All I keep thinking about is the soil I am from. The earth and the land that still courses through me. The elements that make up my body and my brain. And how I am inevitably shifting and changing physically as I live, breathe, drink and eat in this new strange land. The seasons are flipped the microorganisms are different. The water tastes and washes differently. The sun hits me differently and all this dust and dirt is filling me.
The memories hurt. The nostalgia burns in my chest and the loneliness of this new uncanny valley country is accumulating on all the surfaces and in every corner. It seems like I should understand it and understand the people. But the mold is different. I have tried scrubbing it away but the dust accumulates faster that I can clean it away.
Every cell will be replaced in time. My bones will be left with holes. My blood will taste different. My brain will still be somewhere in this old place. It will still be functioning on all the old elements, polutants and nutrients that it was built from as it is withereing and not understanding this new reality and this new aging body it finds itself in.
But we had to move. We had to escape so that we can find rest.
The roots and stones, bones and soil we left behind will keep us together. It will bind us. The way it molded our bodies and minds will always leave a trace. The environment imposes it’s will even after we have flown from it.
Will I be able to incorporate this place and become a part of it as I shed all I do not use?
And will I be buried in this soil that my ancestors left centuries ago?
My mind will fade and this body will be left to become a part of this land.
It always seems like things are slipping away. Yet we are left with impressions that – through the years- keep being retraced and overwritten. Sometimes they are carved so deeply and other times it seems like things have been scribbled over so many times that I can’t make out anything at all.
I have tried to find some connection with this new piece. A connection to my grandmother and great-grandmother. I was very close to them and since they are gone now I feel like I am trying to grasp something. It is difficult to let go.
The title of this piece was taken from a line in the song ‘I wear your dress’ by the incredible Anaïs Mitchell. I kept some of my great-gran’s and granny’s dresses. Some part of me feels like I can embody some part of who they were when I wear them. Yet it is so different. And the dresses take my form but the narrative is continued. For a while.
I have tried to observe my own nostalgia and my own memories. I have found that much of what I think I remember is from old photographs. Sometimes I wasn’t even there. I wasn’t there when my granny was sixteen yet I see the pictures and I recognize something so familiar. I think of the stories they told. The places I put myself in my imagination. There is no boundary. And yet all these things we try to hold onto just slip away like water running through fingers. They fade and change and rearrange in my mind and in the stories told. And the narrative continues.
I have just started a Patreon page! And I thought I would share my first post with you. I am still trying to figure out how everything works but it can’t hurt to start spreading the news. Please feel free to go and take a look! I am very pleased with the new direction I am taking my work. I am incorporating many of the styles I have already built on for many years. So: this is from my new post:
Figments of Memory
I have just started a new series of works and this is the first completed painting. It is a mixed media piece that incorporated charcoal, acrylics and soft pastels. It is made on board. The piece has a very interesting texture which is something I would love to explore further in upcoming works.
This new painting is about the remnants that are left in our minds. People we vaguely remember. These moments are often heavily laden with emotion and certain details. Yet the rest is left partial or missing. `And often memories are completely fictitious.
Observation is inherently existential. It is communication about our experience of our existence. I find it impossible to separate the two no matter how mundane an object I choose to paint. The human form is not mundane – especially not to humans- yet it is ordinary. It is something we all possess. And everything about this fact is interesting. This is existing and this is experiencing.
I have been very productive lately. This also means that I haven’t been blogging. I haven’t been doing much besides painting.
Productivity has always been quite a challenge for me. It has taken many years to figure out all the barriers. First I needed to understand what was holding me back from doing the one thing I have always felt was my calling. Why couldn’t I paint when that was all I was thinking about?
I seem to have come across 3 key productivity boosters for myself and hopefully some other people.
1. Be your own best boss.
This may seem obvious but it took me a really long time to understand that when you are self-employed you are your own boss. You are not bossless. What helped me was understanding what kind of boss I would like to work for. I read an article on how to manage my personality type at work. At first I thought: “so glad I am not a manager or an employee! Whew!” Suddenly it all made sense. I was a manager and an employee. And I was being the worst boss possible to and for my personality type (INFP). I was critically breaking down every single thought or attempt I made to create. This was a bad boss – especially for someone like me! This obviously creates a spiral where I would become a worse employee and in turn be a meaner boss. If I had to be anybody else’s boss I would never dream of treating them this way- it is quite unnatural for me to be mean. So I changed my style of managing myself. And voila! I have become a really good employee. I would really recommend finding out how your personality type might influence how you would be best managed.
2. Block off work time without interruptions.
I have managed to put aside a few hours every day where I can work without being interrupted. I need to be completely isolated to be affective.
Even if I feel uninspired I will, at least, sit in my studio. Just being there often gets me working.
3. Have other people handle the the things that you are not good at.
I realised a while back that one of the biggest stumble points for me was trying to do all the different tasks of running my own business. All I really want to do is create things. All the other aspects like selling art, marketing, admin and dealing with people were strangling me so much that I couldn’t make art. They were big stressors that left me paralysed. And then I joined a gallery – Which in itself was a challenge for me – and it changed everything. Now, except for the occasional commission, I only make art.