The rebel within

Colour, Philosophy, Soul searching

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

George Orwell.

Trust me to stumble into the farmer after knowingly not keeping to the path. I’ve never been much of a rule breaker. Born conformist? I think some would disagree as I have made choice that perhaps are not so. Give me instructions and I will follow them. Search for truth and stick to it. When I do try to go off the beaten track my conscience gives me a good slap around the face. Having a rare Saturday afternoon to myself, boys with grandma, I’ve done my yoga practise and packed up a small backpack with book, an apple and a bottle of water ready for a solitary ramble. I decide to take a route where I know there will be a few benches along the way to sit and read a while. I chose a perch I had forgotten about but was in the direct sunlight, as despite feeling like a spring day it was still a chilly early February afternoon.

After being startled by a friendly robin, scaring a rabbit and spying a horse and a llama I follow a new path to explore a different direction. Undeterred by the very obvious bridge over the stream to my left I continue through the field ahead feeling the rebellious urge to go through the muddy fields. Naughtily and feeling a little like Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit I squeeze myself under the barbed wire and fling myself over the fence. I enjoy these small cheap thrills. I start to wonder what the penalty for not keeping on the path is and why one can’t just walk where you want to. I started to envisage Mr McGregor with a  shot-gun still I wasn’t deterred but would definitely not be able to run should that occur as the ground was like ‘quick mud’. Adding to the excitement of my private adventure. Sometimes we do need to question the path we take in order to find ourselves.

I felt  relief when I saw the wooden public footpath sign in the corner of the field ahead. Stopping to take a picture of a furry caterpillar to show the boys distracted me from seeing the farmer with his two dogs approaching through the gate. “Braved the beck did ya” he mumbled in his thick yorkshire accent. Not following what he meant and in my naive honesty and perhaps to relieve my conscience admitted to coming through the field. As long as I hadn’t cut the tie or the wire no harm done I think I grasped. Though his explanation of where the path actually was I still couldn’t fathom. Regardless, I think it may have been too overgrown and slippery steep to actually have followed. Are you local he asked. Yes I replied I live in co-ling or cowing I am still not sure how to say it. I will by some maps and stick to the road now I pledged. Smiling I walked to the sculptor’s studio realising I hadn’t been there in a while and it was on the route home.

The air inside a stark contrast to the fresh crisp air I had been deeply inhaling realising that much of the time I forget to breath when I am with my boys. Yoga helping with that! The studio felt toxic but looked a lived in proper working space, without a corner vacant of creation. In my eyes a mess but a place of activity, equipment and ideas for sure. My husband unveiled his bike to show me its purring engine but in the process flooded the tank. It’s over a year since he went to pick it up and I only briefly mentioned it in ‘Beauty’ then never posted about it again. There is something symbolic about a bike being a rebellious vehicle, even purchasing one feels like breaking the ‘norm’. In some ways he is the opposite of me when it comes to rule abiding. I remember in our first year together when he was teaching me drawing he instructed that you had to learn the rules in order to break them, that was what art was about. I can’t seem to do that though. My nature inclines to searching for rules in order to follow. We balance each other out, probably, on the scales of conformity and rebellion and meet on the same conscious awareness.

Here are the images of the bike, turned into a sculpture of sorts in its own way. Always questioning the rebel within.

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Doubts and dreams.

Exhibitions, Galleries

“I don’t believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me.” ― Tennessee Williams

All artists have self doubts.

My husband often has his doubts and uncertainties simultaneously with a very clear dream and extraordinarily clear talent. The moment of finding his style was a pivotal point. Not in no longer having those doubting moments but more determined.

It is amazing how just taking a moment to stop and observe can help you clear your mind. As I ate my particularly prepared porridge and looked out the window, I captured a moment. A bird perched in a tree finding shelter from the wind. How much protection it found? I wondered, as the tree danced with the movement of the strong gusts on this cold and blustery January morning.

Even within language we may not all be visualising the same thing. If we say ‘tree’, what type of tree is it. What are you thinking of? A willow drooping low and forlorn, a palm reaching energetically tall, a busy evergreen, a strong oak with branches stretching outwards. Is it a tree made out ladies legs? What concept do we have in our own mind’s eye.

bird branch

‘The Branch’ will be shown at FLUX , The Rag Factory. London. FEB 18th-22nd

It is easy to think of trees as strong and immoveable. As the numerous branches move like dancing arms outside it makes me understand that nothing remains the same. Everything is moving, flowing, shaking, changing.

I had a big writers wobble the other day after reading my brother’s newly formed blog. I had a sudden large wave of self-doubt as I compared my own skills with his, unfavourably. Immediately seeing his confident youthful writing style as superior to my own rather than thinking that it is just a different way of writing.

sketch doubts

‘A sketch’ by Sam Shendi

Perhaps a tiny slip of the deadly envy creeped in or a little bit of sibling rivalry but it didn’t last long. I don’t harbour bad and unnecessary feelings for long. Especially towards my younger brother to whom I am maternally overprotective of. I used it positively. It made me realise that I had to focus on my own style and my own direction.

Observing nature helped too, the bird in the tree. We all have moments where we doubt ourselves. The wind shakes the branches of our spirit a little. It makes us grow and develop. My brother who is writing about his recent travels, tells me he hasn’t changed. People don’t change. Perhaps travel doesn’t change us. I think though, if the experience doesn’t change us then time will. Travelling inwardly to the depths of our soul should change us. If we want to change the world then we have to start with ourselves.

with a bird

‘Conversation with a bird’ by Sam Shendi

I have read lots of beautifully brilliantly written blogs over the last four years, here are 8 I would recommend:                                               

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”- Robert Hughes. Perhaps. I guess it is one of those emotions, it is only human. ‘Only Human’ my husband’s exhibition at Cartwright Hall will end on 23rd February. So one more month to go and view it.

So my mantra for this month. Stop doubting and start daring to dream.

sketchbooks display

‘Sketchbooks’ on display at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery

cellar gallery

‘Only Human’ exhibition at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery