Looking back

By chance, in my studio yesterday, I picked up an old notebook of mine, from 12 years ago. I read it last night and this morning, and I have been struck by the many references to animals and the work I am doing now – or rather, which is emerging, being manifested now.

I am reminded of the animal quilt I sewed, with little animals hanging from it as if on little umbilical cords. I thought at the time that my work was like little children hanging from the walls. My work has matured since then, is more autonomous, less raw, more resolved.

In my old drawings I see horses/animals with legs made of leafy plants; they were never developed then, but they are now.

– and this paragraph: ‘Art is like gardening. You have to learn to wait for flowers to reveal themselves. and you have to prune, to mulch, to clear away, and to leave alone sometimes. Especially with trees.’ I don’t know whether this is a quotation I borrowed or not, but it is amazingly apposite for my thinking now.

I was reading about Genghis Khan… the OVA, or monuments on the tops of hills with poles on them holding horse’s skulls – places of pilgrimage (but didn’t I also read those warriors slaughtered their horses mercilessly).

Twelve years ago I felt I was wearing a bridle, with blinkers on, with flowers on the inside of the blinkers – maybe I should make this bridle now?

I loved the writing of Rumi then too: he wrote, ‘Art is the salve that will heal our heal our eyes’.

Watercolour. How I used to sit beneath my horse’s front legs. She would stand with her head over me. Shown at Artsway 2009.