Not painting

Since the prams in the hall arrived, I’ve painted very little. It’s hard, sort of like anesthetising one arm.

But the years off have given me space. I feel a better sense of what I’m not painting. The beginnings of a shape to the body of my work, a feeling of its limits.

Developing and building in layers. I learn more with less. There have been many stages to this learning, and I’m only now approaching the brink of being able to make good work.

Making other work, like writing poetry, has given me a map of how to approach things – lightly but with sincerity – with courage and a suspension of second thoughts. To circle a problem, allow thoughts or responses to rise naturally.

Judgement is a curious thing – in the right state we make work and judgement is in the hand not the mind. It’s a strange state of not-knowing. Of faith, maybe.

Not courage, not recklessness, nothing so conscious. Nerves held in check, reactiveness held in check. I work despite my knowledge. Trust that what I do not do shows up in the work, that the history of all of my work shows up, even if only as ghosts or absences.

What we have not done also matters.

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