Response to Richard Long

Richard Long

Richard Long – A Line Made By Walking.

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.

Summer Break Photos

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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.

Holiday from Art/Fitness

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A quick scan of the excellent wordpress app tells me that I haven’t posted anything since the 19th of last month. That is clearly not often enough. The reason being, however, is that I seem to have taken a break from making any art since college finished. I’ve occasionally doodled in a wee sketchbook but that’s been the extent of my creative output. I thought I would be inspired to do some network in the artshed over the holidays but that hasn’t been the case so far. Instead I’ve been, arguably, busy with housework, the garden etc.

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The other day I decided I have had enough of looking at my ever expanding middle aged waistline and set myself the goal of getting rid of it. So I dug out the running shoes and got to it. I don’t know what methods other folk employ when getting into, or back into, running but I like to start off with a few sessions of walk/run/walk/run. I count steps – 50 initially – as I go along and gradually increase the number of running steps to walking ones. I don’t need to reiterate the universal benefits of exercise here but already I feel a bit sharper, although there are a few unfamiliar aches in the legs now.

This morning, after I’ve dropped the kids off, I’m going to get some mountain biking back into my life. It’s been way too long since I had a blast round the local woods. I usually just leave from the house but seeing as my route back from nursery takes me past a nice big forestry commission wood with a variety of trails, it’s too good a chance to miss. School finishes tomorrow so I won’t have the chance to indulge myself like this for a while.

I do hope that I can keep up some kind of exercise routine and that it’s not just a summer fad. Much as I love the aesthetic of decay, it’s something I need to try and stall in my own body.

Cleansing Fire

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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.

Wedding Photos

20130514-074906.jpg</aThe above is a wishing well that my girlfriend and I made for our friends wedding last Saturday. It's purpose was for the guests to put their gift envelopes into. It's clearly not my usual kind of thing but I think it fulfilled the brief.

20130514-075436.jpgMore my kind of thing was this piece of ‘ruin porn’ in the form of a great big rusted metal door at the back of the wedding church car park.

It’s a bit strange at this end of the college year. Most of my projects are done and I have the safe knowledge of my place at art college in September. So today I am going to make a box to contain the sketchbook that is a bit out of control and cannot be closed. I will have to dismantle the book to make it loose leaf to fit in the box. I will of course be making the box from found wood and materials. More to come.

The Joy of Spring

Ok, so it is still Baltic out there but at least the snow has gone. It has been great to get outside and do some pottering in the artshed and garden in the holidays. Molly has been happy painting and collaging away in the background so I can get on with things.

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Plenty wood kicking about the garden to play with.

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Candle and WD40 are a quick way to get the burnt look for a piece.

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Trying something different with the layout of this one – liked painting some mud on too.

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I discovered that the metal barbecue tray had rusted to destruction – nevermind – nice material for a construction.

As nice as it is to do this stuff I really should be finishing off bits and pieces for the portfolio. Monday draws ever closer. Tonight I think I’ll have a bash at filling the remaining few pages in my sketchbooks.

The Beauty of…..

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…wet cling film.

Still only posting about once a week but its better than nothing. I’ve been busy getting stuff together for an interview at the art college I’ve applied to…although it hasn’t been confirmed that I’m getting an interview yet or when it is. I’m trying to keep my cranium full of phoney positivity. Sometimes you just have to.