Thursday, 21 June 2012


It's the longest day today. I love and hate Summer Solstice. It has the feeling of such perfect languidity but here in this part of the world that seems so fragile and transient. I hate that it will pass so quickly. I hate the promise of night closing in, even though we'll not really notice it for sure until September.

Last night I stood at my back door and bathed in the evening light at 10pm. The sky was heavily clouded and I wondered how much brighter it could have been without them, though it felt fine just as it was. There was a rare quality of absolute stillness at that moment. The humans in our neighbourhood were all inside. Being so very English, they all seem to have their windows closed, even on muggy summers' evenings. Only ours are thrown wide open all day and night this time of year. But I noticed the stillness, as it's so rare around here. No birds or insects twittering and buzzing. It was quite monumental.

I had been extraordinarily tired since about midday yesterday and decided to hit the bed a little earlier than usual. Lying there, the blinds wide open, drifting in and out of sleep. Feeling blissfully happy in the pull of Solstice's gentle pulse.

After reading for a while, I slept soundly for about 45 minutes, then awoke. And could not sleep at all. That was it. Just wide awake. For hours.

It's a mixed blessing. I was awake, and feeling blissful. I love the stillness of the night. But only a few hours earlier I was aching with tiredness so much that I was weepy and emotional. Getting through the day yesterday was like running a marathon for me. And lying there at 1 and 2am you can't help thinking that tomorrow is going to be another day ruined by overwhelming lack of energy. I cannot seem to control or predict these rhythms I experience, no matter what or how I try. My mind works overtime, trying to analyze it all. But I get nowhere.

I am on a super-healthy eating regime, which initially gave me a huge burst of energy, so that I seemed to function almost normally for a few days, and then the fatigue crept back in. Now I'm still enjoying many of the benefits of eating well, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything to improve the chronic fatigue. OK, I'll be more patient. I didn't get to having chronic fatigue overnight. It's going to take a while longer to improve.

There are fat wet drops of rain hanging on the underside of the leaves and bushes in my garden this morning. There was a light mist this morning too. Perhaps the sun will fight it's way through to burn it all off later, but it does not feel so promising today.

Taking a break from the last piece, I like it more now. Though I'm still not sure about what it's called.

I have prepped another canvas with some plaster compound, ready to start something new. It is waiting for me on my desk.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

something for myself

plaster, gouache, ink, gold leaf, paper, thread, gesso, graphite

I can't decide if this is finished quite.
I can't decide whether it's already a step too far
(the graphite handwriting)...
and whether that means I'll need to claw it back
by burying some of what's visible under
more layers of white/colour/paper/ink etc.

It hasn't even told me it's name yet,
which is odd.

The page is from a wonderful little book
that I picked up secondhand ages ago,
called "To Please Myself Again."
That's all I can hear in my head,
when I think about it.
It's taken over.
So this is to please myself.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

finding the space between

Have been away for a week, with Rubin and my parents, staying in an old fishing village in Devon, called Beer. We had a little apartment above a restaurant, which was opposite a wonderful old church.

As I drove up and saw the church there, I was thinking,
"Wouldn't it be funny if it's a church of St. Michael?"
(Michael and Mary seem to follow me.)
Of course, it was Michael.

The streets were steep and winding, but lined with old walls bursting with flowers. Very colourful.

These are all images taken from my bedroom window.

What I love about being away from home is the way it enables me to reconnect with Rubin. A relaxing week, spent enjoying each others company, and removed from the necessary naggings of ordinary school days. It makes me realize that I often forget what a great little person he is. Caught up in the chaos of daily life, I guess.

I took a miniature mobile art kit with me. Some papers and stuff. Some inks, pencils, needles & thread, gesso. And decided to leave all my professional cameras at home. But I never quite got around to doing anything. It seemed more important to prioritize family relations, and my art is something so completely solitary that I just couldn't bear to withdraw and carve out that space for myself.

The nigglings started to rise by about Thursday, and by Friday I felt very out of touch with myself. Quite miserable and unloved. Odd, isn't it? This, or something else, led to a full-scale emotional meltdown yesterday afternoon when I got home. I just could not explain it or put my finger upon. Perhaps it was post-holiday blues, though I don't often get them. I'm usually so glad to be home.

