It is of no use to compare oneself with the giants of visual art, or literature or, for that matter, one's parents, peers and siblings. To do so invites despair at one's shortcomings. I shall never be able to paint like J M W Turner, draw like Louise Bourgouise or Vija Celmins, still less write like Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf or WG Sebald. Neither shall I ever be as selfless as my father, as sensitively imaginative as my mother, nor as intelligent and articulate as my sisters.
However, I am beginning to recognise my own voice now, in the words that I commit to paper or screen; a modest, rather homely voice, narrow in compass, devoted to the personal, not given to brilliance or greatness, nor yet to exquisite lyricism, but possessed, at times, of a distinctively succinct turn of phrase. I would that I were, in the words of William Styron,"splendidly creative", but have come to understand that I shall never be described in those terms, I simply do not possess that level of ability, nor shall I ever, which realisation causes me considerable pain.
As far as drawing is concerned, I have yet to establish a consistent self. Over the last nine years I have produced two distinct bodies of drawings, that of the cloud formation drawings, and the later drawings of tree, mountain and rainbow, which I group together because they sprang from the same imperative, and marked a departure from the drawings of clouds. I find it difficult to reconcile the two, and, for the present, impossible to move forward from the latter group; I find too, that I do need after all, to travel backwards in order to rediscover the forward path.
At present, although I had forsworn to indulge my habit of removing early drawings from the boxes in which they are stored in order to look upon them, I have extricated a drawing of a cloud formation made in 2004, one of my earliest drawings of clouds, and at present the drawing lies on the floor of the back bedroom, where I can study it daily. Instead of becoming mired in fruitless retrospection, I find the exercise helpful; it can be useful and instructive to engage thus with an earlier work. It is reassuring, affirms that which I am unable to affirm myself; I could draw, and perhaps I shall be able to again.
The drawing is by no means equal in execution, concept or stature to a work by the consummate painters of clouds written of in a previous post, but it is quietly proficient; I feel no shame on regarding it, have no desire to destroy it, rather I seek to absorb the lessons it offers in the hope that I may be able to approach the making of cloud formation drawings once more.