It’s been just over a week since ‘Black Highway’ ended, and I took the paintings down on the stormy afternoon that was last Sunday. (As soon as the gallery closed, screwdrivers were out, and the paintings were quickly taken off the walls, and taken into my waiting van). And last week I completed my final evaluative report to Arts Council England on the work I have been doing with the help of their funding over the last two years. The funding period is now completed, and the report is a condition of the release of my last payment.
There is something about these endings that feels like an enormous relief and liberation. I’ve really enjoyed not doing much in the last couple of months; just thinking, reading, looking at stuff, and now starting to play about in my sketchbook and in the studio, suddenly full of new ideas and feeling a bit more energized. I realize now what an intense couple of years I’ve had working with this grant. I’ve exhibited and done projects that I never anticipated, and created a large new body of work. The trip to Scandinavia bought lots of unwelcome distractions and pressure too, that I’m not sure I’ve got over. Still, it’s been a fantastic experience, and I’m very grateful for the support of Arts Council England, and the fact that it will support and take an interest in the work of individual artists like me.
In the studio, on the bus to work, at work with the students or at my desk, where postcards are blu tacked up to keep my thoughts ticking over, I’m looking at lots of ongoing painting interests, that if you follow the blog you will be familiar with. (These habits are in someway all part of my methodology, developed from constraints on time, that I don't really think about that often, but are really important). These interests are mainly in abstract painting, which two years on and with all this work behind me, I’m suddenly able to see new possibilities in exploring again in relation to my own work. Hope you will continue to stay with me to see where things go next….