Friday, 26 March 2010

on drawing II

Whilst in psychiatric hospital the chalk line drawings were very much in my mind. I felt an acute absence of connectedness with a former self, that was exceedingly painful.
One needs permission from the self to draw. In the case of the chalk line drawings, that permission was granted instead from Patrick himself, issuing from his childhood need for play; play involving a landscape that would offer him the scope he needed for adventure. I was released from the need to ask for permission from myself. An imperative was at work. I was fortunate indeed in having such a close relationship with him, and in possessing a box of pavement chalks, seemingly designed for our purpose.
Whilst making the rainbow drawings, some dozen years after our drawing game, I was again granted the permission to draw, and as my circumstances were far from easy, to be able to draw was a merciful release. (This is not to say that there was a period of a dozen years in which I was unable to make work, I did make drawings during those years, but the rainbow drawings brought me closest to the experience of mark making with Patrick).
I have again lost a sense of connectedness. With the cessation of the rainbow drawings, and of the volcano drawings, my practice has once more come to a close. I do understand that my experience is not unusual; there are, and have been, many artists who experience a break in their work, a period of sterility, when it seems impossible that one may work again. My own working practice has been subject to these enforced breaks when work is impossible, for as long as I can remember. One strives after the feeling of connectedness, it is as though a vital part of oneself is missing. I cannot yet gain permission to begin drawing again. The thought of following the instruction from Mary Potter, "Draw all the time..." is daunting in the extreme. I take coloured crayons in a fistful and scribble furiously on tissue paper, but there is no answer there.
Perhaps it would be possible to take an object from one's surroundings, something used each day, and make a drawing from that?
The most intimate object I have, at present , is a small porcelain cup, from which I drink coffee every day. It is pink on the outside, and creamy white on the inside, bearing on the inside a delicate painting of a small bouquet of flowers. If I were to follow the words of Mary Potter, I must surely attempt to make a drawing of the cup, in pencil, with care. I hesitate. I am afraid of such a committment. It is easier to write about fear, than it is to attempt a drawing with the possibility of failure.

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