A map of my life: Retro-Blog 5

The Retro-Blog: Looking back at the development of a successful creative project in 2006 and the lessons learned along the way.


On 26/01/06 I wrote,

I dreamt last night that E was asking me if I really wanted to move? In reply, I described my life to her in a drawn map that took the form of a circle. The circle was big and empty and only in a small corner huddled some smaller circles containing the parts of my current life and my artwork. I described a yawning emptiness that I hadn’t realised I felt…that art took up such a very small part of that emptiness surprised me…Still, it seemed clear in the dream that I can’t address that emptiness by staying where I am and in truth I can’t imagine a way to fill such a yawning hole with the life I have presently.

The next day I come back to thinking about the dream:

That map of my life that I drew in my dream was really enlightening. I hadn’t been aware I felt so much emptiness. It really shocked me. Perhaps that emptiness might signify an empty ‘well’ ?

(In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron [ISBN: 0-330-34358-0] describes the ‘well’ as “an artistic reservoir…ideally like a well-stocked trout pond…” and says, “As artists, we must realize that we have to maintain this artistic ecosystem. If we don’t give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked.”)

I decide to do a series of ‘concept’ drawings (see Concept Drawings section for an explanation of these) perhaps then adding or overlaying colour. I say,

These sketches at least I know are my own, direct from my subconscious, a direct line as it were and consistent in their appearance over years…

Perhaps, when I don’t feel able to ‘connect with my inner self’ it is because I am missing the obvious or rather, dismissing something because it seems so natural that I don’t consider it important e.g. these ‘concept’ drawings. They come out of me without problem, endlessly, every day if I give them time and the have no preconceptions attached to them the way other parts of my work do, no self-consciousness. They are my most pure expression…They demand over and over to be recognised…

I remember something Georgia O’Keeffe says in her autobiography when, in 1915, she is trying to assess the direction of her work:

‘I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me – shapes and ideas so near to me – so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down.’

and about my own drawings I wonder,

Can I find a way to work with them that does not manipulate them into ‘something acceptable’ but merely allow them to be what they are and to say what they must say? Above all else they represent a silencing of the left brain in favour of listening to the still, small voice within.



  1. sandrar said

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