Visitors and Chronology

Visitors and Chronology

These two things might not at first thought be connected, but I found myself considering both today, tied together…

I have started venturing back into the studio. Not just popping in to pick up/drop off materials, but to stay and work and think. I have missed it so much, that alone time. Isn’t it strange that lockdown has made it impossible for some of us introverts to find our own space and time, while seeing others lonely, and craving what we have?

I’ve been working in my sketch book a lot at home. Trying things out, almost mindless, doodling, when other thoughts crash around demanding attention. When I brought the sketchbooks into the studio (4 x A3 size) I started leafing through them. Some pages caught my attention more than others, and I started to wonder why. But inside the books it is really hard to relate from one page to another, from one book to another… so I started to tear them out.

(I smile to myself as I could list about 4 artists I know who would gasp in horror… back to that later…)

I laid them out first of all on the table, in the order I had torn them out, as if assembling another book. At first, respecting the left to right, top to bottom… until I realised that this drummed-in conformation to the chronological wasn’t what I was seeking, it was what I was trying to get rid of! Why do we do this? Paintings hung in museums in “the right order”… books alphabetical, chronological… cds by surname, then chronological, stock rotation? Some of these obviously useful. Some unnecessary. My books are in colour order…

(I smile to myself as the three librarians I know gasp in horror…)

Then I started to group them by materials… nope.

Then by colour… nope.

Then by the motifs I have repeated… nope.

By shuffling these sketchbook works I realised that there are elements that recur, colour palette is fairly narrow, the lines are similar, but there are subtle differences and break-aways that are interesting and worth pursuing, if I can be reminded of them.

Which brings me to my studio walls.

As I sit at my table the busy-ness of the materials and equipment shelving is behind me.


Directly in front of me the recent works…


and then in the corner a sort of “sale table” a hangover from open studios. It occurred to me that I’m not going to be opening my studio for quite some time to the public, and not even for the casual visitor. This changes everything. Why have I got old drawings on the wall? In the hope of selling? When they are clearly no longer the work I am interested in, so why should anyone else be? I don’t want to talk about that work!


So I took them down.

I have now blutacked up the torn out sketchbook pages. I have not attempted to tidy them up. I may well slot them back in to the sketchbooks at some point. But for the moment I can see them. Jumbled up, for me to look at, out of their chronology, in order to make connections and decisions.

It’s so good to be back. And very good to only be considering myself here.

Kettle’s on.

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