Hitting the Brakes…

It would be easy to keep steam-rollering ahead. Sometimes it’s more difficult to hit the brakes and take a pause. Pauses can be fraught with danger and confrontation. This year has very much been a case of “keep on drawing, keep on drawing, keep on drawing”. (The last three years perhaps? Who’s counting?) God forbid I should take a pause for thought, examine my thoughts and either be overwhelmed by them, or possibly worse, discover I have none!

I have become scared of the literal. Is this a thing? I escaped the figurative, to the abstract, and yet I’m called to the metaphorical and the symbolic. In amongst my abstract drawings, 2D and 3D, I found myself drawing bees. I wrote a song heaped with metaphor  titled ‘Undertaker Bees’ and since then can’t stop. Swarms of them are beginning to take over my sketch book. They are contained there safely so far… but I can feel them starting to push against me. At the moment I am at the stage where I can’t decide whether to let them out and crawl all over, or to keep them in until I know what they are for. I think they are there… at the moment at least… as a placeholder, like the turning hourglass of the computer screen… waiting… giving me time to think. Filling the pause so I don’t get too scared maybe. Who knows…

I am reluctant… extremely reluctant… to include anything figurative in my large drawings. As soon as I do that all is lost. Especially if I do so before I know what they are for. Because then all I will see is the bee. And then I will get “oh what lovely bees!” the whole damn time. These are not drawings about bees. The bees are separate. I do wonder what they are for though… maybe I should let them out, just do one big drawing with hundreds of bees then leave it at that. Constrained by the edges of just one large piece of paper?

I have learned to trust myself. That somewhere in my brain there is a reason for them. But I don’t trust myself yet to talk to other people about them. If they get out into a gallery I want to know what they are. So that when I do get the “lovely bees!” Comment I can challenge it. 

I have become scared of the pause then? I am industrious, the metaphorical bee, I busy myself in the studio. Time for a bit of an inventory:

I’ve got some drawings I like.

I’ve got some pieces of wire drawings I like.

I’ve got some songs/sounds/lyrics I like.

(by “like” I mean I feel they have some value)

I’ve got a lot more drawings and songs that I don’t like, but they enabled me to find what I did like.

My brain is a little foggy these last few days. I think there’s an element of lockdown fatigue. I grieve for a life not being lived how I wanted it. As I’m sure we all are. I feel unsettled… twitchy… sad… bewildered and a little bit pointless.

I think I’ll draw some more bees until I get over myself and it passes. As I am sure it will.

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