Practice - What is giving your life meaning this week?
Ohhh big life question! I’m going to answer with something really small. A morning cup of coffee on the kitchen step, there is in a narrow window of time when the sun passes by before it vanishes behind and enormous London Plane tree for a couple of hours. If I can time it out, then that’s a good start to the day.
What do you see as the most important and the most overlooked aspect of your work?
I think one of the most important aspects of my practice is all the time in between making the work, the time to reflect, the time to think while you cook some food or walk to the shops and ideas slowly filter in almost unnoticed. The time when you are not thinking can be the most productive. I find it good to have times in my day when I am not talking to people or looking at a phone, when I am just doing something on autopilot so my mind can wander.
Do you think your work would be different if you knew no one was ever going to see it except you?
I’d like to say no, that I would make all the work exactly the same as I do now. And yes, there is something to be said for having a mentality to paint as if no-one is ever going to be watching. But if the work never left the studio I think I’d be a bit sad about that. I want it to exist beyond the studio walls, it gives it energy.
Describe your dream studio situation and what is the biggest thing you think you took for granted about working in your studio ?
Well I have been working from home for the last few years and for sure the biggest thing I miss is the separation of home and work. The act of cycling to my studio becomes this essential part of turning away from home-life and towards a studio mindset for the day. I have missed that a lot over the last few years, which is why I have just moved into a new studio space.
What is your best time of the day or night to work and why?
Morning, always. I am a morning person. I have always wanted to be in the studio early. I like being in studios when they are quiet. When there are not many people around and the daylight is pale. On a studio day I feel more peaceful once I am in the studio, I just want to get there as soon as possible. These days I am usually in the studio at 8.45am and then I like going home in the late afternoon to see my family and have a change of scene and get some distance on the work I am making.
What is your studio staple snack?
Well coffee, or course. And currently a small toy plastic pot with some of my toddler’s Rich Tea biscuits in. I just ate one today and they are pretty stale. I need to upgrade!
Tell us about something you saw on your one walk of the day
Well today we went one step better than a walk, we went on a bike ride! I had my one year old baby on the back of my bike and we went down to the River Lea and paddled in the water and then had a picnic. Lots of people were out wading in the river, children, dogs. It didn’t feel like London, I felt like I’d been transported to somewhere in France.
If you had to live with one vice for the rest of your life what would it be?
Well I love a cold beer at the end of the day, I mean who doesn’t. We’ve got one of those bottle openers screwed to the wall where you can pop the top off your bottle. I love the quick little sound of it, the metal chink and the sshhh noise as the air escapes.
What is your favourite podcast?
I listen to This American Life a lot in the studio.
What is the best gift you've ever given or been given, vs the worst?
When my husband and I were newly dating, I took him to Naples for the weekend for his birthday. It was one of those gifts that was a bit like self gifting as I’d always wanted to go to Naples ha! We had a really nice time and the ice cream was delicious.
What's the most inspirational place you've been?
The Salt Flats of Bolivia. I was blown away. It had rained when I visited so the ground was a very shallow lake of water and it reflected the perfectly blue sky and white clouds. If you ever imagine another world, or an afterlife or anything like that, the I think this is what it would look like. It was miraculous.
What is your favourite hour of the day now? Are you aware of each hour/time more or less now?
Yes, I think time has become more significant. In some ways more precious. I realise before this forced period of time at home, that I would run about a lot, trying to cram a lot into each day. I am enjoing the slightly slower pace of time at the moment. The day has a more natural ryhthum to it. So yes, in a lot of ways I do notice time more at the moment and perhaps in a more appreciative way than before.
Please pick one of the three following prompts as a starting point to make some work using an A5 piece of paper/cloth/whatever you like. There is no restriction on media and feel free to try something different and new.
Draw the last dream that you remember
Draw a self portrait as a favourite animal doing your favourite daily thing
Draw the last text you received
Check out Freya's Exercise Three pieces here!