Thursday night – Byard Art solo show private view in Cambridge and the fantastic Pint Shop, Friday night – negotiate tall corridors of dark container streets to the red lit gin bar serving buckets of lethal ice in Barcelona.
Seven days – a sociable time with girlfriends, spent talking, my head filled with chat and restaurants and drinking and tapas and leisure and hangovers and late nights and fireworks, the thrill of being back that made me smile without realising, swimming in the sea, the towns freedom and the weird familiarity of it, then a promise of returning to sobriety brought thursday’s welcome home beers with Graham and then friday’s private view and roof top terrace of really many too many caves till really very too close to dawn.
All this has left me blank, open, like a clean fresh page.
I left as a vessel of anxiety and return empty.
As a workaholic I don’t need these times, they are interrupting, take too long to get over, disrupt the flow. Other peoples talk fills the precious space in your brain you need for work. Work is everything so you bare the loneliness because it enables you to think, to work.
But time with friends unravels you.
The twisted knot of excitement caused by solo shows, orders, demands and deadlines. It dissipates. I am now blank but the blankness enables the important things to come in clean and clear. Only now in the quite of these hills I can see it was a good thing. The valley is still, the sun is warm for nearly october, only the occasional clatter of leaves dropping through trees gives a hint of the time of year.
Prompted by an article about Howard Hodgkin I think of paint and colour. Like a conversation that has, through the years, been getting louder, so painting is the thing that bounces in first to the flat open space of a rested mind.
I yearn for painting, it’s like somethings lost. I can not be so dramatic to say it can equal the pain of childlessness but I have no other context in which to put it. I don’t think it can be pain I feel when I look at colour but it feels similar.
I sit in the hills and stare at the magic of the olchon valley to my right, a blue light rests in its belly. In front, the Black Hill creates our valley so I feel at the edge of a basin, the light moves across this space so drastically that it could be a different painting every five minutes.
All I can do is sit and stare and yearn. When I turn my eyes to write I can still see the valley as the birds map out the contours with their chatter. Sheep and geese are white dots in the green, ridiculously I envy them, as all they will know is this valley.
I yearn because we will have to leave here before too long and I yearn because I don’t know what to do with all that beauty. I photograph it endlessly but it is not enough, the photographs are just a cruel tease to what could be.
Its like painting is in the other room, at the moment the door is half agar and there is so much fantastic stuff in this room that I can’t get through to the other.
This beauty, this colour, this thought process has left me exposed and when a butterfly lands on the table open on the Hodgkins article I see it as a sign or cruel but beautiful taunt. It faces me, rests a moment, wings open, reds, oranges and browns and water floods over my vision, its too much.
In far vision red kite is circling looking for supper.
As an artist you need strength. As an artist you need the strength to ignore, close the door on the business to be able to work. But can you close the door on yourself, can I give myself that chance, that 3 months or so just to paint, to not think about anything else, to run around the studio free in colour, the power of colour is frightening.
The language of sculpture developed over 20 years is reassuring, it still excits me but its just the practicalities that are so mind numbingly time sapping. Painting is creative all the time, no repetition, no compromise.
But today I only have today and I write and I think about what can be and as the sun gets lower I take photographs in the vain hope, in the way we make jam, that in mid winter I can open up the jar to the strong taste of late summer.