…Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentations, discussions, or introductions of [any] sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgements their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened.
…In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for; patience is everything!
Letters To A Young Poet, trans. Stephen Mitchell, New York: Modern Library/Random House, 2001, pps. 23-25
I found a letter the other day from Gwen all mixed up in a pile of drawings. She had enclosed these passages from the correspondence between the Czech poet Rainer Maria Rilke and a young poet who had written him for critique and advice. Rilke wrote ten letters to him over five years. Gwen abridged a small portion of his third letter, written near Pisa, Italy, in 1903, which beautifully portrays an image of patience at work.
It is these chance discoveries that give texture and colour to my working life as an artist. This idea relates strongly to my first blog from May 2011, which means amazingly, I have been blogging for over a year!
The studio space I work in is awash in a clutter deliberately collected over a span of many years. Books, stone, bones, fabric, words, brushes, paint, even a collection of magnets – Stuff.
In the past much anxiety was involved if ever I was to receive a studio visit from a curator or client and I have kept those contacts to the minimum.
That all changed after reading Isabel Huggan’s beautiful book Belonging.
Her quote from Promises, Promises, a book by Adam Phillips changed the way I see myself.
It reads, Clutter invites us to make meaning in the absence of pattern. Clutter tantalizes us, lures us into a relationship with material in a way that is far more seductive than discernible order. In clutter, you may not be able to find what you are looking for, but you may find something else instead. Clutter may not be about the way we hide things from ourselves but about the way we make ourselves look for things. It is, as it were, a self imposed hide and seek.
It was a revelation that the very centre of my life as an artist – the clutter that has followed me in every endeavor is seen by someone else to have value.