I’m not going to lie – getting back to school routine this week has been hard. Getting up in the dark is not my idea of fun. Add a bit of a cold wintery weather into the mix and I would far rather be tucked up under the duvet for a gentle start to the day with my book and a cup of tea. Even better if someone else has made it!
The restful time over the holidays must have softened me up and I felt sorry for my daughter so I have been driving her in the mornings. We start off scraping the ice from the windscreen in the dark, and by the time we get to school, the car has warmed up, the radio had played at least once decent song and the car heater has kicked into gear. Not so bad.
By the time I’ve dropped her off and the dog and I have arrived at the park it’s starting to get light. There are a few crazy people running and trying not to slip on the icy pathways. Must be some kind of new year resolution going on – I prefer an easier start to the year; something that might guide me. In the past I have chosen ‘scale’ and this year I’m toying with ‘clarity’. It hasn’t quite settled into place yet but it has a gentle definition which appeals. A softer form of decisiveness.
The sun is trying to shine, but my fingers are still frozen when I take off my gloves to try and take photos. I’m not sure why I bother – I know my phone camera can’t capture the colours I see or the details which are starting to wake me up… the steam rising above the buildings on the skyline, or the gently changing blue.
It’s frustrating but also becomes a challenge to try and capture some of the things I’m becoming alert to. I find myself crouched down to change my viewpoint – what I want to record is different from the way the camera ‘sees’ it. Often it picks up too much and I need to simplify what is within the shot and decide what the focus is going to be.
As ugly patches of grafitti become a thing of beauty it gets me lost in looking at the world I can see and working out what is of interest. Most of these photos get deleted as my phone crumples under storage issues, others I never look at again for months, if at all.
But the simple act of waking up my eyes and tuning in again stays with me. If I look back through old sketchbooks I can see ideas and visuals resurface. They feel familiar and yet it still surprises me how the things which appeal are so intrinsic to each of us.
Noticing these random connections is essential in making art. It’s like working out a puzzle without a guide. I have no idea how this year will develop or what I will create. There is no clarity yet but somehow it’s all connected.
So congratulations for making it through the first week! Ease into your new year and start as you mean to go on.