Sunday, 1 January 2012

Brand new year. I woke up with ideas about drawing feet and walking and a buzzing need to research. My new obsession - Sylvia Plath. It's so funny that my teenage self was so absorbed in her journals and letters and word craft that I completely missed the importance of her passion for visual art.
I've rooted around a little. Trying very hard not to get too excited and carried away lest my enthusiasm peaks too soon and the 'what's the point' voice chimes in... I've found a bit of writing about how wide her creative method was. She combined visual responses with lyrical expression, she plundered her own teenage drawings for inspiration and sourced ideas from favourite painters.
I'm experiencing a real familiarity with the dilemma between following art or literature. I often have to be strict with myself about using text in my drawings (and have attempted to explore a wider concept of how text speaks more directly than marks....a later discussion of this might arise from this research?). The other startling discovery was, as I returned from a cold, unyielding Dartmoor visit with the dog was (apart from her poem - New Year on Dartmoor) a quote - which I'm afraid I can't provide any reference for - in which she discusses another dilemma of mine: the use of the personal in a work and how to refrain from making this a turgid, indulgent navel gaze.

“I think my poems immediately come out of the sensuous and emotional experiences I have, but I must say I cannot sympathize with these cries from the heart that are informed by nothing except a needle or a knife, or whatever it is. I believe that one should be able to control and manipulate experiences—even the most terrific, like madness, being tortured, this sort of experience—and one should be able to manipulate these experiences with an informed and an intelligent mind. I think that personal experience is very important, but certainly it shouldn't be a kind of shut-box and mirror looking, narcissistic experience.”

I think this is the tip of a lovely big, interesting, engaging ice-berg for me. I don't know if you're reading this anyone but right now I am soooooooo happy. Sylvia Plath has given me a project.

I'm currently blogging over on It's a repository for my developing PhD research The Graphic M...