Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“Reading – the best state yet to keep absolute loneliness at bay”. 

William Styron

I must admit I always find books good companions and one of my favourite phrases is that you're never alone when you've got a book.

I think I like that you always feel connected somehow when you have a book alongside you - that you are somehow conversing with somebody by reading an author's words. Your brain is working, trying to understand something, reacting to the rhythms of the wording, the words, the subject,  whilst all of this is happening I think in part, you are almost too busy to feel lonely.

No idea if that is what it really is about; but I certainly find books do keep loneliness at bay. In fact for me they usually offer the opposite of loneliness; a feeling of connectedness and satisfying engagement; and often, of having something to talk about to the next person I talk to!

A grey misty mountain day - perfect for curling up with a good book!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Little bits of this and that

As we re-settle into our lives and days, there are smatterings of art; and moments of smiles and loveliness.

I was overjoyed last Thursday to receive my copy of Bound and Lettered, a fabulous paper arts journal from the US.  I always enjoy reading it and was taken aback when I opened the envelope to find my work featured on the cover.

The article inside is one I wrote about this book - Lost for Words - and how it came about.

The story travels through my grief after my gorgeous mum died and how I lost my words, and found my way back to them. Theses cut outs were the beginning...

And then there were serendipitous moments of shadow magic  - as I went to lock the front door for the night - a gift.

And the beginnings of a commission. So many ways to try and write the words, to convert the meaning and let them shine...

So many drafts...

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Home from the Highlands

We are back from an amazing 4-5 weeks away, staying in the wild, remote and isolated Scottish Highlands.

Barry and I have become third/share partners in a wee cottage on the North Coast of Scotland - way north!

We headed over to re-furbish the cottage - to scrape, patch, paint all the rooms and also furnish it so that we can visit comfortably in the future.  We worked really hard nearly every day, but did manage to find so many moments of beauty.

It was particularly special and magical for us to arrive when snow was everywhere; and to experience a good snow dump. Lucky for us it was big enough to be excellent; but not harsh enough or long enough to cause us much angst. Unlike friends in the US who have had way too much snow this season.

Here are some  images of those moments when you stop and see the beauty in small things; and appreciate magical landscapes.

The cottage itself amongst snow.

The view from upstairs the morning after a reasonable snowfall...the light is so soft and eerily beautiful.

Moon set one morning

The sun trying so hard another morning...

Snow shadows 

Grass seed against snow

Snow flurry at night

Snow build up on the window

Frost on the beach

Rocks within ice


Lovely lichen

Dancing grasses

We had the most wonderful of times - towards the end I was itching to start making again as all the hard work was coming to an end...but that shall be for next time.

Now we are home I have two commissions to do; a workshop prepare for; and a couple of commitments to get moving on so there will be art again soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement.” 

Alice Koller 

I often try to work out if my preference for peace, quiet and solitude is antisocial. It's hard isn't it?

I think at different times solitude has been described as selfish as well and I do have to think long and hard about am I being selfish and antisocial? But I think I come down more on the side of survival. That I need to be alone at times.

I think that being alone well is vital to my health, my head, and my heart. Solitude is so very different to loneliness; almost the antithesis of it in fact as it is often when I feel most at home and a peace.

I love how this quote suggest luxuriating in doings of your own choice; and recognising the completeness of it, rather than the lack of something.

That's not to say I don't enjoy company; and I throughly enjoy quiet, silent companionable company as well! I just find being quiet and alone is so very nurturing.

I also know I need contact and connection for my health, my head and my heart; but I can't do it without those equally important moments of solitude.

The wilds of the Northern Highlands of Scotland...where we've been for 4 weeks or so without television, much mobile phone coverage or internet...remote isolation and solitude...

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Thursday Thoughts...

“We have art in order not to die of the truth.” 

Friedrich Nietzsche

I wonder what this really means and how it fits into our world.  Does it mean that the truth can be so ugly and awful that we need the beauty of art to make life bearable?  Do we use art to mask or camouflage ugliness; in essence to cover it or hide it?

How does art help us not die of the truth. Can the truth really kill us?

Oh my goodness.  This is a tough one to crack and I'm not doing it well at all!

I think maybe art is a reminder. It can act as a reminder of the other side that is possibly equally truthful. One side of truth may be dark; but at the same time art can show a different and/or positive truth. Art can elevate us out of the dark or mundane we places we find ourselves. 

Or at least that is my hope.

Great art elevates us. Like Book From the Sky, Xu Bing, New York 2013.