Discover more from Emotional Outbursts
On failure and the future
Caught a lite sneeze
Caught a lite breeze
Caught a lightweight lightening seed
I come to you, wet winter dew, heart hard as granite stone. I feel and feel with urgency that I am still alone. The big, bad rut has returned, dear reader, and I cannot forgo her. Here I stand, breath baited, impatient, for I resist rest and worry once again about making, doing, being. Change is afoot, both good and bad, as that familiar grief softens to saccharine mulch within my belly. I thought best to let it alone - scour the marshes in private darkness, lest I perform for you.
There is a hole in my heart, and I long to fix it.
Elsa Lanchester in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) dir. James Wale.
I’ve divulged in brief epigrams, epithets, love-letters strewn across the bedroom, of areas of research I wish to delve deep into for these here Outbursts: the ethical conflict of Jenny Livingston’s 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, the ill-fated origins of Betty Boop’s characterisation, William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III as a contemporary masterpiece and You’ll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again.
I lost my job.
My day job which, in truth, breaks that fatal illusion to you, of daily day-dreaming and painting away within the studio. If only. That delayed fuse, that initial red-hot panicked anger has since subsided, and in dealing with that strange and sudden heartbreak, I have fortunately found myself in pastures deer-bound and dainty, full-time for the first time which worries me. I feel a swirl of joy and dread. How will I find the time to write, to research, to paint, to plan? I have to find a way as there is, it seems, no other option.
As the year draws to dusk - dust clouds bend below red velvet curtains, reader - I reflect reluctantly on all I have done, and all I didn’t do. All those promises within these letters to you, paintings and portals I haven’t quite ventured through. Failure as a necessary good. That reluctant pull from full-time work, for as long as I’ve been able, I have had to relinquish: for the focus now is not only my own practice and the future of the studio, but Prayer Room too.
My hands are white with emulsion, and the work just begun.
Catherine Denevue in Peau d'Âne (1970) dir. Jacques Demy.
I feel frequent guilt for not being where I ‘think’ I should be, and near constantly question my own decisions, my path and plan. My practice is changing in ways I did not expect, dear darling, aided by my former job within a Medieval monastery. Working some many months in the Middle Ages has been a blessing. Ideas, references, methods, all anew and golden. I now dream of manuscripts, of gilded blackletter, of sword within stone. I love horror and history and fantasy, in all its spectral gaudiness.
I have not forgotten tarot, nor Tentative Press.
The differentiation I’ve found within historic fine art, interior and textile design styles, is that the bespoke skill, craftsmanship, love and pain and beauty, is immediately evident to the eye. There is no conjecture, no persuasion. That illustrative richness, I’ve found, has begun to slowly seep its way into my own practice. I wish to make mosaics. I wish to dye paper with winter berries and English leaves. I wish to emboss pure, hard, cold silver. I wish to print with woodblocks.
This month, as part of Hall of Mirrors at PLOP Gallery, London, I’d produced a block of hard, heavy granite stone. I See You, she reads, in glossed-black old English blackletter. An idea which once began many moons ago as a bible, deep-dark polished and sparkling, slowly formed to a foundational stone, looted from a Medieval churchyard. I love stone. Its presence, its intimacy and connection to the natural world.
I see myself, soon to come, making more words of stone. Silver amulets, Toynbee tiles, pink ribbons and pearls abound.