When I first moved to live in the Brecon Beacons one of the first painters I came across was Megan Jones, a passionate painter whose work suggests a deep connection to both the landscape and people who inhabit it. I loved her work even before I met her.
The last time we met we exchanged work. I received an intimate painting of a young woman sewing, Megan had on of my smaller Rare Music paintings. But not only paintings were gifted, plants too. She came to visit us bringing ‘a cutting’ of a rose in full bloom, gathered only that morning and pushed into a pot of coal spoil laden Ystradgynlais soil! I laughed, secretly appalled at the thought that the poor bloom could actually grow. How wrong I was! Ten, fifteen years on we are blessed each year with that wild optimistic gesture with a beautiful rose.
I went to see Megan yesterday, now living in a care home.
I took sweet scented stocks and my sketchbook.
I remembered her wild work and just a for few seconds Megan placed the drawing upright so she could see it.
Artist to artist.
Not everyone can read my figurative drawings indeed, once a 4 year asked my if I could draw ‘properly’ like her Dad.
I draw like myself, often and with constant searching for what is actually in front of me.
At our local dementia drop – in I had an interesting exchange with someone who has Alzeimher’s, a woman who loves to draw. First I asked her if she could read two drawings I had made while sitting in a hospital waiting area before we both went on to draw quite differently.
She described the image content so clearly ” a woman sitting heavily on a chair, resting one arm, with her back to us’ and ‘a man with unusually wild hair’.
I know these scanned drawings are feint but that is a lot of information in a a few pencil marks!
What language do you speak?
What languages do you know?
Another version of drawing together, this time literally. This piece was made by 15 people with a whole range of cognitive skill. For me it is about the unerring truth in the lines we draw and how they have the capacity to draw together.
The excitement of the piece lost me several night’s sleep!
Liquid lines on silk: a tribute to my mother and my sister
Chance comments, apparently disassociated, provoke thoughts too fleeting to capture. An essence of something, just as a drawing strives to capture that moment.
Identity too is fragile often morphing from one form to another as are relationships: fluid forms washed around like the drift on a beach by the tides, collected in one place, deposited in another only to be re-located again and again.
But sometimes something essential is revealed, maybe just for a fleeting moment, a reminder of what endures.
Enter a caption
Enduring threads: capacity for friendship
Lots of thoughts.
What is sadness? who is feeling sorry for who?
Why do we want to get to Mars? where will we find language to communicate when we struggle here on Earth?
What happens when we drop into a mark, let go the inhibitions allow curiosity?
So today I started to explore the cut out drawings I made on my first visit to the brain bank in Salford.
I set out with some idea of how I might approach printing images, using stencils and ghost prints. What I forgot was that firstly I always struggle with the mirror image aspect of most print making but add to it the cut out of the stencil: the seduction of both positive and negative and then the materials interacting with each other.
The images are not dry to scan here but they showed me something unexpected, playful and at the same time something that may have already been there, like the figure inside the block of marble.
And I was using my brain.