It has been a long time. I have been a long time away. Since my last entry I have left a grasping, claustrophobic yet sun-soaked society to find home and hope in a landscape that has reclaimed my childish soul from the sea of maturity in which it drowned a long time ago. I left my creative refuge where the sun burned my neck through the glass as I painted, to arrive in a flat land where the sun is elusive and shines only with a pale, cold light. Yet it warms me.
In a small, low house, canvases and drawings now rest uneasily against walls and cover fireplaces where they resist the chill that enters while we sleep. The smell of oil paint does not pervade and pens rest in the mugs that are never drunk from, but which hold my potential and rebuke me with their very presence on the desk that had, in the sunshine, been my palette.
But there have been plants! For a while have I lost myself willingly in a forest of aching aspiration that I had planted many years ago but only now revisited. Growth and new life have screamed at me from the floors of vast greenhouses as I have picked my way carefully through the species, learning, choosing and finally selling the finest examples to people who talk to me in the language the child in me remembers. The world of academia became an illusion of Butler’s Erewhon, and creativity metamorphosed into an idea of design as I pushed deeper and further into the forest so that I could not hear the call of the past.
But abandoning a painful nightmare is only achieved by waking up…the cold woke me and the forest began to thin as I moved on.
Soon I came to a plateau where I could see more clearly what could and could not be. Rain soaked and frozen to the bone in unrelenting repetition I weathered the death of 2010 and the birth of 2011, mourning for delicate leaves and stems that gave up the fight for survival. But the sacrifice was never enough; it was betrayed by the very part of me that these vegetative forms had allowed me to revisit and comfort. I began to draw again beyond design, to write, to imagine and to nurture concepts over plants in the rich loamy soil that covers the flatlands, sticks to my boots, and resonates with the sound of the sea. Creativity refuses to be buried….Sometimes I Bleed (May 2011) Journal for War and Cultural Studies, Intellect Journals , Narrating the Catastrophe: an artist’s dialogue with Deleuze and Ricoeur (2011) Intellect Books, Drawing Out Deleuze (2011) Tracey Project Space, Tracey Drawing research: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/ac/tracey/…it grows and thrives in the soil that gave it life.
Now I move again. I will leave the flat, vast landscape where water is pumped through to the sea twice every day and go to a new country, Wales, a country that historian Kenneth Morgan described as a ‘relatively placid, self-confident, and successful nation. I too am now confident. My soul, like Wales, now speaks with a language that I recognise as my own.
In this language I continue ….