Yesterday I decided to have a good clear out of the artshed. It had become so messy over the summer as to be a no-go zone – dysfunctional and pointless. Most of the stuff I was throwing out was harmless enough – old cardboard I never got round to painting on, long dead pens I kept for the sake if it, kids art debris, that sort of thing. The things that caused me a problem were all of my previous attempts at art in there – countless sketchbooks full of black and white doodles and the odd scrap of painted card. The effect was a bit like unexpectedly catching yourself in the mirror on a particularly bad day – deep feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy being exposed. I stopped short of throwing the sketchbooks out or destroying them altogether but I don’t feel that keeping them will serve any purpose and only cause further distress in the future. I may yet have a cleansing bonfire.
The way in which I reacted to my old drawing efforts is linked in with the current phase of my college course. At the start of third year we have to enter a period of research and exploration before we attempt to make any artworks. The written aspect of the course involves looking at different approaches to writing about art and culture. Both of these disciplines involve looking at fundamentals and have lead me to question the nature of art and painting in particular. What does it mean to make paintings in this digital age of multiplicity and an ‘anything goes’ creative environment? Whatever conclusions I may come to I feel I really need to start afresh in terms of what I create. What I do from now on must be much more considered and essentially better than anything I have done up until now. I must also remember to enjoy the journey and not let it turn into a path of self-destruction.