I felt very sad about leaving Devon. Like a spiritual longing. Again, odd. Unsure if that means anything particular.

I noticed that my normal sense of dis-ease about being away from home/in an unfamiliar place was not present at all this week. I can barely remember the last time I travelled and did not have this feeling. It's something I've been putting down to my almost-asperger's-ness for years.

This time it was home that felt like it didn't quite fit, on our return.

Today I've tried to regain my equilibrium by messing with art stuff. I have a little piece on the go that I'm now quite pleased with. I had intended to upload a photograph, but feel I should hold back and let myself decide if it's quite finished. Taking things slowly is important for the way I work. I so often come back to something and notice that it needs a little line there, or a touch of something else here.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

writing it out, from my new workplace

the sun has come out in force, I want to be getting on with stuff, and I'm spending great chunks of time lying on the bed. fatigue too strong to fight, and forcing things only makes me irritable and cranky to be around. don't waste your breath on sympathy, if you should think for a minute you might. i don't like it. thanks all the same. makes me feel like a moping victim. i am not. i am just more recumbent than the average person lately.

took some codeine for aching back and neck, now i'm floaty and sleepy too. i think i can hear a spoon being scraped around a bowl downstairs, which means that gulliver has probably fed our son, so I can stay here a bit longer. i have to write this out because it clogs up in me and i feel guilty. for not being a good mum. for not being a proper artist. how can i be either of these things when i am here on my bed? i do not need more planning sessions or research, i need to do, but i cannot. it makes me cranky. then i'm teetering on the edge of despair.

convinced it's my own fault. that's another trap you can fall into.
perhaps i could have known better, at some point. or made better choices.

whilst i am here, i think about art i could make lying down. this might be a way to solve the disappointment about being so unproductive. all the while, scaling down my ideas. they must be clean and transportable and suitable for working in a reclined position.

a needle and thread.

Friday, 25 May 2012

thoughts on a system upgrade

My work has become jittery and scattered. Or that is how I'm feeling.
One is often a mirror of the other.

I've had a lot of ideas recently. Lots of inspiration, research, noodling things down in notebooks. But then it starts to feel like I'm spreading myself too thin, and nothing is actually being done. My creativity is stretched too far, without the benefit of useful making, which is needed to sustain the cycle.

One of the things about CFS is that someone hits the restart button on your system every 3 to 4 weeks. Once every 3 to 4 weeks, I hit the point of complete exhaustion, and usually have to go to bed for a few days, and do very little for a few more. This is like being reset. All thought processes turn to gibberish in my mind. Thinking actually hurts. If I don't let go, my body forces me to let go.

So I let go.

Then as the fog begins to lift, I wonder where I can pick up again.
What is worth going back to?
What might just be discarded completely?
Where might I start afresh.

This time I've come back to a load of scattered notes, and fragments of ideas, parts of which I've lost in the recent reset. Taking the analogy further, you could say I hadn't saved them properly before the system crashed.
So what to do?

Firstly, I need to improve the system, to guard against this loss of data in future crashes.

Secondly, I'm not sure if there is a second. My brain still hurts.

So, I've decided I need to keep a journal about my developing plans and ideas. A dated, chronological journal. I'm not very good at doing this on paper, in one place, though it might be the best thing to do.

The other option is I could use this blog. It will always be a record, it's always chronological, and it helps me to keep things in one place. Notes from sketchbooks and notebooks can be photographed and scanned in, too.

The thing is, it could make this a very boring, dull space for people stopping by to read.

she wanted the sea to hold her

there's a point with a new blog
when it balances on the
boundary between work
and personal.

there's a point where
the intentions I had in mind
might no longer
be as relevant
as I thought

and new ones could come in.

that's why I'm letting this in now:
being a water-baby.

my son is one
I am one

that's why I don't think we
can ever leave the sea.
I need to be immersed in it
I need to have that feeling
of weightlessness it brings,
to float, and bob
on gentle waves,
as often as I can.

when I'm in my earth-body,
away from the sea,
movement can seem difficult.
Things bear down on me,
feel heavy & burdensome.

In the water, I never feel
like I will drown,
only on land.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

the thread between words and love

today it just came together,
and stitch was added,
and then it was OK:

"the thread between words and love"

final decisions on how to display
are yet to be made.
but then it will be added to
my Etsy shop,
I think.