Wednesday, July 27, 2005

you know all the nice weather we've been having




















Saturday, July 23, 2005

must feed kittens so a quick post

Long but quick at the same time week since my return from London.I have a huge list of things do do and no energy to do them in.

Tidying house for a kitten visitor. Feeding said kittens who have been ill and are on a strict regime which has not gone down well.

Forgive me life seems very at sea. Expanding with possibilities but at the same time taking calls from friends who have spent their evenings helping evacuate tube carriages. Dancing between these two states is exhausting. Time to water plants, hang out washing, centre oneself with the mundane.

Artist Residency

Edinburgh's Embassy Galleryis calling for submissions to its communitti artist in residence programme. More details at their website.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Jeanette Winterson on Frida Kahlo

We are obsessed by celebrity, alive or dead, and our determination to raid the personal lives of those who achieve something affects both men and women alike, but for women there is a special problem. Creative women in all the arts find themselves explained by and reduced to the circumstances of their lives in a way that men are not. It is a fear of genius, of a women’s genius, that no matter what we create, it is ultimately down to autobiography, the world of the very small. A sideways glance at Jane Austen, the Brontes, or Virginia Woolf, will remind you that the connections between their life and work are treated very differently to the connections apparent in the life and work of Wordsworth, Dickens, or DH Lawrence, Men, it is assumed, shape the world, shape taste, shape sensibility. Women are shaped by their circumstances and from that, sometimes, make art.

Kahlo’s intense representation of her own body put her on the side of ‘women’s work’; personal, partial, confessional. Even her re-valuation by feminists in the 1970’s positioned her as an interpreter of private experience. She was speaking to us – to other women, about physical pain, sexual rejection, medical intervention, marginalisation, family life, gynaecology. Her paintings were small in size and carefully defined by their own concerns. Where was the big wide world of her lover Diego Rivera, with his vast political murals?

Full article here.

Waiting for the London train

Sunday, July 17, 2005

London Interlude

Not my normal trip.
On the train down the two minute silence was observed and half an hour before we got into London there was an appeal for anyone with information to go to the police at Kings Cross Station. At Kings Cross as I walked towards the bus stop to Highgate I came across a fenced off area which was being filled with flowers an other tributes, flags from football teams, pieces of paper, a sad one with ‘the killing of innocent people is a sin under Islam’ signed Bengalis from Leeds. There were lots of cameras and photographers milling round.
I was the last person to squeeze onto the 214 bus. Absolutely packed, we passed several busstops without stopping to the fury of the people standing there. Eventually I managed to move a bit further along the bus. As I stood there I thought about the people standing beside me, The man next to me had a staff badge from Moorfields Eye Hospital. I wondered if he was working with the victims of the bombings. Other people I eyed up and wondered if they could be potential bombers.
At Highgate I fled onto Parliament Hill. Stifling hot, the sun beat down. I slapped on sunscreen bought at the Body Shop in Kings Cross. Made phone calls home. Work quiet thank god! And I hadn’t permantly destroyed the excel sheet formulas… kitten feeder left message.. and I called back. I sat and watched life go by. People seemed more normal away from the urban morass of central London. A man with a Glaswegian accent and two young boys came by – they hadn’t picked up their fathers accent and spoke middle class North London. I speculated that the father had come south to further his career and had stayed. Two late teenagers walked by Boy ‘She’s so RICH – it’s great’. Man on mobile phone ‘I’ve got a meeting at the BBC at 12 tomorrow’.
On Friday I too the C2 bus to town. My hostess meanwhile had got her bicycle out of storage, swearing that she might be a genuine cockney but would NOT be going by underground again. About a third of the journey in a Muslim girl I would say late teens sat opposite me with a black scarf around her head. I was intent in looking out of the window – when I looked back over she had taken off the scarf and was busy putting on make up with the aid of a mirror, she then rearranged her hair. By central London she had I felt ‘de-Muslimified’ herself. A group of young Italian teenagers invaded the bus a few stops before I got off. Their teacher an anxious middle aged woman ran beside the bus as she couldn’t get on shouting ‘Pic-a-dilly Pic-a-dilly’ to the students inside. I told S about this later and she said ‘But that bus doesn’t go to Piccadilly. For all I know she’s still probably trying to track down her errant flock.
I worshipped at the sign of Libertys again then walked to Soho to meet my friend B for lunch. Afterwards I went to the Photographers Gallery and the Portrait Gallery. At 5pm I started to walk towards Embankment Underground station to cross the bridge to the South Bank. As I walked down Charing Cross Road two fire engines attempted to get through the traffic and failed. As I got to the narrow street leading towards the station I found it blocked off by police and barriers and was advised to walk along the Strand to get around the diversion. I crossed at the next bridge down and could see as I walked over the large swathe of the Embankment cleared of traffic and the jam of vehicles behind. While I was looking they allowed the free flow of traffic again.
From then on my trip was less eventful though the slowness of the transportation system in London is to been experienced to be believed. 95 mins Highgate to Westminster on Sat morning… I saw the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Tate Modern on Friday night. It was extraordinary to see an exhibition of artworks where the artist has used pain so directly in their creativity. I reminded me about how consciously I have been avoiding this possibility in my own works. People where visibly moved when looking at the works. On Sat I met another friend B to do a walk about Shakespeare. We ended up at the George the only pub owned by the National Trust for England with the nylon 70’s carpet carefully preserved… we then went to the Brough Market to have lunch sitting in Southwark cathedral grounds. After lunch we stood for 2 hours watching The Tempest at the Globe Theatre. Amazing building, wonderful acting but my legs begged for the play to be 45 mins shorter. It was agony.

