Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Ramblin' Man

I had been looking forward to my week in Shropshire for many months. I was particularly eager try and solve a creative problem that has been with me for a while: in what direction should my art and illustration work go?

To me, my creative spirit is a disturbed spirit. It finds no home and is distracted by many things. It wanders over the landscape seeking the touch of inspiration. It reaches out into the natural world to touch, sense and explore everything. Mainly it is an observational spirit, it doesn’t ask many questions but just accepts what it finds and dwells in the presence of being present in places. There is a song by Lemon Jelly called Ramblin’ Man (on Youtube) that I recently came across. It speaks to me in many ways and it isn’t often songs do that to me. It carries with it a sense of wandering, going places and never resting. There is a sense of journey, but never ending, just a continuous walk from place to place. Recently, a long walk found me up on Bury Ditches just north east of Clun. I hadn’t quite planned to walk up there but I was out for a day’s walk and it was a bright, clear day with a hint of spring in the air. As I walked around the ramparts of the hill fort on  top of the hill and overlooked the surrounding valleys and hills, I thought of this song and noted how much I just love to walk. I could walk all day. With no time limitations I could go where I wanted to and just walk and walk. This was all I wanted to do. It was the end of my holiday and this was my last full day away from the busyness of work. Up here, on a hill in my homeland, I felt at peace and at home. But also a place to which I would have to say goodbye until my next visit.

The next day I walked into the greenhouse in the walled garden at Croft Castle and did a little bit of sketching whilst sheltering from a cool breeze. In front of me was a bench with a few small watering cans and some plants growing up and around the iron framework. As I scribbled on my sketchpad I suddenly felt as though a whole wealth of ideas and possibilities suddenly merged. In front of me I had the solution to how I could work on the iPad, do paintings and a develop a new way of working that could cross digital and traditional hand illustration. Things take time to evolve with me. It is like going on a long walk or a journey. Ideas may appear but it may take ages of thinking, trying out ideas or exploring techniques before something of value emerges.