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Notes from the Studio
So! It’s been a month or so in the studio, time for a wee update.
Walking to the studio has been fruitful, albeit rainy and glum (thank you British summer). Everything smells more intense after storms, I can’t quite put my thumb on describing it, so here's a snap of my fave cottage garden just round the corner. (yeah, i’m in London) .
Movement is very much part of my practice, and somehow ideas unlodge themselves from pockets in my brain when I’m walking.
There’s something about being in motion that releases tensions; it releases emotions. *queue etymology nerd thought*
Neat how it’s all entwined, motions… emotions…
Currently, artist Carys Wilson (+ art teacher from when I was fifteen!) is somewhere in Cornwall, trekking 51 days with just a tent, dictaphone and sketchbook. It’s all part of her project Walking Women, a 633 mile circular route with engagement from 9 women artists. In her words..
Walking is my meditation. It provides an opportunity to be in tune with the rhythms of my body, focus on my breathing pattern, and feel physically present in my body. Walking gives me space to think, and it gives me time to not think.
It reminds me of my MA studies, when I combined ideas of the continuous line with walking myself into the landscape1. I became interested in how the body is always moving forward. Even if you step backwards and retrace your steps, you constantly create new lines.
Nothing is old; all is new.
The same goes for drawing. Inevitably we might think of Paul Klee’s taking the line for a walk. This notion enters my physical practice, both through footfall and charcoal.
Recently I’ve been working on a smaller scale, using a heavier pencil. Twiddling the pencil to lose a little control of its direction is a fun habit. As I set out on each drawing, I don’t have a ‘vision’ of what I will create; I enjoy throwing it to happenchance, seeing what evolves in a more organic way.
Can life be like that ?
As each drawing emerges, there is a sense of resolve in the successful pieces. Some feel off balance, a bit like a yoga pose that hasn’t extended properly, or having pins + needles in a certain limb, or a sneeze that isn’t. It’s irritating.
I’ve made many line pieces that don’t sit right. But working through these is an interesting process, and is loosening me up. As with yoga, it isn’t about perfection per-se, but the process allows clarity; moving the pencil across the page helps that ‘emotion’ mentioned earlier.
Action leads to Action
Bringing it back to the studio, which serves as a portal to my ever-expanding-psycho-geographic-territory, I am looking forward to the arrival of some CANVAS! With the help of my good friend Eleanor Cox, I’ll be exploring larger scale drawings.. and how I can use paint with this.
With paint comes colour, and colour has such power in my life. I’m fairly certain I experience synaesthesia2 to varying degrees: mostly, in association with people + memories of place. Tricky to explain verbally, but it is a strong sense of a certain hue, or distinct tone of light, or sometimes spatial bearing around my body, that concurs with the meeting or mention of a person or place. I use it intuitively to navigate those around me.
It feels apt to introduce colour a bit more into my work.
Each month, I’d like to share a visual mind dump of things. I collect visuals on a daily basis, allowing them to occupy my mind rent-free. Here are some of the top ones of late. Notably, Sinéad O'Connor 🌻 .
Please listen to the soundtrack for optimum experience. Inspired by a certain Louis Theroux Podcast w/ Nile Rogers.
Ooh! And before you go, I’ve set the first date for Blue Palms. A largely offline, art collective that will be travelling with me over the next few months.. ask me about it. It’s a whole other monologue.
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Full thesis available via pdf