Sunday, 8 June 2014
I discover, quite by chance, whilst writing a shopping list on a scrap of paper with a dulled, soft pencil, that I am far more comfortable using this blunted instrument than I am with a newly pointed pencil; a discovery that flies in the face of experience and previous preference. The graphite seems to flow more sweetly, the line is thicker and stronger, although still subtle and accurate enough. I find that the sweeping curves I am able to make with this less than needle tipped tool infinitely satisfying and pleasurable, the act of writing more akin to drawing; a distinctly sensuous experience.
I wonder, as one who loves lists, could I perhaps engage upon a series of handwritten lists as drawings? The thought is appealing, and familiar to me; an idea I revisit from time to time, but until now I have not been able to decide on a suitable writing implement, much less the surface upon which to write, having previously written in chalks on the stripped blonde pine of an old dressing table, and the worn receptiveness of a Victorian wooden boarded floor. Perhaps my discovery of the pleasure to be found in writing with a blunt pencil is a guide as to the direction I should follow, especially in the light of my recent abortive attempt to resume the drawing of cloud formations.
I am, however, immediately cast into a flurry of indecision regarding the possible size and shape of the letters, the format of the lists upon the surface of the support, and question deeply my abilities to attain and sustain the freedom with which I wrote texts on dressing table and floor, whilst writing with pencil on paper. I feel my neck and shoulders, my entire torso become rigid with apprehensive tension, my heart begins to race, and my hands dampen with the sweat of fear. I am unconvinced about whether I can justifiably assume the status of visual artist, and my most recent drawing experience has done nothing to disabuse me of my uncertainty.
Feverishly, I comb the internet for examples of lists written by visual artists, and am delighted by John Baldessari and Pablo Picasso, although disheartened when I begin to compare myself with those illustrious others. As before, I should exercise a strict moratorium upon research, if it is to prove not a help, but rather occasions despair.
I must bring myself gently to the point of experimentation; allow myself to blunder, think carefully about how I wish the lists to appear, the scale of the letters, and indeed the size of the paper with relation to the texts, their layout and articulation. I am unsure whether I am equal to the task, not having had a great deal of success in formatting written work when attempting to write essays, for instance, and having a distinct tendency, unless governed by a ruled feint, for my sentences to dip, sag and slant. I have not the eye, or the skills of a graphic designer. I cannot, at present, visualise the texts, although I eagerly nurse the idea like a cherished possession; it has a hold on my imagination, and perhaps will shape my future actions, although it is easier to dream of works to be made, than to undergo the perilous journey of attempting to make them. I am eager for successful arrival; I do not desire the discomfort and possible disappointment of travel.