A man walks and walks, and keeps on walking but what does he create, what does he leave behind? A line in a field that leads towards, or away from trees. A line that could have been made yesterday, a thousand years ago or tomorrow. There is no cultural trace that pinpoints time. It is a subtle rub of human endeavour that was made in our time but talks with the past. A single note that sounds back to a dark song of the ancestors – scratching around and exploring their untested earth in excited fear. There are also closer echoes, for me. Reminiscences of boyhood touchlines – penalty box boundaries or hard-beaten escape routes to the woods, the burn and the den.
I know a little of Richard Long and his working methods. But if you came across this line with no back story what would you think? You would be aware of a human presence but perhaps not how it came to be there, what it’s purpose is or if indeed there is one. A line on the earth resonates with most people. Is it a benign boundary or a troubled border, murderously argued between warring nations. The thing that makes us ‘us’ and them ‘them’. Take it away and what happens? A loss of tribe or a gaining of community? Or just confusion? So often a line is used as a marker to control chaos.
The line may not divide at all but may be a link – between here and there, a current state and an aspirational one – a journey in itself through variable zones both physical and mental, the original psychogeography.
Paul Klee famously took a line for a walk – Long took a walk for a line and with it rediscovered the beginning of all possibility – then let it disappear.
Three pics from our fortnight on the Isle of Lewis. The Callanish Stones are the pagan heart of the island, way older and more mysterious than Stonehenge. A China Shipping container sitting in the middle of nowhere. A very old push bike leaning against the Hebridean Soap Company wall. Had a nice break but it’s good to be back home and very much looking forward to starting college next month.
I had a wee bonfire going in the fire pit today. There was a pile of not good enough artwork from college to get rid of. It was great to see them go up on flames – no point in keeping weak work. I know it is often said that you should never throw any old art out but I’ve never agreed with that idea. I think there is a kind of evolutionary thing going on where only keeping the stronger stuff, as a reference point, will lead to better work.
These are some of the pages from my final college sketchbook. I scanned them instead of the usual photo method which I think is better and may be the way to go. I really enjoyed doing them, working paint, glue, ink and bleach in with my fingers. I’m really proud of them and I think they are some of my favourite things I’ve done. I enjoyed the college year and was kind of sad that it had to end. However, come September, I’ve got the bigger challenge of art school – exciting and daunting in equal measure.
I just realised that this is my first blog post in June. I have to remedy that. I’ll need to get into the creative groove again though – I’ve been a bit slack since college effectively ended a couple of weeks back. The artshed has fallen into chaos again so that needs seeing to and I need to sort out the college paraphernalia before starting any new work.
I did this piece with the intention of putting it in for the Aberdeen Artists Society Exhibition. For one reason and another I didn’t put it in. There is a frame for it so it may end up on a wall for a change.