'The place where inspiration hits the page running... A sketchbook to fail and reflect on my work and my process'

Monday, 12 March 2012


This is a piece I was asked to submit for Sam Gray at Fabric a little while ago. He has a feature where he asks people to add their own experiences about what inspires them, and how they work with these inspirations, or distractions as he has catagorized them. This is a glimpse into the way I like to see the world and something I want to do more of. I love writing and blogging creates a lovely space for it all to get seen or not. When it reaches the state of publication it isn't mine so much anymore, and I get to move on. Here it is in situ.

Waving at John.

Cameras sometimes capture the moments that whisper between the experiences of the day. The ones that are blurred, out of focus, and have no apparent reality in them. At best they’re a hazy representation of life. The creative stumbles, sometimes leading more to the imagination by holding a trace of a memory captured. These paused moments hold intrigue for me, so I log them
and hope to eventually find an appropriate project for them to nestle next to.

I get distracted all the time by phone calls, social media, friends, the dog and the TV. There are sometimes equally lovely, blurred snippets in life that distract too, like a smile from a stranger, a moment of clarity in a fog of confusion, or maybe just enjoying marmite on toast with a cup of tea, in my favourite mug. All these things enlighten me; they distract from my daily routine, and become a treasure of illustrations in my mind, eventually turning into ideas for personal projects, books or illustrations.

I like to place vignettes of distraction around the house and the studio, in the hope that I’ll find time to pause, and take advantage sometime soon. It could be the Oh Comely magazines fanned on the side table, waiting for a moment of inclination and a cup of Lady Grey tea, or the intriguing book I bought in the lovely book shop in Bath last week, that is aching to have its pages caressed, or maybe it’s the new notebooks and sketchbooks I bought, waiting to be embellished with a paintbrush.

Most days I wave at my neighbour, John. He sits in his living room window and waves as though I’m the only person he sees all day. The thing is, although he’s in a wheelchair, uses a mobility scooter, and appears to be in the latter years of his life, he has the will of an ox and the humour of a 10 year old…

Just two years ago – before his stroke – I sailed to the Isles of Scilly and back with John and some rowing friends. Our weekend was spent laughing lots, weeing in a bucket and cracking funny jokes. My only interaction with him now is walking past the living room window, waving. And for that moment, everyday, we share a smile. The moment then passes, and enters my head in its own image, an illustration of John waving through the curtains, from his comfy chair. I walk on wondering what colours I would use and how I would paint his face.

My favourite song comes on the radio.

It’s going to be a good day!

No comments:

Post a Comment