Unlocking from being locked challenges us in many ways but perhaps the most problematic for me is that I have to become time aware again, back in the time-zone and book ahead for anything I want to do. I was already feeling anxious in regards to having to book shopping slots for click and collect groceries in lock-down but booking ahead has gone to new heights as we once more go out into our community. I have always been the sort of person that, generally speaking, was impromptu. If I was by a gallery I might fancy wandering in, if it was a nice day I might think about a drive to the coast and possibly spend a night or two away, just strolling into a hotel or B&B that looked good as I passed. I would pop into a pub, cafe or restaurant as I felt hungry, if I liked the look of it or was enticed by their menu that day and even a trip to visit a heritage house and garden to walk my dog has been reduced to me booking a time slot . Now the impromptu has stopped. I have to follow a pre-booked regime or not engage in many of the things I enjoy doing. I do find myself being a misery thinking is it worth it ? But if you are feeling like me I think we have to shake ourselves out of feeling like that as much as we can. We need to support the places we love otherwise they will vanish and we will bemoan their loss. I can honestly say I am currently pre- booking when I want a Cornish cream tea when I go on holiday in a few weeks. I should add I had booked our holiday pre-virus and am feeling elated that the unlocking means we can go. Of course the sea, which I am desperate to see, has its own timetable and I’ve not moaned about that before.
The images above are some of my current work in progress, today I’ve worked on all 4 of these images, adding another layer. My art is not time dependant as such, I don’t work to commission usually, I don’t do submissions that are time reliant because my art has to mature over a period of time that is without a scale until it is ready. I always think of Howard Hodgkin when I talk about how I paint as I remember seeing a TV programme about him in his studio. He had hundreds of paintings stacked facing the studio wall, so that he couldn’t see them, but he knew them all and where they were located, he would seemingly, in a somewhat impromptu fashion, pick one of them and work on it and then return it to its unfinished position until one day it became finished. I have many paintings on the go at the same time, but I can see mine, they are hanging around me. I have to live with them, the glazes have to dry before the next layer can be added, I have to cogitate, I have to look and then I have to paint a little more or in the case of my new natural materials work I have to add a little more. It makes me realise how I manipulate time to suit my creativity, I work every day all day on a series of projects but I don’t have a fixed point in time in regards to making art. I don’t book creative time slots- I’ve tried but creativity doesn’t seem to work like this for me.
The irony of all this is I am a co-producer of a diary – a time keeper, an organiser but perhaps in this is the answer. The diary, whilst adhering to dates and timings that would be expected and also has days to mark and celebrations to enjoy, it is ultimately trying to encourage people to respond to the seasonal changes as we perceive them and live them and i think this is probably what I do. Going back to the start of this blog I like to react to what I see, feel and experience, whilst I do adhere to time to a point I like the freedom to be released from it. Covid 19 enabled me to live for the most part a life without time but has now jolted me back by having a more extreme version of what we had pre-virus where we have to fix things in time, make a booking and keep a note of it in the diary but in doing so knowing we are helping others. But I can’t help but mourn the loss of spontaneity.