Monday, 29 August 2011

reflection on action

Two recent textual collages of my response to emotional experience.
It may be really obvious to say this but I've recently discovered that as I create these textual collages about my recent experiences on Arran, as a way of 'visual thinking', that unless I write notes as I create, then subsequent writing about them can only be an interpretation of the visual content.
Yes, I know this sounds obvious, but it wasn't intentionally done. I hadn't realised what a difference it would make. I found that such was my intense feeling at the time, I couldn't write, I just had to make, with my hands, touch familiar materials and do it all intuitively, Writing would have been out of place within this action/response. I also didn't have time to think. This is especially true of the second, lower work featured above, when I used old, familiar objects from my studio windowsill to express my 'head', as it were. There is so much empty, white space on the paper, the objects chosen are quietly tied down, the paper, the most delicate I have here, almost translucent, has been neatly pleated but the torn edges are irregular.  I used the minimum of imagery to speak volumes. I wonder why? Might it be that with great depth of feeling, rather than breadth of feeling, words are no longer effective? Only the visual will suffice? It leaves the work open to interpretation and the understanding and communication needs to be implicit.
Not rocket science, but thinking on Schon's Reflection in and on action, I can see disadvantages. Both methodologies offer insight, but each quite different to the other. Writing , at the time of creating, gives an accurate description but may miss elements which silently slip into the frame and it's only later, when viewed again, that these elements are obvious? Might this have happened anyway if I'd written words at the time of making the second one? I don't know.
I suppose it's not a case of either reflection in action or on action but that both are necessary, to give a fuller 'picture'?
But then, it all gets rather clinically objective, with 'self' in the 'frame', like a specimen in a jar?

I welcome comments/thoughts on this as I 'reflect' further.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

cold day reveals more

I've spent most of my summer on Arran, my home, my spiritual centre, where I feel safe. My journey recently has revealed a great deal about transitioning; how we regard change, as transitioning, when it's not that at all. It's just moving stuff from one place to another, the stuff comes too!
I almost didn't come back to the mainland, I may not stay long, who knows, so much of life here distresses me and I long for the silence of the sea in my head.
This image seems to say what words can't, not my words at any rate. Layers, depths, submerged thoughts, tones of experience, shades of doubt, they're all here within this image taken on a cold day this summer, on a shoreline overlooking Kintyre on Arran's west coast. A favourite place.

Monday, 22 August 2011

visual thinking

I wanted to make a stand, to show I'm different now, to say out loud, 'look at this change'
when there really is so little to show or to say. So what?
But there is a lot to feel; subjective mutability seems to be the way of transition, it appears?

Saturday, 13 August 2011


I'm back on the mainland now, after a very difficult period on the island where our house was carefully reclaimed from the depths, mostly, I must say, by this young man here; my son, whose strength, endurance and pragmatism gave me hope when all seemed lost. Thanks kid.