Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday Thoughts...

I can’t paint, I can’t draw and I can’t weld, but I can see an empty space and I know what to put in it.
Rosalie Gascoigne

It's as simple as that really isn't it?  And she did know what to put in it.

I don't know if all artist types struggle with the "what they can't do" thing or if that is just a female thing or just a Fiona thing.  I often say and then try to retract, "I can't draw". I can actually draw - often detailed and finely, but I don't like to draw, and I don't experience the world in a way where I carry a sketchbook with me and have to get things down with a scribble or a sketch.

I am much more likely to write down a quote or a passage from a book; a phrase or expression which is painfully eloquent or stunningly beautiful.

Its those thoughts and ideas which inspire me - which trigger thoughts and emotions, and which form the basis for my expression. I often have to let go of the negative thoughts about you're not really an artist if you don't draw.

I like that Rosalie worked out what it was she was good at - she knew her inspiration and she did what she did well and left the other stuff to those people who were good at it; really good at it.

I guess there is part of every artist's journey that is finding out about what we are good at; about letting go of preconceptions and expectations and finally understanding the art we make; what we do best and what is unique about us and our view of the world.

I often hear of folk who attend art school with the strong drive or passion to paint - and come out the other end a ceramicist. Or who are fabulous photographers who become silversmiths... and I think its wonderful that exposure to other ways of being in the world clicks with them and helps them find their own true voice.

It's a great journey to be on.

Rosalie Gascoigne, 1994-95, But mostly air...


  1. So many truths in this post, Fiona.
    I so enjoy reading your thoughts; at the end I usually feel as if we just had a good conversation!
    Thank you!

  2. I think you were definitely writing about me, I so feel sometimes that to be an artist you need to draw realistically and i don't really even like that kind of art!!!!!

  3. Add me to those you writing about! Thank you for another insightful post.

  4. I love that quote and your Thursday Thoughts, Fiona. Sometimes we really surprise ourselves with what we can do. I've been carving since I was a pre-teen and I was lucky to have a godfather who cut and sanded my wood, glued the cracks, fixed mistakes etc right up until a few years ago. When he died I realized just how much I depended on him for the rough behind the scenes work. It's not my husbands scene so I had to learn to do all these things myself and when I started making wooden "doors" to carve, it was trial and error, completely on my own... and they aren't half bad if i say so myself. My husband is amazed! Such a good feeling! Each accomplishment feeds the next one.

  5. I think this is all so true-- the artist's journey IS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT what they are good at and letting go of the rest - the preconceptions and expectations others bring.. which set us up for frustration or disappointment- and the journey is never ending.

  6. Fiona,
    You have such a way of putting things that really make me think hard. Always guaranteed to keep me on my 'mental' toes. Thank you! Lesley

  7. Wonderful quote, Fiona! I love the idea of every artist having their own particular empty space to be recognized and filled with exactly what it is they do that no one else does. We waste so much time comparing and competing and worrying whether we measure up, when all we have to do is be ourselves...

  8. Rosalie Gascoigne has always been an inspiration. Her vision was focussed and true to herself. Thanks for reminding me Fiona.

  9. Rosalie is such an inspirational woman and artist, I hadn't seen this piece, thanks for sharing fiona. When I decided to invest in myself to futher my skills with art, I looked into becoming a painter then ended up a ceramist, funny things do happen.

  10. Hi Anna - thanks, and it does feel good when you nod and agree with someone even if they across the oceans!

    Trace - there are so many shared experiences. I know what you mean when you say you don't even like that sort of art!

    Jennifer - so true for many of us I guess; it's always nice to find a sense of commonality of experience with others and discover it's not just us.

    Hi Robyn - thank you. Sometimes we are forced into discovering what we are good at as you say we even surprise ourselves!

    Thanks Donna - yes to discovering your true thing and letting go of preconceptions and expectations and the rest. Its a great place to be when you can accept that; and an ongoing journey with twists and turns...

    Hi Lesley - I liked the idea of your "mental toes"! - and I love it when a thought makes me stop and consider new possibilities, ways or views.

    G/TT - Such a great idea that out there in the world is our own personal empty space just for us to fill with our creations; that no ones does or makes. I agree - so much time wasted comparing.

    Jo - yes, Rosalie is a hero and a strong and clear-minded woman.

    Hi Kim - yes this is another wonderful, peaceful piece and I do think it intriguing that we set out with one thing in mind and discover so much untapped talent and passion in another - good choices btw!

  11. It is a great journey to be on Fiona...what a wonderful post here. So many times I wish I could work in certain other ways, but end up realizing I can stretch certainly, but I must do what I must do! I think that definitions of drawing can be very limiting....I also don't carry a sketchbook, never really make preliminary drawings, but I "see" drawing everywhere I go. I think of drawing as "mark making" have drawing in everything you's everywhere! Cheers and so good to be getting back to my blogs and hearing your voice! P.

  12. Hi Patti- so nice to hear your voice again! Its good to recognise we can stretch; but also good to know we have to be true. I'm very comforted by the fact you don't sketch much and that you see mark making as drawing - now there's a thought I can work with!


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.