It’s 10.40am and I’ve just arrived in the studio. My mind feels very busy, and I’m not sure what I’m doing. I feel annoyed. I feel like I haven’t been able to focus for the last few days and that’s frustrated me.
The weather is lovely for the first time in many days, it’s still very windy but blue skies. I feel like I should go outside and work. I haven’t painted at all outside yet, that’s kind of mad.
I feel frustrated that I don’t have the focus, my mind really isn’t in a clear headspace. I could go on a walk and do some drawing? What do I want to draw? Where do I want to go? I want to go further afield really, rather than just a quick pop to Porthmeor beach. I also at some point need to go to see the exhibition on the south coast of Cornwall! And more walking. What am I trying to do here? Am I trying to draw my local – very local landscape, or am I working on paintings in the studio? I feel both is the answer. I don’t feel in the right headspace to paint. Except this is the first day when I have plenty of time to do so! Well, I have all day. What do I need right now? I think a walk and a sketchbook. Where? I haven’t drawn the inner bay of St Ives yet, perhaps there.
Just been for a walk. I went to St Ives harbour and drew in my big sketchbook in charcoal. I drew the clusters of houses facing out to sea. I am thinking about people for the first time in maybe ever! How it takes people in the drama to make this stage a thing. Looking at all the houses I could see them as a set in a theatrical production, all with lives and stories, but with the drama unfolding down here on the coast and out to sea. It’s like in the backdrop of a theatre set you might have lots of houses to set the scene of a town, you know (buy into that) there is a town full of stories and lives being carried out in the background of what’s going on centre stage.
It takes people for the drama to unfold. An observer at the very least (the artist!)
Who is the director of this theatrical drama playing out by the coast? And who are the characters?
The characters I used to think were the sky, but now, I think, surely they’re the people?
Plays Ellie recommends:
– Orlando by Virginia Wolf (book)
– All My Sons by Arthur Millers (play)
She thinks stories which portray big things happening in people’s lives reflected in metaphor in the landscape. Steinbeck is another good for that. Apparently Les Mis is also that, set in France.
I think I need to really focus on reading the Spirit of Place book I’m reading. This is super relevant as a British history of the landscape. I think in the long run reading writers who excellently stage lives and animate landscapes would be an excellent teaching.