Now I’m back it feels a bit like a dream.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

checking in

Still here... working like mad, appear to be developing RSI. Interesting that inbetween working at a mad pace I've been able to keep pushing forward my current creative project. One email at a time. One contact at a time. Reading an application guideline or even simply just printing it off. Small steps towards things. Its not even that I'm amazingly gungho about it - often I despair and think 'this sounds like pants who would fund this' but just because you have these kinds of thoughts doesn't mean you can't keep on putting one creative foot in front of another.


Off to London tomorrow. Have a major terrorist incident must travel. Its a family tradition. We took to the skies after Lockerbie and 9/11. I'm going by train and my aim is just to connect in with friends who live in London.

Monday, July 11, 2005

home made lemonade

Its so hot I just made some


Squeeze lemon (s) add water and sugar to taste. Refidgerate

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Danny Gregory on Drawing

Dear H______:
Think less. Draw more.
When you draw a thing, see it just as that. Not a head, not perspective, not crosshatching, just pure observation as if you've never seen it before. The more preconceptions you bring to the drawing, the shittier it will be.

Clear your mind, and start drawing what you see. Start anywhere. I tend to start in the upper left hand corner because I am right handed. I move across observing, recording, until I get to the lower left hand corner. Then I am done.If my subject is sufficiently complex, this will take me a half hour or more. I go as slowly as I can stand to go. But I don't know how long it is usually; my left-brain has no sense of time. As I draw, I avoid evaluation. I avoid thinking of the purpose of the drawing. I avoid commenting on what I am drawing, even in the quality of the line.

I am empty and the drawing fills me up. Drawing is meditation, not production. Drawing is entirely in the present with no attempt to create context.Do not think about style. Add shadows as you see them. But better to avoid shadows all together and stay engaged with the contours of things. When you have done that for months, even years, then add shadows and crosshatching (My pal, d.price has been drawing for a dozen years. Only on his trip to New York last week did he decide to start concentrating on the effects of light. He still almost never uses color). For now, none of that is important.

What matters is to see deeply and let your hand respond.And if you start at huge length before you draw, you risk becoming bored, or forming mental notes, theories, ideas about what you are seeing. The reason to let your hand and pen take over is to shut the hell up, silence the internal voice, the endless chattering of the mind, the distractions, the pointless pontificating that insists on meaning for the meaningless. The moment does not need meaning or context. It just is. Drawing is about reaching for pure being. Not making pretty pictures to put in frames and on websites.

The world doesn't need more pictures. It needs peace and connection. It needs people who can accept reality and don't feel compelled to control their environments.

If you can look at a boot, at a rotting apple, at car's worn tire, at an old man's foot, and see it for what it is, without value or judgement, can see the beauty and particularity of the thing, you will find peace. You will avoid being covetous. You will be happy with what you have. You will accept others more readily, will see the sunshine on a cloudy day.Life is a wonderful business, though fools blow up London tube stations and sell each other crap and waste time with gossip about movie stars.

If you can draw, you will always have a place to go that is beautiful and honest and true. As you sit in an airport you will find pleasure in the folds of a crumpled lunch bag. As you bide your time in a doctor's waiting room, you will find peace in the arrangement of the shadows on the wall. Even without putting ink on paper, you will be able to slip in to Drawing Mind.

The point is not what your lines look like or how accurate your crosshatching might be. The point is not the drawings on the page or the pages in the book. The point is not the opinions of others who love/hate/ignore those lines you made on the page. The point is not the money you make selling your work to galleries or publishers. The point of practicing your craft is not to rise in the rankings of those who draw. It's not to have your style dominate (sorry, Dan!). The point is to more easily gain access to the moment, to the deeper more peaceful recesses of your Self. The point is to live as well and as fully as you can today, right now, whether your pen is in your hand or not.
The point is to See and to Be.
Your pal,

I'm still around

Life has been very disrupted in Edinburgh due to the sporadic demonstrations/bomb scares/security lockdowns. Working beside the Japanese Delegation hotel hasn't helped either!

In between I've been working hard, playing hard and rescueing kittens from toilets. I'm meeting my producer this evening to talk budgets and strategies but first we go and walk on the beach as the weather is so gorgeous. I'm determined to work, be creative, and enjoy my life. Also moved up the agenda is finding more ways of being involved in the work to create political change for the better. Going on the Make Poverty History march on Sat was very life affirming. Whatever the outcome of the G8 I am buoyed up that there are so many people who care and will keep on caring.

Meanwhile the next issue of The Beany is out.

Monday, July 04, 2005

photo friday - used

Win free e-coaching from the Independent

by Fiona Harrold

Did you see me on telly?

I was there

Tired feet from queuing, thirsty, we should have joined the ice cream queue before joining, a little sunburned but a good day.