Friday, 4 March 2011

Death is the only deadline

In what I hope is becoming a habit, I went to the Fountain Gallery yesterday to see the new exhibition. It was a stunning collection of pen and colour works of flowers and bridges, the colour being a mixture of crayon and watercolour and collage and gold-leaf. The flowers were eye-catching but it was the bridges which drew me. Still holding on to the idea of searching for what it is I like, what my style might be, a little insight into myself, I spent a long time studying them closely. If I had money to spare, this is the one I would have bought:

I love the curves, the shapes and negative spaces, the weightiness of the pillar and the lightness of the suspension and the swooping birds and I love the colour. The artist has completed a whole series of bridge paintings, each taking a couple of days, some painted in situ and some in the studio if she had been 'chased away by the weather'. I spent some time speaking with her, reluctantly agreeing that I, too, was a student of art. She told me of her sketch books from her college days, in the Sixties, and how she looked back at how complicated she had made each picture, how she had tried to capture everything about a scene or object. She said that she had learned to pick and choose what she included.
Fifty years of art! Perhaps, when I am ninety, I will have a style as skilled and unique. You go on, she said, until you find your voice, and then you use your voice to say what you want, or to sing: death is the only deadline.
I left inspired. I have so much more time than I imagine to discover and grow my artistic self: although I did not see myself as creative in my teens and twenties, it is not too late for me now to find my unique style, my voice. And this is true in a wider sense: approaching 40 is making me reflective and it is tempting to envy those who seem to still be in a place of so much choice but I am increasingly seeing the time available to me and the choices open to me. I do not have to include everything, I can pick and choose. I am beginning to whisper in a new voice and to grasp that, indeed, death is my only deadline.

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