When I was younger, I felt conflict between what the world seemed to want and what I wanted, but now I feel clear on the odd times that are ours. The over-focus on commerce and unleashed torrent of new books are just facts of our era and our cracked culture, nothing to do with what happens when a writer sits at her table and lets the words stream forth.
In the end, I am a solitary maker who is dreaming something into being, spinning the straw of the world into what I hope will be gold, true and beautiful and doing justice to the marvelous, tragic, lovely Creation. And I am mad enough to think that the gold-spinner dreaming along in the room is what an artist should be.
|Also Clive, a portrait of Thalia|
I begin with an underdrawing, sometimes faint like smoke, sometimes confident, usually a bit of both, mostly fluid at this early stage. Then the painting and the rendering begin. It feels as though I'm attempting to produce a mosaic from thousands of glittering tesserae, each one of them a different micro-thought flashing through my brain. When I'm working away I have to make the image one tiny tile-of-thought at a time, and it's as though this flood of thoughts and moods spreads across the board. The thoughts/voices/poetry at this point are a cacophony, and I have to try and catch at the most insistent ones to fathom their meanings, all while listening/watching for the next to emerge. Each takes me where it will. I get buffeted in one direction by playful zephyrs, carried smoothly for periods on the dazzling surface, or dragged down into deep currents where all is shadowy and cold. Sometimes everything slows and then halts. I trace the curved route for the stem of a tulip, graze a petal with the striations of its markings. Becalmed, I drift.Into the unknown, leaping off the edge of everything one has created before...
Then something pulls at me again, the insistent and unguessable current reasserting, the line of poetry that lightning-flashes in the head, the breeze though the open window that sends all the fragments of drawings and poetry flying, and in a moment I'm away again, off into the unknown.