My return from Iona was interesting. After a few days of domestic tasks to catch up with the backlog, I began to think about my work. I even found I dreamt about the making of paintings on Iona and it was a real struggle to adjust to the ordinary demands of daily life. I had a clear awareness that for the life of an artist to be authentic, you have to give it everything. An all or nothing process. Especially for women who are used to the demands of a domestic life, that is very hard. Being on Iona had shone light into my creative process and helped me to understand the level of committment I needed. In a crab like manner, possibly sideways, I am crawling towards a solution but there are not many of us who can throw everything away and just live the passion of a singular life. After remembering how attached Norrie is to his home and a quick appraisal of Scottish property prices, the dream of living in one room with a paintbrush soon appeared improbable but how to hold on to the single-minded committment and focus remains a challenge.
Since then we have had Christmas, New Year and some extraordinary weather, with gales, power cuts, hail storms and snow along with close to three inches of rain in one twenty-four hours. Throughout it all, I have reminded myself that the joy of the waves on Iona was the power of nature and the awareness of the smallness of man. So it is all part of the same subject and now the task is to find a new vehicle to express it.
Live on the west coast of Scotland I may, but such a different sort of landscape than the subject I had found on Iona. Yes, we live by the sea but the waves bear no comparison and without the white sand, the sea is not quite so green. We have hills, lochs, rivers and trees here. Beaches but not the same, with the remains of salmon traps and rocks and pebbles and seaweed. Altogether a different sort of place.
I use my small compact camera to inch towards the research necessary to seek out a new subject. I go for little walks between the squalls and have made a vow to take photographs every day. A scrap book is emerging and along with some internet shopping for new materials and phone conversations with helpful art shops, I am preparing to make new work.
And lastly, I have made a pact with myself to go away, alone, to an isolated place and with a box of paint, cut myself off from daily demands and just work. How many times a year I am not sure but with Norries support I will try for three but it is more likely to be two.