, pain and joy.

All of it.

So I have dragged myself away from a drawing that threatens to suck me in for six hours at a stretch (luxury!)… I look at the green of the July garden, in spectacular full bloom and the slightly overcast sky, and I prepare myself for a Sunday afternoon gig. The anticipation is a thing of joy. I sing my words with my musician friends. The words that came from this life. I have a trepidation about it being a new venue, but it is exciting as well as scary. That fear and excitement is in the drawing too.

I step away from the studio, close the window against forecast rain, unplug everything, lock the door, and drive away.

I move away to feed my soul, ready to give more of it to the paper tomorrow.

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