These last months, experiential art-making has taken delightful twists and turns. I’ve been ‘mucking’ about with materials—using anything that’s lying around—little canvasses, recycled boxes, matchboxes, anything small and low-cost. Being relaxed but awake to the relationships that emerge, to what presents itself, what is offered when daubing colour here or there, wiping away, leaving some behind— a line here, a shape there and move onto the next surface. I find a lot of pleasure in working this way—a lot of ease and a sense of alertness and attention that it cultivates. The kind of attention that is diffuse, yet on tippy toes and ready to respond. This way of making, ‘according to the law of chance’ (Hans Arp) is pleasurable indeed.
There’s also been more ease because a friend has been coming regularly on a Tuesday morning to share my workshop space. She brings her drawing pad, pencils, eraser and perhaps some small still life. She pursues truthful representation and imbues it with her attention to detail and patient tracing of line, shadow and weight. Whereas I follow the tracks into randomness and flow on effects.
We had studied ceramics together and used to make the long trek to Lismore week after week, year after year in the pursuit of skills and the more elusive goal of finding our voice in that medium. During those drives we had many conversations about the meaning of it all and many laughs at the absurdity of it all. The sublime and the ridiculous going hand in hand. Sometimes we giggled all the way back home, most often from exhaustion, especially after long wood-firings in the Lismore summer heat.
We talk about our present aims while making. We look inside and try to find words for our intentions. These conversations amble here and there while being attentive to what is emerging under our hands.
It works well for me, randomness likes that sort of diversion. Our artistic pursuits and life matters are not separate from each other. They are sweetened by resonant conversations, shared experience and cups of tea with one sugar each and a shared Danish half way through the morning.
We wonder where our pursuits will take us. Making art is not the same as making cups and saucers. Practical things are easy to recognise and to buy and sell. But for now it’s good enough to relish resonance, to discover this zest for randomness , creating images, friendship and companionship on the way.
Our creative mornings in the workshop are about to be interrupted by our respective trips and visits to overseas families. And then we’ll see where the line tracings will go.
May we travel with ease and as another friend wrote: ‘May there be much wonder and awe in the weeks ahead, and the days seeped with a lively curiosity unbound’.