I can't seem to get myself motivated to do any proper work at the moment. This is bad: I have my final portfolio to complete by September, and I am supposed to be working on a project (mentioned, I think, a post or two ago) with my writing group. I don't know what's wrong with me because normally I love doing this stuff. Normally I love everything about writing, from the moment of inspiration to the frantic scribbling it down, to the endless redrafting and editing. But I seem to have come to a stop. I need to untangle some of the threads in my head. I need to settle my stomach and calm down. I need to get to the 'fuck it' stage.
Thinking of my work as work, is, I think, turning it into something scary. It's stopped being play. It's stopped being: 'ooh, this is interesting, how far can I push it?' and has become a means to an end instead of an end in itself. Yet I don't really know what the end it's supposed to be a means to is; more work probably. (Here I could so easily go off at a tangent about the evils of the capitalist system. It's not all evil, I know, but I can't help feeling that these days we feed it rather than the other way round.) I'm so bored with the sound of my own voice, slurred, as it is, with this ever present whine. So picking up a piece for redrafting, or even trying to write something new, is waring. It's like going on a long journey in a car with a squeaky wheel: your whole body is filled with its endless wail so you don't see the Angel of the North as you pass, or smell the grass as a man on a tractor with his dog on the back cuts it, or taste the chocolate you nevertheless keep cramming into your mouth.
Bugger, bugger, bugger... I need to get back on track. Especially for the project because a) I don't want to let the rest of the group down, b) I know it will be fun once I get over this, and c) if I can do it it will help me with the other stuff. So, Liz Waugh and her life and work: I need to focus. The project is called: Words and Bronze: A celebration of Elizabeth Waugh at 80.
This (I believe) is an early piece. It makes me think of the south of France, of Picasso and Brancusi, and that wonderful early 20th century artistic turn.
I'm trying to untangle what I know, and how I feel, about her and her work – the artist is the work according to Nietzsche – synthesize it, and come up with something interesting to say. She lives in the Eskdale hills and works in bronze. She makes both animals (for animals sell) and nudes. She is currently trying to combine nudes and animals in the hope that she can both work on what interests her and sell it on. An artist needs to sell her work in order to be able to keep on working: feed the market so she can feed herself. She uses resin bronze, mostly, because foundry bronze is too expensive: people want bronze but they don't want to pay for it. This gives her sculptures added vulnerability: resin bronze is fragile, it might shatter if you drop it on a hard surface. She had an enforced break of 25 years because of marriage and all that entails – or, at least, entailed for her. She wonders, now, what her work would look like if she hadn't had to have that break, if she had been able to continue to manifest her ideas during that period.
A work in progress. I often like works in progress better than finished pieces, I love the colour and texture of the plaster and the lack of facial features on both creatures here.
Her nudes, to me, speak of the landscape in which she lives which is all green hills and valleys and little secret places. Fecund. All except one: a recent piece which is a one off – called One Off – this is a hollow shell of a creature clutching her knees, it reminds me of a dead pea-bug, one that has completely dried out, which is a tantalizing departure for me: the turn in the poem; the point of conflict that turns something lyrical into something interesting. But bugger me if I can make anything of it.