Work can be so confusing. I can spend hours trying to pin down, pull out, work through, and emerge frustrated from one particular focus, only to find that another piece resolves itself in the space of a couple of minutes when I wasn’t even looking. This piece was originally a greyed-out dud of a firework photo, but a sequence of Photoshop steps, including flipping, rotating, levelling and blending seemed to pull something ‘other’ out of the bag. Like it wasn’t even me.
It’s called Cloud because it’s one of 4 square pieces about each of the elements – forthcoming show for those who’ve noticed. This is air in the biblical sense of God’s presence – a transfiguring, divine presence, where mountaintop cloud has something of the celestial and the explosive about it. The ‘not seeing’ in a cloud can paradoxically be about revelation: fullness of space is about fullness of reality. I like that.
I’m also trying to link each of these pieces with T. S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ – they are based on the elements. This is hard going, as Eliot in places is. Watch this space…
Thursday’s being my normal day for a blog post, Friday involves small chunks of work around my little girl. So the nature of working changes when you’re a mum, no big surprises there. But it means you manage your thinking, your handling of ideas, your creating, your breaks with a greater awareness of your limits. You have always had limits, it’s a fallacy to think you didn’t. It’s just that now, they become more closely connected to your available time and energy. It’s another level of self-employment.
I do wonder though, how the mode of efficiency affects a mode that’s more about relating and love. I believe in the second more than I believe in the first – and I don’t mean to suggest that motherhood and work divide solely along those lines. The mode of relating and love is a mode related to spirit, and I believe, is what Jesus modelled throughout his life as not only possible, but somehow truer. This can and should reflect across all dimensions of living, creating a fuller picture than our compartmentalising does. I’m so far from that fuller picture, but next week, when Lent starts, I’m going to try and pay attention (as Aldous Huxley kept saying in ‘Island’) to where that truth can be found in my work life.
I’ll dive into the Bible, looking at the elements of earth, fire, wind and water for my next project. I’ll play and listen to music LOUDLY. I’ll get outside more. You can keep tabs on me if you like…
Content and form are not as romantic as you might think, when getting down to making work about nature. It’s messy. Ideas get tangled, over-evolved, and you lose your neat camera-eyed perception. Backtracks, cover-ups, false-starts tumble into the day’s progression – I’d forgotten how mixed up you can feel. And landscapes don’t fit the frame you want them to. The hoped-for solution is to find a happy alignment, a switch, a click, when you feel it works.