Rules…yes/no…

I’ve become obsessed with the humble twig.

So far, about a hundred humble twigs. Picked up from wherever they fell, in the park or on my way to and from the park.

I have an A3 sketchbook I am slowly filling. On average around six twigs per page. Drawn with ink. With fine line technical ink pens. Just black on white. The more I do the better they are! The sheer quantity of them a thing in itself. Like drawers of specimens.

Of course every one is different because they’ve come from different branches, different trees, they’re different sizes and shapes. To me, as I draw them, it’s like they have different personalities. Ridiculous I know, but there it is. I know I’m going to fill the sketchbook, all fifty pages. And then I will probably stop and do something different. This book has a hard black cover and crisp white pages with fine black lines. I can’t contaminate that by using colour or charcoal or pencils.

I’m driven by the self-imposed rules.

But yesterday, before leaving the studio, for the first time for ages, I unrolled some of the bockingford watercolour paper and sliced off three pieces. I mixed up some Payne’s grey wash, some yellow ochre, my old favourite combination. I sprayed the water to  relax the rolls, and got out my biggest brush and painted on some branches, and sprinkled on some salt. Then I walked out of the door and left it to do its thing. I don’t know what it will look like when I go back. I already know I’ve painted the wrong thing. The marks I’ve made aren’t twiggy enough. But I’m hoping the ink I use on top will change that. 

It feels really good to do whatever I please.

Which brings me to the next thing….

As a freelance, self employed artist, there is often the temptation to say yes to things, because they have funding attached. A couple of things have arisen recently. One I said no to, one I said yes to. I’m already regretting the yes. So I’ve decided to pull back from it slightly, and not do quite as much of it as originally proposed. I don’t need the money at the moment, and I have other things I’d rather spend my time pursuing.

It is a luxury to be able to pursue the things I want to do, with interesting people in interesting places. Try things I’ve not done before… in the post-project slump, this is what is exciting me! To do things that are easy, just for the cash is not going to get me anywhere really.

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