Have you ever returned from a day out or a trip away and noticed things about your home that you had previously been unaware of like a messy corner or neglected area?
Lately I have been thinking about environment and its effect on us. As you probably know by now, I am often peeking into the ‘downstairs brain’ which is where the hidden things live.
Last week I finally visited my family who I hadn’t seen for eighteen months.
At home in Yorkshire, we live on a fairly quiet street, have two cats, a tiny garden and are a five minute walk to a beautiful beach.
At my parent’s house in South London, where I grew up, they live on a busy main road which is also a bus route, have a little dog, a big garden and are a five minute walk from some beautiful woods.
Having not been there for so long, I noticed how differently we felt and behaved, my children running ahead in the woods and climbing trees. Hopping off escalators, navigating tube stations, tapping oyster cards in and out and crossing three lanes of traffic. This environment feels familiar to me as I’ve spent most of my life in cities, to my coastal children it is an adventure.
I took them to the National Gallery; they giggled at sixteenth century nudes, dawdled through the Dutch masters but they perked up amongst the Impressionists. I went there on a school trip once. Their school went to the lifeboat station.
In my lockdown book, I talk about how fortunate we are to have the beach so nearby, but after going there every day for a while, I felt a distinct lack of green spaces: it was a need more than a want, and we began to head towards a nearby village for our daily walk. We all need variety because we need contrast. We wouldn’t appreciate summer if we didn’t have winter.
In my artwork, I often include a sparkly element which picks up and reflects light according to where it is placed in the room and the light source which you are seeing it by. A canvas lit from a window during the day will show the light differently to when it is illuminated by a lamp in the evening and those things are both dependent on where you are in relation to it when you see it.
I am trying to pay attention to myself in the same way. How do different places and settings make me feel? What is happening in the immediate environment of my home and how does that affect me?
I’m going to explore this further by doing a drawing a day of something in my environment and notice how I feel about it. It might be an ornament, a person, a cat, a piece of furniture, plant, garden. Anything. It might be abstract, it might not be.
The only rule is: a drawing a day of something in your environment and notice how you feel about it.
Would you like to join in?
See you there.