Friday, 26 December 2008

My last ditch

In the first light of morning, just enough light to see these words run onto the page through the oddly dark shadow cast by my hand over each word at the place it emerges. I think I can write in the dark after all these years, but it still feels a bit out of control.

In an effort to trick myself into doing more artwork than is normally possible to fit into my days and my tiny home, I often try out new ideas. This year, it has been to draw in a sketchbook in the dark, just before I fall to sleep. I'm sure it's no new idea. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who misses the moment by promptly falling asleep too soon. It's been fascinating to hear the feverish complaints of inner control demanding to see the results! Anyway, the sketches are certainly different to what I would normally shape when I can see. Some are beautiful, and not surprisingly, most are just weird! 

My newest trial, not held in the hours of darkness, is to draw with the opposite hand to normal. To say dominant hand doesn't quite hold for me, as I am naturally left handed, but write with my right hand. Anyway, I give the charcoal or pastel to my left hand and away it goes, no encouragement needed, out into the wilderness of an open page without hesitation or a glance back. It seems to run with the freedom I desire and it produces sketches that always surprise me. 

Anyway, it is a new venture, easy to do, and something that makes me incredibly content. 

One of my happiest times ever, was up high on the Lancashire moors, in an August gale, wearing every item of clothing I had with me, wrestling with a wonderful handmade piece of A1 rag paper that I imprisoned beneath rocks. I was up there with a group of artists who huddled behind walls like moaning grumbling sheep. I spent the day in a ditch, so warm out of the wind in such a painting frenzy that they didn't see me until it was time to go home. I felt tearful at the thought of that day being over. 

That kind of freedom is quite hard to match when you are worried about getting ink on the sheets or paint on the carpet. However, like in most recent years, it is going to be part of my New Year resolution, but this year, I think I might actually get paint on my hands more often.